Polling of local elections is very rare – presumably because they only cover part of the country, and it is hard to actually get any meaning out of the figures. What exactly does a four point Labour lead in local elections in the areas where there happens to be local elections that year mean? Still, we’ve had a go!

The YouGov local election poll in the Sun today is based on just repondents in those areas that actually have local elections in May – that is, excluding London, Scotland, Wales and the 13 or so councils who do not have elections this year (primarily Cornwall, Durham, the Isle of Wight, Northumberland, Shropshire and Wiltshire, with a handful of district councils with unusual electoral cycles).

Topline figures, with comparisons to how people voted in 2007 when these council seats were last contested, are:

CON 34%(-4), LAB 38%(+16), LDEM 13%(-11), Others 15%

Note that these figures are NOT compable to the Equivalent National Vote shares that are calculated by the BBC, and later by Rallings & Thrasher, on local election night. The NEV is a notional projection of what the local election shares of the vote would be if every single part of the country had had local elections, these figures are just people in areas that actually do have local elections. They are, of course, still not perfect – there will be some wards in councils with elections by thirds that don’t have an election this time round, and many people in three member wards will end up splitting their votes between parties… but it’s the best I think can be reasonably done.

More importantly, how would these figures actually translate into seats? Now, there is no easy formula or calculation for this, but the Sun have got Colin Rallings to do a projection based on these shares of the vote. Prof Ralling’s calculations are that this would lead to the Conservatives losing 1000 council seats (about a fifth of those they are defending), and the Liberal Democrats will lose 700 (well over a third of the 1850 seats they are defending). The Liberal Democrats would lose control of 11 councils out of the 25 they currently control.

126 Responses to “YouGov local election poll”

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  1. @Eoin,

    But you yourself are in favour of bombing Africans (just so long as they are not muslims). Doctor, heal thyself?

  2. Neil A,

    Incorrect. And substantially so. Ordnance has no place in in society. Blue capped [UN] unarmed policemen is as far as I would go.

    Rules of engagement?: Never fire.

    simply to create peace zones while a diplomatic solution was found.

  3. Amber

    “I can only assume that Hilary Clinton is trying to turn the pressure up on Gaddafi by making the assumption that the Security Council would make this exception for the supply of weapons to the ‘rebels’.”

    My assumption is that she ( & others) have this part of 1973 in mind :-

    “Protection of civilians
    4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General,acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in
    cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures,notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and
    civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya,including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any
    part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the
    authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;”

    Thesignificant bit being

    “notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011),”


    “But you yourself are in favour of bombing Africans (just so long as they are not muslims). ”

    Its worse than that NEIL.

    Not speaking out when a Libyan bombs other Libyans -and then complaining when the UN bombs the bomber in defence of those other Libyans is not credible.

    THe stories of what he did to the young men of Ajdabia are awful, and the Amnesty report on his activities since the uprising just add to the appalling picture of this man’s treatment of anyone who speaks against him-muslim or non-muslim.

    The proposition that we should be more concerned about Al Qaeda in Libya than it’s ruler who invaded Chad & Egypt, founded the World Revolutionary Center (WRC) to train the globes most evil men, and killed more people on British soil than Al Qaeda ever did is preposterous.

  4. The Al Qaeda militants in Libya have faced UK personnel in Iraq & Afghan. Chances are the same men have shot and injured our servicemen. With family currently on tour in Afghan, it is a legitimate concern that UK armed forces are now providing bombing cover for men who previously attacked each and everyone of our families.

    The UK are now providing bombing cover for Gaddafi, hence there is no need to speak out on that matter.

  5. *The UK are *not*

  6. Well here is my take on tonight’s debate.

    Alex Salmond 8/10 – Once again he was very confident (perhaps a little smug) and answered the questions well and I have to admit that he was more positive than I am used to. The clear winner in this debate tonight.

    Annabel Goldie 6/10 – She also did well and spoke positively of her record in supporting positive parts of previous budgets. This will certainly be the tories’ core message in this campaign and she got that message out clear and concise.

    Iain Grey 3/10 – This was his big chance to get a positive message across to the voters who are more sceptical of him than they are of his party and he failed miserably. He hasn’t been helped with his U turn on the graduate endowment and the council tax freeze. He will have to do better in the future debates or he alone will be the reason labour lose this election from a position that seemed impossible just a few weeks ago.

