Will 1,000+ gains justify the poll ratings?
It’s always the case ahead of the May local elections that parties seek to lower expectations in order that they can better them and so declare their performances a great success. That’s politics and we are seeing a bout of it at the moment.
So it’s no wonder that Labour is trying to dampen down forecasts that the party is in for a brilliant night on May 5th. The most they’ll admit is a “few hundred gains” even though they go into the election defending just 17% of the English council seats up this year.
There are 9,484 seats at stake in the elections and if Labour was to gain a thousand the party would still only control 27.6% of them.
At the weekend, in an interesting discussion on Radio 4’s “The Westminster Hour” the local government expert, Professor Colin Rallings, set a specific target:-
Noting that in the last two rounds of elections in these seats Labour lost 1,300 seats Rallings said:”They need to get most of those back to justify their opinion poll lead. Anything less than 1,000 gains will simply not provide convincing evidence.“
Certainly, judging by the great progress Ed Miliband’s party has been making in council by-elections, such a target is not out of the question. The question is whether they’ll do it.
Today London for a seminar on the local elections with Professor Rallings, organised by the Political Studies Association. I hope to get more detail about his projections.
Becoming the top party in Scotland, winning overall control in Wales and gaining 1,000 council seats in England would make it a great night for the red team. Will they do it? If the national polls are right they should.