“She called the snap election and can’t be bothered turning up to it”: my final round of focus groups

The final round of my general election focus groups comes from three Labour seats in Wales: Cardiff South & Penarth, Alyn & Deeside, and Newport West, with participants who voted Labour or UKIP in 2015. As they looked back on the campaign, what had made an impression? “It’s mostly the gaffes that stand out…The lady for Labour, when she completely messed up.” “Diane Abbott.” “That’s the one. That sticks out for me.” “The pensioners getting screwed.” “Corbyn today, not knowing about childcare, and Theresa May launching her manifesto that within twelve hours had been turned round.” Few had felt inspired: “It strikes me there’s no real vision, how to take the next step. To be honest, it’s a little bit of a mess.”

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Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Cardiff, Alyn & Deeside, and Newport

The final edition of the Ashcroft Election Tour podcast comes from three Welsh constituencies – Cardiff South & Penarth, Alyn & Deeside, and Newport West. Undecided former Labour and UKIP voters discuss campaign highlights, manifestos, policies, and the leaders as biscuits.

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See the June edition of Britain at War for Lord Ashcroft’s new bravery article

Lord Ashcroft KCMG PC has had his latest “hero of the month” article published in Britain at War, the country’s best-selling military history monthly magazine.

The June issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Acting Lieutenant Colonel Edward Elers Delaval Henderson, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery during the Great War. (more…)

Ashcroft Model update: estimated vote shares by seat, and new potential majorities

This week we have added a new feature to the Ashcroft Model dashboard. The constituency-by-constituency pages now show estimated current vote shares for each seat in three different scenarios: according to turnout in the 2015 general election; including those who say they voted in the EU referendum; and including those who say they will vote in June.

Alongside these estimated vote shares, the model also shows the leading party’s “win chance” in that seat. In calculating the win chance, the model takes into account data from several previous general elections to transform the estimated gap in vote share – between the first and second-placed parties in two-way contests, or the top three in three-way contests – into probabilities.

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“She still keeps banging on about independence”: my election focus groups in Scotland, with two weeks to go

This week’s general election focus group report comes from two Scottish seats which fell to the SNP in 2015 but could be competitive on 8 June: Edinburgh South West, and Aberdeen South. In each seat we spoke to two types of people: those who voted no to Scottish independence in 2014, Labour or Liberal Democrat in 2015, and who were undecided what to do this time round; and those who voted SNP at the last general election and to leave the EU in last year’s referendum.

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Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Edinburgh and Aberdeen

Former Labour, Lib Dem and SNP voters in Edinburgh South West and Aberdeen South talk about independence, the Scottish government’s record, Brexit, the manifestos, why they might switch parties, and what the leaders would do if they had proper jobs.

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Ashcroft Model update: absent UKIP, and Labour’s enthusiasm question

Last week I launched the Ashcroft Model – a project bringing together large-scale surveys and detailed census data to help understand what could be happening at constituency level in the general election: which party is likely to be ahead in each seat, and the potential implications for overall seat numbers in the House of Commons. I explained how it works here. Today, as will be the case every week until the election, I am updating the model’s estimates based on a further 2,000-sample survey, conducted over the past week but before the party manifesto launches.

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“Vote Labour and get a free kitten”: my election focus groups, with three weeks to go

Our third week of general election focus groups took place in three Labour-held seats in the north of England: Wakefield, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland. Only a couple of participants had so far seen any evidence of street campaigning: “The Labour Party were outside my son’s school two weeks ago, with leaflets to all parents. I was surprised really. I thought, time and place. I didn’t think it was appropriate.” The others, however, were by no means insulated from the campaign. “On Facebook it’s rife”. Most of the political messages these groups had seen were in support of Labour, and evidently designed to reinvigorate what had once been the party’s base. What kind of thing had they seen? “She’s on about bringing back fox hunting. I mean, what’s that? Tally-ho and running up and down and ripping foxes to pieces for the elite.”

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Ashcroft Election Tour podcast: Wakefield, Huddersfield and Middlesbrough

Voters in three Labour-held seats targeted by the Conservatives react to the week’s manifesto launches and other election news, and explain how they will make their decision over the next three weeks.

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Election 2017: The Ashcroft Model

The night of 7 May, 2015 is one that most pollsters would rather forget. Different surveys using different methodologies came to the collective conclusion that Britain was set for something close to a dead heat – an expectation that was shattered by the official exit poll and quickly swept away as results began to pile up. My own final national poll, completed the night before the election, also produced a tie between Labour and the Tories. Not only that, I had published polls in more than 160 individual constituencies – some of which proved to be bang on, and others of which, let’s be honest, didn’t.

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