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. @TOH: “Just look at the results of the Ashcroft Poll, it should give you pause for thought.”

    And you also. 63% of UKIP’s voters (77% including DKs) say they won’t be voting for the Tories next year.

  2. Isn’t the “news” from the local elections that the results are almost exactly what you’d expect from the current opinion polling? The scores on the doors match the UKPR average pretty well, allowing for a slight pro-UKIP bias from having the election on the same day as the Euros, and a slight pro-LD bias from their reasonably successful strategy of targeting and incumbency bonus (and a resulting slight depression of Conservative and Labour vote shares).

    In that sense, the election doesn’t really tell us anything all that much, apart from perhaps that London is barren terrain for UKIP (which shouldn’t be too much of a surprise – it is areas under threat of losing their “homogenous” status that vote for UKIP, rather than areas that have already lost it).

    There are some elections which drive the opinion polls. I don’t think this is one of those. I think it is an election that merely confirms that the opinion polls haven’t got things drastically wrong.

    The Tories are closing on Labour, but not fast enough.

    UKIP remain strong, but are already fading slightly.

    The LibDems are decimated (in fact more like “tricimated” – is that a word?) but not dead yet and will probably exceed their current opinion poll ratings come the GE.

    The Greens are still a force, but have no particular momentum and probably aren’t a threat to Labour.

    The new Trades Union party has no purchase and will probably go the way of so many other “new left” offshoots.

  3. The Other Howard

    ‘I take the point you make about UKIP doing worse than last year but isn’t that largely due to the London where they have done badly. Elswhere I suspect they are probably quite near last years 23%.’

    The didn’t do very well in the metropolitan authorities either. If you exclude Rotherham and Dudley they only gained 17 councillors in 34 councils.

  4. @Bill Patrick

    Hard to spin to the general public how a party that has gained 150 seats has lost ground. Fair play on Labour though ,Conservative Home is calling this a severe defeat for the Tories.

  5. @Roger H
    “To be fair this time it was the BBC that started it, or rather Nick Robinson, who announced a UKIP victory as soon as the first result arrived from Sunderland.”
    During one of AuntyBeeb’s better moments they revealed that UKIP did best in the South & South East (excluding London). Next best was Midlands and they were weakest in the North.

    But Farage claimed that kippers success was everywhere “including Labour heartlands”. A carefully chosen phrase.

    His candidates could be doing well in “Labour heartlands” speaking geographically – but they could be taking actual seats from Con or LD in those same areas.

    If, (as seems obvious ?) UKIP gains were largely at the expense of Con & LD then the meeja might not be so keen to big-up the kippers in the leadup to the GE.

  6. Neil A,

    “Isn’t the “news” from the local elections that the results are almost exactly what you’d expect from the current opinion polling?”

    Well-put. In fact, your whole comment is spot-on.


    Then people should be talking in terms of seat rather than PNS, in which case it has been considerably better for Labour than UKIP.

    Using PNS to argue that it’s been poor for Labour and seats to argue that it’s been good for UKIP is data-mining at its worst.

  7. TOH
    “However on the basis of this weeks results I still think there will be a small Tory majority in 2015.”

    I may not have been posting on this site for long but I’ve been around long enough to know that it wouldn’t matter what might have happened this week, you would have been predicting a Con majority.

    C’est la vie.

  8. Isn’t the big story not UKIP but the continued collapse of the LibDems. Yes in one or two areas they did OK, but not in say Richmond, Kingston, sheffield, Portsmouth or Solihull. Important areas for them. In Scotland I suspect the nationalist will become the party of rural Scotland, taking seats from the Lib Dems. In many ways we are going back to two party politics with other parties getting a fair percentage of the vote but few seats. This makes it more likely that one of the big two will get a majority, but if they don’t it might well be not just a hung parliament but a bit of a mess.

  9. @Wolf

    I think you and @Bill Patrick are making different points.

    UKIP won over 150 seats from a standing start. That is a pretty sebsational effort. I don’t think anyone questions that. However they achieved that on a PNS 25% lower than last year. That is also spectacular but in a negative way!

