Pollsters predicting Tories will avoid wipeout nationally
Just a few hundred votes in a handful of wards could be decisive
A recent detail analysis of polling data for the forthcoming elections is indicating that Labour could be set to take control of Wandsworth Council.
Find Out Now and election analysts Electoral Calculus polled over 12,000 voters in 201 district and unitary councils across the country before Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak received Fixed Penalty Notices for breaches of the coronavirus regulations. Areas where votes are taking place include London, Scotland, Wales, parts of the north of England, and elsewhere.
Wandsworth has been held by the Conservatives since the party took control in 1978 having previously switched between the two main parties. In 2018 Labour was hopeful of taking control but, despite having its best result since 1986, the party fell short by a few seats. Since then Labour has taken all three Westminster seats in the borough with Fleur Anderson’s victory in 2019. Currently there are 33 councillors elected as Conservatives last time out and 26 Labour councillors with one independent. This means that Labour just needs a net gain of four seats and key battleground areas will include Southfields and Earlsfield and the St. Mary’s Park ward in Battersea.
The poll suggests that the Conservatives need to brace themselves for bad news in London with Wandsworth not the only borough predicted to switch to Labour. Barnet and Thurrock could also change hands with Harlow in Essex one of the other six local authority areas across the country expected to change hands.
However, the poll is not all bad news for the Conservatives as it shows that, outside London, they may perform better than expected and will overall only lose a few councils and could gain some possibly even leaving them with the same number as in 2018. Although a swing of 5% away from them to Labour will translate into a loss of 800 Tory councillors across the country and Labour are expected to win around 20 councils many of these gains will be in local authority areas with no overall control.
Martin Baxter, CEO of Electoral Calculus, "If the actual results are similar to our predictions, then Boris Johnson will be spared new backbench pressure to unseat him. Although the Conservatives will lose some ground in these local elections, it doesn't look like a catastrophic defeat, and that is a good result for them after their poor poll ratings post-Partygate."
Nick Fox of Find Out Now, "We're expecting the results to confirm the headway that Starmer has been making in the polls, but the council gains we have predicted for Labour haven't translated to Conservative losses, so it's not a result that will give Johnson any real unrest. Whether this is the end of the Partygate scandal or we are seeing its effects temporarily diffused by the conflict in Ukraine remains to be seen."
The analysis to make these predictions uses statistical regression techniques to try to get more accurate and geographically detailed results. Also called MRP (multi-level regression and post stratification) it is claimed that these methods have been used to successfully predict the results of general elections, local elections and the 2019 European elections.
These techniques work by spotting patterns between people's demographic characteristics and their likelihood to vote for various parties.
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April 22, 2022