CON GE15 prices moves up because Rochester wasn’t as bad as many in the blue team feared

November 21st, 2014

Tories helped by UKIP/Farage’s poor expectation management

This morning’s movement means that the CON price has advanced by 7 seats since SPIN opened its market 11 days ago.

The money’s now going on CON to retake the seat next May

Harry Hayfield’s round-up of all yesterday’s results

Bramhall South and Woodford on Stockport (Con Defence)
Result: Conservative 2,080 (53% +8%), Liberal Democrats 1,502 (38% +5%), Green 197 (5%, no candidate last time), Labour 132 (3% -6%)
Conservative HOLD with a majority of 468 (13%) on a swing of 1.5% from Lib Dem to Con

Uplands on Swansea (Lab Defence)
Result: Independent 671 (33%, no candidate in 2012), Labour 533 (26% -18%), Liberal Democrat 215 (11% -23%), Green 179 (9% -1%), Swansea Independents 158 (8%, no candidate in 2012), Conservative 154 (8% -4%), Plaid 104 (5%, no candidate in 2012), TUSC 31 (2%, no candidate in 2012)
Independent GAIN from Labour with a majority of 138 (7%)

Peninsula on Medway (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: UKIP 2,850 (48%), Conservative 1,965 (33%), Labour 716 (12%), Green 314 (5%), Lib Dem 60 (1%)
UKIP HOLD (from defection) with a majority of 885 (15%)

Rochester and Strood (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result: UKIP 16,867 (42%, no candidate in 2010), Conservative 13,947 (35% -14%), Labour 6,713 (17% -11%), Green 1,692 (4% +2%), Liberal Democrats 349 (1% -15%), Independents 188 (0%), Loony 151 (0%), People Before Profit 69 (0%), Britain First 56 (0%), Patriotic Socialists 33 (0%)
UKIP HOLD (from defection) with a majority of 2,920 (7%)


Marf’s response to the other big political story this morning

November 21st, 2014

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Mark Reckless wins Rochester for UKIP with a majority of 7.2%

November 21st, 2014

But can he be confident of holding on next May and will it encourage more defectors?

In the end the Rochester result was a lot closer than any of the final polls had suggested but the first stage Mark Reckless’s massive gamble has paid off – he’s back again as MP for Rochester.

The winning margin was 7.2% which compared with the gaps of 12% and more that we had from the three final polls. It was much tighter than most people and the betting markets had predicted.

    It did suggest that you have to be cautious with polls where a significant part of a candidate’s support is coming from non-voters who are traditionally the ones least likely to turnout

He was helped by the decision of LAB not to take the battle seriously and put the resources in and by the dramatic collapse in Lib Dem support to less than one percent.

Looking forward there are two questions: is Reckless going to be able to retain the seat next May and will the less than emphatic winning margin act as a deterrent to other potential defectors?

In last week’s Lord Ashcroft Rochester poll the Tories had a margin of 1% when the the sample was asked for their general election voting intentions. But that poll has the UKIP by-election lead at 12%. This looks very tight for next May.

What we do know is that leading UKIP donors have been funding private polls so other potential defectors can test the water before they decide to jump. The Rochester result will put those findings into context.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


It’s looking like a UKIP victory but by a tighter margin than any of the polls

November 21st, 2014


Marf on Rochester and Harry Hayfield’s local and Westminster by-election preview

November 20th, 2014


Bramhall South & Woodford on Stockport (Con Defence)
Result of council at last election (2014): Liberal Democrats 28, Labour 22, Conservatives 10, Independents 3 (No Overall Control, Liberal Democrats short by 4)
Result of ward at last election (2014): Conservatives 1,862 (45%), Liberal Democrats 1,373 (33%), UKIP 538 (13%), Labour 369 (9%)
Candidates duly nominated: David McDonough (Green), John McGahan (Con), Jeremy Meal (Lib Dem), Kathryn Priestley (Lab)

Twenty years may seem like a lifetime in local politics and yet on the surface very little appears to have happened on Stockport during that time. The Liberal Democrats are down two, Labour are up five, the Conservatives down three and the Independents are unchanged, but that doesn’t even begin to tell half the story. By 1996, the Conservatives were on the verge of being wiped out from the council and in 1999, the Liberal Democrats gained control of the council (as they did in Sheffield and holding Liverpool that they won the previous year) but despite a loss in the millennium the Lib Dems retook control in 2002 and kept it until 2011 when the impact of the coalition started to make itself felt as the Lib Dems made six net losses and it continued with three net losses in 2012 but that appeared to come to a pause this year when the Lib Dems stayed static. With Stockport being home to both Hazel Grove and Cheadle constituencies, will the Conservatives be able to prove that they can battle their coalition allies or will UKIP seize a chance and show that they can take votes from everyone?

Uplands on Swansea (Lab Defence)
Result of council at last election (2012): Labour 49, Liberal Democrats 12, Independents 6, Conservatives 4, Ratepayers 1 (Labour majority of 26)
Result of ward at last election (2012) : Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,302, 1,207, 1,161, 1,099 (44%)
Liberal Democrats 1,089, 975, 812, 782 (34%)
Conservatives 319, 313, 306, 301 (12%)
Green Party 614, 465 (10%)
Candidates duly nominated: Josh Allard (Con), Pat Dwan (Swansea Independents), Rhydian Fitter (Plaid), Fran Griffiths (Lab), Ronnie Job (TUSC), Peter May (Ind), Janet Thomas (Lib Dem), Ashley Wakeling (Green)

