UK by-elections live: Wellingborough and Kingswood

Will the UK Conservatives lose another two seats held by large margins at by-elections today? Also: a wrap of recent international elections.

Live Commentary

10:08am Saturday Wikipedia says the Weliingborough result was the largest Tory to Labour swing at a by-election since 1994 and the second largest since WW2. It was also the largest drop for the Tories at a by-election and the largest for any party since 1948. It was the worst Tory vote share in Wellingborough’s history, falling below the 25.4% they received in 1923.

3:28pm So another great UK by-election night for Labour and a dismal one for the Tories. I will cover the Feb 29 Rochdale by-election, which is interesting after the disendorsement of the Labour candidate. Before that, I will cover the Feb 24 South Carolina Republican primary, where Donald Trump looks set to effectively seal the Rep presidential nomination. Both these events occur the next day AEDT.

3:12pm Labour GAINS Wellingborough from the Tories by over 21 points. This seat went to the Tories by almost 37 points at the 2019 election. Another high vote for Reform, this time 13%.

2:46pm There’s a limited recount taking place in Wellingborough, just of two trays of votes, both on the same table.

1:53pm This was Reform’s best by-election result this term, easily beating 5% at Tamworth in October. The BBC reported at 1:40pm that the Wellingborough result should be soon.

12:56pm Labour GAINS Kingswood from the Tories, winning by 10% in a seat they lost by nearly 23% in 2019. Far-right Reform won 10.4% (new here).

12:26pm Unconfirmed reports from journalists that Labour has won Wellingborough. This is the more difficult one for Labour to win.

12:13pm Wellingborough turnout 38%, down from 64% at general election.

11:46am BBC live blog says turnout in Kingswood was 37%, down from 70% at the 2019 general election. Turnout is usually well down for a by-election.

11:39am Guardian says Wellingborough result expected about 3pm AEDT today, while Kingswood will be between 1pm and 4pm AEDT.

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.

Polls close at 9am AEDT today for by-elections in the UK Conservative-held seats of Wellingborough and Kingswood. Wellingborough Conservative MP Peter Bone was suspended from parliament for six weeks in October over a male employee’s allegations of bullying and sexual misconduct.

An MP can be recalled if suspended for more than ten days, with a recall triggered if at least 10% of registered voters in the seat sign a petition, with the petition open for six weeks. Bone was recalled when 13% of voters in Wellingborough signed the petition. Recalled MPs can contest the by-election, but the Conservatives chose a new candidate. In 2019 Bone won Wellingborough by 62.2-26.5 over Labour with 7.9% for the Liberal Democrats.

Kingswood Conservative MP Chris Skidmore resigned from parliament in early January in protest over the UK government issuing more oil and gas licenses. In 2019 Skidmore won Kingswood by 56.2-33.4 over Labour with 6.9% Lib Dem.

While both seats should be safe for the Conservatives, they’ve lost safer seats at by-elections this term. Labour won the October 19 Tamworth by-election by 45.8-40.7 over the Conservatives. At the 2019 general election, the Conservatives had won Tamworth by 66.3-23.7 over Labour.

In UK national polls, Labour continues to be far ahead of the Conservatives. However, two polls taken in the last week gave Labour 11-12 point leads, down from the normal Labour lead range of 15-25 points. The next UK general election is likely to be held by late 2024, though it could be held as late as January 2025. It’s been a long time since the last UK general election in December 2019, when Boris Johnson led the Conservatives to a thumping victory.

There will be a by-election in Labour-held Rochdale on February 29 owing to the death of the previous MP. In an embarrassment for Labour, they were forced on Monday to disendorse their candidate after nominations had closed owing to comments he made implying that Israel knew of the October 7 Hamas attacks, but did nothing to stop them. Labour defeated the Conservatives by 51.6-31.2 in Rochdale in 2019, with 8.2% Brexit Party and 7.0% Lib Dem.

Pakistan, Finland, German and Tuvalu elections

Former Pakistani PM Imran Khan’s party was banned from running at the February 8 election, but independents linked to him won the most seats, but were far short of a majority. Of the 336 seats, 266 were elected by first-past-the-post, with a further 60 for women and ten for non-Muslims elected by proportional representation based on the number of FPTP seats won. On Tuesday, a coalition government was formed by various parties to shut out Khan.

At Sunday’s Finnish presidential runoff election, conservative Alexander Stubb defeated Green Pekka Haavisto by a 51.6-48.4 margin. Both candidates had qualified for the runoff by finishing top two in the January 28 first round.

A repeat of the 2021 German federal election was held Sunday in 455 of Berlin’s 2,256 polling booths owing to irregularities in the original election. The only change in seats was a one-seat loss for the pro-business FDP, with that seat also removed from the total number of MPs. The governing coalition of centre-left SPD, Greens and FDP retains a majority, but polls are bleak for them ahead of the late 2025 election.

Tuvalu’s previous government had been pro-Taiwan, but at the January 26 election the incumbent PM lost his seat. Tuvalu’s population is estimated to be just 11,900, but the China-Taiwan issue was significant internationally. There are no political parties, with all 16 parliamentarians elected as independents in eight two-member electorates representing the islands by FPTP.

