One more final poll for the referendum tomorrow – YouGov for the Sun have topline figures of YES 40%, NO 60%. That’s in the same sort of ball park as YouGov’s AV polling over the last fortnight or so, a very substantial NO lead (unless the polls are horribly, horribly wrong a NO victory appears a certainty) but not as large as suggested by ComRes and ICM. The poll was conducted yesterday and today, with a sample of 5,725.

There is apparently also an Angus Reid poll on AV due out tonight – I do not know when or where.

To avoid confusion, people are also tweeting a poll from the Metro apparently showing a 4 point lead for Yes. I’ve no idea of the veracity of the poll, but it is of readers of Metro under the age of 44, so is not intended to be a nationally representative poll or a prediction of the overall result.

UPDATE: The final Angus Reid poll on AV is now out, and has YES on 39%, NO on 61%

206 Responses to “Final YouGov AV poll”

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  1. Roger M

    “For technical reasons, it’s quite difficult to assess what the exact percentages for the main Parties are even in the areas that did have elections, never mind extending it to the whole of Britain. Wikipedia gives the 2007 figures as Con 39%; Lab 27%; Lib Dem 26%”

    If you go here

    h ttp://

    You’ll get the HoC library research paper for the 2007 local and elections.

    Elections were held in 312 local authorities in England and all 32 authorities in Scotland. In England, one-third of seats were contested in 36 Metropolitan Boroughs, 79 Shire Districts, and 20 Unitary Authorities; and seats were contested in 152 Shire districts and Unitary Authorities. In Scotland, all seats were
    contested on the 32 Scottish councils.

    (note last London LG was 2010 and before that 2006; last welsh LG was 2008 and before that 2004).

    In 2007 the Conservatives made a net gain of 39 councils and 927 seats. Labour had net losses of 16 councils and 642 seats. The Liberal Democrats had net losses of four councils and 257 seats.

    In the summary on page one the HoC library report states:

    “Estimates suggest that the Conservatives won 40% of the national equivalent share of the vote, Labour 26% and the Liberal Democrats 24%”

    = so a small difference to the wiki numbers.

    But as Phil points out Scotland LG won’t be included in any LG vote share projection tomorrow- so any understanding of tomorrows ‘headline vote share’ needs to comprehend that element.

    Apples and apples again- though I am sure some kind person will construct some kind of analysis that compares the vote tomorrow with the vote in 2007 only in the areas in play tomorrow.

    As Mike Smithson said it will be worth trying to compile GE projections/ comparisons by building up ward results in constituencies. Especially in Lib Dem and marginal seats.

    That seems to me a good way to compare the current situation (in specific places) with last years GE result and also those wards results in 2007.

    Incidentally HoC library numbers for local elections since 1998 indicate the best Labour performance since 2001 is likely….

    Year/ Con/ Lab/ LD/ OTH

    1998 33% 37% 25% 5%
    1999 34% 36% 25% 5%
    2000 38% 30% 26% 6%
    2001 33% 42% 19% 6%
    2002 34% 33% 25% 8%
    2003 35% 30% 27% 8%
    2004 37% 26% 27% 10%
    2005 33% 36% 23% 8%
    2006 39% 26% 25% 10%
    2007 40% 26% 24% 10%
    2008 43% 24% 23% 10%
    2009 35% 22% 25% 18%
    2010 36% 29% 23% 12%

    The Lib Dems have to get 13% or less to have their worst local elections since the mid 1970’s; in any event their worst performance since the setting up of the SDP was 17 in 1981 (matched in 1990 during the merger crisis).

    So current VI projections for the Lib Dems look utterly dire….

    But we’ll see over the next 30 hours :D

  2. Roger rebel,

    What was tonight’s YouGov, can you confirm?

  3. Billy Bob

    “If we just take Con/Lab/LD Councillors up for reelection (from the ALDC website):

    Mets…………… Con 184, Lab 392, LD 177
    Unitaries……..Con 912, Lab 484, LD 374
    Districts…….Con 3,943, Lab 722, LD 1,285

    Total: Con 5,039/ Lab 1,598/ LD 1,836/ Grn 59/ BNP 12/ Ind 306/ Other 554.

    Total 9,404. ”

    From HoC library the total Local Government Councillors by party affiliation since 1973.