When Swansea was formed in 1995, it was as Labour a heartland as anywhere else in the South Wales valleys. In those first elections Labour polled 60% of the vote and won 57 out of the 73 councillors. Four years later Labour still won an overall majority despite losing ten seats and losing 12% in the popular vote. However, by 2004, things were starting to look dangerous for Labour as they lost control of the council (winning 32 seats) and only polled 33% of the popular vote. They were still able to govern though with thanks to the Independents but in 2008, Labour had a night to forget, because although they only lost another two seats overall, they came within 3% of losing the popular vote as the Liberal Democrats made four net gains and announced that they would seek to form an administration, this time the Independents came on board along with the sole Plaid Cymru member and for the first time since the council was formed Labour were not in charge. However by 2012, the situation was completely reversed. On a 17% swing from Liberal Democrat to Labour, Labour regained control of the council with a majority of 26 and inflicted 11 net losses onto the Liberal Democrats including all four Lib Dems in Uplands, the last seat being won from Cllr. Peter May by just 10 votes and in this by-election Peter May will be trying to regain his seat (but not as a Lib Dem, as an Independent) a pattern that was demonstrated in the 2012 local elections when nine Liberal Democrat councillors held their seats standing as Independents.

Peninsula on Medway (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result of council at last election (2011): Conservatives 35, Labour 15, Liberal Democrats 3, Independents 2 (Conservative majority of 15)
Result of ward at last election (2011) : Emboldened denotes elected
Conservatives 2,557, 2,307, 2,125
Labour 975, 898, 879
English Democrats 535, 476
Green 351
Liberal Democrats 298, 282
Candidates duly nominated: Clive Gregory (Green), Christopher Irvine (UKIP), Christopher Sams (Lib Dem), Ron Sands (Con), Pete Tungate (Lab)

Rochester and Strood (UKIP defence from Con defection)
Result of constituency at last election: Conservatives 23,604 (49%), Labour 13,651 (28%), Liberal Democrats 7,800 (16%), English Democrats 2,182 (5%), Green 734 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: Mike Barker (Ind), Christopher Challis (Ind), Hairy Knorm Davidson (Loony), Jayda Fransen (Britain First), Stephen Goldsborough (Ind), Clive Gregory (Green), Geoff Juby (Lib Dem), Naushabah Khan (Lab), Nick Long (People Before Profit), Dave Osborn (Patriotic Socialist), Mark Reckless (UKIP), Charlotte Rose (Ind), Kelly Tolhurst (Con)

UKIP will be hoping that what happened in Clacton doesn’t happen here. When Douglas Carswell defected from Con to UKIP and announced that he was standing as the UKIP candidate, the existing UKIP candidate was booted out of his post. He resigned his county seat in Brightlingsea and said “Vote Lib Dem” so whilst UKIP won the parliamentary seat, they lost the county seat. This time the district by-election is being fought as a referendum on a housing development on the Hoo (part of the same constituency) so will UKIP be able to win both the constituency and the district ward? Well, with some polls putting Mr. Reckless at least 10% ahead it does seem likely which then brings us to the next question. Will John Baron MP (Conservative, Basildon and Billericay) be next to jump ship to UKIP and if so, how many more will follow him and will they follow the examples of Mr. Carswell and Mr. Reckless or will they then announce that they are standing down from Parliament thus meaning that a by-election will not be needed.


Anybody got any by-election news from Rochester and Strood?

November 20th, 2014

Mark Reckless with his “wonderful wife”

Kelly Tolhurst looking a bit strained

It would be great to hear from you on the thread below.

What’s turnout like? How are spirits in the main camps? Any indications that this is other than a big UKIP victory?


Under single constituency first past the post system national aggregate vote totals don’t mean that much

November 20th, 2014

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Why the legitimacy of what could appear a perverse general election outcome cannot be questioned

There’s lots of talk at the moment about the electoral “system being bust” and “no longer fit for purpose”. What is being pointed to are possible disparities between national aggregate vote shares and the total of MPs each party gets.

Clearly in what is now a four party structure it is very likely that many seats will be won with the victor securing fewer than 30% of the votes. Until the post referendum LAB Scottish collapse it was possible to envisage LAB securing an overall majority with, perhaps, a third of the national aggregate vote.

In 2005 Tony Blair secured a comfortable overall majority for LAB with just 35.2% of the UK vote or 36.2% excluding Northern Ireland.

    But much of this is the product of a voting system that forces those who wish to influence the outcome not to vote for their allegiance but to choose between the two top choices in their particular seat who can possibly win

To many , in any case, their vote is for an individual not a party or a potential prime minister. Incumbency can be a key element thus undermining a bit further the idea that national party totals are important.

Thus, to take one of many recorded examples, we see from the Ashcroft marginals polling that in seats where the effective choice is between blue and yellow that 17% of LAB voters will switch to back the latter. They maybe doing this because they are happy with their sitting MP or they want to stop the Tories. Whatever their actions depress the overall LAB vote share but it does mean that these voters can have an impact on the election. The alternative is for them to accept that their first choice is pointless in their seat and waste their votes.

One of the reasons why the Tories seem to do worse under the system is that, in the past, they have been much less likely to vote tactically than LAB voters even where their party does nor have a chance

    If the legitimacy of the outcome of a general election is questioned on national aggregate votes share grounds there is one simple response – the legitimacy derives from the nation voting overwhelmingly in May 2011 to retain the first past the post system.

A direct consequence of that result is that national aggregate vote totals can not be said to reflect what voters’ first choices are. So you cannot draw many firm conclusions from them.


Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


New Survation/UNITE poll has CON holding onto Stockton S where it’s defending a majority of just 310

November 19th, 2014

Finally for tonight

UPDATE: CON back in lead with YouGov