Archive for the 'UK Elections – others' Category


London falling – a look at next May’s elections in the capital

Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017

 Stodge give us his predictions

If a week is a long time in politics and there’s plenty of evidence for that at the moment, perhaps eight months will seem a veritable eternity.

Assuming the Earth hasn’t crashed into the Sun or the zombies have taken over or we haven’t had another General Election, May 3rd 2018 will see the next big test of public opinion with the year’s round of local elections and of particular interest will be the London Borough elections.

As Kylie Minogue once suggested “all you can do is step back in time” and if we go back to 2014 the world was a very different place. Labour had an excellent night winning control of 20 Boroughs and taking over 1,000 seats. The Conservatives ended with 612 Councillors in nine Boroughs while the Liberal Democrats lost nearly half their seats ending with 130 councillors and control of just one Borough. UKIP won 12 seats and the Greens four.

In terms of vote share, Labour won 37% of the vote, the Conservatives 26% and the Liberal Democrats and UKIP on 10% each.

The following year’s General Election saw Labour win London by 44% to 35% over the Conservatives with UKIP and the Liberal Democrats on 8% each.

This year saw Labour consolidate their lead in the capital with the Conservatives losing six seats to end on 21 and the Liberal Democrats moving up a net two to three leaving Labour with 50 seats.

With post-election polls showing Labour moving into a small lead it seems 2018 could be another big year in the capital for the Reds.

Looking at the 32 Boroughs, it’s hard to envisage change in many of them – Newham and Bromley being good examples – but where could we see changes in control next year?

Barnet is an obvious place to start with the Conservatives enjoying an overall majority of just one. Both Hendon and Chipping Barnet were held by the Conservatives in the General Elections but both are knife edge marginals and will be high on the Labour target list. At present, a Labour win across the Borough seems inevitable.

Bexley has a Conservative majority of 27 and in truth while Labour ran the Borough at the height of the Blair years (2002-06), the recent election only brought the Party’s vote back to 2005 levels. Yes, the Conservative majority may well be reduced but it won’t be toppled at this time.

Bromley has always had a Conservative majority except for a brief period of NOC after the 1998 elections. 2014 returned a huge majority of 42 for the Blues and while that may be trimmed slightly it won’t be overturned.

Havering is a rarity in London having a large bloc of Residents. One group from East Havering sits alongside 22 Conservatives and forms a working majority of six over a motley group of other Residents, UKIP, whose six councillors formed half their London strength and a couple of Labour Councillors.

It’s a very hard one to read and Labour picked up votes in Romford trimming Andrew Rosindell’s majority. If nationally the Conservatives are doing poorly, the Borough is likely to shift into further

NOC though it seems unlikely the UKIP councillors will survive.

Hillingdon has a Conservative majority of 19 but the 2017 General Election results suggest Labour is on the march. Boris Johnson saw his majority slashed to just over 5,000 (I can see the book “Were you still up for Boris?” selling well in 2023) and Nick Hurd lost ground to Labour in Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner. As a long shot for a Labour gain at Borough level, this might be a good bet.

Kensington & Chelsea: Recent tragic events notwithstanding, the local Conservatives have a majority of 24 but as everyone knows Labour won Kensington in one of the huge upsets of the General Election. Whether this presages a change in local control remains to be seen but the days of Kensington & Chelsea as a solidly Tory stronghold seem to be coming to an end.

Kingston: The Borough has oscillated between periods of Liberal Democrat control and NOC since the 1980s but in 2014 the Conservatives returned in strength and cleared the Liberal Democrats out at Parliamentary level the following year but the Conservative majority is only 6. Perversely, a Labour recovery could damage Liberal Democrat prospects in Wards like Tolworth, Canbury and Norbiton. I’d expect the Liberal Democrats to be the largest party but gaining overall control means winning six or seven seats.

Richmond: Another borough which has shifted between Conservative and Liberal Democrat control over the years but in 2014 the Conservatives enjoyed a majority of 24 and ousted Vince Cable from Twickenham the following year while Zac Goldsmith was returned with a massive majority.