    1973 7,709 9,781 1,427 183
    1974 8,102 10,325 1,474 664
    1975 8,301 10,117 1,462 685
    1976 11,077 8,213 1,113 132
    1977 12,370 7,115 950 965
    1978 12,645 6,644 923 920
    1979 12,222 7,410 1,059 388
    1980 11,738 8,011 1,149 325
    1981 10,545 8,999 1,455 208
    1982 10,447 8,774 1,850 099
    1983 10,557 8,782 2,171 570
    1984 10,393 8,870 2,331 515
    1985 10,191 8,746 2,633 432
    1986 9,216 8,759 2,971 364
    1987 9,141 8,525 3,640 974
    1988 9,150 8,601 3,518 968
    1989 9,242 8,636 3,343 958
    1990 9,020 8,920 3,265 968
    1991 7,985 9,504 3,672 997
    1992 8,288 9,102 3,728 977
    1993 7,802 9,213 4,123 948
    1994 7,286 9,257 4,551 941
    1995 4,883 10,461 4,942 157
    1996 4,276 10,929 5,078 157
    1997 4,449 10,608 4,754 076
    1998 4,772 10,411 4,629 083
    1999 6,144 9,134 4,485 973
    2000 6,748 8,536 4,472 078
    2001 6,941 8,487 4,382 132
    2002 7,177 8,117 4,379 069
    2003 7,776 7,175 4,581 101
    2004 8,033 6,652 4,708 201
    2005 8,193 6,500 4,743 233
    2006 8,482 6,105 4,708 229
    2007 9,431 5,483 4,420 164
    2008 9,721 5,122 4,467 225
    2009 9,553 4,436 4,083 060
    2010 9,447 4,808 3,844 954

    It will be interesting to see this total after tomorrows elections (even though only a proportion of the current total are up for election as you point out).

    For me a key question is this: can Labour get back above 6000 Councillors i.e. can they get back to the pre ‘Brown-epoch’ ?!

    To do so they need to make 1192 gains…..

    Tories are defending 53% of their council seats tomorrow/ Labour 33%/ Lib Dems 47% = goes to show what a good year for the coalition parties 2007 was ;-)

  4. @ Rob Sheffield

    Do all cities in the UK have councils?

  5. SoCalLiberal

    Yes and No. All cities will be represented by Councillors, but they won’t necessarily have a dedicated Council of their own. By city in this case I mean large Urban population.

    The situation is somewhat confusing as there are a number of different approaches across the UK, and the responsibilities of different levels of Councillor are very different. At one end you have a Birmingham City Councillor who is (jointly) responsible for 25 000 employees and a budget of approx £3bn, at the other end you have parish Councillors – here with a budget of £42k and a staff of 2.

    The only English exception I cam think of is the City of London that has it’s own unique setup (I mean the small area in the financial district rather than Greater London). For Scotland and Northern Ireland you’ll have to ask someone else…

  6. @All

    I agree that the papers will be full of the overall tally of seats and then onto what a GE with these figures would mean. The first figure is too broad and in some ways meaningless. The second aspect is basically speculation without real inpact. In the real world the detail that will impacts most on the electorate is that showing councils overall results. Losiing a few coouncillors per council often makes no real significant impact on the policies that affect the everyday life. Councils losing overall control and therefore having to amend policies to take into account new council coalitions will impact. Councils swopping control as the lead party changes will mean changes of policy at the very heart of the link between public and politicians. The impact on the councils’ willingness to fully implementate certain aspects of central government policy will be affected. It is in the councils won/lost/loss of control than the real effect of the election will be felt and realised in the coming year(s) to the next GE.

    I have tried to examine the chances of such council changes coming about, almost from a logical and mathematical point of view, hence my previous posts on different threads.

    Looking back at those threads my two recent ones on Metropolitan Boroughs may not have been seen as shortly afterwards everyone seems to have gone to this thread. Please indulge me if I repost them and invite comment as you will. At least it may give you an idea of some important councils results.

    How about some local council info to pass the time:

    Metropolitan Borough Councils

    I would like to make the following predictions:

    Labour will retain control of Barnsley,Coventry,Doncaster,Gateshead,Knowsley, Liverpool, manchester,Rotherham, St Helens,Salford, Sandwell, S Tyneside, Sunderland, Tameside,Wakefield, Wigan and Wolverhamton.

    Con will retain control of Dudley and Trafford.

    I will now deal in more detail with some of the others.

    Walsall – currently Con controlled
    Current holding 33 Con,18 Lab, 6LD, 3 Oth
    31 required for control
    Up for election 12Con,4Lab, 2LD, 2Oth
    Start count holdings
    Con 21
    Lab 14
    LD 4
    Oth 1
    Virtually impossible for Lab to win control, so to become largest party is only viable goal. To stop Con from overall control Lab needs to take 2 Con seats more than Con gains from LD/Lab/Ind. To get largest party Lab must win all its own seats, the 2 LD, the 2 Oth and 6 Con seats out of the 12 Con seats. Likely outcome therefore NOC with Con as the largest party.

