Tories took the lead over Labour in the latest county by-elections as both parties scored landslide gains from independents.
Conservative Walter Sanger took Cornwall's St Keverne and Meneage division.
For Labour, John Peck captured the Rufford seat on Nottinghamshire County Council.
Analysis of a small sample of four comparable results suggests a projected 7.3% nationwide Tory lead, compared with a revised 3.1% Labour margin last week.
However Tories probably benefited most from special factors, particularly in Cornwall, where they were clearly boosted by the absence of non-party runners. In fact their victorious by-election candidate stood as an independent in the division at the main shire polls in 2009.
Labour's Nottinghamshire victory puts it on course to take control of the county in next year's main shire polls.
Liberal Democrats, ahead of their conference week, increased their vote in two out of the three seats they fought.
Canterbury City - Blean Forest: C 342, Lab 185, Lib Dem 121, Green 64, Ukip 38, Ind 24. (May 2011 - Two seats C 626, 568, Green 400, 300, Lib Dem 184, 173). C hold. Swing 4.2% C to Lib Dem.
Cornwall County - St Keverne and Meneage: C 585, Lib Dem 279, Ukip 141, Lab 52. (June 2009 - Ind 673, C 657, Ind 356, Lib Dem 127, Ind 67, Lab 33). C gain from Ind. Swing 0.5% Lib Dem to C.
Herefordshire County - St Nicholas: It's Our County 608, Lib Dem 222, C 204, Lab 104. (May 2011 - Two seats It's Our County 821, 607, C 423, Lib Dem 320, 312, C 279, Lab 273). It's Our County hold. Swing 1.8% C to Lib Dem.
Nottinghamshire County - Rufford: Lab 1557, C 660, Notts Ind 346, Ukip 123. (June 2009 - Ind 1309, C 1259, Lab 1109). Lab gain from Ind. Swing 18.7% C to Lab.
Scarborough Borough - Esk Valley: C 606, Ind 151, Lab 87, Ukip 35, English Democrats 18. (May 2011 - Two seats C 1183, 928, Ind 417, Lab 379). C hold. Swing 10.7% Lab to C.