Italian and Brazilian (first round) elections minus one to two weeks

The far-right is likely to win in Italy, while the far-right Bolsonaro is likely to be ousted in Brazil. Also: the right wins last Sunday’s Swedish election and latest US polls.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The Italian election will be held next Sunday September 25. All of both the Italian parliament’s houses will be up for election: 400 seats in the Chamber of Deputies and 200 in the Senate. Governments need the confidence of both houses. First past the post (FPTP) will be used to elect 37% of both houses, with the remainder allocated by proportional representation.

Unfortunately, Italy imposes a 15-day blackout on polls before an election, so the last polls were released on September 9. In these final polls, the right coalition was in the mid to high 40s, the left coalition mostly in the high 20s, the Five Star Movement at 12-15% and a centrist alliance at 5-8%.

The right coalition is composed of the far-right Brothers of Italy, far-right League, conservative Forza Italia and a small party, while the left coalition includes the centre-left Democrats and three small parties. The Brothers and League will win the large majority of seats within any right coalition.

Unless there’s a large swing back to the left during the 15-day poll blackout, the 37% of overall seats that are elected by FPTP will give the right coalition a clear overall majority in both houses. Giorgia Meloni, the female leader of the Brothers, is likely to be Italy’s next PM.

Bolsonaro likely to lose in Brazil

The first round of the Brazilian presidential election is October 2. If nobody wins at least 50%, a runoff between the top two first round candidates will be held October 30. The major contenders are the far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), who was president from 2003 to 2010.

The last five Brazilian polls have had Lula leading Bolsonaro by six to 15 points in the first round. It still appears unlikely that Lula will win a first round majority owing to another left-wing candidate who has 7-9%. But if the contest goes to the October 30 runoff, the polls give Lula an eight to 17 point lead.

Could Bolsonaro do as Donald Trump did in the 2020 US election, and refuse to accept the result if he loses? In August he said he would respect the result as long as the voting is “clean and transparent”. The bigger Lula’s margin, the more likely Bolsonaro will be forced to accept the result.

Right wins Swedish election

The 349 members of Sweden’s parliament are elected by proportional representation with a 4% national threshold. At the September 11 election, the Social Democrats won 107 seats (up seven since 2018), but their allies performed worse than in 2018, with the Left on 24 seats (down four), the Centre 24 (down seven) and the Greens 18 (up two).

The far-right Swedish Democrats won 73 seats (up 11), and three other conservative parties all won fewer seats than in 2018: the Moderates 68 (down two), the Christian Democrats 19 (down three) and the Liberals 16 (down four).

Overall the right bloc won 176 seats (up two) and the left 173 (down two). The most likely outcome is a coalition headed by the Moderates with support from the Swedish Democrats. This ends eight years of governments led by the Social Democrats.

US: Democrats continue to advance in FiveThirtyEight forecasts

US midterm elections are on November 8. In the FiveThirtyEight Senate forecast, Democrats are now up to a 71% chance to retain; there has been steady movement to Democrats since mid-July, when Republicans had a 56% chance to win the Senate. Democrats have also gained more slowly in the House forecast, and are up to a 29% chance to retain.

Democrats now lead Republicans by 44.9-43.4 in the national vote for the House. But Joe Biden’s ratings have slid a little recently after a solid gain since late July; he’s currently at 53.0% disapprove, 43.0% approve (net -11.0). Nate Silver says we can’t predict which way any polling errors will fall; the polls could be overstating Democrats or Republicans.

Britain’s next PM announcement: 9:30pm AEST tonight

Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM. Also: US Democrats’ midterm prospects improve, and Bolsonaro likely to be ousted in October’s Brazilian elections.

9:47pm Monday: It’s a lot closer than the polls had it, but still a very easy win for Liz Truss. She wins over 81,000 votes to over 60,000 for Rishi Sunak. In percentage terms, that’s a 57.4-42.6 margin for Truss.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The winner of the Conservative leadership contest, and thus Britain’s next PM, will be announced at 9:30pm AEST tonight (12:30pm UK time). In July, Conservative MPs whittled the candidates down to a final two: Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak. The Conservative membership voted by mail between these two, with the postal reception deadline passing Friday.