    Newcastle upon Tyne LD control
    Currently 42LD, 34 Lab, 2Ind with 40 needed for control.
    Up for election 9Lab, 16LD, 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    LD 26
    Lab 23
    Ind 1
    Lab needs to take 2 LD seats more than LD gain from Lab/Ind. This is very likely.
    For overall control Lab must hold its own 9 seats and take 7 of the 16LD and 1 Ind. I think this is quite feasible. So my prediction is Lab just gaining overall control from LD.

    Stockport Current LD control
    Holdings 35LD, 13 Lab, 9Con, 6 Ind
    32 required for control
    Up for election 2Con, 5Lab, 13LD 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    LD 22
    Lab 8
    Con 7
    Ind 5
    3LD losses more than gains means LD loses contol. Lab cannot take control as start holdings 22+7+5 already add up to 34. To become largest party Lab must hold its own 5 seats and take a further 11 of the 13LD plus 1 of the Con/Ind – a very difficult task. Likely therefore that it will fall to NOC with LD the largest party.

    Now I will concentrate on the difficult ones – those currently with No Overall Control (NOC).

    May 4th, 2011 at 11:19 pm

    More Metropolitan Boroughs to amuse:

    Birmingham NOC Con largest party
    Current holding 45CON,41Lab, 31LD, 3 Respect
    61 needed for overall control
    Up for election 16Con, 13Lab, 10LD, 1Resp
    Start count holdings
    Con 29
    Lab 28
    LD 21
    Resp 2
    The threeway split makes it virtually impossible for Lab, Con or LD to take overall control, so NOC is the only thing up for grabs. The question is will Lab or Con (or LD but unlikely) be the largest party. The recent plls tend to suggest the lab v Con is slightly in Labs favour, however it is easier to defend seats than gain them and Con have a 1 seat start advantage and is defending 16 to Lab 13. Some could also say that it gives Lab 16 to 13 chnaces to make a gain. The key is probably in the LDs and that means in the LD wards up for election, who is best placed to make gains. My guess is that Lab will make just that fraction more headway, but itrealy will be very close, Definitely one to watch out for in getting an indication on how the Lab v Con battles is progressing.

    Bolton NOC Lab currently largest but so close now to overall control that it should be a cert. Lab Gain.

    Bradford NOC Lab currently largest but so close now to overall control that it should be a cert. Lab Gain.

    Bury NOC Con largest
    Holdings 23 Con, 20 Lab, 8LD
    Maj required 26
    Up for election 6Con, 7Lab, 3LD
    Start holdings
    Con 17
    Lab 13
    LD 5
    If Con hold its 5 seats then Lab cannot take overall control. To take overall control itself Con must hold its own 6 sets and take 3 of the 10Lab//LD. To be largest party Lab must hold its own 7 seats, gain the 3LD seat and 1 Con seat. Thus NOC but a toss-up as to the largest party slightly favouring Lab.

    Calderdale NOC Con largest
    Holdings 19Con,16LD, 10Lab, 5Ind, 1BNP
    26 for overall control
    Up for election 7Con, 4Lab, 5LD, 1 Ind
    Start count holdings
    Con 12
    LD 11
    Lab 6
    Ind 4
    BNP 1
    Neither Con nor Lab probable able to wrest overall control, so its largest party scenario.
    Lab would have to win 4Lab, 5LD 1Ind and 3 Con to take largest party. 13 out of 17 is a very tall order. So NOC with Con the largest party is more likely.

    May 5th, 2011 at 12:01 am

  7. @ The Sheep

    “Yes and No. All cities will be represented by Councillors, but they won’t necessarily have a dedicated Council of their own. By city in this case I mean large Urban population.

    The situation is somewhat confusing as there are a number of different approaches across the UK, and the responsibilities of different levels of Councillor are very different. At one end you have a Birmingham City Councillor who is (jointly) responsible for 25 000 employees and a budget of approx £3bn, at the other end you have parish Councillors – here with a budget of £42k and a staff of 2.

    The only English exception I cam think of is the City of London that has it’s own unique setup (I mean the small area in the financial district rather than Greater London).”

    Ah yes, you guys have educated me about the unique City of London set up. It’s still someplace where corporations get votes. We had an interesting conversation when I brought up the West Hollywood City Council election back in March and the differences between our local governments.

    I would imagine some councillors have different powers just based on the differences in their jurisdictions.

  8. @Socalliberal

    Good observations. Interestingly Birmingham is poised on a knife-edge as to which is the largest party Con (current) or Lab.

  9. Frank G

    I understand your logic, but I think results will be much more radical than you suggest. That is to say, Labour will make sweeping gains in some authorities way beyond your logic. Likewise, there will probably be a few areas where they don’tmake the impact where on paper they should.

