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Tories on course to win Newark by-election, says Ashcroft poll

2 June 2014

The Tories are looking ever more likely to hold Newark in Thursday’s by-election. In a new poll from Lord Ashcroft this afternoon, the Conservatives are now on 47 per cent of the vote, compared to 36 per cent in the last week’s Survation poll and 53 per cent at the 2010 general election:

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As you can see from the chart above, Ukip have dropped behind slightly their position last last week, but will certainly do better than their 2010 result. By-elections are notoriously hard to predict but this ultra-local poll doesn’t offer any indications that Roger Helmer has the momentum to take Newark. Labour’s vote continues to be pretty resilient — they are only two points behind their 2010 result, and the constituency makeup means they will probably have a decent showing on polling day.

On the particular reasons for voting, three quarters of the people of Newark said they would vote for their chosen candidate because ‘the party has the best policies on important issues’. 72 per cent said their chosen party is the one they’d like to win the next general election, while just over half said it is having the best candidate.

The Conservatives have thrown the kitchen sink at Newark – the last few days have been a constant rotation of ministers and MPs visiting the seat; the Prime Minister was back there today. 92 per cent of those polled said they’d had some contact from the Conservatives, compared to 80 per cent for Ukip and 71 per cent from Labour. It seems their efforts have been rewarded — one Tory source on the ground says that as far as the party is concerned, ‘things are going to plan’. Judging by Ashcroft’s poll, that appears to be right.

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  • pajeroexceed

    TORY’s will win in Newark ” says the headlines, Well, LET THEM WIN ‘. Surely this will allow more Immigrants in ? Shock the comfy off in their blissful surroundings ! and bring forward the day when they all wake up !! Surely the time is coming when people decide they don’t want more of it. ‘ SURELY !!!!! The time is coming to set aside stupidity and vote UKIP,

  • pajeroexceed

    Well it’s over , FOR NOW ! UKIP halved the Tory

  • Monkhouse

    Like you, Denis, I think him a decent man. I suspect that this was not a deliberate misrepresentation, but rather a failure to understand the inadequacy of the methodology.

  • pajeroexceed

    I wouldn’t wish anything untoward to our Delightful Tony Blair. But if he should unfortunately be zapped whilst on a zebra crossing at night. A the Old bill would be hard pressed to know if it were skid marks they were measuring. or a wheel spin !!

  • poppy2009

    If we go by what Ashcroft shows then this is good news for the Conservatives
    especially as this is meant to be a safe seat and they do need to win this seat.
    Nigel Farage said he has caused an earthquake which he has in the local
    elections and the EU election, but if the Newark by election is a Conservative
    win and what potential percentage they might win by, then not quite an earthquake here by Nigel and UKIP.

  • Kirk Dickenson

    Chingford man, thanks for the report & many thanks for your efforts. I’m sure kippers all over the country that couldn’t be with you guys are certainly wishing you luck.

    You few, you happy few, you band of brothers;For he to-day that sheds his blood with meShall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,This day shall gentle his condition:And gentlemen in England now a-bedShall think themselves accursed they were not here,And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaksThat fought with us upon the field of Newark!

  • Monkhouse

    YearPoll Con % Lab% UKIP% LD%
    2010General Election 54 22 4 20
    2014Survation: Sun 36 27 28 5
    2014Ashcroft 42 20 27 6
    (Note: The figures in this table above are correct. Those reported by Sebastian Payne are inaccurate.)

    The Survation poll suggests there is a fairly close race in Newark with a gain by Labour and a stronger gain by UKIP at the expense of the Tories and the Lib Dems. In a note accompanying his findings, Ashscroft explains that he has adjusted his outcomes to take account of “don’t knows”. It is usual and vlid for statisticians to weight the raw results to make them consistent with the demographics of the relevant population, but Ashcroft’s approach is not empirically based. In the context of a large Toy majority in 2010, his methodology in this week’s survey will in all probability show an extended Conservative lead whether they have an actual lead or not. Why is this?

