Ashcroft is known for his detailed constituency polls, with the main most recent ones being those in Scotland, showing that the SNP surge is real. However, the latest polls are in constituencies that UKIP could take.
The results are good news for the Tories - but only to an extent. UKIP are snapping at the Conservatives’ heals. The constituencies surveyed were: ‘Boston and Skegness’, ‘Castle Point’, ‘North East Cambridgeshire’ and ‘South Basildon and East Thurrock’.
Respondents in each constituency were asked the following question:
“And thinking specifically about your own parliamentary constituency at the next general election and the candidates who are likely to stand for election to Westminster there, which party's candidate do you think you will vote for in your own constituency?”
The polling suggests that in each constituency the Conservatives will come first. The Tories’ strongest lead is in North East Cambridgeshire - a large lead of 21%. The poll puts the Conservatives on 46% in the constituency, well ahead of UKIP’s 25%.
However, despite this seat looking safe for the Conservatives, the other seats are much closer - the next largest gap being in South Basildon and East Thurrock, with the Conservatives six points ahead of UKIP.
The other two seats are much closer and give the following results:
This suggests that UKIP have a chance in the constituency, which will surely worry Conservative strategists. However, the poll suggests that in Castle Point UKIP have an even better chance, with the following results:
CONSERVATIVES 37%. UKIP 36%. LABOUR 16%. LIB DEMS 3%.
Overall, on the face of it these polls are good news for the Conservatives as they suggest that in areas where they are strong they can maintain leads over UKIP. However, with deeper digging into the numbers it becomes apparent that UKIP are biting at the Tories’ heals. With gaps of six points, three points, and one point, UKIP are in with a real chance in taking seats from the Conservatives. And even if they do not, but come a good second place in 2015, then they will be well placed to take seats in 2020 - or sooner.
The full results of the polls can be accessed and downloaded here. 4,003 adults were interviewed across the constituencies between the 26th January and 5th February this year.