    Whilst LDs can expect numerous losses overall, I think they will surprise to the upside in a few places where they may barely lose anything.

    Sorry I can’t give yu any historical data to back this up but I believe this to be the case.

  10. FrankG,
    The big question for Birmingham is whether the LDs will stick with their ‘we go with the largest party!’ talking point or just stick with the Tories (‘But they’re our coalition partners!’).
    I wonder if they’ll look at how many seats/votes they’ve lost to Labour and wonder if a Lab/LD council is possibly the best idea?

    On a wider note – if the LDs get absolutely thrashed in all the elections, and we see a LD polling drop then this would be the time for Labour to talk about future coalitions and tactical voting.
    If Labour help the LDs while they’re down (rather than kicking them), it sets them up solidly for a LD/LAB coalition in 2015 if we end up with another hung parliament.

  11. Also, I wonder how many Con seats will be won from LDs because of a drop in LD support with an increase in Lab support but Con wins because of the split vote problem.

  12. If you just take half of LD’s previous poll and give it to Labour and leave the rest untouched, who gains what?

  13. More Metropolitan Boroughs

    Kirklees NOC Lab largest
    Current 24 Lab, 20LD, 19Con, 4Grn, 2 Ind
    35 for overall control
    6Con 7Lab 8LD 2Grn up for election
    Start count holdings
    Lab 17
    Con 13
    LD 12
    Grn 2
    Ind 2
    Lab need to hold all its own 7 and take 11 of the remaining 16 seats up for election. IMO that is unlikely. Con on the other hand need to retain all its 6 seats and take 11 of the remaining 17 Lab/LD/Grn seats just to becomoe largest party. The most likely result is NOC with Lab still the largest party.

    Leeds NOC Lab largest
    Holdings 48Lab, 22Con, 21LD, 6Oth, 2Grn
    50 required for overall control
    Up for election 7Con, 15Lab, 8LD, 1Grn, 2 Oth
    Start Count holdings
    Lab 33
    Con 15
    LD 13
    Grn 1
    Oth 4
    Lab needs to retain its 15 seats and take just 2 of the remaining 18 seats to gain overall control. IMO this is a near cert of a Lab Gain.

    N Tyneside NOC Lab largest
    Current holding 29Lab, 24 Con, 7LD
    31 required for a majority
    Up for election 10 Con, 8Lab, 2LD
    Lab needs to retain its 8 seats and gain 2 more to take overall control. IMO this is highly likely and therefore this is another cert gain for Lab.

    Oldham NOC Lab largest
    Current holding 27Lab, 27LD, 4Con, 1 Ind, 1 Grn
    31 for majority
    Up for election 3Con, 9Lab, 9LD
    Start count holdings
    Lab 18
    LD 18
    Con 1
    Lab would love to gain this council. It needs to hold its own 9 seats and take 1 to become largest party and to take 4 to have overall control. IMO this is highly likely and this seems another cert Lab Gain.

    Rochdale NOC officially Lab the largest party
    Current holdings 22Lab, 17LD, 12Con, 9 Ind
    31 required for majority
    Up for election 3Con, 6Lab, 9LD
    Start count holdings
    Lab 14
    LD 8
    Con 9
    Ind 9
    Lab must hold all its own and gain 9 of the 12 Con/LD to gain control. Whilst nothing in Rochdale should be taken for granted (I remember the Cyril Smith by-election days!) IMO this is unlikely to happen. NOC with Lab as largest party is the on paper result. However the role of those 9 Ind Gp is crucial. A LD/Ind bloc supported by Con may well thwart Lab. Something at the back of the mind thinks that those Inds Group were former disgruntled LDs from 2008, but I could be wrong. LD has a LD Mayor and in the wards which Inds hold, in the 2010 elections the LD candidate seems to have got back in. So to claim this is NOC Lab largest party is probably misleading as it is the LD/Ind Gp that could still be the largest bloc. Support of the Con is then the power broker.

  14. SocialLiberal,

    Like nearly everything else in the Yookay, there are completely separate structures of local government in England, NI, Scotland and Wales. This was the case prior to devolution in 1999, and is even more pronounced now.

    Wikipedia has a few (often rather odd and strangely incomplete) articles on it, eg:

  15. @ Billy Bob and Frank

    Thank you both for all the hard work and info you put on this site – you give us plenty of actual stats to think about, and I really appreciate it.

    On getting back to a pre-Brown era tally, they would only have to win 750 seats to do that as 2007 was under Blair, but that was a pretty dismal showing anyway so I do agree that 1000 seats needs to be the aim for Labour.

