This post features, or will feature, a region-by-region run through of the key constituencies and their prospects for the British election, which is being held overnight our time with the business end of the count occurring tomorrow morning. The maps identify Conservative marginals as “primary” if they would fall to Labour on the uniform national swing predicted by the polls, which broadly point to a Conservative vote of 34% (down three on the last election), Labour on 33% (up five) and the Liberal Democrats on 9% (down fourteen). “Secondary” marginals are those which might be expected to fall if Labour won a majority, which I’ve crudely drawn at the 12% point on the swing-o-meter. I’m playing Liberal Democrat seats by ear according to the betting markets in identifying them either as safe or under threat from this party or that.
I’ll be adding regions to the guide progressively as I complete them. And what better place to start than:
Six seats in London that would fall from Conservative to Labour on the uniform swing indicated in the polling, but no real prospects for Labour beyond that, the margin in Ilford North being 11.5%. I’ve heard it said that the swing is expected to be slightly above par in London, but an Ashford poll during the campaign had the Conservatives with a four-point lead in Croydon Central. With respect to the Liberal Democrat seats, Labour are very short-priced favourites in Brent Central and favourites in Hornsey and Wood Green. Other Liberal Democrat seats are at least endangered, but betting markets favour them in each case.
This area is ground zero for the Ukip insurgency, being home to the two seats they have won at by elections, Clacton and Rochester & Strood, and the seat being targeted by party leader Nigel Farage, Thanet South. It’s also good territory for the Greens, encompassing their solitary seat of Brighton Pavilion.
The strength of both parties is causing Labour headaches, and could certainly cost them what should otherwise have been an easy win in Thurrock, which the Conservatives won last time on the tightest of margins. Southhampton Itchen is the only seat anywhere identified as a potential Conservative gain for Labour, partly due to a retiring sitting member, but also because Ukip is believed to be biting into the Labour vote (the number for it has failed to show up on my map tomorrow, but it’s the one bordering Eastleigh to the west).
The Greens vote could also cost Labour potential gains in the two seats neighbouring Brighton Pavilion, Hove and Brighton Kemptown, although they are the favourites in both cases. Seats Labour is clearly favoured to gain from the Conservatives are Hove, Brighton Kemptown and Hastings & Rye, and the betting is fairly tight in Milton Keyes South.
The Conservatives are short-priced favourites to win Portsmouth South from the Liberal Democrats, and rated competitive but behind in Eastbourne. The markets rate the Liberal Democrats a better chance than Labour to unseat the Conservatives in Watford, for what reason I’m not sure.
This region is the greatest area of strength for the Liberal Democrats, and much depends on the extent to which they can dig in here. The Conservatives are clearly favoured to win St Austell & Newquay, Taunton Deane, Somerton & Frome, Wells, Mid Dorset & Poole and Chippenham, and it would appear to be very close in St Ives, North Cornwall, North Devon and Torbay. Labour is expected to win Bristol West from the Liberal Democrats, despite determined efforts from the Greens. The only seats the Liberal Democrats are clearly favoured to retain are Yeovil, Bath, Thornbury & Yate and Cheltenham. As for the few Conservative-Labour contests, Labour is strongly favoured to gain Plymouth, Sutton & Devonport, it’s expected to go down to the wire in South Swindon, and the Conservatives are slightly favoured in Gloucester.
Moving up to the central band of England, we find rock solid Labour industrial areas and equally safe Conservative countryside, with marginal seats tending to crop out where the two blur together. Labour is very strongly favoured to win Sherwood, City of Chester, Broxtowe, North Warwickshire, Wolverhampton South West and Corby, and moderately favoured in Cannock Chase, Erewash, Amber Valley, Lincoln and Bedford. Crewe & Nantwich, Nuneaton, Halesowen & Rowley Regis, Northampton North, Ipswich and Norwich North are thought to be lineball, while Labour holds out some hope in High Peak, Cleethorpes, Loughborough, Worcester, Peterborough, Great Yarmouth.
There are only a few Liberal Democrats seats here, but one of them is Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam, where polling long found him struggling to hold off Labour, although more recent polling has been more favourable to him. Labour is also expected to gain Norwich South, but the Conservatives are favourites in Cambridge, and Birmingham Yardley is lineball. Next door to Birmingham Yardley, the Conservatives are short-priced favourites to unseat the Liberal Democrats in Solihull.
