Tomorrow we have some actual proper elections to look at – three by-elections, the new Police and Crime Commissioners across Wales and most of England, plus the Bristol mayoral election and the normal local government by-elections.

The three Parliamentary by-elections are the two caused by the resignation of veteran Labour MPs to contest the police elections (Alun Michael in Cardiff South and Penarth and Tony Lloyd in Manchester Central) and one in Corby caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch to go and live in the USA. The first two are safe Labour seats that promise little of interest – there is no obvious prospect of any upset and both will be easily held by Labour. The Corby by-election is more interesting, but just as easily predictable – the Conservative majority at the last election was only 3.6%, so with current national opinion polls showing a swing to Labour of around 9% they will win Corby at a stroll. If Corby behaves in line with national polling Labour should win with a majority of around 15%, in fact the polling of the seat commissioned by Lord Ashcroft suggests they will do even better than that, showing a Labour lead of 22 points.

The police elections are far less predictable. The elections take place in all English and Welsh police forces outside London, with each force electing a Police and Crime Commissioner using the Supplemental vote system (the same system used in the London mayoral election – you get a first and a second preference vote, if no candidate gets 50% on the first round all but the top two candidates are eliminated and the second preferences of people who voted for eliminated candidates are redistributed).

As I write there has not been any substantial polling of voting intentions in the police elections – there was a MORI poll that briefly asked about it, but given only around 150 people in the sample said they were certain to vote it won’t tell us much. Under normal circumstances we should expect Labour to do very well in the elections – it is a mid-term vote for positions that people don’t really understand, a perfect opportunity for a protest vote. On Thursday we have several unknowns – first is the extent to which people vote on the issue of crime, where the Conservatives have a traditional advantage. Second is the impact of the Liberal Democrats only contesting some seats. Third is the impact of independent candidates – you regularly get polls showing people like the idea of independent candidates, but in Parliamentary elections they invariably don’t vote for them. We shall see if people do end up voting in substantial numbers for non-party candidates.

Finally, there is the issue of turnout – both how it affects the results, and on the turnout figure itself. A lot of the media discussion in advance of the elections has been about how low turnout will be, whether it will be lower than the 23% recorded in the 1999 European elections, whether it will be as low as the 18% the Electoral Reform Society predicted. There have been a couple of polls asking whether people are likely to vote which have shown between 15% and 28% of people saying they are certain to vote, but don’t pay too much attention to that: turnout is remarkably difficult to predict from opinion polls (partly because the registers they use to work out turnout are not accurate in themselves, mostly because people tend to grossly overestimate their likelihood to vote – responses to the British Election Study are cross-checked against the marked electoral register to see if people actually did vote, and even amongst those people who say they are 10/10 certain to vote a good twenty percent don’t seem to actually do so.

Only Wiltshire police commissioner and the two safe Labour by-elections are counting overnight. Corby and all the other police elections are counting during the day on Friday, with the first results expected to turn up around lunchtime.


115 Responses to “Thursday’s elections”

1 2 3
  1. Anyone know if there will be any coverage of these elections on the beeb?

  2. I have decided to vote in the PCC election and who to vote for, but I don’t expect to see queues of people waiting to vote when I get there. Apart from the voting cards, information is only forthcoming if looked for. I doubt the results will tell us much in terms of party popularity that normal polls miss. I am also hoping that these positions will stay non-political as far as possible.

  3. I think they should count straight away, none of this delay etc.

    As this is a polling site, you can poll me :)

    I’m voting for Independent Ann Barnes first, then Labour 2nd.

  4. “Anyone know if there will be any coverage of these elections on the beeb?”

    No particular special programmes are listed in the BBC TV listings.

    What this usually means is that the BBC News Channel will cover the results as and when they’re announced. The precedent is that in by-election results, if the BBC would have normally broadcasted something else at the time (e.g. HardTalk), they stay with the news to cover the announcement, even if there’s something else showing the the EPG. That doesn’t matter too much for the results, because BBC News broadcasts news, news and more news right up to 18:30.

    However, the fact that the BBC has not dedicated a special programme in the TV listings – not even on the BBC News channel – is not a great endorsement for how seriously the BBC or anyone else is treating these elections.

