What are the key races in this round of local elections?

What are the key races in this round of local elections?

There’s obviously the London Mayoral election, ten other Mayoral elections and the PCC contests but I’m going to look at a key Council.

Nuneaton & Bedworth Council covers all or part of the Conservative-held constituencies of Nuneaton and North Warwickshire. The Conservatives took control in 2021 and in 2022 when half the 34 seats were contested, strengthened their hold and currently have 27 seats with Labour on 5 and the Greens on 2.

Boundary changes have increased the seat number to 38. In 2022, the Conservatives won 50.5%, Labour 35% and the Greens 14%.

There are now 19 Wards each electing two Councillors – both the Conservatives and Labour have full slates of candidates, the Greens have 10, TUSC 7 and there are five others including a single Lib Dem.

In six of the 19 Wards, it’s a straight fight between two Labour and two Conservative candidates.

In 2022, the national polls had Labour leading by between 6-8 points but the lead now is 20 though that is more the fall in Conservative vote share than the rise in Labour’s.

With no Reform candidates, we can test a couple of polling hypotheses – first, the notion the Reform vote is all disaffected Conservatives who will return to the blue rosette. If we have no Reform candidates, these voters will either stay at home for the locals or support the local Conservative. The second hypothesis is the limited polling evidence showing only a third of Reform voters would support the Conservatives in the absence of a Reform candidate.

If we take the national polling literally, Labour will probably win 40-45% of the vote in Nuneaton & Bedworth with the Conservatives at 30-35% so a swing of 10-15% on 2022.

On a 10% swing the Conservatives would have lost seven of the twelve seats won in 2022 – that alone would put Labour on the cusp of taking control so the Conservatives holding on would be a good result while a narrow Labour win would be adequate but no more for Starmer.

Labour should be taking control of getting very close to it. At Parliamentary level, Nuneaton is often considered a bellwether seat and Marcus Jones won a majority of 13,144 in 2019. Labour needs a 14.5% swing to unseat him.


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