A YouGov poll of 1,089 Conservative members for Sky News UK that was conducted August 12-17, gave Truss a 66-34 lead over Sunak, down from her 69-31 lead in early August. Among the 57% who had already voted, Truss led by 68-31. Boris Johnson would easily win a three-way race with 46%, to 24% for Truss and 23% Sunak.

In national UK polls, Labour has taken a double digit lead over the Conservatives. A key reason is the massive rise in energy prices, with the price regulator confirming on August 26 that energy prices for the typical household would increase 80% from October compared to now. That means gas and electricity prices this coming northern winter will be about 2.6 times what they were in the 2021-22 winter after a large increase in April.

It’s also plausible that some people voted for Johnson at the 2019 election, rather than for the Conservative party. By ousting Johnson, the Conservatives could alienate these voters. But the next UK general election is not due until late 2024, and the economy may be better then.

US by-elections suggest improved prospects for Democrats at midterms

I wrote for The Conversation last Thursday that before the US Supreme Court’s Roe v Wade ruling on June 24, the average US by-election was recording a two-point gain for Republicans relative to partisan lean. In four by-elections since, it’s been an average of a nine-point gain for Democrats. This analysis does not include the Alaska by-election on August 16, which was resolved Wednesday by preferential voting. Democrat Mary Peltola defeated Republican Sarah Palin to gain this seat.

Polling is also consistent with a lift for the Democrats two months before the November 8 midterm elections, while Liz Cheney suffered a crushing loss in the Wyoming Republican primary.

Brazilian elections: October 2 and 30 (if necessary)

The first round of the Brazilian presidential election will be held October 2, with a runoff October 30 if no candidate wins at least 50%. The contenders are far-right incumbent Jair Bolsonaro and the leftist Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Lula), who was president from 2003 to 2010.

In five polls conducted at least partly since the August 28 first presidential debate, Lula leads Bolsonaro by between four and 13 points. Another left-wing candidate is winning 8-9%, so Lula will probably not win outright in the first round. In the runoff, Lula has a seven to 15 point lead over Bolsonaro.

Italian, Swedish and Israeli elections

There hasn’t been much change in Italian polls ahead of the September 25 election since my detailed write-up three weeks ago. The right-wing coalition is in the high 40s, the left coalition in the high 20s or low 30s, the Five Star Movement has about 12% and a centrist alliance about 7%. With 37% of parliamentary seats to be elected by first past the post, the female leader of the far-right Brothers of Italy, Giorgia Meloni, is likely to be Italy’s next PM.

The Swedish election is next Sunday, and it uses proportional representation (PR) to elect its 349 MPs. The Social Democrats are well ahead, but only have 29% so would be far short of a majority. They would still need at least one more coalition ally after the Left party and the Greens.

The Israeli election will be held November 1 after the collapse of a coalition formed to keep former PM Benjamin Netanyahu out. The 120 Knesset seats are elected by PR with a 3.25% threshold. Polls currently suggest that Netanyahu’s Likud, with religious and far-right allies, would fall short of the 61 seats needed for a Knesset majority, but are ahead of the current governing parties.

Italian election minus six weeks, US midterms and Britain’s next PM

The far-right is likely to win in Italy. Also: positive news for US Democrats three months before midterm elections, and Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The Italian election is on September 25.  At the March 2018 election, the right coalition won about 42% of seats in both chambers of the Italian parliament, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S) 36% and the left coalition 19%.

With no majority for a single alliance, there were three governments during the 2018-22 term.  The first government, from June 2018 to August 2019, was a coalition between the M5S and the far-right League.  The second government, from September 2019 to January 2021, was a coalition between the M5S and the centre-left Democrats.  The third government, from February 2021 to July 2022, was a grand coalition led by technocrat Mario Draghi that all important parties joined except the far-right Brothers of Italy.

