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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

i Editor’s Letter: The Sussex teenager killed fighting in Syria

Oliver Duff Oliver Duff
Actor Zac Efron  

Keep your shirt on Zac – we'd all be better for it

Howard Jacobson
How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit