This is how badly the Lib Dems did (and the Tories weren’t much better)

November 30, 2012 10:02 am

There were four parties who stood in all three by-elections yesterday. Here’s the total number of votes received by each of those parties:

Of course all of the seats were “safe” for Labour – but this will still make fairly glum ready for Nick and Dave…

  • Jeremy_Preece

    This is the sort of statistics that make you want to jump up and down with joy. However there is no room to sit back and think that we are on our way.
    Congratuations to all three Labour candidates. But let’s also consider a few health warnings:
    1. The turnout was very low. Since this was not a by election that would change the balance of power in Westminster or change the government it was a totally different animal from a general election.
    a) It is quite likely that a large number of Tory voters stayed at home. This would probably not be the case in a General Election.
    b) We have not had a real surge of the number of people who vote Labour.
    c) There were a lot of protest votes, UKIP and Respect, but more than that the number of people who refused to vote for anyone.
    In short, this is not a huge ringing endorsement for Labour. What would have been a ringing endorsement would have been a really high turnout with the same sort of percentages that Labour got.
    2. The Tories are now at a crossroads. The Daily Mail type Tory voter now seems to rather vote for UKIP than Tory. This is not necesserily great news for Labour unless it were repeated at a General Election:
    a) Some UKIP voters might vote differently in a General Election – probably Tory, whereas a by election is a great opportunity to register a protest.
    b) Cameron is basically an opportunist rather than a man of great over-arching principles. Clearly there will be mounting pressure on him from within his own party to become more anti-Europe. Ultimately if he doesn;t cave in there is the chance that his party will get their knives out and remove him. Either way there will be a real attempt by the Tories to win back their former voters who now have gone UKIP.
    Two effects of this would be a potential increase in the Tory vote, and also a swing to even more right-wing and extreme policies from this government this side of 2015.
    3. The LibDems have collapsed. This seems to be the only really clear fact that is beyond dispute. How will that affect Labour? My guess is that it is of great help in the North and in traditionally Labour areas where the LibDems made inroads, particulalry over the Iraq war issue.
    However there are pleny of areas with a significant number of people would never vote Labour. In these areas it was the LibDems who made inroads against the Tories. 1997 is perhaps the prime example. The collapse of the LibDems will give the Tories a much better chance in some of these South of England areas as well as the South West.
    Anyway, the bottom line is that I am still very pleased about all three of the by elections and congratulate all three Labour candidates. Yes the percentages look stonkingly good, but we can’t read a General Election into them. However we can also say that both of the coalition parties did exceptionally badly, and we can wonder just how many years it will take the LibDems to recover and indeed whether they can ever recover.

    • aracataca

      ‘However there is no room to sit back and think that we are on our way.’

      Is anybody suggesting that we should do this Jeremy?

      I always find these kinds of charts annoying as they remind me of those Fib Dem Focus charts that used to show exaggeratedly large yellow blocks and exaggeratedly small red blocks.
      The game is up for the Fibs but they might claw their way back as ‘Independents’. We should, of course, guard against complacency at all levels and announce new policies and ideas in a slow, careful and timely manner. However, notwithstanding the tirades of abuse that are going to be levelled at EM in the coming months and years the 2015 election appears (from where we are now) to be there for the taking.

    • David Brede

      Hi Jeremy, a good bit of analysis of the by election results.

      I would say that the Corby result was also a lot to do with the existence of a good local candidate who was installed long before the election occurred.

      If Labour is to withstand the onslaught from the Tories and their Ashcroft and maybe after Leveson, Murdoch cash then we need to max out on all the advantages we can get.

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