Back in March I doubted how good Lord Ashcroft’s target seat operation for the Conservatives might actually be, pointing out:
Here’s his own account of his record supporting target seats at the 2005 general election:
The national swing from Labour to Conservatives was 3.2 per cent, yet the swing in the seats which we supported was 3.8 per cent.
Dirty Politics, Dirty Times by Michael Ashcroft, p.296
You read that right: by his own admission, all his expertise and money achieved was a paltry o.6 per cent extra swing.
Looks like my doubts were right because, as Anthony Wells points out:
The Conservatives performed only slightly better in marginal seats. In the country as a whole they had a swing of 5.03% from Lab=>Con, in Lab held marginal seats with a majority of under 10% they got a swing of 6%, in Labour held marginal seats with a majority between 10% and 20% they got a swing of 5.13%.
That’d be an edge in the marginal seats of either 0.97% (majorities under 10%) or 0.10% (majorities of 10%-20%). Tiny in itself and hardly a big step forward from 2005’s 0.6% edge, especially given all the grief his tax affairs have brought the Conservative Party.