Latest Poll: Lib Dems will hold Eastleigh

A new opinion poll showing Eastleigh’s voter intentions in 2015 General Election suggests that the Liberal Democrat MP Mike Thornton will comfortably hold onto his seat.

The poll sponsored by Lord Ashcroft looked at 17 constituencies that were Conservative/ Lib Dem marginal seats in 2010 – although in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election it was Ukip’s Diane James and not the Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings that came a close second.

The latest poll contradicts a poll by Survation in April that suggested Ukip could win the seat next year in a tight contest.

When the Survation poll was published just before the May elections it led to speculation that Ukip leader Nigel Farage might choose to stand here.

Ballott box

Eastleigh was already a Ukip target seat following the 2013 County Council elections which saw them win three of Eastleigh’s divisions from the Lib Dems.

But despite this boost, in May Ukip failed to win a single seat on the borough council although they contested every single ward.

This led to accusations from the opposing ‘big three’ parties that the Ukip “bubble’ had burst in Eastleigh even though the borough’s electorate had voted overwhelmingly in favour of Ukip in the Euro elections held the same day.

That the section of voters should choose to vote so differently suggests there is a section of floating voters who will switch allegiance depending on circumstances and the Ashcroft poll has attempted to factor this in by asking two different questions regarding voting intentions.

The first was enquired as to overall national party allegiance ,the second was constituency specific.

The results in Eastleigh were markedly different.

In the answer to the question:

If there were a general election tomorrow which party would you vote for?

The result was:

33% Conservative

26% Ukip

22% Lib Dem

12% Labour

This is quite close to the Survation survey except the Conservatives switch place with Ukip.

But when asked:

“Thinking specifically about your own parliamentary constituency at the next general election and the candidates who are likely to stand for election to Westminster there, which party’s candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?” 

The results were as follows:

39% Lib Dems

27% Conservatives

22% Ukip

12% Labour

Compared to the April survation survey

 32% Ukip

28% Conservatives

27% Lib Dems

12% Labour

Ashcroft believes that the second set of results showing a large Lib Dem majority is closer to voters actual intentions and he predicts Eastleigh will be a hold for the Lib Dems.

Even though the Lib Dems are trailing in national opinion polls (the latest You Gov poll has them on 7%) Ashcroft says where they are the dominant force in local government (as in Eastleigh) they are immune from national fluctuations in popularity.

Commenting on the poll Lord Ashcroft wrote on his blog:

“At the 2010 general election the Liberal Democrats won 24% of the popular vote. By the end of that year the party’s share in national polls had fallen by half, and it has since shown no sign of recovering. Whether this collapse in national support means the Lib Dems lose a proportionate number of seats is one of the most important factors that will determine the outcome of the next election.

The Lib Dems are famously tenacious local campaigners. Their strategy has long been to build support at constituency level through by-elections and local government, and once elected their incumbents have proved hard to shift. Last year’s Eastleigh by-election showed the party can still mobilise its council base to hold on to a Westminster seat in spite of wider conditions. If they are able to repeat this feat at a general election, could there be rather more Lib Dem MPs in the new House of Commons than the current national polls imply?”

Eastleigh’s Lib Dem leader Keith House told Eastleigh News

“This independent polling confirms that the race for Eastleigh will be between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives with Mike Thornton and the Lib Dems set to win again.

UKIP and Labour are again out of the race for next May’s General Election.”

Of course at this point the only certain candidate is Mike Thornton although Ukip MEP Diane James seems likely to stand here.

She has been active in the locality and her sister Sandra – a West Sussex County Councillor – has already been adopted as the Ukip PPC for Romsey.

The Ashcroft Poll offered other fascinating glimpses into the minds of Eastleigh’s voters.

Only 19% believe Ed Milliband would make a better PM than David Cameron.

Most voters are elderly with 73% of over 65s saying they will vote compared to just 37% of 18 -24 year olds.

When it came to contact with the electorate 66% of respondents in Eastleigh said they had heard from the Lib Dems in the last few weeks with 55% having heard from Ukip, 38% from the Conservatives and 31% from Labour.

Around 70% of Eastleigh folk polled believed the UK economy would improve over the next 12 months.


Lots of information in the poll here– see what you can find!