  5. There’s also the Bristol mayoral election, again under second preference rules. A local newspaper poll showed the Green candidate is currently on track to get the most 2nd preference votes, but that they’ll be wasted because she won’t be in the top two on 1st preferences.

  6. Am so excited about tomorrow, if you thought the American elections was tense just wait until the united Kingdom elects its first ever Police Commissioners. The suspense is killing. I’ve already set aside the whole of Friday to stay in and watch the results.There’s going to be cheers and flag waving when my preferred candidates win, and tears should they lose. I’ve been down to William Hill and placed loads of bets already.Christmas really has come early!

  7. Interesting set of jobs figures today. Comments seem to revolve around the slowing of new job creation, and some definite signs of a general cooling in the labour market.

    This is consistent with the PMI surveys. These have been showing manufacturing shedding jobs for around three months, but the critical service sector was also suggested as losing jobs in the last two months surveys.

    This fits, as the PMI data is more up to date that the employment figures, so it does tend to suggest that these latest jobless numbers are just picking up the beginnings of a trend that the PMI data suggests is gathering pace.

    I was also somewhat surprised with the gloomy nature of the BoE’s economic report. yet again, they have pushed back their target date for inflation to fall to 2% and they have again downgraded growth forecasts.

  8. @ALEC
    Yes, with Europe absolutely booming and the North Americans ever more prosperous, it makes one wonder what sort of people are running the UK. Clearly the Euro Zone is just gagging to spend its vast amounts of spare cash on our goods, so why are we not just ripping away ?

  9. I am seeing fair play at the vote counting on Friday. I expect in our part of Thames Valley, I will be home for lunch. However, it covers a rather bigger area than Buckingham constituency. If it starts dragging on to 2nd preference, its an all day job.

  10. @ROLAND HAINES

    Vociferous as ever…All good points…But also do explain why 18 of the G-20 countries din`t have a double-dip recession and UK and Italy did.

  11. @Roland – welcome back – haven’t heard from any of you for quite a while!

    I wasn’t actually quite sure what the point of your 6.22pm post was (does nothing change?). As it happens, the US is doing tolerably well in the circumstances, while the BRIC nations have been doing well for other obvious reasons. Meanwhile, our exports everywhere have been dropping recently.

    I think the situation though is significantly worst that your post suggests, in that the BRIc nations are now seeing an end to their recent sustained booms. This is likely to mean that they will not provide the engine of growth we had hoped for.

    However, I think an element of the problems are home grown, in that our approach to investment is very poor. The current government has almost totally neglected this, despite it being the single most important weapon to both get out of recession and provide the best chance of post recession growth. Having said that, the previous government was also not very good at encouraging investment led development, so I see this more as a historic failing in the UK, with the current government merely picking up the baton passed to them.

  12. @Alec
    I was being sarcastic dear boy. As for your view regarding putting right our wrongs, well, you would take that stance.

    @Smukesh

    With the exception of Germany, we are better off than all 18 put together.

  13. I notice Balls & Miliband have all but disappeared off our TV and radio waves in recent days. Hhhmm. That might work for a by-election, it certainly won’t work in the run-up to a general election. [Snip – AW]

  14. I’m new to the voting system being used tomorrow. Is it possible for people to vote tactically using this system?

    Any info. welcome.

  15. Cardiff South and Penarth might tell us something about where the LD vote is headed.

    Back in 1983 a Liberal candidate polled 20.8%, then down to 15.4% in 1987.

    Since then LDs have polled at 7.8%, 9.3%, 12.8%, 20.4%, and in the 2010 GE at 22.3%.

    At recent GEs when Tories were in opposition they polled 20-22%, during the Thatcher/Major years they were polling 33-36%… in 2010: 28.3%.

    Similarly in Manchester Central SDP/LD candidates have risen from low teens/single figures to 26.6% in 2010, picking up more and more support as disillusionment with the Labour government set in. If the LD vote collapses, some of the ABL vote could find its way to the Conservatives, who have been in third place since 1997.

  16. @Roland Haines

    @ALEC
    Yes, with Europe absolutely booming and the North Americans ever more prosperous, it makes one wonder what sort of people are running the UK.

    _________________________________

    Yes, with home-grown demand suffering as well due to the cuts, e.g. construction which has little to do with the EU, maybe you’re right!!. Especially when Labour, who had a much bigger crisis got us back to growth of two percent inside two years.

