Archive for the 'By elections' Category

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Gains for LAB, CON and SNP in this week’s council by-elections

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Oban North and Lorn on Argyll and Bute (Ind Defence)
Result: Scottish National Party 1,090 (41% +16%), Independent 629 (24% +1%), Labour 530 (20% -2%), Conservative 415 (16% -2%)
SNP lead of 461 (17%) on the first count on a swing of 8% from Independent to SNP, SNP GAIN from Independent on the fourth count

Rogate on Chichester (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 342 (71% -20%), UKIP 138 (29%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 204 (42%) on a swing of 25% from Conservative to UKIP

Burnopfield and Dipton (Derwentside Independents Defence) and Evenwood (Lab Defence) on Durham
Burnopfield and Dipton
Result: Labour 656 (45% +7%), Derwentside Independent 655 (45% +10%), Conservative 86 (6%), Green 63 (4%)
Labour GAIN from Derwentside Independent with a majority of 1 (0%) on a swing of 1.5% from Labour to Derwentside Independent (True Swing: 17% from Independent to Labour)

Evenwood
Result: Labour 546 (38% -14%), Conservatives 396 (28% -3%), UKIP 309 (22% +5%), Independent 108 (8%), Green 72 (5%)
Labour HOLD with a majority of 150 (10%) on a swing of 6% from Labour to Conservative

Newnham and Westbury on Forest of Dean (Ind Defence)
Result: Independent 321 (39%), Conservatives 216 (26%), UKIP 102 (12%), Labour 100 (12%), Greens 70 (8%), Liberal Democrats 25 (3%)
Independent HOLD with a majority of 105 (13%)

Mitcheldean on Gloucestershire (Ind Defence)
Result: Conservatives 959 (38% +14%), UKIP 550 (22% +3%), Independent 455 (18% -18%), Labour 278 (11% +1%), Liberal Democrats 150 (6% unchanged), Greens 106 (4% unchanged)
Conservative GAIN from Independent with a majority of 409 (16%) on a swing of 6% from UKIP to Conservative

Haywards Heath, Lucastes on Mid Sussex (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 524 (56%), UKIP 203 (22%), Liberal Democrat 112 (12%), Labour 90 (10%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority 321 (34%)

Folkestone, Harvey West on Shepway (Con Defence)
Result: Conservatives 385 (39%), UKIP 293 (29%), Liberal Democrats 262 (26%), Labour 57 (6%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 92 (10%)

The main headline has to be four UKIP MISSES including two in prime UKIP areas

Harry Hayfield



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The great CON Rochester primary mystery – how the reported turnout of 4,000 became 5,688

Friday, October 24th, 2014

Why aren’t we getting the full numbers like in Totnes in 2009?

The first news that all was not well with the CON Rochester primary was this report, now not on the Spectator site, from the usually well informed Isabel Hardman.

An hour or so later were told that “Kelly Tolhurst wins Tories’ postal primary Rochester & Strood with 50.44% to Anna Firth’s 49.56%. 5,688 ballots returned.”

That was an odd way to present the figures. Why not , as in the 2009 primaries, give the full numbers with the total of spoilt papers? The fact that we are not getting this detail raises my suspicions.

    Could it be that Hardman’s original 4,000 figure was the correct number of valid votes and that it was decided to present the outcome as being a little bit better for the party by talking of the number of ballots returned with the actual candidate totals presented as percentages.

If the turnout is based on number of valid votes then 4,000 would make it about 5.3% not the 7.5% that talking about ballots returned suggests.

Given the controversy surrounding the whole election and the primary itself it would not be surprising if Rochester voters hostile to the Tories spoilt their ballots before popping them in the return paid envelopes and posting them.

