Southampton, Test

2015 Result:
Conservative: 14207 (32.5%)
Labour: 18017 (41.3%)
Lib Dem: 2121 (4.9%)
Green: 2568 (5.9%)
UKIP: 5566 (12.8%)
TUSC: 403 (0.9%)
Independent: 770 (1.8%)
MAJORITY: 3810 (8.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: South East, Hampshire. Part of Southampton council area.

Main population centres: Southampton.

Profile: Southampton is a large container and cruise port on the south coast. This is the western of the two Southampton seats, covering the western and more affluent northern suburbs of Southampton. The seat is named after the river Test, which runs through Southampton and forms part of the western boundary of the seat.

Politics: Both the Southampton seats have traditionally been marginals, but Test was seen as the more Conservative of the two, having been won by the Tories at all but 2 elections between 1955 and 1992. By 2010 election, however, had become the more marginal seat and in 2015 Itchen fell to the Tories while Test stayed Labour.

Current MP
ALAN WHITEHEAD (Labour) Born 1950, Isleworth. Educated at Isleworth Grammar school and Southampton University. Former Professor at Southampton Institute. Southampton councillor 1980-1992, Leader of Southampton council 1994-1992. Contested Southampton Test 1983, 1987, 1992. First elected as MP for Southampton Test in 1997. PPS to Baroness Blackstone 1999-2001. Under-secretary of State for local government 2001-2002.
Past Results
Con: 14588 (33%)
Lab: 17001 (38%)
LDem: 9865 (22%)
UKIP: 1726 (4%)
Oth: 1007 (2%)
MAJ: 2413 (5%)
Con: 10827 (26%)
Lab: 17845 (43%)
LDem: 10368 (25%)
GRN: 1482 (4%)
Oth: 1261 (3%)
MAJ: 7018 (17%)
Con: 10617 (26%)
Lab: 21824 (52%)
LDem: 7522 (18%)
UKIP: 792 (2%)
Oth: 820 (2%)
MAJ: 11207 (27%)
Con: 14712 (28%)
Lab: 28396 (54%)
LDem: 7171 (14%)
Oth: 765 (1%)
MAJ: 13684 (26%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

2015 Candidates
JEREMY MOULTON (Conservative) Educated at Exeter University. Pensions manager. Southampton councillor since 2002. Contested Southampton Test 2010.
ALAN WHITEHEAD (Labour) See above.
ADRIAN FORD (Liberal Democrat) Businessman.
ANGELA MAWLE (Green) Chief Executive of UKPHA and former nurse. Former Southampton councillor for the Labour party. Contested Romsey and Waterside 1992 for Labour.
CHRIS DAVIS (Independent) Born Southampton. Educated at Glen Eyre school. Awarded the MBE in 2009 for services to charity.
Comments - 112 Responses on “Southampton Test”
  1. This is what I think will happen in 2015

    Lab 44
    Con 26
    LD 12
    UKIP 10
    Green 5
    Others 3

    I agree with Alan Whitehead on Microgeneration etc as well.

  2. A Brown – such a result would mean a 6% plus two party swing from the Conservatives to Labour and a majority of about 7000, which I think is extremely doubtful. 2 or 3% perhaps, but not over 6%. In a tight election, which 2015 is probably going to be, this will remain a very marginal seat.

  3. I agree that Labour will not win this seat as comfortably as A Brown thinks but I still expect Alan Whitehead to win by a bit more than he did in 2010. Perhaps a result like this:

    Lab 43
    Con 33
    LD 15
    UKIP 6
    Others 3

  4. A Brown….you are projecting a 6% from Con to Lab in May 2015. Two polls today show the Labour lead down to just 1%.

  5. Alexander’s post was made 3 months ago, though the polls haven’t changed that much since then, apart from yesterday. It remains to be seen whether those polls are blips or whether they signify the 2 parties coming very close together for quite a long while, maybe until the election itself.

  6. We also saw the tories up sharply in a Euro poll. I think there has quite definitely been a real bounce rather than a statistical blip. The question is how sustained the bounce will be.

