There is normally relatively little polling for local elections for a variety of reasons, not least the uneven pattern of contestation across the the country. However ComRes have done one, with interesting topline figures. Local voting intention in those areas with local elections on Thursday stands at CON 31%, LAB 24%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 22%.

Now, we need to make a number of important caveats in understanding this:

It is NOT comparable with normal voting intention polls. It only covers the areas with local elections on Thursday, which are most rural Conservative shires and doesn’t include any Metropolitan counties… hence the fact the Conservatives are ahead. Neither is it comparable with the shares of the local election vote that the BBC and Rallings and Thrasher will calculate (the “Projected National Share” and “Equivalent National Vote”). These are both projections on what support would be across the whole country, not just where local elections are happening.

To understand the figures we need to know the votes last time round, which including the two councils (Durham and Northumberland) that actually last voted in 2008 were Con 44%, Lab 13%, LDem 25%, UKIP 5% – so the changes are Con down 13, Lab up 11, Lib Dem down 13, UKIP up 17. This suggests considerable bigger swings than Rallings and Thrasher have predicted. By my estimates it would produce getting on for 500 Conservative losses and 250 UKIP gains, if it is giving an accurate picture… and local election predictions are not something that there is much track record for. We shall see

UPDATE: Peter Kellner and I have been pondering the number of UKIP seat gains if they do get 22% (the joys of the YouGov office on a morning before an election!) and how on earth you model gains when they are tripling the number of seats they contest. It’s very difficult, but I suspect I have overestimated it a bit… though even assuming a higher base level of support in the areas they didn’t contest in 2009 (and therefore a lower swing in the seats they did) if they do get 22% they should still be looking at well over 100 seats. Suffice to say, how many seats UKIP will get on Thursday is still incredibly hard to predict.

376 Responses to “ComRes poll on local elections.”

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  1. CB11

    Maybe -maybe not-it’s a point of view I suppose.

    ……but it’s all irrelevant .

    C N-S’ 12.52pm post-the one which you commented on – contained no “deriding ” of political party members. whatsover. It described his thoughts on each parties past performance in a pretty objective way.

    All the deriding is to be found in your retort to his post.

    You saw a sleight where there was none.

    Tetchy I reckon.

  2. If Labour lose South Shields to UKIP then it is a complete disaster for Labour. It takes the pressure off the Tories regarding UKIP because now UKIP is everyones problem and shows that Labour is not really attractive to even their own supporters.

    I am worried now the SS result is due at 3 a.m so nail biting times for Labour.

  3. Labour now 1/33 to win South Shields, in the bag, so maybe the meeting was about something else. Maybe Labour gains forcast to be smaller than they thought, who knows.

  4. @sue

    We need Left of centre anti-european party dont you think, maybe the greens would do a lot better being anti-EU.

    The Greens are quite skeptical of the EU, more so than Labour and the Liberals. The Greens want nothing to do with a single currency and considers the main EU Institutions to be too remote and democratically deficient.

  5. Interesting.

    I saw Green leader or maybe it was the MP having a big row(debate) with I think Dep leader of UKIP. I got the impression they were pro europe, . Maybe it is a bad tactic getting into ding-dong with UKIP.

    Instead get the “bring back powers from europe” message across. Even promise referedum on europe, but state they would prefer to stay in Europe with less powers.

    But what do I know, i’m only a homemaker!

  6. I still find it amazingly ironic that all the fuss for UKIP means they are less likely to achieve their goal in the general election as they will either

    a)Have split the Tories or
    b) Made the Tories unelectable by the Tories having extreme right wing policies under a new leader to take away the UKIP vote or
    c) Ensured heaps of Tory MPs lose as they will suck votes away from the Tory party if nothing else happens leaving a clear run for Labour

    As fas as I see it a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour to win the next election. (All of which must have the SNP laughing and Cameron crying…)

    Time to rerun the preferential voting referendum perhaps…

  7. Hmm … I’ve done a quick search of the interweb and twittersphere to see if I can find anything to back up these rumours about Labour losing South Shields. The only sources I can find are Conservative- and UKIP-affiliated ones, which I don’t trust (just I wouldn’t trust Labour-affiliated sources doing rumours about conservative losses to UKIP).