It would have been far better for the party to have come clean about the actual numbers last night rather than allow these questions to be raised.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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UPDATED: Just 5,688 of Rochester’s 70k+ electors took part in the Tory primary and the winner got it by less than 1%

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

The earlier Spectator report proved to an underestimate

I said beforehand that a 15% participation rate would be good given the time pressure. So to fall short of that by such a margin does not bode well for the Blue Team.

It really shows the lack of interest that voters there have in the party and doesn’t bode well for CON prospects in the election proper on November 20th.

I just wonder whether this will be the spur for LAB to take Rochester seriously.



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Generally the oldies are the key group for UKIP yet in the ComRes Rochester poll they give Reckless a lead of just 1%

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

Looking more closely at the numbers

Let there be no doubt – the UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll was terrible news for the Tories coming as it has just before the party announces the result of its all-postal primary on who should be the candidate.

Looking closely at the ComRes data two demographic segments stand out. Firstly there are the oldies, those of 65 and above, who normally are the biggest supporters of all for Farage’s party. In this poll however, as the extract from the dataset above shows, it is nothing like as clear cut with Mark Reckless just 1% ahead.

As I’ve said many times on PB in a vast range of elections the oldies are crucial. They are most likely to be on the electoral register, most likely to actually vote and least likely to change their mind.

The second positive figure for the Tories from the demographic splits is how well the blues are doing with the AB groups showing a clear cut lead.

The big feature from the poll is how reliant in the ComRes poll UKIP are on non-voters from 2010. This is what the leading political scientist and UKIP expert, Rob Ford, Tweeted last night:-

I’m told that we should be getting the results from the CON Rochester postal primary this evening. The number to look out for is the turnout.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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On the eve of the CON primary result a UKIP donor funded ComRes Rochester poll has the purples 13% ahead

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

UKIP 43: CON 30: LAB 21: LD 3: GRN 2

Th big by-election news tonight which has already been anticipated by the betting markets is a new UKIP donor funded poll of Rochester & Strood in the Daily Express.

The news is not good for the Tories and very good for the purples. The poll has Farage’s party in a better position than it was in the Mail/Survation poll two weeks ago when UKIP had a 9% lead.

Amongst 2010 CON voters ComRes found 57% supporting the blues and 40% Reckless – almost exactly the same proportion as in the earlier Survation poll. Reckless is relying for his support on ex-LAB & LD voters. But the biggest source of new support for UKIP are those who didn’t vote at the last general election with 28% of the UKIP share coming from them.

Some other pollsters would mark the views of this group down sharply because non-voting support from the previous general election is the most flakey of all.

This is how the non-2010 voters split.

Clearly this puts the purples in a strong position just four weeks from polling day and there’ll be a huge amount of pressure on whoever wins the primary to claw some of this back.

With four weeks to go I’m expecting a lot of polling. Eagerly awaited is a survey from Lord Ashcroft.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Rochester and Strood is being presented as solely a CON-UKIP battle – but what about Labour?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

Could the Kickboxer kick CON and UKIP ass?

After Labour’s pitiful performances at the Heywood and Newark by-elections it is easy to dismiss their chances entirely in the Rochester and Strood by-election on November 20th. The national party has not given the impression that this is a priority and recent form does not bode well.

But in the only polling that’s been done, the Survation survey, Labour was holding up pretty well and if you strip out of the Reckless vote in that poll the non-GE2010 voters then the red team was within a couple of points. The polling is distorted because a large slab of UKIP voters say they voted that way at GE10 when, of course, there wasn’t a UKIP candidate in the constituency.

What has impressed me is the quality of the LAB candidate there, Naushabah Khan, who comes over more effectively than either Mark Reckless or the two contenders in the Tory primary. She describes herself as a commuter and a “Kickboxer”. In terms of presentation skills she reminds me of UKIP’s Diane James in Eastleigh who, it will be recalled, pushed CON into 3rd place. She also seems to have built up an energetically youthful activist base which is a key part of being a PPC.