  7. I agree with that. It is a bounce, mainly from UKIP, LDs & don’t-knows. Labour isn’t down yet but obviously won’t want the Tories to be coming close to catching up at this relatively early stage. It could however be temporary; I’m off for a week & will be very interested to see what the state of play will be on my return. I’m off to a country where there was a Labour landslide last year with about 55% of the vote.

  8. I have a horrible nagging feeling that the Conservatives are beginning to recover properly. Was it Alastair Campbell or someone who said in 2010 that once they are in, they are extremely difficult ever to get out again. With the exception of 1970-74, much of the 20th century after 1931 bears this out: long periods of Tory hegemony. I wonder if it might be happening again….

  9. I think many Conservative MP’s will be helped by incumbency as they were in 1987 and Labour were in 2001 in previously difficult seats.

    The SDP may have helped Conservatives win Labour seats in 1983 but it was incumbency – not the SDP – that allowed them to retain many of these seats in 1987.

  10. I happen to think that the Tories have some chance of remaining the largest party, but I have to say that trying to comfort themselves by harking back to 1983 and 1987 is wishful thinking on an enormous scale.

  11. I think another hung Parliament is the most likely outcome of next year’s election. Unless something miraculous polling goes in the favour of one of the two biggest parties, there is nothing to suggest an overall majority can be achieved. I don’t know how long this Tory bounce will last and even if Labour’s lead increases, it has still been a soft one for a long time.

    Overall turnout could fall given how much apathy and/or dislike there is of the political class as a whole.

  12. I still think Cons will get most votes, Lab most seats. That would leave the LDs in a bit of a bind..

    Could be really interesting if Con and Lab are very close in seats – could be possible that neither + LD would get a majority (or a very tiny majority).

  13. I still remain convinced of Labour being at least largest party. There are a few things left to go wrong for the Cons and they need a rather significant lead to win most seats on UNS.

    Plus my examination of local council results (work in progress but I will publish soon) seems to indicate that while Labour are hammering the Lib Dems in many seats (very helpful to them in Lib-Lab seats, including some way down the target list like Cambridge and Hornsey and Wood Green, and Lab-Con marginals with a big LD vote) the LDs are holding quite steady against the Conservatives, which might deprive them of quite a few gains.

    On preparations for an election I think they’re relatively evenly balanced. The Tories have more familiar faces and money, Labour have far more ground troops for campaigning. The Lib Dems will struggle a bit being down 60,000 members, as will UKIP who are quite new to many seats and haven’t figured out where their voters live in the way the big two have.

  14. I also think Labour will be the largest party in the next parliament. At the moment, I have 35 seats where I am reasonably confident of a Labour gain. These include the majority of their top 40 targets but I think they will struggle to win much past that point. I can certainly see both Labour and the Conservatives being quite close to each other in terms of seats with the Lib Dems on about 40 seats. That would lead to much horse trading behind the scenes if that scenario happens.

  15. If that happens there will be little horse-trading. The Lib Dems will favour a deal with Labour so if the maths stack up that’s what they will do. It will help their equidistant image to have gone into coalition with both parties rather than twice with just the Tories.

    The horse trading will happen if the Tories very narrowly win most seats, but a Lab+LD+SDLP etc coalition remains mathematically doable. The Lib Dems would prefer to go with Labour, but that would mean not working with the party with most seats.

  16. akmd, that is true, but I also think the swing to Labour is going to vary according to region. So pretty much all the northern regions, London and some parts of the Midlands are likely to record the larger Con => Lab swings. In the three southern regions, larger swings will be confined mainly to their most likely gains. That is what’ll separate being the largest party to having an overall majority.

  17. Thats what you hope Neil rather than reality.

    The Northern regions and Wales will overswing to labour. The urban West Midlands will swing pretty heavily as well. London and the South will swing below average.

  18. That might even suit Labour since there aren’t many seats in London which fall to Labour with a very small swing from the Tories. There’s Hendon, which could be a decent outside shot for the Tories to hold, Enfield N which is almost certainly a goner for the Tories, Brentford & Isleworth, and that’s basically it. I already have the Tories holding Ealing C & Acton & Croydon C & currently very slightly favour Labour taking Harrow E, but if the swing is, say, 1% less than the national average in London but 1% more in the NW, Labour will not be too unhappy. I have a suspicion that the Tories will pile up too many large majorities in already safe seats, but of course I could be proved wrong.