US Iowa Republican presidential caucus live

Live coverage of today’s Iowa caucus that Trump is expected to win easily. Also: a roundup of recent international electoral developments.

Live Commentary

4:10pm Ramaswamy has dropped out, so Trump, DeSantis and Haley are the final three standing with real support.

4:03pm Nearly final results are Trump 51.0%, DeSantis 21.2%, Haley 19.1% and Ramaswamy 7.7%. A great result for Trump. I’ll have a post on the New Hampshire primary next week.

2:55pm With 91% in, it’s Trump 51.0%, DeSantis 21.3%, Haley 19.0% and Ramaswamy 7.7%. The NYT forecast now has DeSantis finishing second. So a HUGE Trump win and no momentum for Haley probably means he’s going to win New Hampshire next week.

2:12pm The NYT has precinct maps showing there’s a big gap in Trump’s support by education and income, with higher-education and income areas less supportive. It’s the reverse pattern for Haley.

2:03pm With 39% reporting, it’s 52.8% Trump, 20.0% DeSantis, 18.7% Haley and 7.7% for Vivek Ramaswamy. The NYT prediction is Trump 51%, DeSantis 20%, Haley 19% and Ramaswamy 8%. DeSantis has a 57% chance to finish second.

1:34pm The NY Times live forecast has Haley ahead of DeSantis by an estimated 20% to 18% for second when all votes are counted. They give Haley a 57% chance to finish second.

1:14pm With 3% counted, Trump leads with 53%, followed by DeSantis at 21.5% and Haley at 17.6%. As expected, Trump wins Iowa.

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 Iowa Republican caucuses start at 12pm AEDT today. There will probably be some discussion before votes are taken. These caucuses will allocate 40 delegates by statewide proportional representation. While Iowa and some other states allocate their Republican delegates proportionally, many other states use a winner takes all or winner takes most method, with South Carolina on February 24 the first such state.

A “caucus” is managed by the state party, and often requires voters to gather at a particular time. A “primary” is managed by the state’s electoral authority, and is administered in the same way as a general election. Turnout at primaries is much higher than at caucuses. In 2024, the large majority of contests use primaries. Turnout in Iowa could be affected by frigid weather.

These contests elect delegates who will formally select their party’s presidential candidate at conventions in July (for Republicans) and August (Democrats). With Donald Trump and Joe Biden way ahead in polls, a rematch of the 2020 election is very likely. Both Biden and Trump are likely to effectively seal their parties’ nominations on Super Tuesday March 5 when many states vote.

The New Hampshire primary for both parties is next Tuesday January 23, but it was stripped of all its Democratic delegates for voting earlier than allowed under the Democrats’ rules. The first contest to bind Democratic delegates will be South Carolina on February 3.

In FiveThirtyEight aggregates, Trump is way ahead in Iowa with 51.3% followed by Nikki Haley at 17.3% and Ron DeSantis at 16.1%. It’s closer in New Hampshire with Trump leading Haley by 41.4-30.0. In national Republican primary polls, Trump has 60.4%, DeSantis 12.1% and Haley 11.7%.

Democratic delegates are allocated proportionally, but with a 15% threshold. Only Biden is likely to clear this threshold in most contests. He has 69.8% in national Democratic polls, Marianne Williamson 6.1% and Dean Phillips 3.5%.

Poland, Serbia, Chile, Switzerland and Germany

Poland’s Law and Justice (PiS) party lost the October 15 election, but a new government was not sworn in until December 13 owing mainly to delays by the PiS-aligned president Andrzej Duda. The new governing coalition of liberal conservative Civic Platform, centrist Third Way and the Left won a confidence vote by 248-201. Duda can veto legislation and it takes a 60% majority to override his veto, which the non-PiS parties don’t have. The next presidential election is in 2025.

Snap parliamentary elections were held in Serbia on December 17. They were called early after authoritarian President Aleksandar Vučić’s SNS coalition did not win a majority in 2022 elections. The 250 parliamentarians were elected by national PR with a 3% threshold. The SNS won 129 seats (up nine), with an opposition coalition winning 65 seats (up 25). SNS won a majority.

On December 17, Chile rejected a right-wing constitution by a 55.8-44.2 margin. In September 2022, a left-wing constitution had been rejected by 61.9-38.1. The 1980 constitution that dictator Augusto Pinochet created continues to be in effect.

I previously covered the 2023 Swiss parliamentary elections. Rather than a single president or PM, Switzerland uses a seven-member federal council, which was elected by parliament on December 13. The composition was unchanged from 2019, with two from the right-wing SVP, two Social Democrats, two Liberals and one from the conservative Centre.

On December 19, Germany’s Constitutional Court ordered a February 11 rerun of the September 2021 German federal election in 455 of Berlin’s 2,256 polling booths. While a few seats are likely to change, the overall majority for the governing coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and pro-business Free Democrats is expected to be retained. But current national polls are bleak for the government, with the next election due by late 2025.

UK North Shropshire by-election minus two days

Conservatives slumping in polls over sleaze scandals. Also: coverage of developments in the US, France, Germany and New Zealand.

