Will the Tories really get Brexit done? Who proposed which policy? What if you had to choose a Johnson government or a Corbyn one? Week 4 of my General Election Dashboard

My latest 4,000-sample poll, conducted between Friday and Monday, finds little change in the overall picture, with Labour continuing to do better among its former voters than was the case at the start of the campaign.

The most noticed specific election stores of the last few days were promises of extra nurses, the Channel 4 climate debate, the Labour antisemitism controversy, and the question of whether Boris Johnson will be interviewed by Andrew Neil.

Read more …

‘Does he want to be PM, really?’ ‘It was worse than Prince Andrew’ ‘She has bagpipes playing in her head all the time.’ My election focus groups in Scotland

My general election focus groups this week take us to Scotland, and three seats the SNP are hoping to regain after losing them in 2017: Aberdeen South and East Renfrewshire, both won by the Conservatives two years ago, and Glasgow North East, now one of Labour’s seven constituencies north of the border.

Fairy godmother

Of the manifestos launched in the days before this week’s groups, it was Labour’s that had made the biggest impression on our undecided voters. Whether they had voted Conservative, Labour, SNP or Lib Dem in 2017, their general view was decidedly sceptical: “Corbyn’s £80 billion reminded me of the £350 million on the side of the bus. It worries me that a large proportion of the population will believe it;” “If you combed your way through all the manifestos you could drive a bus through all of them.

Read more …

Would you vote tactically? What worries you most about a Tory or Labour government? What would actually happen under Johnson or Corbyn? Week 3 of my General Election Dashboard

My third general election survey shows the Conservatives still ahead on the fundamentals, but there is some evidence that Labour is managing to firm up its vote among 2017 supporters at the margins, with Labour Leavers showing slightly more reticence about switching to the Tories.

When we ask people how likely they are to vote for each party on a scale from zero (definitely not) to 100 (absolutely certain), the Conservatives’ average likelihood score is unchanged at 36. Labour’s is up from 25 last week to 28, the Liberal Democrats’ down from 17 to 15, and the Brexit Party’s (asked of respondents in non-Conservative seats only) down from 11 to 9.

Read more …

My perspective on the UK and US elections – and how politics ended up like this

This is the text of a speech I gave in London last Friday covering the background to the current political situation on both sides of the Atlantic, and my perspective on the UK and US elections.

Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. I don’t know if it’s significant that you have asked me to speak about the political situation on the anniversary of President Kennedy’s assassination, Margaret Thatcher’s removal from Downing Street, and Angela Merkel’s appointment as Chancellor of Germany. We are living through what feels like a momentous time in politics, not just in this country, and I have spent some time trying to make sense of the disruption – and in particular, what the voters make of it all – through my opinion research on both sides of the Atlantic.

Read more …

Britain needs a total ban on hunting trophies

First published in The Daily Telegraph on Saturday 23 November 2019.

By allowing the import of items such as lion heads, this country supports a cruel and murky industry.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) recently launched a public consultation on the scale and impact of the import and export of hunting trophies. This matter is close to the hearts of Boris Johnson and his partner, Carrie Symonds, with good reason. What I have learned over the last 18 months about the evil taking place in South Africa’s lion industry, one of the principal areas relevant to Defra’s review, has shocked me profoundly.

Read more …

‘It’s insulting people’s intelligence.’ ‘The government is paying, so we are.’ ‘It’s so overwhelming, I feel quite sick’: My election focus groups in Alyn & Deeside, Wrexham and Newport

This week’s round of general election focus groups took us to three more Leave-voting, Labour-held seats of the kind the Tories will need to build a majority, this time in Wales: Alyn & Deeside, Wrexham, and Newport West.