  19. “some parts of the Midlands are likely to record the larger Con => Lab swings”

    At the moment I’m inclined to the view that the Midlands marginals will be a bit disappointing for Labour in comparison to the rest of the country.

  20. I was under the impression that nearly all of Southampton’s more desirable housing was in this seat and it was consderably more affluent than neighbouring Itchen which of course is now the more marginal seat

    Were some of these moved to the Southampton North & Romsey seat prior to the 2010 result?

  21. The Tories’ best ward was moved into the Romsey seat in 2010 IIRC.

  22. Thanks Andy – I thought that might have been the case

  23. “At the moment I’m inclined to the view that the Midlands marginals will be a bit disappointing for Labour in comparison to the rest of the country.”

    In the East Mids, the only ones I’d say are quite certain gains are Amber Valley, Sherwood, Broxtowe and Lincoln based on how marginal they are. Everything else IMO will be a challenge.

    For the West Mids, North Warwickshire, Wolverhampton SW, Nuneaton, Cannock Chase (a lot of it down to the loss of incumbency due to the MP standing down) and maybe Halesowen and Rowey Regis are their best hopes. Not so sure about all the others. Especially the Staffordshire seats which have trended away from them. Redditch might have been a possible gain, but the scale of Jacqui Smith’s defeat in her circumstances makes it near impossible to gain it in 2015.

  24. …And despite the fact that Labour has a new PPC for Redditch.

  25. ‘For the West Mids, North Warwickshire, Wolverhampton SW, Nuneaton, Cannock Chase (a lot of it down to the loss of incumbency due to the MP standing down) and maybe Halesowen and Rowey Regis are their best hopes.’

    I would have thought Dudley South a more likely gain than Halesowen & Rowley Regis

    Labour require quite a big swing to take it but the Tories have a weak incumbant who is unlikely to have built much of a personal vote – so I think Labour could achive quitge a big swing here to take it

    Otherwise I think you’re right. I don’t see them winning in many of Staffs semi-marginals they held between 97-2010

  26. I agree with Neil’s analysis of the Midlands marginals though I think Erewash will also be a Labour gain as the incumbent is standing down and Labour have had decent showings in recent local elections. I would also favour Dudley South over Halesowen for a possible gain but I would not be surprised if Labour only gain the other four West Midlands seats that Neil mentions.

  27. I think this is all very sensible…labour gains for 2015? I think most of their top 40 targets, with the possible exceptions of Waveney, Brighton Pavilion, Bedford, Gloucester. Hastings will be interesting too.

    Of the next 20, I expect labour to get a third. I think they may gain Cannock, Erewash, Wirral West and Birmingham Yardley.

    I can see Labour gaining about 45 seats to take them over 300. I don’t think they will lose any seats they currently hold.

    There are big doubts about Miliband’s fitness for the office of Prime Minister. He simply isn’t particularly convincing as a national leader. Though the same was said about Thatcher at the beginning. I don’t think many people were saying this in 1978.

  28. Waveney, Brighton Pavilion, Bedford and Gloucester are all seats that I think Labour will miss out on along with Stroud, Morecambe and a few others that I can’t remember at the moment. I do think they will win Hastings and by a bigger margin than Brighton Kemptown or Hove. Not so sure about Birmingham Yardley. The LD vote has held up better there than in many other urban areas so I think John Hemming could just hold it. Wirral West I can see being a very narrow Tory win but I suppose Labour have a decent chance there.

  29. ‘I can see Labour gaining about 45 seats to take them over 300. I don’t think they will lose any seats they currently hold.

    There are big doubts about Miliband’s fitness for the office of Prime Minister. He simply isn’t particularly convincing as a national leader’

    i agree with all of that

    It seems a clever budget politically, but personally i think a lot lot of the people who it is designed to benefit, or keep on-side, will have voted tory in 2015 anyhow

    Milliband just doesn’t look like a PM in waiting, and whilst Labour might regain a more convincing lead in the polls, I don’t see them ever again in this Parliament reaching the 7-8% leads they were averaging last year

    ‘I do think they will win Hastings and by a bigger margin than Brighton Kemptown or Hove.’