Live Commentary

3:55pm The Lib Dems have GAINED North Shropshire by more than a 15% margin over the Conservatives. This will be very bad for Johnson’s standing among Conservative MPs, but it was hardly a good result for Labour; their vote was down over 12% from 2019.

1:28pm Friday: Turnout in North Shropshire is 46.3%, down 21.6% on the 2019 general election. A Lib Dem source is claiming they will win by at least 1,000 votes.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

A UK parliamentary by-election will occur in Conservative-held North Shropshire, with polls closing at 9am AEDT Friday. This seat has voted Conservative at every election since the 1830s, and voted Leave at the 2016 Brexit referendum by 60-40. In 2019, the Conservatives won by 63-22 over Labour with 10% for the Liberal Democrats. Despite finishing third, the Lib Dems are seen as bigger threats in the by-election.

Local MP Owen Paterson resigned in early November after it was found he breached paid advocacy rules by working for two companies. The Conservative government initially protected him by overruling the independent commission, but was forced into a u-turn by a public backlash. The initial protection was a blunder as it drew attention to other shady practices by Conservative MPs.

The 2020 Downing Street Christmas party, held during lockdown, has further damaged the Conservatives. Even normally pro-Conservative newspapers savaged Boris Johnson. An Opinium poll had Johnson’s net approval crashing 14 points to -35, from what was already a record low approval in late November, and 57% said he should resign.

From January, the Conservatives held a significant lead, but fell into a tie with Labour after the Paterson fiasco. The Christmas party scandal has given Labour a high single-digit lead, with ten polls in the last week having Labour ahead by 4-9 points. Nigel Farage’s Reform UK is up to 7% in two polls owing to opposition to vaccine mandates.

A by-election was held in Old Bexley last fortnight, with the Conservatives retaining by a 51.5-30.9 margin over Labour, down from 64.5-23.5 in 2019. 99 Conservative MPs rebelled against vaccine mandates for entry to large venues in a Commons vote Tuesday, and it was only carried with Labour support. Left-wing Labour MPs and the Lib Dems were also opposed.

US: Democrats make legislative progress, but Biden’s ratings still poor

Shortly after Democrats’ dire performance in the November 2 Virginia and New Jersey elections, the US House passed the bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIB) by 228-206, with 13 Republicans supporting while six left-wing Democrats were opposed owing to decoupling from the Democratic infrastructure bill (DIB). The BIB had already passed the Senate, so it became law with Joe Biden’s signature.

Later in November, the House passed the DIB, and this can pass the Senate with a simple majority using “reconciliation”. While Democratic senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are concerns for their party in a 50-50 Senate, it’s likely the DIB will pass by early next year. Congress has also averted an early December government shutdown and a mid-December debt limit default.

Biden’s ratings in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate have improved slightly in the last fortnight to 50.7% disapprove, 43.3% approve (net -7.4). His ratings are poor owing to US inflation, which was up 0.8% in November for a 12-month rate of 6.8%, the highest since 1982. As a result, real wages were down 1.9% over the last 12 months.

French, German and New Zealand developments

The first round of the French presidential election will be held April 10 with a runoff between the top two candidates on April 24 in the likely event nobody wins a first round majority. After winning the nomination for the conservative Les Republicains on December 4, Valérie Pécresse has surged in the polls to be just ahead of the far-right’s Marine Le Pen, behind incumbent Emmanuel Macron. In runoff match-ups, Macron easily leads Le Pen, but is barely ahead of Pécresse.

On December 8, more than two months after the September 26 German election, a new government was formed. The government will be a coalition of the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the pro-business FDP, and will have a combined 416 of the 736 parliamentary seats. The conservative CDU/CSU had been a party of government for the previous 16 years under former chancellor Angela Merkel.

A New Zealand Morgan poll, conducted during November, had Labour and the Greens trailing National, ACT and Maori by a combined 47-46.5, the first time Labour plus Greens have trailed since before COVID hit. The right-wing ACT won just 0.5% of the party vote at the 2017 election, but surged to 7.6% in 2020, and was up to a record 17.5% in this poll.

German election live

Live commentary on today’s German election, plus Canadian final results and crucial US votes in Congress. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

3:11pm If Germany just used FPTP seats without the list top-ups, what would the result have been? Wikipedia has the CDU/CSU winning 143 of the 299 FPTP seats, the SPD 121, the Greens 16, AfD 16 and three very important seats for the Left. The FDP won zero FPTP seats.

2:50pm Seat count now official. This is easily the worst vote share since WW 2 for the CDU/CSU. In 2017, right-wing parties won the overall vote by 56.2-38.6, so the margin falling to just 0.5% to the right at this election is still a massive improvement for the left.

2:35pm From these parliamentary numbers, it takes 368 seats to get a majority. Combining the SPD, Greens, Left and SSW gives them 364 seats, tantalizingly close to that majority. It is likely there will be weeks and possibly months of wrangling before we get our next German government. With no other parties prepared to work with the AfD, a right-left coalition will be needed. A plausible combination is SPD, Greens and FDP, or even another grand coalition between SPD and CDU/CSU, this time with SPD as the senior partner.