Photo: ©electoralcommission

  18 comments for “Latest Poll: Lib Dems will hold Eastleigh

  1. Rosie
    June 22, 2014 at 12:29 am

    Would love to know how these surveys are done as I’ve never been asked to complete one! Amazing too how Keith House continues to spout the same phrases (eg “UKIP and Labour are out of …”) – you would think he would have learned his lesson from the last by election when Diane James came from nowhere to very nearly beat Mike Thornton. Since then, she has featured strongly on, eg, Question Time (haven’t seen Mike Thornton on there, or if he was on I didn’t notice ..). If UKIP field Diane James as their Eastleigh candidate at the General Election, and she gets out into the southern parishes to meet more voters (plus attending hustings where she will run rings round Mike Thornton as she did last time!) then there could very likely be a UKIP Eastleigh MP next year. The Conservatives have lost many former Conservative voters in this area. The Lib Dems may get huge numbes of leaflets out but every leaflet says the same thing and many of us know from the last by election, and experience, that we can’t trust any statements made by the local Lib Dems. At best they’re misleading and at worst, well …

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 22, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I’ve fixed the broken link at the bottom of the post which will take you to a pdf of the poll results which includes the methodology.

      Although Ukip didn’t win any seats in the locals they came a strong second in most so I think the General Election will be between the Lib Dems and Ukip – really its a three way marginal with the Conservatives.

      Labour appear to be down to their core vote and need to find ways of building on that but this poll suggests to me they are suffering from the unpopularity of their leader.

      It’s going to be a fascinating tussle.

  2. Richard North
    June 22, 2014 at 10:00 am

    There is clearly a lot of volatility in the Eastleigh electorate, depending on the question asked and the specific methodology employed. One of the techniques used in the Ashcroft poll is that “A proportion of those who don’t know or refuse to say how they will vote are re-allocated
    to the party they voted for at the 2010 general election”. Given the low UKIP vote in 2010, especially compared with the 2013 by-election, this would definitely cause the size of the UKIP vote to be under-estimated. It is interesting that Keith House is happy to repeat his mantra that the contest is between the LibDems and the Conservatives. This is something the LibDems stated constantly before the recent Eastleigh Borough elections, where UKIP beat the Tories in all but 1 (Eastleigh constituency) ward. Keith knows very well that the real threat to the LibDems in Eastleigh is UKIP. What he is hoping is that UKIP voters will vote Conservative and waste their vote.

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 22, 2014 at 11:14 am

      I agree, it would have been more accurate to have allocated Eastleigh’s ‘don’t knows’ to the party they voted for in last year’s by-election, not the 2010 GE. I wonder how this would have affected the outcome?
      Prior to the May elections I did ask Cllr House in an email how the Lib Dems would cope if Farage was to stand here and he thought it would work in the Lib Dems favour arguing that Farage sharply polarised opinions and the LDs would mop up Conservative and Labour voters determined to keep him out.
      I think outspoken Diane James could have the same effect on voters and we have already seen evidence of an ‘anti-Ukip’ vote at Newark.
      Talking of ‘anti- Ukip’ voting, the Green Party tried to position themselves as repository for anti-ukippers in the May elections and the Greens appear to be growing at the Lib Dems expense.
      They outpolled them in the Euro’s and some opinion polls.
      Disgruntled Lib Dems upset by coalition policies could be tempted to switch support but also the Green’s are promising a referendum.
      There are many liberals and folk on the left who want out of the EU.
      They don’t believe in a federal European superstate but certainly would never vote Ukip because they believe Ukip’s domestic right wing libertarian policies would be worse for the UK then remaining in the EU – voting Green could be an acceptable alternative.
      So I think it’s possible that a Green candidate – should one stand- could pick up enough support to cause problems for the Lib Dems in a tightly contested vote where the majority could be in the hundreds.
      Even when Ukip was polling 2% and under it was still splitting the Tory vote and damaging them – like in 2005 when Conservative Conor Burn lost out to Chris “I lied and lied again” Huhne by 568 votes.
      But anyway – if a week is a long time in politics then a year is an eternity and there is still plenty of time for a party to take the lead, lose it, and take it back again

  3. Derek
    June 23, 2014 at 9:31 am

    How many lib dem supporters participated in this survey? Its all very well publishing percentages but if only Keith House and his lily livered puppet thornton participated…..