    Tavish Scott 2/10 – He wants free education in Scotland while his leader the deputy PM is part of a government who has just broken a promise to English voters. He will need to qualify this position. However I don’t believe that anything Mr Scott says will help the Lib Dems from electoral oblivion in May.
    (A repost from another thread that I don’t think anyone is reading right now :) )

  7. If there was to be any intervention in Libya, of any type, I think the most preferable outcome would be the deployment of unarmed Turkish/Pakistan police to monitor the entrance and exit of every major town and city. Also, the creation of demilitarized zonal areas. That way you protect the safety of innocents.

    After that, whatever these big boys and girls get up to is their business.

  8. The Scotsman have the results of a YouGov poll for the Scottish Parliament today. The seat projection is Labour 57, SNP 48, Cons 13, Green 6, LD 5.

  9. @Eoin – “Rules of engagement?: Never fire.”

    That’s the doctrine the Dutch army famously applied in the Balkans, and if you speak to any self respecting Dutch man or woman today about it they feel ashamed for the ensuing bloodshed they allowed to happen.

    I’m an ultra leftie, broadly speaking tending towards the peace camp, but I’ve never subscribed to pacificism and I can see nothing but harm ultimately arising from the notion of never, ever allowing force to be used.

    However, as a general rule I have always thought that we should spend less on armies and weapons and much, much more on the secret intelligence services. Pretty much all the recent conflicts we have been involved with (2 Iraq wars, Falklands, Balkans, Afghanistan, Libya) have had at their heart the complete failure of intelligence. This makes the need for military intervention much more likely while also making prosecuting the wars much more costly in terms of lives and money.

    Our Foreign Office and intelligence services have completely failed to spot any of the the big global upheavals in recent decades, from the collapse of the Berlin Wall through invasions of UK sovereign territories and those of key allies to the business critical resource grab by the Chinese and the regional unrest in the oil rich Arab world.

    It’s a littany of disaster that has cost us very dear. I’m tempted to blame it on the highly educated Eton and Oxford chinless wonders that seem to populate those particular organs of the state but who couldn’t spot a revolution if they were sitting on it, but then I’d be accused of class envy.

  10. Incidentally, I’ve noticed Anthony has an advert running on this site for the Bank of Ireland offering guaranteed fixed rate savings at 3.55% APR for two years.

    Before anyone is tempted to invest their money in Irish banks, it’s worth reading Robert Peston’s blog on the BBC business pages. It makes pretty alarming reading. There is a major an ongoing capital flight from Ireland, which is probably why their banks are offering above market rates to attract our money.

  11. Alec,

    I didn’t know you were an ultra leftie, heck I didn’t even know you were a leftie.

    At present about 42.5% of the UK public support intervention in Libya. Only 40% oppose. So clearly I am in the minority argument on this one.

  12. Anthony

    I’ve only just realised that the fieldwork dates for these local government figures are 7-8 March – three weeks before they were published (not that the Sun seems to have mentioned that)

    From the original sample size of 2346 being reduced to 1712, I assume you put the questions in the daily poll and then stripped out the non-voting areas and re-weighted to fit the profile for the remaining areas. Now that the system is in place and the weighting targets calculated, is this going to be a regular poll in the run up to the local elections?

  13. Roger – yep. The delay was while the Sun contacted Colin Rallings and got some projections done (and because there were things like a Budget and Libya in between!)

    It was the Sun’s initiative, not mine, so I’ve no idea if they’ll be asking for it again.

  14. Despite the elderly nature of the data, the local results appear to be very bad news for the Lib Dems. Normally they can rely on an increase of up to 10% on their national poll ratings when local elections take place. The 13% in this poll is only 3% above the national figure.

    That said, because these figure are two months before polling day, the campaign would hardly have started and voters would still be thinking more nationally. Also many voters, especially for minor Parties, would not know if their preferred option have candidates in their ward. For example UKIP are only putting up about 1,000 candidates (and say they expect to win few extra seats). I think nomination close on next Monday, so people still really won’t know.

    That in itself raises an interesting question. Because of the stresses to be placed on local government in the next few years, are many councillors deciding not to re-stand? Most of the cuts are being delivered via local authorities and many existing councillors of all Parties may not have the heart or the energy to deliver them. Equally the situation may make it difficult to find candidates – particularly if they have a chance of getting elected.