2:24pm I can’t see anything yet on official sites, but the Europe Elects twitter account has the parliamentary seat result. There will be a total of 735 seats, up 26 from 709 in 2017 and far exceeding the minimum of 598. The SPD won 206 seats, the CDU/CSU 196, the Greens 118, the FDP 92, the AfD 83, the Left 39 and an ethnic environmentalist party (SSW) one seat (ethnic parties are exempt from the 5% threshold).

2pm The Left party won three of the 299 FPTP seats, just enough to qualify for proportional allocation of seats, after coming just below the 5% national threshold with 4.9%. Their closest seat win was in Leipzig, where they beat the Greens by 22.8% to 18.4% with a split field.

1:08pm With all 299 seats in, it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2% since the 2017 election), 24.1% CDU/CSU (down 8.9%), 14.8% Greens (up 5.8%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.3% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.9% Left (down 4.3%). The overall right-wing parties win by a narrow 45.9-45.4 margin over the left-wing parties.

10:15am 279 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.8% SPD (up 5.3%), 24.4% CDU/CSU (down 9.0%), 14.2% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.2%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). So the overall right is beating the overall left by 46.4-44.6, contrary to pre-election polls. A Red-Red-Green (SPD, Left, Green) coalition is out.

9am 248 of 299 seats in, and it’s 25.7% SPD (up 5.2%), 24.7% CDU/CSU (down 8.8%), 14.0% Greens (up 5.5%), 11.5% FDP (up 0.7%), 10.7% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.6% Left (down 4.2%). Vote shifts are matched against the results from the same seats in 2017.

8:47am The Left party has dropped to 4.9% (below the 5% threshold) in an updated projection, but is set to win three FPTP seats, enough to get a proportional allocation of seats.

8:15am With 201 of 299 seats in, current vote shares are 25.2% CDU/CSU (down 8.8% using seat matched data from 2017), 25.7% SPD (up 5.1%), 13.8% Greens (up 5.4%), 11.4% FDP (up 0.8%), 10.5% AfD (down 2.3%) and 4.4% Left (down 4.1%).

7:57am With 184 of 299 seats in, the SPD is up 5.0% and the Greens up 5.4%, but the Left is down 4.1%, putting them on pace now for a final 5.1%. The FW party has faded back to 3.1%, so won’t enter parliament.

6:58am After 65 of 299 FPTP seats, it’s a 5.0% gain for the SPD and a 4.3% gain for the Greens but a 3.7% loss for the Left. Subtracting 3.7% from the Left’s 9.2% in 2017 gives them 5.5%. Another party has 4.5% of the party list vote. It takes 5% of the list vote or 3 of 299 FPTP seats to enter parliament.

6:40am 30 of the 299 FPTP seats have now reported their final results. It’s important to look at the swing from 2017. In second vote share, the SPD is up 3.8%, the Greens up 4.2% and the Left down 3.4%. The Left won 9.2% in 2017, so this would be enough, but they’re likely to fall further when results from areas where they were strong in 2017 come through.

6:10am Monday Contrary to pre-election polls, projections from exit polls and partial results show the overall vote for right-wing parties leading the left vote by 47.5-45.0. Furthermore, the Left party is at the 5% threshold. If they fall below that threshold, they need to win at least three of 299 FPTP seats to get a proportional allocation of seats. I believe they’re currently losing two of their existing five FPTP seats.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The German election is today, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. I believe it will take until Monday afternoon AEST to have final results. To qualify for a proportional allocation of seats, parties must either win at least 5% of the vote, or three of the 299 first past the post seats. Owing to overhang and levelling seats, the total size of parliament is to be determined, but all qualifying parties will be allocated a proportional share of seats.

The Guardian’s poll aggregate gives the centre-left SPD 25.3%, the conservative CDU/CSU 22.4%, the Greens 15.7%, the pro-business FDP 11.4%, the far-right AfD 10.8% and the far-left Left 6.2%. That’s an overall left lead of 47.2-44.6, a tightening from 47.7-44.0 last week. Individual late polls have the overall left ahead by between 0.5 and 4 points.

Official results will be available at this link. There are two points that may cause confusion. These results will give the “first” and “second” votes. The first vote is the local member vote, and it is the second vote that is far more important in determining the seats each party is entitled to; the 5% threshold applies to the second vote. The CDU and CSU will be listed separately, even though they are effectively the same party, like the Liberals and Nationals in Australia. The CSU runs only in Bavaria, the CDU everywhere else.

Upcoming US crucial votes in Congress

Democrats hold the US House of Representatives by a 220-212 margin with three vacancies. In the Senate, it’s a 50-50 tie with Vice President Kamala Harris having the casting vote. However, to pass the Senate, most legislation requires 60 votes to shut down a filibuster. Special legislation can be passed with a simple majority using “reconciliation”. This can only be used for legislation related to the budget, not for eg, voting rights reforms.

