Is Clegg on his way out? Another poll shows him trailing to Labour in Sheffield Hallam

1st April, 2015 12:40 pm

nick clegg tax

Yet more constituency research shows that there is a very real chance that Nick Clegg could lose his seat to Labour in May. Lord Ashcroft’s latest batch of Lib Dem marginals polling shows that Labour’s Oliver Coppard currently holds a two point lead over the Deputy PM.

This follows a previous Ashcroft poll in the seat, which gave Labour a lead of three, and an earthquake poll from Survation last month which saw Labour 10 whole points ahead.

The latest poll gives these figures for the constituency voting intention:

Labour 36%, Lib Dems 34%, Tories 16%, UKIP 7%, Green Party 6%

In such a close race, it could come down to supporters of other parties deciding to vote for one of the two frontrunners.

Among the Green Party’s support, only 28% would definitely not vote Labour, while 44% would definitely not vote Lib Dem, suggesting that there is some scope for Labour squeezing the Green vote to the Lib Dems’ disadvantage.

However, among Conservative voters the trend is reversed: 49% would not consider voting Lib Dem, and 76% would not consider voting Labour. If the Lib Dems, who have a contact rate of 76%, are able to target their messaging to Tory supporters, Labour could face an uphill struggle.

The only other Lib Dem/Labour marginals polled by Ashcroft in this series is Cambridge, where Labour have a national lead of five but the Lib Dems have a local lead of nine. This suggests that Julian Huppert could hold his place in the Commons comfortably.

All of the other six seats polled are Tory/Lib Dem marginals. Three see Lib Dem leads in constituencies where they already have an MP (Torbay, St Ives and North Cornwall), while two see Tory leads in Lib Dem areas (North Devon and St Austell & Newquay).

In Camborne & Redruth in 2010, the Conservatives had a majority of just 66 over the Lib Dems. The last Ashcroft poll gave the Tories a lead of just three over UKIP, and today’s poll suggests Labour are now comfortably in second place, although 13 points off the Tories.

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  • Ian

    Please, please let it be true!

  • Ian

    “If the Lib Dems, who have a contact rate of 76%”. Can I just ask exactly what this means – and how do we know? If it means what I take it to mean it seems enormously high, even for a marginal seat.

    • Mark Reilly

      As part of the poll they asked if the person had any “contact” from each of the parties…I assume this may only be a leaflet, not necessarily a chat on the doorstep

      Mind you I had a “contact” from my Tory MP which went straight into the recycle bin — although I do tend to send any prepaid envelopes back so he gets charged 🙂

      • Ian

        Thanks – I wondered how they knew.

    • wolfman

      It will be harder than expected to shift these Lib dems as they only have 50 or so working seats…..They’ll be smashing these voters with calls and literature…

      Just hope we remind, ad nauseum, these voters what they have helped to put through in these five years…

      Probably alone in thinking they are worse than the Tories……

      At least they are generally true to themselves…..

      • Michael Murray

        No, you are not alone in thinking the Lib Dem stooges are worse than the Tories. They are the sine qua non for all the Tories’ evils. Without the stooges the Tories would not have been able to do a quarter of the damage they have done. We have the Lib Dem stooges to thank for a Coalition agreement that nobody voted on and a government that did terrible things to this country without a mandate.

        • Ian

          Do you believe that we will get a vote on a Labour-SNP coalition?

          • Michael Murray

            No, because there is not going to be a Labour-SNP coalition.

      • Michael Murray

        No, you are not alone in thinking the Lib Dem stooges are worse than the Tories. They are the sine qua non for all the Tories’ evils. Without the stooges the Tories would not have been able to do a quarter of the damage they have done. We have the Lib Dem stooges to thank for a Coalition agreement that nobody voted on and a government that did terrible things to this country without a mandate.

  • Dave Postles

    Baron Clegg of Chalfont St Giles – it has a certain cachet.

    • Andrew

      Bit like Lord Prescott, another good Socialist

      • Dave Postles

        Yes, well, I refused the offer of Viscount Postles of Northfields Council Estate.

    • Ian

      More likely he’ll get paid millions for a sinecure with the European Parliament.

      • Dave Postles

        Are the two incompatible?

        • Ian

          Very good point!

  • BillFrancisOConnor

    Please let it happen!!!!

  • eastender

    Not sure that is entirely correct. The first caveat is that the methodology with these polls does not name the candidates, which has raised some questions (see Mike Smithson @ politicalbetting) about how accurate the poll really is.

    There are two questions one a “which party do you support nationally” & second a “which party will you vote for locally” question. That shows a clear drop in the Tory vote from Q1 to Q2 (22% to 16%), so more than a quarter of tory voters are likely to vote tactically to support Nick Clegg. Is this number likely to grow? Not sure, many tories loath the Libs and all their works and would be more than happy to see Clegg go even if many others might prefer a Lib MP to a Labour one. There is also a small green vote which could also be squeezed to get a few more votes for Labour. This will all come down to who has the best operation on the ground, most especially who can make sure their postal vote GOTV is the best.

    It is probably also instructive to compare with Cambridge, the “anti tory” vote in Cambridge seems to be a bit higher (51% as opposed to 46%) but I suspect Julian Huppert is viewed as being somewhat opposed to the coalition (whether true or not) whereas Nick Clegg is a figure reviled by many on all sides. In Cambridge the Libs seem to be doing better in retaining their support than in Sheffield.

    PS the 76% figure means the percentage of folk polled who can remember receiving a leaflet or being contacted by the Liberal party in the past four weeks. It is not a contact rate in the terms discussed with contact creator. What this figure and the 53% figure for Labour (even higher figures elsewhere) reflects is the huge effort being put in on the ground.

    • montypython

      Thanks eastender – I didn’t realise that tactical voting/ Clegg loyalty (!) had already been factored into the Tory share. I just think the LDs will squeeze the Con share further (remember Patnick/ Con got 45% in 1992 in a seat that had an extra Lab ward….). You are entirely right about the ground war……

      I don’t know about Cambridge in particular, but in Oxford, the LD vote has been pretty resilient in rich, chattering class North Oxford and has been annihilated in cosmopolitan, younger, poorer East Oxford. I suspect the resilience in both Oxford and Cambridge may be from the smug Liberal types in £1m houses who think Labour too plebeian and the Tories too crass.

      • TrottieTrue

        I think your end point probably explains LD voters up and down the country. Those middle class Lib Dems probably find Labour too common and working class.

  • ebc12

    The Greens on 6% seems more interesting and should cause concern in the clouds where the Shadow Cabinet reside.

  • paul barker

    Yes, the really important thing for Labour is the struggle against the Libdems. This is more comfort-blanket stuff to keep the troops happy.

  • Sunny Jim

    As highly amusing as Clegg losing would be it is very unlikely to happen imo.

    The Tories will swing behind him in droves.

    • Michael Murray

      Completely disagree. The Tories hate the Lib Dems for betraying them over the boundary changes.

      • Sunny Jim

        They hate us more.

        Why would they choose to put one of our MP’s in when Clegg has been their ally for the last 5 years?

        • Mark Reilly

          Why did the Tory Party humiliate Clegg over the FPTP referendum and HoL reforms (costing them the gerrymandering boundary review – which given the current polls may have actually cost them a second term)?
          Who knows, from an anti Tory perspective the Coalition was a powerful block that could have kept the Tories in (joint) power for years, but they seem to have a self destruct button.

          • Michael Murray

            Tories will not vote for Clegg in huge numbers because in the event of a hung parliament the party’s national share of the overall vote will be a factor.


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