    It’s interesting here in London as we have no council elections so it all seems very quiet and a little as though the campaigns have been very quiet (so my sense has been Royal Weddings and Bin Laden’s death has drowned out everything) but maybe locally in your areas tha campaign’s have been all singing and all dancing. We’ve just had a very anaemic yes campaign and a strong-ish No Campaign.

  16. @BT
    ‘I understand your logic, but I think results will be much more radical than you suggest.’

    That is the very point of doing this. I am trying to prove mathematically what the start count ie the seats NOT up for election means to the chances of any party gaining/losing largest party or overall control from the seats that are up for election.

    Council wards are very localised and only in a few cases within a council are they of a ‘marginal’ type. Thus the voting pattern is very similar from year to year irrespective of the UK wide variations in party popularity. It is therefore less likely that council seats will change between parties and where only 1/3rd are up for re-election, even less so. I have looked at 2008 and 2010 and the changes are small. Yet in 2008 Lab was in power and in 2010 Con won the GE, but Lab ‘won’ the local elections battle.

    There are councils where minor changes could have highly significant local effects. The latest polls seem to indicate that nationally Lab is not all that much in the lead that it leads us to expect radical changes at local level for most councils. You have said as much yourself, when you mentioned ‘I think they (LD) will surprise to the upside in a few places where they may barely lose anything.’

  17. On expectations:

    Although share of the vote is actually the most interesting, the set expectations (be they share of the vote or seats/councils taken) do give a benchmark by which leaders are judged.

    In this case if Labour were to do better than 1000 seats that would be “beyond our expectations” and seen to be the party moving ahead.

    I do have a hazy memory of even very poor opposition leaders (who were well behind in the polls) doing very well at council elections (e.g. Hague and IDS). If that is a precedent, surely even with a small VI lead in the polls Lab could do much better than predictions.


  18. @Tinged Fringe

    Your point on Birmingham is well taken. I have tried to show where councils can/cannot expect to have a party in overall control. I have not attempted to speculate on the ‘darken room horse-trading’ that will start on 6th May where there is NOC. We could be in for some very ‘strange’ coalitions a local level.

  19. @Nick Poole
    ‘If you just take half of LD’s previous poll and give it to Labour and leave the rest untouched, who gains what?’

    Wow, that is a lifetime task, examining each ward. The problem is that in most wards the localised electorate are voting for candidate they know and speak to, go to collect kids from school with, meet at coffe mornings etc. National voting trends are often either irrelevant or misleading. Some wards would vote in say a Con candidate because they are either known personally or because it is a certain social type of estate etc. This would occur no matter what the national poll lead for Lab may be. And similar with Lab wards etc. That is why ward changes in the majority of cases are resistant to change of party.

  20. As it stands at the moment (disregarding London/counties etc):

    Mets……… Con 577/ Lab 1,225/ LD 509/ total (inc others) 2,446
    Unitary…..Con 1,381/ Lab… 791/ LD 658/ total 3,138
    District ….Con 5,151/ Lab 1,096/ LD 1,798/ total 8,895

    Start point tonight (council seats in contention) breakdown:

    Con met 393 (184), unitary 469 (912), district 1208 (3,943)
    Lab met 833 (392), unitary 307 (484), district 374 (722)
    LD met 332 (177), unitary 284 (374), district 513 (1,285)

  21. @ Frank G

    Of course there is a local dimension to council voting patterns, but plenty of people who will vote today (I’m not going to say loads, because turn out is always pretty low) will be people who simply vote every four years in councils, and don’t keep pace with local issues and are simply voting against the national govt.

    I used to live in Richmond where the Cons were voted out over local issues a few years ago, bucking the national trend (very important local issues got voters to the polls). Just a few years later the LDs were swept away in the Tory surge of 2008/9 even though locally they were doing a great job (and exactly the job they were elected to do in the local protests of the previous elections.

    I guess localism can be strong counter current if the issues are big enough, but if there is a strong national current going in a particular direction then it can demolish the affects of local issues (it will be interesting to see what happens in places where there is a hospital at threat, or people losing their library etc.).

  22. @Adrian B,

    I would say a gain of at least 1,000 seats is what is expected and not beyond expectations. I think Labour will get it.

  23. @ Ambivalent

    I think cos the 1000 seat mark has been so widely quoted and mentioned, and seen as the benchmark, anything above 1000 seats will be seized on by Lab politicians (as they are wont to do) as “beyond expectations”.

    We may all have our own views about whether it should be a little or much above 1000 seats (e.g. “at this stage in the parlt Lab should 20 points ahead, anything below 1500 seats is terrible” etc. etc.) – but rightly or wrongly the 1000 seat totem has been marked by the media (much to the annoyance of some here who would prefer share of the vote to be the benchmark – and this is probably more indicative).