Two years on and everything has changed – Vince is back with a big majority and Zac got back by a wafer-thin majority. All this points to a Lib Dem resurgence locally and it’s quite possible the Party could regain control.

Sutton: How can this be a marginal I hear you ask? The LDs enjoy a massive majority of 34 over the Conservatives but the Borough is now two very different political areas. In the east, Tom Brake held off a Conservative challenge to retain Carshalton & Wallington but in the west Paul Scully quadrupled his majority and the seat is safer for the Conservatives than at any time since 1992.

In addition, the LDs have run the Council for over 30 years and there may simply be a mood for change. I expect strong Conservative gains in the Sutton constituency and if Labour recovers in Carshalton it could be enough to deprive the LDs of their majority.

Wandsworth: The Conservative “flagship” Borough but the 2017 General Election results told a different story with Battersea turning Labour and Putney now a marginal. Of course, the Conservatives kept control throughout the Blair years. However, Labour has been making slow headway and the Conservative majority is now just 18. I think this could be overturned.

Westminster: Whisper it quietly but if you’re looking for an upset this is the place. The Conservatives have always run Westminster and currently have a majority of 28. However, Mark Field saw his majority in Cities of London cut by two thirds and he is facing a strong Labour challenge next time.

It’s not inconceivable that against a deeply unpopular Conservative Government, Labour couldoverturn this majority.

To conclude, my early predictions for 2018 in London:

Barnet: Lab Gain

Bexley: Con Hold

Havering: NOC Hold

Hillingdon: Lab Gain

Kensington: NOC Gain

Kingston: NOC Gain

Richmond: LD gain

Sutton: NOC Gain

Wandsworth: Lab Gain

Westminster: Lab Gain

To my knowledge, there are no betting markets up for these elections yet but I’ll come back to these periodically as the election approaches.

Stodge is a long-time poster on PB


Professor Steve Fisher – the political scientist who got it right yet again

Friday, May 5th, 2017

On Tuesday afternoon professor Steve Fisher who runs the Elections etc website produced his predictions for the locals which were very different from what other academics and analysts were saying.

His projected numbers particularly for the LDs ran very much against the narrative. This was my response in a Tweet.

It might be recalled that well before the last general election professor Fisher started predicting that the Conservatives were going to get a majority all and all the other pointers suggested that it was going to be a hung Parliament.

Fisher is also a leading part of the team behind general election exit polls

He was dead right about GE2015 and I have learned to take him seriously.

Well done.

Mike Smithson


Huge CON gains, LAB collapse UKIP wipe out – the story of the night do far

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Thanks to RobD’s great resource here part is featured above. We have a brilliant tracker of what’s happening.

The virtual wipe out of UKIP and the switch of those voters has put the Tories in an extraordinarily powerful position as the numbers shows. This all augurs well for TMay’s party on June 8th.

The LDs have put on votes but look set to end as seat losers.

The super mayoralty results will mostly come during the day and it is hard to see anything other than big CON victories.

Mike Smithson


For the latest numbers on what seems a bad night for LAB check out RobD’s great spreadsheet

Friday, May 5th, 2017

Rob’s great resource is here and part of what it is showing is featured above.

This is better than anything you’ll find elsewhere.

Mike Smithson


Tonight’s battle grounds – the seats that are being defended

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

There is a whole series of different sets of elections taking place today and the chart focuses on English council seats which were last fought in 2013.

Mostly the seats being contested are in the old shire counties so this is not fertile territory for Labour in any circumstances period as can be seen. The Tories completely dominated last time these were fought.

2013 was the third year of the coalition waspretty bad year for the Lib Dems. It was also when UKIP reached it’s high point. It’s 20%+ vote share on that day 4 years ago, however only produced 145 seats.

What it does mean is that there are a lot of UKIP votes there to squeeze and given the way the national polls have been going then that is going to be the main driver of the likely Conservative success.

The other set of English elections are for the new elected Mayor position in the combined local authorities. Andy Burnham is the Labour contender in Greater Manchester while in Birmingham the Conservatives have got high hopes of taking victory which will be a huge blow to Labour.

