Storm Doris to hit Stoke and Copeland tomorrow with winds of up to 80 mph

Storm Doris to hit Stoke and Copeland tomorrow with winds of up to 80 mph

What’s this going to do to the by elections?

With 24 hours ago to the crucial by elections in Stoke central and Copeland and the Met Office has issued a warning about the weather tomorrow.

As can be seen above things look as though they could be quite nasty and it’s hard to see how this will not impact on turnout.

The idea that poor weather can cut the number of participants in elections has been knocked on the head by several academic studies in recent years. However this looks like something very different and I cannot recall crucial by-elections taking place in conditions such as this.

    Where I think that this could have an effect will be with the hundreds of activists from outside who stream into by-election constituencies on polling days in order to help with the get out the vote operation. This can be so essential to maximise a party’s position in elections where the government of the country is not at stake and turnout is inevitably reduced.

Fewer activists in Stoke and Copeland tomorrow could mean fewer votes. It’s the impact on the distribution between the parties that could be crucial.

The general view is that the beneficiaries should be the campaigns which are most effective. It also means that those who’ve been successful in the early stages securing postal votes might find that these are at a premium.

As we saw at the general election Stoke, in particular, has a problem with voter turnouts anyway and the apparent awful weather might acerbate that.

All I can conclude is that the potential for surprises is perhaps even greater.

Mike Smithson

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