Ashcroft’s latest marginal polls are out. He has polled 12 Tory-held seats with majorities of between 4 and 7 per cent. This adds to the 30 Tory-held seats with lesser majorities that he has polled earlier this year.
Labour are ahead in 9 of these 12 seats. The swing is largely in line with what the national polls suggested, of around 4 per cent.
But the polls also gave all of these seats to Labour. After this Ashcroft’s data is added, Labour will lose three seats – Kingswood, Blackpool North and Loughborough – that our model suggested they would win.
Labour have now been ahead in 38 of the 42 Tory-held seats Ashcroft has polled, but their leads in the most recent batch of ten and now twelve seats were more slender than in the first twenty.
The swing in the first two batches of the more marginal Tory-held seats (ones Labour might therefore expect to win more easily) was around 9 per cent, but the swing in the two most recent batches – of the 21st to 30th and now 31st to 43rd most marginal seats (Harrow East, the 42nd, has been excluded for reasons unknown) – was just under 5 per cent.
The graph below details today’s results, and compares them to the forecast Labour majorities that the national polls imply. The brackets on the x-axis show the Tory majority in these seats in 2010.
Today’s results will not end Labour’s hopes of a majority, as they might have, but confirm yet again that the Tories will almost certainly end up with fewer than 300 seats. A Tory-Lib Dem coalition may fail to form a majority.
Ashcroft has now polled 88 seats in eight batches since May.