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I have been doing some number-crunching on the likely outcome of next year's European elections in the UK, or rather in Great Britain. In 2009, the UK Independence Party managed to come second with 16.5%, ahead of both the Labour Party (15.7%) and the Liberal Democrats (13.7%). They were still some way adrift of the Conservatives, who were riding high in opposition but were still disappointed with their 27.7% total. Three other parties got two seats each: the Greens (8.1%), the British National Party (6.2%) and the Scottish National Party (2.1%, but it only stood in Scotland). Plaid Cymru, who stood only in Wales, won the other seat with 0.8% of the national vote tally.

I have looked at the figures from each constituency, and in each case worked out the percentage by which each party won, or failed to win, the last seat. For the Conservatives I've worked out also the margin by which they hold their second last seats in those regions where they have them; for Labour I've also calculated the extra vote share needed to gain a second seat from their 2009 tally. I have filed my calculations here if you want to check them for yourself.

UKIP are now confidently predicting that they will be the largest single party in the 2014 election, citing the supposed collapse of Conservative and Lib Dem support and the supposedly lacklustre Labour leadership. I am not so sure. A national poll the week of the last European election had the Conservatives on 40% (12% more than they actually got); Labour on 24% (8% more than they actually got); the Lib Dems on 18% (4% more than they actually got); UKIP on 8%, the Greens on 4% and the BNP on 3% (half their actual result in each case). The same company today has the Conservatives on 33%, Labour on 37%, Lib Dems on 11% and UKIP also on 11%. (Of course European voting intention is different, but I think the swings will be much the same.)

The shift in the polls - Tories +3%, Lab +13%, LD -7%, UKIP +3% - would actually put UKIP in third place behind both Labour and the Conservatives, if applied to the results from the last Euro-election (a notional result of Lab 29%, Cons 34%, UKIP 19%, LD 7%, which I think flatters the Conservatives but in any case UKIP are pretty far behind both them and Labour). We mustn't forget that 2009 was an abominable year for Labour, and the Euro result truly appalling. For all UKIP's decent by-election showings, they have still not come all that close to winning a Westminster seat. I'm inclined to see a modest up-tick in the UKIP vote, but a much stronger resurgence for Labour - who were less than a percentage point behind them last time - and the Tories disobligingly failing to collapse as predicted. If Labour are really up by anything like 13%, they could look to gain not one but two seats in the likes of the North West (which looks particularly volatile), the West Midlands and the South West (where they currently have none).

Moving down the scale, it's difficult to be cheerful for the Lib Dems. I make all eleven of their seats, including the second seat in South East England, vulnerable if their votes slips by 7.5% overall; YouGov has them currently at 7% below their 2009 rating, which would just about salvage a couple of them. By contrast, the Greens and BNP both had a number of near misses in 2009, and may be luckier next year as the numbers shake out. My gut feeling would be that the Greens will indeed pick up a couple; but both BNP seats are vulnerable to the merest downtick (1200 in the North west, 5000 in Yorkshire and the Humber) and look very tough defences to me. (Ohdearwhatapitynevermind.) Finally, the SNP were surprisingly close to winning three seats out of six in Scotland.

Anyway, there is much still to play for. Details below, full spreadsheet available here.

By region:

East Midlands (2009: 2 Cons, 1 Lab, 1 UKIP, 1 LD)
Lib Dem seat vulnerable on 2% margin; BNP, Tories and Greens all within 5% of gaining it.

East of England (2009: 3 Cons, 2 UKIP, 1 LD, 1 Lab)
All four parties have seats vulnerable to 5% slippage. Greens, BNP and Lib Dems within 5% of making gain.

London (2009: 3 Cons, 2 Lab, 1 LD, 1 Green, 1 UKIP)
UKIP, Green and Tories lose seats on 5% slippage; Lib Dems, BNP and Labour within 5% of gaining.

North East (2009: 1 Lab, 1 Cons, 1 LD)
Lib Dem and Cons both could lose on 5% slippage; UKIP within 2% of gain.

North West: (2009: 3 Cons, 2 Lab, 1 UKIP, 1 LD, 1 BNP)
BNP very marginal, Cons and Lab also vulnerable to 5% slippage; UKIP, Greens, Lib Dems close to gain, Labour and Tories also - very volatile numbers.

