ICM’s poll findings about Cambridge

ICM have now released the full tables for their recent poll in four Lib-Dem-held constituencies, including Cambridge. The headline finding for our city is that Julian Huppert is set to lose his seat to Labour’s Daniel Zeichner if Nick Clegg remains Lib Dem leader, but might do better if Vince Cable or Danny Alexander were to take over. Here are the numbers:

However, the poll also asked a number of other questions about political attitudes in Cambridge, which make fascinating reading for anyone interested in local politics. One question was whether people could name the current MP for Cambridge. Here are the responses:

It may seem surprising to anyone even slightly interested in local politics that so few people could name Julian Huppert, who seems to have a pretty active local media presence. They might be even more surprised to learn the figures for his main rival for the Cambridge seat, Labour’s Daniel Zeichner:

It’s pretty remarkable that Daniel Zeichner, who fought the last election in Cambridge for Labour and was reselected as their candidate in 2012, has name recognition among only 5% of Cambridge voters with less than a year left to go until the General Election.

The poll also asked whether people thought Julian Huppert was doing a good job. He can be moderately encouraged by the answers:

Relatively few of his constituents think Julian Huppert is doing a bad job, though there are plenty who don’t know. Here are the numbers for Daniel Zeichner:

Again the positives outweigh the negatives, but two thirds of people didn’t have an opinion. The poll also asked about Conservative Nick Hillman, which might have been a surprise to him – since the 2010 General Election he has moved away from Cambridge to London, and he isn’t intending to restand in Cambridge in 2015 – the Conservatives have yet to select their candidate. Unsurprisingly, Don’t Know dominated the responses.

Finally, here’s a graph showing the top ten local issues in Cambridge that people named. See the tables for full details, including other issues that didn’t make it into the top ten. The percentages show how many people named each issue. People could name more than one issue, so they don’t add up to 100.

It’s not often Cambridge gets a full-scale opinion poll like this one, though it’s already a bit out of date – fieldwork was done from 4-8 April. It remains to be seen how opinion will shift by the time of the General Election.

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How Cambridge voted in the 2014 European Elections

All the results of the European Elections are now in, so here’s a look at how the votes were cast in Cambridge. The numbers are announced in each district – you can get the full set for the East of England here. The result across the region was that UKIP and the Conservatives each won three of the seven seats, with one for Labour. UKIP gained one at the expense of the region’s sole Lib Dem MEP, Andrew Duff, who lost his seat after fifteen years.

But back to Cambridge. First of all, here’s a graph showing how the vote shares have changed since the last European elections in 2009:

The biggest change is in Labour’s share of the vote – in 2009 they were at around their lowest ebb, and finished in fourth place behind the Greens. This time they topped the poll in Cambridge comfortably. UKIP’s vote share also increased, but by nothing like the dramatic advances seen elsewhere, and they remained in fifth place. The Greens also advanced a little too, but still came third. The main losers were the Lib Dems, whose vote only just stayed ahead of the Greens – a worrying sign for Julian Huppert, who will face the same electorate next May in the General Election (with the exception of Queen Edith’s ward which is not part of the constituency). The Conservatives also did badly, dropping from second to fourth overall. It’s also notable that the small BNP vote almost disappeared this time.

It’s also interesting to compare how people voted in the local elections, held on the same day as the European vote. Here’s the graph:cameuloc14

There are some marked differences here between the local and European results. Labour and the Lib Dems both did significantly better in the local elections, perhaps reflecting the local campaigning effort they put in, while the Greens did better in the European vote. UKIP did vastly better in the European vote, mainly because they had a candidate for the local elections in only one of the fourteen wards.

Finally, here’s a scatterplot showing how Cambridge compares to other districts in the region. This shows the Lib Dem vote horizontally, and the UKIP vote vertically – I’ve chosen these as representing polar opposites in the European debate:

 

This shows how much of an outlier Cambridge is (as it is in many other ways) – most of the districts are clustered at the upper left of the chart, while Cambridge is the only one where the Lib Dems actually outpolled UKIP.

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The prospects for the 2015 Cambridge City Council elections

With this year’s Cambridge City Council elections completed, Labour now have a comfortable majority of eight, and can settle down to implementing their policies with a firm basis of control. The new Council now looks like this:

Their group of 25 councillors is a dramatic turnaround from the group of just nine that they were reduced to at their lowest ebb in 2010. Conversely, only 14 Lib Dems remain, less than half the group size of 29 that they reached at their peak.

So Labour have a comfortable majority for now, but how might things develop at future elections? Cambridge City Council is elected by thirds; 14 of the 42 seats are up for grabs each year, with a break in the fourth year when the County Council elections are held, most recently in 2013. Here is the pattern over the last three elections:

At the next local elections, which are due to be held at the same time as the General Election on 7 May next year, the councillors elected in 2011 will be up for re-election. This means Labour will have eight seats to defend, and the Lib Dems six. With those seats shown as hollow blocks, this means the balance on the council will be

If this year’s results were repeated in 2015, Labour and a theoretical Castle Independent would each take a further seat from the Lib Dems, increasing Labour’s majority to ten. Conversely, for Labour to lose control of the council next year, they would need to lose five of the eight seats that they have to defend – a wildly unlikely prospect. Losing four would leave them with 21 seats, half the council – but they would then also have the mayor’s casting vote, allowing them to stay in power the same way that the Lib Dems did between 2012 and yesterday. Even this is extraordinarily implausible – of the eight defences, six are now safe Labour seats (Abbey, Arbury, Cherry Hinton, Coleridge, King’s Hedges and Petersfield), even with a General Election on the same day, and only two, East Chesterton and Romsey, are likely to be seriously contested by the Lib Dems. This leaves Labour with a realistic worst case in 2015 of having their majority reduced to four. So barring something totally unexpected, Labour are virtually guaranteed to retain control of the Guildhall until at least 2016. However, we will by then be a year into a new Government at Westminster, the Lib Dems will have two years of Labour track record in Cambridge to attack, and only four City Council seats to defend. Things may look different then.

