I used to do this for Crawley, so following the latest local elections, I’ve compared the results in all of the May Borough elections (I’ve not done any by-elections) to see if there are any patterns and trends by ward (with whether it is in the Town or a rural area in brackets) and by party. It is a little long…
The general case over the past five years seems to be consistency. Results have the same each time across all wards, with the only exception being Dunchurch & Knightlow where anti-development Lib Dem Ron Ravenhall and his wife Sally have taken seats the Tories would probably usually win. Because this year’s General Election drew out nearly twice as many voters, the results are somewhat skewed when looking at the details, but even then the winners were pretty much in line with previous years, even if the share of the vote varied in places.
3T, Safe. Usually get 50%, did better last year with Peter Butlin. Labour second, trend is generally down, from 38% in 2006 to 28% last year. Contains new estate of Cawston Grange.
Avon & Swift (Rural)
2T. Very Safe. Consistently 65-68%. Labour slightly ahead of the LDs, when the latter stand.
3L. Usually 43-44%, lower this year. LDs just ahead of Tories in second. Greens sometimes stand, only place where vote share went up for them.
3T Safe. 60-66% usually, but lower when David Wright stood, and this year only 49%. LDs have been overtaken by Labour into second recently.
Brownsover N (Town)
2T. Becoming closer. 58% in 2006, 52% in 2008, 46% in 2010. LDs & Lab vie for second place, LDs only 38 votes ahead this year.
Brownsover S (Town)
2L Marginal. 44% in past years, 38% this year. Majorities all less than 50 over Ts. LDs a fair way back in 3rd.
3LD Marginal, going safe? 44% consistently, Cons usually on 40-42%, slumped to 31% this year. Turnout or forrun name? Lab 3rd,
Dunchurch & Knightlow (Mixed)
2T 1LD. Marginal, going T. Ravenhall name seems to have given LDs seats, otherwise Ts on about 50%. Now Ron has passed on, could well see LDs recede. Lab distant 3rd, Greens even more distant 4th
Earl Craven & Wolston (Rural)
3T. Safe usually 70%. Lower this year, perhaps result of proposal to close local Fire Station. Lab main second party. LDs or Greens get about 10% if they stand
3LD Safe. Usually 60-70%. Cons second on 20-25%, Lab usually on 11-12% but turnout improved result this year.
2T. Safe. 70-75% usually lower this year – perhaps turnout, perhaps Fire Station. LDs second by a few percent
3T. Usually 44%, but Bill Sewell seems to have large personal vote. LDs have replaced Lab as second place, but they are very close.
Lawford & Kings Newham (Mixed)
2T. Marginal, becoming safer. Was seat of anti-Cement Works campaigner Patricia Wyatt, and she comes second here as an Independent. Lab usually 3rd, but in 2008 BN stood (only time in Borough elections since 2006)
Leam Valley (Rural)
1T. Safe – 80% in 2007, LD stood, but not Lab.
New Bilton (Town)
3L usually about 50% but lower this year, with Cons usually on 30%, LDs up to 22%. In 2008, no T stood, and Greens took 27%. This year both stood, and Greens 4th on 6%.
3L usually 47-48%, 43% this year. Cons slipping from 35% to 30%, LDs usually on about 20% – Greens came 3rd in 2008 taking most of LD vote, this year collapsed to under 5%
3T usually 50-57%, 44% this year. Lad around 25-30%, LDs usually 11-13%, but nearly 20% this year. Greens 5-7% (seem to take votes from LDs)
2LD safe 53-61%. Cons on about 30%, Lab on 10-12%
1T safe 59%. Lab second on 22%. Patricia Wyatt stood when no election in Lawford, came 3rd on 19%
1T ultra-safe. Over 90%, only challenger was Labour
Tories – dominate the rural areas, where once Independents used to have a chance. Also do well on the outskirts of town – Hillmorton and Admirals, Bilton and Brownsover North. Also win in the central ward of Overslade. 28 councillors
Labour – based in the north and west part of the core town area – Brownsover South, Newbold, New Bilton & Benn. 10 councillors
Lib Dems – have a clump of wards to the south and easy of the town centre – Caldecott, Eastlands & Paddox. Losing ground in Dunchurch & Knightlow. 9 councillors
Greens – Sometimes can get a good 3rd place, but generally seem to split the vote. It’s not consistent where the split comes from – Labour, Lib Dems or even Tories. Generally losing support since 2007.
BNP – stood once in Lawford & Kings Newham, got 16% (which seems to be the usual peak across the country when they first stand). Hopefully will not stand again
Independents – There used to be four Ind councillors, now none are left. Patricia Wyatt is the only one consistently trying to get back in. Dave Elsom stood as an Independent in Hillmorton in 2008, but for the LDs there this year. He was a Tory some years ago (assuming it’s the same Mr Elsom as I saw on an old report about 2002 elections).
I can’t see many changing trends at all, the past few years has seen very consistent results over time. I expect that the Tories will get the last seat in Dunchurch when it’s up next (2011?) all else being equal. They could also take Brownsover South from Labour with a small swing. Benn could become a 3-way marginal if the Labour vote slips. However, Labour’s vote was already probably at a low in this period, and certainly they were losing seats that had been won in the 2002-2004 election cycle. So if Labour starts to recover generally, and if people want to protest against a Tory-Lib Dem coalition, chances are that local results will move towards Labour. Of course, we won’t see that until next year at the earliest, and there may be a honeymoon effect for one or other coalition party.
In terms of personal votes, I detect positive ones for Bill Sewell and Peter Butlin of the Tories and the Ravenhalls for the Lib Dems. On the other hand, David Wright seems to be unpopular for the Tories. Other than that, there isn’t much variation in each ward, so for the most part it looks like people are voting by party.