There’ve been two excellent pieces of journalism today on the Stoke Central by-election which both provide some insights and in broad terms are in the same area. The FT’s Sebastian Payne has the video report above and the excellent Stephen Bush in the New Statesman has stuck his neck out and is suggesting that LAB’s organisational strength will see it home.
This is from the Bush piece:
“..Ukip have a problem: finding their voters and getting them to the polling station. Ukip activists have always tended to prefer the high-profile aspects of campaigning – open top busses, handing out leaflets and balloons in town squares – over the hard and unglamorous work of finding their vote and getting it to the polling station.
In a symbol of that party’s organisational blues , they have been beaten in the postal vote in almost every seat they have contested. Indeed, in both Eastleigh and Heywood & Middleton, Ukip only lost because of postal votes. Although the party’s activists will occasionally blame postal votes on nefarious practices, the plain truth is that a strong postal vote is primarily the sign of a well-organised campaign. Look at Vote Leave: despite their strongest demographic being elderly voters without degrees, they managed to achieve big victories in the postal votes as well as on the day. There is not a political bias to postal votes – there is however an organisational bias. I’m reliably informed that there have been over 6,000 votes cast by post in Stoke – not very many elsewhere, but in the context of a seat that is bottom of the league as far as turnout, and given what we know about Ukip’s inability to turn promises into postal votes, that attests to the likelihood they will fall flat. ..”
The full article is well worth reading.