Around Liverpool and Manchester, we see a repeat of the pattern in the Midlands where marginals seats fill the cracks between Labour-voting industrial and Conservative-voting country areas, although elsewhere in the north the distinctions are more pronounced. The betting markets favour Labour to win six seats from the Conservatives throughout the region: Wirral West, Bury North, Dewsbury, Lancaster & Fleetwood, Morecambe & Lunesdale and Carlisle. The Conservatives are rated as having the edge in South Ribble, Rossendale & Darwen, Pendle, Colne Valley, Elmet & Rothwell and Blackpool North & Cleveleys, while Keighley and Pudsey are down to the wire.
The expectation is that the Liberal Democrats will be hit hard in the north as voters react against their involvement in the coalition by returning to Labour, who are thought all but certain to gain Bradford East, Burnley, Manchester Whitington and Redcar, with the Liberal Democrats given a slight edge in Leeds North East. There are a further three seats where the Liberal Democrats are under pressure from the Conservatives, with the markets favouring the Liberal Democrats in Southport, the Conservatives in Berwick upon Tweed, and evenly split in Cheadle. The wild card constituency in the region is Bradford West, which George Galloway won from Labour for his Respect party at a by-election in March 2012. His re-election bid would appear to be a 50-50 proposition.
My casual observation of polling suggests the Conservatives have dropped a point since the last election, Labour has gained one, the Liberal Democrats are down thirteen and Plaid Cymru are up about four. Labour are short-priced favourites to take Cardiff Central from the Conservatives and Cardiff North from the Liberal Democrats, and at least some chance of further gaining Carmathen West & South Pembrokeshire, Vale of Glamorgan and Aberconwy from the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats are also under pressure in Brecon & Radnorshire from the Conservatives and Ceredigion in Plaid Cymru, who otherwise don’t seem in danger of matching the SNP’s accomplishments.
It may seem odd to be short-changing Scotland in a guide to this election, but there really isn’t all that much that needs be said: anything that isn’t held by the Scottish National Party is under threat from them. The map to the right accordingly sticks to representing the result of the 2010 election. Out of 41 seats currently held by Labour, a list of seats from The Week where they “might survive” consists of Coatbridge Chryston & Bellshill, Glasgow East, Glasgow North East, Glasgow South West, Motherwell & Wishaw and Paisley & Renfrewshire South. The SNP is clear favourite in every one of the 11 seats held by the Liberal Democrats with the exception of the border seat of Berwickshire Roxburgh & Selkirk, a three-way contest in which the Liberal Democrats might instead lose to the Conservatives.
Northern Ireland and its 18 seats are generally treated as an appendage to the real action, since it has a distinctive party system with an overlaying of sectarianism. Sixteen of those seats behaved the same way at both the 2005 and 2010 elections, with five being won by Sinn Fein, eight by the Democratic Unionist Party founded by Ian Paisley, and three by the nationalist, Labour-aligned Social Democratic and Labour Party. The Ulster Unionist Party lost its only seat at the last election after formally aligning with the Conservatives, causing its one incumbent, Lady Sylvia Hermon, to contest and hold her seat of North Down as an independent. The other change was that the non-sectarian Alliance Party won Belfast East from the Democratic Unionist Party, which is mounting a determined effort to win it back.
501 comments on “A rough guide to the British election”
The idea that a great tract of people voted for the Tories because they didn’t want Labour working with the even more lefty SNP kind of puts paid to the idea that Labour failed by not being socialist enough, to be honest.
Unless the English swing voters really were just that scared of the tartan army, it seems probable that swinging left for Labour would just convince people south of the border that they’re not fit to govern.
Perhaps a weakness of the pre-election polls was how they measured likelihood to vote.
It does seem that polling may not be picking up some fundamental change either in polling technique or people behavior. It may be related to social media dynamics.
Under the AV proposal back in 2011, were the advocating full or optional preferences?
lol @ the clutches at straw by the left
This was a political annialation by to Tories, completely decimating the economically incompetant Labour party
As for the DLP, they are a centrist party, and a left leaning centrist party. They are kind of like the Green-ALP government. The ALP would be delighted if the Greens were decimated at the last election, just like the Tories are happy now.
It was the Labour’s incompetancy at managing the economy that makes the majority of England and Scotland to completely reject them
As for Scottish independance, the last referendum was when Cameron was leading the UK, and the Tories had only 1 seat in Scotland. The only party that had been completely rejected in Scotland is the Labour Party. If the Scottish had change their view on independance, it coincide with the whole of Scorland rejecting the Labour party, and not the Torie.
As for the Left’s cheerleading Scotland to exit the UK, every single seat in Scotland is left leaning, If Scotland left the UK, it will make it much easier for the Tories to win an election.
It is like breaking the nose to spite the face
So, about 20% of the adult population has elected the next British Govt. Not much of a democracy.
