Sunday, 4 January 2015

Mo's election predictions: South West of England

Mo's election predictions: South West England

Every fortnight, I am going to be releasing, region by region, my predictions of who each constituency will be called for at the general election. Today, I am going to start with South West England, an area with a huge number of Tory-Lib Dem marginals, and an area of massive importance to David Cameron in his pursuit of an overall majority. In this area of the country, Labour is a relatively minor party, but it does have some hope in some of the seats, in particular in places such as Stroud. UKIP easily topped the poll here at the Euro elections, with 33% of the vote, but they are unlikely to be competitive in more than a small number of seats here. In many seats, they will replace the Lib Dems as the main opposition to the Conservatives, but the UKIP vote seems to be far too thinly spread here to make them likely winners in any particular seat.

2010 result: Lib Dems 56.6%, Conservative 31.4%, Labour 6.9%, others 5.1%
Majority: 11,883
Prediction: Liberal Democrat HOLD
Only an absolute calamity will see the 11,000 Lib Dem majority here wiped out. Don Foster is standing down, but this seat should remain rock solid yellow nonetheless.

Bournemouth East
2010 result: Conservative 48.4%, Lib Dem 30.9%, Labour 13.3%, other 7.4%
Majority: 7728
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Bournemouth West
2010 result: Conservative 45.1%, Lib Dem 31.7%, Labour 14.8%, others 8.3%
Majority: 5583
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Bridgewater and west somerset
2010 result: Conservative 45.3%, Lib Dems 28.3%, Labour 17.1%, others 9.3%
Majority: 9249
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Bristol east
2010 result: Labour 36.6%, Conservative 28.3%, Lib Dems 24.4%, others 10.7%
Majority: 3722
Prediction: Labour HOLD

Bristol North West
2010 result: Conservative 38.0%, Lib Dems 31.5%, Labour 25.9%, others 4.6%
Majority: 3274
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
This seat was won by the Conservatives from Labour in 2010, with Labour collapsing to 3rd place after some boundary changes. The seat is a mixture of wealthy commuter suburbs, with deprived areas where Labour tends to do sell, in places around Anonmouth Docks. The Conservatives outpaced Labour by 33.6% to 24.5% in the 2014 local elections here, with the Lib Dems languishing behind on 17.4%. A Labour gain here is not out of the question if they can sufficiently squeeze the Lib Dem vote, but the Conservatives should have enough support to get over the line.

Bristol South
2010 result: Labour 38.4%, Lib Dems 28.7%, Conservatives 22.9%, others 10.0%
Majority: 4734
Prediction: Labour HOLD

Bristol West
2010 result: Lib Dems 48.0%, Labour 27.5%, Conservative 18.4%, others 6.4%
Majority: 11,366
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD
Bristol West is a difficult seat to call. The seat has quite a large Green vote, with many Green cllrs, which complicates things to some extent. Stephen Williams' incumbency should see him through but with a much smaller majority. I expect a divided opposition vote between Labour and the Green party will also help him to hold on.

Camborne and Redruth
2010 result: Conservative 37.6%, Lib Dems 37.4%, Labour 16.3%, others 8.7%
Majority: 66
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
Camborne and Redruth has been Labour, Lib Dem, and Conservative between 1997 and 2010. This seat used to have a large labour vote, but, surely, they start from too low a base to win this seat. This seat is a firm UKIP target, has a primarily older demographic, and several constituency polls have put them ahead, but I now think the Tories will win due to a split opposition vote. George Eustice may manage to hold on with the support of just 29% of his constituents.

2010 result: Lib Dems 50.5%, Conservative 41.2%, Labour 5.1%, others 3.2%
Majority: 4920
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD
This seat could go Tory, although I am tipping the Lib Dems to hold on. The Labour vote has collapsed to just 5% and will inevitably increase this May. Martin Horwood has been a hard working constituency MP, but if the Labour vote increases significantly, he may have a problem.

