Is there an exit poll for the 2024 local and mayoral elections?

Council elections are taking place in 107 local authorities across the country

Matt Mathers
Friday 03 May 2024 17:32 BST
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Related video: London mayor Sadiq Khan casts vote in local election

Voters in England are heading to the polls to cast their ballots in local elections viewed as the final big test of public opinion before the general election.

Elections are taking place in 107 local authorities across the country, with 2,636 seats up for grabs. Voters will also choose the mayor of London, London assembly members and 10 other mayors outside the capital.

There is also a by-election taking place in Blackpool South following the resignation of former Conservative MP Scott Benton. Voters in England and Wales will also choose new police and crime commissioners.

Polling stations close at 10pm and some of the results will start to trickle in overnight, with others being declared throughout Friday and over the weekend.

What is an exit poll?

An exit poll is a survey of voters that asks them what party or politician they voted for in an election.

The surveys are carried out by data companies and are usually commissioned by media organisations.

At UK general elections, exit polls are used to predict how many seats each party has won and the percentage of votes they have secured.

Exit polls have been used at UK general elections for at least three decades and are becoming more accurate as the methodologies used to produce them improve,

At the 2019 general election, an exit poll for the  BBC predicted that the Conservatives would get 386 MPs while Labour would get 191.

In the end, the Tories won 365 seats versus Labour’s 202.

2019 general election exit poll
2019 general election exit poll (PA)

Is there an exit poll for the 2024 local elections?

No - there is no exit poll in local elections. Those interested in the results will have to wait until they are announced.

The first results from Thursday’s elections will trickle in overnight, with the others to follow through Friday and into Saturday and Sunday.

However, a clearer picture of the results - and what they mean nationally for each party - will start to develop on Friday afternoon, when around one-third of councils will have declared.

The BBC will on Friday use the result to produce its “projected national share”, which models each party’s percentage vote share based on 800 council wards. This is then used to project how many seats each party would get at a general election.

While the local elections are a good gauge of public opinion, analysts warn that the results should not be over-analysed because voters tend to be motivated more by local issues than they might otherwise be at a general election.

What time are the results in?

Around a third of councils are due to declare overnight: including Bolton, Hartlepool, Southend-on-Sea, Thurrock and Redditch in Worcestershire.

The result of the Blackpool South by-election is likely to be declared halfway through the night.

Three police & crime commissioner (PCC) results are also due, for Avon & Somerset, Cumbria and Lincolnshire.

Follow this link for a fuller list of estimated result times for the elections.

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