Local election day

Election day, the highlight of the year for election anoraks (I generally explain it as the equivalent of the FA Cup final to non-political friends, the general election being the equivalent of the World Cup Final). There is little in the way of polling for today, since we will soon have some real results to look at. For the record this morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun had topline results of CON 33%, LAB 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 13%. The six point Labour lead was the lowest since January, but I suspect it is just random movement around the reduced lead of 8-9 points we’ve seen lately.

The polls today close at 10pm, but don’t expect lots of results this evening. Only six councils are counting their votes and announcing their winners overnight, and hence there will not be a full BBC election results programme overnight. Since am I invariably asked the question by lots of people for any election or by-election, there are no exit polls (exit polls these days really only happen for the general elections). The vast majority of councils will be counting during the day tomorrow, so expect results to begin appearing late morning and early afternoon. There are a couple of BBC hour long specials during the day at lunchtime, 2pm and 5pm and a Sky special in the evening.

I’ve already written my preview of the local elections here, also worth looking at is Lewis Baston’s take here. For the intricacies of the BBC’s National Projected Share and Rallings and Thrasher’s Equivalent National Share this by Steve Fisher is worth reading (Steve also has a seat projection based on national polls here). Peter Kellner has also explored the possible results here.

Polling on local elections is a rare beast – the only recent poll of local election voting intentions (as opposed to general election voting intentions – they are often not the same thing) published ahead of the local elections was the ComRes poll yesterday, which I discussed here. It is worth underlining yet again that the ComRes poll was only of areas with local elections, so it won’t be comparable to the “national shares” of the vote calculated by the BBC and Rallings and Thrasher. Today’s elections are mostly in the shire counties, relatively Tory areas, so the figures in the ComRes poll are more Tory than the projections of the BBC and R&T which are adjusted to take account of all of those less Tory areas that aren’t voting.

With all that said, good luck to any readers who are standing in elections today or helping out in them, and I am sure we will have things to say about the results over the weekend. Naturally the comments here will be open tomorrow for discussion as the results roll in.

UPDATE: For anyone staying up, here are the election results pages for those councils counting overnight:
Hertfordshire (not sure the whole county is counting overnight)

733 Responses to “Local election day”

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  1. PS

    Plea to AW. Would it be possible for YG to re-run that political spectrum work. Given the changing political landscape, it would be fascinating to see whether the self-placement data have changed over the last few years.

  2. MitM
    “You’d think after 2010 the Conservatives especially would have moved to try and win over UKIP voters, just as the Republican Party in the US successfully moved in to win over the Tea Party and now the two are in step.”

    I’m not sure that you realise just how perceptive that comment is.

    The Republican Party’s rightward lurch has certainly kept the party together. It has also given the party a two-decade problem. It is now seen as the party of a rural, old, white, socially conservative America, in a country that is increasingly urban, young, multi-ethnic and socially liberal.

    Cameron understands that this scenario maps almost exactly into the UK. He knows the danger of moving rightwards. It may even be an existential danger, certainly in terms if being a credible election-winning party under FPTP. But I wonder if he is going to be overwhelmed by his party’s momentum.

  3. LEFTY


    To be honest, I have read more than enough strident analysis of what Cons must, or must not do now.

    THe die was cast yesterday , and as Pickles quite rightly said-the people have spoken.

    So I just want Cons to find out what it was they said , to understand the very particular geographic areas in which they said it, and find a way -if it can be found-to respond to their concerns in the relevant County Councils .

    Other than that , I think there are too many unknowns for a leap in the dark by DC at national level.

    What does NF actually want to do in the GE?-destroy the Conservative Party-try and build a credible national alternative?-just be a nuisance to everyone?

    Would a “pact” with UKIP actually work?-are UKIP voters susceptible to instruction-from NF or anyone else?

    Are UKIP party activists ( as opposed to voters) really Conservatives-and what results at a GE would they definitely not want to see?

    Anyway-enough of this-we will have to wait & see.

  4. Lefty – we do run it occassionally. The self-placement never changes though, most people will always consider themselves centrist because it’s a relative measure. Even if their views have actually moved leftwards or rightwards, their perception of what is “centre” has probably moved with them :)

  5. Anthony – “Even if their views have actually moved leftwards or rightwards, their perception of what is “centre” has probably moved with them”
    Excellent point.
    I quite enjoy it when the odd spat breaks out on the LibDemVoice site over who is left, right or in the middle, without any clarity about where the middle is.

  6. AW

    Thanks. I’m sure you’re right about the data telling you nothing about the absolute centre of gravity. But your last set of data did (I seem to recall) give very interesting sub-breaks on where the self-placement of the supporters of each party saw themselves.