    Ashcroft, having obtained his survey data, said he did the follwoing: “The adjustment works by re-allocating a proportion of those who refuse to state or claim they don’t know how they will vote to the party they voted for at the last election.” If you add the “don’t knows” on the basis of their voting in the previous election, you are likely to find more from the party that won by a large margin than from the parties that polled poorly in 2010. The Tories won 54% of the vote in 2010; Survation found only 36% supporting them last Thursday. This suggests that there are a good many former Tory voters who have either transferred to one of the other parties or are uncertain for whom to vote. If you add a proprotion of these to a number around that which Survation found, then you will show a large increase in the Tory vote in just a few days.

    UKIP, on the other hand, polled only 4% in 2010, and so the most “don’t knows” from their General Election voters available to be “don’t knows” is 4%. In reality it would be few indeed, since it is probable that most would be included in their greatly increased support recorded by Survation of 28%. It is no surprise then that Ashcroft records a similar figure as Survation for UKIP support of 27%. This does not, as he seems to think, show that UKIP voters are less “shy” than Tories, Rather it is the necessary consequence that there were very few of them in 2010. What we really need to know is what Ashcroft’s poll figures were for the Tories and Labour before he tinkered with them in this way. As the poll stands it is grossly misleading. Its result may or may not be reflected in the final outcome, but if it is, it will be by chance: the methodology is irreparably flawed.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Actually I’m shocked that Lord Ashcroft has done this. I thought he was a decent man but it Is quite dishonourable to rig his poll in this way for Tory party political purposes, deliberately trying to convey a false impression of what is happening in Newark.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    By the way, you Speccie teenagers should note that his lordship’s poll has the Camerloons 15 points ahead of UKIP, not 20 as you mistakenly say in your post.

  • Jebus Creepers

    IMPORTANT NOTICE EVERYONE These polls were conducted by the “Lord” Lordy Toss off Ashcroft of the Tory fundraising team out of his own pocket so no guesses what political leaning people been asked and how much the figures are distorted. Remember how much they lie and who can prove them wrong? It’s Tory faithful doing these polls. It’s a heap of crap to sway the population of Newark’s undecided. It could be working up until now, we need to spread the word and make sure it doesn’t. It’s a lot closer than they are saying. People like to be on the winning side, this is psychology. He is THE MAJOR DONOR TO THE Tory party and is a billionaire. Don’t believe his crap. They’ll be digging up Elvis next to say vote Tory. The press just carry on as if we don’t notice and are stupid. Always against UKIP in one way or another, they won’t just change overnight, they just attack UKIP in different ways.

    • JohnDeVries

      Lof of what you say is very true.

  • Cyril Sneer

    Laugh out loud at The Mirror – they have an article titled “UKIP’s ‘political earthquake’ petering out with a whimper according to by-election poll”.

    Usual socialist propaganda but within the article is a poll that we can contribute to – it asks who will we be voting for in the next General Election, after selecting your choice of party you are presented with the results thus far – 65% voting for UKIP, the nearest party Labour on 21%.

    Too funny.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      This by-election will probably see the end of most of these LibLabCon shenanigans. If a wave of bogus polls and an establishment media onslaught can’t put down this conservative insurgency, then the LibLabCon bubble will finally have to come to grips with the fact that their socialist reign is in jeopardy.

      • pajeroexceed

        It certainly

  • Bill_der_Berg

    I can’t understand why the Conservative and Labour people have stopped calling UKIP supporters racists and bigots. Those tactics worked so well in the European Parliamentary elections.

    • pajeroexceed

      ha ha ha That one was really good… Must tell my friends.. ha ha ha

  • Radford_NG

    These figures are down to Ashcroft’s imaginary friends.

    He is quoted in the Nottm.Post as saying the difference from the Survation poll could be because he counted the `shy voters`who refused to say how they will vote in relation to how they voted in 2010 and more of these are likely to be Tories.

    • Denis_Cooper

      Thanks for that.

