Eastleigh By-election

Thousands of words have been written about last Thursday’s by-election and the result and the effect of it has been analysed and dissected from it appears every angle.

The full result can be found here

I think the best way to look at the result is to look at the overall picture of what the whole electorate did. By far the largest group did absolutely nothing. Despite the hundreds of thousands of leaflets, posters, telephone calls knocks on the door. 47 people in every hundred decided the best thing to do was do nothing and not to vote at all. The lack of voter participation in elections is something I have been concerned about for some time and whilst it is true that the turnout at this by-election was much higher than in the other recent by-elections considering the amount of publicity that it had and the work that all parties put in (and the sheer number of candidates fourteen in all) it is not very impressive if almost half of the electorate do not vote. I hasten to add that I do NOT blame the electorate in any way. In my view it is up to politicians to enthuse voters to go and vote and I certainly do not agree with compulsory voting.

The exact figures for turnout according to the House of Commons Library are that 41,616 voted out of electorate of 79,004 resulting in a 52,7% turnout.

We then come to what the 53 out of every hundred who voted did and in order to simplify the figures I have removed the decimals and just dealt in whole numbers. This gives the following :

17 out of every 100 voted Liberal Democrat (16.9%)
15 out of every 100 voted UKIP (14.6%)
13 out of every 100 voted Conservative (13.4%)
5 out of every 100 voted Labour (5.2%)
3 out of every 100 voted Other (ie for one of the other Independent or ‘Minor’ parties)

I have added the percentages to one decimal point so readers can see the effect of rounding.

What does it all mean? Well in my view I do not think it would be sensible for any Party to draw conclusions about what may happen in 2015 from this result. On the one hand it could be argued that only 30 out of every 100 voters supported one of the governing Coalition parties. On the other hand if voters in middle England were as upset with the Government it is reasonable to assume that more than 5 in every 100 would vote for the principal Opposition Party.

Having considered the Eastleigh result I continue to be of the view that come 2015 voters will be faced with two simple choices.
Firstly on the economy: continue with the medicine and the road to recovery or hand control back to the Party which got the Country into this mess in the first place.
Secondly, on who do they want to be the Prime Minister of our Country David Cameron or Ed Miliband and all the evidence is most choose David Cameron.

Published by David Nuttall

Business and Political Consultant

10 thoughts on “Eastleigh By-election

  1. In the budget George Osborne emphasised how important it would be to crack down on tax avoidance. Just as he said in 2010, 2011 and 2012.
    Do you know how successful he has been as he uses the proceeds to fund his give always such as beer duty ? Just wondering.

    1. Hi,
      Thank-you for your comment. As you will be aware tax avoidance is legal whereas tax evasion is illegal and the Government is concentrating on both catching tax evaders and closing loopholes left behind by the last Government which make it easier for people to avoid paying tax through legal ( albeit often unintended! ) means.

  2. And according to theTelegraph

    Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) chairman Robert Chote wrote to the Prime Minister to dispute claims made in a high-profile speech yesterday.
    Mr Cameron said the OBR was “absolutely clear that the deficit reduction plan is not responsible” for depressed growth – “in fact, quite the opposite”.
    But Mr Chote insisted that it in fact believed there was a short-term effect and that “fiscal consolidation measures have reduced economic growth over the past couple of years”.

    Ouch !!

    So your polices been responsible for the economies poor [performance in part.

    Remember the national credit card we ‘had’ to pay off. Well to my mind you have sold the car to reduce the debt. Good maybe ? But we can’t get to work without the car – so our income fell and we are borrowing more to keep going. Ridiculous. Borrow a bit more, buy another car and get a job back. Result income up and pay debt down instead of seeing it rise.

    1. Hi Jimm,

      Pity these commentators and forecasters did not speak out in advance I seem to recall the OBR forecasts were just as far out as any others!
      I do not accept, to use your analogy, we ‘have sold the car’. In fact as I understand the position the opposite is true, the nation is spending more on capital infrastructure projects than under the last Government.
      As you think the answer to our debt problem is to borrow even more money exactly how many more billions would you borrow?

      Thank-you for your comment.


  3. Simple logic suggests if you could persuade nearly all that didn’t vote in Eastleigh to vote, they would just support broadly the core result. Ergo Conservatives lost badly. Labour even more so. UKIP is a one man party – he could offer free turkeys (not a bad idea – about time the electorate got something tangible out of the system) and it wouldn’t matter – he won’t win. BUT neither will the yellows or the blues the EXCEPTION is reds. Who can look forward to further expanding the mess they helped create before – ahh pooh who do you vote for!!! Now don’t be predictable.

  4. A number of things occur to me as well.
    1. If we had a fairer voting system I suspect there would now be a Conservative MP for Eastleigh – on the basis that probably most UKIP voters would have a Tory second choice ? And more people might have voted thinking that their vote would count ?
    2. It is unwise to suggest that we are voting for a Prime Minister. We vote for someone to represent us and usually they represent a party whose ‘package’ of proposals most fits our own wishes. Surely we want an active Parliament full of such people – not a Presidential style arrangement. Are you really plain speaking on this one ?
    3. You are perhaps too ready to dismiss compulsory voting – there is a good arguement that it is a responsibility that goes with the rights we have. Like jury membership perhaps. Just thinking.

    1. I think you’ll find that the EU does not allow compulsory voting.

      I live in Cyprus where you theoretically have to vote. But many abstained during the recent presidential elections because the EU does not allow it.

      Just one more thing to thank the EU for…

      1. In 1971 the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that the practice of compulsory voting is not in violation of fundamental freedoms. It happens in Belgium and Luxembourg (for very many years I think).

        Many people think that the EU proscribes lots of things but often it is not the case.

        The UK Electoral Commission carried out a through study of compulsory voting systems in 1996 if anyone is interested. They did so because of increasing concerns that fewer and fewer people bother to vote. Such systems should not be dismissed out of hand. It is disappointing to me that my MP does so.

        Click to access ECCompVotingfinal_22225-16484__E__N__S__W__.pdf

  5. I agree with redscourge… an interesting interpretation of the result to say the least…

    Fact is the electorate will vote for ABC (Anybody BUT Cameron) next time as he has proved himself to be weak and a liar and standing for the nanny state and further EU integration and ridiculous green policies (oh and his bizarre enthusiasm for gay marriage)… all things which are of no interest to the population at large who are feeling the squeeze while the deficit gets ever larger…

    Keep Cameron – get Miliband it couldn’t be simpler than that…

  6. Well, David, that’s an interesting way of looking at the result! In a LibDem seat where Labour didn’t stand a chance, and was a top 40 target for the Tories, you managed to get beaten into 3rd by a party your own PM described as ‘nutters and closet racists’ (IIRC).

    Aside from your simplistic value judgements on the economy – AAA rating, anyone? – I suggest that you look at http://www.electoralcalculus.co.uk and http://www.pollingreport.co.uk for a clearly needed blast of reality.

    On the current figures, the Tories will lose by around 112 seats in 2015. Psephologists and bookies have no reason to lie, and both have you marked out for defeat.

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