 

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Swing in the 2014 Cambridge local elections

I recently posted an article looking at the swing between the Lib Dems and Labour in local elections in recent years. Here’s an update showing the swing in this year’s vote. Without further ado, here’s the graph:

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While the results on the night were undoubtedly a triumph for Labour – they won seven of the 11 seats that the Lib Dems were defending, plus the three that they already held themselves – the ward-by-ward swings show a distinctly mixed set of changes since last year. This partly reflects where the parties were concentrating their campaigning efforts.

Labour’s biggest swing on the night was in Romsey, where Dave Baigent took the seat from Lib Dem mayor Paul Saunders. They also gained ground on the Lib Dems in East Chesterton, Market, Newnham, as well as Castle (though this is a bit of a statistical oddity). Meanwhile the Lib Dems improved their position relative to Labour in all the other nine wards, though this was only enough to win three of them. Their biggest swing was in Petersfield, where they lost by a narrower margin than last year’s drubbing, but still never really  threatening to hold on.

The “safe” seats, where no party is campaigning very hard, often give the best indication of how opinion is moving when it’s not being battered by a torrent of leafleting and door-knocking. These all showed a drift to the Lib Dems, but only by about 3-5%. A small crumb of comfort for them on what was one of their worst-ever election nights in Cambridge.

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Remaining Cambridge results

I’ve had about two hours sleep now, so these graphs are still a bit rough and ready, but here are the rest of them. For the official results head over to the City Council’s results page. Note that the City Council lists Labour separately from Labour and Cooperative, but in political terms the two are essentially the same – some Labour candidates choose to list themselves as also standing for the Cooperative Party.

Without further ado, then, below are the remaining results that I didn’t post earlier. Other results can be seen in my earlier posts:

Abbey, Arbury, Castle and Coleridge

Cherry Hinton and Trumpington

Kings Hedges and Newnham

E Chesterton: Peter Burkinshaw (UKIP) 328, John Jacob (Con) 260, Zoe O’Connell (LD) 1066, Peter Pope (Green) 299, Peter Sarris (Lab) 1076

Labour won the seat by just ten votes in the closest result of the night.

Market result: Alex Boyd (Con) 500, Maximilian Fries (Green) 721, Dan Ratcliffe (Lab) 903, Colin Rosenstiel (LD) 678

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Colin Rosenstiel falls to third place after being suspended by the Lib Dems. The Greens do well.

Petersfield result (two seats): Sarah Brown (LD) 720, Daniel Coughlan (Con) 262, David Grace (LD) 317, Matt Hodgkinson (Green) 688, Richard Robertson (Lab) 1223, Ann Sinnott (Lab) 1280, Linda Yeatman (Con) 228

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The Lib Dems close the gap compared to last year, but nowhere near enough to hold their seat. The Greens also did well.

Queen Edith’s result: John Beresford (Lab) 951, Joel Chalfen (Green) 363, Vince Marino (Con) 522, Tim Moore (Lib Dem) 1362

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Although their vote share fell, the Lib Dems widened the gap over Labour, giving them a relatively comfortable win.

Romsey result: Dave Baigent (Lab) 1205, Simon Lee (Con) 206, Megan Parry (Green) 394, Paul Saunders (Lib Dem) 1093

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One of Labour’s best results of the night, with former firefighter Dave Baigent unseating Lib Dem mayor Paul Saunders after a strong campaign.

And finally…

West Chesterton result: Ysanne Austin (Lib Dem) 1294, Shayne Mitchell (Green) 347, Mike Sargeant (Lab) 1275, James Strachan (Con) 353

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The Lib Dems just held on by 19 votes.

The new council has 25 Labour councillors, 14 Lib Dems, 2 Independents, and one Conservative – a Labour majority of eight.

 

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Results in Kings Hedges and Newnham

King’s Hedges: Anette Karimi (Con) 266, Michael Potter (Green) 242, Martin Smart (Lab) 831, Ian Tyes (Ind) 287, Neale Upstone (LD) 393

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Labour gain the seat comfortably from the Lib Dems.

Newnham result: Joanna Anscombe-Bell (Con) 395, Rod Cantrill (LD) 1056, Julia Harrison (Green) 526, Sam Wolfe (Lab) 987

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Another close result in what was once one of the Lib Dems’ safest seats. The Greens were the only party to increase their vote share.

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Cherry Hinton and Trumpington results

Cherry Hinton result: Keith Edkins (Lib Dem) 383, Tim Haire (Con) 613, Russ McPherson (Lab) 1533

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Another easy Labour win. All parties are up a little in vote share because there wasn’t a Green candidate this year. However the Lib Dems are up the most.

Trumpington result: Nick Avery (Lib Dem) 1066, Ceri Galloway (Green) 429, Richard Jeffs (Con) 802, Tim Sykes (Lab) 440

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The Lib Dems will be happy with that; a relatively comfortable win after just fending the Tories off last year.

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