LabourList readers are pleased with how the party did in last week’s elections – and hopes remain high for 2015. While last weekend saw Miliband face anonymous briefings in the press, and several backbenchers publicly criticise the campaign, the mood amongst the grassroots appears to be more upbeat.
Before last Thursday, we asked readers how they thought Labour would perform in the elections. Over 80% correctly predicted a first place finish in the local elections. When asked how they felt Labour did in the local elections, almost two thirds (64%) said that the result was good or very good.
While under 10% of respondents thought the local elections had been poor or very poor for Labour, 27% thought it was an average result.
The positivity of most readers may be partly attributable to the focus on the London results in the media – the landslide across the capital has overshadowed plenty of mediocre results elsewhere, not to mention the few that are a real cause for worry.
Having been awake for nearly every council result for the LabourList liveblog last week, I personally felt that the tremendous results for Labour in the cities and commuter towns were at least counterweighted by our inability to breakthrough in places like Swindon (where Labour barely edged the popular vote but Tories kept the council) and Birmingham Yardley (where it was reported we trailed to the Lib Dems by around 16%). Add this to the results in Thurrock and Great Yarmouth, where Labour lost control of the councils, and Labour heartlands like Rotherham, where UKIP starting making real inroads for the first time, and a much less rosy picture starts to emerge.
These were not the exceptions, but the most extreme examples of what we saw in many, many places. Labour seemed to be doing fine, but not quite cutting through – while in many safe Labour areas,UKIP’s total seat tally did not really reflect just how much of a scare they were giving Labour candidates.
For the European elections, 56% of LabourList readers nailed it again, with a second placed finish predicted. Interestingly, 37% expected Labour would finish first, and only 7% were gloomily resigned to third place. In the end, Labour finished closer to the Tories in third than we did to UKIP in first.
The overly optimistic expectations of some readers may account for why the European result were met with less enthusiasm. While “Good” was still the most popular option, and “Average” still second, it was a much closer run affair: 38% to 37%.
However, 16% felt that the European showing had been poor, more than double who had felt that about the locals.
At the extremes, only one vote separated “Very Good” from “Very Poor”, with both options receiving just shy of 5% of the vote.
Overall, this shows a little more division within the party – if over half of LabourList readers feel it was an average or poor result, then surely this shows some need for change? Is this good enough? What went wrong? And would an average result in May 2015 see us over the line into Government?
Well, LabourList readers certainly think we’re still on the right track: 80% expect to see Labour win the next election.
50% of respondents believe that Labour will be the largest party next May, but short of an overall majority. Given their uncanny ability to predict the local and European results, this should be cause for cheer.
30%, meanwhile, think the likeliest outcome will be a Labour majority – almost double the number of people who think the Tories will be the largest party. Less than 4% think a Tory majority is on the cards.
Obviously, these surveys only give a basic level of insight, because they only allow the chance to choose a single option. It would be interesting to see what those who voted for Labour as the largest party feel would be the second likeliest outcome. Looking at this, I’m a little worried that people are underestimating the Conservative Party.
Exactly 900 people voted in this week’s survey. Thanks to everyone who took part.