      I’ve looked at what he says here:

      and frankly I’m staggered.

      I really thought better of him than that, but now he has gone down in my estimation and I will treat all his future polls with much more caution than other polls.

      Of course if you take those who can’t or won’t say how they are going to vote this time and re-allocate them on the basis of how they voted in 2010 then that will massively favour the Tories over UKIP, in a ratio of 54 added to the Tory total for every 4 added to the UKIP total.

      He says that “interestingly” this adjustment does not have much effect on UKIP’s rating, but it does significantly boost the Tory rating and puts them much further ahead of UKIP; for crying out loud, it’s not so much interesting as bleeding obvious that adding only 4% of the indeterminates to UKIP but adding 54% of them to the Tories, adding 13.5 to the Tories for every 1 added to UKIP, will have that effect.

      There is no need for him to embark upon a speculation that UKIP supporters are less “shy” about saying how they intend to vote than Tory supporters, and for all he knows the opposite may be true.

      More interesting would be to divide up those respondents who can’t or won’t say how they will vote in the same proportions as those who do say how they will vote now, not how they voted in 2010, which would be something like 1.3 to the Tories for every 1 to UKIP.

      That would probably still put the Tories a bit further ahead of UKIP than in the Survation poll, but not beyond the margins of error.

      Basically what we have here is a
      rigged Tory poll to provide a pro-Tory story for the pro-Tory, or more
      importantly anti-UKIP, media, and I am shocked that Lord Ashcroft has been
      prepared to do this.

      • Sentinel

        The process of reallocating some of the refusenik/don’t knows to how they voted in the most recent general election came about after analysing the 1992 fieldwork; remember the pollsters had called the election for Kinnock.

        • Denis_Cooper

          Clearly that is totally invalid when there have been massive changes in voting intentions since the previous election, and his justifications for doing it are feeble.

          • Sentinel

            Well, Anthony Wells hasn’t queried the method: see

            Wells also mentions Ashcroft’s weekly poll that puts the Tories at only 25% with UKIP on 19%; Populus have 32% and 13%.

            • Denis_Cooper

              I’ve read that.

              Leaving aside Anthony Wells not having queried it, what do you think?

              Do you think that those who can’t or won’t say how they will vote in this election in 2014 should be distributed among the parties on the basis of the shares of the votes in 2010, even though those who do say how they intend to vote in this election are telling an entirely different story?

              I note that according to Lord Ashcroft Survation had not done it, and that is one reason why his results are different.

              • Sentinel

                Ashcroft’s Newark poll turned out to be good, taking into account the margin of error.

                For the % share of the vote, he had the Tories at 42, UKIP at 27, and Labour at 20; the election result was 45, 25, and 17.

                • Denis_Cooper

                  Fortuitously, because opinion was shifting rapidly and what he said was the case on 27 May – 1 June when his fieldwork was done turned out to be closer to the final outcome than the first Survation poll with fieldwork done on May 27 – 28, but not as close as the second Survation poll with fieldwork on June 2 – 3:


                  Where it was stated, incidentally, that Ashcroft’s adjustment did not form part of their standard methodology.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              He doesn’t query much method at all, if you notice. He’s from YouGov, so he wouldn’t, would he?

      • pajeroexceed

        Shocked ? I’m not one bit shocked , He is part of the Horrified establishment, Enjoy their anger and frustration,

  • Ooh!MePurse!

    Between 2009 and now, the proportion of the electorate with a positive view of Ukip has gone down from 28% to 22%. The proportion with a negative view has increased from 37% to 53%. (Source: YouGov).

    Another interesting set of poll results to add to the mix.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …and UKIP drove the Camerluvvies down to a humiliating 3rd place finish in the May 22nd elections, a first in well over a century.

      That would be real polling, of voters, and not fantastical polling.

  • Chingford Man

    I’ve spent all day canvassing, without lunch. (We Kippers are too keen not to waste time on food.) So I can’t pretend that this poll filled me with joy.

