Labour will take heart from Lord Ashcroft’s latest survey of marginal seats. This time he’s sampled opinion in what he calls the “wider battleground” – constituencies not right at the top of Labour’s target list, where gains are pretty much guaranteed, but those a bit further down. These are seats which could mean the difference between a hung parliament where Labour is the biggest party, or one in which the Tories could once again try and form a coalition with the Liberal Democrats.
In the eight Labour targets he polled, Ashcroft found an average swing from Conservative to Labour of 6.5%. This would be enough for Labour to gain all of the eight in question: Carlisle, Weaver Vale, Lincoln, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport, Stroud, Bedford, Dewsbury and Warrington South.
But it’s important to bear in mind these are not tough targets for Labour. Look at the size of their majorities: