The Tory lead over the Liberal Democrats in eight key marginal seats held by David Cameron’s party has gone up by only 1% since 2010 according to the latest marginal seats poll by Lord Aschroft.
In 2010 the Tories won the eight seats of Watford, St Albans, Oxford West & Abingdon, Harrogate & Knaresborough, Camborne & Redruth, Truro & Falmouth, Newton Abbot and Montgomeryshire with a 2% lead over the Lib Dems. In the new poll, that lead is now 3%, well within the poll’s margin of error and with a significant amount of Labour voters still willing to consider voting tactically for the Liberal Democrats.
One tricky finding from the poll for the Lib Dems is that the four most important issues to voters in those seats are economy/jobs, the NHS, immigration and education. That makes the party’s current review of its immigration policy all the more important – and is a reminder of why the party is focusing so heavily on jobs at its Glasgow conference.
Also worthy of note is the edge – but only small edge – in volume of local campaigning activity that voters in these seats report between the Lib Dems and the Conservatives. For example, 41% recall having had a Lib Dem leaflet in the past few months with the Conservatives on 36%. That gap is small – and the 46% is low for a marginal seat with a full-on operation. It is a reminder of just how much activity needs to happen before voters start remembering it.