    I should say that I want to avoid spin here and give a realistic appraisal of my day.

    Today was spent in a lovely village a few miles out of Newark in lovely weather. It looked like an iron-clad Tory fortress and all four of us felt like an SOE squad well behind enemy lines. We did find some opposition which slightly correlated to the size of the property and a degree of surliness that I didn’t find in a Labour ward of Newark on Saturday. There was one particular woman who was just horrid and I suspected from the house she was Tory. I think I also might have found a Lib Dem as that type tends to be most visceral in their hatred of UKIP.

    However, we also found a lot more people who told us they were definitely going UKIP. I found a young mother who, though sympathetic to us, had been put off by a Labour smear about UKIP cutting maternity pay. She promised to look us up on the web and I think UKIP might end up with her vote. I also met a delightful foreign-born lady with lots of probing questions, and after a long time with her I’m hopeful that she was won over as well. Overall I thought it was pretty positive, bearing in mind the Tories should be able to rely on this kind of place 100pc.

    I know UKIP has been keeping canvass returns and they totally contradict the Ashcroft polling. It just doesn’t feel right to me. UKIP felt at the weekend that there was a 2000 vote difference and now think that the gap has narrowed into possible recount territory, with 3 days left. One thing is certain: Labour is DEAD in terms of winning Newark. As I was trudging back to the station, I saw its candidate was with just a few socialist stragglers. Kippers, by contrast were all over the market place. What that former Labour vote does will determine who wins.

    • Streben80

      There are lots of lies being put about regarding UKIP policy, makes it harder but tall tales by the opposition can usually be undone by arming yourself with facts about what policy actually is. They seem to have taken to quoting any comment as actual policy when anyone who knows UKIP knows that the NEC hasnt finalised the manifesto yet and personal opinion of one individual doesnt amount to a policy for an entire party.

    • Tim Reed

      Interesting to hear someone’s perspective as a canvasser.
      Thanks for posting.

    • pajeroexceed

      The Lady with the big house and Horrified look on her face will be a bit more horrified in due course when The weight of Immigration starts to impact on her tranquility.. UKIP need not worry too much. Time is irreversibly on their side. just be patient. IT IS COMING….

  • Streben80

    Would UKIP failing to overturn a 16k majority really be such a suprise? I would love them to win but UKIP approach this by-election like any other – we throw ourselves at it and see what comes out in the end – if you want to measure the UKIP impact one simply has to note that Cameron has been out to Newark four times and they are feeling the pressure so much that they use threats to get their people to campaign in Newark, to protect what would normally be an ultra safe seat.
    Win or loose, UKIP have the opposition rattled, that is the real story.

    • pajeroexceed

      Quite right. They are a little bit more than ” rattled “. They are Horrified !!

  • the viceroy’s gin

    This toff really is a charlatan. I despise tosspots like this guy, and I feel I need to go have a bath after reviewing anything coming from this tosspot. Here’s the pile of garbage he calls “data” from this alleged “poll”:

    In what universe could he have come across a voting intention of 60% in
    his polling? On page 1 of 26, this charlatan claims that he polled and found that 60% of the people that he polled are “absolutely certain to vote”. I will bet anything he likes that he can’t have found that result. I can run that poll 10 times and I will return a number well less than 60% all 10 times. This guy is lying. He is flat out lying.

    This poll is completely bogus, like most of his fantastical creations.

    And what is this “spiral of silence” he fantasized about in this poll, I wonder?

    I’m not going to bother slogging through the rest of this garbage beyond the first page. It’s pure garbage. This guy is a charlatan.

    • Chingford Man

      I’m no expert on polling subtleties. Can you expand?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        He’s claiming 60% of “all respondents” told him they will absolutely be certain to turn out and vote, in a by-election, which is a fantastical polling result. Historical performance in such elections would show that the actual turn out might well be half that, maybe more as the turnout is being driven so hard by the Camerloons, but certainly not 60%. I’ll cover all his lordship’s wagers to the contrary, including forming a betting syndicate as necessary so as to completely pauperize that lying tosspot.

