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UK by-election

by: Jon Henrik Gilhuus

Wed Feb 27, 2013 at 11:19:39 AM EST


There's a by-election in a constituency of the UK House of Commons on Thursday, February 28. The election to the House of Commons was occasioned by the withdrawal on February 5 of former minister Chris Huhne on pleading guilty to "perverting the course of justice". Huhne was caught pressurizing his wife to take penalty points on her driver's license, when in fact they had been incurred by him.

The by-election is for the constituency of Eastleigh, on the south coast of Britain, in the county of Hampshire. The district is very close to the city of Southampton. It used to be a Conservative (Tory) seat, until the LibDems took it in a 1994 by-election. The Conservative MP at the time, Stephen Milligan was found self-strangled in an apartement in London, apparently having used an electrical cord on himself in an act of autoerotic asphyxiation.

The 2010 election, which brought forth a Conservative/LibDem coalition, gave the latter a plurality in the district, with Huhne taking 46.5% against 39.3% for the Tories. A poll ahead of Thursday's election shows the LibDems at 33%, the Tories at 28% and the anti-EU party of UKIP at 21%. The other traditional major party in the UK, together with the Tories, Labour, is back at 12% and serves only as a potential spoiler in this seat.

By-elections often have low turnout, and the Coalition government is not very popular. The LibDems are struck by a scandal of their own making, as it appears party leadership has kept quiet about potential sexual harassment by one of their top men, Lord Rennard. It remains to be seen how much this has hurt the local candidate, Mike Thornton. The Conservative candidate in the district, Maria Hutchings seems to be somewhat weak, as she dodged out of a TV debate against the other candidates, alledgedly because she had conflicting arrangements. The protest party UKIP seems to have a fairly good presence on the ground, and both the LibDems and the Tories are apparently terrified of a victory by their candidate, the likable Diane James.

The Telegraph has a good overview of the election and the poll; http://www.telegraph.co.uk/new...

Jon Henrik Gilhuus :: UK by-election
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UK by-election | 24 comments
For those interested
this piece was also posted on the new blog: http://worldofelections.com/20...

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

Eastleigh is interesting
 Many seats in the UK, at least in England are not in fact 3 or four way races but two. Eastleigh is one of them. It is a Liberal Democratic-Conservative marginal, where Labour traditionally kept in the single-digits, with its voters strategically casting ballots for the Liberal Democrats to defeat the Tories.

Eastleigh is therefore interesting for three reasons. The first is to see how much of an impact UKIP has. Were they to win, which they seem strangely not to be attempting, it would guarantee a month of bad press in the lead-up to local elections in April.

The second and third are more important. Strategic voting between Labour, the Liberal Democrats, and various nationalist parties is one of the major reasons for 70 or so seat bias against the Tories in the UK electoral system. Any Tory hope for a majority or even to hang on will depend on whether or not it falls apart due to the unpopularity of the coalition in seats like this. Closely related, whether or not the Liberal Democrats are simply massacred, or destroyed as a party will depend on their ability to hold seats like this where they face the Tories. Most of the anger against them is from the left. Will the left abstain or waste their votes on Labour, and risk letting a Tory in?

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


Very interesting indeed
I must admit I'm one of those who hoped for a change in the electoral system, but sadly that was not to be.

Some of the perspectives here are exactly what I'm looking for over at my new international elections blog, btw... hint, hint... :oP

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.


[ Parent ]
Sure, I would be happy to re-post this
As well as a follow-up tomorrow night.

Two other interesting factors. Both parties are currently in free-fall. As you noted, Huhne resigned in disgrace, but Nick Clegg is also facing accusations he covered up an affair. And of course, the UK was downgraded last week, which in turn badly hurts the Tories.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Do you know
when the polls close? Will there be preliminary results as they count, or will it only be announced once they're done?

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

[ Parent ]
No Official Partial Results
All of the results are announced at once. That said, all of the parties have representatives in the count, and they will be leaking results. Odds are almost certain that one of the leaked results will be exactly accurate, its just a matter of filtering out noise.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Polls are closed in England
and according to the Guardian, this is the reaction of the major parties locally:

I spoke to all four main parties before the polls closed, and the Lib Dems and Ukip were certainly the happiest. They did not have any solid intelligence, but - for what it's worth - here's what they were saying.

Lib Dems: "It's going well," said a source. "Generally we are optimistic. We have had a good response." The party says it has had 600 activists in the constituency today - "coachloads of people coming in" - and other supporters have been making calls from home. The Lib Dems also think Ukip has done well.

Tories: The Tory camp sounded quite defensive. "It's between us and the Lib Dems, but it does look fairly close," said a party source.

Ukip: "We're a happy campaign," I was told. "We do not have to win to be successful." My source pointed out that Ukip started the campaign at 13% in the polls (see 10.19pm) and that it is now on course to do as well as it did in Rotherham, where it achieved its best result in an election to the Commons (21.7%). Ukip is also particularly flattered that the Conservatives have been putting out leaflets in Eastleigh using Ukip colours. "We are pretty confident of a great show, and that will send out a strong message that we are here to stay."

Labour: Labour believe that the Lib Dems will win. They think that the turnout will be high, that the momentum is with Ukip, but that the Labour vote is holding up.

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.


Rumors
On Twitter have the Tories in third place, UKIP as little as 2% behind the Liberal Democrat. Take them for what you will.....