    I’m most interested in the share of the vote in Birmingham (and if Labour could win it back), partly cos I’m from there and it does seem to be a bellweather of national mood (didn’t flock to the Tories in 2010 even though they should have won a few seats easily if they were going to win a majority – e.g. my old home town Edgbaston).

  24. Mr Cameron has sweetly emailed me a letter today. Still doesn’t articulate the case well enough that those who gain the most votes are the very ones whose second preferences aren’t counted, but overall the message is finally clearer and quite powerful:

    “Today is a big day for our country. It’s AV referendum day and you need to make your voice heard. Unless enough people go out and vote, Britain could sleepwalk into a system that damages our democracy permanently. So I urge you to get down the polling station and vote ‘No’ to AV.
    Remember, there are five big reasons why:
    One – AV is complex. First Past the Post is so simple you can sum it up in seven words: the person with the most votes wins. AV is so confusing that when I was recently interviewed on the BBC, it became clear that one of their most experienced broadcasters didn’t understand how it worked.
    Two – AV is unfair. With First Past the Post, everyone gets one vote, and that vote is counted once. That’s fair. But under AV, supporters of extremist or fringe parties can get their votes counted again and again and again. That’s unfair. It’s simply not right that the fifth vote of a Monster Raving Looney supporter counts as much as your first vote.
    Three – AV takes power away from people and gives it to politicians. The great thing about our current system is that it always lets you kick dead-duck governments out on their ear. Remember 1979? Remember last year? Under AV, that sort of people power would be much less likely. It would mean more grey areas in election results, and more opportunities for tired politicians to cling on to power long after their time. Just think – if we’d had AV last year, Gordon Brown could still be in Downing Street today.
    Four – AV is costly. Money is tight at the moment, so why get rid of a system that is cheap to administer for one that will inevitably cost more and bring loads more bureaucracy? I know, you know, that our money could be better spent on other things.
    Five – AV is unpopular. First Past the Post is used by half the planet, from the world’s biggest democracy – India – to the world’s most powerful democracy – America. AV is used in just three countries: Australia, Fiji and Papua New Guinea. And in Australia, they want to get rid of it.
    Let the final word go to our greatest ever Prime Minister, Winston Churchill. He described AV as “the stupidest, the least scientific and the most unreal” voting system. He said it would mean elections are “determined by the most worthless votes given for the most worthless candidates”. He’s right. The campaigners for AV are wrong. So I urge you all to get down to the polling station today and vote ‘No’.
    Yours sincerely,

  25. Alex Salmond just texted me with a reminder to vote SNP. I suppose I’d better follow his advice. :-)

    Off to stand in the rain for a couple of hours and work the vote!

    Catch you guys later.

  26. @Adrian B,

    True, but that is just an example of ‘expectation’s management’ by the Labour Party. Given the low base they already have from 2007, it is expected that the Labour Party will gain at least 1,000 seats. Remember – even a 3% overall lead would probably equate to a gain of circa 1,300 or 1,400 seats.

    Plus, of course there is the small matter of public and media perception (and reporting). Fewer than 1,000 seats would be seen as a failure by the Labour Party, and would reported as such. Just as a gain of, say, 1,000+ will be reported as a success (and failure on the part of the Tories).

    For what it’s worth, I reckon Labour will get a gain of about 1,300-1,500 seats.

  27. Adrian B

    “On getting back to a pre-Brown era tally, they would only have to win 750 seats to do that as 2007 was under Blair, but that was a pretty dismal showing anyway so I do agree that 1000 seats needs to be the aim for Labour.”

    It was a Brown coronation and Blair had- a full eight months prior to election day- stated categorically that he would be gone by the following summer.

    May 2007 was a Brown election.

    To get back fully to May 2006 levels Labour need 1297 gains.

    But making 6,000 Councillors I think would be a great achievement i.e. 1192 gains.

  28. @BT Says

    “Three – AV takes power away from people and gives it to politicians. The great thing about our current system is that it always lets you kick dead-duck governments out on their ear. Remember 1979? Remember last year?”

    Remember, 1964, remember 1974, remember 1997..oops, old Dave’s being selective and tendentious again. Naughty boy.

    A small point to pick him up on perhaps, but do you really trust someone who is so selective and cavalier with his facts? I think not and the man’s developing some serious form on this. He may well be a “visceral Tory” as Matthew D’Ancona recently described him, but to only highlight two elections where “dead duck” governments were evicted, just because they happened to be Labour ones, and to ignore the years when defunct Tory administrations were thrown out, suggests, to these ears anyway, a deeply partisan and disingenuous politician.

