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BBC Bias???

Seems a very bizarre prediction even if you think recent progress is not that good


Well, it must be noted that the Tories did so well last time round that we can't really expect any spectacular gains. Nevertheless, I would expect at least some gains, especially with the government in such a mess. The next month is crucial to persuading people to vote tory instead of LibDem.

It's a possibility that this could happen, with BNP and UKIP taking on Tories in more seats than ever, and the Tories moving slightly more to the left.

Won't expect gains for Tories, we should do around the same...Which would probably be a good result of D.C imo.

These stupid local elections always seem to give results which bear no relation to what is actually going on in politics.

Most people have completely forgotten about the local elections from 4 years ago. They compare how the parties are doing with how well they were doing 1, or maybe 2, years ago - not 4.

But because the local elections are always on 4 year cycles, it means that we get these bizarre situations where parties which most neutral observers would expect to gain seats actually end up losing them.

The only solution would be to have local elections every 2 years instead of every 4 years.

Thanks to everyone who joined us in Salford today. Great stuff.

I think it's unlikely we will finish up with a vote share as low as 33%, or fail to make a net gain on May 4th. I just don't see where Rallings is getting his figures from.

A result along those lines would be truly appalling.

These predictions are based on council by-election results and are often very good indicators. They are available each Friday on conservatives.com for you to look at. They do indeed show many cases of Tory losses since last time out- sometimes up to 25 % down!

Reasons? The Tories run many of these councils now- you tend to give the government a kick- well the Tories are the government in many local areas!; Second, Labour was at rock bottom last time round- not much left to take; the LibDems are best placed to now chip at Labour votes in Metro areas and voters will vote for them to get Labour out; Finally, DC really needs to reassure the Tory core that they are not dumped- that we are broadening appeal but realy will work hard at tax cuts and allowing people rather than government to control- something he has not done.

"These stupid local elections always seem to give results which bear no relation to what is actually going on in politics."

That's right. And those pesky general elections keep giving us bad results too.

What is actually going on in politics is that everyone thinks Dave is great! he's really appealing to the electorate. We know that because...

Or is what's REALLY going on in the country (as opposed to 'in politics') that most people don't really care much about Dave or the rest of us?


By-elections often have very low turnouts, at which party organisation contributes as much (if not more) as party popularity to the outcome, and candidate appeal even more. That's very different to a general election and I think the fundamental difference is lack of awareness in the local electorate contributing to a lack of motivation to vote.

In my opinion, therefore, by-election results are more an indicator of organisation health than of popularity, and we seem to be much healthier than Lib-Dems or Labour.

One reason for the financial troubles of the Labour Party is that in many seats there are so few members they have to pay temps to stuff envelopes and deliver election materials. Very interesting article about this in yesterday's Grauniad: http://politics.guardian.co.uk/labour/story/0,,1748915,00.html

While the local elections won't generate as high a turnout as a general election, there should be enough awareness raised to allow party popularity to be reflected in the results. Add that to superior organisation and we should certainly not be going backwards in numbers of seats.

Since the start of the year, our vote's gone up in 29 contests, and down in 27. The vast majority of those contests were in seats previously contested in 2003 and 2004, which strengthens my view that we are currently doing better than 33%.

Thanks Sean. I enjoy your local elections commentaries on PoliticalBetting.com and it's good to have your wisdom here, too!

One thing I do wonder is whether a set of local elections such as those in May allow for a more significant government "protest vote", whether due to the small scale and lack of coverage of individual council by-election there is not that same incentive?

I seem to recall that the gains we made four years ago were significantly underestimated before the event, and also remember perplexed BBC hacks asking the Tories why they were doing so badly whilst the background kept flashing "Con gain".

I cant understand how these figures are arrived at, mind you statistics can prove whatever you want them to.
In North Wales, every time we have taken on the Lib Dems in a straight fight we have beaten them quite easily, including seats where Labour dropped out and urged their people to support Lib Dems to stop the Tory's. The message is, forget the stats and get out there and fight for every seat you could be very pleasantly surprised.

Futher to my previous comments in fact we trounced them

"Or is what's REALLY going on in the country (as opposed to 'in politics') that most people don't really care much about Dave or the rest of us? "

It certainly does seem that the media is more enthusiastic about Cameron than the population as a whole. This is why we need to make it clear what we believe in. Cameron may have a good image but it isn't enough.

Suffice to say, campaigning hard on local issues of importance to people will help. Where I live, the (Tory-run) county council is planning to open a landfill site in a very pleasant area against the wishes of the local population and the (Lib Dem run) town council. In situations like this, the Tories deserve to lose. Come the CC elections I will not be voting Tory.

For the record, the area in question is not near where I live before accusations of NIMBYism arise!

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