    My recollection was that there had been a distinct rightward shift in Tory voters’ self-placement in the 2011 data, and a distinct pick up by Labour of voters who saw themselves as centrists.

  7. “Hopes that Britain’s economy could be stabilising have been bolstered by data showing that services companies posted their strongest performance last month since the Olympics.

    Activity beat expectations with its strongest growth for eight months in the closely watched Markit/CIPS PMI survey of the UK’s services sector, which accounts for 75% of GDP.

    At 52.9 the index for April was above economists’ forecastsand well clear of the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.

    “The three UK PMI surveys collectively signalled the fastest rate of economic growth for eight months in April. The improvement reflected a strengthening upturn in service sector business activity, a return to marginal growth in the manufacturing sector and a near-stabilisation of construction,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.”


  8. “Olli Rehn, European commissioner for economic and monetary affairs, warned that Britain cannot risk a fiscal stimulus programme because of high debt levels. “There is really no case for a discretionary fiscal loosening in the UK,” he said.”


    Presumably EM disagrees.

  9. There’s a lot of discussion about what the Cons should do to bring UKIP voters back into the fold. I have heard commentators saying that most UKIP voters will return to the Tories at the GE for fear of letting Labour in.

    I think this misses the point. Firstly, UKIP gain support from all sectors, not just Tories. In South Shields it looks as though the anti-Lab-and-Con vote has moved from LibDem to UKIP, and this is unlikely to change by 2015 because of the coalition.
    Secondly, not everyone is a tactical voter. Many people vote for what they believe in, even if there is no chance of winning. These will not care who is the Prime Minister (assuming it’s not Farage).
    I’m sure that Lab and Con can trim their policies to attract some UKIP voters back, but this effect could be dwarfed by the bandwagon effect caused by people realising that a vote for UKIP is no longer wasted, and that at last there is a real alternative to the Establishment in England.

  10. Looking forward to the next thread which will presumably be Anthony’s analysis (maybe if I had watched newsnight I’d have known already!).

    With regards to polling projections I will say that the BBC projected national share (which has widely been reported and taken as gospel) brings polling organisations into disrepute. Not one person would accept that Labour would poll 29% and Conservative 26% if there were an election tomorrow. As such it becomes a meaningless statistic even in context and with caveats.

    My main criticism is surely that even if you took the same social class group/ethnicity or whatever of the voters yesterday and somehow tried to transfer that to the areas that did not vote you are just not comparing like with like. A less well off person in Yeovil is not the same as a less well off person in Manchester regardless of income or job. They have totally different concerns and there will be a totally different politics to the area (even with somewhere like Bristol).

    I simply do not see how anyone could meaningfully project a potential national vote share based on the areas that had elections yesterday.

  11. Colin

    That’s the Olli Rehn who, as recently as March, quoted Reinhart & Rogoff’s magic 90% rule as the reason that the Austerity beatings must continue. In the same letter to the Commission, he also said that discussion on the fiscal multipliers was “unhelpful”. Rehn is a committed Austerian who thinks that 60% youth unemployment across the Med is just one of those unfortunate things, rather than a disaster of historic proportions. He has seen the theoretical case for Austerity evaporate over the last year, but he refuses to adjust his position one inch. He has an unyielding insistence that fiscal stimulus must not be countenanced and nothing will change his outlook.

    If I were EM, I’d thank him for his observations and politely suggest that he consider what write up he will get when the History of the Lesser Depression in Europe is written in 30 years time.

  12. AW:

    “…most people will always consider themselves centrist because it’s a relative measure. Even if their views have actually moved leftwards or rightwards, their perception of what is “centre” has probably moved with them”

    Or in my case I have moved between considering UK and Scottish Parliaments.

    For SP I am sure I am centre-centre, but in UK terms that is well to the left of NewLabour . Recently I was asked “On a scale of 1 to 10 …”

    As ever, the answer is no problem. The question is the problem.

  13. LEFTY

    Yep-that’s the fella.

  14. @ Colin

    According to the FT Rehn steers away from austerity… Newspapers really offer a smorgasbord…

    I have yet to see anyone who ate of everything from a smorgasbord table. They choose what they like and maybe trying a few things they haven’t yet tasted

  15. Colin

    I thought so. I wonder what his justification is now for his insistence that the debt ratio must not exceed his stated figure, given that the R&R cliff has been shown to be nothing but the product of sloppy research?

  16. @Lefty (Gore / Bush)

    Would 9/11 not happened with Gore then?

  17. I simply do not see how anyone could meaningfully project a potential national vote share based on the areas that had elections yesterday.

