Oxford West & Abingdon

2015 Result:
Conservative: 26153 (45.7%)
Labour: 7274 (12.7%)
Lib Dem: 16571 (28.9%)
Green: 2497 (4.4%)
UKIP: 3963 (6.9%)
NHA: 723 (1.3%)
Others: 66 (0.1%)
MAJORITY: 9582 (16.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Oxfordshire. Part of the Oxford council area, part of the Cherwell council area and part of the Vale of White Horse.

Main population centres: Oxford, Abingdon, Kidlington.

Profile: The larger and much more rural of the two Oxford seats. Oxford West contains some of the northern suburbs of Oxford and a few colleges on the outskirts of the city centre but not much else of it - the vast majority of the city`s residential population sits in Oxford East. Instead this seat contains the rural hinterland to the west of the city, the large village of Kidlington and the town of Abington. Oxford airport lies in the north of the seat.

Politics: A marginal contest between the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives, up until 1997 it was held by the Conservatives, though on only modest majorities. In the historic Tory defeat of 1997 it fell to Liberal Democrat Dr Evan Harris, who was a high profile voice in favour of abortion rights, euthanasia and secularism within Parliament and, after his defeat in 2010, has been a high-profile supporter of press regulation from outside Parliament.


Current MP
NICOLA BLACKWOOD (Conservative) Born 1979, Johannesburg. Educated at home and Oxford University. Former researcher for Andrew Mitchell MP. First elected as MP for Oxford West and Abingdon in 2010.
Past Results
2010
Con: 23906 (42%)
Lab: 5999 (11%)
LDem: 23730 (42%)
UKIP: 1518 (3%)
Oth: 1327 (2%)
MAJ: 176 (0%)
2005*
Con: 16653 (32%)
Lab: 8725 (17%)
LDem: 24336 (46%)
GRN: 2091 (4%)
Oth: 795 (2%)
MAJ: 7683 (15%)
2001
Con: 15485 (30%)
Lab: 9114 (18%)
LDem: 24670 (48%)
GRN: 1423 (3%)
Oth: 876 (2%)
MAJ: 9185 (18%)
1997
Con: 19983 (33%)
Lab: 12361 (20%)
LDem: 26268 (43%)
Oth: 1326 (2%)
MAJ: 6285 (10%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
NICOLA BLACKWOOD (Conservative) See above.
SALLY COPLEY (Labour) Head of UK Campaigns at Oxfam.
LAYLA MORAN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at Imperial College. Maths and physics teacher. Contested Battersea 2010, West Central 2012 London election.
ALAN HARRIS (UKIP)
LARRY SANDERS (Green) Born New York, brother of Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Retired social worker, lecturer and lawyer. Oxfordshire councillor 2005-2014.
HELEN SALISBURY (NHA)
MIKE FOSTER (Socialist Party GB)
Links
Comments - 371 Responses on “Oxford West & Abingdon”
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  1. Good results from the Lib Dems here in the locals – two divisions gained in Abingdon itself and one in Kennington. In the circumstances, pretty remarkable.

  2. It’ll be interesting to see the aggregate votes for this seat.

  3. Oxfordshire results by division:

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0At91c3wX1Wu5dFlDLTJzRUE4LTRmb3A3NTloVW55Smc#gid=0

    Votes:

    Con 50,419
    Lab 32,072
    UKIP 23,272
    LD 22,371
    Green 13,990
    Ind 4,620
    Others 827

    Total 147,571

    Percentages:

    Con 34.17%
    Lab 21.73%
    UKIP 15.77%
    LD 15.16%
    Green 9.48%
    Ind 3.13%
    Others 0.56%

    Changes since 2010 general election:

    Con -13.02%
    Lab +3.69%
    UKIP +12.23%
    LD -12.85%
    Green +7.03%
    Ind +2.86%
    Others +0.06%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 8.35%

  4. According to a report by this Fabian Society report, the Lib Dems managed to get first place in OxWAb:

    http://www.fabians.org.uk/the-2013-local-elections-in-key-constituencies/

  5. Could be one of the few seats the LD’s gain. The LD’s have chosen a strong candidate with appeal to intellectual Labour voters and this seems to be an area where they have made progress in the Abingdon area

  6. In the County seats that make up OxWAb the Lib Dems were about 5% ahead of the Tories.

    They seem to have got back ahead in Abingdon where they lost seats in 2009 and 2011.

  7. Surely Labour won’t benefit from the large drops in both Con/LD vote share that I anticipate here? The question is then: who will?

  8. “Surely Labour won’t benefit from the large drops in both Con/LD vote share that I anticipate here?”

    Why not?

    Polls currently show a major switch from Lib Dem to Labour.

    Furthermore the polls don’t really indicate that the Tories are going to experience a “large drop”. One or two points maximum.

  9. Don’t really see labour scoring much more than 15 here.

  10. I’m sure the LDs and UKIP will take more than that off the Tories, but in a seat like this where will the LD defectors go? I think the Tories could dip below 30 but UKIP won’t take much of that?