    Not impossible for Labour to lose, but I’ll believe it when I see some more reliable evidence.

  8. And merge Lab and Lib, the same party really. Leaving 1 left of centre pro europe, 1 right of centre pro europe, 1 right of centre anti-europe, 1 left of centre skeptical on europe.

  9. Afternoon all

    Did Tony Blair at some point in his career say something along the lines of “my mission is nothing less than the destruction of the Conservative party”? I’m sure I remember something like that, but I can’t find it via Google so maybe it’s something that was said about him, rather than by him, and my brain is letting me down.

    I was thinking about how the willingness of right-of-centre voters to stop playing FPTP and defect to UKIP may, in a roundabout way, be part of his legacy: TB did not do much to afflict the comfortable while in office, so many on the Right secretly got rather comfortable on the sidelines complaining about the country going to hell in a handbasket, and are therefore not too bothered about opposition.

    I realise UKIP don’t take voters solely from the Conservatives. Colin: thanks for that v interesting graphic upthread suggesting that the better UKIP do, the wider their spread of “defectors”. It suggests that from the Labour point of view there’s an optimum size for UKIP but UKIP might start to exceed that.

  10. @ Colin,

    That is very interesting. Thanks for the link.

    Rather ominously for the Tories, the point where their contribution intersects with Labour’s is not even on the graph.

    Also it’s measuring national party composition, and I wonder how much the regional differences matter? If Ukip wins a lot of Labour voters in places like South Shields, it doesn’t help the Tories much. I could see a situation where the parties stabilise at something like:

    Lab: 50%
    Ukip: 35%
    LD: 10%
    Tories: 5%

    Lab: 35%
    Tories: 30%
    Ukip: 25%
    LD: 10%

    Tories: 35%
    LD: 35%
    Ukip: 20%
    Lab: 10%

    with the Tories getting hit by Ukip everywhere they turn. (Worst case scenario for the Tories, obviously, and assuming Ukip doesn’t implode like a popped bubble of incoherent tax policy.)

  11. @Eddie

    We’ll see in the SS by-election if UKIP takes votes from Labour/Liberals. It will be very interesting.

  12. @Sue

    It is quite clear that many of the issues facing us span boundaries, so we need a decent relationship on things like environmental issue, for example.

    However, the Greens are strong on localism and consider the actions of the EU as part of the Troika have seriously over-ridden democratic accountability. Both Greece and Italy have had heads of state ‘imposed’ which have been unelected, to deliver the Troika’s wishes against the will of the people.

    It is clear that Mrs Merkel wants more fiscal union, which I think is fundamentally undemocratic. Frankfurt and Paris will dominate and smaller nations will be strong armed into positions it’s people can do nothing about.

    This is the part of the EU that is not liked. However, some relationship needs to exist for treaties on the big global issues.

    I hope this makes sense.

  13. @ Chris Neville-Smith,

    “I’ve done a quick search of the interweb and twittersphere to see if I can find anything to back up these rumours about Labour losing South Shields.”

    I got it from here:

    Not a rightwing source, but on closer examination it’s even more nebulous than the usual “sources say” off-the-record guff. Entirely possible Watt heard it form someone who heard it from someone else who heard it from Dan Hodges.

  14. @Spearmint

    Makes for a good story, doesn’t it? But then most professionally written press releases that just require the journalist to copy and paste them in to a document before shoving it in front of the editor’s nose are. Unsubstantiated, off-the-record guff indeed.

  15. @colin – “Oh you are a worrier Alec.”

    Just reporting the data.

    Not got too bad a record of calling the economic numbers, or the political one either, if I may say so myself.

  16. Mitz, Spearmint – speaking to various journalists today who have all spoken to various Labour and UKIP spokespeople about it, the expectation on both sides does seem to be for UKIP to finish in the high 20s in South Shields.