In the next week, there are likely to be votes in the House on a bipartisan infrastructure bill (BIB) and a Democratic infrastructure bill (DIB). The BIB earlier passed the Senate with a filibuster-proof majority. The DIB has not passed either chamber yet, and can only get through using reconciliation. Left-wing and centrist Democrats have had disagreements over these bills.

The US budget for the current year expires on Friday AEST, and appropriation bills must be passed by then to prevent a shutdown. The debt limit must be raised by sometime in October to prevent an economic disaster.

Democrats have put the debt limit increase in a bill to fund the government, but it has no chance of passing the Senate with Republicans opposed. Democrats are likely to decouple the debt limit increase from the government funding, which Republicans say they will not oppose. But the debt limit still needs to be raised, likely using reconciliation. Republicans are opposing the debt limit increase as Democrats are likely to be blamed if it goes wrong, as they control the presidency, House and Senate.

Final Canadian results

At the September 20 Canadian election, the Liberals won 159 of the 338 seats (up two since 2019), the Conservatives 119 (down two), the Quebec Bloc 33 (up one), the NDP 25 (up one) and the Greens two (down one). Vote shares were 33.7% Conservative (down 0.7%), 32.6% Liberal (down 0.5%), 17.8% NDP (up 1.8%), 7.7% Bloc (up 0.1%), 5.0% People’s Party (up 3.3%) and 2.3% Greens (down 4.2%).

Despite losing the popular vote by 1.1%, the Liberals won 40 more seats than the Conservatives. A key reason was the most populous province of Ontario, where the Liberals won 78 of the 121 seats to 37 Conservatives on a 4.4% popular vote lead. The Liberals utterly dominated Canada’s big cities: to see this zoom in on Toronto in Ontario or Montreal in Quebec on the CBC’s results map.

Canadian election live; German election minus five days

Live commentary on today’s Canadian election. German polls remain relatively stable. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live Commentary

11:25am Wednesday: Pleased to report that I survived the Melbourne Earthquake! In Canada, 15 seats remain in doubt, 10 with Liberal leads. I believe postal votes in many seats were verified today, and will be counted tomorrow.

2:32pm Liberals plus NDP is currently 184 seats, Libs plus Bloc is 189 seats. Both combinations easily exceed the 170 required for a majority. Very much a status quo result.

2:15pm In 2019, the Tories won the popular vote by 34.3-33.1 over the Liberals, but lost the seat count by 157-121. Current popular votes are 34.1-31.9 to the Tories, yet the Liberals lead on seats by 156-122, with 30 Bloc and 28 NDP.

1:08pm The Conservatives are now 0.1% ahead of the Liberals in vote shares.

1:07pm Despite the clear seat win for the Liberals, the Conservatives now only trail them by 0.1%, and are very likely to end up with more votes. So once again vote wastage in safe seats hurts the Conservatives.

12:48pm 150 Liberals, 119 Conservatives, 28 Bloc, 27 NDP, three Greens. The Conservatives actually have a 48-39 edge over the Liberals on those called “Elected”, owing to too much vote concentration in safe seats.

12:41pm Seat changes have swung to Liberals down eight, Conservatives up five, Bloc down three and NDP up six. Liberals led Conservatives by 157-121 seats in 2019.

12:32pm Seat changes are now NDP up five, Liberals and Bloc down one and Tories down three.

12:28pm CBC News is CALLING a Liberal government. That means they project Liberals will win the most seats, majority still in question.

12:25pm 131 Liberals, 71 Tories, 27 Bloc, 18 NDP. Liberals up four, Tories down six, NDP up four, Bloc down two.

12:17pm Liberals lead Conservatives by 122-56 with 24 Bloc and 18 NDP. Liberals making nine net gains, Conservatives nine net losses.

12:05pm Liberals leading Tories by 83-42, with 14 NDP, 14 Bloc and one Green. Liberals up six, Tories down five, Bloc down three, NDP up two.

12:01pm Liberal gains down to three, Tory losses at two, NDP up three and Bloc down four. The final polls have just closed Canada: British Columbia.

11:57am Liberals won 157 seats at the 2019 election. They’re currently showing as making a net eight seat gain. They could win a majority (170+ seats).

11:54am 55 Libs, 25 Tories, 6 Bloc, 6 NDP, 1 Green. Liberals making six net gains, Tories four losses

11:43am Liberals lead by 39-15 with 4 Bloc, 1 NDP and 1 Green.

11:35am Liberals lead by 31-11 with one Bloc.

11:16am Liberals leading by 26-8 with no seats for anybody else. There’ll be a deluge of results when the large majority of polls close at 11:30am.

11:03am Liberals leading by 24-9 with one Bloc. The Conservatives are making five gains, the Liberals four losses, and the NDP and Greens one loss each.

10:40am Liberals leading by 24-8 with one seat for the Quebec Bloc. The NDP seats have disappeared. Gains and losses are Conservatives up four, Liberals down three, Bloc up one, NDP and Greens both down one.

10:17am Liberals lead by 23-7 with 2 NDP. Gains and losses are Liberals down three, Conservatives up three, NDP up one and Greens down one.

10:03am Liberals now leading by 16-4 with one NDP; that’s two Conservative gains.

