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The impacts of the floods on the 2015 General Election

February 18th, 2014

On Sunday I speculated on whether the government’s response to the flooding would have an electoral effect.

The Times have a piece today (££) which has analysed the constituencies that have suffered most with the recent extreme weather and there’s quite a few marginals affected.  Out of the Tories 40 most marginal seats, 15 have been affected by the recent extreme weather.  For the Lib Dems, out of their 20 most marginal seats, 12 have been affected by the recent extreme weather.

The seats affected for the Tories are below, the figures in brackets is the majority, if the seat name is in Red, Labour are in second place in the seat, if the seat name is in Orange, the Lib Dems are in second place.

Camborne & Redruth (66), Thurrock (92), Oxford West & Abingdon (176), Cardiff North (194), Stockton South (332), Truro & Falmouth (435), Newton Abbot (523), Plymouth & Sutton Davenport (1,149), Montgomeryshire (1,184) Stroud (1,299), Brighton Kemptown (1,328), Watford* (1,425), Northampton North (1,936),  Corby** (1,951), Gloucester (2,420),

*Watford is a three way marginal, Labour held the seat at 2005.

**Corby is currently a Labour held seat after the by-election.

The seats affected for the Lib Dems are below, the figures in brackets is the majority, if the seat name is in Red, Labour are in second place in the seat, if the seat name is in Blue, the Tories are in second place, if the seat name is in purple, then UKIP are in second place.

Solihull (175), Mid Dorset & North Poole (269), Wells (800), St Austell & Newquay (1,312)St Ives (1,719), Eastleigh (1,771), Somerton & Frome (1,817), Chippenham (2,470), North Cornwall (2,981), Eastbourne (3,435), Taunton Deane (3,993), Torbay (4,078), North Devon (5,821)

As noted at the weekend, the voters’ views on the Government’s handling doesn’t make pleasant reading for the Government.

There is precedent for the voters affected by the government’s response to an environmental adversity to turn against the government in larger numbers than voters not affected by the adversity.

According to an academic review of the 2001 election, there were cases of foot-and-mouth in 93 constituencies, and they recorded a slightly higher average swing from Labour to the Conservatives. In the 19 constituencies most severely affected by foot-and-mouth, the swing was double the national average. Unlike the floods, the most severe cases of foot-and-mouth were in safe seats that Labour held or existing Tory seats.

My caveats are that the 2001 Foot and Mouth crisis started  a few months before and continued during the General Election campaign, whereas hopefully the flooding and associated problems will soon end and not continue until May 2015!

As we can see in a lot of the seats, the seats are where the Tories and the Lib Dems are in second place to their coalition allies, so if either party can frame the blame game against their coalition partners, there could be a bonus for them.

We may have seen the opening salvo over the weekend, when it was reported the Floods Minister, the Lib Dem MP, Dan Rogerson was dubbed the Invisible Man.  Although my advice to all the major political parties is not to try and exploit this for their own benefit, it could ultimately backfire on them.

TSE