Go to the data. Always go to the data. Because. Otherwise you may find yourself susceptible to rumour, weak punditry, myth.
Yesterday's Richmond Park by-election result was a surprise, but not a shock.
If you compare yesterday's result with the 2015 General Election then there has been a huge swing away from the Conservatives and twoards the Liberal Democrats. If you look at the results from 1997 onwards you will note three previous Liberal Democrat victories. It seems like a return to a norm to me.
Labour's result was disappointing, but we have struggled here. In 2010 we only just held our deposit.
Clearly there was a significant amount of tactical voting, with the Liberal Democrat candidate being favoured by many whose principle aim was to stop the Tories (and whilst Mr Goldsmith may have been styled as an Independent in this election, he is clearly a Conservative).
This chart below shows the percentages acquired by each main party since 1997. Please note that I have counted Mr Goldsmith's performance this as 'Tory', and the 1997 UKIP result was actually the Referendum Party, their effective predecessor.
And what does this result mean? I am not sure it signifies much, although I think Mrs May's honeymoon as PM may well be over.
|Richmond Park 1997 - 2016|