9:55am Liberals now leading by 12-2 with one NDP, as Conservative gains reduced to one. Atlantic Canada (where these early results are from) is a stronghold for the Liberals.

9:47am Tuesday Results are in from 10 of the 338 seats, and the Liberals lead the Conservatives by 6-3 with one NDP. If those results hold up, it’s three GAINS for the Conservatives. Canadian media list seats as “leading” and “elected”, with seats listed as “elected” when called for a party.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election two years early, and the results will come in today. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

The final CBC Poll Tracker has Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.5%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.0%, the left-wing NDP 19.1%, the right-wing populist People’s Party (PPC) 7.0%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 6.8% and the Greens 3.5%. Final polls range from Liberals by six (EKOS) to Conservatives by four (Forum).

Although the Liberals and Conservatives are nearly tied on vote shares, the Tracker gives the Liberals a large seat lead of 155-119 over the Conservatives, with 32 NDP and 31 Bloc. The Liberals are given a 17% chance to win a majority (170+ seats) and a 57% chance to win the most seats but not a majority.

The Liberals had an eight-point lead when the election was called, but lost ground quickly in the first two weeks to trail the Conservatives on vote share. But the rise of the PPC appears to have wrecked the Conservatives’ hopes.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times today AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Owing to COVID, there has been a surge in the number of postal vote applications, with over 1 million requests. Postal votes will not start being counted until tomorrow, delaying the results in close seats. According to an Ipsos poll, NDP and Liberal voters were more likely than Conservatives to say they would vote by mail.

German polls relatively stable five days before election

The German election will occur this Sunday, with polls closing at 2am Monday AEST. If my 2017 article for The Conversation on the German election is accurate at this election, final results will not be available until Monday afternoon AEST.

The Guardian’s German poll aggregate has the centre-left SPD on 25.6%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21.8%, the Greens 15.8%, the far-right AfD 11.1%, the pro-business FDP 11.1% and the far-left Left 6.3%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right vote by 47.7-44.0. I wrote last week that, for the likely formation of a left government, the Left party needs to exceed 5% or win at least three of the 299 FPTP seats.

California recall live; Canadian and German elections minus six to 11 days

Democrat Newsom set to defeat Recall – live commentary today. Conservatives fall back in Canada, and polls stable in Germany. Guest post by Adrian Beaumont.

Live commentary

12pm Thursday: With all election day votes counted, No to Recall leads by 63.9-36.1. Late mail and provisional votes will be counted over the next four weeks. When everything is counted, Newsom is likely to exceed his 61.9-38.1 margin in 2018, but fall a little short of Biden’s 29-point California margin in 2020.

4pm As the election day vote comes in, Newsom’s lead is dropping slightly. But No to Recall still leads by 65.7-34.3 with an estimated 66% in. Remember that counting will continue for about four weeks after today.

1:50pm CNN finally CALLS it for No to Recall. In 2018, Newsom won the governor’s race against a Republican by 62-38. Can he exceed that margin? Polls did not have him far enough ahead.

1:42pm No to Recall leading by a massive 67.5-32.5 with nearly 8 million votes in. Margin likely to decrease a bit as election day votes come in, but 17% of election day votes are already in.

1:25pm Dave Wasserman has CALLED it for Newsom and is off to bed (it’s 11:25pm on the US East Coast).

1:17pm No winning by almost 70-30 after over 5 million counted.

1:13pm No to Recall winning by 64-36 with over 2.2 million votes in already.

1:07pm No immediate call, but the exit poll has a wide margin for No. The first results from San Diego have No leading by 60.6-39.4 from over 800,000 votes.

12:52pm Wednesday Polls close in eight minutes. There is an exit poll. If that exit poll shows No to Recall winning by about the same0 margin as in pre-election polls, the recall is likely to be called as soon as polls close.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

The final FiveThirtyEight aggregate for today’s California recall election shows Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom leading Recall by 15.8%, out from 10.1% last week and just 1.2% three weeks ago.

Newsom has been able to make this election a contest between him, and the likely winner of the replacement vote, radio shock jock Republican Larry Elder. With no prominent Democrats contesting the replacement vote, Newsom’s lead over Recall has rapidly increased in a Democratic stronghold.

Early mail votes will be released soon after polls close at 1pm AEST. Given the polling, it is likely that the election will be called for Newsom once we see these votes. Election day vote counting will go until the evening AEST. California keeps counting late mail and provisional votes for four weeks after election day.

The FiveThirtyEight aggregate of Joe Biden’s ratings has him at 49.2% disapprove, 45.9% approve (net -3.3); his net approval is up half a point since last week. Biden last week announced vaccine mandates to combat COVID. In a Morning Consult poll, voters supported requiring all employers with over 100 employees to mandate vaccination or weekly tests by a 58-36 margin.

People’s Party rise hurts Conservatives in Canada

The Canadian election is next Tuesday September 21 AEST. Canada uses first past the post to elect its 338 members of parliament.

In the CBC Poll Tracker, the Liberals have regained the lead with 31.9%, followed by the Conservatives on 31.3%, the NDP 19.4%, the Quebec Bloc 6.6%, the populist right People’s Party (PPC) 6.4%, and the Greens 3.3%. Last week, the Conservatives had 33.5% and the PPC 4.8%.

