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.