In July, this third government collapsed, and elections were called eight months early.  Since the 2018 election, there has been a crash in support for the M5S, with the League and the conservative Forza Italia also down.  The big beneficiary is the Brothers, who won just 4% in 2018, but are up to about 24% in current polls.

Italian governments need the confidence of both houses.  The Chamber of Deputies will have 400 members and the Senate 200.  Minimum voting age for the Senate was lowered from 25 to 18, the same as in the Chamber.  Seventy-four Senate seats and 147 Chamber seats (about 37% of both) will be elected by First Past the Post, and the rest by proportional representation with a 3% national threshold.

The right coalition at this election is composed of the Brothers, the League, Forza Italia and a small party, while the left coalition is composed of the Democrats and three small parties.  The M5S, a centrist alliance and Italexit are running separately.  Coalitions will nominate just one candidate for each FPTP seat.

While the lead parties of the right and left coalitions, the Brothers and Democrats, are roughly tied at around 24% each in the polls, the right coalition overall has far more support.  Three recent polls give the right coalition 48-50%, the left coalition 27-32%, the M5S 10-11% and the centrists 5-6%.

If these polls were replicated at the election, the right coalition would win a large majority of the FPTP seats and over half the proportional seats as the 5% “others” would be excluded as it would be unlikely an individual other would reach the 3% threshold.

The right coalition is likely to win, and as the two biggest parties in that coalition, the Brothers and League, are far-right, Italy’s next PM is likely to be the female leader of the Brothers, Giorgia Meloni.

US Democrats gain ground three months before midterm elections

I wrote for The Conversation on Thursday that the US Supreme Court’s denial of abortion rights appears to be helping Democrats as they gain ground three months before the November 8 midterm elections.  In FiveThirtyEight forecasts, Democrats are now a 61% chance to win the Senate, and lead the national popular vote by 0.3%.  In Kansas, an attempt to alter the state constitution to remove abortion rights was rejected by 59-41; Kansas voted for Trump by nearly 15 points in 2020. 

Recent economic data is also assisting Democrats, as inflation looks much better while the jobs situation continues to be strong.  And Democrats got important legislation on health and climate change through the 50-50 Senate last Sunday, and this passed the House Friday, so Joe Biden can sign it into law.

Liz Truss set to be Britain’s next PM

Conservative members decide via a postal ballot between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak who will be their next leader and Britain’s PM.  The result will be announced September 5, but votes have already been sent out, and most members will return their votes quickly.

A YouGov poll of Conservative members, taken by early August from a sample of 1,040, gave Truss a 69-31 lead over Sunak (60-26 with undecided and won’t vote included).  Truss’ lead increased from 62-38 in the poll taken after the final two candidates were known.  Conservative members thought it was wrong for their MPs to oust Boris Johnson by 53-41.  In a three-way vote, it would be 40% Johnson, 28% Truss and 23% Sunak.

Update Sunday: An Opinium poll of 570 Conservative members, conducted August 8-13 from a sample of 570 for The Guardian/Observer, gave Truss a 61-39 lead. Johnson would trounce either candidate head to head.

UK Conservative leadership contest: final MP rounds

Which candidates will make the final two that go to Conservative members? Updates on Wednesday and Thursday mornings.

11:55am Friday: A YouGov poll of 730 Conservative members, conducted after the final two were known, gave Truss a massive 62-38 lead over Sunak. Including undecided and won’t vote, it was Truss 49%, Sunak 31%, undecided 15% and won’t vote 6%. 40% said Sunak can’t be trusted to tell the truth, only 18% thought the same of Truss.

The Italian government has collapsed, and elections will be held on September 25 about six months before they were due. Far-right parties are likely to win these elections.

7:33am Thursday: In the final round of MPs’ votes, Sunak won 137 votes (39% of the total), Truss 113 votes (32%) and Mordaunt was eliminated with 105 votes (30%). Changes from round four were Truss up 27, Sunak up 19 and Mordaunt up 13. So it’s Sunak vs Truss in the membership vote. This will be conducted by mail with the result announced September 5. Truss had a 54-35 lead over Sunak in a YouGov Conservative members poll.