  29. Thanks Adrian B, though all I have done is pick a few stats from other sources.

    Fwiw I would put a 1000 seat gain for Labour in the “beyond expectations” category, and I agree with much of what Frang G has been saying (but not on anything he might assert about LD/Lab negotiations in May 2010 ;) ), largely because of the preponderance of Tories defending rural seats.

  30. Ambivalent

    “Remember – even a 3% overall lead would probably equate to a gain of circa 1,300 or 1,400 seats”

    Empirical explanation…?

  31. *Frank G*

  32. The last of the Metropolitan Boroughs

    Sefton LD largest party
    Holdings 28LD, 23Lab, 14Con, 1UKIP
    34 required for majority.
    Up for election 6Con, 7Lab, 9LD
    Start cound holdings
    LD 19
    Lab 16
    Con 8
    UKIP 1

    Lab would need to hold all its own and take 11 of the 15 Con/LD seats to have majority control – IMO very difficult. Lab only needs to hole all its own and take 3 LD seats to become largest party. The same could be achieved by 2 LD seats and 2 Con seats. The value to Lab of a LD seat gained is double the value of a Con seat gained. IMO the result is liokely to be NOC but with Lab as the largest party.

    Sheffield LD largest party
    Holding 41LD, 40Lab, 2Grn, 1 Ind
    43 required for majority.
    Up for election 12Lab, 15LD, 1Grn
    Lab is currently within 2 seats of largest party and 3 seats of overall control. IMO Lab will gain Sheffield from NOC and what a cap to snatch.

    Solihull NOC Con largest party
    Holdings 23Con, 16LD, 8 Lab, 1 Grn, 3 Ind
    26 needed for majority
    Up for election 4Con, 3Lab, 8LD, 1 Ind
    Start count
    Con 19
    LD 8
    Lab 5
    Grn 1
    Ind 2
    If Con hold its 4 seats and gain 3 seats from the remaining 12 LD/Lab/Ind then they will take overall control. With 8LD seats up for grabs that is doable. Lab would need a major shift to retain all its 3 seats and gain all 8LD, 1 Ind and 3 Con to tie with Con as leading party – very difficult. The most likely result is either Con gains overall control or its is NOC with Con the largest party.

    Wirral NOC Con the largest party
    Holdings 27 Con, 24Lab, 15LDs
    34 needed for a majority
    Up for election 8 Con, 7Lab, 6LD
    Start count holdings
    Con 19
    Lab 14
    LD 9
    For Lab to gain overall control it needs to retain all 7 of its seats and gain 10 of the remaining 14 Con/LD. For Con to gain overall control its needs to retain all its 8 seats, but gain only 7 of the remaining 13Lab/LD. Thus remaining NOC seems to be the likely outcome with the largest party either Con or Lab, but probably favouring Con.

    That is the last of the Met Boroughs. I have worked out all the unitary authorities and also the non metropolitan councils and can put them up in small batches if anyone is interested. Or I could just go back to sleep!

  33. I would say that the Tories will have felt that they have been let off very lightly if Labour doesn’t gain 1,000 seats (which is unlikely IMO). Talk of a local election disaster would all but evaporate.

    I guess many on here are themselves guilty of trying to manage expectations (IMO). Tories will manage it by saying that 1,200-1,400 Labour gains would not be a disaster, Labour by saying that 1,000 would be ‘beyond their expectations’. I personally think both are kidding themselves.

  34. “Empirical explanation…?”

    “Thirdly, it’s not really a poll but it’s the best guide we have to the locals – Rallings and Thrasher’s latest local government projections based on their model using local by-election data has the Conservatives on 35%(down 5 from 2007), Labour on 38% (up 12 from 2007) and the Lib Dems on 17% (down 7 from 2007). This would equate to a Labour gain of around 1300 council seats, with the Conservatives losing just shy of 1000 and the Lib Dems losing around 400.”

    Taken from AW on May 1st.

  35. DC – “Just think – if we’d had AV last year, Gordon Brown could still be in Downing Street today.”


    He could also have pointed out “Just think – if we’d used FPTP to elect Tory leaders, I wouldn’t be in Downing Street today.”

    Wonder why he didn’t? ;-)

  36. Well I have voted in Wandsworth (AV referendum only) and I can’t say the polling booths were abuzz at 9 am. Very light compared to last year’s GE as you might expect.

    I’d like to wish the Scottish National Party the best of luck today.

  37. Here’s a question; which is the Conservative Party more anxious about – the results of the local elections, or the result of the referendum on the voting system?

    I reckon the latter.