    Still, on the bright side, maybe our private schools can help us out. They’re having a bit of a building boom at the moment it seems…

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-20298116

    “Despite the recession many independent schools in the UK are spending millions on building projects, suggests a staff survey.

    Almost half (48.7%) of teachers surveyed by the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) said their school had building work planned or ongoing.

    Projects included sports halls, theatres and even a go-kart track.

    But ATL general secretary Mary Bousted said staff pay was frozen “while fees go up to pay for these facilities”. ”

    Every cloud and all that…

  17. As I understand it saying whether or not one likes a particular politician, apropos of nothing, – even if put in polite terms – adds nothing to this site and is against AW’s advice.

    Best left to him really.

  18. Police and Crime Commissioner elections?

    Is this part of Cameron’s daft Big Society?

    So some fished faced power walking wife in Lycra possessed by Tupperware parties and afternoon tea can direct the course of Law and Order?

    Thankfully policing is devolved in Scotland!!

  19. PAUL

    Ah-a slight change of goalposts there .

    Indeed AW may decide that my remark was unacceptable-in which case you would not have had to read it.

    As you so rightly say-best left to him .

  20. November 14th, 2012 at 7:08 pm
    john

    I notice Balls & Miliband have all but disappeared off our TV and radio waves in recent days. Hhhmm. That might work for a by-election, it certainly won’t work in the run-up to a general election.

    _____________________________________

    I watched Ed B on the Daily Politics recently. After Andrew o’neill had given him a grilling over previous remarks about the structural deficit (in which Balls was not entirely convincing), Balls commented that at least he comes on the show and O’Neill acknowledged the general absence of all things Osborne…

  21. Despite what we all think Colin and PaulCroft are best of buddies.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/8b/StatlerAndWaldorf.jpg :)

  22. True, but that’s quite flattering of ole Colin.

  23. I’m predicting 14% turnout in police elections.

    Just thought of changing my name by deed poll to Dirty Harry and watch the votes roll in. Shame I didn’t think of it earlier :-(

  24. @Shevii

    Let’s face it. We’re more likely to get wannabe Dirty Harry’s than wannabe Gary Cooper’s

  25. PAUL

    May I say how sprightly you are looking.

  26. Good Evening All.

    Salaries for teachers in the Independent Schools are rising.

    They are frozen in our State Schools.

  27. Seriously why and who imposed this pointless police election? . It’s just so wrong. It’s a waste of money and all it does is politicise something which should not be political. Policing should not have a political head.

    A silly idea.

    (Probably last equalled by Blair’s lot trying to get people to vote for a NE Assembly.)

  28. Went out with some mates, and the PCC elections are all anyone would talk about, I’m a fan of politics, but after 2 hours chatting about nothing other than the PCC elections I was a little bored of it it was not stop.

    :P

    Now back in reality, of the 8 friends I was with, when I did briefly mention “are you voting in that election tomorrow” I received 8 clueless faces. I play down my political knowledge around my friends, so I said “yeah I got a card in the post about voting for some police thing, its tomorrow apparently” one girl seemed to remember getting something about that, but didnt realise it was tomorrow, the other 7 all continued to look clueless and had never heard of it. They all live in the area btw. No one at all cares about these elections, and to be honest, I don’t really, but at least I know of them and I’ll vote etc.

    Predictions, Labour sweep the board in a mid term kick to the gov, Labour says it shows they’re recovering, can win anywhere etc, as they will no doubt win something somewhere in the south.

    Tories will deny it, say it means nothing etc,

    Then we can all carry on with our lives and forget these elections.

  29. Colin:

    You may: shall I hang about for a bit?

    MinM:

    What’s a PCC election?

  30. I think I may have unmasked our mutual friend Rob Sheffield. There is a letter in today’s Guardian from a Professor Robin Hambleton of the University of the West of England extolling the virtues of City Mayors, particularly the soon to be elected one in his home city of Bristol. In a tellingly combative tone, he berates the Guardian’s Zoe Williams for belittling the mayoral candidates, and the role itself, and goes on to say that he is leading a study, on behalf of his own university and the University of Bristol (my alma mater in the 70s), which will examine the impact of introducing a directly elected mayor in Bristol.

    Bristol, mayors, Rob, University Professor, combativeness? Who else could it possibly be??

