I’m having a nice rest after the election, but a brief update to add the BBC’s projected national vote – CON 29%, LAB 31%, LD 13%, UKIP 17%.

So in relation to my previous comments on the local results, Labour’s lead is indeed only modest, very much in line with their position in the national polls. And rather than UKIP doing pretty much the same as they did in last year’s local elections, they’ve actually done significantly worse – 17% as opposed to the 23% they got last year.

I should also comment on what the Projected National Share is. It’s not a sum of actual votes cast, it’s a projection of what the results would be if the whole country was voting and the main *three* parties were contesting all seats (it doesn’t assume a UKIP candidate in every seat, though the process of taking only seats where Lab, Con and LD stood means that it does increase the effective level of UKIP contestation). As regular readers will know, there is a cycle of local elections and in some years the councils voting are more Toryish or more Labourish – so for example, last year’s locals were mostly in shire councils, this year’s elections were mostly in metropolitan councils. The PNS attempts to smooth out those differences so you can compare one election to the next – so even if there are some teething problems in accounting for a new party in the PNS, the year to year comparisons should be valid.

163 Responses to “BBC Projected National Share”

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  1. @ Neil A

    “If I had come on here a year ago and said “I reckon Labour lead will be down to 3% this time next year” I would have been roundly laughed at. Now that it’s happened it’s treated as “no big deal”.

    Posters — god knows why — are always predicting.
    Indeed your post is a prediction — or past-diction as it’s about the past!

    [My only lapse is to have agreed with AW’s view that Lab will get a higher percentage of the vote in 2015 than in 2010.]

    “If you’d asked me to predict what would happen to a party’s seat count when their national standing had gone from 23% to 9%, I think I wouldn’t have been far out. I probably would have got it about right.”
    Again you’re predicting the past. You can’t lose!

  2. @ RAF

    ‘I guess you haven’t seen the marginals poll?’

    Yep, seen and digested, together with yesterday’s results. Before these, I would have seen Tory as biggest party as the high end of Labour’s reasonable expectations. I still think it is quite hard to make a case on yesterday’s results for Labour getting a majority next year.
    This doesn’t mean, incidentally, I think Labour (or Miliband) is doing particularly badly. In fact, given their result in 2010, I think they are recovering pretty well.

    Are Ashcroft polls considered ‘above board’ by those on the left now?

    I think most people regard Lord Ashcroft’s mega polls as reliable primarily because of the Number of Individuals Polled

    Personally I can’t recall anyone from Left or Right Contributing Here who has questioned their veracity.

    This might not be true elsewhere.

  4. I thought the ‘best PM’ thing very worrying for Labour until I compared it to which government most people in this marginal polling would like to see:
    Labour 35, Tory 25, LabLD co 11, ConLD co 11 DK 19.

    PM v Government: Which matters most to the voters in a non-presidential system?
    We (on UKPR) have asked this before but I’m not aware of any polling which gives us the answer.


    “Posters — god knows why — are always predicting.”

    Because we enjoy it.

  6. @Robbie

    Past-dictions indeed. But then you were speculating about whether people would have accurately predicted the LD seat count, when so far as I recall noone actually attempted to. So you too are in a No Lose situation.

    To believe that the LDs would hold up better than they did would have meant an assumption that the opinion polls were understating their support. I don’t think many people thought that was the case (ChrisLane definitely not…)

  7. @Amber,

    I don’t think either statistic is particularly interesting, because I think such considerations are already built into people’s declared VI. Labour’s VI will be lower than it would be if Miliband was super-popular, and higher than it would be if people didn’t prefer their policies to the Tories’. We can’t really know which factors are decisive (even if we asked people, they probably couldn’t say accurately).

    If Miliband’s relative unpopularity was the deciding factor, Labour would already be behind in the polls.

    Some people suggest that as the GE gets closer, that “personality” will become more important (with debates, extra press coverage etc). That may be, but I still don’t think it’s going to make the “Miliband Charisma Issue” determinative.

  8. @ Neil A

    Yes, consensus is it’s factored in but it still gives some (e.g. John Mann) the jitters.

    And Anthony has new thread up. See you over there.