  38. @Ambivalent Supporter (and others quoting seat counts)

    But you can get to the same % split of 35/38/17 that you quote with very different seat numbers. i.e. if Lab does very well in urban seats (i.e. mets and many unitaries) and less well in rural ones (i.e. most shire districts), less seats will change hands simply because there are a lot more councillors contesting smaller seats in shire districts, whereas even though everyone in met districts are voting, they are voting for relatively few councillors.

    See yesterday’s discussion on this thread.

    Does anyone know if R&T’s seat counts have been broken down anywhere into mets/unitaries/shire districts for each party? If so they might be a bit less than useless.

  39. @Oldnat

    Rain? What’s that?

  40. @Phil,

    Ah, thanks.

    So the projection was presumably for Labour to make significant gains in rural areas? Only way that these voting figures would lead to those kind of gains, as I can see it.

  41. @Ambivalent

    You’re almost certainly right about that. Judging from the intensity of the 2 campaigns The Tories were clearly more exercised about winning the AV vote.

    They are bound to lose a raft of council seats, as Lab are starting from such a low base. They will have accepted that.

  42. @Ambivalentsupporter

    ‘Here’s a question; which is the Conservative Party more anxious about – the results of the local elections, or the result of the referendum on the voting system? I reckon the latter.’

    In which case Cons would have had a peaceful sleep last night! Actually I think it would be the locals, but not the overall seat holdings that fascinate some on here, but the loss of control in some Con councils and gain in control by Labour in others.

    Council control helps dictate how national policies put into effect. It is where the outcome of policy becomes personally apparant to the voter in cut services etc, to name probably the most significant area at the moment. Council level is where the national message can be articulated or rubbished. That is the level I think Con will think more significant. Not, if there are xxxx. less Con councillors, but does Con still ‘control’/influenze that council’s policies on the ground.

  43. The reason I said the latter is that I think the outcome of the referendum will ultimately decide how easy it will be for the Tories to work with the Libs. I don’t think a comfortable win for no will mean an end to the coalition, but I do think it may result in strained relations between the parties, thus making policy consensus (and making) more difficult.

  44. Quite a few of our on contributors to UKPR are standing today for election.

    I have said a prayer that Barney C gets out what he put into his campaign. Good Luck and best wishes.

    Can I also wish Colin Green and Howard good luck today trying to win seats for the Liberal Democrats today. It is a tough climate for an LD to be compete in but I am sure we would all agree that they are find gentlemen.

    Also if Zeph pops in to UKPR, as he does from time to time, can I wish him every success down in Winchester. If I went that far south, I’d get a nose bleed so I can only sympathize how hard that must be for a red.

    If I have missed one I am sorry… Good luck!

  45. *Fine Gentlemen :)

  46. @ Frank G – “Council control helps dictate how national policies put into effect.”

    In recent years I was living in an area with an (imo) excellent Labour MP, and under a Labour government which recognised that investment was needed in a region devastated by the closure of local industries during the 1980s.

    That the funding and proirities were mismanaged (again imo) by a Tory controlled unitary authority was at times not sufficiently appreciated locally.

  47. Epochery also today I think… best wishes.

  48. @Rob Sheffield

    Many thanks for the link to the HoC research on national shares of the vote. It’s worth reflecting on how the “national share of the vote” is defined, which is as follows, quoting from the HoC paper on the 2007 elections:

    “Professors Rallings and Thrasher at the University of Plymouth estimate that the
    Conservatives won 40% of the national (Great Britain) equivalent vote, Labour 26% and
    the Liberal Democrats 24%. This
    is an estimated share of the vote
    in all authorities had elections
    been held Great Britain-wide. It is
    not necessarily equivalent to the
    share of the vote in those seats
    contested. The table and chart
    below show trends in the national
    equivalent share of the vote.
    Where general elections were
    held simultaneously, the general
    election result is shown.”

    So whatever figure we get from today’s elections will be based on the share of the vote in local elections (which I presume must include devolved national elections) and are not equivalent to what would happen in a GE. To make any estimation of how this “national vote share” would translate to a general election on the same day, you’ll need to factor in that:
    – LDs always do much less well in GEs than in local elections so their share needs to be reduced to the benefit of Lab and Con.
    – The SNP and PC will be in these figures on the basis of their performance in devolved elections, which YouGov continue to tell us will far outstrip that in a GE. Likewise, YouGov tell us that Lab’s GE vote share in Scotland is holding up much better than that in the Holyrood election.

    Note also that R&T will have had to make a guess at what would have happened in local elections in London to derive a national share.

  49. Thanks Sergio!


    Excellent point – the amount of obfuscation around AV etc has been extraordinary.

    I wonder if Clegg is now beginning to regret not taking up Brown’s offer of eithert AV via legislation or PR via a referendum?

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