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The referendum claims its first casualty – Alex Salmond

September 19th, 2014

You could have got 3/1 from Paddy Power on this during the night.

In many ways this was the natural conclusion to his fight over the years. Salmond had his brilliant success at the Holyrood elections when the SNP achieved what no other party had ever done before – a majority in the Scottish Parliament.

It was that election that set in motion the move to hold yesterday’s vote.

He’ll be missed as a political force.




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Local By-Election Preview: September 18th 2014 (Referendum Day)

September 19th, 2014

Abergele, Pensarn on Conwy (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Independents 19, Conservatives 13, Plaid Cymru 12, Labour 10, Liberal Democrats 5 (No Overall Control, Independents short by 14)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Labour 407 (55%), Independent 186 (25%), Conservative 145 (20%)
Candidates duly nominated: Barry Griffiths (Ind), Val Parker (Ind), John Pitt (Con), Michael Smith (Ind), Rick Stubbs (Lab), Ken Sudlow (Ind), Sarah Wardlaw (UKIP)

Conwy is one of these councils were the political spectrum is so well covered that is it virtually impossible for anyone to gain an overall majority. When the council was formed in 1995 Labour and the Liberal Democrats tied for the most seats (18 seats each) with the Liberal Democrats polling the most votes which of course would have put them in a very positive mood ahead of the 1997 general election considering that they were just 995 votes behind the Conservatives in the Conwy constituency. Sadly for the Liberal Democrats it was Labour who had the momentum at that election and gained the seat recording a majority over the Lib Dems of 1,596 and although in the 1999 local elections Labour pulled ahead of the Lib Dems everything still suggested that Conwy was a right old battleground. However at the 2001 general election, the 1999 Assembly elections had come into play with the shock result that Conwy (a traditional Con / Lab, Con / Lib Dem and Lab / Lib Dem battleground seat for the past century or so) had elected a Plaid Cymru AM and as a result the Plaid vote shot up 10% with the Lib Dem vote collapsing 15% thus ensuring that the Lib Dems would take no further active interest in the seat. And that trend has continued to this day to such an extent that Aberconwy is now a three way marginal and Conwy council is a four way battleground, so when you have four Independents and a UKIP contesting a by-election, if you thought that the Scottish referendum was hard to call, this is simply impossible to call!

Crook on Durham (Ind Defence)
Result of council at last election (2013): Labour 94, Independents 19, Liberal Democrats 9, Conservatives 4 (Labour majority of 62)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Emboldened denotes elected
Independents 771, 630, 594
Labour 719, 691, 642
Wear Valley Independents 559, 476, 450
Liberal Democrats 161, 144, 124
Greens 123, 89, 88
Candidates duly nominated: Alan Booth (Con), David English (Lib Dem), Betty Hopson (UKIP), Tony Simpson (Ind), Maureen Stanton (Lab)

If Conwy is impossible to call, Durham is easy to call. Labour, Labour and yep, you’ve guessed it, Labour again. However, not all Durham is Labour and the former Wear Valley council area had an actual opposition. In 2003 Labour’s majority of 10 was against the Lib Dems on 9 and the Independents on 6 and when Labour lost control of Wear Valley in 2007 Labour lost 6 seats, the Lib Dems gained 7 and the Independents only lost one. However when the new Durham was created, the Wear Valley was most upset at the loss of their area and the Wear Valley Independents were born (who over the last few years have managed to produce one or two suprises) however at this by-election it’s the plain old Independents who are hoping to see off the Labour challenge (but perhaps those Wear Valley Independents would be willing to help them in their efforts)

Quarry and Risinghurst on Oxford (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Labour 33, Liberal Democrats 8, Greens 6, Independent 1 (Lab majority of 18)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Labour 848 (49%), Liberal Democrats 411 (24%), Greens 76 (4%), UKIP 69 (4%)
Candidates duly nominated: Julia Gasper (English Democrats), Katharine Harborne (Con), Chewe Munkonge (Lab), Roz Smith (Lib Dem), Liz Taylor (Green)

The gleaming spires of Oxford has hidden a battle between the Liberal Democrats and the Greens as to who is best able to challenge Labour and the reason for this is that Oxford is a Conservative free zone. Hang on? Is it me or am I suffering from a distinct impression of deja vu (he says wondering if he’s in a Monty Python sketch). Well, to a certain degree yes, after all this is the second Oxford by-election in less than a month but with the Greens only on 4% last time, this time I think we can say with absolute authority that Labour should be able to hold this one.

