In an article in the Independent and a presentation at the annual Political Studies Association local election briefing John Curtice has cast doubts on the suggestions that Corbyn’s Labour is going to have an exceptional performance in this week’s locals.
The big thing in his analysis is that there is a huge divide on Brexit between London, where 42% of the seats will be contested, and the councils in the rest of England where elections are being held. The split on voting in the referendum is shown in his chart above.
As we saw at GE2017 there was a big gap between the LAB performance overall in areas that were strongly Remain and those which weren’t and the signs are that this will spill over on Thursday. Writing in the Independent he notes:
“.. outside of London, Thursday’s elections are taking place in districts where, on average, only around 45 per cent voted Remain, a figure that matches the outcome of the EU referendum across provincial England as a whole. Making progress in these elections looks like a much tougher test for Labour..”
And on London he had this observation:
“… Even if there is a swing to Labour in London, it might not cost the Conservatives that dearly. The only low-hanging Tory fruit available for Labour to pick is control of Barnet. However, at 15 per cent, the borough’s Jewish population is the largest anywhere in the UK and Labour must be concerned that the row about alleged antisemitism within its ranks might cost the party dear...”
It looks like there will be an interesting Thursday night and Friday morning ahead.