8:12pm Results of the final round of MPs votes will be announced at 4pm UK time (1am AEST). I will report them here tomorrow morning.

12:16am Wednesday In the fourth round vote, Sunak had 118 votes (33% of the total), Mordaunt 92 (26%), Truss 86 (24%) and Badenoch was eliminated with 59 (17%). Changes were Truss up 15, Mordaunt up 10, Sunak up three and Badenoch up one.

Truss now trails Mordaunt by just six votes, with 59 votes to come from the right-wing Badenoch. Truss is very likely now to make the final two. A new YouGov poll has Truss thrashing Sunak 54-35 head to head among Tory members, and he also loses to Mordaunt 51-37.

The candidate who courted her party’s right is likely to be the next PM of the UK.

7:15pm Results of today’s vote will be announced at 3pm UK time (midnight AEST).

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

At Monday’s third round vote by Conservative MPs, Rishi Sunak won 115 votes (32% of the total), followed by Penny Mordaunt with 82 votes (23%), Liz Truss 71 votes (20%), Kemi Badenoch 58 votes (16%) and Tom Tugendhat 31 votes (9%). As the last placed candidate, Tugendhat was eliminated. The changes in votes since Thursday’s second round were Sunak up 14, Badenoch up nine, Truss up seven, Mordaunt and Tugendhat both down one.

Conservative MPs will eliminate another candidate tonight (likely Badenoch), then the final elimination vote will occur Wednesday. The final two go to the Conservative membership, which votes by mail. The result will be announced September 5. Brief profiles of the remaining candidates appear below.

Sunak was the former chancellor. Boris Johnson was forced to resign soon after Sunak quit. As I said in my previous article, Sunak is the only candidate advocating fiscal rectitude, while other candidates want tax cuts NOW!

Mordaunt is a junior minister. Her appeal is to those who want a complete break from Johnson by replacing him with someone virtually unknown, and her attractiveness probably helped.

Truss is the foreign secretary. During this leadership campaign, she has heavily courted her party’s most right-wing MPs. As well as personal tax cuts, she has promised to reverse a scheduled rise in the corporations tax from 18% to 25% and to cut green levies.

Badenoch was a junior minister. She has campaigned against the “woke” agenda, and is the only remaining contender who has not signed up to the UK’s net zero by 2050 goal.

Further analysis

Sunak is only five short of the 120 votes (just over one-third of MPs) needed to guarantee a membership vote spot, but Mordaunt is likely to lose after Badenoch is eliminated. She could be saved if voters of the centrist Tugendhat break strongly to her over Sunak, or if some Sunak voters tactically vote for Mordaunt over Truss in the final round; he’s likely to be able to spare some votes.

A YouGov poll of Conservative members last week had Mordaunt crushing everyone else head to head, but this already looks out of date. A Conservative Home survey out Sunday (not sure if this is a real poll) had large falls for Mordaunt since the previous week, and she now loses to Badenoch, Truss and Sunak, with Truss leading Sunak 49-42.

Mordaunt has been damaged by claims she is too woke, and her performances at debates Friday and Sunday haven’t helped. The woke accusations are likely to particularly hurt with Badenoch voters.

Last week I said national polls taken since Johnson was ousted showed a swing to Labour, giving Labour a double digit lead over the Conservatives. There has been little change in the polls since then. Although Johnson was ousted by Conservative MPs, the government won a parliamentary confidence vote Monday by 349 to 238, with all Conservatives voting for confidence.

Australian election coverage at The Conversation

I wrote about the final 2022 election results; all seat changes occurred in the cities, and inner metro regions had the largest difference in Labor’s favour from national results since at least 1993. I covered the final Senate results and critically compared the pre-election polls to the election results – that article was published before an exact national two party vote was known.

UK Conservative leadership contest: early rounds

The contest to replace Boris Johnson begins, with updates Thursday and Friday mornings. Also: thoughts on the late June US Supreme Court decisions.