    I would expect hastings to go labour, kemptown and hove are more tight, but with the way things look at the monent the tories could be reduced to three seats in east sussex – which is quite a contrast to what is likely to happen elsewhere in the south east where I envisage: the torie quites comfortably holding off Labour challenges in most of the marginals

  30. the tories will perform disproportionately well in the south east, where miliband will have no traction whatsoever.

    FYI, I think Hove is more likely to go labour than hastings. doubts abt. miliband will deny labour a majority but, in US terms, the “path” to 300 seats for him is pretty straightforward.

    the budget was about bringing tory-ukip defectors back on side. i think that is necessary but not sufficient for tory victory in 2015.

    It’s still labour’s to lose, though recent polls have seen them more jittery than at any time this parliament, certainly than at any time in the last 2 years.

  31. I really think it’s the other way round. The Tory vote in Hastings has dropped considerably since 2010. In last year’s county council elections, they only won 1 of the 8 divisions covering Hastings. Although they did win the Rother divisions that are in the parliamentary seat, Labour’s lead in the constituency was still almost 10 points. Sarah Owen also seems to be a good candidate so I’ll be quite surprised if she fails to unseat Amber Rudd given the strong local performance for Labour.

    I think Hove has a more stubborn Conservative vote which Labour will have trouble taking votes from. The Greens have had some success in central Hove locally and if that were repeated in next year’s GE, that would help Labour take the seat. I agree with Tim that the Tories will hold off Labour in the majority of the SE marginals but not in East Sussex.

  32. Good point, AKMD…UKIP can cause some damage in East Sussex as well, of course, and may do comparatively well in Hove when they will do badly in the other two Brighton seats (i.e. Pavilion and Kemptown). And yes, my fellow Greens have indeed had good success in Central Hove and Brunswick which is somewhat due to the meltdown of Brighton’s Liberal Democrat group, which had more natural Liberal strength in the Hove constituency than the two main parts of Brighton.

  33. I think Rudd has some recognition in Hastings, while Weatherley is relatively unknown in Hove. I also think Rother will vote heavily Conservative come 2015…let’s see.

    But actually acc. to the bookies both are seen to be Labour gains.

    Even in 1992, Kinnock picked up 42 odd seats. I expect labour will pick up a similar number in 2015. As we cannot stress enough, the Tories had a majority of 102 in 1987, making a Labour outright victory very difficult in 1992. in 2010 there was a hung parliament.

    put another way, the difference in terms of numbers of seats in the commons between the tories and labour was 140+ after the 87 election, whereas it’s barely 50 now.

    The Miliband = Kinnock, and therefore doesn’t get in argument fails on the basis that if he does as badly as Kinnock, Miliband is likely to be the leader of the largest party in the commons. He has to do a lot worse than Kinnock did to fail in this.

  34. Just as long as he doesn’t do a ‘we’re alright’ type speech followed by a tumble 😉

  35. Speaking of Kinnock, I saw him speak at a comedy night in Nottingham on Thursday. I must say I’ve never quite understood the public antipathy towards him. He’s a very powerful speaker and comes across as very genuinely believing what he says.

    That he changed what he believed as time went by seems to have been his maturing politically rather than opportunism. But what do I know.

  36. I think where the LD vote collapses some of it will move across to Conservative aswell as to Labour.

  37. Is A Brown’s first name Justine?

  38. “Speaking of Kinnock, I saw him speak at a comedy night in Nottingham on Thursday. I must say I’ve never quite understood the public antipathy towards him.”

    That’s because you weren’t born, let alone politically aware, in the 1980s. (apologies if I’m wrong, but I think you said you’re a student)

  39. Recent Comments Bar-

    8 hours ago- The Results, The Results, The Results, The Results, The Results.

    Then one minute, Pump, Pump, Pump, Pump, Pump etc.

    Next minute, Joe James B, Joe James B, Joe James B so on, so on…


  40. H. Hemmelig,

    Correct, and I plead guilty to speaking after the fact, but he certainly doesn’t seem any worse a leader than, for example, Michael Howard for the Conservatives, who nevertheless isn’t considered such a historic failure.

  41. ‘The Tory vote in Hastings has dropped considerably since 2010. In last year’s county council elections, they only won 1 of the 8 divisions covering Hastings.’

    Totally agree

    Owen seems like a credible candidate and it’s worth remembering that Hastings is a depressed seaside resort, whereas Hove, whilst not quite as up-market as it once was, is still a largely desirable place to live with enough wealthy voters meaning the Tories will always be at least competitive

    ‘But he certainly doesn’t seem any worse a leader than, for example, Michael Howard for the Conservatives,’

    I think there’s quite a few paralells between Kinnock and Howard.

    Despite hailing from the Right (in Howard’s case) and the Left (in Kinnock’s case), both did quite a lot of largely unrecognised job of sorting their parties out so that whereas they both fell short, the party they handed on to their successors was in a better shape than the one they both inheritted

    Howard got a slightly easier ride in the press than Kinnock – due to the fact that the UK press is mostly Tory – but both were equally disliked by the public, to the extent that you could never really see either of them elected PM

  42. I think labour had a chance of winning in 1992 but did not, whereas in 2005 the aim was to restore credibility and discipline, and see the words Con Gain flash up again, so the starting positions were different. I do think Kinnock deserves credit for restoring a position similar to 1979 though.

  43. Kinnock did a much more complete job than Howard, quite naturally given that he was leader for four times as long. As Joe says, Kinnock took Labour from complete unelectability to within an inch of being able to win a general election. He did all the dirty work which enabled Blair to cruise to a landslide when the political weather changed.

    Howard simply enabled the Tories to go down to a less humiliating third defeat than would have happened under IDS. He did not do all or even most of the necessary groundwork to make the Tories electable again, he only had 2 years in the job after all. Cameron’s failure to win a majority, in contrast to Blair’s landslides, is evidence of this. Indeed not even Cameron has made the Tories fully electable.

  44. We had a relatively good (I say relatively) good night in London
    and a few other places
    and thwarted the march of the Liberal Democrats particularly their decapitation strategy and nornally achieved a swing the other way round against them
    but the contininuing decline in our vote in the cities outside London and the poor harvest of seats in battlegrounds like W Yorkshire was still extremely serious.

  45. 2005 was about restoring credibility for progress afterwards.
    But those who find opposition comfy and think 33% of the vote is ok (and fewer seats than Foot)
    are satisfied too easily

  46. UKIP had a Jamaican-born candidate standing here in 2010, Pearline Hingston. I don’t know whether she intends to stand again next time.

  47. Southampton popular votes:

    Lab 19,335 (33.87%)
    Con 17,659 (30.94%)
    UKIP 8,640 (15.14%)
    LD 4,789 (8.39%)
    Green 2,933 (5.14%)
    Ind 2,096 (3.67%)
    TUSC 1,628 (2.85%)

    Changes since 2010 locals:

    Lab +0.84%
    Con -3.27%
    UKIP +14.07%
    LD -20.05%
    Green +2.31%
    Ind +3.25%
    TUSC +2.85%

    Swing, Con to Lab: 2.06%

  48. What a great tory result in Southampton. There were close calls but they held all wards but Shirley and gained Portswood, Swaythling and one of the 2 up in Millbrook. Labour confirmed their by-election victory in Peartree though the tories ran them quite close and lost Coxford to an independant. Most of Labour’s other victories were underwhelming

  49. prediction for 2015-

    lab- 33%
    con- 30%
    UKIP- 15%
    Lib- 12%
    Green- 4%
    Indy- 3%
    TUSC- 3%

    You might be thinking YOU CRAZY? But as Andy points out this is pretty similar to this years council elections. Here we will see a lot of labour’s white vote migrate to UKIP, the tories will also be damaged by them but they will be polling pretty well this time (ish) next year. The greens will and the TUSC will also contribute to the vote being so narrow here.

  50. I think labour will win Test by more than that – but Itchen really does look like a good prospect…

Leave a Reply

NB: Before commenting please make sure you are familiar with the Comments Policy. UKPollingReport is a site for non-partisan discussion of polls.

You are not currently logged into UKPollingReport. Registration is not compulsory, but is strongly encouraged. Either login here, or register here (commenters who have previously registered on the Constituency Guide section of the site *should* be able to use their existing login)