Scotland (2009: 2 SNP, 2 Lab, 1 Cons, 1 LD)
Labour and Lib Dem both lose on 2% slippage. SNP and Greens best place to pick up.

South East (2009: 4 Cons, 2 UKIP, 2 LD, 1 Green, 1 Lab)
Lib Dem and Labour both lose on 1.5% slippage. Cons very narrowly missed 5th seat in 2009; UKIP, Greens and BNP very close behind.

South West and Gibraltar (2009: 3 Cons, 2 UKIP, 1 LD)
Cons and UKIP both lose on 3% slippage. Greens, Labour, Lib Dems best placed to pick up.

Wales (2009: 1 Cons, 1 Lab, 1 PC, 1 UKIP)
UKIP lose on 2% slippage. Lib Dedms, then Cons and Lab, best placed to pick up.

West Midlands (2009: 2 Cons, 2 UKIP, 1 Lab, 1 LD - 3rd Cons allocated under Lisbon)
Cons lose on 2% slippage, LD and UKIP on 4%. BNP, Labour, Greens best placed to pick up.

Yorkshire and the Humber (2009: 2 Cons, 1 Lab, 1 UKIP, 1 LD, 1 BNP)
BNP very marginal, Cons and Lib Dems also lose on 5% slippage. Labour, Greens UKIP all gain with less than 2%.

By party

Conservatives got 27.7% of the vote in 2009, and won 25 seats, increased to 26 after Lisbon Treaty.

Seats missed by 5% or less:
5th seat in South East, by 0.4%
2nd seat in Scotland, by 3.2%
2nd seat in Wales, by 3.3%
3rd seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 3.6%
4th seat in North West, by 4.5%

Seats won by 15% or less (bold if second loss in a constituency):
3rd seat in North West, by 1.4%
3rd seat in West Midlands, by 1.6% (this was the seat allocated under Lisbon)
3rd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 1.7%
3rd seat in East of England, by 3.5%
North East, by 3.7%
2nd seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 4.6%
3rd seat in London, by 4.7%
Scotland, by 6.4%
4th seat in South East, by 7.0%
2nd seat in North West, by 8.5%
2nd seat in West Midlands, by 9.0%
Wales, by 9.3%
2nd seat in East Midlands, by 10.3%
2nd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 10.5%
2nd seat in London, by 11.5%
3rd seat in South East, by 13.7%
Yorkshire and the Humber, by 14.1%
2nd seat in East of England, by 14.5%

UKIP got 16.5% of the vote in 2009, and won 13 seats.

Seats missed by 10% or less:
2nd seat in North West, by 0.1%
2nd seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 1.7%
North East, by 1.8%
3rd seat in South East, by 1.9%
Scotland, by 4.7%
3rd seat in West Midlands, by 5.0%
3rd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 5.9%
2nd seat in London, by 6.2%
2nd seat in East Midlands, by 6.3%
3rd seat in East of England, by 8.4%

Seats won by 5% or less:
2nd seat in East of England, by 1.6%
Wales, by 1.9%
2nd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 2.8%
2nd seat in West Midlands, by 3.3%
London, by 3.4%
2nd seat in South East, by 4.2%

Labour got 15.7% of the vote in 2009, and won 13 seats.

Seats missed by 15% or less (bold if second gain in a constituency):
2nd seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 0.1%
2nd seat in West Midlands, by 1.4%
South West and Gibraltar, by 2.2%
3rd seat in North West, by 2.8%
2nd seat in Wales, by 4.0%
3nd seat in London, by 4.5%
2rd seat in South East, by 5.1%
2nd seat in East Midlands, by 6.0%
2nd seat in North East, by 6.9%
2nd seat in East of England, by 7.5%
3rd seat in Scotland, by 9.5%
4th seat in North West, by 9.6%
3rd seat in West Midlands, by 10.8%
2nd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 11.6%
3rd seat in Yorkshire and the Humber, by 14.0%
4th seat in London, by 14.1%

Seats won by 5% or less:
2nd seat in Scotland, by 1.2%
South East, by 1.2%
East of England, by 1.5%
2nd seat in North West, by 3.8%

Lib Dems got 13.7% of the vote in 2009, and won 11 seats.

