In Liberal Democrat Newswire #52 I covered the results of the constituency polls carried out by Conservative peer (and nearly a Lib Dem donor) Lord Ashcroft in a series of seats held by the Liberal Democrats.
You can read the topline results here but today I want to take a look at the answers to the question about whether people had been contacted in the previous few weeks (by leaflet, letter, email, phone or doorstep) by each of the parties.
Although the overall polling results in Lib Dem – Tory fights show a lot of tough battles, they’re cautiously promising in that they show the potential for winning seat after seat. But – and it’s a big but – the current public recall for campaign contact from the parties shows the Tories are ahead.
On average across the 15 Lib Dem held seats where the Tories are the main challengers, 26% of people recalled being contacted by the Tories recently, compared with 22% by the Lib Dems.
That Lib Dem number needs both to increase and to overtake the Conservative figure if the party’s hopes of bucking national voting trends are to have a chance.
Against Labour, where the headline figures are much tougher, the campaign contact figures are rather better for the Lib Dems – 30% voter recall for being contacted by the Lib Dems, well ahead of the 22% figure for Labour across the five seats polled and with the Lib Dems ahead in every one of them.
That Lib Dem figure also needs to rise, but the current Lib Dem lead shows their is a chance of an edge in ground campaigning helping to win battles against Labour too. It also doesn’t show the level of motivation of Labour’s grassroots in a good light.
See Liberal Democrat Newswire #52 for more about the poll and sign up to receive future editions of the monthly newsletter here. And of course if you’re after ideas for how to up the level of voter contact in a campaign you are helping run, there is always this.
A footnote to illustrate how important concentrated campaigning in individual seats is: in 1997 the Liberal Democrats won 46 seats with 18% of the vote. Compared to 1987, that was down 7% but up 24 seats.