There are also local elections in Scotland and Wales and here the seas were last contested in 2012 just after the famous “Omnishambles budget” and Labour’s speak in the last Parliament. This means that we can expect considerable losses for the red team.

The Scottish local elections use a complex form of PR where as in Wales it is standard first past the post.

This is the first time ever that the local elections have taken place in the middle of a general election campaign so it is likely that national issues will play a more important part than usual.

Mike Smithson


Get ready for a big psephological debate on Friday on how much you can read in to the locals

Tuesday, May 2nd, 2017

How much a general election pointer will the locals be?

The timing of the 2017 General Election has created an almost unique situation. This is the first time in the modern era when a general election has been called before the May local elections and the campaign period covered those elections.

Since 1992 all general elections have been held on the same day as the local elections scheduled for those years. The impact has been that the turnout in the locals has been at general election levels, 60%+, way above turnouts in the 30s in non general election years.

The effect has been that the big picture from the locals have been akin to the general election. The general election results were broadly though not entirely reflected in the council votes.

In 1992 John Major went to the country four weeks before that year’s locals with LAB doing much worse in the May locals than in the April general election.

We have to back to the June general elections 1983 and 1987 for anything similar to what we have this year – May locals and June general elections. The only problem is that that in those years Mrs Thatcher went to the country AFTER she had seen how well her party had done in the locals. So those two general elections cannot be seen, as Anthony Wells of YouGov is trying to argue, as relevant precedents for GE2017.

    People will be voting on Thursday in the knowledge that they’ll be doing so again on June 8th. Inevitably national considerations will impact on voting behaviour.

The two critical sets of numbers that will come out on Friday will be Prof John Curtice’s national vote projection and the national equivalent vote share projection from Professors Rallings and Thrasher.

These are likely to be different from the latest general election polls and will be seized on by parties that are doing better to assert that they are a better reflection of public opinion.

The Lib Dems will certainly use them to make the case that they are doing better than the polls.

Mike Smithson


A week tonight and we have 2017’s first big set of elections

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Harry Hayfield looks forward 7 days

So as there are no local by-elections this week, here’s the final part of my estimates for the local elections in Wales and Scotland.

As for the estimates for the English counties, I had a look at the by-elections in Wales since the referendum, tallied the changes on 2012 and noted if the council had voted to REMAIN or LEAVE and made the following observation. In REMAIN councils, the change was Lab -6%, Green -5%, Others -1%, Con unchanged, Ind unchanged, Lib Dem +1%, UKIP +2% and Plaid +8%. In LEAVE councils the change was Lab -16%, Con unchanged, Green unchanged, Others +1%, Plaid +2%, Ind +3% with the Lib Dems and UKIP both up 5%. A few days ago Prof Roger Scully of the Welsh Governance Centre at Cardiff University (him with his own Twitter parody account in the style of John Curtice) published a local election poll purely for Wales and I noted that the forecast results I was getting from that were pretty much in line with the forecast results I had been getting looking at the change by council’s view on the referendum, so therefore the figures published below are based on that poll (the details of which were tweeted by Britain Elects at the time)

