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The voting experience from GE2010 that perhaps explains why LAB is doing better in the marginals

January 13th, 2014

LAB voters more likely to turn out where it matters

We’ve said it many times before but it is worth saying again. To maximise a party’s votes:seats ratio the best thing you can do is perform differently in different sorts of seats.

Just look at the LAB vote GE2010 vote share changes in the chart above. There’s a variation of nearly 6% between the seats where it best performed compared with the worst. The categories are worked out by the order of the top two parties at the previous general election.

Labour’s worst performing segment was in seats held or won by the Tories in 2005 where the red team was in second place. Given the surge to the Tories there was never much chance of them making progress here. What happened – the average LAB vote share dropped by just under 10%.

Click on the next tab on the chart to check how the Tories did. Interestingly, there really was very little variation between the segments – 3-4.5%. So much more than the LAB vote the CON share was pretty consistent. They did best where they were fighting LAB from second place.

Now click the Lib Dem tab and you see what happened to the Cleggasm. Yes the yellows did increase their share overall but not where it mattered in terms of seats.

What does this mean for GE2015? If there’s a big variation with LAB doing better where it matters, the CON-held marginals, then that could impact on the overall outcome. This, of course, is something we have seen in the polling.

Mike Smithson

Blogging from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble 2004-2014


  • This data was first published in Denis Kavanagh’s and Philip Cowley’s The British General Election of 2010