    Rob Sheffield, I dare you to deny it! lol

  31. @ Allan Christie

    So some fished faced power walking wife in Lycra possessed by Tupperware parties and afternoon tea can direct the course of Law and Order?
    —————-
    What a hilarious way to describe women like… Theresa May, Yvette Cooper & the many others who are as capable of managing policing as anybody else is.
    8-)

  32. How does one become “possessed by tupperware parties”?

    It certainly sounds a bit gentler than being possessed by the devil but how do you know if it happens and can you be exorcised?

    By the way Al, yer a bit young for a sexist git aren’t you

  33. Amber

    ” So some fished faced power walking wife in Lycra possessed by Tupperware parties”

    I thought he was talking about me

    He’s certainly got me bang to rights with the tupperware

  34. MiM
    “Predictions, Labour sweep the board in a mid term kick to the gov, Labour says it shows they’re recovering, can win anywhere etc, as they will no doubt win something somewhere in the south.”

    Like you, I’m lukewarm about these elections myself, but will vote. I will vote for the two independent candidates in my area, and I have a sneaking feeling that independents might win one or two of these elections. This is because most people I’ve spoken to who have any opinion about the matter don’t like the politicising of the police. Mind you if these people don’t bother voting party loyalists might win the day after all.

  35. @ RiN

    LOL :-) We will need to exorcise you!

  36. I just want to share this very amusing chart with you all

    http://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/images/user3303/imageroot/2012/11/20121114_troika.png

    I wonder when Greece will get it debt to 120% of GDP?

  37. I find myself torn over Rob S’s unmasking. There is sufficient details online on the named individual (esp the bachelor and master’s degrees) to indicate that that individual may indeed be our esteemed SouthPark-less colleague.

    However, as I’ve said before, we know Eoin and Sue’s real names, we’ve seen Colin/Alec (I forget which) on telly with his shirt button undone after some honest coppering, we could find out Amber and SoCalLib’s identities if we were unethical enough to try, and I am uneasy with this level of personal disclosure. So I wish RobS hadn’t been outed: his personal id is not germane to this board.

    Regards, Martyn

  38. @ Martyn

    …we’ve seen Colin/Alec (I forget which) on telly with his shirt button undone after some honest coppering.
    ———————
    That’s Neil A, not Colin or Alec.
    8-)

  39. @Amber

    Thank you.

    Regards, Martyn

  40. Martyn – I wouldn’t worry, that isn’t Rob.

  41. noting the general agreement here about the expected low turnout for the PCC elections – it might well be lower than local council elections – I wonder if we might discover turnout being related to crime levels locally.

    I don’t expect much fanfare whatever happens.

  42. @RiN

    Oops indeed!

    And if anything, that graph’s a classic example of understatement, as it focuses on the rate of change of GDP rather than its absolute level. Since it’s pretty much a straight line of steep negative gradient, that means that Greek GDP is accelerating downwards fast with absolute GDP having fallen off the cliff.

  43. clare

    I’m new to the voting system being used tomorrow. Is it possible for people to vote tactically using this system?

    Any info. welcome

    Well in theory it should help you to vote tactically. You use your first vote to choose the candidate you want to win and your second (“supplementary”) one for your tactical vote for which of the two candidates expected to be the most popular you would find most acceptable.

    If your first vote candidate also happens to be one of the expected top two, you use your second favourite for the supplementary vote as a sort of back-up in case your favourite doesn’t make it to the final two.

    It’s not as simple or intuitive as straight preference listing (where you number candidates 1,2,3 …) such as AV and STV because it was basically designed by New Labour to elect their unwanted new Mayors and make sure that the winner was always one of the two big Parties. The public then elected various monkeys etc.

    So it makes sense for the Coalition to use the same system for their unwanted Police Commissioners. At best (if for example ManintheMiddle gets his choice for Kent elected) you will get exactly the same person doing the same job as before but with a much bigger salary, retinue etc.

  44. @Anthony Wells

    Thank you

    Regards, Martyn

  45. As far as PCC turnout goes as I said in the comments on the ST poll, you have to take into account that the people who reply to polls are also more likely to vote. So turnout estimates in polls are always going to be too high due to the apathetic and hostile being under-represented.

