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Bonkers Blog May 2014

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29 May (Part 1) - Election comparisons made easy - or maybe not

Across the borough, election candidates and their agents have been producing graphs that might explain what went right or wrong last week and how lessons can be learned for the future. I’ve seen some of them and I think they are trying to work out where they should concentrate their efforts next time around.

That’s their business not mine but I was curious to see how things may have changed since 2010 and if any part of the borough had gone off in some other direction than the rest in 2014.

Bexley council’s web presentation is far from ideal for what I had in mind because it requires a million clicks to get from the 2014 results to 2010 and back. It requires too many clicks to get from one ward to another too so I have tried to remedy that; I have placed all the ward summaries on a single page. It’s not very friendly to those viewing on a tiny screen but at least those using proper computers may now see the whole borough’s 2014 results with no additional clicks at all. For good measure the 2010 results have been given the same treatment and to help comparison you may click on any ward summary to flip from 2010 to 2014 and back again. That’s another million clicks saved compared to Bexley’s website.

Because the aim was to check for patterns across the borough the ward summaries are arranged in North to South sequence because that is perhaps the borough’s most obvious pattern and it may show a gradual transition of fortunes from the neglected north to the favoured south.

I was not intending to dig too deeply because the political anoraks will have done that for themselves but neither was the plan to be totally superficial. That would mean stopping at Bexley’s inability to spell UKIP’s Danson candidate correctly in both 2010 and 2014. Sharing his name I can confirm that the variations on the correct spelling I have encountered over the years can be weird and wonderful. I think Melcumb is my favourite. Neither was I going to make a fuss over the fact that the St. Michael’s and Sidcup 2014 summaries miss out the Rejected Ballot Papers count.

Rather more important is that the official 2014 summary totally omits any Percentage Turnout figures which is a minor nuisance. I’ve made a rough and ready estimate that relies on rather too many assumptions. As such it is no more than a best guess but it suggests that the 2014 turnout was not a lot better than half the 2010 figure.

A superficial analysis confirms that the oft repeated wisdom about names nearest the top of the ballot paper scoring higher than those with surnames from the bottom end of the alphabet is by and large confirmed, although both Conservative and Labour voters in North End were apparently following a different set of rules.

In Blackfen that alphabetic preference saved Peter Craske his seat which is a shame and perhaps Chris Taylor should adopt his mum’s name if he is looking for re-election.

Finally I was going to offer some explanation of what caused voting patterns to shift in one way or another but found that some of the obvious arithmetical explanations did not pass the test of political considerations. Is it likely that 2010 LibDem voters would all move to UKIP in 2014 for example? It made for neat arithmetic but is improbable. I shall have to look at things with a fresh mind later to see if any reasonable conclusions can be drawn.  Meanwhile, since the investigation has taken up too many hours, I’m not inclined to let it go to waste so below is the summary of how the borough has changed politically - or didn’t - over the past four years.

Note: The official results round each candidates percentage of the vote to a whole number. Summing these and comparing them with the previous election can produce errors in the region of 3% and for that reason they have been recalculated to one decimal place in the summary below.
The percentage of the vote for the major parties is expressed as an average of the (usually) three candidates.
Because the aim was to examine Conservative, Labour and UKIP shifts - if any - all other parties have been lumped together as Other. Apart from the Blackfen Independents because Mick Barnbrook is too valuable a source of information and I don’t want to upset him!

Don’t forget the 2010 results and the 2014 results are conveniently available on those links. There’s no longer any need to navigate the nightmare which is Bexley’s website.

For the Conservatives and Labour parties the figures below are the average of their (usually) three candidates share of the votes cast in each Bexley council ward. The UKIP figure is the achievement of their single candidate, except in Barnehurst (three candidates) and East Wickham (two candidates) where the figures are an average.

All other parties are listed as Other and the figure shown below is a total.

Thamesmead East
2010: Conservatives 9·2% each, Labour 18·3% each, Others 17·4% total. Turnout 54%
2014: Conservatives 9·5% each, Labour 24·0% each, no Others competed. Estimated turnout 28%.

2010: Conservatives 14·7% each, Labour 15·5% each, Others 9·1% total. Turnout 62%.
2014: Conservatives 9·9% each, Labour 16·8% each, Others 7·1% total. Estimated turnout 34%.

2010: Conservatives 13·4% each, Labour 16·1% each, Others 11·4% total. Turnout 59%.
2014:  Conservatives 10·0% each, Labour 18·9% each, UKIP 12·9%, Others 4·2% total. Estimated turnout 30%.

North End
2010: Conservatives 10·7% each, Labour 16·0% each, Others 20·0% total. Turnout 58%.
2014: Conservatives 9·5% each, Labour 17·1% each, Others 20·0% total. Estimated turnout 30%.

