The Tories are looking ever more likely to hold Newark in Thursday’s by-election. In a new poll from Lord Ashcroft this afternoon, the Conservatives are now on 47 per cent of the vote, compared to 36 per cent in the last week’s Survation poll and 53 per cent at the 2010 general election:
As you can see from the chart above, Ukip have dropped behind slightly their position last last week, but will certainly do better than their 2010 result. By-elections are notoriously hard to predict but this ultra-local poll doesn’t offer any indications that Roger Helmer has the momentum to take Newark. Labour’s vote continues to be pretty resilient — they are only two points behind their 2010 result, and the constituency makeup means they will probably have a decent showing on polling day.
On the particular reasons for voting, three quarters of the people of Newark said they would vote for their chosen candidate because ‘the party has the best policies on important issues’. 72 per cent said their chosen party is the one they’d like to win the next general election, while just over half said it is having the best candidate.
The Conservatives have thrown the kitchen sink at Newark – the last few days have been a constant rotation of ministers and MPs visiting the seat; the Prime Minister was back there today. 92 per cent of those polled said they’d had some contact from the Conservatives, compared to 80 per cent for Ukip and 71 per cent from Labour. It seems their efforts have been rewarded — one Tory source on the ground says that as far as the party is concerned, ‘things are going to plan’. Judging by Ashcroft’s poll, that appears to be right.