Top twenty tables from the election results: part 2

Twenty largest swings from Conservatives to Liberal Democrats:

Redcar 14.5
Westmorland and Lonsdale 11.1
Ashfield 10.8
Dunfermline and Fife West 9.2
Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney 9.2
Maidstone and The Weald 8.5
Brent Central 7.5
Ceredigion 7.2
Sheffield Hallam 6.9
Orkney and Shetland 6.6
Spelthorne 6.1
Bosworth 5.9
Bromsgrove 5.9
Bath 5.8
Hull North 5.7
Leeds North West 5.4
Canterbury 5.4
Wycombe 4.8
Newport East 4.5
Lewisham East 4.5

Twenty largest swings from Liberal Democrats to Conservatives:

Hartlepool -15.0
Montgomeryshire -13.1
Orpington -12.2
St Ives -10.4
Cardiff Central -10.3
Meon Valley -9.4
Cornwall South East -9.1
Harrogate and Knaresborough -9.1
Winchester -9.1
Esher and Walton -9.0
Edinburgh West -8.7
Surrey South West -8.6
Berwick-upon-Tweed -8.3
Chesterfield -8.3
Crewe and Nantwich -8.3
Blaydon -8.2
Garston and Halewood -8.1
Windsor -8.1
Ludlow -7.8
Maidenhead -7.8

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This entry was posted in General Election.


  • Mark, can you see any pattern in those results? It looks completely random to me.

  • Matthew Huntbach 19th May '10 - 11:13am

    It may look completely random, but behind every one of these there’s a story.

    The huge variations in swings show how ridiculous was the national media coverage with its frequent pontificating and predictions based on the idea of a uniform national swing.

    As I was saying during the election, politics now more than for a long time is based on local factors. The reason for some of these actual swings really will be e.g. “X, who was a wizard constituency organiser, burned out and has retired from party political activity” or “Y who is young(ish) free and single, and an experienced campaigner with time to spare, moved into the constituency a few years back and has really got things going” or “the local council made that stupid decision and really pissed people off” or just “they ran some really rubbish leaflets this time, pity they didn’t listen to Z who told then they wouldn’t work”.

    The national media put it all down to Cleggmania coming and going. But they are clueless, sitting in their Westminster bubble. They cannot bear the idea that they are not the centre of attraction, that they aren’t what makes people move this way or that way in voting, that actually ordinary people who aren’t media dahlings do have the wits and ability to make a difference and to win or lose real votes in the places where they live.

  • I agree with all what Mark has said about the local factors. It’s true there isn’t any great narrative from these lists. The most telling pattern is that less than half the seats here are seats with the Lib Dems and Conservatives in first and second. In several of them, (such as my own, bizarrely ranked fifth here) the Tories are a complete irrelevance. The only reason they are ranked here is because they had big swings to the Lib Dems, not from the tories. All this really underlines is how few seats managed to make any significant swing from the conservatives to the Lib Dems. This is further backed up by how the vast majority of the greatest swings from LD to Con were in seats the two parties are in first and second.

  • The ones that cause me the greatest worry are Cardiff Central and Chesterfield. In the former, the Tory vote shot up, leading to a reduction in Jenny Willott’s majority. In the latter, a significant recrudescence of Tory support cost us the seat. What happened? Did these campaigns forget that squeezing a third party vote is not a once-and-for-always process? It has to be targeted ruthlessly, again and again and again.

    On the subject of errant MPs, this is an issue for strong and effective leadership within the Parliamentary Party. Lembit should have been told in no undertain terms not to discuss his private life in public and not to write for porn sheets.

  • Rodney Berman 20th May '10 - 12:11am

    Cardiff Central swing prob a consequence of many local activists also spending time helping in Newport East. Also not so many of those members who only help out at elections turned up this time to help through the campaign as they were getting repeated letters asking them to help in Newport East and went there instead. Wouldn’t necessarily say that was a wrong call, but there are consequences of getting people to move which we may need to think about for the future. Gap between us and second-placed Labour didn’t change that much, however, since Labour vote was down too. That meant we got a majority of around 4,500 instead of around 5,500 last time.

  • Edinburgh West was presumably an incumbency thing; likely to pick back up again next election (well… who knows with AV).

    Hartlepool is particularly upsetting as it looks as though we lost the swing from the by-election, which had been retained in 2005 (they were only a year apart, I suppose). The result is +2 on where we were in 2001 and it looks as though it was either people going back to the Tories or people trying a tactical protest vote against Labour and responding to the federal ‘it’s Tories vs Labour’ vibe.

    St Ives was boundary changes, it should go back up next election other things being equal. Shame about Orpington. The ghouls at UKPolling report suggest it mirrors poor results the local party has been suffering.

    Very sad to hear about a swing that big in Winchester, as Martin’s such an awesome candidate. I assume it’s one thing or another to do with Mark leaving. Seats with MPs outgoing are more receptive to global red/blue swings I think I’m right in saying.

  • In Winchester the local government vote held up, enabling the Lib Dems to gain 5 council seats and take control of the district council from the Tories. A clear case of differential voting between local and national elections on the same day.

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