Psephology

It’s been nearly a week, and I thought that I would look at the election results in Crawley in more detail, comparing with 2006 and 2004 (all out).

I am particularly interested in the overall trends, and I won’t produce the results for all 39 instances.

I’ll start Ward by Ward, and then go over the parties at the end.

Bewbush
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 193/216/275
2006 – Labour, maj 192
2007 – Labour, maj 374
A Safe Labour ward. The Labour vote is holding up or increasing. The Tories are slipping back a little. The Lib Dems are slipping back, and our Mr Khan is plugging away in last place

Broadfield N
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 99/261
2006 – Tory, maj 0
No elections in 2007. New ward in 2004. In theory a safe Labour area, was lost last year after a dead heat and drawing of lots

Broadfield S
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 22/52
2006 – Tory, maj 112
No elections in 2007 New ward in 2004. Surprisingly went Tory in 2004, and they strengthened their position last year, although the main losers in that were the Greens.

Furnace Green
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 155/318
2006 – Tory, maj 547
2007 – 2 Tory, maj 524/568
Tory ward, although was Labour until the late 1990s. Becoming much safer for the Tories now, although the Labour vote is holding, and the others are slipping back. The resignation of Mike Weatherley resulted in an extra seat coming up this year.

Gossops Green
2004 – 2 Tory, maj 33/47
2007 – Tory, maj 150
Marginal in 2004, when the Tories gained it. No real change in positions, Labour slightly down, Tories up a little since 2004, Lib Dems on pretty much the same.

Ifield
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 96/100/191
2006 – Tory, maj 21
2007 – Tory, maj 59
Marginal. Labour in 2004 by about 100 votes. Last year Tory gain by 21 votes. This year the Tories led by 59 votes. The only real noticeable trend other than that is that the BNP vote is going down

Langley Green
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 268/303/352
2006 – Labour, maj 406
2007 – Labour, maj 148
Safe Labour seat. Bucked the trend last year with an increased majority, only to become much closer this year. The Conservative candidate this year was a Sikh, and reportedly turnout among this group was high.

Maidenbower
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 682/744/779
2006 – Tory, maj 1132
2007 – Tory, maj 1215
Safe Tory seat. The Tory vote leapt up last year, and the Lib Dems overtook Labour. This year, Labour beat the Lib Dems to second place.

Northgate
2004 – 2 LibDem, maj 292/334
2006 – LibDem, maj 276
2007 – LibDem, maj 250
Liberal Democrat haven. Becoming less secure. Labour second, Tories third. The main trends are for the Lib Dems to bleed a few votes, the Tories challenged for second last year (14 votes behind), but have slipped back again. In 2006 a Socialist Labour candidate may have split the Labour vote. Turnout dipped overall this year.

Pound Hill N
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 778/795/831
2006 – Tory, maj 1280
2007 – Tory, maj 1001
Safe Tory. Labour second, and unusually the Lib Dems gained votes this year (perhaps because this time they had a local candidate, not a Seekings standing). The rest of the drop in Tory majority seems to be down to turnout, which makes sense as this was hardly a seat in question.

Pound Hill S and Worth
2004 – 3 Tory, maj 707/760/828
2006 – Tory, maj 1210
2007 – Tory, maj 1072
Safe Tory. Like PH North, the Tories walked it with a slight fall in turnout. The Lib Dems came second in 2006, but this year lost votes. Labour regained second place and were the only gainers.

Southgate
2004 – 3 Labour, maj 3/50/51
2006 – Tory, maj 198
2007 – Tory, maj 179
Marginal. The Tories won this seat in 2003 by 3 votes, probably helped by the Greens standing. Since 2004, the BNP have overtaken the Greens (but both of their votes are down quite a bit), with the Lib Dems in third. The Labour vote is consistently around 725. The Tories gained about 250 votes in 2006, and slipped back slightly this year.

Three Bridges
2004 – 1 Labour , 1 Tory
2007 – Tory, maj 356
A major Tory gain here. The Labour vote did not fall much, but the smaller parties lost more votes, with the Tories the only gainers. In 2004 the BNP stood and came 6th out of 8 (beating a Green and a Lib Dem). This year the English Democrats stood and narrowly beat the Green.

Tilgate
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 84/87
2007 – Tory, maj 355
Like Three Bridges, a major gain for the Tories. In fact, not only is the majority almost the same, but the Labour vote were exactly the same in both wards this year (549). However, unlike Three Bridges, Labour lost votes and the swing was much greater. In 2004 only the two main parties stood. In 2007 the Greens, Lib Dems and BNP put up candidates. The BNP came third here.

West Green
2004 – 2 Labour, maj 147/274
2006 – Labour, maj 117
Usually safe Labour. Turnout was low last year, and the Tory vote held up. The BNP came third, beating the Lib Dems and an Independent. No election this year.

Tories
A mixed year. In the core seats (those to the East of the London-Brighton line), they slipped back, but that is likely to be down to the inevitability of the results. In the seats they won last year, they pretty much held up. In what were thought to be the new ‘marginal’ seats, they achieved large swings. Whether they would have had the same if the seats had been contested last year, or whether the campaigning of this year also made a difference I can’t tell. The only odd trend was the boost to the vote in Langley Green, where I think communal voting came into play.