12:15am Friday: Sunak wins round 2 with 101 votes (28% of total), Mordaunt second with 83 (23%), Truss 64 (18%), Badenoch 49 (14%), Tugendhat 32 (9%) and Braverman 27 (8%). Braverman is eliminated. A YouGov poll of Conservative members has Mordaunt thumping both Sunak and Truss head to head, with Truss thumping Sunak. On this round, Braverman and Tugendhat lost votes from round 1 even though candidates dropped out. The next round is Monday.

8:15pm Guardian live blog says today’s vote will be announced at 3pm UK time (midnight AEST). So two hours earlier than yesterday.

6:17am Thursday: Round 1 result: Sunak 88 votes, 25% of total, Mordaunt 67, 19%, Truss 50, 14%, Badenoch 40, 11%, Tugendhat 37, 10%, Braverman 32, 9%, Zahawi 25, 7% and Hunt 18, 5%. Hunt and Zahawi are eliminated for failing to get the 30 votes required to advance.

One of the six remaining candidates will be eliminated each round until there are two left, who will go to the membership. While Sunak won this round, he is not safe as his support is well below the 33.3% required to assure advancement to the membership vote. I think the question is whether Truss can overtake Mordaunt once other right-wingers are eliminated. There will be a second round today.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

To elect a new leader, Conservative MPs vote in rounds with the lowest polling candidate eliminated each round, until there are just two left. Those final two go to the Conservative membership, which votes by mail. Candidates required at least 20 MP supporters to nominate. Eight candidates have cleared this threshold.

Results for today’s first round are expected at 2am AEST. The lowest polling candidate and any others who fail to reach 30 votes are eliminated. There are 358 Conservative MPs in the House of Commons. A second round of voting is likely Thursday, then a third round next Monday. The final two will be known by July 21, and the winner of the membership vote will be announced on September 5.

To be certain to make the final round, a candidate needs one-third of the MPs’ vote. The membership is more right-wing than MPs, so if a right-wing candidate makes the final two, that candidate could win.

At the moment, this appears to be a contest between former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and everyone else. Sunak is sticking to fiscal rectitude in not offering a tax cut until inflation of 9.1% is under control, while other candidates want a tax cut NOW! Sunak is likely to make one of the final two spots, and I don’t know who will win the other spot.

There was good news for Labour leader Keir Starmer, as he and his deputy, Angela Rayner, were recently cleared by Durham police over allegations they breached lockdown rules while campaigning last year. Starmer had pledged to resign if fined.

Boris Johnson resigned as Conservative leader on July 7, but remains caretaker PM until a new leader is elected. If he was holding back the Conservative vote, I would have expected a polling rebound for the Conservatives once he was ousted, but the opposite has happened, with Labour getting double digit leads in most polls taken since Johnson’s ousting. Perhaps Johnson was holding up the Conservatives with non-university educated whites outside the big cities.

US Supreme Court decisions

I wrote for The Conversation on July 5 about the recent history of appointments to the US Supreme Court that has created the current 6-3 right split. While the Supreme Court is historically unpopular, so is President Joe Biden, and so the Democrats are still likely to be thumped at the early November US midterm elections.

Furthermore, having two senators per state makes the US Senate heavily malapportioned, with a large bias towards rural and small town voters, which have been trending towards Republicans at recent elections. This bias could give Republicans a lock on the Senate.

Japanese upper house elections

Elections for half of the Japanese upper house were held on Sunday. The ruling conservative Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) won 63 of the 125 seats up for election (up six) and its Komeito allies 13 (down one). The LDP holds 119 of the 248 total seats and Komeito 27 for a comfortable overall majority. Japan has separate upper and lower house elections. These elections were marred by the assassination of former LDP PM Shinzo Abe on Friday.

UK Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton by-elections live

Live commentary from late Friday morning. Also: Israel’s anti-Netanyahu government collapses and a leftist wins in Colombia for the first time.

Live commentary

1:10pm As I said earlier, the political class exaggerates the meaning of by-elections, which are poor predictors of the next general election result. But these bad losses for the Conservatives could put Boris Johnson back in danger.

1:06pm Lib Dems win T&H by about 14% – HUGE swing!

1:04pm Lib Dems GAIN T&H from Conservatives

1:01pm Labour wins Wakefield by about 18%.

12:57pm Labour GAINS Wakefield from the Conservatives.

12:10pm Wakefield results due in the next 30 minutes, T&H in 60 to 90 minutes according to Britain Elects. This was posted ten minutes ago.

11:40am Friday I haven’t missed anything at gym. More than 4.5 hours after polls closed, still no results from either by-election. All I can report is that turnout in Wakefield was 39.1% (down 24.5% from 2019 general election turnout) and 52.0% in T&H (down 19.9%). Turnout in by-elections is always well down from general elections.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

UK parliamentary by-elections are today in two Conservative-held seats, with polls closing at 7am Friday AEST. Both seats were vacated owing to misbehaviour by the incumbent MPs, with the Wakefield MP resigning after a conviction for child sexual assault, while the Tiverton & Honiton MP was caught watching porn in parliament.

Wakefield was held by Labour from 1932 until the Conservatives won it in 2019, while Tiverton & Honiton has been Conservative-held since its creation in 1997. Labour will be the main challenger in Wakefield and the Liberal Democrats in Tiverton & Honiton. Two polls in Wakefield have Labour winning by 20 and 23 points; I have not seen any polls in Tiverton & Honiton.

If Labour wins Wakefield, I believe it would be their first gain at a by-election since Corby in November 2012. In a sign that by-election results are overread by the political class, the Conservatives regained Corby at the 2015 general election, and have held it since.

At the 2019 general election, the Conservatives won Wakefield by 47.3-39.8 over Labour, with 6.1% for the Brexit party and 3.9% Liberal Democrats. Wakefield voted Leave by 63-37 at the 2016 Brexit referendum. The Conservatives won Tiverton & Honiton in 2019 by 60.2-19.5 over Labour with 14.8% for the Liberal Democrats and 3.8% Greens. It voted Leave by 57.8-42.2.

While Tiverton & Honiton is held by a big margin, the Liberal Democrats had massive swings to them at both the North Shropshire by-election in December 2021 and the Chesham & Amersham by-election in June 2021.

In recent days, there has been much media and political focus on rail strikes. While voters want the trains to run, inflation and the resulting real wage cuts are a major problem, so voters may sympathize with workers demanding better pay.

Other matters: Israel, Colombia and Ukraine

A year ago, Israeli parties from across the political spectrum formed a government to oust Benjamin Netanyahu, who was PM from 2009 to 2021. However, this government has now collapsed, and new elections are expected in late October or November. Polls suggest Netanyahu’s Likud, with support from religious parties, would win close to a majority of the Knesset.

At Sunday’s Colombian presidential runoff election, the left-wing Gustavo Petro defeated the right-wing populist Rodolfo Hernández by a 50.4-47.3 margin. Petro is the first leftist to win the Colombian presidency.

The left has performed well in recent South American elections, with wins in Argentina, Chile, Bolivia and Peru. The most important South American election is Brazil in October, where far-right President Jair Bolsonaro is badly trailing his left-wing challenger, Lula.

The Ukraine war has faded out of the headlines, but it still going on. There is currently a bloody conflict in eastern Ukraine. This continuing war is one reason for high global inflation, which is undermining Western incumbents.

Note: I go to gym on Friday mornings, so will not be providing commentary until I return.

French legislative runoff elections live

Live commentary Monday morning. Also: two UK by-elections next Thursday, and Biden’s ratings are worse than Trump’s at the same point.

Live Commentary

8:30am Final French legislative results have a slightly bigger gain for National Rally than NUPES.

7:51am With nearly all seats in, Ensemble has 249, NUPES 135, National Rally 88, UDC 68 and left-wing overseas MPs 18. Ensemble and UDC will combined hold a majority of seats.

7:20am With 515 of 577 seats in, Ensemble has 219, NUPES 115, National Rally 86, UDC 66 and there are 18 overseas left-wing MPs.