Welsh Council Elections Forecast 2017
Blaenau Gwent: Lab 33, Ind 5, Con 2, Plaid 2 (Lab HOLD)
Bridgend: Lab 22, Con 15, Ind 11, Lib Dem 3, Plaid 3 (Lab LOSS to NOC)
Caerphilly: Plaid 39, Lab 29, Con 4, Ind 1 (Plaid GAIN from Lab)
Cardiff: Con 39, Lib Dem 16, Plaid 12, Lab 8 (Con GAIN from Lab)
Carmarthenshire: Plaid 52, Ind 13, Lab 7, Con 2 (Plaid GAIN from NOC)
Ceredigion: Plaid 23, Ind 11, Lib Dem 7, Lab 1 (Plaid GAIN from NOC)
Conwy: Con 30, Plaid 12, Lab 7, Ind 5, Lib Dem 5 (Con GAIN from NOC)
Denbighshire: Con 28, Plaid 10, Lab 6, Ind 3 (Con GAIN from NOC)
Flintshire: Lab 28, Ind 21, Con 12, Lib Dem 7, Plaid 1 (No Overall Control, unchanged)
Gwynedd: Plaid 54, Ind 11, Llais 4, Con 2, Lab 3, Lib Dem 1 (Plaid GAIN from NOC)
Merthyr Tydfil: Lab 24, Ind 5, Plaid 3, Con 1 (Lab HOLD)
Monmouthshire: Con 27, Lab 10, Ind 4, Lib Dem 2 (Con GAIN from NOC)
Neath and Port Talbot: Lab 41, Plaid 18, Con 3, Ind 2 (Lab HOLD)
Newport: Con 39, Lab 11 (Con GAIN from Lab)
Pembrokeshire: Ind 32, Con 13, Lab 9, Plaid 5, Lib Dem 1 (Ind HOLD)
Powys: Ind 33, Con 21, Lib Dem 12, Lab 6 (Ind LOSS to NOC)
Rhondda, Cynon, Taff: Lab 46, Plaid 20, Con 5, Ind 3, Lib Dem 1 (Lab HOLD)
Swansea: Con 35, Lab 24, Lib Dem 6, Plaid 2, Ind 3, Swansea Independents 2 (Lab LOSS to NOC)
Torfaen: Lab 13, Con 12, Ind 10, Plaid 8 (Lab LOSS to NOC)
Vale of Glamorgan: Con 32, Lab 8, Plaid 6, Ind 1 (Con GAIN from NOC)
Wrexham: Lab 17, Ind 15, Con 10, Lib Dem 6, Plaid 4 (No Overall Control, no change)
Ynys Môn: Plaid 12, Ind 11, Con 6, Lib Dem 1 (No Overall Control, no change)

Whilst I used the same method with Scotland (as all of the Scottish councils voted to REMAIN it was a much easier task) I could not make a forecast of the seat allocations thanks to the fact that Scotland uses the Single Transferable Vote to elect councillors, so this list of the councils shows the estimated vote share in that council area with the status based on which party is in the lead (as opposed to how many councillors may be elected). The change is based on Con +11%, Lab -6%, Lib Dem -1%, SNP +3%, Ind -5%, UKIP unchanged, Green unchanged and Others -3%