    I suspect that the reason may be turnout. In higher turnouts (see my Bromley example above), and London generally, UKIP cannot sustain their vote share: whereas in lower turnout areas (Labour northern strongholds, Essex Tory strongholds) UKIP have surged. There is also the issue (per Ashcroft) that 6/10 UKIP voters cast their votes that way as a protest only.

    If one assumes the GE turnout will be around 70%, and that the protest element in that election will be much dimmed, UKIP have problems.

  10. I still think UKIP’s main effect next year will be to eat into the Tory vote to the benefit of Labour. If they’re luck they might win one or even two seats.

  11. “UKIP won over 150 seats from a standing start.”

    163 out of 3,211. Not that impressive.

  12. @RogerH,

    I agree. Although I don’t think they’ll get a single seat.

    I expect their aggregate effect will probably be around 10-15 seats going red that might have stayed blue, mostly in urban/suburban areas with significant white, blue collar populations.

    Given how close I expect the GE to be, it may even be true that UKIP quite literally give Miliband his majority.

  13. Steve

    You’d make a rotten political reporter, sticking to the facts like wot you do.

    I am [as people say] amused that UKIP are discussing their position should they hold the “balance of power” whilst also reading that they “may get ONE or TWO MPs next year.”

    It would have to be a bleedin’ close result for Niglet to become Deputy PM and beer taster in those circs.

  14. “It’s the UKIP wot won it?”

  15. PNS shows UKIP vote down (or Labour vote up, etc)
    This is just silly. Last year’s local elections were in different constituencies.
    I remember “UKIP will do well in the leafy shires” etc.
    If last year’s elections had been in Scotland, and this year’s in London only, the idea of comparing them usefully by a PNS would be seen for what it is – fodder for partisan media comment.
    If only people would treat polls as inaccurate means of attempting to measure something which has a real, exact but unknown value of its own …

  16. neil a

    I meant YOU would make a rotten reporter etc.

    I do wish all ROC folk were as intelligently balanced as you by the way.

    Facts are what they are and being able to sort out the objective from the subjective is a very good quality to have, both in politics, supporting a footy team and life generally.

  17. Jack R (from previous thread),

    I’m at ease with you knowing my identity (all journalists want that!) but would be pleased if you didn’t share the worst-printed image of me ever. Also, enjoy the Games section.

  18. @DAVE: “PNS shows UKIP vote down (or Labour vote up, etc) This is just silly. Last year’s local elections were in different constituencies.”

    Yes but that is allowed for in the calculations.

    * Can I anticipate the inevitable queries… The national vote-shares take into account the fact that a different range of wards are up for election. So the fact that this year’s elections took place in the urban Metropolitan districts and last year’s in the more rural counties is already accounted for. For more on how they’re calculated, see Stephen Fisher’s post at the LSE’s British Politics and Policy blog (hat-tip Mark Pack).


  19. As you know, I don’t get very excited about local elections, which is a puzzle to me, as I am intensely interested in the opinion polls and analysis of the results thereof.

    Thus I do hope that Ashcroft will turn me on, as I really can’t wait for it.

  20. Bill Patrick

    “I don’t see how you can (a) understand the Tories’ boundary issues and (b) think that they will win a majority. It’s like a boxing match where one boxer needs a knockout to get a draw: whatever you do, don’t expect him to win.”

    I think the Tories will scrape home because i expect Labour to do much worse than the polls currently suggest.

  21. NEILA

    @”Given how close I expect the GE to be, it may even be true that UKIP quite literally give Miliband his majority.”

    A point GO has just hammered home in a very good speech at the ConHome Conference.

    I am glad he also emphasised the need to “respond” to UKIP voters’s concerns, because merely telling them they will put Miliband in will not, I fear, be enough.

    Anecdotal, I accept-but in the comments section of a recent article ( I think by Ian Dale) , one Kipper said it was probably necessary for UKIP to help EM into No. 10, so that Cons would “come to their senses” after a brief & disastrous short Labour administration. !!

  22. The funniest moment on BBC coverage – who were just blindly following the UKIP landslide line – was when the PNS was announced they just did not know what line to take. Dimbleby turned to the UKIP guy and asked ‘What went wrong?’ but that line of questioning was rapidly closed down and then after a period of flailing they fell back on the comfort of a UKIP landslide – who cares about facts?