2010 result: Lib Dems 45.8%, Conservatives 41.0%, Labour 6.9%, others 6.3%
Majority: 2470
Prediction: Conservative GAIN
Duncan Hames has a very tough job to hold on in Chippenham. Similarly to Cheltenham, the Labour vote was at rock bottom last time, and should increase at the Lib Dems' expense. Hames has only had a single term to build up an incumbency vote. His success depends on telling Labour voters that there is absolutely no point in voting Labour because they can't win in Chippenham, and encouraging Tory supporters to vote UKIP, but I think the Conservatives will narrowly take this.

2010 result: Conservative 56.4%, Lib Dem 25.3%, Labour 9.8%, others 8.5%
Majority: 15,410
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North Cornwall
2010 result: Lib Dems 48.1%, Conservative 41.7%, UKIP 4.9%, Labour 3%, others 2.3%
Majority: 2981
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD
Another small majority for the Lib Dems to defend, but this seat has a large UKIP vote, which inevitably depresses the Tory vote. Dan Rogerson should hold on with a similar majority to what he had in 2010.

South East Cornwall
2010 result: Conservative 45.1%, Lib Dems 38.6%, Labour 7.1%, others 9.2%
Majority: 3220
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

The Cotswold
2010 result: Conservative 53.0%, Lib Dems 29.6%, Labour 10.7%, others 6.7%
Majority: 12,864
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative 55.1%, Lib Dem 27.0%, Labour 10.2%, others 7.8%
Majority: 13,005
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Central Devon
2010 result: Conservative 51.5%, Lib Dems 34.4%, Labour 6.9%, others 7.3%
Majority: 9230
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

East Devon
2010 result: Conservative 48.3%, Lib Dem 31.2%, Labour 10.8%, others 9.7%
Majority: 9114
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North Devon
2010 result: Lib Dems 47.4%, Conservative 36.0%, UKIP 7.2%, others 9.4%
Majority: 5821
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD

South West Devon
2010 result: Conservative 56.0%, Lib Dems 24.1%, Labour 12.4%
Majority: 15,874
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Torridge and West Devon
2010 result: Conservative 45.7%, Lib Dems 40.3%, UKIP 5.5%, Others 8.6%
Majority: 2957
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Mid Dorset and North Poole
2010 result: Lib Dems 45.1%, Conservative 44.5%, Labour 5.9%, others 4.5%
Majority: 269
Prediction: Conservative GAIN
It was remarkable that the Lib Dems held onto this seat in 2010. With the sitting MP, Annette Brooke, stepping down, the Lib Dems need a miracle to hold this seat.

North Dorset
2010 result: Conservative 51.1%, Lib Dems 37.0%, Labour 5.4%, others 6.6%
Majority: 7625
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

South Dorset
2010 result: Conservative 45.1%, Labour 30.3%, Lib Dems 19.0%, others 5.7%
Majority: 7443
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
This seat was gained by the Tories from Labour in 2010 on a huge swing, and, as such, it looks far too difficult for them to take back in May. If Labour were heading for a comfortable majority, you would expect them to take back this kind of seat, but current polling shows that they are not. Richard Drax should hold on, probably with his majority cut in half.

West Dorset
2010 result: Conservative 47.6%, Lib Dems 40.7%, Labour 6.7%, others 5.0%
Majority: 3923
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Labour 38.2%, Conservative 33.0%, Lib Dems 20.3%, others 8.6%
Majority: 2721
Prediction: Labour HOLD

Filton and Bradley Stoke
2010 result: Conservative 40.8%, Labour 26.4%, Lib Dems 25.3%, others 7.5%
Majority: 6914
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
Again, this seat looks far too difficult for Labour to take. If Labour are heading for a comfortable majority, they take this seat. If they aren't, they won't.

Forest of Dean
2010 result: Conservative 46.9%, Labour 24.2%, Lib Dems 21.9%, others 7.1%
Majority: 11,064
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative 39.9%, Labour 35.2%, Lib Dems 19.2%, others 5.7%
Majority: 2420
Prediction: Labour GAIN
The Conservatives only narrowly won this seat last time and will struggle to hold on. If even a fraction of the lib dem vote goes to Labour, they will regain this seat.

