Marginal seats

Five seats Lord Ashcroft should poll

We’ve been spoiled in this election with the amount and frequency of opinion polls available to dissect and debate, particularly constituency polls published by Lord Ashcroft.

But there are some seats that Ashcroft has yet to visit and where it would be fascinating to get a flavour of how things are shaping up. Here are five of them.

Ilford North

Labour’s Wes Streeting needs a 5.8% swing to take the seat from the Tories’ Lee Scott. A sense of how this battle is going would give us a clue as to how great the swing to Labour could be across London. If Ilford North looks like changing hands, the Tories really will be in trouble. It’s number 83 on Labour’s target list.

Heywood & Middleton

How is Ukip doing in the seat it almost won from Labour in the by-election last October? The party has been tipping money and resources into the constituency, clearly hoping it will be a case of second time lucky. A swing of just 1.1% is all they need to overturn Liz McInnes’ majority of 617. But Labour will surely have learned from the outcome of that by-election, and will be fighting equally hard to hold on.

Rochester & Strood

There’s little doubt Douglas Carswell will hold Clacton for Ukip. But will his fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless do the same in Rochester & Strood? His majority is only 2,920. The Conservatives need a swing of 3.7% to take back the seat, and it’s tantalising to think how this particular battle may or may not be edging in their favour.

Edinburgh East

One of the Scottish seats yet to be polled by Lord Ashcroft. This is a potential five-way battle between Labour, the SNP, the Liberal Democrats, the Tories and the Greens, and as such will be one most intriguing contests in all of Scotland. The Greens polled 5.1% in 2010. The SNP polled 20.4%, and need a 11.5% swing to take the seat. Just how will the anti-Tory/left-wing vote split? Might there be movement not just between Labour and the SNP, but also from the Lib Dems to Labour and Labour to the Greens? If the Labour/Lib Dem vote slumps entirely, will more of it go to the SNP than the Greens? So many questions.

Bristol West

This is perhaps the most enigmatic contest of all. For months the Greens have been talking up their chances, but candidate Darren Hall would need a swing of 22.1% to win, and this Lib Dem-held seat is also being targeted by Labour and the Tories. The Greens polled 3.8% here in 2010, and believe they will do better this time thanks to both the Lib Dem and Labour vote collapsing in their favour. The party also has six Bristol councillors – though admittedly this is on a council of 70. Just what is the state of play? Even the local supporters want to know. Over to you, Lord Ashcroft.

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Discussion

2 responses to ‘Five seats Lord Ashcroft should poll

  1. It must have happened but I cannot recall a seat where an opposition party has come close but failed to take a seat in a by election and then gains it in the general election less than a year later. I agree UKIP putting every effort into Heywood and Middleton but will not come near in my view.

    Neither do I believe Greens will come close in Bristol W.

    Rochester and Strood very close but only because GE2015 as a whole is close do I believe UKIP defectors will revert to Con resulting in Con regain by around 1000 votes.

    Most of Ashcroft Scottish polling has been in the west and therefore we need Ashcroft polling in the East and as he polled all Glasgow seats,he might as well poll all Edinburgh seats plus Fife NE plus Berwickshire Roxburgh Selkirk please Sir Michael.

    How about polling in at least one N Ireland seat perhaps Belfast East please?

    Thank you Lord Ashcroft master pollster!

  2. I’d say Ashcroft’s polling in Scotland has been fairly well spread, with an understandable bias towards Labour ‘heartland’ seats in the West as they make the big headlines – although you did get BerRoxSel today! I agree with about Middleton & Heywood – Ukip will increase their vote hugely compared to 2010 but come nowhere near what they got in the by-election. I also suspect that the Tories will retake Rochester (and for similar reasons). I think the Greens will do pretty well in Bristol West but will fall pretty far short – more of a marker for next time round.

    Edinburgh East (the constituency in which I live) is not a ‘five-way battle’, despite Ian’s contention. Labour and the SNP are the only two parties active here at all – there’s absolutely no sign of anyone else whatsoever.

    The Greens will probably hold their deposit as they did last time, the Tory vote will stagnate (I haven’t seen anything in any Scottish polling to indicate otherwise) and the Lib Dem vote will collapse from ~19% to ~6-7%. Not a single poll has been published that projects the Lib Dems in an ‘offensive’ position – i.e. likely to win a seat they don’t already hold – in Scotland (or anywhere else for that matter).

    Edinburgh East was the only constituency in Edinburgh to register a big Yes vote in the referendum (47%) and the SNP have held the roughly equivalent seat at Holyrood since 2007. Edinburgh SW is, to date, the only seat in the city to have been polled by the noble lord and that showed a decent SNP lead, in spite of being ostensibly less fertile territory for the SNP. The question is this – can the Labour incumbent Sheila Gilmore buck the national trend when all the ingredients suggest an SNP win? I think probably not and it could even be a pretty thumping SNP win.

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