    TBH I was a bit bamboozled at the poll, and how they come to their figures. And what it tells us. Eg, what levels of support do the pollsters apportion to the wards that didn’t have say a UKIP candidate? And how accurate is that figure?

    BBC projected share, projected in what way? Just to the wards where candidates didnt stand or a national projection?

    Hopefully give it a couple of weeks and the polls will start to settle down and we can see the real support for the main 3 (or do we say 4) parties now.

    So UKIP

  18. @ Anthony Wells

    As in the Times survey respondents were allowed to tick three reasons for having an intention of voting UKIP, I wonder if a more nuanced picture could be gained from a correlation between people who chose only one cause (which one) and correlations of choices of those who chose more than one. So, for example, 2010 Labour and LibDem voters named discontent with e government in larger proportion than ex Tories, but if you they name EU too it’s a different matter. And so forth.

  19. A remarkable day for UKIP by any standard.

    What happens now? I can see Cameron trying to get Euro Referendum on the Statute Book earlier. However I agree with Farage that Cons will not win GE2015.

    I am confident UKIP can maintain momentum till Euro Election next year but then it may flounder before GE2015.

    I noted Farage in answer to question on BBC2 just before 6pm that he favoured German and Scottish Electoral system. Will PR become another popular UKIP policy in due course?

  20. @Amber

    “Protest is a term which seems reasonable, given that said Party has no chance of forming a government”

    So in 2001, were the Conservative voters just protest votes? It sounds as if all the electorate should jump onto one given bandwagon at each given time.

    That’s not democracy. Well not where I come from.

  21. Laszlo – I would always urge a large amount of caution towards any poll asking people “why” they are voting for a party. People are not actually very good at understanding the drivers of their own decisions, those are really more people’s own rationalisations.

  22. Lefty,
    Would that be the Rogoff and Reinhardt who recently wrote –
    “To be clear, no one should be arguing to stabilise debt, much less bring it down, until growth is more solidly entrenched – if there remains a choice, that is. ..

    Nevertheless, given current debt levels, enhanced stimulus should only be taken selectively and with due caution. A higher borrowing trajectory is warranted, given weak demand and low interest rates, where governments can identify high-return infrastructure projects. Borrowing to finance productive infrastructure raises long-run potential growth, ultimately pulling debt ratios lower. We have argued this consistently since the outset of the crisis.”

    I think that everybody should be listening to Oliver Blanchard (from the IMF):
    Austerity/Stimulus is actually a complex and contextual problem and the debate should be widened to debate timing and underlying issues to do with currency sovereignty, interest rates, growth, etc – rather than a false dichotomy of austerity vs stimulus.
    If only people on both sides (and people like Olli Rehn now) were having that sort of discussion three years ago..

  23. Laszlo

    As in the Times survey respondents were allowed to tick three reasons for having an intention of voting UKIP, I wonder if a more nuanced picture could be gained from a correlation between people who chose only one cause (which one) and correlations of choices of those who chose more than one

    Actually only about 13% at most chose less than 3 reasons (only 1% gave none). With an initial sample of only 200 the numbers would be meaningless. However good the reason to vote UKIP are, people don’t seem to be short of them.

  24. Am I missing something here? I’m getting the impression that the media is getting very excited about what is, essentially, a regional phenomenon….

    Looking at the results by county (and I have only looked at seats, not votes) it looks to me as though there are a number of distinct patterns:

    Eastern England (Lincoln, Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambs – 305 seats):
    Tories lost a third of their seats in these rural areas, while LDs were hammered in the University towns and also lost a third of seats. Labour seats trebled from a low base, and UKIP took 1/6th of the seats on offer. UKIP tapped into immigration concerns in an the area with large numbers of agriculturally-based immigrant labourers, not a situation replicated elsewhere.
    This region, with 14% of the total seats, delivered nearly 40% of UKIP’s seats

    Southern (Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and IoW – 322 seats):
    Tories lost around 1/4 of their seats, LDs lost 40% of theirs. Again, Labour seats trebled from a low base. Both UKIP (14% of seats, from no base) and Others (9% of seats, doubled on 2009) surged.
    Most UKIP gains were in Kent and W Sussex, and centred around areas of inward immigration and poorer retirement areas (e.g. Isle of Thanet)
    This region, with 14% of total seats on offer, delivered 33% of UKIP’s seats.

    After that UKIP’s ‘surge’ was noticeable by its ineffectiveness – 40 seats out of 1,637 is not mould-breaking stuff.

    Labour gave the LDs a kicking in Durham and Northumberland – hardly a surprise. The movement of seats from Tories to Labour was bigger in the Midlands (25-27%) than the Home Counties and SW (10-14%). LDs lost only 12% of their seats across these four regions, compared with 37% in South & East, and 43% in the Northern (Northumberland, Durham, Cumbria, Lancs and N Yorks).