Under FPTP, small parties on the left and right spoil their better aligned major party’s chances. The Tracker has the Liberals seat lead over the Conservatives out to 151-122 from 140-133 last week, with 35 NDP and 29 Bloc.

Most of Canada uses staggered poll opening and closing times, in which polls in the trailing time zone open and close an hour earlier than those in the leading time zone. The exceptions are polls for seats in Atlantic Canada. Here are the Canadian poll closing times next Tuesday AEST:

By 9:30am, polls in the four small provinces of Atlantic Canada (32 of the 338 seats) are closed. Newfoundland (seven seats) closes 30 minutes earlier. At 11:30am, the large majority of polls close. At 12pm, all polls are closed in Canada, with British Columbia (42 seats) closing.

Polls relatively stable in Germany

The Politico poll aggregate for the September 26 German election has the centre-left SPD leading with 25%, followed by the conservative CDU/CSU on 21%, the Greens 16%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The overall vote for left parties leads the overall right by 47-44 (48-44 last week).

I described the German electoral system in my previous article. Parties that either win at least 5% of the party vote or three of the 299 FPTP seats receive a proportional allocation of seats. The Left party is close to the 5% threshold in current polls, but won five FPTP seats in 2017. If they hold three of these seats, they will qualify for proportionality. It is unlikely that the SPD and the Greens will win enough seats on their own for a left majority, so this is crucial.

Conservative government ousted in Norway

At Monday’s Norwegian election, Labour won 48 of the 169 seats (down one since 2017), the Conservatives 36 (down nine), the agrarian Centre 28 (up nine), the right-wing Progress 21 (down six), the Socialist Left 13 (up two) and the Red eight (up seven). The Conservative PM conceded, and it is likely Labour will govern with support from the Centre and Socialists (89 seats for that combination exceeding the 85 needed for a majority).

California recall, Canadian and German elections minus one to three weeks

Democrat Gavin Newsom now likely to beat recall in California, Liberals slump in Canada after Trudeau’s early election call and Social Democrats surge to the top in Germany.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

Polls close in the California recall election next Wednesday September 15 at 1pm AEST. There is a Yes/No question on whether the governor is recalled, followed by a long list of replacement candidates. If the recall succeeds, the candidate with the most votes is elected.

In my last article two weeks ago, Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom led Recall by just 1.2% in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate, but he has surged since then, and now leads by 10.1%. California is a Democratic stronghold that voted for Joe Biden by 29% in November 2020. Motivating Democrats is likely to be enough for Newsom.

To qualify for a Recall election, 12% of the total votes cast for governor at the last election must sign a petition. Only one governor has been recalled since recalls were introduced in 1911: in 2003, Democrat Gray Davis was replaced by Republican Arnold Schwarzenegger. Davis lost the Recall vote by 55.4-44.6, and Schwarzenegger had 48.6% of the replacement vote, well ahead of 31.5% for a Democrat.

Since the withdrawal from Afghanistan, Biden’s ratings have continued to slide in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate. He’s now at 49.0% disapprove, 45.3% approve for a net approval of -3.7%. Biden’s net approval was +6 before the fall of Kabul on August 15.

There are other factors dragging Biden down, like COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But the clear downward trend since Kabul’s fall indicates Afghanistan is a big factor. US COVID is likely to improve soon, but Biden’s perceived incompetence over Afghanistan could reflect badly on him when Americans consider other problems.

Trudeau’s Liberals slump in Canada

Justin Trudeau called the Canadian election for September 20, two years early. Canada uses First Past the Post to elect its 338 parliamentary members.

The CBC Poll Tracker has the Conservatives leading with 33.5%, followed by Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals on 31.2%, the left-wing NDP 20.3%, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 5.9%, the right-wing populist People’s Party 4.8% and the Greens 3.4%. The Liberals were eight points ahead before the election was called, and their position deteriorated rapidly in the first two weeks of the campaign, but it has stabilized in the last week.

Despite the Conservatives’ narrow vote lead, the Liberals still have a narrow seat lead of 140-133, with 37 NDP and 27 Bloc, owing to Conservative wastage in safe seats. The tracker gives the Conservatives just a 4% chance of winning an outright majority.

In a recent Angus Reid poll, NDP leader Singh had a +14 net favourable rating, the Bloc’s Blanchet -1, the Conservatives’ O’Toole -17 and Trudeau -25. In Abacus, it was Singh +19, Blanchet +10, Trudeau -5 and O’Toole -8.

Social Democrats (SPD) surge in Germany

The German election is on September 26. Germany has 299 single-member seats elected by FPTP, and at least 299 list seats that are used to top-up FPTP seats to ensure overall proportionality of all qualifying parties. Voters cast one vote for their FPTP seat, and another for their preferred party. Parties can qualify by either exceeding 5% of the national “party” vote, or winning three FPTP seats.

