Super Thursday 2016 : 24 hours until polls close

May 4th, 2016

Some of the more choice local by-elections being held tomorrow

Tormohun on Torbay (Con defence)
Main Election: Mayoral Referendum
Result of council at last election (2015): Con 25, Lib Dem 7, Ind 3, UKIP 1 (Con majority of 14)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
Liberal Democrats 1,304, 1,067, 933 (25%)
Conservatives 1,289, 1,154, 1,125 (25%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 971, 909 (19%)
Labour 944, 662, 588 (18%)
Green Party 620, 511, 416 (12%)
Candidates duly nominated: Darren Cowell (Lab), Michelle Goodman (TUSC), Stephen Morley (Green), Nick Pentney (Lib Dem), Jackie Wakeham (Con), Steve Walsh (UKIP)

Up until 1997, Torbay could always be relied upon to elect a Conservative MP whether it was Charles Williams or Rupert Allason (aka Nigel West) but that all collapsed in 1997 when the Liberal Democrats gained the seat with a majority of just 12 votes and held it until the last election when naturally the Conservatives must have thought “Ah, normal service has been resumed”. Sadly though for the Conservatives that does not appear to have been the case, as demonstrated at the Clifton with Maidenway by-election last November when said defeated Lib Dem MP (Adrian Sanders) held the seat for the Liberal Democrats on a massive 27% swing from Conservative to Liberal Democrat and whilst clearly the Conservatives would still control the council, if the referendum were to pass and the Liberal Democrats nominated Mr. Sanders as their mayoral candidate I think a large number of Conservatives would wish the referendum had failed.

Mynyddbach on Swansea (Lab defence)
Main Election: Swansea East Assembly Constituency
Result of council at last election (2012): Lab 49, Lib Dem 12, Con 4, Swansea Ind 3, Ind 3, Rates 1 (Lab majority of 26)
Result of ward at last election (2012): Emboldened denotes elected
Labour 1,348, 1,321, 1,190 (62%)
Swansea Independents 683, 476 (19%)
Independent 699 (11%)
Conservatives 199, 135 (5%)
Liberal Democrat 215 (3%)
Candidates duly nominated: Shan Couch (Plaid), Mike Lewis (Lab), Patrick Morgan (Con), Ashley Wakeling (Ind), Charlene Webster (Lib Dem), Noel West (Swansea Independents)

The eastern side of Swansea has always been as safe as houses for Labour (having been represented by the party since 1922) so you might naturally think “Yawn, Lab HOLD, next!” however given the right set of circumstances some very strange things can happen in Swansea. In 2004, for instance Labour actually lost control of the council and in 2008 managed to lose even more support resulting in the Liberal Democrats offering a viable alternative coalition to the Labour administration that the Swansea Independents (with their eight councillors) could support, so don’t rule anything in or out when it comes to Swansea

Churchdown on Gloucestershire (Lib Dem defence)
Main Election: Gloucestershire Police and Crime Commissioner
Result of council at last election (2013): Con 23, Lib Dem 14, Lab 9, UKIP 3, Ind 2, Green 1, People Against Bureaucracy 1
Result of ward at last election (2013): Lib Dem 1,439 (49%), Con 873 (30%), Lab 414 (14%), Green 227 (8%)
Candidates duly nominated: Graham Bocking (Con), Ed Buxton (Lab), Jack Williams (Lib Dem)

St. Paul’s on Tendring (UKIP defence)
Main Election: Essex Police and Crime Commissioner
Result of council at last election (2015): Con 23, UKIP 22, Ind 6, Lab 4, Rates 3, Lib Dem 1, Tendring First 1 (No Overall Control, Con short by 8)
Result of ward at last election (2015): Emboldened denotes elected
United Kingdom Independence Party 944, 760 (37%)
Conservatives 838, 611 (33%)
Tendring First 766, 754 (30%)
Candidates duly nominated: Chris Bird (Lab), William Hones (Ind), Danny Mayzes (Con), Jack Parsons (UKIP)

St. Neot’s, Eaton Socon and Eynesbury on Cambridgeshire (Ind defence)
Main Election: Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner
Result of council at last election (2013): Con 32, Lib Dem 14, UKIP 12, Lab 7, Ind 4 (No Overall Control, Con short by 3)
Result of ward at last election (2013): Emboldened denotes elected
Independents 1,311 , 1,141 (42%)
Conservatives 728, 710 (25%)
United Kingdom Independence Party 692, 470 (20%)
Labour 250, 209 (8%)
Liberal Democrats 162 (3%)
Green Party 126 (2%)
Candidates duly nominated: James Corley (Ind), Doctor Johnson (Lab), Simone Taylor (Ind), Karl Wainwright (Con)

