How might Commons seats go based on today’s local election results?
These local election results suggest Labour might not perform quite as abysmally as the national polls had suggested. If you’ve been at the end of the market predicting a 1931 style result for Labour it might make you row back. If you’ve been predicting a 1935 style result it might make you row back a bit too. But it does point to Labour going backwards yet again in the next General Election, and some of the wards that the Tories are picking up point to them making serious headway in previously unthinkable political terrain.
If you crunch the results in the locals and mayorals, adding up wards that match parliamentary constituencies, you can take an informed guess at what yesterday’s numbers would mean if they were cast in the same percentages in the general election.
It suggests some Labour MPs might hang on in 2015 who look like lost causes when you read the national opinion polls. But it could be that there were people voting Labour yesterday for their local councillor, out of loyalty to familiar names. When it is Jeremy Corbyn and Theresa May’s names that are in lights in June, the numbers could look different.
That said, here are some of the products of our number crunching:
- North Warwickshire was Labour’s no.1 target seat in 2015. Ed Miliband made his eve of poll visit there. It’s peppered with traditional Labour-voting towns. The Tories put in a massive effort, a lot of it below the radar targeted at Swing voters, winning it with a majority of nearly 3,000. On the basis of the votes cast in this area yesterday, the Tories could be increasing their majority to 7,500.
- Gedling, held by Labour’s Vernon Coaker, might just remain Labour in the general election based on yesterday’s voting.
- Bassetlaw, where John Mann sits on a majority of nearly 9,000, on the basis of yesterday’s voting would still have quite a comfortable though reduced majority.
- Dudley North, held for Labour by Ian Austin, would see his current majority of 4,000 over-turned into a 2,000 Tory majority on our extrapolations
- Darlington, held by Labour’s Jenny Chapman, could see a 3,000 Labour majority in Darlington turned into a 2,000 Tory majority.
- Warwick and Leamington, the Tory held seat Labour needs to steal back to overtake the Tories in the tally of MPs, is getting further and further from their reach. It could, on the basis of these figures, see a Tory majority approaching 10,000.
- Lancaster and Fleetwood, which is currently a 1,200 majority for Labour, doesn’t fall as heavily to the Tories as you might expect under the local election results – maybe a mirror image majority for the Tories.
- Hyndburn, held by Labour with a 4,400 majority stays Labour by a much slimmed down majority under these numbers.
Based on conversations with Labour figures and outgoing MPs, these projections look on the generous side to Labour. There are Labour candidates with majorities bigger than some of those above who are sweating badly, fearful of defeat. So these numbers could mean that the polls are exaggerating the Tories’ lead or it could mean that the General Election will look different from the local elections. It could mean that these local elections point to Theresa May getting something less than the monster landslide widely predicted.
Worth mentioning when local elections bumped up against a general election in anything like the way they do this year, the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, in 1983 and 1987, managed to increase the Tory support in between the locals and the general elections.