  11. If the Tories dip below 30% that will be a loss of 12%.

    Can you show me a poll that predicts the Tories will be down by anything like that much?

  12. I have some optimism that the really big Lib Dem > Labour swings will be in places where the Tories are out of the race anyway,
    and in the more economically dymanic places the Tories can pick up a few LD votes aswell.
    Of course the whole thing could go up the spout if our own core vote is aggravated or off to UKIP.
    But the country doesn’t want Ed Balls and Ed Miliband – that is a very differnet thing though to saying they can’t win.

  13. The LDs should pick this one up provided that a lot of the Tory core vote leaves them. I wouldn’t be surprised if this seat is won with not much over 30% of the vote.

    I think that most of the country can’t really tell the difference between Cameron/Osborne and Miliband/Balls.

  14. In such a tight marginal with UKIP added and Tory->LD switchers in protest at the govt, I don’t think a 10% Tory decrease is out of question. Even Joe agrees with me, but probably not to the extent of agreeing the Tories have a 50:50 chance of losing here admitted.

  15. You are welcome addition(s?) to the site.

  16. This is a sophisticated electorate and we know that the Oxford end can happily vote Labour , LD or Green locally – there’s no Tory councillors in Oxford

    I don’t think anyone thought Evan Harris was at all under threat last time. It was a surprising result.

    JJB : I don’t think there is any great enthusiasm for anyone at the moment – so the next election might actually be quite an accurate reflection of the true state of the parties. Including the turnout.

  17. I think 32 for the tories is fanciful.

    I agree that this is the best chance for the liberals to make a gain from us. Talk of Con->LD switchers being at protest at the government is obvious nonsense. There may well be some who are happy with the LDs moving rightwards (in the Abingdon part) or those who hated the previous incumbent (who was a marmite figure).

    I just don’t see (especially with first time incumbency) a 10 point decrease being on. This isn’t really UKIP territory and certainly isn’t labour territory for the most part (who I imagine will continue backing LD nationally)

  18. Both main parties will probably go down, but not much. Both over 35 certainly. I think we (Cons) to have decent favourites, but I would be suprised if it was not tight.

    At the moment I would guess

    Con 40
    LD 38
    Lab 15
    UKIP 6

  19. Sorry to triple post:

    Another important factor may be that as the LDs were widely perceived to be safe here, especially with Cleggmania and apparently not terribly suitable demographics for a Con gain, some labour voters may have backed LD if they knew it was going to be tight.

    The liberals might be able to do a better squeeze next time and will be more prepared for a fight (last time they really concentrated on east and more-or-less took west for granted). Don’t expect labour to rise much here at the liberals expense.

  20. “You are welcome addition(s?) to the site.”
    Who? ME? :O

  21. Really Joe? I thought the voters of intellect described would mostly not have a one party allegiance and would switch in disagreement from election to election?

  22. I would say swing voters are more likely to be of the skilled working class than middle class intelligentsia. Could be wrong.

    I don’t see a big labour recovery here even if labour do well nationally even with a couple of decent labour wards in the constituency.

  23. ‘I would say swing voters are more likely to be of the skilled working class than middle class intelligentsia. Could be wrong.’

    Is the lower middle classes that decide election outcomes in today’s Britain

    It’s a rather obvious point as it covers such a broad spectrum of the workforce – from the skilled and well paid working class to the thousands of low-paid office worker – but I wouldn’t consider the middle class inteliligentsia to be amongst their ranks, whose preference for parties from the centre left is now an established fact in 21st century Britain

  24. Although I would say people with technical skills are more likely to be intelligent than wool brained liberals

  25. But in this seat some vote Labour locally and LibDem nationally. Given the drop in the Labour vote last time I think it has to be assumed Abingdon went for the Tories

  26. I think Abingdon will have been neck and neck in 2010- I suspect that the Cherwell ward of Yarnton swung it for Nicola Blackwood.

  27. Lib Dem gain in Abingdon Fitzharris district by-election, taking the second seat in a two-member ward.

    LD 479
    Con 378
    Lab 96

    3.3% swing from Cons to LD.

  28. The LDs can’t be written off as far as this seat is concerned in 2015. They probably won’t win but the Tories can’t take it for granted that they’ll hold it.

  29. I actually would favour the LDs to win here in 2015. Their performance here in May and other recent local by-elections have shown that they are holding up in this area and I think they have enough activists and resources to make a really good go at it.

  30. This will be an interesting one to watch. I tended to make Nicola Blackwood the favourite until recently but she won’t like the look of those local election results. Probably too close to call at the moment.

  31. This could be like Portsmouth South in 1992. Conservative hold but still given a run for their money.

  32. The local results and the Parliamentary results in Oxford West & Abingdon are very different beasts. I remember strolling through Jericho in the 2005 election and seeing Green county candidates’ posters side-by-side with Evan Harris’ posters in the windows.

    Of course, Jericho is hardly representative of the constituency, but people here know how to split their tickets and I wouldn’t read too much into poor local results. The Libs here know how to point at dog muck and put the photos in Focuses, which gets you onto the council, not always successful getting you to Westminster. The Tories here have the reverse problem.

