Aggregate vote shares from all 198 local by-elections in 2012 show: CON 33.74: LAB 29.22: LD 19.15: UKIP 6.13 twitter.com/MSmithsonPB/stâ€¦
— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) January 1, 2013
Thanks to Harry Hayfield for the data.
It is important to note that not all parties contest each local council by election and that they do not, of themelves, constitute a representative sample of voters. By-elections take place whenever there is a need to replace a sitting councillor and this means that aggregates, like above, are not representative.
Rallings and Thrasher from Plymouth University produce regular vote share projections based on this data where they do try to make their output representative.
Local election results can be a good pointer to local party organisation and the state of morale amongst activists. They can be particularly informative when they take place in what will be major battle-grounds at the general election.
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