List seats are awarded by states, and this results in frequent “overhangs” when a party wins more seats by FPTP than entitled from its party vote, which are compensated by “leveling” seats for other parties. There are usually more than the minimum 598 seats in German parliaments, with the 2017 election having 709 seats owing to the conservative CDU/CSU’s dominance of FPTP seats on a 32.9% vote share.

In the Politico poll aggregate, the SPD now leads with 25%, with the CDU/CSU at 21%, the Greens 17%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 6%. The SPD has surged to the top at the expense of the CDU/CSU, and the combined left now leads the combined right by 48-44 (47-45 to the right two weeks ago). The Left is close to the 5% threshold, but could survive even if they fall below as they won five FPTP seats in 2017 – three are needed.

Angela Merkel, who has been German chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election. In a recent poll, just 20% were satisfied with the new CDU/CSU chancellor candidate, Armin Laschet, compared with between 57% and 71% for Merkel in the four elections she contested.

Canadian and German elections minus four to five weeks

Justin Trudeau calls an early Canadian election and German polls tighten. Also: Biden’s ratings slump after the Afghanistan withdrawal.

Guest post by Adrian Beaumont, who joins us from time to time to provide commentary on elections internationally. Adrian is an honorary associate at the University of Melbourne. His work on electoral matters for The Conversation can be found here, and his own website is here.

On August 15, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau called the election for September 20, more than two years early. Trudeau’s centre-left Liberals won the most seats, but not a majority, at the 2019 election, and good polling encouraged Trudeau to seek a majority.

Canada has 338 seats elected by first past the post. At the October 2019 election, the Liberals won 157 seats, the Conservatives 121, the left-wing separatist Quebec Bloc 32, the left-wing NDP 24 and the Greens three. Vote shares were 34.3% Conservative, 33.1% Liberal, 16.0% NDP, 7.6% Bloc and 6.6% Greens. The Conservatives wasted votes in safe seats, while the Bloc benefited from only running in Quebec.

The CBC Poll Tracker currently gives the Liberals 34.0%, the Conservatives 30.3%, the NDP 19.8%, the Bloc 6.3% and the Greens 4.6%. Seat estimates are 160 Liberals (ten short of a majority), 111 Conservatives, 38 NDP and 28 Bloc. The Liberal lead over the Conservatives has dropped from eight points to four in the week since the election was called.

At the 2015 election, the Liberals promised to change the electoral system from FPTP, but welched on that promise after winning a majority. There was a bad sign for the Liberals when the Conservatives won the Nova Scotia provincial election last Tuesday. The Liberals were well ahead, but faded late.

Social Democrats gain at CDU/CSU’s expense for German election

The German election will be on September 26. Parties need to clear 5% to qualify for the proportional allocation of seats. The Politico poll aggregate currently gives the conservative CDU/CSU 24%, the centre-left SPD 20%, the Greens 18%, the pro-business FDP 12%, the far-right AfD 11% and the far-left Left 7%. In the last few month, the SPD has gained 4-5 points from the CDU/CSU, and the combined right’s lead over the combined left has narrowed to 47-45 from 51-42.

German polls do not appear to ask for leader approval ratings, only for preferred chancellor. The SPD’s Scholz is leading both the Greens’ Baerbock and the CDU/CSU’s Laschet by double digit margins, probably explaining the shift in voting intention polls. Angela Merkel, who has been chancellor since 2005, is retiring at this election.

Biden’s ratings slump after Afghanistan withdrawal

A week since the fall of Kabul, Joe Biden’s ratings with all polls in the FiveThirtyEight aggregate are 49.4% approve, 46.2% disapprove (net +3.2%). Biden’s net approval was +10 in late July and +6 before Kabul. Recent polls have been near net zero, so the aggregate may fall further.

Biden’s drop can also be attributed to US COVID, inflation and illegal immigration. But Afghanistan has been damaging. In a CBS/YouGov poll, 74% thought the removal of US troops had gone badly, although 63% still approved of their removal. Biden’s handling of withdrawal crashed from 60-40 approve in July to 53-47 disapprove.

The Afghanistan withdrawal has been compared to the 1975 US withdrawal from Saigon at Vietnam. New York Times analyst Nate Cohn said former president Gerald Ford’s ratings increased in the months after Saigon.

In Vietnam, over 58,000 US soldiers were killed in action, while 2,500 were killed in Afghanistan. There had been no US combat deaths since February 2020. The far greater US casualties in Vietnam meant the public was far more likely to be willing to accept the costs of sudden withdrawal.

Another problem for Biden with Afghanistan is that the chaos and perceived humiliation for the US erodes the public’s faith in his competence. As an anti-establishment candidate, Donald Trump’s supporters did not care about the scorn of the establishment, but Biden’s competence was a big selling point at the election.

Californian Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom faces a recall election on September 14. Voters will be asked whether they want to keep or recall Newsom, and who to replace him with. If Newsom loses the recall vote, the replacement candidate is elected by FPTP.

With no primary to select one Democratic and Republican candidate, there are many from both parties, so the winner could have a low vote share. The FiveThirtyEight poll aggregate has Newsom beating Recall by 1.2%. If Newsom loses, Republican Elder, with 19%, has a ten-point lead over his nearest rival.

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