  15. Eoin

    “it is a legitimate concern that UK armed forces are now providing bombing cover for men who previously attacked each and everyone of our families.”

    THe regime in Libya killed 259 foreign nationals & 11 residents of Lockerbie, when it blew up Pan Am Flight 103.

    THe Libyan regime killed countless British residents with the cargoes of mv Claudia, mv Eksund, trawler Casamara, ; and their undetected counterparts.

    Never forgetting WPC Yvonne Fletcher.

    THe INterim TRansitional National Council of Libya has published it’s objectives for the governance of that country.

    They were presented to the LOndon Conference and can be read here :-

    h ttp://ntclibya.org/english/libya/

    The way to defeat Al Queda & their ilk is to put in place democratic institutions , and allow people to vote for their government in free & fair elections-not to prop up murderous dictators as a bulwark against our fears.

    THat doctrine is finished totally -discredited by the Arab Spring, and it’s brave , articulate & educated revolutionaries.

  16. Colin,

    I have no chosen to converse with you on the Libyan situation. and with respect I will not now.

    I have little doubt that your opinion is founded on principle and long term humanitarian concerns. I respect that. no doubt if you thought there was a less painful way, you would choose that also.


  17. Eoin

    “I have no chosen to converse with you on the Libyan situation. and with respect I will not now.”

    I understand.

    I wasn’t looking for a conversation with you on the topic.
    I disagree with you profoundly & we will never agree.

    However, that doesn’t mean that I have no desire to put an alternative point of view & introduce a few facts.

    THat I addressed you as the source of the quote was mere courtesy :-)

  18. Colin,

    Thanks, Understood.

    A separate favour if I may? I am looking for a VAT decile chart? A good one. The ones I find dont base it on income deciles… do you have one?

  19. @ Colin

    Thesignificant bit being

    “notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011),”
    That’s what some are saying but they are not correct.

    Because after this “notwithstanding”, Res 1973 specifically mentions “The Arms Embargo”
    & goes on (at para 13)
    “Decides that paragraph 11 of resolution 1970 (2011) shall be replaced by the following paragraph : “Calls upon all Member States, in particular States of the region, acting nationally or through regional organisations or arrangements, in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo established by paragraphs 9 and 10 of resolution 1970 (2011)”

    So AFTER the “notwithstanding”, UNSCR 1973 specifically states: “…in order to ensure strict implementation of the arms embargo..”

    It also emphasises (at para26 & I am paraphrasing rather than restate what I posted yesterday) that the approval of the UNSC will be required for any exceptions.

    So, of course, there can be exceptions but that is always the case because the UNSC can always amend, add to or make a new resolution.

  20. @ Virgilio

    “The feeling I get from France is that S. Royal does not have a chance this time, maybe the novelty of her candidature has worn out. The real choice is between Aubry and Strauss-Khan, and there is a widespread view that they will not stand against each other in the socialist primary of June, but will instead come to an agreement (e.g. if Strauss-Khan finally runs for the office and wins, Aubry will be PM). Anyway, I am very suspicious of situations where things seem so be “arranged” in advance, many people hate this because they feel that their opinion does not count. As for Marine Le Pen, she is of course much more dangerous than her father: having “modernized” her discourse, she now appeals to a broader audience, offering the “solutions” (based on islamophobia, anti-immigration policies, security etc.) that they want to hear, but in a more subtle and “secular” way. Of course the first to suffer from this is the presidential UMP party, which now seems to be in shambles after its repeated defeats in local elections and its constant infighting, but in the long run no one is immune, and of course the left-wing “populists”, such as Besancenot of Melenchon see their potential audience shrink, since Marine’s message is much more powerful. Another consequence is that the “centrist” , moderate and pro-European electorate, allergic to all this populist commotion, tends to federate around the socialist candidate, especially if this is Strauss-Kahn.”

    Fascinating. Strauss-Kahn has been around a while right? I think if he and Aubry enter into an agreement, it’s not a bad thing. He’s a stronger candidate and they’re both of the same party. They may want to avoid dividing the party in a heated primary. And as you point out, while the Socialists would easily beat LePen head to head, if they don’t get the opportunity to do so as in 2002, you may be stuck with Sarkozy for another 5 years.

