A key part of election analysis each year are the two academic seat projections which seek to project party Council gains and losses. These play a big part in setting the media narrative over party expectations.
Professions Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher have been doing this for years and their projections are based on what has been happening in the local council by-elections in the run up to polling day.
The other is from Oxford Professor Stephen Fisher who is a key member of the general election exit poll team. He runs the Elections etc site and this was his post
when he made his predictions last week. It should be noted that he allowed wide ranges of possibility in his calculations. He had the LDs, for instance, at -335 seats to +169.
“…my forecasting models this year are based on changes in the gaps between polls shares. For the Conservatives, who have traditionally faced many contests with the Liberal Democrats, their leads over both Labour and the Liberal Democrats matter. For Labour, the model is primarily based on the Labour lead over the Conservatives. Meanwhile, for the Liberal Democrats, their changing opinion poll performance relative to the Conservatives, but not Labour, has historically been correlated with headline local election seat changes.”
What made it more difficult this year was that a large number of wards were electing up to 3 councilors rather than the standard practice in many parts of 1/3 of the councillors being up at a time.
All three of the councils that the Lib Dems gained had all the councillors up for election which actually makes life so much easier for campaigners. Just about the same campaigning effort is required in winning a single seat as a multi member election.
The LD Council gains of S Cambs, Richmond and Kingston all had all seats up last Thursday and are in areas where there’s LD organisational strength both in the area and nearby.
The Tory activist and long standing PBer, Sean Fear in his observations of Wandsworth where he was working has spoken of the apparent lack of campaigning experience of the many LAB volunteers.
People who are well managed and know what they are doing can make a huge difference in the run up and on polling days particularly in local elections where turnout levels are low.