The 2013 local elections in key constituencies
This short paper for the Fabian Society, based on data, examines how the marginal constituencies which will decide the next General Election voted in the 2013 local elections.
The 2013 elections took place for the most part in the least Labour-inclined parts of England. They were disproportionately southern and rural, and as well as being areas of traditional Labour weakness they are also – on the evidence of the local elections in 2011 and 2012 – where Labour’s recovery since 2010 has been weakest. The sample of marginal seats available is therefore going to produce a more pessimistic picture for Labour than a set of local elections like 2012 which were mostly in urban areas and represented the northern metropolises, even if no votes had shifted. Even in southern England, the areas where Labour is most powerful and best-organised – Reading, Southampton and Plymouth for instance – usually had a break from local elections this year.
While Labour scored a respectable number of gains of councillors (291) since the 2009 drubbing, and took power in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire, its share of the vote was a lot lower than in 2012 and some of the county-level and electoral division level results were disappointing. Adding up the votes in the key parliamentary constituencies (see Appendix for the necessary health warnings about this exercise) shows a similarly mixed pattern.
The paper breaks the Labour performances down into four loose groups: the best, the adequate, the disappointing and the Kippered.