  4. denese
    June 23, 2014 at 9:33 am

    How on earth can a poll taken of so few in Eastleigh be representative? Oh hang on these were the people in Eastleigh who bother to vote! All FIB DEM supporters.

  5. Richard North
    June 23, 2014 at 9:57 am

    Actually guys this is how opinion polls work. The poll was taken of 1000 people, which is generally thought to be a good sample size. The trick is how you ensure that the 1000 are representative of the electorate in Eastleigh and especially how you allow for bias creeping in through the way you run the sample. In this case, are 1000 people who answer the phone more likely to include Conservative voters? But would 1000 people you interview in the street more likely to be Labour voters? How do you redistribute the “don’t knows / won’t says” (in this case. I believe Ashcroft’s technique was flawed). Get these answers right and the power of the poll can be awesome – e.g. a YouGov exit poll in 2010 of any about 1000 voters got the result right within 1%!

  6. Sam Snook
    June 24, 2014 at 12:32 am

    Sam Snook
    UKIP faces questions about the EFD.
    Nigel Farage co/chairs the EFD with Italian Francesco Speroni.
    Farage is facing a decision after the Elections over whether to keep UKIP in the for “Freedom and Democracy (EFD)”GROUP!!

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

      A bit behind the times there Sam.
      Speroni and the Lega Nord are no longer members of EFD – neither are the Danish Peoples Party – they have all left to team up with Marie Le Pen.

      The EFD is now mainly a union between Ukip and the Italian 5 Star movement ( I’m sure I used to have an LP by them).

      Farage is now the sole ‘President’ of the EFD

  7. Sam
    June 24, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    Thanks Steve-
    I will keep in touch-

  8. Cameron
    June 25, 2014 at 10:16 am

    The voters of Eastleigh (all 3 of them) clearly are thick as pig s…t

  9. Rigel
    June 26, 2014 at 12:03 am

    these pollsters people rang me up . but i was too busy , i said they were all scumbags, the politicians I mean , not the pollsters

    All these parties are conservatives you can have,

    the original posh flavour, the hooligan xenophobic flavour , the solar powered benefit flavour or the Dissociative identity zombie tories

    all of them drop bombs , print money , steal our kids futures and fill their boots

    I was once a green party candidate but I did a month of research into AGW and decided it was hokum – is Eastleigh ready for a climate change denier green candidate yet, I might give them a ring ….

    • mm
      Eastleigh Xpress
      June 26, 2014 at 8:00 am

      “I said they were all scumbags”

      I bet they marked you down as a ‘don’t know’ and reallocated you to Ukip as an ‘anti-establishment’ voter!

  10. Sam
    June 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm

    Thursday 19th June 2014
    UKIP has announced that it is forming a new group in the
    “European Parliament”– (More news later.)

  11. Teresa
    July 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm

    I really don’t understand the Eastleigh Electorate and not sure whether its pure laziness or because they don’t like change. Mike Thornton won the by-election with the postal votes. The Lib Dems also ran a fierce campaign with mountains of literature shoved through your door. I’d like a decent alternative. Mike Thornton may be a nice chap but I firmly believe he’s a puppet of Keith House and as a councillor with the Lib Dem run EBC, how can he possibly be impartial? The couple of replies I’ve had from him just tow the party line and I have no evidence to suggest that he would ever actually stand up on our behalf. Thats not what I want as an MP and I can’t be the only one, surely!

    • Richard North
      July 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

      I have had the same experience with Mike Thornton, Teresa. I wrote to him about supporting the EU Referendum and got back a letter with the standard “3 million jobs at risk” LibDem lie. Eastleigh Borough Council is effectively a 1-party state, 30 out of 44 councillors are LibDems and the decisions are taken by an 8-person cabinet. As you say, surely there are enough of us here who believe that things could be improved and are prepared to do something about it?

      • mm
        Eastleigh Xpress
        July 3, 2014 at 5:16 pm

        Last time I looked it was 40 out of 44…has there been a mass defection?

        • Richard North
          July 3, 2014 at 7:50 pm

          Sorry – it wasn’t even wishful thinking – just mis-typing!

Comments are closed.