  33. Perhaps the Tories haven’t quite got the art of dealing with by-elections here which can be challenging anywhere for various reasons.
    But there was a result which went the other way on 2nd May – not sure whether it was a CC seat or a district seat.

    Nothing should be taken for granted – here or anywhere.

  34. Joe James B , you are nearly correct , there was a DC seat that the Conservatives gained from the LD’s on 2nd May , Greendown . However this seat is in the Wantage parliamentary seat not Oxford West and Abingdon .

  35. I would predict that the Tories will hold on to this one. The LDs have picked a non-local candidate and have been losing some ground in their north Oxford seats, losing one to Labour in 2012 and, while holding on to others, losing votes to Labour and Green. While many of them will vote LD in the parliamentary election, I think a decent number of disaffected Lib Dems will vote for Labour or Green. Abingdon is close but I think Tories will edge that too, and from what I know they do quite a lot on the ground there.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Labour vote creeps towards 17-18% as they pick up votes in north Oxford and saturate support in their safe ward of Jericho and Osney.

    UKIP are nowhere here, as we saw in County elections, so will not take votes off Tories that way. I’d say Tories will win on slightly increased majority, something like 1-2%.

  36. Oxford North by election Labour gain from Lib Dem.

    Labour 367
    Lib Dem 330
    Green 262
    Conservative 100

    Tory vote halved. Must be worrying for LDs as they will need Labour & Green votes in 2015 in Oxford. A big increase in Lab vote will do for them however much the Tory vote is down.

  37. This is however an improvement on their last 2 results in this ward. To have run Labour close despite a high Green vote isn’t a bad result in current circumstances, although as you say it is a Labour gain.

  38. That result in North Ward is actually a swing from Con to LD since 2010. It’s not a brilliant result for the LDs but it’s a worse one for the Cons.

    AM – an increase in the Labour vote won’t do for the LDs if the Con vote is down more than the Labour vote is up.

  39. Its really remarkable that somewhere as hugely affluent as North Oxford is as safely labour as it is.

  40. Not if you have spent any time there – it is a very specific demographic indeed.

  41. The most affluent parts of North Oxford aren’t in the eponymous ward though – they are to be found mostly in Summertown, which is nowadays an LD/Green contest, with Labour nowhere.

  42. Fair point…but what that also confirms is that the ‘north Oxford’ area more broadly is more left-inclined than simple demographic stats might suggest.

  43. That’s quite true, of course. But it’s remarkable to see the extent to which the Tory vote has subsided in Oxford city since WWII (although of course they hold this seat). Remember that in 1945 Labour failed by quite some distance to take Oxford (perhaps they weren’t helped by the candidacy of the future Lord Longford! hard to say though….) and yet now they are not even competitive in any of the wards which make up the city, even the most affluent ones.

  44. At the same time of course, Labour’s position in Oxfordshire has deteriorated…Labour were pretty close to winning Banbury in 1945 and 1950, and close-ish even in 1966.

    Part of this is the same kind of increasing rural-urban polarisation we have seen elsewhere in the country, but also there is something quite specific at work in Oxford – academics seem on average to be more left-wing than they were, and there are probably a lot more of them also. North Oxford also seems to attract more broadly what might be referred to as the public sector elite (not necessarily connected with education).

  45. ‘At the same time of course, Labour’s position in Oxfordshire has deteriorated…Labour were pretty close to winning Banbury in 1945 and 1950, and close-ish even in 1966.’

    In 1966 they reduced the Tory majoritry to 4,401

    In 1997 they managed to get it down to 4,737.

    Both are quitre respectable results for rural Oxfordshire, although Banbury and Biscester have always struck me as two of the more working class towns in the county and its amazing to consider that Oxford East was once a Tory seat

  46. The Banbury seat’s boundaries have changed quite a bit since the 1960s, so we have to be careful.

    But there’s little question that Labour have suffered a long-term decline in west and north Oxfordshire. When MacMillan won a landslide in 1959, Labour polled 38% in Banbury..in 2010 they got less than 20%. Between the same two elections, Labour’ vote in Henley dropped from 33% to 11%.

  47. Labour weren’t that far off even in Henley (although at the time that included quite a bit of the sprawl of East Oxford itself as well as Bicester)

  48. In 1945 that is

  49. I’d also suggest an increased Tory majortity here as tactical voting for the Lib Dems by otherwise Labour supporters collapses.

    I think it highly likely that Labour supporters now find the Tories and Lib Dems equally distasteful.

  50. Evan Harris’ electoral record in Oxford West and Abingdon-
    1. 1997- 26, 268 (42.92%, +3.93%, 6, 285 (10.27%) majority)
    2. 2001- 24, 670 (47.9%, +4.98%, 9, 185 (17.9%) majority)
    3. 2005- 24, 336 (46.27%, -1.63%, 7, 683 (14.61%) majority)
    4. 2010- 23, 730 (42.01%, -4.26%)

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