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Election polls latest: Gisela Stuart set to win Edgbaston, Hemming hanging on in Yardley

Election polls latest: Gisela Stuart set to win Edgbaston, Hemming hanging on in Yardley

🕔09.Jan 2015

Labour is on course easily to defend the marginal Birmingham Edgbaston constituency against the Tories at the General Election, but is failing to make up much ground against Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming in Yardley.

That’s conclusion from polling by Lord Ashcroft over the past five years.

Support for the Conservatives plummeted in Edgbaston from 38 per cent at the General Election to 29 per cent by November 2014, according to Ashcroft – an eight per cent swing from Conservative to Labour.

If reflected in May at the General Election, Labour MP Gisela Stuart would romp home against Tory candidate Dr Luke Evans dashing once again Conservative ambitions to re-take a seat they held regularly up until 1997 and which was once the constituency of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain.

Mrs Stuart took 40.6 per cent of the vote in 2010 against 37.6 per cent for Conservative city councillor Deirdre Alden. The November 2014 Ashcroft poll recorded 48 per cent for Labour and 29 per cent for the Conservatives.

The latest forecast may not come as much of a surprise to the Conservatives who have replaced Edgbaston as their number one target seat in Birmingham with Northfield.

In Birmingham Yardley, Ashcroft’s November 2014 poll put Liberal Democrat support at 34 per cent, down six per cent since 2010. Labour was on 31 per cent, down one per cent since 2010. Support for Ukip, however, was at 19 per cent against just three per cent in 2010.

John Hemming won in Yardley in 2010 for the second time taking 39.6 per cent of votes against 32.2 per cent for Labour.

The latest figures make difficult reading for Labour candidate Jess Phillips, a Birmingham city councillor. The swing from Lib Dem to Labour in Yardley is put at a relatively small 2.5 per cent by Ashcroft, which would not be large enough to defeat Mr Hemming, whose appeal appears to be holding up remarkably well against a general collapse in Lib Dem support across the country.

It may be that Mr Hemming’s national profile as chairman of and spokesman for the Justice for Families group, campaigning against “secretive” family court decisions, has given him the edge over Labour. In any case, all four of the Yardley constituency wards were held by Liberal Democrat candidates at the 2014 city council election.

Elsewhere in the West Midlands Lord Ashcroft’s polling of marginal seats contains mixed news for all of the main political parties.

Liberal Democrat MP Lorely Burt would seem to be doomed in Solihull, where her majority in 2010 over the Conservative candidate was a meagre 175 votes. Ashcroft records a 4.5 per cent swing from Liberal Democrat to Conservative since 2010, easily enough to send Tory candidate Julian Knight to Westminster.

In Dudley North, Labour MP and former minister Ian Austin is in a fight for his political life against Ukip candidate Bill Etheridge. Support for Labour was 37 per cent in November 2014 against 34 per cent for Ukip – a swing of 14 per cent from Labour to Ukip since 2010.

The Ukip threat appears to have prompted Mr Austin to take an increasingly hard line on immigration recently, appearing at times to criticise his own party’s stance on the issue.

Mr Austin won in 2010 with a 649-vote majority over the Conservative candidate. But support for the Tories has collapsed in Dudley North since then, falling from 37 per cent at the 2010 General Election to 24 per cent in November 2014.

Recorded swings from Conservative to Labour among the Ashcroft seats are far from uniform, lending credence to the prediction that the 2015 General Election result is impossible to call.

While there are large swings in support from Conservative to Labour in places like Edgbaston, Cannock Chase, Walsall North, and Wolverhampton South-west, there are far smaller swings in Haelsowen and Rowley Regis, Warwick and Leamington and Wyre Forest.

Support for Ukip, and in some constituencies the Green Party, has soared since 2010. And in almost all of the constituencies polled by Lord Ashcroft the number of people saying they will vote Liberal Democrat has dropped by so much that the party is struggling to get any support at all in some seats.

None of the polls conducted by Lord Ashcroft during 2014 recorded a swing from Labour to Conservative.

Lord Ashcroft said polling over the past eight months had shown no consistent pattern or trend and he felt it was impossible to predict the result of the General Election.