The last PCC elections were a triumph for the “Do we have to?” party as turnout across the country was a staggeringly low 14.67% with the range of turnouts at the local areas from as low as 8.14% in Barrow and Furness to as high as 34.52% in Corby (but then the small matter of a parliamentary by-election did help matters) and who won those elections, well in a manner of speaking nobody. Both the Conservatives and Labour tied on 111 local area wins each and in terms of actual PCC’s elected with 16 Conservatives, 13 Labour and 12 Independents of various hues no one could claim to have a majority of them. This time however things are bound to change with everyone taking part (Con, Lab, Lib Dem, Plaid, Green, UKIP and the myriad of Independents) which means that the poor electors of these three by-elections will have to deal with two different methods of voting on the same day. So what effect could this have? For instance could we see in Churchdown the number of rejected ballots exceed not only the majority for the winner but the winning candidates actual tally? In St. Paul’s (in one of the most Eurosceptic parts of the country) will the Independent gain the seat from UKIP because people mark the wrong ballot paper? And in St. Neot’s, with two Independents standing could there be such a mix-up that the returning officer announces that to be sure everyone knows what actually happened, they’ll do it all over again in a few weeks time. Oh, what a wonder the polls in May can be!


How Seamus Milne tried to close down Corbyn’s “we’ll lose no seats” claim

May 4th, 2016


The Michael Crick election expenses investigation could get serious for the Tories

May 4th, 2016

Dave’s majority could be at risk

The news that the Electoral Commission is talking to the police and CPS about Tory GE2015 election expenses in key marginal constituencies has the potential to be troubling to the party which, of course, won a majority of 12 last year.

Crick and his C4 News team retuned to the subject again last night focussing on one party police commissioner candidate who was the election agent in a marginal seat that the Tories won a year ago.

Under normal procedures objections for election expenses have to be carried out within a year of the documents being filed but it is possible to extend that which is what the Electoral Commission is asking.

It is possible that criminal proceedings could be taken but what could be really troubling is if the elections in those seats were annulled and new votes would have to take place. Cameron could feasibly lose his majority.

So far 26 seats have been looked but I understand that other might be being probed.

As well as the legal side the story fuels a narrative that the Tories didn’t win fairly.

Mike Smithson


Cruz drops out after big defeat in Indiana. Trump is declared the presemumptive nominee

May 4th, 2016



A big win for Trump in Indiana overnight has caused Ted Cruz to step aside and the Republican National Committee to declare the property billionaire as the presemumptive nominee.

In the Democratic race Hillary got beaten by Sanders but because of the way the party allocates delegates it is now almost impossible for him to secure enough for the nomination.

Hillary though had been damaged by her failure to win in the state.

Regularly updated odds: Winner 2016 White House Race

Mike Smithson


Unless the there’s a polling disaster bigger than GE2015 Sadiq Khan looks set to win the London Mayoralty

May 3rd, 2016

The LAB man is widening his lead in London

By far the biggest betting market on Thursday’s election is on the London Mayoralty where Zac Goldsmith is seeking to hold on to the post for the Tories from the LAB contender, Sadiq Khan.

A big question for those having a punt is whether the aggressive Tory campaign against Khan personally and low turnout levels might just give it to Goldsmith.

The very latest polling, from Opinium for the Standard, is out and the message is that Khan is extending his lead. Opinium’s fieldwork ended on Sunday so is pretty up to date.

    The 14% Khan lead after the allocation of second preferences looks convincing and it would be a bigger blow to the the polling industry than GE2015 if this went wrong. Other recent polls have had Khan 20% ahead.

But I’m still not totally convinced. Turnout is going to be everything and we can expect that to be higher in outer, more blue-friendly, London than in the capital’s LAB heartlands.

One thing that is surprising in the polling is how few second preference vote Zac appears to be picking up. Given he made his name as an environmental campaigner you’d expect that quite a significant proportion of Green first choices would go his way. That doesn’t seem to be happening.

Mike Smithson


Boris now 4th in ConHome members preferred leader poll. Gove extends lead

May 3rd, 2016

ConHome leader

The monthly ConHome members survey of preferred next party leader is just out and sees Michael Gove once again top extending his total by five points.

The former Education Secretary is the fourth person to have been there this year because it does have a tendency to chop and change. Thus in January, Theresa May was top, then it was Liam Fox, and in March Boris moved into poll position. The other big mover is Theresa May up five on April.

Boris is suffering, I’d suggest, by his less than sure footed approach to the BREXIT referendum with his blustering style raising questions about him as a future PM. By contrast Gove is having a good referendum campaign.

What makes the survey important is that it is of party members only – the group who will make the final choice when Dave does step down. It also did very well with the 2005 race that saw Cameron crowned as leader.

Live Next CON leader Betfair odds

Mike Smithson


Three days to go and three big developments overnight

May 3rd, 2016

New Holyrood poll suggests that the Tories could still overhaul LAB to come 2nd

Ex CON general election candidate quits party over Zac’s campaign

And a plot to oust Corbyn


My Bloomberg programme on BREXIT and political betting

May 2nd, 2016