Lesnes Abbey
2010: Conservatives 16·0% each, Labour 14·4% each, Others 9·0% total. Turnout 66%.
2014: Conservatives 12·5% each, Labour 15·6% each, UKIP 12·5%, Others 3·1%. Estimated turnout 35%.

Northumberland Heath
2010: Conservatives 18·3% each, Labour 10·3% each and Others added up to 14·3%. Turnout 70%.
2014: Conservatives 18·4% each, Labour 12·3% each, Others 7·8%. Estimated turnout 39%.

2010: Conservatives 14·5% each, Labour 11·2% each, Others 22·8% total. Turnout 62%.
2014: Conservatives 14·1% each, Labour 12·0% each, UKIP 14·3%, Others 7·1%. Estimated turnout 32%.

East Wickham
2010: Conservatives 13·7% each, Labour 8·0% each, Others 35.0% total. Turnout 68%.
2014: Conservatives 12·6% each, Labour 8·7% each, UKIP 10·8%, Others 12·3% total. Estimated turnout 37%.

St. Michael’s
2010: Conservative 16·5% each, Labour 9·1% each, Others 23·3% total. Turnout 70%.
2014: Conservatives 16·2% each, Labour 10·0% each, UKIP 16·3%, Others 5·2% total. Estimated turnout 33%.

2010: Conservatives 21·2% each, Labour 8·6% each, Others 10·8% total. Turnout 75%.
2014: Conservatives 20·0% each, Labour 8·1% each, UKIP 13·0%, Others 2·7% total. Estimated turnout 39%.

Falconwood and Welling
2010: Conservatives 17·4% each, Labour 7·5% each, Others 25·5% total. Turnout 71%.
2014: Conservatives 17·5% each, Labour 8·7% each, UKIP 14·2%, Others 7·0% total. Estimated turnout 36%.

2010: Conservatives 18·2% each, Labour 6·6% each, UKIP 4·1%, Others 21·6% total. Turnout 68%.
2012: Conservative 18·3% each, Labour 8·6% each, UKIP 13·1%, Others 6·1% total. Estimated turnout 34%.

2010: Conservatives 18·6% each, Labour 7·2% each, Others 22·3% total. Turnout 71%.
2014: Conservatives 17·4% each, Labour 8·7% each, UKIP 12·5%, Others 6·1% total. Estimated turnout 34%.

2010: Conservatives 19·4% each, Labour 7·5% each, Others 19·3% total. Turnout 70%.
2014: Conservatives 14·8% each, Labour 6·7% each, UKIP 11·5% each, Others 0·9% total. Estimated turnout 40%.

2010: Conservatives 17·3% each, Labour 11·9% each, Others 4·4% total. Turnout 64%.
2014: Conservatives 17·6% each, Labour 13·6% each, Others 6·2% total. Estimated turnout 35%.

Blackfen & Lamorbey
2010: Conservatives 21·3% each, Labour 6·9% each, Others 22·3% total. Turnout 64%.
2014: Conservatives 13·8% each, Labour 6·1% each, UKIP 13·7%, Independents 7·9% each, Others 4·9% total. Estimated turnout 37%.

Blendon & Penhill

2010: Conservatives 22·4% each, Labour 7·3% each, Others 10·9% total. Turnout 72%.
2014: Conservatives 19·8% each, Labour 7·2% each, UKIP 14·6%, Others 4·4% total. Estimated turnout 35%.

St. Mary’s
2010: Conservatives 20·8% each, Labour 5·3% each, Others 21·6% total. Turnout 75%.
2014: Conservatives 21·4% each, Labour 5·9% each, Others 18·1% total. Estimated turnout 40%.

2010: Conservatives 17.3% each, Labour 5.4% each, Others 3.2% total. Turnout 69%.
2014: Conservatives 19·0% each, Labour 8·1% each, UKIP 12·7%, Others 6·0% total. Estimated turnout 34%.

2010: Conservatives 19·6% each, Labour 6·0% each, Others 23·2% total. Turnout 71%.
2014: Conservatives 20·1% each, Labour 6·7% each, UKIP 9·5%, Others 9·9% total. Estimated turnout 37%.

Cray Meadows
2010: Conservatives 18·8% each, Labour 7·3% each, Others 21·7% total. Turnout 64%.
2014: Conservatives 19·0% each, Labour 9·0% each, UKIP 13·3%, Others 7·2% total. Estimated turnout 31%.

The above summary is also available as a separate page accessible from the main site Politics menu. (Election Results 2014.) The data on the dedicated page comes from a common source so must be identical to that above.


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