6:49am There was also a Spanish regional election in Andalusia on Sunday. With 93% counted, the conservative Popular Party has increased from 26 seats at the 2018 election to 57 seats and an outright majority, so they won’t need the far-right VOX to govern.

6:42am While Ensemble has lost its majority, the far-right as well as the left are making big gains. Final results projections have 89 for National Rally and 149 for NUPES.

6:21am Going into this election, Ensemble held 347 seats, NUPES 58, UDC 120 and National Rally just seven. So National Rally has increased its seats already ten-fold.

6:11am Monday With 404 of the 577 seats in, Macron’s Ensemble has won 177, the far-right National Rally 73, the left-wing NUPES 69 and the conservative UDC 60. The last seats will be from urban France, and should favour the left and Ensemble. There are alsi 18 for left-wing overseas MPs.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The first round of the French legislative elections occurred last Sunday. President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble alliance won 25.75% of the overall vote, with the left-wing NUPES alliance led by the far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon just behind with 25.66%. The far-right Marine Le Pen’s National Rally had 18.7% and a conservative alliance (UDC) 11.3%.

To win outright in the first round, a candidate needed at least 50% of valid votes and at least 25% of registered voters. With just a 47.5% national turnout, only five of the 577 seats were decided in the first round – four NUPES and one Ensemble. Runoff elections are today, with all polls closed by 4am Monday AEST.

To qualify for the runoff, a candidate had to either make the top two in a seat, or receive at least 12.5% of registered voters for that seat. With low turnout, the second requirement would be difficult for third and lower candidates, and the vast majority of seats will be contested between the top two first round candidates.

Polls suggest that, while Ensemble will fall from its current 347 seats, they will go close to winning an overall majority (289 seats). If Ensemble falls short, they could ally with UDC. NUPES will increase from its current 58 seats to be easily the largest opposition party with around 170 seats.

June 23 UK by-elections: Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton

UK parliamentary by-elections will occur next Thursday in two Conservative-held seats. Both seats were vacated owing to misbehaviour by the incumbent MPs, with the Wakefield MP resigning after a conviction for child sexual assault, while the Tiverton & Honiton MP was caught watching porn in parliament.

Wakefield was held by Labour from 1932 until the Conservatives won it in 2019, while T&H has been Conservative-held since its creation in 1997. Labour will be the main challenger in Wakefield and the Lib Dems in T&H. Two polls in Wakefield have Labour winning by 20 and 23 points; I have not seen any polls in T&H.

If Labour wins Wakefield, I believe it would be their first gain at a by-election since Corby in November 2012. In a sign that by-election results are overread by the political class, the Conservatives regained Corby at the 2015 general election, and have held it since.

Boris Johnson won a confidence vote among Conservative MPs on June 6, but losses in both by-elections could put him back in danger. Labour nationally holds a high single digit lead, but I think this is because of inflation. UK inflation rose by 2.5% alone in April for a 12-month rate of 9.0%.

Biden’s ratings are worse than Trump at this point

In the FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate, US President Joe Biden’s ratings are currently 54.2% disapprove, 39.8% approve (net -14.4). He currently has the worst ratings of any polled president at this point in their presidencies, and that includes Donald Trump. Inflation is a major problem in the US too.

Last Tuesday, Republicans won a federal by-election in the heavily Hispanic Rio Grande Valley in Texas; it’s the first time Republicans have won a seat in this region since 2010.

US redistricting after the 2020 Census is nearly finished. There are 203 Republican-leaning Congressional Districts out of 429 completed CDs, 196 Democratic-leaning and 40 competitive, with changes from the previous maps of Democrats up six, competitive down six and Republicans steady. The final remaining state is Louisiana (six CDs), which will probably b 5-1 Republican.

A few months ago, Democrats were doing much better, but were undermined when their New York gerrymander was rejected by state courts, while a Republican gerrymander of Florida was sustained.

Boris Johnson no-confidence vote: 3am to 5am Tuesday AEST

Will Boris Johnson be ousted as UK Prime Minister tonight? Can the left win the French legislative elections?