    Whether they will meet, surpass or fall short of those expectations is a different matter!

  17. Yup, I saw that one too. However, that article is from yesterday, so that wouldn’t tell us either way how UKIP or Labour think it’s been going today.

    They key paragraph is:

    “Amid growing fears among senior Labour figures that Ukip could achieve its strongest ever byelection showing in South Shields – and possibly even capture the seat – Ukip sources said they are winning support from the “bloody infantry” hit by Britain’s main parties.”

    Given that i) it doesn’t give any specific information of who the senior labour figures were or what they said, and ii) “possibly even capture the seat” is a vague statement of probability, I don’t think this tells us anything we wouldn’t have reasonably expected already. (UKIP putting in a decent showing for a party with no MPs is quite realistic, of course.)

    Not ruling out surprises – after all, George Galloway came out the blue in Bradford West – but I don’t yet see anything to make this surprise more likely than I was expecting this time yesterday.

  18. @ Mitz,

    Quite. I am duly chastened and shall endeavour to check my sources better in future.

  19. @ AW,

    Thanks for the update.

    I didn’t think Ukip had any real chance to take it, I was just staggered that the idea was even under discussion.

    Which as Chris and Mitz have wisely pointed out, it’s not at all clear that it was.

  20. If UKIP get in the high twenties, it looks like the Liberals could well lose their deposit. (The Liberals have seriously imploded in the north).

    It would suggest a single digit vote for the Tories too.

  21. Interesting report on underemployment here

    On one hand it is deeply depressing, highlighting just what a shocking position the young are in, with underemployment adding to obscenely high levels of out and out unemployment (as ever, the young get the crappest part of the crap that flies in a recession).

    On the other hand, it shows that the potential for non-inflationary expansion is huge. This further weakens the Austerity case. If we could grow with little inflationary pressure, there would be little prospect of the bond vigilantes appearing and demanding higher rates for their credit.

    One day the penny will drop. Till then, we’ll go on consoling ourselves that Austerity is necessary to protect the young from picking up the burden of debt in the future. Conveniently ignoring the fact that the same policies are removing the prospect of useful employment from them today.

  22. @lefty

    Yep, and if they were really that concerned about piling up debt for the young maybe they wouldn’t have massively hiked tuition fees, maybe they’d build some affordable housing, etc…

  23. @Crossbat
    They claim special qualities of objectivity because they say they have no affiliation with a particular political party but, if you examine what they have to say about politics, it is often disingenuous and barely concealed party political bias flying under fraudulent non-partisan colours
    Thankyou for articulating my thoughts so succinctley.
    (smiley thing)

  24. Berlimey! This was way out then!!!

  25. Puzzled by Second Preferences in the Donny Mayoral election- rather like I was with the London Mayor.

    The second round made no difference to the 500 vote gap and most of the ‘loser’ votes did seem to go for a second preference.

    The ‘losers’ to be redistributed were:

    Engish Democrats 4,600
    Independent 4,500
    Trade Union 2,000
    Lib Dems 1,100
    NF 1,000
    SOS- 786

    Roughly 3,500 of the above voted Lab 2nd preference and another 3,500 voted Independent. Other than Trade Union and maybe SOS- not clear who else would have voted Lab.

  26. SHEVII

    As a Doncaster-born lad, I take more than a passing interest in this.

    Davies very ostentatiously left the English Democrats last year in a carefully timed “protest” at their infiltration by ex-BNP members. The issue of infiltration received a lot of local coverage and Davies stridently distanced himself from the EDs. So in simple terms, it’s reasonable to assume that the ED voters yesterday were BNP sympathisers who would then be unlikely to cast a second preference for Davies.

    I’m sure you’re correct that the TU and SOS votes would have predominantly gone to Jones on the second ballot. She would perhaps have picked up a few leftist LDs and probably some from Mick Maye, the “curse on all of you” independent who took a lot of Labour votes in 09.

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