Labour lost more votes than Tories as UKIP surged
Mark Pack, the excellent Lib Dem blogger, pointed this out yesterday, but it took a while for me to make sense of the figures. He compared the BBC’s Projected National Share of the vote for this week’s local elections with last year’s local elections.*
_________ 2012 2013 Change
Conservative 31% 25% -6
Labour 38% 29% -9
Lib Dem 16% 14% -2
This is unexpected, because all previous evidence is that UKIP draws more of its support from the Tories than from Labour. But UKIP has also always had a strong appeal to working-class Labour voters; and it is possible that most of those Tories who are tempted by UKIP had defected already, before 2012, whereas Labour’s disaffected have only recently seen the attraction of Nigel Farage’s lot as a protest vote.
The Projected National Share figures are hard to understand: they extrapolate from places that voted to estimate how the whole of Great Britain might have voted if the local elections had been held everywhere, and the main parties had stood candidates in every seat. The elections on Thursday were mostly in Tory areas, but the figures above adjust for that.
Actually, despite General Boles’s fabulous picture of Ed Miliband reacting to Mark Pack, Labour’s loss of votes now may work in the Labour leader’s favour later. I assume, in my column for The Independent on Sunday tomorrow, that, as the UKIP whoopee cushion deflates as it undoubtedly will in 2015, the Tories will gain more than Labour. These figures suggest that this effect may be less marked than I thought.
*UKIP’s projected national share was 23 per cent this week, but the BBC hasn’t calculated what it was in 2012 (although it may have the data because it said the 23 per cent was up 18 points on 2009). UKIP’s gain since last year must be about the 17 points lost by the three main parties in this table.Tagged in: local elections, psephology
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