6:04am Tuesday AEST: Boris Johnson WINS the confidence vote by 211 votes to 148. Theoretically, he’s now safe from further challenge for a year, but this rule could be changed. In percentage terms, that’s a 58.8-41.2 victory for Johnson.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is a paid election analyst for The Conversation. His work for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Graham Brady, the chair of the 1922 committee, announced Monday morning UK time that at least 54 Conservative MPs (15% of the total number of parliamentary Conservative MPs) had sent letters to him expressing no-confidence in Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s leadership.

A full vote of all Conservative MPs will be held between 6pm and 8pm Monday UK time (3am to 5am Tuesday AEST).  If Johnson loses, he will be replaced as PM once a new Conservative leader is elected.  If he wins, he’s theoretically safe for a year. Results will be announced soon after the vote finishes.

On May 19, UK police completed their investigation into Partygate and issued 126 fines, but Boris Johnson did not receive additional fines; he was fined once in April.  The Sue Gray report into Partygate was finally published May 25.

Parliamentary by-elections will occur in Conservative-held Wakefield and Tiverton & Honiton on June 23.  Wakefield was Labour from 1932 until the Conservatives won in 2019, while T&H has been Conservative since its creation in 1997.  A poll in Wakefield gave Labour a 48-28 lead over the Conservatives (47-40 to Conservatives at the 2019 election).

National polls currently have Labour leading by high single digits.  UK inflation has risen 9% in the 12 months to April, the highest in 40 years.  I believe this is far more important in explaining the Conservatives’ polling woes than Partygate, and I don’t believe another leader would be doing much better than Johnson with inflation this high.

French legislative elections: June 12 and 19

In April, Emmanuel Macron was re-elected as French president, defeating the far-right Marine Le Pen by 58.5-41.5 in the runoff.  Legislative elections will be held in two rounds on June 12 and 19.  There are 577 single-member seats with Macron’s Renaissance party currently holding a clear majority.

To win outright in the first round, a candidate must win at least 50% of valid votes and at least 25% of registered voters in that seat.  If no candidate wins outright, the second round will include the top two first round finishers and any other candidate who won at least 12.5% of registered voters (note: not valid votes). 

The candidate who wins the most votes in the second round is the winner.  In practice, the large majority of second round contests will have just two candidates as it is hard to qualify from third given relatively low turnout.  Third candidates can also be pressured into withdrawing before the runoff.

At this election, four parties of the left (the far-left La France Insoumise, the Greens, the centre-left Socialists and the Communists) have united into NUPES, and will field only one candidate per seat.  Most polls have Macron’s Ensemble coalition leading or just behind NUPES. 

In the second round, most votes of excluded candidates (right-wing mostly) would go to Ensemble over NUPES, so Ensemble would retain its legislative majority if these polls are correct.  However, support for the far-left Jean Luc Mélenchonwas understated in the first round of the presidential election.  Are the polls understating NUPES?

Other developments

At the June 2 election in Canada’s most populous province of Ontario, the Conservatives were re-elected with 83 of the 124 seats, with the left-wing New Democrats winning 31, the centre-left Liberals eight and the Greens one.  Vote shares were 40.8% Conservative, 23.9% Liberals, 23.7% NDP and 6.0% Greens, so 53.6% for the combined left became just 32% of seats owing to split voting under first past the post.

At the May 15 election in Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the conservative CDU won 35.7% (up 2.8% since 2017), the centre-left SPD 26.7% (down 4.6%), the Greens 18.2% (up 11.8%), the pro-business FDP 5.9% (down 6.7%) and the far-right AfD 5.4% (down 1.9%).  With 5% required for a proportional share of seats, the SPD and Greens combined won 95 of the 198 seats, three short of the 98 needed for a majority.

At the May 9 Philippine presidential election, Bongbong Marcos, the son of the former dictator, won 58.8% of the vote, and his nearest rival won just 27.9%.

I have been writing articles pro bono for The Conversation since 2013.  They have now offered me a job as an election analyst that began June 2.  Note the update to the bio info that comes with every article I do here.