People I see keep asking me about exit polls, so just so you know there probably aren’t any – or at least, none giving an early heads up of the result; the BBC or Sky may well have done some normal polling just to add colour to their coverage.

I haven’t asked round the pollsters, but I’m fairly certain no one will do it. It would be illegal to publish any exit poll of the European elections until after 9pm on Sunday night (in 2004 the police even investigated Populus for publishing eve-of-poll figures from the three all-postal regions prior to the election, since they were effectively an exit poll).

However, since the votes are being counted earlier than that in most regions enabling the actual results to be reported shortly after 9pm, it would be rather a waste of money to pay for an exit poll that will only pre-empt the results by a couple of minutes.

While one could conduct and report an exit poll of the local election results, we’ve never seen exit polls for local elections in the past, so I doubt we’ll see them now.

So, anyone looking for exit polls, I’m afraid there won’t be any (though do check the comments below this, since following me summing up the final polls, and there being an extra final poll, I expect the first comment will end up being from a pollster saying “actually we’re doing one!”)


317 Responses to “Looking for exit polls?”

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  1. @ Graham

    Labour probably got that swing back to them because the economy was doing well and the conservatives were stillpulling themselves together, Labour had done alot of good then.
    Now the situation is completly different, Labour is doing little to nothing right, Brown has his cabinet crumbling apart, backstabberss in the poarty, Labour’s support is collapsing, their govt. is clearly exhausted and dieing. It would take a hell of alot more to make any large swing to labour like in 2004.

  2. Surely the so-called swing-back between 2004 and 2005 simply reflects that many people would have voted against the government in 2004 as a “safe” protest while reverting to Labour at the general election. I don’t think that local election results provide very much information at all on GE voting patterns. Since 1997, Labour have been losing ground in local elections while winning two further GEs. There used to be an old adage about voting Tory locally to encourage efficient local services, but Labour nationally to maintain social spending.

    Despite all the talk by parties about “real votes” telling the true pictiure, I think that opinion poll questions about voting intention at a GE are much more valuable as a predictor for the next GE than local election votes, and would still be predicting a comfortable victory for David Cameron despite the fall in the local election.projections. Of ourse, that’s this week! Right now, a day is a long time in politics!

  3. Whatever the real vote share turns out to be in the locals, the vote was before Purnell, Hoon, Flint, veteran boos at D-Day, etc etc and the cabinet lolshuffle. The vote is probably already out of date even if it did have value for projecting for a GE.

  4. Also if the Mandleson letters in the News of the World tomorrow turn out to be real, regardless of their date, its not going to help.

  5. Are the BBC’s projected national share amended to take into account the lack of elections in metropolitan districts.

    Labour’s core vote isnt in the shire counties, if the percentage of votes for labour was 22% in areas that they wouldnt expect to do well even when ahead in the polls then i would think that to be quite a good result for Labour.

    If on the other hand its 22% projected as if their was an election everywhere, or wighted to include people who would have voted Labour in the cities. Then it would look like a very bad night for labour.

    To see what I mean take the results map from the BBC
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/shared/bsp/hi/elections/local_council/09/map/html/map.stm
    And then take the map of seats at the 2005 general election:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2005UKElectionMap.svg

    Look at how all the white areas on the 09 locals map corrolate with all the red areas on the 05 GE map.

  6. Leslie, I agree that locals give very little indication of how a future GE will go. A point given repeatedly by Mike Smithson over at PB is that the recent oppinion polls for Labour give an indication of the number of die hard Labour voters out their. Similar to how the tory polls in the mid 90’s showed exacly how many die hard tories their were.

    I think that local elections are also a good measure of how badly a wose case scenario for a party could be. I would therefore be very suprised if labour got less than 28% at the generel election, I would be equaly suprised if the Liberals got less than 28%.

    The next election will depend upon the tories ability to get out the vote, if they can pull a result in the 40% region then theyve got a good majority, if they can only get 38% then they could have a hung parliament. Of course I’m assuming a uniform swing, which is a naive thing to do especialy given thurdsays locals.

  7. Michael,
    You say that ‘Labour had done a lot of good then’.Does that include having led the country into an illegal war in Iraq? It was pretty clear by 2005 that Blair had blatantly lied about WMD – and was widely perceived to be a war criminal. None of this, however, prevented the very substantial swing back to the Government.

  8. Yes, and they did loose alot of seats due to it, but the economy was strong and growing, the conservatives didnt really offer anything better than Labour and no one thought the Lib Dems could win (or atleast no where near enoguh people) and the govt. was standing strong together.

    Now the situation is completly different, we have mass expsenses scandle, mass job losses (predicted to rise), a govt. falling apart with cabinet members leaving left right and centre, a PM who is unelected and unpopular, a resurgent tory party with a young new leader and a far more popular third party.

  9. Kier – the projected shares of the vote that the BBC and Rallings & Thrasher do at each election are a projection of what the shares of the vote would be if there were local elections across the entire country.

  10. So when exactly do we learn the Euro Results? Have they already been counted thus allowing us results on the dot of 9pm Sunday, or is that when the counting starts?

  11. Rallings and Thrasher’s calculations for the projected national shares have just been released on the Sunday Times websites. The figures they give are:

    C – 35% (38%)
    LD – 25% (28%)
    Lab – 22% (23%)

    Figures in brackets are the BBC’s projected shares, which I think are calculated by John Curtis.

    Regarding the Euro elections, I think they start counting at about 6pm so some results may be ready at 9pm such as in Greater London. It depends on whether there need to be any recounts for a particular seat.

  12. A comparison of these R+T figures with what happened in 2004 (using the R+T projection from that year) would give a predicted Euro election result this year of:

    C – 25.7%
    Lab – 18.6%
    LD – 12.9%

  13. The Tory share is actually 2% lower this year compared to 2004 with the R+T projections so the predicted Tory share in the Euro election this year should have been 24.7% not 25.7%. The other figures are correct:

    C – 24.7%
    Lab – 18.6%
    LD – 12.9%

  14. I’d like to also note that I find the extrapolations of parties’ votes to be terribly useless this time. Though I know Labour tends to do poorly in a lot of these races, I do suspect that they had an unusual amount of trouble getting candidates to run this time. In some counties, I’d wonder if someone hadn’t mixed up the century given how poorly organized Labour seemed to be (and how well, by comparison, the LibDems were doing): Labour came second on exactly four occasions, and three of those were places they had controlled (the exception was Cumbria, which seems “uncontrollable” as a rule). In Staffordshire, they went straight from government to fourth place as far as seats went. On no less than 4 occasions they seem to have been outdone in seat totals by a minor party (my personal favorite being Staffordshire on account of UKIP and the LibDems getting to flip a coin for opposition there), and on four occasions they got blown clear off (incl. Cornwall) while they were knocked down to a single seat on 5 more councils.

    Finally…what the devil happened in Cornwall? 32 independents makes no sense whatsoever…nothing like that seems to have happened elsewhere, so why Cornwall? Was it just being a new unitary authority, or was there something funny going on there? I ask not only because of the pile-o-indies, but also because Labour regularly embarassed themselves there with low single digit vote shares and finishes in 5th or less.

  15. By the way, an odd follow-up: When were the filing deadlines for the local races?

  16. Thanks Anthony,
    Perhaps the beeb should put some methodology on their website, it would be helpful.

    Is that all of England or all of GB?

  17. Quincel,

    Counting begins at 5pm today in London if that helps.

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