Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Already thinking about 2018



I like numbers, which explains my penchant for number crunching the election results in Southend-on-Sea.

Here is some analysis which may be useful to some, and doubtless boring to others!

The battleground for 2018 is already being mapped out and nowhere is this better illustrated than by showing just how marginal some of those contests will be. It is pretty obvious that some wards are an electoral foregone conclusion, whereas others provide for intriguing possibilities.

ward
majority
victor
second placed
West Shoebury
43
Conservative
Independent
Southchurch
61
Conservative
Independent
Belfairs
61
Independent
Conservative
Prittlewell
78
Conservative
Labour
Shoeburyness
121
Independent
Conservative
Blenheim Park
160
Conservative
Labour
Westborough
242
Labour
Independent
Chalkwell
315
Conservative
Independent
Kursaal
330
Labour
UKIP
St Luke's
365
Independent
Labour
Eastwood Park
378
Conservative
UKIP
St Laurence
387
Conservative
UKIP
Milton
427
Labour
Conservative
West Leigh
450
Conservative
Liberal Democrat
Leigh
611
Liberal Democrat
Conservative
Victoria
630
Labour
UKIP
Thorpe
1398
Independent
Conservative

Four Tory held wards are marginal (majorities of less than 200), and this will prove significant for a council chamber that is so finely balanced. There are also four wards where the Tories do not feature in the top two, which is quite unusual for the borough.

There are seven wards where Labour secures more than 20% of the popular vote -

54.7% Victoria
45.3% Milton
42.2% Kursaal
33.9% Westborough
27.0% Prittlewell
24.6% Blenheim Park
20.9% St Luke's

The Tory vote share dips below 20% in three wards - Victoria (15.3%), Westborough (15.5%), Thorpe (16.0%).

The Liberal Democrats failed to reach three figures (100 votes) in eight wards, the same number as the Greens.

UKIP's highest vote was in Eastwood Park.

As it stands, my ward (Milton) now looks like safe Labour territory, and attracts the largest Labour vote in the borough. Of course this brings me pleasure, especially as five years ago it had no Labour councillors.

In general, the number of candidates (an average of six per ward) can muddy the picture. Where the Tories have had some successes then it has often come as a result of the fragmented nature of their opposition. The 2018 elections will see quite a number of wards where the defending councillor is not from the same party as the victors this year. 2018 sees UKIP defend its successes, which will be a challenge for a party better at fighting amongst itself in Southend-on-Sea than it is taking on its opponents. The Greens have a problem in that there is no obvious target for them; their best result (in Leigh) still saw them over a thousand votes short of success.

As for the Independent Group; this party in all but name seems incapable of strategic planning when it comes to elections and I get the sense that they are at their high-water mark.  There were a couple of places where success seemed a possibility, but somehow they messed this up.

Unless a miracle occurs I see the Liberal Democrats leaking yet more support, especially as the electorate must now see Labour as the natural blockers for the Tories in the borough. It would not surprise me to see them fail to field a full slate, and their battle seems to be with the Greens over who can claim fifth spot in the borough's popular vote.

No comments:

Post a comment