Friday, June 06, 2014
Conservative 27,590 53.9 17,431 45
UKIP 1,954 3.8 10.028 25.9
Labour 11,438 22.3 6,842 17.7
Bagley/Hospital 1,891 4.9
Green 1,057 2.7
LibDem 10,246 20.0 1,004 2.6
Ors combined 454 1.2
I find this a very interesting result. I wish I knew how the polling by stations had gone because then I would be making more than an educated guess which votes went from whom to whom (but then if I did I would probably have to keep it quiet out of party loyalty).
The LibDem vote collapsed losing 90% by numbers or 7/8ths by proportion (proportion is the more important - there is nothing unusual about by elections having lower turnouts because the national media isn't hammering home that there is an election today). This is way below any fall to the party's "minimum core vote" (usually assumed about half of it). The LibDem fall closely parallels UKIP's rise but I think it would be unwise to assume we picked up more than a minority of their votes. Probably most of the Green and hospital campaign votes were ex-LDs but that still means more than half went elsewhere. This article on Conservative Home suggests that a lot of them went Tory to keep us out, as did a lot of Labour ones. The BBC Radio 5 reporter also said "I met a number of Labour voters who said they are voting Tory to keep UKIP out" which is quite remarkable.
Nonetheless, however they went this is a catastrophic result for the LDs. After a couple of weeks of "4 party politics" we may be back to a 3 party system without the LDs. Any result remotely of this order would put ALL the LDs out of Parliament. I suspect the lost LD votes split 4 ways to Tories, Labour, UKIP & the others.
A disaster for Labour too. A 4.6% fall in their proportion is not going to get Miliband the PMship. He must expect, as the party not in government, to be polling better, during any by election, where people feel free to protest, than he will at the general election. This happens to every party. Labour won this seat in 1997 and have placed 2nd at other times. To be knocked into 3rd place is about as bad as it could be. I suspect Labour's missing 4.6% (if, say, 1/4 of the LDs went to them they would have picked up about 4.3% and thus lost 8.9%). That some of their members voted for Tory to keep out UKIP and others UKIP to beat the Tories does not suggest any enthusiasm whatsoever for his party.
UKIP. Well we didn't take it but overthrowing a 16,000 majority when your previous vote was 2,000 isn't as easy as it sounds ;-) We didn't come as close as we expected and that is important. We mainly lost because the Tory vote held up. Had 4,000 more of them (only 1/7th of their previous vote) voted UKIP we would have won.
Roger Helmer had written of the enthusiasm he found on the doorstep - sometimes people are polite when they haven't yet made up their minds. The other thing is that there was a decent turnout for 2 independents (though not for the last 5). That means that though the contempt for the traditional parties is overwhelming, UKIP has not yet sealed the deal.
I suspect, in particular, that the smear campaigns by the government media has hurt us. But it is a problem. If a significant number of actual LabConDem voters agree that "there is no difference between them" and decide they like that, we could have a problem. For that I believe we have to have a positive policy platform that will make the large majority of all parties make us their preferred alternative. We are likely to be the contender in most constituencies across the country (as the LDs used to be) and if we can persuade 3rd and 4th placing parties that we are much better than the probable winner we can sweep the country. If they unite to keep the previous winner in we won't - and British politics will lose all semblance of pluralistic democracy.
But you can't complain about a 22.1% swing to you.
The Tories have reason for satisfaction. They won and not just by scraping in. Nonetheless an 8.9% swing against is hardly something to celebrate. This won't get Cameron his majority. This was the 44th safest tory seat so to have lost it would have been beyond catastrophic. Beyond that it looks very much like they did lose far more Tory votes than appears and filled them up with 4.3% from the LDs and 4.4% (half of 8.9%) from Labour. 8.7% of their votes are on loan and without them - that's 3.700. That didn't actually keep them in but it does explain why Nigel Farage expected it to be closer. And losing those votes (or actually not having them because they never did) would ensure electoral defeat.
Another point here is that, at least according to Conservative Home, the Tories pulled out all the stops and ran a very heavy campaign. 150 MPs visiting. Cameron visiting 4 times - absolutely unprecedented for a sitting PM. And it worked. And Labour and the LDs, who both historically have reputations for being able to put feet on the ground, didn't come close to matching them. The old parties have hollowed themselves out because members have no actual influence on the party. I suspect this applies to the Tories too but they just pulled out every card they had. The article itself makes a point of the importance of members on the ground and I agree.
Nigel Farage discusses the result and points out that the Tories cannot put anything remotely like this level of effort into an constituency during the general election http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/480656/FARAGE-ON-FRIDAY-Ukip-boss-says-next-target-is-2015-general-election-Commons-breakthrough