Focus Group Voters Have Their Say on Upcoming By-Elections…

Lord Ashcroft has set up focus groups in Somerton, Selby and Uxbridge ahead of Thursday’s by-elections, and the participants certainly haven’t held back. Voters had some harsh words for Rishi Sunak, who was described as a “lame duck”, with another saying he was “just kind of place-holding“. Respondents went even further with their criticisms of the “hot mess” that is the government. The government was also called “dishonest”, “ineffective”, “a circus”, “paralysed” and “a shambles”. And these characterisations all came from Tory voters…

Other responses looked somewhat more positive for the Conservatives’ electoral prospects. Voters had some sympathy for Boris Johnson, who was ousted in a “politically motivated” campaign, as they also often bought up local issues. These including planning and hospitals as crime, the ULEZ and, above all, Sadiq Khan got mentions in Uxbridge. Although Rishi got some flack, voters weren’t exactly enthused by “drab” Sir Keir either. They did think he was better than his predecessor though, as “Donald Duck would be an improvement on Corbyn.” One response stuck out to Guido, as the groups were asked one final question:

“Imagine Keir Starmer and the Labour team go on their summer holidays together. Is there anyone they would accidentally-on-purpose leave behind?”

The answer: “Jonathan Ashworth, because he’s incredibly annoying.”

mdi-timer 17 July 2023 @ 15:29 17 Jul 2023 @ 15:29 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Telegraph Foreclosure: Bidders & Buyers

If the Telegraph goes to an open auction, there are likely to be trade bidders who will be focused on the profit and loss account and not over-bidding like the Barclays did. They will sweat the asset.

There will also be other bidders who will view it as a prestige trophy asset giving them influence over public life and politics. Who can afford to pay the price?

Some names in the frame for forming a syndicate include billionaires Peter Hargreaves, Peter Cruddas and Paul Marshall. Arron Banks might be tempted back into the fray in a syndicate. Maybe Narayana Murthy might fancy diversifying out of information technology into media and making the paper’s editorial line more sympathetic to his son-in-law? A look down the list of big Tory donors might give a clue as to potential members of a syndicate…

The Spectator could be spun out from the Telegraph – it makes solid profits (circa £2 million), and could function as a stand alone asset. A management buyout, perhaps with external financial backers, could be a possibility. Lord Ashcroft was rumoured to have contemplated offering £20 million for the magazine some years ago,  Guido suspects it will go for more like double that to a trophy buyer…

mdi-timer 7 June 2023 @ 12:27 7 Jun 2023 @ 12:27 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Poll Shows Boris Would Win in Ruislip Even if Kangaroo Court Forces By-Election

With Harriet Harman’s kangaroo court Privileges Committee soon set to adjudicate on Boris Johnson’s future, new polling suggests the threat of a by-election would be far from fatal for the former Prime Minister. A constituency poll of voters, in Uxbridge and South Ruislip alone, from Lord Ashcroft shows Boris would be home and dry, raking in a stonking 50% of the vote. Labour’s black mould candidate crashes and burns on 33%, whilst Guido’s favourite tofu fan, Blaise Baquiche, clocks in 6%. If the kangaroo court does jump to a by-election, Boris’s opponents would need one hell of a bounce to stand any chance…

This isn’t the only good news for Boris from the poll. Voters in Uxbridge were also asked their opinion of his record as Prime Minister: just 29% had a negative opinion with 41% saying he was “good” or “great”. By a net margin of 13%, voters also have a positive perception of his record as a constituency MP. Bring on the by-election…

mdi-timer 6 June 2023 @ 10:01 6 Jun 2023 @ 10:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Scottish Independence Support Falls Below 40%

New polling from Lord Ashcroft makes grim reading for Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP. It finds that just 37% of Scottish voters now support independence, with 48% in opposition. When undecideds are excluded, that’s a 12% lead against independence.

This comes in the context of Scotland’s broadly unpopular gender recognition bill. Just 29% support the bill, with 54% opposed. There is also evidence this is harming the SNP’s standing: voters rank the NHS and the economy as the most important issues facing Scotland. Meanwhile, they recognise the SNP is prioritising independence and gender reform.

mdi-timer 13 February 2023 @ 11:44 13 Feb 2023 @ 11:44 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Tory Voters Describe Rishi as “Rich and “Out of Touch”, are “Unsure” Yet Trusting of Liz

Lord Ashcroft has published yet more polling data on the Tory leadership race, which once again shows Liz comfortably ahead amongst Tory voters. 38% of those who voted Conservative in 2019 back her over Rishi at 29%. Another third were undecided. Of the 10,000 polled in total, however, both Rishi and Liz were beaten by Starmer head-to-head…

Starmer’s lead here against Truss can be explained by name recognition. As other recent polling has showed, the more the public sees of Liz, the more they warm to her.

Arguably the most revealing part of Ashcroft’s data is the word cloud of 2019 Tory voters’ views on the candidates: the most common words used to describe Rishi were “rich”, “out of touch”, “economy”, “dishonest”, and “backstabber”. For Liz, “unsure” was by far the most common, followed by “trustworthy”, “strong”, “capable”, “bland”, and “boring”. Ashcroft himself notes:

“Those with the most positive things to say about Truss – such as “down to earth”, “trustworthy”, “capable” and “strong” were to be found close to peak support for the Tories. Positive responses for Sunak – such as “competent”, “clever” and “trustworthy” – were to be found further from the epicentre of the Conservative vote, further towards liberal territory and more removed from the strongly Brexit-supporting quadrant of the map, where words like “snake”, “backstabber” and “typical politician” were more likely to be found.”

So much for Rishi’s star power in the Red Wall, then…

mdi-timer 15 August 2022 @ 14:13 15 Aug 2022 @ 14:13 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Red Knight: The Must-Read New Unauthorised Biography of Sir Keir

Political biographer Lord Ashcroft is back with a must-read new book, Red Knight: The Unauthorised Biography of Sir Keir Starmer. In this meticulous examination of Sir Keir’s life and career, Lord Ashcroft goes in search of what makes him tick.

Does Sir Keir have what it takes to be the next Labour Prime Minister? Or is he just another member of the metropolitan elite?

Read ‘Red Knight: The Unauthorised Biography of Sir Keir Starmer’ to answer your questions about the Leader of the Opposition.

mdi-timer 24 August 2021 @ 11:30 24 Aug 2021 @ 11:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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