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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
“Values don’t mean piddly-doop – you need a leader”: my election focus groups, with four weeks to go
This week my general election focus groups took place in three seats Labour are defending from the Conservatives in the West Midlands: Wolverhampton South West, Birmingham Northfields and Dudley North. We spoke to people who had voted Labour in 2015 – most of whom had never voted anything but Labour in a national election – but who now said they were undecided what to do on 8 June.
Undecided previous Labour voters in the West Midlands discuss Labour’s campaign launch, tax pledges, why Brexit makes this election different, the Prime Ministerial appearance on The One Show, and the party leaders as cartoon characters.
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 May issue of the magazine has a two-page write-up on the life and bravery of Captain Percy Herbert Cherry, who was awarded the Victoria Cross (VC) for outstanding bravery during the Great War.
Cherry was born in Murradoc, Drysdale, Victoria, Australia, and brought up in Tasmania from the age of seven. In March 1915, shortly after the outbreak of the First World War, he enlisted into the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).
This article was published before the local elections at TIME.com.
“You’re joking?! Not another one? Oh for God’s sake I can’t, honestly, I can’t stand this.” So said a lady called Brenda, from the British city of Bristol, when told by a local journalist of Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call an unexpected general election for 8 June. “There’s too much politics going on at the moment,” she added.
Brenda is not alone in that assessment. After a referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, a general election in 2015, and another referendum on EU membership in 2016 — followed closely by the vicarious excitement of the Trump-Clinton showdown in the U.S. — many in Britain feel they have endured quite enough campaigning for the time being. (more…)
If you want to know what’s really happening in an election, ask the voters. As in 2015, and at the referendum, my polling team will conduct focus groups around the country to hear what real people make of the campaigns, parties, leaders and issues, and each week I will report what they have to say. And you don’t have to take my word for it – you can listen for yourself on the weekly Ashcroft Election Tourpodcast, the inaugural edition of which is also out today.
We begin our tour in London, in three seats that illustrate the complicated dynamics of this election: Bermondsey & Old Southwark, which the Liberal Democrats are aiming to take back from Labour; Twickenham, now a Tory seat which is under threat from the Lib Dems; and Brentford & Isleworth which, if Labour lose it to the Conservatives, will have changed hands three elections running.