Unleashed
What campaign news had caught people’s attention in the last few days? “I saw a thing on Twitter with Michael Gove in his constituency. He was surrounded by a load of 60 or 70 year-old white pensioners, and it said ‘unleash our potential’. I thought, what kind of message is that?” “Free school meals. I think that was from Labour;” “The Conservatives want to bring back foxhunting;” “Corbyn wants to nationalise the railways;” “Various ones have jumped on the climate change agenda, but I don’t know who’s said what. To be honest I’ve heard more from Greta Thunberg on that;” “I’ve seen clips on Facebook of Labour people knocking on doors and getting a mouthful;” “The police – the Conservatives took 20,000 away but now they want to put them back;” “Didn’t Corbyn say something about putting the minimum wage up to £10 an hour?” “I think Labour said they were not going to restrict immigrants coming in. They’re going to continue with free movement, whereas the Conservatives are saying it’s not fair on people from outside the EU;” “There was something about a four-day working week. I reckon it would just mean doing four 12-hour shifts;” “It’s insulting people’s intelligence. I’m going to be working 7.30 till four, four days a week with three days off, for the same wage? It’s bollocks, isn’t it?”

Read more …

Have you decided yet? Who will win the debate? Will you put up with Boris to get Brexit? Week 2 of my General Election Dashboard

In this pre-debate, pre-manifesto stage of the campaign, my latest round of polling finds no signs of a seismic shift in opinion so far. We find a similar picture to last week’s, including a clear lead for Boris Johnson over Jeremy Corbyn as best Prime Minister and, in a forced choice, an overall preference for a Johnson-led Tory government over a Corbyn-led Labour one. Leave voters, however, appear more settled in their voting decisions at this stage than remainers. There are some small changes, but most are well within the margin of error.

Read more …

Think this impeachment hearing’s the end of Trump? Don’t bet on it

This article was first published in the Mail on Sunday

For now, all eyes are on the extraordinary spectacle of a televised attempt to impeach Donald Trump. Yet only a year from now, the presidential election will be over, the votes counted and the victory speeches made. By whom? Most polls currently suggest it will be a Democrat who finds himself or herself huddled with the a transition team while Mr Trump contemplates a return to his newly-chosen home state of Florida.

My advice is that anyone planning to bet their house on such an outcome had better line up a friendly neighbour with a spare room, just in case. For one thing, we don’t yet know who the president’s opponent will be. In my research among American voters since 2016 I have found Democrats to be in a furious and increasingly radical mood. Rather than reach out to those who backed Donald Trump – even if they did so reluctantly – many have yearned to head in the opposite direction and adopt the most progressive candidates and platforms they can find.

Read more …

‘He put the milk in before taking the teabag out!’, ‘He’s a proper nutcase’, ‘Who’s going to pay me for a four-day week?’ My election focus groups in Stoke, Bolton and West Brom

Last week my election focus groups took us to three constituencies in which the Liberal Democrats were hoping to corner the market in disgruntled remainers. This week we have visited three Labour-held, Leave-voting seats of the kind the Conservatives are looking to regain in their quest for a majority: Stoke-on-Trent North, Bolton North East, and the seat held until recently by Labour’s deputy leader, West Bromwich East.

Oven-ready
Boris Johnson’s opening election broadcast, ostensibly filmed during his tea break at CCHQ, had garnered an unusual degree of attention. “I thought it was for Children in Need;” “I thought it was a joke at first, but some people will like that;” “He put the milk in before taking the teabag out!” “He said, ‘our deal is oven-ready, sling it in the microwave,’ and I thought, you’ve never cooked a thing in your life, mate, have you?”

Read more …

Election priorities, best PM, preferred government, trust on the economy, best party on Brexit… introducing my General Election Dashboard

Each week until the election I will publish my General Election Dashboard, showing the results of my weekly 4,000-sample surveys tracking the intensity of each party’s support among different kinds of voters, crucial measures like best Prime Minister, preference of government, best party on Brexit and what people have noticed in the news, as well as the reaction to topical questions as they arise. Together with my weekly focus groups of different kinds of seats throughout the country, this will help explain the dynamics of the campaign and the factors that will determine the outcome on 12 December.

Read more …

Sign up for free email alerts
Read new posts as soon as they appear on lordashcroft.com