[It was the Labour’s incompetancy at managing the economy that makes the majority of … Scotland to completely reject them]
Then why didn’t they do it in 2010?
[As for the Left’s cheerleading Scotland to exit the UK, every single seat in Scotland is left leaning, If Scotland left the UK, it will make it much easier for the Tories to win an election.]
Outside of Britain itself, the principal reason the Left is so keen on Scottish independence is that it would weaken the US.
Interesting juxtaposition of Britain’s coalfields and Labour constituencies.
And if England wants the consequences of voting Tory, the good with the bad, then that’s up to them. Such is democracy – you get the government you deserve.
However, Scotland is entitled to turn its nose up at the idea that a government it didn’t vote for is ruling over them.
From February, john Gray saw the future
[Misunderstanding the present: Ed Miliband wants to govern a country that doesn’t exist
For all their lapses, the Labour leaders of the past had a firmer grasp of reality than their contemporary counterparts.
by John Gray Published 19 February, 2015 – 12:08]
[ The long road back
8th May, 2015 8:30 am
[Episode 21: Charge of the Light Brigade
John Lanchester 8 May 2015 ]
[Let David Cameron have his moment of glory. The plotters await
In spite of this triumph, the PM will find it harder to keep his own party in order than he did with Nick Clegg
Saturday 9 May 2015 03.35 AEST]
The manner of the Tory win has Crosby/Textors grubby finger prints all over it.
Malign a minority (Scotland) in order to mobilise a majority (English) to vote Tory based on fear of some sort of Labour SNP alliance.
All good and fine in the short term if you think trashing the Union is worth the win.
SDLP won Belfast South with 24.5% of the vote -a new record low.
456 The Tories held Dumfriesshire and now have the same number of Scottish seats as Labour and the LDs
Fascinating article on why the pundits all got it wrong.
1. Using generic results (e.g., “Which party would you support if the election were held today”) rather than specific results (e.g., If x & y were running in your seat, who would you vote for?).
2. Underestimating historic trends for polls to overstate swings away from last results.
The “shy Tory” effect may also have been a factor.
The other thing that almost never gets a mention is good old fashioned “chance”! Nobody seems to factor that in when they talk about results being different to expectations…..
The graphs presented are brilliant. The results are so close to the trend line expectations, yet the actual results are so different. Very useful for us researchers to see that so that we look at all future pretty graphs which seem to be telling a very clear story with skepticism as we always should.
The correspondence between the old coal fields, including Wales by the look of it, is uncanny.
Of course, no coal in London that we know of, and it did not make a blind bit of difference in Scotland.
The fact is unaltered that Cameron has complete mandate over a little England – and this means, essentially, the more heavily populated and wealthier south-east. Apart from a few lightly populated counties north of the Midlands, the Conservatives are very thin in the ground and virtually non-existent in Scotland. Not that Labor is any better placed now, with its support coming from the former industrialised North and London.
One supposes the support in London is from those who are not making loads of money in Carnary Wharf.
Until Labor can recapture some of Middle England it is a bit of a tough time for them.
As several commentators in Britain are now pointing out, a disunited kingdom and possibly a the start of a disunited Europe is what lies in the future.
In some respects Cameron has his work cut out and it was a bit of a blessing in disguise that Labour has not had to face the task.
Apart from a referendum, which I bet Cameron wished he had not promised, the fact that UKIP got but one seat though 13% of the vote and will not go away, that Scotland may have an agenda quite different to that of England now, and while I suspect Mr Murdoch would prefer Boris as PM, it is a tough gig.
Cameron will just have to hope that his “fastest growing economy in Europe” is more than rhetoric.
Where British Labour goes from here is anyone’s guess.
UKIP got more than twice the vote of SNP yet only got 2 Seats.
Something is not quite right in the land of Old Blighty’s electoral system
[“Scottish Labour voters could comfortably vote for SNP out of self interest with the hope that the SNP could be bullied into spending lots more in Scotland.”]
Correct me if I’m wrong, but aren’t the Scottish effectively a welfare state(ala Tasmania) propped up by the Poms?
Talk about biting the hand that feeds you… literally.
[This was a political annialation by to Tories, completely decimating the economically incompetant Labour party]
It was a clear win to the Tories and, given expectations, devastating for Labour. I wouldn’t want to underplay that for a monment.
But let’s keep in perspective – it’s a smaller majority than Labour had in any of their three wins in 1997, 2001, 2005, or the Tories had in 1992. It’s not exactly a generationally-defining margin of victory.