2010 result: Conservative: 40.4%, Labour 35.3%, Lib Dems 16.8%, others 7.4%
Majority: 2445
Prediction: Labour GAIN
Labour should win this seat back in May. The bulk of the constituency is very heavily inclined toward Labour, with Kingswood once having been a coal-mining town. The collapse of the lib dem vote, and UKIP taking 1-2000 Tory votes, should be enough for Labour to win this seat back.

Newton Abbott
2010 result: Conservative 43.0%, Lib Dems 41.9%, Labour 7.0%, Others 8.0%
Majority: 523
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
The Lib Dems lost this seat in 2010 and will be desperate to win it back. At the moment, that looks difficult, though not beyond the realms of possibility. The Lib Dems narrowly outpaced the Tories by 33% to 31% in the 2013 local elections here, yet despite their considerable resillience on a local level, constituency polls have found them to be trailing the Tories substantially in Westminster voting intentions.

Plymouth Moor View
2010 result: Labour 37.2%, Conservative 33.3%, Lib Dems 16.9%, others 12.6%
Majority: 1588
Prediction: Labour HOLD

Plymouth, Sutton and Devenport
2010 result: Conservative 34.3%, Labour 31.7%, Lib Dems 24.7%, others 9.4%
Majority: 1149
Prediction: Labour GAIN
Labour should win this seat back. The seat is considerably more middle class than neighbouring moor view, but has some areas where Labour racks up overwhelming majorities. The Lib Dems have 10,000 votes here, the bulk of which are inevitably going to go to Labour. UKIP has done well here too in recent years, winning several seats.

2010 result: Conservative 47.5%, Lib Dem 31.6%, Labour 12.7%, others 8.2%
Majority: 7451
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative 49.2%, Lib Dem 36.9%, Labour 7.6%, others 6.3%
Majority: 5966
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North Somerset
2010 result: Conservative 49.3%, Lib Dem 35.7%, Labour 11.1%, others 3.9%
Majority: 7862
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North East Somerset
2010 result: Conservative 41.3%, Labour 31.7%, Lib Dems 22.3%, others 4.7%
Majority: 4914
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
Jacob Reece Mogg has built up a significant personal following in N.E Somerset. Demographically, the seat does not look good for Labour, with low levels of council housing and an overwhelmingly white population, though there are some areas that used to be part of the Somerset coal field. Mogg should be ok.

Somerton and Frome
2010 result: Lib Dems 47.5%, Conservative 44.5%, Labour 4.4%, others 3.6%
Majority: 1817
Prediction: Conservative GAIN
With sitting MP David Heath retiring, the Lib Dems need a miracle to hold on here. A poll by Lord Ashcroft showed the Tories comfortably ahead by 11 points here, so they should take this comfortably.

St Austell and Newquay
2010 result: Lib Dems 42.7%, Conservative 40.0% Labour 7.0%, others 10.1%
Majority: 1312
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD
This seat could go one of 3 ways. My gut feeling is that Stephen Gilbert will manage to hold on with a tiny majority, if he can sufficiently squeeze the Labour vote. A poll by Lord Ashcroft had a 1% tory lead here over the Lib Dems, with the Tories on 27%, Lib Dems on 26%, and UKIP on 25% on the "How will you vote in your constituency" question.

St Ives
2010 result: Lib Dems 42.7%, Conservatives 39.0%, Labour 8.2%, others 10.1%
Majority: 1719
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD
Andrew George is your typical, pavement politician. Some would call him a typical Lib Dem. He has built up a considerable personal vote that should allow him to hold on in May, despite his tiny majority. An Ashcroft poll confirmed that it would be a tough race, with both the Lib Dems and Conservatives on 30%, and UKIP on 21%. George's incumbency should see him home with a small majority.