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Prior to the 2010 elections
I took one of those online surveys, not sure where I found it - possibly the Telegraph - and came out with UKIP solidly on top, followed by the Tories.

My impression of UKIP though is that it is still a very immature party, wouldn't you agree? Farage seems like an authoritarian clown and the fact that the party attracts shady ex-Tories like Nigel Hamilton gives me serious pause about their electoral chances nationwide. James in Eastleigh seems the type of politico they need to build the party into a serious contender.

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.


[ Parent ]
UKIP
Is one of those organizations where the idea has potential, but it will never amount to much of anything under current management.

UKIP was originally founded as a  anti-EU party in the early 1990s by one of my ex-Professors at the LSE. It was intended as a Pro-American "Liberal" party with the goal of urging Britain to affiliate with the United States, Canada, and Australia rather than tying itself to France and Germany.

In recent years its mutated. Much as the Tea Party became a catch-all for everyone who felt the Republican Party was not conservative enough, the party has been taken over by guys like Farrage who enjoy their 900K Euro office budgets as MEPs, and has become a a vehicle for mostly elderly conservative voters who feel that they have lost every important political battle since 1989 or so.

Its a genuinely old party, something that is apparent if you go to their meetings. I do not mean this simply in age. It is literally full of people whose complaints boil down to the fact that "when they walk around London it looks like New Delhi", who genuinely believe that the UK is "physically running out of space for its population", and who believe the solution to the Northern Irish issue is to offer all of Ireland membership in a "British Union".

Its quite sad in a way. For Cameron though its a serious problem. Just because Social and Cultural conservatism is a distinct minority does not mean its not nonexistent, or that it does not appeal to 15-20% of voters. And the Tories need those voters.

There is definite space for the Tories to be displaced by an Atlanticist liberal party. But UKIP's is protectionist, sectarian, and its influence has led to greater restrictions on immigration and trade between the US and Great Britain, and therefore inadvertently driven the UK closer to the EU.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Leaks
Expect an announcement before 3AM local time(ie the next hour).

What we have:

- Liberal Democrats in first by "2500-300 votes"
- UKIP in second by "only 200-300 votes" about ".4% ahead of the Tories"
- Labour "in the very low double-digits"

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


yeah
i'm liveblogging over at the World Elections page... sigh...

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

[ Parent ]
Final results
are now predicted closer to 3am UK time, which is 4am my time and 10pm US eastern. This will be the second semi-allnighter I pull; I did this Tuesday as well, for the IL-2 primary. I either need a life or a coffin to sleep in during the days...

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

Supposedly due to a recount
For second place between UKIP and the Tories.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Really?
I didn't think the election manager would allow that.

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

[ Parent ]
LibDems
claim a majority of around 1700. Stwange.

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

[ Parent ]
Final tally
02:27am UK time:
The final results are LibDem 13,352; UKIP 11,571; Tory 10,559; Labour 4088; others 2,056. In other words, a LibDem hold of about 32%, a large ingrease for the UKIP to 28 and bleh results for the Conservatives at 25 and Labour at around 10. Thank y'all and goodnight from me.

Libertarian Conservative, Norway.

UKIP killed the Tories here
Had they polled their usual nonfactor % this seat would've flipped easily; So
much for "wet" Toryism  

[ Parent ]
tactical voting
The UKIP probably got support from those opposed to the government.
(Those that had earlier voted Lib-Dem that didn't like their "sell out" by joining the coalition in addition to those who earlier voted Tory that didn't like the results.)

42 Male Republican, Maryland Heights, MO (MO-2). Previously lived in both Memphis and Nashville.

[ Parent ]
Agree
I think UKIP has become the protest vote in this seat, but its clear they weren't gaining votes from Labour as Labour's percentage did not decrease.

28, Republican, PA-6

[ Parent ]
But Labour 2013 doesn't equal Labour 2010
Labour is up nationally 12-15 points over their '10 result, but in Eastleigh their support increased by less than .5%. I think it's a fairly safe assumption some of Labour's softer voters voted for UKIP.

(-10.00, -3.49), libertarian socialist, "When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy."



-- Stanisław Lem


[ Parent ]
The LD/Labour National Numbers are pretty stable

1997 = 60%
2001 = 59%
2005 = 59%
2010 = 54%
Current Polls = 54%

This is actually the main reason the government is in as much power as it is. It is holding onto the 5% or so of the vote it took from Labour in 2010, but the Liberal Democrat's left wing has defected wholesale to Labour consolidating that vote. To make matters worse, the Tories have lost 8% or so to UKIP. And while there was some hope strategic voting between Labour and the LDs would collapse, it hasn't.

27 NH-01/London/MA-07

Centrist Foreign Policy Realist - Tory in the UK, RINO locally


[ Parent ]
Yes
But those numbers are not stable in Eastleigh, since the LD/Labour vote combined for 56% in 2010 and 42% in this by-election. This supports the idea soft Labour voters voted for UKIP in this by-election.

(-10.00, -3.49), libertarian socialist, "When smashing monuments, save the pedestals. They always come in handy."



-- Stanisław Lem


[ Parent ]
UKIP vote
According to Farage on the radio this morning (so take it with  a pinch of salt) 1/3rd of the UKIP vote came directly from the tories, while the other 2/3rds were from labour the lib dems and previous non voters.

So basically it would seem UKIP were the protest vote,as the lib dems used to be, and we shouldn't assume that this will carry over into the general.

17, Scotland, Left winger


[ Parent ]
UK by-election | 24 comments
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