[“But let’s keep in perspective – it’s a smaller majority than Labour had in any of their three wins in 1997, 2001, 2005, or the Tories had in 1992. It’s not exactly a generationally-defining margin of victory.”]
They did a reverse Gillard.
That’s pretty impressive.
The opposition to SNP influence in the Government was not about where the SNP sits on the political spectrum, it is about them being all about Scotland and the risk of them getting Scotland excessive gains in funding from the British Treasury and generally more influence on UK policy. It was a combination of stirring anti-Scottish bigotry and monetary fears.
Labour made a mistake in backing a no vote in the AV referendum. The Tories would have been far, far less likely to get a majority under AV (just like they would not have got a majority on in 1992 under AV). The SNP would also have won a few less seats (mainly in and around Edinburgh and Aberdeen).
Working with the Tories on the No campaign in Scotland was also a mistake.
[UKIP got more than twice the vote of SNP yet only got 2 Seats.
Something is not quite right in the land of Old Blighty’s electoral system]
Your support for the principle of proportionality, and belief that the Coalition should be in a minority in the House of Represenatives with the Greens holding around 14 seats, is duly noted.
[UKIP got more than twice the vote of SNP yet only got 2 Seats.]
Another way to look at this disparity is that UKIP received 3,881,129 votes from 624 seats, or 6219.76 votes per seat, whereas the SNP got 1,454,436 votes from just 59 seats or 24651.46 votes per seat.
[The opposition to SNP influence in the Government was not about where the SNP sits on the political spectrum, it is about them being all about Scotland and the risk of them getting Scotland excessive gains in funding from the British Treasury and generally more influence on UK policy. It was a combination of stirring anti-Scottish bigotry and monetary fears.]
UKIP got more than twice the vote of SNP yet only got 2 Seats.
Something is not quite right in the land of Old Blighty’s electoral system.
“This was a political annialation by to Tories, completely decimating the economically incompetant Labour party”
Weird. Pretty sure the Tories actually lost more seats to Labour than they gained.
The SNP destroyed Labour. Labour gained ground on the Tories and gained considerable ground on the coalition, just not enough. The government lost most of it’s majority.
Labour had a net gain of 1 seat from the Conservatives in England. The Labour gains were at the expense of the Liberal Democrats, but the Conservatives made even more gains at the expense of the Liberal Democrats.
In England, Conservatives polled 41.0% (+1.4), and Labour 31.6% (+3.6), UKIP (14.1%) (+10.7) and the LibDems 8.2% (-16.0).
In Wales Labour lost a seat to the Conservatives and
If this was Australia and preferential voting, I reckon those numbers would have come out as a net swing to the Conservatives.
@ Antony Green, 481
Agreed, but the real question is whether it’d have been enough of one to get them to a majority government.
@ William Bowe, 475
Yeah, under PR, the Greens would almost certainly have had balance-of-power in the House after every election since at least 2007.
@ TrueBlueAussie, 470
Not really. Scotland has significant oil reserves that enrich the entire UK (and the SNP and their ilk argue that more of the proceeds of this should flow back to Scotland) – Tasmania does not have anything like this.
TBA @ 469
“UKIP got more than twice the vote of SNP yet only got 2 Seats.
Something is not quite right in the land of Old Blighty’s electoral system”
The Master of Statistics “TBA” showing his ability with figures.
For your info TBA:
Greens 8.3% got twice the vote of the Nationals 4.3% yet
Nationals 9 seats Greens 1.
The Greens 8.3% was nearly the same as the LNP (in Qld) 8.9% yet the LNP got 22 seats to the Greens 1. Many comparisons of this kind exist just about anywhere except with Proportional Representation.
Hint for you TBA – It’s where the votes are concentrated.
Keep trying TBA – enough people give you the info – you simply ignore it !!!!
The Maggie Simmpsonisation of the UK.
Arnea, I reckon it would have. It is hard to see the result for Labour and the left as anything other than bad. 10% shift of minor party vote from LibDem to UKIP represents a rightward shift on top of Labour making little gain from the Conservatives.
Except if PR was the norm, the results would have turned out a bit differently due to the absence of tactical voting.
@ Antony Green, 487
Probably so. Still, I can’t help but think that at least some of that double-digits UKIP vote was naturally Labour-voting people who are opposed (rightly or wrongly) to immigration and the EU and attracted by the UKIP’s stance on those matters.
I don’t think the Conservatives would have had a lock on the preferences of UKIP voters.
That’s not what’s being suggested here in the UK. Given how much the old Labour people opposed the alternative vote referendum in 2011, they’d only have themselves to blame if your suggestion is right. The new Labour/Blairites supported the alternative vote, but the current Labour Party has rejected Blairite ideas of winning over the middle ground. Their win the 35% left base vote strategy failed miserably in 2015.
