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Could the party of Nigel Farage really end up winning more #Eastleigh votes than Labour?

February 11th, 2013

There were reports last night of other Eastleigh polls in the field that had the party order at LD, CON, Ukip with LAB in fourth place.

Quite what the veractity of that information is I don’t know and in by-elections like this we have to treat reports of unpublished surveys with extreme scepticism.

    But what has become apparent is that in terms of planning and organisation there are really only two serious contenders – the coalition partners.

This matters enormously. To give one of many examples there are just two days left to get postal vote applications in and both the blue and yellow machines have been working very hard to meet that deadline.

To maximise the potential you need decent data about supporters from previous elections and the organisation to contact them quickly to check that they are going to be about on Febrary 28th and if not get them to apply postal votes.

This is part of the grunt work of political campaigning which Labour is generally good at but only in seats where it matters. Eastleigh is not in that category.

Ukip had council candidates in all wards in the constituency last May and has, by its standards, a reasonable organisation. Whether it is on to postal vote work I don’t know.

Whatever based on the November by-election experience we can expect Ukip to poll reasonably well a fortnight on Thursday. Will it out-poll Labour?

In pre-coalition times it was a general rule of thumb that in tight CON-LD confrontations the Labour vote collapsed. We saw that in Henley in 2008 where Labour lost its deposit and in Bromley in 2006 where the Ukip candidate, Nigel Farage, pipped Labour’s Rachel Reeves for third place.

As LAB-Ukip match bet might be a good betting market.

Mike Smithson

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