A new constituency poll shows local MP Lynne Featherstone in a statistical dead-heat with Labour in her north London constituency of Hornsey & Wood Green.
This new poll puts Lynne Featherstone on 36%, just 1% behind Labour on 37%, with the Conservatives back on 15%, Greens 7% and Ukip 4%. That 1% is comfortably within the poll’s margin of error.
It named the candidates and shows a much closer fight than the last public constituency poll, carried out by Lord Ashcroft back in September 2014, which did not name the candidates in giving Labour then a 13 point lead.
Fieldwork for the poll was carried earlier this month by Survation for the Liberal Democrats and the standard margin of error calculation is +/-5%. The headline voting figures use the standard sort of weightings to expect in a poll (i.e. it’s all been conducted in a legit manner) – in this case based on demographics, geography, likelihood to vote and past vote recall. Both that and the sample size are also in line with the constituency polling I used to arrange for the Lib Dems in previous Parliaments, and the record of those polls was solid.
The poll did not test any political messaging, but it did test the personal standings of the candidates and levels of campaign activity by Labour and the Lib Dems recalled by voters.
Both show a promising picture for the Liberal Democrats, with 84% having heard of Lynne Featherstone and a net favourability rating of +34.
By comparison, Labour’s Catherine West has been heard of by just 34% of voters, with even 49% of Labour voters saying they have not heard of her. West’s rating is only +8 and compared with constituency polls I’ve seen in the past over the years, both Labour’s name recall and net ratings are poor figures for a challenger party.
Moreover, there are significant chunks of both Conservative voters who are squeezable and also of undecided voters: 17% undecided, even after taking into account likelihood to vote.
Amongst those key undecided voters, Lynne Featherstone’s rating is plus 33 whilst Catherine West’s is minus 8.
Caveats about crossbreaks apply, but this gap is so large it’s still statistically significant by quite some margin.
In addition, the Liberal Democrats have the campaigning edge over Labour, leading 71% – 56% when it comes to remembers receiving a leaflet in the last year or so and tied within the margin of error 21% – 22% when it comes to remembering being canvassed.
All of which is of course an excellent reason to help Lynne Featherstone’s campaign, and re-elect the Lib Dem MP who has delivered one of the party’s centrepiece achievements of this Parliament, put another major social change at the top of the political agenda and secured what is probably the most popular policy of any Lib Dem minister – backed by a remarkable 87% of voters (see the footnote here).