  23. @Roger

    “163 out of 3,211. Not that impressive.”

    5% of available. 32/33 Westminster seats if that share carried to Westminster (which it probably won’t, but if it did, it would cause a few headlines).

  24. Couper – the BBC knew about the PNS for ages.

    While it was only announced quite late on Friday, John Curtice sends provisional estimates around the team much earlier during the process… its just they don’t broadcast them till they are 100% certain. It would not have been any sort of surprise to Dimbleby.

  25. with 2 council to declare, the BBC has

    Lab 2101 seats up 338

    Con 1359 seats down 213

    LD 427 seats down 307

    UKIP 163 seats up 161

    I predict Lab to gain 350 seats, that looks pretty impressive to me, but the media is saying Lab turmoil.

    For example

    ‘After results from the council elections that are at best mediocre, he found himself at the centre of a highly embarrassing whispering campaign from colleagues amid the sound of knives being sharpened’

    The narrative has ben set and the caravan moves on.

  26. “32/33 Westminster seats if that share carried to Westminster”

    While Labour would get 425 seats on their share – an overall majority of 200.

  27. @RogerH Thanks for the links, but the fact remains that comparing PNS on this year’s results with PNS based on last year’s is comparing figures derived from different bases, which requires them to be adjusted on some arbitrary basis. From your link “The main method for estimating the PNS is to look at change since one or more previous elections in wards fought by all three main parties both times.” [note: three, and that previous conditions are not replicated.]
    Thus figures are modified by looking at how the voting changed since elections when the conditions were quite different, with the objective of predicting the result of a very different [general] election in the future.
    I am not at all surprised by the early comments that PNS is not very good at making such a prediction.
    “That is allowed for in the calculations” I don’t doubt it. If it were not, then the results would be different, and show different variations. What the words in quotes mean is that the people making the comparisons realise that a simple comparison is not valid, and “the results have been adjusted to figures which we think better represent the real value, based on past experience of suitable adjustment.” Whether they are correct (ie have done proper calculations) is a moot point. Because others have done sums is not a reason for thinking that the sums are right, or done on a proper basis.

    On a different topic, there is a significant comment in the Mirror
    “Almost 20% of those councils that held elections now have no one party in overall control.”
    The shape of things to come?

  28. @Roger

    Which goes to prove that council elections are not an indicator of Westminster VI.

  29. “Almost 20% of those councils that held elections now have no one party in overall control.”

    Compared with 15% before, so not that significant a change.

  30. “Which goes to prove that council elections are not an indicator of Westminster VI.”

    No disagreement there.

  31. @Floating Voter

    On predicting Labour gains from the remaining 2 councils, one of those remaining (the Mirror says the only one in England, BBC says 2 remain) is Tower Hamlets. We know that Lutfur Rahman (Tower Hamlets First) has won the mayoral election in Tower Hamlets from Labour’s John Biggs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tower Hamlets First wins a number of seats in the Council.

    Total seats available this time 45. Thus far (count suspended until tomorrow) 15 have gone to Tower Hamlets First, nine to Labour, and three to the Conservatives (according to the Mirror and the Tower Hamlets site). Previously there were 51 seats of which Labour held 26. So Labour would have to win all the remaining 18 seats to make any numerical gains.

  32. lf we are to accept that UKIP voters are more likely to vote than supporters of the 3 main parties, especially in an election including an Euro poll then I believe Labour can take far more satisfaction from the local elections.

    As RAF suggested in his post it would appear that in higher turnouts UKIP cannot sustain their vote share: whereas in lower turnout areas UKIP have surged it would seem we have pretty much seen in these elections the extent they can damage Labour in their heartlands and marginals if one assumes the GE turnout will be around 70% UKIP will have problems, their vote share will indeed be more likely less than the predicted 17%.

  33. @TingedFringe – But the PNS makes it harder to compare results correctly, because it attempts to compare apples with oranges by turning them both into bananas.