That is a map of Great Brittan not the UK (the United Kingdom of Great Brittan and Northern Ireland). There is no Northern Ireland.
Because it’s about as likely to be the explanation as pixies hired by Clive Palmer rubbing out votes and changing them. One poll can miss by three points in a given direction by chance and this sort of thing happens a few percent of the time. But for all the polls to miss by a similar amount in the same direction is virtually impossible. I’m gradually writing something about this at the moment and my estimate of the odds of the 11 final polls being that wrong by sample error is one in 400000000000000000.
This is a common misconception. People say that if all the polls are within their MOE then they might have all just been unlucky. But it’s rubbish. When you have multiple polls then those polls combined have a lower MOE. A combined sample of nearly 40,000 voters should be so close that the major source of error in the total is rounding.
It is just like in Australia we can have one poll that says 53:47 ALP and we don’t really know that Labor is ahead. But if we have five of them with that as an average, then we can be extremely confident they are.
The Alternative Vote would have reduced the number of SNP seats in Scotland. Depending on the rate of anti-SNP preferencing, a number of seats where the SNP vote percentage was in the low 40s or bellow would not have gone to the SNP but to Labour and the Liberal Democrats. The SNP may have had bellow 50 seats.
This reduced ability for the SNP to win would have reduced the SNP scare factor and Labour would likely have got more votes in England and Wales and the Tories fewer because of this.
The rise of the SNP was driven by New Labour under Blair being not left wing enough to satisfy a great number of its Scottish voters who were then finally driven away from Labour by Labour and the Tories campaigning together on the referendum.
Scotland has the north sea oil, the revenue from which I’m sure is appreciated by the uk. Scotland is also leading the uk in renewable energy generation; in fact if they were to become independant, I suspect England would have issues meeting meaningful renewable energy or emission reduction targets.
I’m really interested to see if the tories go through with ending onshore wind subsidies in the near future, as that could affect my job
What a crazy set of disparate things seemed to happen in this election result:
(1) Scotland deciding they could influence a Labour minority government by electing SNP instead of Labour members
(2) Labour not being able to win seats from the tories that they needed to in England – this is the Tories biggest triumph, and i do think a big factor here was ‘vote Labour get SNP’
(3) The collapse of the Lib Dems, and where more of their English seats went Tory than Labour
The matrix of who won seats from whom and who lost to whom is astounding:
– Labour gained seats from all other parties in England only to get caned in Scotland and go backwards overall;
– Tories gained 25 seats in England effectively from their coalition partners. Is this because the Tory vote share increased, or the (what should have been a) lefty LD vote split all over the place allowing the Tories to snatch the seat on FPTP without actually gaining any votes? This is a massively important factor in why they have a majority now.
How could anyone have predicted this?!
Tories should not be too arrogant in “victory”. Seems as much a mathematical fluke as a mandate in their favour to me. Though I do wonder who is positioned to actually win back their marginal England seats in the next election – ‘old Labour’ I suspect not… hence why they need to turn to a Blairite now I suspect.
Wackadoo stuff – absolutely fascinating. I have to LOL that Scotland voted for max influence in Westminister and will now have none!
The SNP went backwards in 2003 six years into the Blair era. The general credit for the rise of the SNP after 2003 was their opposition to the Iraq War and they took government in minority in 2007. The biggest surge in SNP support was at the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections, well ahead of the referendum. The referendum and then the 2015 UK election results just translated to Westminster a trend that was already occurring. The UK election represents a roughly 5% swing from Labour to SNP compared to the 2011 Scottish election.
[David Miliband criticises his brother Ed’s leadership of the Labour party but rules himself out of running ]
If they were declining before the Iraq war but then went up, then Blair has a big role to play.
The referendum had the biggest impact in Glasgow. Labour were still relatively strong there in 2011 but the SNP got the majority of the vote this time (compared to places line Edinburgh where they won all but one seats, mostly with pluralities that were not majorities and would not have won so many seats under AV).
What an anti-democratic farce is Westminster.
[The monthly Scottish Questions in Parliament looks set to be an odd affair.
Under the current system the Secretary of State for Scotland, David (“Fluffy”) Mundell, (the only Tory MP from Scotland) will answer six questions from the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland, Ian Murray (the only Labour MP from Scotland), while 56 SNP MPs watch on from the back benches and are allowed to ask one question.”
In other words, business as usual.]
Ignoring Scotland’s wishes.
It will be good as I reckon there will be another referrendum next year with the leaving the EU referrendum.