    I don’t know if it’s been mentioned, but there’s an Angus Reid poll from last month which also gave some estimates of turnout:

    http://www.angus-reid.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/police_express.pdf

    Absolutely certain to vote 17%
    Very likely to vote 27%
    Very likely not to vote 20%
    Absolutely certain not to vote 16%
    Not sure 19%

    Because of the un-offered option gap in enthusiasm between “Very likely to” and “Very likely not to”, it’s not a lot of help, but I reckon that only the 17% could really be relied on. Again we’re seeing a possible turnout in the high teens.

    This low turnout should be a godsend for the Conservatives as traditionally are their voters are the ones who always turn out. However there didn’t seem to be a massive difference in the ST poll (5 points over Labour though Lib Dems were actually most keen). I would expect the advantage to be a bit larger in reality – though Tories might also be more likely to vote for an Independent as a protest. So if Conservatives don’t get a pretty clean sweep outside the most solid Labour areas, it should be bad news for them as it could indicate their core vote is restive.

  46. As Billy Bob pointed out the two “safe” Labour seats up for by elections both had sizable Lib Dem votes and it will be interesting to see what happens there. In fact in better times you would expect the Lib Dems to have been in with a chance of winning either (both have MPs resigning to get a cushy job, rows over the Labour selection and adjacent Lib Dem seats).

    After a set of rather dull by-election line-ups, we seem to be back to the tradition of the packed declaration stage with Corby having 14 candidates (a lot attention-seeking in true Mensch fashion) and Manchester Central with 12 (many leftist in line with its traditions and both Tory and Lib Dem candidates gay as befits the home of Canal Street). However though Cardiff has 8 that’s actually one less than it managed in 2010. It will be interesting to see if there are any surprisingly good results from the minor parties (Greens? Pirates??), though there won’t be another Bradford West.

  47. one of the key things about any form of local vote is that to get people to vote they need to be able to see a clear choice and having candidates that say naff all does not get the voter intrested at all and the average 15-25% turnout prediction reflcts this very well, i will be voting non the less i know lots of people who will not out of princaple, that the police should be independent and not un by some political drone set up by whithall to sack police officers the govenment of the days feels dose not fit in with there politiclly correct rubbish… they keep spouting on about as a point in question stopping people for S&S checks wo are not white well im sorry mr politiclly correct most crimes are committed by the majority background in a set area which means in some locations you will S&S more coloured people than not its a fact of life live with it!!!!

  48. Crossbat/ Martyn

    As AW pointed out Professor Hambleton is not me- and he should know as this is his site. Hambleton is based at the ex-Poly in Bristol: so CB your powers of logic are up (or should that be down) to their normal standards!

    I’ve come across him though- not impressed generally, although he is absolutely correct on elected Mayors of course.

    Very proud of my home town (as in where I grew up rather than where I work) for having the wit and considered opinion to vote YES in the referendum.

  49. “The three Parliamentary by-elections are the two caused by the resignation of veteran Labour MPs to contest the police elections (Alun Michael in Cardiff South and Penarth and Tony Lloyd in Manchester Central) and one in Corby caused by the resignation of Louise Mensch to go and live in the USA. The first two are safe Labour seats that promise little of interest – there is no obvious prospect of any upset and both will be easily held by Labour. The Corby by-election is more interesting, but just as easily predictable – the Conservative majority at the last election was only 3.6%, so with current national opinion polls showing a swing to Labour of around 9% they will win Corby at a stroll. If Corby behaves in line with national polling Labour should win with a majority of around 15%, in fact the polling of the seat commissioned by Lord Ashcroft suggests they will do even better than that, showing a Labour lead of 22 points.”

    What happens if Labour loses the election or the Tories come fairly close? Is this a case where Tory GOTV efforts can be shown off?

  50. Con 35, Lab 42, Lib 8, UKIP 7

    Best PM –
    Cameron – 35 (+3)
    Miliband – 24 (nc)
    Clegg – 4 (-1)

    Best for Britain –
    Con Majority – 29
    Con/Lib Coalition – 9 (+3)
    Lab/Lib Coalition – 12 (-1)
    Labour Majority – 31 (-1)
    Total Con – 38
    Total Lab – 43

    With DKs Removed –
    Con – 36
    Con/Lib – 11
    Lab/Lib – 15
    Lab – 38
    Total Con – 47
    Total Lab – 53

1 2 3