2010 result: Conservative 40.8%, Labour 38.6%, Lib Dems 15.4%, others 5.1%
Majority: 1299
Prediction: Labour GAIN
If, as expected, even a small fraction of the 9000 strong lib dem vote at the last election goes to Labour, they should regain this seat, which they probably should never have lost in 2010. The long term demographic changes in the constituency do not favour the conservatives.

North Swindon
2010 result:  Conservative 44.6%, Labour 30.5%, Lib Dems 17.2%, others 7.7%
Majority: 7060
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
This seat is the more working class of the two swindon seats, but the demographics of the constituency favour the conservatives, with a growing number of middle class professionals migrating toward the affluent private estates within the boundaries of the constituency. The Tories continue to dominate the council, and winning here will be an uphill struggle for Labour.

South Swindon
2010 result: Conservative 41.8%, Labour 34.3%, Lib Dems 17.6%, others 6.3%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
This seat looks to be very tight. The reason? The Conservatives have wards in the rural areas of Wroughton and Chiseldon where they rack up overwhelming majorities, whilst Labour does well in the working class council estates and the central and park wards. The current MP, Robert Buckland, will face off against the previous Labour MP for this seat, Anne Snelgrove. Turnout is going to be a major factor here. If there is a higher turnout, Labour should win. If not, the Tories will hold on.

Taunton Deane
2010 result: Lib Dem 49.1%, Conservative 42.2%, Labour 5.1%, others 3.6%
Majority: 3993
Prediction: Conservative GAIN
After Jeremy Browne decided to kick the bucket and resign as an MP, I now think the Tories will win Taunton Deane.

2010 result: Conservative 47.2%, Lib Dems 35.5%, Labour 11.6%, others 5.7%
Majority: 6310
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Thornbury and Yate
2010 result: Lib Dems 51.9%, Conservative 37.2%, Labour 7.0%, others 3.9%
Majority: 7116
Prediction: Lib Dem HOLD

Tiverton and Honiton
2010 result: Conservative 50.3%, Lib Dems 33.3%, Labour 8.9%, others 7.4%
Majority: 9320
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Lib Dems 47.0%, Conservative 38.7%, Labour 6.6%, others 7.7%
Majority: 4078
Prediction: Liberal Democrat HOLD
This seat is on the outer edges of the kind of seat the Tories could gain, but they have been targeting it. However, I think Adrian Saunders should be ok, but may suffer a dent in his majority.

2010 result: Conservative 45.9%, Lib Dems 35.6%, Labour 7.4%, Others 11.4%
Majority: 4922
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Truro and Falmouth
2010 result: Conservative 41.7%, Lib Dems 40.8%, Labour 9.6%, others 7.8%
Majority: 435
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
Once upon a time, this may have been a seat that you would expect the Lib Dems to gain, but not anymore, as polling by Lord Ashcroft suggests the Lib Dems have collapsed to 4th place, with UKIP and Labour in 2nd and 3rd place.

2010 result: Lib Dems 44.0%, Conservative 42.5%, Labour 7.5% others 6.0%
Majority: 800
Prediction: Conservative GAIN
This is yet another seat that the Lib Dems will have to perform miracles to hold. I can't see that happening.

Weston Super-Mare
2010 result: Conservative 44.3%, Lib Dems 39.2%, Labour 10.9%, others 5.5%
Majority: 2691
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North Wiltshire
2010 result: Conservative 51.6%, Lib Dems 36.2%, Labour 6.7%, others 5.6%
Majority: 7483
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

S.W Wiltshire
2010 result: Conservative 51.7%, Lib Dems 30.5%, Labour 11.5%, others 6.4%
Majority: 10,367
Prediction:  Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Lib Dems 55.7%, Conservative 32.9%, Labour 5.2%, others 6.2%
Majority: 13,036
Prediction: Liberal Democrat HOLD

Total number of seats in S.W
Conservative: 36 (NC)
Liberal Democrat: 10 (-5)
Labour: 9 (+5)
UKIP: 0 (NC)

Predicted share of the vote:
Conservatives: 38% (-4)
UKIP: 19% (+13)
Labour: 18% (+3)
Liberal Democrats: 16% (-18)

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