Seats missed by 5% or less:
2nd seat in North West, by 1.5%
Wales, by 1.9%
2nd seat in South West and Gibraltar, by 2.4%
2nd seat in London, by 3.7%
2nd seat in East of England, by 4.7%

Margins of victory for seats won:
2nd seat in South East, by 0.2%
Scotland, by 1.6%
North East, by 1.8%
East Midlands, by 2.0%
West Midlands, by 3.1%
Yorkshire and the Humber, by 3.4%
East of England, by 4.5%
North West, by 5.8%
London, by 6.1%
South West and Gibraltar, by 7.1%
1st seat in South East, by 7.3%

Greens got 8.1% of the vote in 2009, and won 2 seats.

Seats missed by 5% or less:
North West, by 0.3%
South West and Gibraltar, by 0.7%
East of England, by 0.9%
Yorkshire and the Humber, by 1.2%
2nd seat in South East, by 2.2%
Scotland, by 2.8%
West Midlands, by 2.8%
East Midlands, by 4.9%

Margins of victory for seats won:
London, by 3.5%
South East, by 4.3%

BNP got 6.2% of the vote in 2009, and 2 seats.

Seats missed by 5% or less:
West Midlands, by 0.7%
South East, by 2.5%
East Midlands, by 3.2%
East of England, by 3.4%
London, by 3.8%

Margins of victory for seats won:
North West, 0.1%
Yorkshire and the Humber, 0.4%

SNP got 2.1% of the vote in 2009, and 2 seats.

Margin needed to gain a third seat in Scotland: 1.5%

Margin of victory for second seat in Scotland: 9.9%

Plaid Cymru got 0.8% of the vote in 2009, and 1 seat.

Margin needed to gain a second seat in Wales: 5.4%

Margin of victory for seat in Wales: 6.9%

Finally, among the minnows the English Democrats missed a seat in South East by 4.5% - the only other party within a 5% margin.

Comments

( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
yamamanama
Sep. 22nd, 2013 02:55 pm (UTC)
If the UKIP got one vote, that would be too much.
redfiona99
Sep. 22nd, 2013 04:35 pm (UTC)
The North West is an odd sort of region to begin with because it combines ex-industrial, ex-coal Labour heartlands of the old South Lancashire with the Tory heartlands of North Lancashire and North Cheshire, and that's before you throw in the general disaffection with the three main parties.
ceemage
Sep. 22nd, 2013 07:06 pm (UTC)
What about the 3 Northern Ireland seats? Completely different electoral system to the GB seats, of course.
nwhyte
Sep. 22nd, 2013 07:10 pm (UTC)
DUP certain, SF certain, UUP most likely to keep third seat.
matgb
Sep. 22nd, 2013 09:59 pm (UTC)
One of the things I think'll really make a difference (and hurt Farridge) is turnout-the BNP got in locally due to an absolute collapse in turnout, especially amongst Labour supporters, so even with an increase in total votes I expect to see some parties lose seats, BNP most obviously.

Impossible to predict the overall differences though, nice (ish) to know Edward's fairly safe locally though.
danieldwilliam
Sep. 23rd, 2013 09:26 am (UTC)
Do you think the relative improvement in local councillor numbers for UKIP will affect their result?

Similarly do you think the loss of almost all of their councillors will affect the BNP vote?

I was under the impression that the BNP had hit some organisational and financial difficulties in the last few years and might be significantly weakened operationally as a result. Am I right? If so will this affect their vote?
nwhyte
Sep. 24th, 2013 11:18 am (UTC)
I am doubtful about the direct effect of one year's election result (ie numbers of councillors) on the next. Both are themselves effects of wider political factors. I will agree that UKIP gaining councillors at the last election, and the BNP losing them, can be considered an indication that their votes are trending up and down respectively.

Councillor numbers in themselves tell us little, though, and can be misleading. Having councillors elected can be a mixed blessing in the medium term for a small and inexperienced party which does not know how to use them effectively. Activists who have won are distracted by council business; better-established political parties can become magnets for the more able and/or perceptive; gaps in messaging, structure and discipline are more brutally exposed.

Organisational and financial difficulties are of course a different matter. If you can't raise the basic money for the campaign, and don't have the activists to carry out basic campaigning tasks, then you are not going to reach many voters because they simply won't know who you are until they see the ballot paper.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )

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