He added: “Some northern Tory MPs seem to have a better prospect of holding on than some of their southern colleagues; some Lib Dems are so far defying the national tide with swings in their favour; some red and blue seats are vulnerable to a party whose vote share was only in single figures five years ago.

“The coalition government, the collapse in national support for the third party, the rise of a fourth, and shifting allegiances in Scotland – combined with the accelerating erosion of tribal loyalties that has continued for three decades or more – have made election predictions a more than usually hazardous business.

“Many expect the result to be close – indeed it is possible that a handful of seats could decide whether Her Majesty gives the first shot at forming a government to David Cameron or Ed Miliband. The results in the marginals will matter more than ever.”

Ashcroft polling in the Midland marginal seats:

Edgbaston (Gisela Stuart Lab)

2010 General Election: Lab 41% Con 38% LD 15% Ukip 2%

May 2014 Lab 44% Con 33% LD 5% Ukip 13%

Nov 2014 Lab 48% Con 29% LD 3% Ukip 12%

Swing 8% Con to Lab

Yardley (John Hemming LD)

2010 LD 40% Lab 32% Con 19% Ukip 3%

Nov 2014 LD 34% Lab 31% Con 12% Ukip 19%

Swing 2.5% LD to Lab

Solihull (Lorely Burt LD)

2010 LD 43% Con 43% Lab 9% Ukip 2%

June 2014 Con 37% LD 28% Lab 12% Ukip 16%

Sept 2014 Con 43% LD 28% Lab 12% Ukip 16%

Swing 4.5% LD to Con

Cannock Chase (Aidan Burley Con, not standing)

2010 Con 40% Lab 33% LD 17% Ukip 3%

Nov 2014 Con 27% Lab 32% LD 8% Ukip 30%

Swing 6% Con to Lab

Dudley North (Ian Austin Lab)

2010 Lab 39% Con 37% LD 11% Ukip 9%

May 2014 Lab 40% Con 24% LD 4% Ukip 27%

Nov 2014 Lab 37% Con 24% LD 3% Ukip 34%

Swing 14% Lab to Ukip

Walsall North (David Winnick Lab)

2010 Con 34% Lab 37% LD 13% Ukip 5%

May 2014 Con 21% Lab 37% LD 8% Ukip 30%

Swing 6.5% Con to Lab

Wolverhampton South-west (Paul Uppal Con)

2010 Con 41% Lab 39% LD 16% Ukip 4%

May 2014 Con 33% Lab 46% LD 5% Ukip 14%

July 2014 Con 30% Lab 46% LD 5% Ukip 15%

Swing 9% Con to Lab

Haelsowen and Rowley Regis (James Morris Con)

2010 Con 41% Lab 37% LD 15% Ukip 6%

Oct 2014 Con 34% Lab 35% LD 2% Ukip 24%

Swing 2.5% Con to Lab

North Warwickshire (Dan Byles Con, not standing)

2010 Con 40% Lab 40% LD 12% Ukip 3%

May 2014 Con 35% Lab 43% LD 3% Ukip 15%

July 2014 Con 30%, Lab 41% LD 2% Ukip 22%

Swing 5.5% Con to Lab

Nuneaton (Marcus Jones Con)

2010 Con 42% Lab 37% LD 15% Ukip n/a

Oct 2014 Con 36% Lab 39% LD 3% Ukip 19%

Swing 4% Con to Lab

Telford (David Wright Lab)

2010 Con 36% Lab 39% LD 16% Ukip 6%

May 2014 Con 26% Lab 43% LD 4% Ukip 23%

Swing 7% Con to Lab

Warwick and Leamington  (Chris White Con)

2010 Con 43% Lab 35% LD 18% Ukip 2%

Dec 2014 Con 38% Lab 34% LD 7% Ukip 14%

Swing 2% Con to Lab

Worcester (Robin Walker Con)

2010 Con 40% Lab 33% LD 19% Ukip 3%

Oct 2014 Con 34% Lab 36% LD 5% Ukip 17% Greens 7%

Swing 4.5% Con to Lab

Wyre Forest (Mark Garnier Con)

2010 Con 37% Lab 14% LD 12% Ukip 3% Ind 34%

Nov 2014 Con 32% Lab 16% LD 7% Ukip 27% Green 5%

Swing 3.5% Con to Lab


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