  34. I have only studied Sandwell in detail, but this may be of interest, particularly if a similar pattern is shown elsewhere. There are 24 wards of which UKIP contested 16. They won one, and were second ahead of Con and LibDem in ALL the others where they stood.
    This means that they are now the obvious second party in Sandwell, and can no longer be seen as a wasted vote, which could increase their showing in future years.

    I’d love to see some analysis of second places in these elections around the country.

  35. @Casclc

    Oh I didn’t know that, thanks for the information

    maybe Lab will go down to 330 then, the general point is the same though.

  36. We know that Lutfur Rahman (Tower Hamlets First) has won the mayoral election in Tower Hamlets from Labour’s John Biggs. It wouldn’t surprise me if Tower Hamlets First wins a number of seats in the Council.
    Just FYI: Lutfur Rahman was the incumbent.

  37. Chris Green

    It seems most of the criticism of Labour comes from this PNS at 31%.

    If it is just able to be use as a comparator rather than an absolute value then this becomes harder to justify

    The FPTP system looks at seats and in that Labour did pretty well – not great but they had a some successes in swing areas and some disappointments

    What is startling , missed or ignored by most, is that the LD are being hammered in local elections where they used to poll much higher due to their ‘localism’. No councillors on councils where they used to be in control less that half a decade ago is a startling deterioration, especially as they will probably find themselves in even worse situations next year

  38. Just my two pence, but as I said yesterday I suspect the variation in PNS is down in no small part to the London situation. Basically, UKIP was a blank last year, so when figuring PNS you sort of had to assume that what happened in the counties would broadly carry into London and so forth. Additionally, if I’m not mistaken, UKIP contested a larger share of seats, which would have brought at least some weaker areas into the mix that they might have skipped last year, also skewing their results downwards. PNS is not an exact science, and UKIP is a major unknown variable in it.

    Greater London is only about 11.5% of the country, but UKIP did particularly badly there, so you probably saw 1-2% knocked off their PNS on that alone, and that is something which could not have been modeled last year. On the contrary, I see little to suggest that UKIP slipped in places like Essex.

    In London, the major story probably ought to be the massacre of the LibDems. I put together a summary of the results in London for them:
    Barking: 0 seats before
    Barnet: 3 seats before, 2 lost
    Bexley: 0 seats before
    Brent: 17 seats before, 16 lost
    Bromley: 4 seats before, 4 lost
    Camden: 13 seats before, 12 lost
    Croydon: 0 seats before
    Ealing: 5 seats before, 1 lost
    Enfield: 0 seats before
    Greenwich: 0 seats before
    Hackney: 3 seats before, 0 lost
    Hammersmith: 0 seats before
    Haringley: 23 seats before, 14 lost
    Harrow: 1 seat before, 0 lost
    Havering: 0 seats before
    Hillingdon: 0 seats before
    Hounslow: 0 seats before
    Islington: 13 seats before, 13 lost
    Kensington: 2 seats before, 1 lost
    Kingston: 27 seats before, 10 lost***
    Lambeth: 15 seats before, 15 lost
    Lewisham: 12 seats before, 12 lost
    Merton: 2 seats before, 1 lost
    Newham: 0 seats before
    Redbridge: 7 seats before, 4 lost
    Richmond: 24 seats before, 9 lost
    Southwark: 25 seats before, 12 lost
    Sutton: 43 seats before, 2 gained***
    Tower Hamlets: 1 seat before, UNKNOWN
    Waltham Forest: 5 seats before, 5 lost
    Wandsworth: 0 seats before
    Westminster: 0 seats before

    Total: 245 seats before, net loss of 129-131
    Total sans Sutton: 202 seats before, 131-132 lost

    Looking at Haringley, Richmond, and Southwark, there seem to have been plenty of cases of a stray councilor holding on…but overall, the LibDems fell back to some core areas and collapsed elsewhere. I’m guessing some of this was down to the simple fact that nobody has the ability to knock on every door in a city.

  39. @Bcrombie – No, the criticism of Labour started the moment the first result came in, when Labour’s successful hold of a safe Sunderland ward was trumpeted as a disaster for them by Nick Robinson and David Dimbleby. The PNS appears to be only being used as an excuse to justify continuing the preordained narrative.