  9. On the Lord Ashcroft poll, his choice of marginals is a Con-Lab marginals is bit disappointing. Of the 26 seats selected, 12 are already Lab held and only 2 of the remaining 14 require a Con to Lab swing of more than 1% for Labour to retake them.

    So it’s not really a poll focused on the key seats which will determine whether or not Labour will get an overall majority, or even become the largest party. With the exception of those two seats (Thanet S and G Yarmouth) it is a a poll of the lowest hanging fruit which Labour needs to pick up, plus the fruit which Labour already had (just) in the bag in 2010. Labour could (and should) win all of these and the remaining seats where it needs a 1% swing in 2015 only to find Cameron and Clegg putting together another coalition with a workable majority.

    The question is: can we extrapolate from a marginals poll mainly of Labour low hanging fruit into the other marginal seats that will really determine the outcome of the GE?

  10. Sorry all, a bit of gobblegook in that first line but I hope you get my drift.

  11. To swing back to UKIP, one worthwhile exercise for right now is to take the combined votes of the BNP, UKIP, and English Democrats from 2010. One thing I am finding on looking back is that in some places where UKIP did well this time, the combined vote of the three is >15% (and it is often >10%). For the moment, I will take a few examples:
    Rotherham: BNP: 10.4%, UKIP: 5.9% Total: 16.3%
    Doncaster North: BNP 6.8%, ED 5.2%, UKIP 4.3% Total: 16.3%
    Thurrock: BNP: 7.9%, UKIP 7.4% Total: 15.3%
    Don Valley: BNP 4.9%, UKIP 4.4%, ED 4.0% Total: 13.3%
    Doncaster Central: ED: 4.4%, BNP 4.2%, UKIP: 3.4% Total: 12.0%
    Sheffield Brightside: BNP: 7.8%, UKIP: 4.1% Total: 11.9%
    Sheffield South East: BNP: 5.7%, UKIP: 4.6% Total: 10.3%
    Sheffield Heeley: BNP: 5.5%, UKIP 3.7% Total: 9.2%
    Great Yarmouth: UKIP: 4.8%, BNP: 3.3% Total: 9.1%
    Basildon and Billericay: BNP: 4.6%, UKIP: 3.8% Total: 8.4%

    Doncaster is interesting because it was the EDs piling up the votes there this time. Worth considering is that if UKIP doesn’t stand everywhere, the EDs might end up doing well in those areas.

    (I exclude Castle Point because Bob Spink was an incumbent MP and nominally not UKIP’s candidate, but adding his campaign to the BNP vote gets nearly 32% there! This was also a strong seat for UKIP in 2005.)

    This isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, obviously, but it looks like where those three did well in 2010 combined, the support has mostly consolidated to UKIP. This does broadly speak to the narrative of UKIP largely consolidating a scattered vote on the right that had been going multiple ways. It also points to a good pile of votes that were “lost” years ago, and which have likely been augmented by a couple of factors centering on UKIP’s rise.

    This actually leads to a worthwhile question: Why didn’t UKIP do better in places like Barking and Dagenham (where the BNP pulled 12 seats in 2006, and where in Barking in 2010 UKIP+BNP was 17.7%)? My best answer there is that UKIP just didn’t bother to stand enough candidates (for example, they only stood one candidate each in Alibon and Goresbrook, two of BNP’s wards that elected two councillors). This has been said elsewhere, but that actually might hint that UKIP’s “London Problem” was in no small part an organization issue, not solely a lack of support.

  12. If the projected national share of the vote for UKIP has fallen from 23% to 17%, what does that suggest? It either suggests that support for UKIP has fallen or that the way in which the national share is calculated is inaccurate. Given that UKIP has just gained over 150 seats it seems that the latter is more likely than the former. However, as the Lib Dems know only too well, it’s not your national share that matters under FPTP, it’s how good you are at concentrating your support in particular seats. At the next General Election, UKIP may well outpoll the Lib Dems but the Lib Dems will win far more seats, probably 40+.

  13. Comment from way back:

    “People vote differently at local and general elections.”

    It’s also true that different people vote at local and general elections. Local council elections typically have lower turnouts and a skew towards older voters.

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