Professor John Curtice: Nine per cent swing would give Ed Miliband reason to cheer

 

Share
Related Topics

It has all gone wrong for the Conservatives at the wrong moment. With much of the country voting in local elections on Thursday, support for the party in our latest poll of polls has slumped by three points.

At 33 per cent, the party is at its lowest ebb since the 2010 general election. Consequently, Labour can look forward to many a council gain, even though, at 40 per cent, the party's standing is unchanged.

Nearly all the seats being contested in England and Wales were last fought over in 2008, when Gordon Brown's government was unpopular and the Tories put in their best local election performance of the 2005-10 parliament. The latest figures represent a 9 per cent swing from Conservative to Labour.

If that swing is replicated on Thursday, Labour should not only gain control of the easy pickings (places where the party needs very little swing to seize power) together with those that represent a modest challenge, but also those at the top of its target list, where the swing required is at, or close to,nine per cent. A clean sweep of these would give the party good reason for celebration.

As well as winning seats from the Conservatives, Labour should also profit from the Liberal Democrats' woes. At 11 per cent, their latest poll reading is every bit as bad as it was a year ago, when the party recorded its worst local election performance since the 1970s.

If that setback is repeated, the Liberal Democrats will suffer a further erosion of the local-government base they have pain-stakingly built up over 40 years and which is a crucial foundation of many a seat they hold at Westminster. Such an outcome would do nothing to calm the unease among activists and MPs about the cost the party is paying for its role in the Coalition.

But there could still be a silver lining for the Tories – Boris Johnson remains ahead in the race for London Mayor. Meanwhile, Ed Miliband still has to worry about Scotland where further SNP gains are expected, though the nationalists may have set their sights too high in suggesting they could take control of Glasgow. In any event, expect the Tory spin doctors to seize whatever crumbs of comfort come their way.

John Curtice is Professor of Politics, Strathclyde University

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Admin / Studio Manager

£17000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital production agency ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability Adviser - Welwyn Garden City / Hendon

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Employability within this compa...

Recruitment Genius: Web Designer - UI / UX Design

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Designer is required to j...

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Manager

£30000 - £100000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This organisation based in Pea...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Daily catch-up: We Are Not Syriza; and the riddle of an imitation Sphinx in China

John Rentoul
Labour and the Liberal Democrats would both end winter fuel allowances for pensioners with enough income to pay the 40p tax rate  

Politicians court the grey vote because pensioners, unlike the young, vote

Andrew Grice
Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

Homeless Veterans campaign

Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

Lost without a trace

But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

Confessions of a planespotter

With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

Russia's gulag museum

Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

The big fresh food con

Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

Virginia Ironside was my landlady

Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

Paris Fashion Week 2015

The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
8 best workout DVDs

8 best workout DVDs

If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

Paul Scholes column

I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable