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

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

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

 

General Election 2015: The SNP and an SMC (Salmond-Murdoch Conspiracy)

Matthew Norman
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before
'Queer saint' Peter Watson left his mark on British culture by bankrolling artworld giants

'Queer saint' who bankrolled artworld giants

British culture owes a huge debt to Peter Watson, says Michael Prodger
Pushkin Prizes: Unusual exchange programme aims to bring countries together through culture

Pushkin Prizes brings countries together

Ten Scottish schoolchildren and their Russian peers attended a creative writing workshop in the Highlands this week
14 best kids' hoodies

14 best kids' hoodies

Don't get caught out by that wind on the beach. Zip them up in a lightweight top to see them through summer to autumn
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The acceptable face of the Emirates

The acceptable face of the Emirates

Has Abu Dhabi found a way to blend petrodollars with principles, asks Robert Fisk