  21. @ John Murphy

    “Thanks for all the detail…really interesting…..I too think Mr Davis got an unfair trashing…but as I’m constantly reminded none of this is about, fair, or right, or better….

    It seems though we stand on the shoulders of giants that our need to make our own mistakes dwarfs our capacity to really learn from them….”

    I love politics and I tend to be an optimist at heart but you’re right that a lot of it is not about what’s fair or right. Davis was unfairly trashed by the media. I will say though that he is personally far better off today than he was at any point during his political career. So I take solace in that. It would be a far worse situation I think if he was an embittered, unhappy man who’s life was destroyed by what haeppenned to him.

    I like your line there about standing on the shoulders of giants. We often seem to need to repeat our mistakes before we learn from them.

  22. Amber


    I disagree.

    I thnk para 13 is a technical point about implementation of an arms embargo.

    The “notwithstanding” caveat in para 4 clearly relates to the purpose of para 4-“Protection of Civilians”. It was clearly put in for a reason. And I think it was intended-as Clinton said to allow the arming of civilians in order to enable their protection.

    And here is the problem for the UN agents in the Coalition.

    Are the Interim Council fighters “civilians”-or combatants?

    Are Gaddaffis’s forces, who today pushed the IC fighters back, threatening “civilians” -before they attack the residents of Ajdabyia again?

    I think we can clearly see in the reluctance of UN forces to hit loyalist forces today, a recognition that they were not-at that point-threatening “civilians”.

    If & when loyalist forces are again on the outskirts of “civilian populated areas” ( a specific phrase in 1973) , and firing on them, I have no doubt that the UN will attack them under 1973-as they are doing in MIsrata-including Misrata Port where loyalist ships attacked a marine based humanitarian effort.

    I concede-as anyone watching this must-that if the ITNC fighters are not able to help themselves, through lack of military training & discipline, then the UN agents are probably only entitled to protect them if & when they are forced back into civilan populated areas.

    And if they cannot hold Ajdabyah again, that might well mean a repeat of the protection of Benghazi .

    I note that WH said today in HoC that the legality of arming rebel fighters was one thing-but the advisabity of doing so was something else.
    I was pleased to hear him say this-I think it would be folly to arm this seemingly brave , but undisciplined citizen army.

    I would rather see UN forces just take out loyalist forces wherever they are-attacking civilians, or attacking ITNC forces- than arm the latter with no effect.

    I never thought ITNC forces would get beyond Sirte-and they couldn’t take that.

    This begins to look like partition to me-and if ITNC forces cannot retake Ras Lanuf they will have no oil revenue with which to run their half of the country.

  23. @Colin
    Smacks of Colonial Powers going to other countries and dividing them up eg India/Pakistan, N.Ireland/Eire, Israel/Palestine etc.

  24. LIZ

    It started with the defence of Benghazi-that was a noble thing for the UN to do.

    It avoided the slaughter of mant residents of that city.

    Even if the rest turns out to be a mess, that will still have been a noble & humane thing to do.

  25. “Smacks of Colonial Powers going to other countries and dividing them up eg India/Pakistan, N.Ireland/Eire, Israel/Palestine etc.”

    Lazy thinking and- basically- nonsense.

    Western// NATO/ UN/ EU interventions to avoid Srebrenica style scenarios and that assist people in removing brutal dictator) are still *fundamentally* incredibly noble.

    The problem is we are not consistent and give the impression of letting our mates off the hook whilst applying a different standard to those we have historically not liked.

    In my view – currently- we should be acting all across the Arab and Muslim world to support the grassroots, community and rebel movements.

    The best way to undermine AQ (and the nihilists of Hamas and Hezbollah) is to assist ordinary people (not the unrepresentative morons that our liberal lefties so worship) to take democratic control of their countries.

    Pacifism? Go tell that to Pastor Martin Niemöller

    Pacifism IMHO is the stuff of pompous egotistical unthinking small minds.

  26. @ Colin

    “It started with the defence of Benghazi-that was a noble thing for the UN to do.

    It avoided the slaughter of mant residents of that city.

    Even if the rest turns out to be a mess, that will still have been a noble & humane thing to do.”

    I’m in complete agreement. Hopefully this will not turn out to be a mess.

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