Can LibDems Take South West Surrey from Hunt?

Lord Ashcroft polls has released a post-election poll of voters’ intentions for the next General Election. Based on his results, Flavible Politics has produced a map of likely results by constituency – and this shows Waverley as a LibDem gain:

Not only SW Surrey either, but also Guildford, Woking, Mole Valley, Esher & Walton and Reigate in Surrey (and a very narrow loss in Elmbridge), and eighty more gains across the country.

Is this even credible? At first glance, clearly not – but let’s look a little deeper.

In the local elections for Waverley borough three weeks ago, the Conservatives took only 38.7% of the total votes cast, against 27.3% for the LibDems, 20.5% for the Farnham Residents Association, 6.8% for Labour and 4.1% for Greens.  But there was in effect a “progressive alliance” between the LibDems, Greens and Labour, taking the total progressive vote to 39.2% – just a fraction behind the Conservatives.

Then, in last week’s EU elections, Liberal Democrats topped the poll on 35%, followed by Brexit on 28.8%, Greens on 14.5%, and Conservatives on only 11.5%! Conventional wisdom is that the EU results were distorted by the dominance of Brexit, but – “it ain’t necessarily so”. Lord Ashcroft’s poll, on which the projection is based, did not only ask about future voting intention, it also enquired about, and analysed, past voting history, in the last general election, as well as last week for the EU.  His analysis showed that while yes, some of those who has switched from Labour or Conservatives to LD, or to Farrage’s Brexit, would return to their original party for a general election – not all of them would. Hence, Conservatives would not recover to their earlier level of support – and Liberal Democrats would retain a substantial share of their newfound (or newly returned) supporters.

If this projection turns out to be sound, that would create the extraordinary situation where nationally, just 4% would separate four parties:

Of course, it’s not that simple: what voters tell pollsters they will do, and what they actually do, are often very different – especially when the next general election could be a long way off. Circumstances will change, new events will get in the way. But what is surely true, and will remain so, is that we are in a period of remarkable fluidity in British politics, where extraordinary developments have come to seem almost commonplace: who would have predicted just three months ago, that we would end up with 16 MEPs?

The idea of Liberal Democrats wining SW Surrey in the next general election may well be just too fanciful to be taken seriously – but the possibility of getting at least much closer, is surely not.

 

 

Now a Council Candidate – but who am I?

Here in South West Surrey, we have local elections next month, on Thursday May 2nd, for Waverley borough council,and also for the Haslemere town council  – and I’m a Liberal Democrat candidate, for both.
For Waverley, I’m a candidate in the  ward of Haslemere East and Grayswood:
(For the town of Haslemere, I’m standing in the Critchmere ward).
So – who am I? What drives me, as a candidate?

Continue reading “Now a Council Candidate – but who am I?”

By-Elections 23/02/17: A Good Night for LibDems.

At first glance, Thursday’s election results were not overly impressive for the Liberal Democrats. Dig a little deeper though, and something rather impressive emerges.

In two parliamentary by-elections, the standout features were an historic win for the Conservatives in Copeland, and Labour fending off a challenge from the UKIP leader in Stoke on Trent Central. Quite rightly, these have dominated the headlines. The Liberal Democrats distant third place in Copeland and fourth place in Stoke got little attention, even though both of these represented double the share of vote they got in the 2015 general election.

What makes this doubling of share remarkable, is that on a day of dreadful weather, with a low percentage poll in each contest, the Liberal Democrats increased not just their share of the vote, but also the actual number of ballots cast.  What’s more, there’s a pattern here: they’ve done the same thing in each of the six by-elections held since the EU referendum. Stepping back from Thursday’s two elections to take a longer view, of all nine by-elections held since the 2015 general election, we see that aggregating the total ballots, the Liberal Democrats have increased their total vote by an impressive 57%:

Liberal Democrats are also the only party to have increased their share of the vote – by almost 10%, going from 6.7% to 16.6%

But that’s not all the good news from current by-elections. In addition to this week’s parliamentary elections, there were more of the usual local by-elections. As has been customary in recent months, once again the Liberal Democrats turned in some stunning local results, gaining two  seats each from Conservatives and from Labour – and all in wards that they did not even contest, last time around.