        If the inputted sample group is this badly skewed, the entire polling output is untrustworthy. The fact that only 11% told him they definitely would not be voting is an even further tell, that this poll is bogus.

        • pajeroexceed

          yes it is bogus. 11% and 60% does not make 100%. where is the other 29% ?? Yes it must be a bogus and deliberate attempt at slanting the truth .

  • swatnan

    I’ve got a feeling that the electors of Newark won’t be taken for granted and will give the Tories a well deserved kickng. And who can blame them. Orpington Man is back!

    • pajeroexceed

      All it needed was to point out Why the by election was being held, If Newark folk were honest people they would give UKIP the benefit of the doubt. NOT the party that spawned the cretin who’s actions caused it

  • Alexsandr

    another dodgy ashcroft poll. Yawn. Lets wait till Thursday.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    A load of cobblers. The only one to take any notice of is thursday.

  • Kernow Castellan

    Wow. Confusing choice of colours in that graph.

    Someone doesn’t realise that red/blue/purple are quite strongly associated with parties, not pollsters.

    I recommend a course of Edward Tufte books.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …the Speccie kid might not be at that reading level.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      Quite. I was confused until I saw the key. And I used to lecture on presentational graphics for scientists, so if it could fool me…

  • Kitty MLB

    I should imagine the Conservative Majority would hold. And how positive is Helmer.
    He said Farage would do better. Also noticed a collapse in the Labour vote.
    But have to say the Conservative chap doesn’t look as if he’s reached the shaving
    stage yet. And as for Lord Ashcroft. He pointed out that Labours national share of
    the vote as increased. That’s a worry. We don’t want the return of a apocalyptic
    Labour government.

    • Bernard from Bucks

      Under normal circumstances I could see no one making a dent in a 15K majority. But Mercer has been a naughty boy and will lose some support.
      Helmer, not long back, was a true blue and may have some support there from discontented Tories. You know, those that comment on ConHome. :)
      There is also the opportunity for all those ‘none-of-the-above’ and ‘stay-at-homes’ to think this is an ideal chance to give Cameron a black-eye.
      I recon it is going to be a very close result. Ashcroft is always underestimating the opposition and he commissions these polls with an eye on the result he wants.

      • Fred Smith

        Furthermore, it isn’t as if the coalition has such a slender majority that this result could finish them, and it’s for less than a year.

        I wonder how many postal votes the Lib Dems will manage this time?

        • pajeroexceed

          Won’t know the number of postal votes they will manage , But the story goes that they have approached BT to enquirer how much it would cost to hire a phone box to hold their pre election conference in !

  • Smithersjones2013

    1) During the Eastleigh by election the Tories poll figures overstated their final result by several points. On the other hand UKIP under polled their final result by several points.

    2) Populus, Ashcroft’s pollster, use a methodology which penalises UKIP and aids establishment parties more than any other pollster.

    If I were Tories I wouldn’t get too excited yet. Looking at Coffee House this afternoon its as if they already started celebrating…..

    • Athelwulf

      Fair points – confirmed here [you need to scroll down]:

      At Eastleigh Lord Ashcroft’s final poll had UKIP on 21%, whereas the party achieved 27.8% in the result

      But look at the Newark betting:

      The Tory odds have shortened from 1/3 to 1/6 or even 1/9 on.

      UKIP hs eased from 11-4 to 4-1 or even to 5-1

      Labour has drifted from 16-1 out to 33-1 or more.

      Re Labour:

      ‘Labour, despite coming second in 2010, has all but written off its chances of winning in Newark, calculating that victory is so unlikely that it is not worth the estimated cost of £100,000 for leaflets and accommodation for party staff.’

      Andrew Sparrow – The Guardian online – 2 June 2014

      • Swiss Bob

        It’s all very well saying the odds have drifted out but that started to happen today before the Ashcroft poll was released and then accelerated after it was released, so more than likely poll drive.

