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Today's local elections. How to judge who polls well and who polls badly

By Paul Goodman
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On this election day, here's an encapsulation of Harry Phibbs's guide to how measure success or failure for the main parties.


Very good result: Retaining even one of the four counties they gained last time - Staffordshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.

Good result: Losing those four, but nothing else.

Bad result: Losing control of Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire, Suffolk, Worcestershire and Oxfordshire.


Very good result: Gaining overall control in Cumbria and Warwickshire. Or becoming the largest party in Northamptonshire.  Winning enough seats in Gloucestershire or Oxfordshire to deny the Conservatives overall control.

Good result: Gaining Staffordshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire.  Emerging as the largest party in Cumbria and Warwickshire.  Winning the contests for directly elected Mayor in Doncaster and North Tyneside.

Bad result: Not winning any of the above.

Liberal Democrats

Very good result: Winning a single one of the 37 councils and mayoralties up for election: their best bet is Cornwall.

Good result: Holding their own in terms of numbers of councillors after heavy losses last year and the year before.

Bad result: The Rallings and Thrasher projections from council by-elections imply a loss of 130 seats. If they do much worse - say lose half their seats and/or come in behind UKIP then that really will be a pretty dismal night for them.


Very good result: A very good result would be gains of over 200. If we see this, combined with huge losses for the Lib Dems, we could see more UKIP councillors elected than Lib Dems. If that happened then the cliches would be fair. We will be in a four party system.

Good result: Gains of over 100 would mean we could dust down cliches about "breaking the mould". Certainly gains on that scale could be regarded by the Party as a good result.

Bad result: Given the high expectations I think that fewer than, say, 50 gains would be a disappointing result for them.


Here are Harry's Conservative, Labour, LibDem and UKIP original pieces.

Good luck to all Conservative candidates today!


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