Fresh poll blow for Nick Clegg

Published: Saturday 7th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Nick Clegg was dealt a fresh poll blow when it emerged errors in a survey last year meant he was actually found to be trailing Labour by three points in the fight to hold on to his own seat – not ahead by the same margin.

Tory peer Lord Ashcroft disclosed that flawed data in polls he commissioned had given a false impression of voters’ opinions in three key seats last November, including Mr Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam stronghold.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s chances of snatching Thanet South from the Conservatives were underplayed, showing him behind by five points when the margin was in fact only one – by 33% to 32%.

And the suggestion that Ed Miliband’s 26-point 2010 general election lead in Doncaster North had been squeezed to 12 points was also false as it had in fact been extended to 30 over his nearest challenger, Ukip.

Lord Ashcroft, who has become a prominent provider of polling in the run-up to the general election, said he would stop using the firm behind the numbers.

“I have not been in the habit of naming the polling companies I use, all of which are members of the British Polling Council, and I will not be naming this one,” he wrote on his website.

“But I cannot allow this episode to cast doubt on the reliability of my polling more generally.

“So I must disclose that these three surveys last November are the first and only I have commissioned from a well-known but relatively new polling firm. And no, I won’t be using them again.”

The corrected data is:

:: Sheffield Hallam: Labour 30%, Lib Dem 27%, Conservative 19%, Ukip 13%, Green 10%;

:: Thanet South: Conservative 33%, Ukip 32%, Labour 26%, Lib Dem 4%, Green 3%;

:: Doncaster North: Labour 55%, Ukip 25%, Conservative 13%, Lib Dem 4%, Green 2%.

Published: Saturday 7th February 2015 by The News Editor

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