  • Kitty MLB

    Well of course Conservative will win this By- Election.
    This is about appointing a MP. Saying that my UKIP chums want a seat to place
    that purple cushion.

    • pajeroexceed

      Time is very heavily on the side of UKIP in the next five years as Immigration crushes the present ability to cope with the irreversible mayhem, All UKIP needs is patience…

  • BarkingAtTreehuggers

    We predicted it a week ago, we say it again now:
    the by-election’s in the bag – I don’t know why all the commentors are bothering.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …did Ashcroft poll all your sockpuppets, lad?

      • BarkingAtTreehuggers

        no lad, it appears Ashcroft now feeds of me.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …can any of you other socialist nutters translate this nutter’s gibberish?

          • BarkingAtTreehuggers

            no lad, they can’t because there are no socialists nutters out there – just you, one national socialist nutter.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …and see if one of you can have a go at this nuttery, as well.

          • pajeroexceed

            Don’t try to evaluate this plonkers argument unless you indulge in some similar substance as he is on. THEN it might make sense..

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      No point the Tory voters turning out then?

  • Raddiy

    I would have thought Newark is the least of their problems with the Ashcroft national weekly poll carried out at the same time having the Conservatives on 25% with UKIP on 19%

    • foxoles


    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Exactly! this is just a Tory safe seat, it is the real marginals that are of interest.

      • pajeroexceed

        Quite right the marginals will be very kind to UKIP. The next 4-5 years will see mayhem in this Island. ideal food for UKIP…

  • Fergus Pickering

    Ah, a poll from Lord Ascroft! And that will say….

  • Mike

    If only UKIP could pull it off as I’d love to see Camerons face !

    • BarkingAtTreehuggers

      bless …

      • Lucy Sky Diamonds


      • MrsDBliss

        So your barking at treehuggers? Didn’t Cameron campaign on ‘bite Conservative, go green”? Or is it ok now that it’s is another policy he abandoned after finding up it wasn’t as popular as he thought. Like Big Society, Conservatism etc?

        • BarkingAtTreehuggers

          Who informed you that ‘green’ conservative policy was abandoned? There have never been as many wind turbines as there hve been today, and tomorrow there will be more, and a month, a year on there will be more and more and ever more lovely wind turbines all across Britain. A-bandoned?

          What would the green conservative PM’s father in law say if it was? What would UKIP MEP elitist landowner Earl Dartmouth say? What would the Yeo Cons say, you know, all those Yeo types that cannot be named here? Yes, what would they all say, if ‘green’ conservative policy was suddenly ‘abandoned’?

          I bet they would all scream and then bark at treehuggers, like you, luv.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …do all your sockpuppets bark too, lad?

          • MrsDBliss

            I’m no supporter if Cameron though, by your comments you appear to be. Hence my questioning of your apparent inconsistency.

            • BarkingAtTreehuggers

              Inconsistency? what inconsistency?
              I outlined in great detail how our ‘green blessings’ work, only in Britain do they work in this way, nowhere else. Now what you ought to do is go away and reflect on that.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …but you and all your sockpuppets are barking too loud for everybody, lad.

              • MrsDBliss

                Why do I need to reflect on it? I don’t vote Tory and I’m non-pluses about green policies.

                • BarkingAtTreehuggers

                  Now this is getting ever more bizarre. Who suggested you needed to ‘vote for’ anything in order to understand how things work? You either do or, as the case study of your responses conclusively suggests, you don’t.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …how do all your sockpuppets work, lad?

    • pajeroexceed

      Id rush off to buy shares in Moët Champagne ! The champagne would flow all night. ” even more would be consumed than if Tony Blair happened to miss his step on a zebra crossing on a foggy night

      • Mike

        A bit like that old joke –

        What’s the difference between a dead dog and a dead Blair in the road?

        There are skid marks in front of the dog.

  • Swiss Bob

    Have they formed a pact with Labour again?

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