Tonight Ed Miliband is a step closer to Downing Street

Tonight Ed Miliband is a step closer to Downing Street

The benefits of not having your support evenly spread

Just for fun I keyed in the BBC’s projected national vote shares of CON 24, LAB 29, LD 14, Ukip 23 into Martin Baxter seat calculator at ElectoralCalculus. The result was remarkable.LAB was on 324 seats – just two short of an overall majority and 114 ahead of the Tories on 210.

    So on less than 30% of the GB vote EdM would win enough MPs to be able to enter Downing Street.

We’ve rehearsed many times the advantages that LAB has. A small amount coming from older boundaries but much bigger boosts from the fact that turnout levels are much lower in LAB seats and that the Tories see many more of their votes “wasted” in seats where they are in third place. There’s also tactical voting.

The real driver of LAB’s position is not their overall vote share but the gap over the Tories and it really doesn’t matter whether it’s 40-36 or 29-24 provided the threat of gains from other parties is contained.

After today Ukip might be in a position to win Westminster seats but not many. They were just 2% down on the aggregate vote shares in Eastleigh with the Tories miles behind. Also Having councillors on the ground helps create organisation and profile. It also, through the generous allowances that councillors now receive, produces an assured and regular income source.

But that is all mostly long-term though you could see opportunities opening for them in, say, Lincolnshire where they did so well.

    One factor to bear in mind is that overall national vote shares don’t matter too much. What is essential under first past the post is having it unevenly spread.

    Thus the LDs who were a long way behind the purples on votes today and got just 1.4% in South Shields have won at least twice as many seats as Ukip.

Mike Smithson

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