ALDC’s by-election report – 27 March 2014

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Six principal by-elections took place yesterday. In Gedling ward (Gedling BC), which is five miles north east of Nottingham, the Liberal Democrats were unlucky not to hold on to the seat they’ve held since 2003. Maggie Dunkin, who represented the ward until three years ago, missed out by just 54 votes. She came second with 28.9% but was pipped to the post by the Labour candidate who won with 32.6%. UKIP who haven’t stood in the ward for seven years came third on 22.8%. Conservatives saw a 12.6% drop in their vote share to come last.

A by-election held in Chalgrove and Watlington division of Oxfordshire saw the Liberal Democrat vote share jump 12.4% on the result last May. The Conservatives held onto the seat with 41.8% despite their vote dropping by nearly 16%. UKIP came third with 14.9%. Both Labour and the Greens saw their vote shares decrease to come fourth and fifth respectively.

In Flyde the local Ratepayers won an impressive 65.7% of the vote to gain a seat previously held by an Independent councillor. The Conservatives saw their vote share drop by nearly 24% to come second with 16.7%. The Liberal Democrat vote was also squeezed by the Flyde Ratepayers and saw Carol Gilligan come fourth behind UKIP. The Greens stood with a “Stop Fracking Now” description on the ballot paper. Despite fracking being a huge issue locally they failed to connect with local voters and came last with 4.3%.

Labour successfully defended two seats in Dartford and Sunderland. Despite Labour winning St Anne’s ward of Sunderland with over 70% of the vote just two years ago their vote dropped by 24% as UKIP secured 28.2%. In Stone ward, Dartford just 119 votes separated the winning and last candidates. The Labour/Tory marginal saw Labour hold on; perhaps thanks to UKIP who came third with 27.2%. The Liberal Democrats did not stand candidates in either contest.

The SNP retained their seat in Kimarnock North after four rounds of voting.

Two Town Council by-elections were reported to ALDC. Julian Halls retained Cromwells ward of Wymondham Town Council for the Liberal Democrats with 50.8% of the vote. The by-election was called following the resignation of longstanding councillor Di Hockaday who was sadly struck down by a stroke in November. Ms Hockaday served the area and the Party with great distinction over many years at different levels. She is a former district and county councillor and was Chairman of Norfolk CC for a year in the 90s. She had a substantial personal vote in this Conservative facing ward which made retaining the seat even more of an achievement. It is also an encouraging result from which to gain the District seat next year. The Conservatives retained a seat on Earley Town Council.

During March the Liberal Democrats have a net gain of one seat, the Conservatives are down one and Labour end the month with as many councillors as they started with. UKIP did not win any by-elections and were not defending any seats.

For all the detailed results see the ALDC elections 

* ALDC is the Association of Liberal Democrat Councillors and Campaigners

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14 Comments

  • David Evans 28th Mar '14 - 5:59pm

    So a council where we had nine councillors to 2011, now has just three, and leafy Gedling where until 2011 were were 1, 2 and 3 ahead of the Conservatives in 4, 5 and 6 and Labour had 7, 8 and 9 is now solid Labour. Another dose of the toxic Cleggacy.

  • David Evans 28th Mar '14 - 6:01pm

    Great sympathy to Maggie Dunkin. She, and the rest of Gedling’s Liberal Democrats, didn’t deserve this.

  • paul barker 28th Mar '14 - 6:17pm

    The doomsters are out so it must be time for my review of changes in Vote share, the only measure which Academics find to have any predictive value.
    So, Libdem performance varied from a rise of 12% to a fall of 17%. Both median & average are falls of 3%. Down a bit in an enviroment of increased competion from UKIP, TUSC & resurgent Independents.
    Labour performance varied from a rise of 2% to a fall of 24%. Median change is a fall of 11%, average of 7%.
    Both those patterns seem consistent over recent months, we are up or down a bit while Labour are down a lot.

  • Gedling vote changes: Lab -1.8, LD -2.7, C -12.6. You will notice David Evans doesn’t give you these figures because it doesn’t suit his tedious anti- Cleggism. Of course the Watlington result must also be down to Nick Clegg according to his ‘analysis’, but he is silent on this too.

  • Tony Dawson 28th Mar '14 - 6:39pm

    The only measure which true academics find to have predictive value is the Barker Index. Whatever Paul Barker has to say is inevitably the result of a view through rose-coloured spectacles and will be wrong. 😉

    It is totally foolish to extrapolate at all from local by-elections to national elections. That cannot hide the fact that the Lib Dems have been massacred over the past three years or so in significant swathes of the country. It also does not hide the fact that a significant UKIP resurgence , if it is sustained, makes it quite possible for Labour to win an overall majority with only 38 per cent of the national vote.

  • “The doomsters are out so it must be time for my review of changes in Vote share, the only measure which Academics find to have any predictive value.”

    It’s certainly has zero predictive value as far as the next general election is concerned, because you are only comparing with previous results from 2011 and later, and by that time the coalition had done its damage.

    In fact there is only one of this week’s contests in which a straight comparison can be made with the Lib Dem performance before the coalition, and that’s Gedling, where the Lib Dem vote was down by 16-17 percentage points since 2007.

  • Peter Watson 28th Mar '14 - 7:06pm

    @paul barker “Both those patterns seem consistent over recent months, we are up or down a bit while Labour are down a lot.”
    Shouldn’t that be, “We are up or down a bit compared to a very low position“?

  • Paul In Twickenham 28th Mar '14 - 7:40pm

    @Paul Barker – you keep repeating the same statement so I will keep making the same reply. These by-elections will now all postdate the collapse in Lib Dem support that happened in the aftermath of the tuition fee debacle, sometime in early 2011. Since then the Liberal Democrats have trundled along at about 9% in the polls. So it is not surprising in any way that by-election results today are similar to the last time that these seats were contested.

    You simply confirm that the polls are broadly correct in saying that Lib Dem support has been steady -at rock bottom – for several years.

    For a neat visualization of this basic fact I would direct you to this excellent graph: http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk/polls.html

  • paul barker 29th Mar '14 - 1:01pm

    @ Paul in Twickenham
    You are right that so far, our recovery is slight but you are wrong in thinking that our Polls in general reflect our real position. Our polling average has been consistently 4 or 5% below our results in The Local Elections every May, they dont even capture our core vote.
    If we were to “beleive” the Polls then we must expect Others to get 17-20% next May, that would be a completely unprecedented shift over one Parliament.
    Come 2015 both Labour & Others will get substantially less than they Poll now & we will get alot more. We will know a lot more after the next few months are over.

  • Peter Watson 30th Mar '14 - 11:05pm

    @David Pollard “The combined Tory/Libdem vote is still higher than the labour vote, so the Coalition is still outperforming Labour -and always has.”
    The discussions on this site are evidence that not everybody who would vote Lib Dem supports the coalition (though the converse is not true – it’s a pretty safe bet that everybody who would no longer vote Lib Dem does oppose the coalition).

  • There must be at least a *few* pro-coalition Lib Dems (or ex-Lib Dems) who are planning to vote Conservative in 2015!

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