City of Aberdeen: SNP 34%, Lab 23%, Con 20%, Lib Dem 14%, Ind 6%, Green 2% (SNP HOLD)
Aberdeenshire: SNP 41%, Con 32%, Lib Dem 14%, Ind 10%, Green 2%, Lab 1% (SNP HOLD)
Angus: SNP 46%, Con 28%, Ind 19%, Lib Dem 5%, Lab 1% (SNP HOLD)
Argyll and Bute: SNP 32%, Ind 32%, Con 26%, Lib Dem 10% (SNP GAIN from Ind)
Clackmannanshire: SNP 48%, Lab 31%, Con 20% (SNP HOLD)
Dumfries and Galloway: Con 37%, Lab 23%, SNP 22%, Ind 13%, Lib Dem 3%, Lab 2%, UKIP 1% (Con GAIN from Lab)
City of Dundee: SNP 46%, Lab 24%, Con 22%, Lib Dem 8%, Green 1% (SNP HOLD)
East Ayrshire: SNP 41%, Lab 34%, Con 22%, Ind 3% (SNP GAIN from Lab)
East Dunbartonshire: SNP 29%, Con 27%, Lab 23%, Lib Dem 14%, Others 6%, Green 1%, Ind 1% (SNP GAIN from Lab)
East Lothian: Lab 36%, SNP 33%, Con 25%, Lib Dem 5%, Ind 1% ((Lab HOLD)
East Renfrewshire: Con 40%, Lab 25%, SNP 22%, Ind 10%, Lib Dem 5%, Green 1% (Con GAIN from Lab)
City of Edinburgh: Con 31%, SNP 29%, Lab 21%, Green 11%, Lib Dem 8% (Con GAIN from Lab)
Falkirk: SNP 42%, Lab 31%, Con 22%, Ind 5% (SNP HOLD)
Fife: SNP 34%, Lab 32%, Con 19%, Lib Dem 12%, Green 1%, Ind 1%, UKIP 1% (SNP GAIN from Lab)
City of Glasgow: Lab 40%, SNP 35%, Con 17%, Green 5%, Lib Dem 2%, Others 1% (Lab HOLD)
Highland: Ind 35%, SNP 29%, Con 16%, Lib Dem 12%, Lab 7%, Green 1% (Ind HOLD)
Inverclyde: Lab 38%, SNP 28%, Con 21%, Lib Dem 7%, Ind 6% (Lab HOLD)
Midlothian: SNP 41%, Lab 33%, Con 19%, Green 4%, Lib Dem 3% (SNP GAIN from Lab)
Moray: SNP 42%, Con 28%, Ind 23%, Lab 3%, Green 3%, UKIP 1% (SNP HOLD)
Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles): Ind 64%, SNP 26%, Con 11% (Ind HOLD)
North Ayrshire: SNP 39%, Lab 26%, Con 20%, Ind 14%, Lib Dem 1%, UKIP 1% (SNP HOLD)
North Lanarkshire: Lab 45%, SNP 37%, Con 16%, Ind 1% (Lab HOLD)
Orkney Islands: Ind 84%, Con 10%, SNP 5% (Ind HOLD)
Perth and Kinross: SNP 43%, Con 36%, Lib Dem 12%, Lab 6%, Ind 2%, Green 1% (SNP HOLD)
Renfrewshire: Lab 40%, SNP 37%, Con 19%, Lib Dem 3% (Lab HOLD)
The Scottish Borders: Con 35%, SNP 24%, Lab 18%, Ind 18%, Lib Dem 16%, Others 7% (Con HOLD)
Shetland Islands: Ind 85%, Con 10%, SNP 5% (Ind HOLD)
South Ayrshire: Con 42%, SNP 32%, Lab 19%, Ind 8% (Con HOLD)
South Lanarkshire: SNP 39%, Lab 36%, Con 21%, Lib Dem 2%, Green 1%, UKIP 1% (SNP GAIN from Lab)
Stirling: SNP 38%, Con 29%, Lab 22%, Green 6%, Lib Dem 4%, UKIP 1% (SNP HOLD)
West Dunbartonshire: Lab 41%, SNP 33%, Con 15%, Ind 8%, Others 3% (Lab HOLD)
West Lothian: SNP 44%, Lab 32%, Con 20%, Others 4% (SNP HOLD)

Am I right or am I completely wrong? Well, we shall know next week (including whether I have been successful in winning a seat on Ceredigion council) although looking at the forecast for the council this may be a rather opportune clip


Labour’s May 4th prospects are looking appalling in England, Wales and Scotland

Tuesday, April 25th, 2017

And UKIP are in for a pounding as well

UKIP’s set to have more losses that its actually contesting

Today I have been in London for the annual local elections briefing organised by the Political Studies Association. The panelists were Professors Colin Rawlings and Michael Thrasher for England with Rodger Scully for Wales and Professor John Curtice for Scotland.

    Rawlings and Thrasher focused on their by-election prediction model which just covers England and suggested that there’s a possibility that Labour could end up as third party behind both CON and the LDs.

The slides above are from their presentation.

A massive problem for UKIP is that the seats up next week are those that were last fought four years ago which was when the party was at its absolute peak.

It was noted that many upper UKIP candidates elected in 2013 had switched parties or formed new groupings. The gains and losses calculation is based on what happened in the 2013 elections and does not take this into account. This is important because the number of UKIP losses predicted is higher than the number of seats that they are contesting.

For the model Ralling and Thrasher make their own calculations of the implications of boundary changes and that means that their change numbers will be different from those from the Press Association which will be issuing information on the night.

In Scotland the seats up are those last fought in 2012 and things have changed dramatically in the politics north of the border since then. The Tories are almost certainly look set to end up as a second party and we’re going to see spectacular losses for LAB like control of the city of Glasgow.

Wales is going to be equally appalling for Labour as we saw in yesterday’s YouGov poll.

What is important for the general election from the local council results is the narrative that will be created.

Mike Smithson