    The media narrative around the Conservative results seems accurate enough though. Not great results but they’re still in with a shout.

  40. @Floating Voter

    Agreed on your analysis of the commentary. Like others on here, I would love someone to point us to an analysis of:

    1. Where gains have been made, from which party have they been gained

    2. The voting patterns in various marginal/target seats, and what might they mean for the GE. Do the UKIPs in 2nd place really threaten any Labour or Conservative heartlands? What do the Labour gains in, say Hammersmith and Fulham, Croydon and Redbridge imply gains of GE seats, and are UKIP spoiling any chance of Labour gains in parts of Essex? Does the Lib Dem vote hold up better in their GE seat areas?

    Maybe Lord Ashcroft can pay some people to do that!

  41. These results will have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of a GE, and trying to say otherwise is silly (or self reinforcing delusion).

    Nobody yet knows how the Scotland vote will go (catastrophe for Labour if it’s a Yes), and I reckon the more exposure Miliband gets, the less the public are likely to vote Labour.

    Just how are Labour going to keep him and Ed Balls hidden in the run up to the GE?

  42. @AW

    Re BBC knowing about the PNS. That is strange I just assumed as they were live broadcasting they did not have time to analyse and were suprised at the PNS. So why did the BBC run with the UKIP landslide all day, if they knew that UKIP were down 6%?

  43. @Bernard – The split in Scotland has changed who would have been PM what, once since the war? (As is only right and proper, I may add, and the same would apply to most similarly-sized sections of the populace.) So on what grounds do you consider it to be a catastrophe specifically for Labour if Scotland embraces xenophobia in September?

  44. Nobody yet knows how the Scotland vote will go (catastrophe for Labour if it’s a Yes). We do know: all the polling shows No ahead; & Yes’s narrowing trend appears to have hit the buffers without even once taking the lead.

  45. This is from the Ashcroft poll of UKIP voters

    ‘The poll also suggests that support for Nigel Farage may not survive into next year’s general election – only 51% of Ukip voters said they would be likely to vote for the party in 2015. One in five Ukip voters is likely to vote Conservative, and one in 10 is likely to vote for Labour.’

    That would give a 2 to 1 advantage to Cons over Lab, I thought it would be more than that. On the current UKPR projection of 14 for UKIP at the general election 4% would go to Con, 2 would go Lab and 7 would stay UKIP

    it would change the current projection to 36% Con and 37% Lab

  46. @Amber Star

    Yes, poor phrasing on my part, sorry. Lutfur Rahman was the incumbent. Should have been “has retained …” and “with Labour’s John Biggs in second” or some such.

    And in this instance, the impact is very much in local politics, probably not the GE. Both parliamentary seats in Tower Hamlets are Labour, with majorities of 10,000 and 6,000 or so.

  47. “So why did the BBC run with the UKIP landslide all day, if they knew that UKIP were down 6%?”

    Whys re the whole media circus doing the same? It’s pretty obvious..reality does fit in with their Toris going to win narrative.

    Oh what a shock 2015 will be. Just as Obama winning was a shock to the Republicans and for exacty the same reason. Inability to accept reality.

  48. @ CASCL

    No worries, I just wanted to make it clear that John Biggs was the challenger who failed to win; Lutfur got 43% in the 1st round but even with strong gains from 2nd preferences, JB couldn’t catch RL. So a very good win for the incumbent mayor.

  49. As many others have remarked the tone on the BBC was set with the first result from Sundyland.

    A total duffer could have explained that it meant nothing: a large number of people jumping on a bandwagon without knowing what was in it or where it was going and with little intention of staying on it after the next wagon-stop in 2015.

    The BBC team should have said:

    “This tells us very little except there is general dissatisfaction with the main parties.”

    But that would not have been dramatic. If we want to hear made-up stories we have already been pointed in the right direction by p.man. I don’t expect it from the BBC.

    The main story – by far in my view – is the LD one.

    Also looking at “Labour is only on 31” [or Tory 29] can easily be explained as being a temporary situation due to UKIPs inflated vote at present and by no means predicates what will happen in 2015.

    Add churn to all of that and you then work the rest out yourself.

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