Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Thoughts on the Woking council elections

I've had a go at doing a brief comparison between the council election results in 2012 and four years earlier in 2008 and here are my headline takeaways:

  1. The Conservative share of the vote held up - the Lib Dem didn't:
          Con from 45%[2008] to 43%[2012] , Lib Dems 46%[2008] to 33%[2012]
            or to put it another way "Not winning here". ( Sorry couldn't resist that. )
  2. Labour appear to have done better, but this is really all in the Maybury & Sheerwater ward where "local factors have dominated and personalities and other relationship ties perhaps trump politics.
         Lab from 5%[2008] to 15%[2012]
  3. UKIP have more than doubled their vote almost everywhere they stood. Numbers in 2008 were at the level that straight mistakes in the polling booth might deliver, now this is no longer the case. If you assume that UKIP voters are mostly Conservatives this is going to start costing Woking Conservatives seats very soon. ( This is perhaps an assumption that can be applied only in part. UKIP also appeal to Labour voters strongly. )
       UKIP from 4%[2008] to 8%[2012]  ( which is 10% if you consider only those wards UKIP stood in)
    The UKIP vote is below the 14% that was reported nationally, but is on a clear upward trajectory in an election that UKIP would not normally expect to do well in.
My conclusions are that in the short term the Conservatives can look forward to running Woking borough council without interruption for quite a few years. The Lib Dems have fallen back from their grab at the ultimate prize of the Westminster constituency in 2010 and at least some of their borrowing of Labour support for tactical voting is unwinding. This is unlikely to recover whilst they are in national coalition.

In the medium term all three of the major opposition parties have the capacity to create trouble and return Woking borough council back to no over all control.

Of course if the Conservatives make good use of their time with overall control to win the trust of the people of Woking they will be in a strong position.

I've put a spreadsheet which I've used to calculate these figures online here if anyone interested. Its always possible I've made errors ( most spreadsheets have them ) - if you find one let me know in the comments.

PS I might put a few graphics up latter ( maybe even a bar chart for the Lib Dems amongst you ).

I should perhaps also add the turnout was down - it was a wet and cold day. I can't remeber in 2008, but I think the weather was perhaps far better.

Perhaps I should also add that I expect there was a certain amount of refusing to turn out by some Conservative and Lib Dem supporters - angry with their parties in government, but not willing to vote for another party. ( The parties themselves will have far better information having watched the count and with electoral role information saying who vote ( but not for whom of course! )  which can be cross referenced with their own canvassing returns. But they won't be sharing that !)

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