    UKIP picked up three or fewer seats in: Nothumberland, Durham, Cumbria, Lancashire, North Yorkshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Warwickshire, Derbyshire, Northants Leicestershire, Notts, Hertfordshire, Oxfordshire, Surrey and the Isle of Wight; that’s 19 out of 32 county councils with no significant gains.

    So, I guess what I am trying to say is that this UKIP ‘breakthrough’ appears to be geographically limited to two regions with specific issues on Eastern European immigration and demographics that include higher proportions than average of white English poorer retired.

    In other areas UKIP have picked up a scattering of seats, no doubt, but not enough to indicate a major change in the political landscape, especially as the major cities not featuring in this election appear to me to be far more likely to follow the pattern of Stafford or Derbyshire than of rural Lincolnshire!

    I wonder if the print media have gone so overboard because many papers (Murdoch, Mail, Express, Telegraph) are desperate for UKIP to drag the Tories back to the right?

    Just my rambling thoughts…

  25. The fact that they trebeled candidates is a massive achievement, and shows the parties base is growing and the party is now is a position to progress.

    The seats won are mainly in places where UKIP already had a presence, so it is understandable that is where they won seats. Many places in the midlands still have never had a candidate stand.

    The resources also have also been spent in only a few regions of country.

    To come from nowhere to do so well, if only limited to small area of the country is still impressive. Who knows if it is a springboard to expand.

    SS by-election shows support north aswell as south, where only half the amount as Eastleigh was spent on the campaign.

  26. LEFTY

    Perhaps he has read this ?


  27. In my district in Notts UKIP scored:

    30% in 3 seats(4th,6th,7th)

    4 – no candidate

    The top 3, only 1 of 9 district seats had been contested at the previous election, so a base was limited.

    The bottom 3 had never been contested before, nor was much campaigning or leafleting done.

    Not bad really, and now a more targetted approach can be taken. With the 4 uncontested seats, the level of support has not been tested, and i’m sure will change.

  28. SUE

    It could be the case that areas with an existing UKIP presence saw a big breakthrough because the organisation was there to galvanise the body of voters supportive of UKIP policy.

    Alternatively it could be that there is an existing UKIP presence in those areas precisely because they are where the demographic (older, less well-educated, less wealthy, socially conservative) and the environmental concerns of Europe and immigration that UKIP focuses on (high levels of incomers from eastern Europe) coincide.

    My money is on the latter, but both are possible.

    My prediction would be that UKIP do very well in the Euros (elections bound to motivate their base far more than other parties’), but in the GE will hover around 10% except for those areas that saw a big push this week – small town, semi-rural eastern England south of the Humber.

  29. Colin

    Perhaps he has. Although if he has, he’ll find nothing whatsoever in there to provide any support for a causal relation between reduction in Govt debt ratio and improved growth prospects in an environment where monetary flexibility is low.

  30. LEFTY

    Not going to go there-it is verboten.

    I just wanted to make the point that “the literature” is ALL the literature.

  31. Colin

    My professional background means that I couldn’t possibly disagree with you.

    Which I why I am do contemptuous of policy makers who jump on a particular piece of contentious (later proven to be shoddy almost beyond belief) academic work and quote its findings ad nauseum in order to justify the path that they had decided upon a priori.

    Maybe I’m naive, but in my opinion, that approach can only come from ignorance or mendacity. We need and deserve better than that from our leaders in generally, and in particulat in the current situation. My take is that if someone as important as Rehn has SPECIFICALLY quoted R&R in support of his economic policy, he is morally duty bound to publicly acknowledge the fact that the credibility of that particular article has been destroyed, and to explain unequivocally what the supporting evidence for his policy’s efficacy now is.

    But then I’m unashamedly idealistic about what politics could and should be.

  32. Statgeek

    If we accept that bin laden was behind the attacks on 911 then yes it’s quite possible that if gore had have been elected 911 would not have happened, there was a plan by the Clinton administration to go after bin laden which gore was fully ccommitted to. Bush and his people junked that plan when they came into office

  33. As I said earlier not a fan of UKIP’s policies.

    But I am having a good chuckle watching so many on here come up with convoluted theories and reasons as to why UKIP is not a threat or why the results don’t matter.

    Personally as well, I never really considered local elections that important, what day my bin get’s collected and how often, just does not interest me. But I was starting to be won over by the idea purported by man on here that they were important as they were selecting foot soldiers etc, and gave vital ammunition to use in a Westminster election.

    Now watching those same people dismiss the locals LOL

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