And then of course there’s the small matter of the referendum on the issue of Scottish Independence and with the polls all over the place (to quote Bob McKenzie from the 1970 general election) “one or two of them will be on the chopping block tomorrow”. At the two extremes of recent days we had Panelbase on Sunday saying YES lead of 8% through ICM saying NO lead of 2% to YouGov first saying YES by 2% and then saying NO by 8%. The only thing we can say with complete confidence is that whatever happens there is a very strong chance that a new Scottish turnout record will be set. The previous record was set at the February 1974 general election when 78.86% of the Scottish electorate voted. I would not be at all surprised if the turnout breaches at least 80% (and maybe if things go exceedingly well 85%).

Results
Abergele, Pensarn on Conwy (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 160 (26% -19%), Independent (Smith) 134 (22%), UKIP 129 (21%), Independent (Sudlow) 74 (12%), Independent (Griffiths) 56 (9%), Conservative 54 (9% -11%), Independent (Parker) 10 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 26 (4%)
Total Independent vote: 274 (44% +19%)
Swing from Labour to Independents of 19%

Crook on Durham (Ind Defence)
Result: Labour 753 (47%), UKIP 339 (21%), Liberal Democrats 233 (14%), Independent 193 (12%), Conservative 90 (6%)
Labour GAIN from Independent with a majority of 414 (26%)

Quarry and Risinghurst on Oxford (Lab Defence)
Result: Labour 782 (42% -7%), Liberal Democrats 615 (33% +9%), Conservatives 222 (12%), Green 186 (10% +6%), Eng Dems 43 (2%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 167 (9%) on a swing of 8% from Labour to Liberal Democrats



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After a challenging election the final surveys from Ipsos-MORI, Survation and Panelbase win the polling accuracy race

September 19th, 2014

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The polling lessons of September 18th

As I have been repeatedly saying over the past few weeks the referendum posed a massive challenge for the pollsters. A big aspect, featured in Marf’s carton this morning, were what became known as the “shy Noes” – those who opposed change but were often reluctant in the emotion-charged atmosphere of the election to say so.

The other big uncertainty was the record turnout with groups of voters who’d never been to a polling booth before taking part in the election. This meant that the groups that pollsters of all types find it difficult to reach – like the young, the Ds and the Es – were going to play a big part.

    In the end the final polls from Ipsos-MORI, Survation and Panelbase won the day. Congratulations to all involved.

The winning margin of 11% was larger than any of their final shares but that pointed to a hardening up of the NO support in the final 24 hours. There was also the fact of lower turnouts in YES strongholds like Glasgow.

The YouGov survey yesterday evening of those who had responded to earlier referendum polls was mostly asking how people had voted. It found differing turnout levels between YES and NO with some late swing. The British Polling Council does not usually count what are a form of exit poll when it comes to comparing election surveys.

Thanks again to Marf.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter




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A solid win for NO but what about that “vow” by Cameron, Clegg and Miliband?

September 19th, 2014

This front page could come to haunt the three leaders



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The first four results are in – It is looking for great for No

September 19th, 2014

TSE



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The early turnout figures shows it will be a record breaking turnout.

September 19th, 2014

Though Dundee’s figure was a surprise


 

No results have been declared yet but earlier on this evening, Peter Kellner of YouGov said he was 99% certain of a No victory.

TSE

UPDATE – THE FIRST RESULT IS IN



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The indyref results thread – As YouGov have a poll out

September 18th, 2014

Like the Ipsos-Mori, there’s a small swing to No, as the Betfair price on Yes hits 14.5

The YouGov poll isn’t an exit poll, but I post it here for the sake of completeness.┬áNearly 2,000 Scots were contacted by YouGov after they had been to the polling stations.

So the polling and the bookies makes for great reading for Unionists, but as ever, we need to wait for the votes to be counted.

Here are the expected declaration times.

TSE



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Scotland decides: the Loch Ness Monster (and Marf) enter the fray

September 18th, 2014

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But does this benefit NO or YES?

Less than three hours to go and all the indications that that the turnout is very large. At this stage there’s nothing to measure it against and it’s hard making a prediction on something which there’s an active betting market.

Quite who this benefits most is also hard to say. Whether it is YES getting out the first time voters or NO bringing in the “Shy Noes” or maybe it’s a large slab of both.

    A independence referendum, as I’ve written about before, is a normal election in steroids and so this is proving to be.

High turnouts mean longer counts and there is no official exit poll. We might, however, get data on polling that has taken place during the day.

Thanks to Marf yet again for her drawing.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble