Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mo's election predictions: The Eastern Region.

Previous predictions for the South West and South East can be found here and here.

Seats predicted so far (South West):
Conservative: 36 (NC)
Liberal Democrat: 10 (-5)
Labour: 9 (+5)
UKIP: 0 (NC)

South East:
Conservative: 69 seats (-5)
Labour: 8 seats (+4)
Lib Dem: 3 seats (-1)
UKIP: 2 seats (+2)
Others: 2 seats (NC)

The East of England is pretty much a one party state. The Conservatives hold 52/58 constituencies in this region, with Labour holding two, and the Liberal Democrats holding 4. But it wasn't always like that. Tony Blair's New Labour landslides were built on winning large numbers of seats in this region and the South East. But in 2010, it all went very, very wrong for Labour, with the party collapsing from 10 constituencies in 2005 to very nearly being wiped out altogether, narrowly holding Luton South and North Luton. Out of the liberal democrat seats, 2 (North Norfolk and Colchester) look to be safe. 2 others may actually fall to Labour: Julian Huppert, the Cambridge MP, may face a backlash from the large student population due to tuition fees, and it is widely predicted that Simon Wright will be just a one-term MP in Norwich South, and indeed, many constituency polls have shown the liberal democrats in 3rd place, behind Labour and the Green Party. Labour must hope to regain some of the constituencies it lost in 2010, but this ties into another problem for Labour in this region: UKIP.

UKIP surged in this region during the European Elections, finishing 6% ahead of the Tories, and many of the party's best hopes are in this region. UKIP is polling very strongly in this region, as are the Green Party. The danger for Labour is that a failure to gain enough seats here may well be due to a large UKIP or Green surge in some constituencies. If Labour are unable to make significant gains here, then they cannot hope to force a change of government, or of the party/parties of government.

Basildon and Bilercay
2010 result:
Conservative: 52.8%
Labour: 23.0%
Lib Dem: 15.7%
Other: 8.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

South Basildon and East Thurrock
2010 result:
Conservative: 43.9%
Labour: 31.0%
Lib Dem: 13.4%
Others: 11.8%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
The Labour Party once would have had hopes in this seat, but now it looks unlikely to win the successor to most of the iconic seat of Basildon. UKIP have surged here, and look to be the main challenger to the Tories, but Stephen Metcalffe as the incumbent should hold on fairly comfortably.

2010 result:
Conservative: 38.9%
Labour: 35.9%
Lib Dem: 19.9%
Others: 5.3%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
Bedford has one of the most ethnically diverse populations outside a major city, and so the city tends heavily toward the Labour Party, with more than 100 languages spoken locally. The Labour candidate is former MP Patrick Hall, and this should help the party to neutralise the first term incumbency bonus of Richard Fuller, and Fuller has a small majority of less than 1500. If there is any sort of swing at all toward Labour nationally, they should take this.

Mid Bedfordshire
2010 result: Conservative: 52.5%
Lib Dem: 24.9%
Labour: 14.8%
Others: 7.9%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North East Bedfordshire
2010 result: Conservative: 55.8%
Lib Dem: 21.7%
Labour: 16.1%
Other: 6.4%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

South West Bedforshire
2010 result: Conservative: 52.8%
Lib Dem: 20.0%
Labour: 19.6%
Other: 7.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 52.6%
Labour: 19.9%
Lib Dem: 18.8%
Other: 8.7%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Brentwood and Ongar
2010 result: Conservative 56.9%
Lib Dem: 23.5%
Labour: 9.9%
Other: 9.8%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 46.2%
Lib Dem: 32.4%
Labour: 13.8%
Other: 7.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative 58.8%
Labour: 17.6%
Lib Dem: 13.4%
Other: 7.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Bury St Edmunds
2010 result: Conservative 47.5%
Lib Dem: 26.4%
Labour: 16.6%
Other: 9.4%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Lib Dem: 39.1%
Conservative: 25.6%
Labour: 24.3%
Other: 11,0%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
One of the many seats with a large student population, with an Ashcroft poll showing Labour narrowly ahead, the writing appears to be on the wall for Julian Huppert. There is still a chance that huppert may cling on, but 4 months from the election, I now think Labour should take this. They certainly seem very confident, and the Lib Dems have beebn slaughtered on a local level since 2010.

North East Cambridgeshire
2010 result: Conservative: 51.6%
Lib Dem: 20.0%
Labour: 17.8%
Other: 10.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

N.W Cambridgeshire
2010 result: Conservative: 50.5%
Lib Dem: 21.9%
Labour: 16.9%
Other: 10.7%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 47.4%
Lib Dem: 34%
Labour: 10.2%
Other: 8.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Castle Point
2010 result: Conservative: 44.0%
Independent save our green belt: 27.0%
Labour: 14.7%
Other: 14.3%
Prediction: UKIP GAIN
Based on local election results, Sky News declared that this was likely to be a UKIP gain at the general election this May. UKIP actually "Won" the seat in the 2013 local council elections, when its support was much lower. With Bob Spink unlikely to stand again as an independent, and with the Tory MP being deeply unpopular, I would put money on UKIP taking this seat. Certainly, all of the evidence suggests that they may do so.

2010 result: Conservative: 46.2%
Lib Dem: 36.8%
Labour: 11.0%
Other: 6.1%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 53.0%
Labour: 25.0%
Lib Dem: 12.9%
Other: 9.0%
Prediction: UKIP GAIN
Douglas Carswell defected in 2014, won the by-election, and as the popular local incumbent, he therefore turned the seat into a safe UKIP seat, the only such seat in the country. No further comment is really needed.

2010 result: Lib Dem: 48.0%
Conservative: 32.9%
Labour: 12.3%
Other: 6.8%
Prediction: Liberal Democrat HOLD
Cannot see the Tories winning this.

Epping Forrest
2010 result: Conservative: 54.0%
Lib Dem: 21.5%
Labour: 14.3%
Others: 10.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Great Yarmouth
2010 result: Conservative: 43.1%
Labour: 33.2%
Lib Dem: 14.4%
Other: 9.3%
Prediction: UKIP GAIN
On paper, this looks like a straight Lab-Con marginal. However, take into account constituency polling and the fact that it is the Eastern region, and it is anything but. UKIP were the clear winners here at the European elections, scoring 49% of the vote, with Labour on 25% and the Tories on 20%. UKIP had a 1% lead in the latest Ashcroft poll, which suggested a tight 3 way finish to the end. This seat could go UKIP, Labour, or Tory, but I think the insurgent party has the advantage and should narrowly take this.

2010 result: Conservative 44.9%
Labour: 33.7%
Lib Dem/: 13.7%
Others: 7.8%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
I am putting this down as a Tory hold, but please do not quote me on this. Harlow Town contains many deprived areas with lots of local authority housing which are Labour heartlands, but Tory support in the outlying rural areas that encompass the seat is equally, if not more, strong. The local Tory MP is also an efficient campaigner, which I think will enable him to hang on, but expect an above average swing in this seat regardless. It is a seat that swings heavily whichever way the tide is going, and has gone with the national winner of every single election since 1955, with the sole exception of the 1979 election when Labour managed to hold on by a whisker. Labour won the popular vote here in the 2012 and 2013 local elections, and had a 5% lead in the European Parliament elections, so do not rule out a Labour gain here.

Harwich and North Essex
2010 result:Conservative: 46.9%
Lib Dem: 23.6%
Labour: 19.9%
Other: 9.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
Yet another nominally "Safe" Tory seat where UKIP have surged, I expect Bernard Jenkin to hold on due to the fact that he is popular and a eurosceptic.

Hemel Hempstead
2010 result: Conservative: 50.0%
Lib Dem: 22.9%
Labour: 20.8%
Other: 6.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Hertford and Stortford
2010 result: Conservative: 53.8%
Lib Dem: 26.0%
Labour: 13.8%
Other: 6.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North East Hertfordshire
2010 result: Conservative: 53.5%
Lib Dem: 23.4%
Labour: 16.4%
Others: 6.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

S.W Hertfordshire
2010 result: Conservative: 54.2%
Lib Dem: 27.9%
Labour: 11.5%
Other: 6.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 56.0%
Labour: 18.8%
Lib Dem: 17.4%
Other: 7.9%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Hitchin and Harpenden
2010 result: Conservative: 54.6%
Lib Dem: 26.7%
Labour: 13.6%
Other: 5.2%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 48.9%
Lib Dem: 28.9%
Labour: 11.0%
Others: 11.2%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result:
Conservative: 39.1%
Labour: 34.7%
Lib Dem: 18.2%
Others: 7.95
Prediction: Labour GAIN
Ipswich is a traditional labour seat that has only been Tory in 2010, 1987, and 1970. The Tories seized the seat  on an 8.7% swing in 2010 but the swing back to Labour appears to be equally large. Labour massively outpaced the Tories by a 37-28% margin in the 2014 local council elections, and a constituency poll puts them comfortably ahead, so they should take this.

Luton North
2010 result: Labour 49.3%
Conservative: 31.8%
Lib Dem: 11.1%
Other: 7.8%
Prediction: Labour HOLD

Luton South
2010 result: Labour: 34.9%
Conservative: 29.4%
Lib Dem: 22.7%
Others: 13.1%
Prediction: Labour HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 59.85%
Lib Dem: 19.3%
Labour: 12.7%
Others: 8.2%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Mid Norfolk
2010 result: Conservative: 49.5%
Lib Dem: 22.2%
Labour: 17.4%
Others: 10.9%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

North Norfolk
2010 result: Lib Dem: 55.5%
Conservative: 32.1%
Labour: 5.8%
Others: 6.6%
Prediction: Liberal Democrat HOLD

N.W Norfolk
2010 result: Conservative: 54.2%
Lib Dem: 23.2%
Labour: 13.3%
Others: 9.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

South Norfolk
2010 result: Conservative: 49.3%
Lib Dem: 29.4%
Labour: 13.2%
Other: 8.0%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

S.W Norfolk
2010 result: Conservative: 48.3%
Lib Dem: 21.6%
Labour: 18.6%
Others: 11.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Norwich North
2010 result: Conservative: 40.6%
Labour: 31.4%
Lib Dem: 18.3%
Other: 9.7%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
The by-election in this seat took place at a particularly terrible time for Gordon Brown, just after the MP expenses scandal. Labour collapsed from 44% to just 18%, a massive collapse of 26 points. The party barely recover in time for 2010, where it lost the seat (A nominal Tory GAIN), and Chloe Smith has been a good MP who has had 6 years to build up an incumbency vote. She will probably hold on, as the swing to Labour here appears to be lower than average.

Norwich South
2010 result: Lib Dem: 29.4%
Labour: 28,7%
Conservative: 22,9%
Others: 19.0%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
The Green Party's number one target seat, this seat is only going one way. Of all the Labour gains that are projected on election night, this is the deadest cert of all dead certs.

2010 result: Conservative: 40.4%
Labour: 29.5%
Lib Dem: 19.6%
Others: 10.5%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
The Tories won this seat in 2005, and for Labour to win this back would require a swing of about 6% this time, which seems to be beyond them.

Rayleigh and Wickford
2010 result: Conservative 57.8%
Lib Dem: 15.1%
Labour: 14.5%
Others: 12.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Rochford and Southend East
2010 result: Conservative: 46.9%
Labour: 20.3%
Lib Dem: 19.4%
Others: 13.4%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Saffron Waldon
2010 result: Conservative: 55.5%
Lib Dem: 27.4%
Labour: 9.7%
Others: 7.4%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Southend West
2010 result: Conservative: 46.1%
Lib Dem: 29.4%
Labour: 13.4%
Other: 11.1%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

St Albans
2010 result: Conservative: 40.8%
Lib Dem: 36.4%
Labour: 17.6%
Others: 5.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD
It looks as if the Liberal Democrats may lose considerable ground here due to their national collapse.

2010 result: Conservative: 41.4%
Labour: 33.4%
Lib Dem: 16.6%
Others: 8.5%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
The New Towns such as Stevenage, Milton keynes, and Ipswich, have always been fertile ground for the Tories, and Stephen MacPartland seized this seat from Labour in 2010. However, he looks as if he will be a one term Tory MP, and the Tories have been annihilated here on a local government level, now holding just 3 seats to 33 for Labour. An Ashcroft poll here in December 2014 gave Labour a 5% lead on a 6.5% swing.

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich
2010 result: Conservative: 50.8%
Lib Dem: 25.0%
Labour: 16.2%
Others: 8.1%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Suffolk Coastal
2010 result: Conservative: 46.4%
Lib Dem: 29.8%
Labour: 16.1%
Others: 7.8%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

South Suffolk
2010 result: Conservative: 47.7%
Lib Dem: 30.8%
Labour: 14.3%
Others: 7.1%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

West Suffolk
2010 result: Conservative: 50.6%
Lib Dem: 23.4%
Labour: 14.7%
Others: 11.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 36.8%
Labour: 36.6%
Lib Dem 10.7%
Other: 15.9%
Prediction: UKIP GAIN
Thurrock is often described as a bastion of the white working class, so it is no surprise that the seat historically has tended heavily toward Labour. Nowadays, however, the voters that Labour forgot are turning very heavily to UKIP, with UKIP winning the constituency by 25 points during the European Parliamentary elections, and seizing equal numbers of council seats from Labour and the Tories, forcing the council into no overall control. A poll by Lord Ashcroft showed UKIP on 36%, with Labour on 30% and the Tories on 28%. It remains close, but it looks as if UKIP may end up winning here. The UKIP candidate is Tim Aker MEP, Member of the European Parliament for the East of England , whilst Labour is fielding Polly Billingdon, a former Ed Miliband aide and advisor.

2010 result: Conservative: 34.9%
Lib Dem: 32.4%
Labour: 26.7%
Others: 6.0%
Prediction: Lib Dem GAIN
Watford represents the best chance of a Lib Dem gain. Why? For several reasons. Firstly, the Lib Dems have held up better here than anywhere else in the country, secondly they only narrowly lost last time, and thirdly the Lib Dem candidate is Dorothy Thornhill, Watford Mayor for over 10 years with a significant personal vote. This looks like a close 3 way battle, and, given the schizophrenic nature of politics in this constituency, only one thing is for sure: This will be an incredibly close contest.

2010 result: Conservative: 40.2%
Labour: 38.7%
Lib Dem: 13.3%
Others: 7.7%
Prediction: Labour GAIN
Bob Blizzard is the former Labour MP here, and is standing again as a candidate. With such a small margin and no hope of incumbency for the new Tory MP, if there is any sort of swing in Labour's direction, they will definitely win this seat.

Welwyn Hatfield
2010 result: Conservative: 57.0%
Labour: 21.4%
Lib Dem: 16.4%
Others: 5.3%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

2010 result: Conservative: 52.2%
Lib Dem: 19.8%
Labour: 18.5%
Others: 9.6%
Prediction: Conservative HOLD

Total East of England seats:
Conservative: 43 seats (-9)
Labour: 8 seats  (+6)
Lib Dem: 3 seats (-1)
UKIP: 4 seats  (+4)
Others: 0 seats (NC)

Predicted share of the vote:

Conservative: 35.5% (-11.6%)
Labour: 20.5% (+0.9%)
Lib Dem: 14% (-10.1%)
UKIP: 21% (+17%)
Others: 9%  (-0.8%)

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