Lib Dem poll challenged amid ‘vote switcher’ doubt

Michael Moore, left, faces a battle with the Tories to retain his Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat. Picture: Ian Rutherford
Michael Moore, left, faces a battle with the Tories to retain his Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat. Picture: Ian Rutherford
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SURVATION has distanced itself from internal polling carried out by the Lib Dems in Scotland as a row has broken out with the Tories over claims about who is best placed to beat the SNP in key seats.

The Conservatives have pointed out that a “vote switcher” put out on leaflets by the Lib Dems showed Audrey Dunsmore, who it is claimed was a Conservative voter, actually stood as a Lib Dem candidate in Scotland three years ago.

Resorting to dodgy self-selected polls is treating voters with contempt. Neither wonder that the pollsters have run a mile from the results

Jackson Carlaw

Meanwhile, question marks have arisen over polls the Lib Dems are putting on their leaflets in the 11 Scottish seats they are defending claiming they are best placed to beat the SNP.

This comes as a Lord Ashcroft poll last week suggested the Tories could win Michael Moore’s Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk seat from the Lib Dems. The two parties are also fighting it out in Sir Robert Smith’s West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine seat.

In a statement Survation said: “In reference to polls conducted for the Liberal Democrats, which have been described in the Guardian, New Statesman and others as ‘private polling conducted by Survation’, we would like to clarify that the role of Survation in these polls was that of ‘field and tab’ only.

“Survation were not responsible for drafting the questionnaires used, sampling design discussions or analysis of the results. These polls should therefore not properly be described as Survation polls. As a consequence, Survation is not responsible for the publication of these polls under BPC rules. Any member of the public with queries regarding the detail or further information about the mentioned polling work should be directed to the Liberal Democrats.”

The Scottish Lib Dems have only published the data for one of their seats - Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire and not the others.

Scottish Conservative deputy leader Jackson Carlaw has written to Scottish Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie about the alleged fake switcher.

He added: “The Lib Dems are growing more desperate by the day. Across Scotland they have already lost six out of every seven who voted for them last time. And half of those who’ve switched now plan to vote SNP. Resorting to dodgy self-selected polls is treating voters with contempt. Neither wonder that the pollsters have run a mile from the results.”

However, a Scottish Lib Dem spokeswoman said: “We’re more than happy to confirm that Audrey Dunsmore used to vote Conservative and is now, like so many others, backing our Lib Dem candidates, as set out clearly in her letter. This is a silly attempt by the Conservatives to throw up dust where there isn’t any to throw.”

She added that Survation only “confirmed” what the Lib Dems have said about their own polls and pointed out that the East Dunbartonshire data is published on the Lib Dem Voice website.