Labour
A bad year, but looking at it, not worse than last year. I am sure that there will be recriminations about Ifield, but there always are (even if they win). In the safe Tory and Labour wards, the general trend was up. In many places the vote held up, but needed to go up to win or hold seats. The main point of collapse was Tilgate. There, the vote was possibly split by other parties. Also, the Tory candidate was a prominent local church member, and had a lot of support from there. Our candidate was not local, and the branch lost key members in the past year (to old age).

Lib Dems
Overall, the trend is down. If it continues, Northgate could possibly come into play in future years. The only place where the vote increased was Pound Hill North, where the candidate was the only local standing.

Greens
In 2003 they arrived in force for the first time. The catalyst was the defection of Councillor Malcolm Liles from Labour, in protest at the Iraq war. In 2004 they put up quite a few candidates and achieved reasonably high votes. However, now they can’t beat the BNP or the English Democrats, let alone get close to any of the main parties. Most of their candidates are members of Malcolm’s family. Lowest poll was 35 in Northgate, highest was 185 in Furnace Green.

BNP
Still not to be discounted, their popularity is waning. Where they once got 400 votes, they get 300 or less. Where they stand for the first time, they do better (I think it’s the novelty factor), but they aren’t getting the over 15% share that they achieved last year. Ifield is their strongest ward, with 309 votes and 3rd place.

English Democrats
Brand new, arrived out of nowhere (or Harrow, it seems), and merely seem to have split the vote. They are made up of ex-UKIPers, which may mean that they stick around, but around here many of the UKIP members either drifted to the BNP or appear to have gone back to they Tory party. Beat the Greens, which seems to be no great challenge.

Far Left
No candidates from the Socialist Labour Party or Respect or any ‘Independant Socialists’ this year. Their absence may explain better results for Labour in Northgate and Bewbush.

Independents
Arshad Khan (officially of the ‘Justice Party’, but in no way connected to the Brum based party of that name, and a one-man-band in reality) wins the battle of the also-rans, beating Richard Symonds by 5 votes. Daniel Capstick-Bedson got 30 votes, the least of any candidate across the town. I think that Richard Symonds can take comfort from the splitting effect in Ifield, but overall the Independent vote is going down since 2004. I suspect that Khan’s increased vote in Bewbush may be a result of absence of Robin Burnham, or the presence of the Lib Dem candidate – who I hear is not a particularly popular gentleman.

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4 Responses to “Psephology”

  1. Gordon Seekings Says:

    Owen – you need to take into account the total number of candidates in each contest as the percentages for a party will go up or down from the previous year partially as a result of more (or less) candidates.

    You also need to take the percentages as a reflection of a party’s strength each year as the turn out may go up or down due to outside factors such as the weather and, as this year, changes to the postal vote rules. Percentages give a way of equalising out the comparison. Doing it by raw figures takes no account of turnout. ie. a candidate can quadruple it’s vote but still get a smaller percentage due to an increased turnout.

    Incidently the main reason the Conservative vote (in actual numbers and as a percentage) went down in Northgate was due not to the Lib Dem or Labour efforts but due to the support for the English Democrats. Take out the vote they got, add it to the Conservative one, and using the Green vote as the equivilant of the Socialist vote last year it will give you an accurate comparison.

    Doing that you will see the Conservative/Labour/Lib Dem votes in that ward are not too disimilar to the movements in Crawley overall.

    PS. happy to chat stats to you off line if we meet again on Crawley station one morning. More can be drawn from them then you have done – and the omens are not good for Labour.

  2. Danivon Says:

    Hey, it only took me a few hours, and it is by no means complete.

    But I think that my conclusions take account of turnout and raw vote – I note where our vote stays the same but the Tories increase turnout, for example.

    If you think Northgate isn’t possibly vulnerable, I think that you are overconfident. Turnout sliding down will make any seat unsafe.

  3. Gordon Seekings Says:

    Never doubted that every seat is vulnarable when the turnout is low. However two (or more) parties campaigning hard in a seat will push the turnout up, sometimes dramatically.

    When Labour and the Lib Dems were going at it hammer and tongs against each other in Northgate about 16 years ago the turnout went up to well over 60% (may have been as high as 65% but I’ve not got my records here at work where I’m posting this from).

    It was the highest turnout in Sussex (West & East) that year and was really phenomenal…..

  4. Danivon Says:

    Gordon…

    16 years ago.. wasn’t that after you were first elected? So before then the turnout was low, and the seat switched. THEN everybody noticed that it was a lot closer than they’d thought and started campaigning hard.

    I’m not saying that you will lose the seat next time it’s up. I am saying that if trends continue, either the Tories or Labour could spring a surprise with a boost to their turnout – especially if LD voters assume that the seat is safe (or if Ming remains the leader for long, apparently the Lib Dems dislike him more than everybody else – some achievement!).


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