Also in its previous form as Medway the seat was a very tight marginal which Bob Marshall-Andrews clung onto by 213 votes at GE05. There’s a history of strong organisation which suggests very good data particularly of its support base in the past. This is a massive asset.

The challenge, of course, is that Labour is up against the very well resourced UKIP and CON machines who are flinging everything at it.

I don’t think that Labour will win but they just might and for betting purposes I’m not ruling it out. If you use the Betfair exchange then lay UKIP or CON. The odds are not that much different from the back price and you’ll be covered if by any chance Naushabah does pull it off.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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If the Tories get a good turnout in the Rochester all postal primary it’ll be a pointer to the by-election itself

Tuesday, October 21st, 2014

But what is good – this is a by-election first?

On Thursday we’ll get the results of the unique all postal primary that the Tories have carried out to choose their Candidate for the November 20th Rochester & Strood by-election. This is the first time that any party has chosen a by-election candidate in this manner and for me the key number will be how many of the 70k+ electors in the constituency have actually participated.

Only two such primaries have been carried out before. At the first at Totnes in Devon in 2009 ahead of the 2010 General Election 24.6% bothered to fill in the postal ballot forms and return them. A month or so later in Gosport the turnout was 17.8%. The big differences between Rochester and those two are that the process is taking place over such a shorter period and, of course, turnouts in by-elections themselves are almost always lower than at general elections.

    Taking everything into account if participation in Rochester is in the 15-20% region then the blues can be pleased.

What the primary process has done is to increase awareness of the election and the two contenders. Whoever wins, of course, is fighting the incumbent, Mark Reckless, who has had huge media coverage following his defection to UKIP. There can be little doubt that the massive success that Douglas Carswell had in Clacton will have provided a boost to Reckless and his party. The momentum generally had been with UKIP since as we’ve seen from record Westminster polling shares for the party.

Ladbrokes and SkyBet have been operating a markets on the primary and Kelly Torworth, the one on the right in the picture, is odds on favourite.

All the counting and election processing had been carried out by the Electoral Reform Society. The turnout will be a pointer to how much interest the Tories have been able to generate in their campaign.

One thing’s for sure – the turnout level will be higher than the South Yorkshire Police Commissioner election taking place next week.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble




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Polling analysis: Rochester is a far far bigger challenge for UKIP than Clacton

Monday, October 20th, 2014

UKIP is not winning the 2010 Tory vote like it did in Clacton

Reckless has nothing like the personal support as Carswell

The outcome could be on a knife-edge

I’ve become totally absorbed by the Rochester by-election the outcome of which, either way, will have a dramatic affect on the political environment in the six months to the May 7th general election.

Over the weekend I’ve had a look again at the only poll so far which was from Survation. This had UKIP’s Mark Reckless with an 8.7% margin a large part of which was made up of non-voters from 2010 and a disproportionate number of those saying they voted for “others”.

    In fact if standard ICM methodology, rather than Survation’s, had been used with the same data then the main two protagonists could have been almost level pegging with Labour not far behind. This is because ICM discounts the views of non-voters from last time by 50% and also re-allocates part of the “will vote -won’t say” segment to the party they supported last. Also 2010 “others” would have been scaled down.

UKIP, of course, gave Reckless a free ride in 2010 so there’s no 2010 data relating to the party to link back to.

Lord Ashcroft, who hasn’t polled this yet, is much closer in his approach to ICM and when he does he’ll be naming the candidates in his survey.

Survation was first off with a Clacton poll and followed that up a fortnight ago with its Rochester survey. Apart from the voting ones questions were almost identical allowing us to compare the two sets of data to identify the differences.

The key ones to me are how much worse Reckless’s defection is viewed in Rochester compared with Carswell and how in Rochester the Tories are hanging on to much more of their 2010 vote. The comparisons are shown in the two charts and do not look good for UKIP.

I still think that Reckless is favourite but nothing like the 78% chance that he’s being rated at on Betfair.

Mike Smithson

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