Is dramatic fall in votes cast a bad sign for Labour’s general election aspirations? | Politics News

Labor easily secured seats in Stretford and Urmston, significantly increasing their majority over the Conservatives.

Compared to the general election, Labor vote share increased from 60.3% to 69.6%nine points increase.

The Conservatives’ share has dropped from 27.5% to just 15.9% although the party has avoided the complete humiliation of falling to third place.

Given the dramatic drop in total votes cast at more than 50,000 votes at the general election, currently below 20,000, it makes sense to focus on a Labor majority to the Conservatives.

This has increased from 33% to 54%, a 21-point increase ensuring that Labor’s winner, Andrew Western, now holds a favorable majority in the next general election and beyond.

The Conservative Party swing to Labor is 10.5, lower than the 13.6 recorded in Chester two weeks ago but impressive enough as Stretford and Urmston are much safer places, making it difficult for Labor to squeeze. tighter Conservative Party.

The comparison with Chester, a by-election that made us ponder Labor’s chances of outright parliamentary victory, is a fair comparison.

The Conservatives’ by-election share has fallen to 58% of the 2019 vote share in both Chester and Stretford & Urmston.

Sitting Conservative MPs doing the same calculation for their own constituencies, even the so-called safe seats, will know they face a tough journey from now Now it’s time for the next encounter with voters.

Those subs were led by Sir Graham Brady, whose own seat, Altrincham and Sale West are nearby, falling into the half-rotation recorded yesterday.

Labor has reason to celebrate not only its victory, but its manner. All seven remaining candidates forfeited their deposits.

Before that, there had been false rumors that the Lib Dem candidate, who had stood twice before in the Stretford & Urmston constituency, could become a halfway house for disgruntled, disgruntled Conservatives happy about switching directly to the Labor Party.

In fact, the Lib Dems are fourth behind the Greens and just nine votes ahead of the Reform UK candidate.

This detail is important to Labor. At the last general election, Labor came in second in 275 of 365 constituencies won by the Conservative Party.

The more the party proves that in a year or two the effective choice for voters looking to topple the current government is to vote for Labor, the better the chance it has to achieve what history shows as the ultimate outcome. most unlikely outcome – an overall majority in the House of Representatives. shared.

The fly in the ointment is a dramatic drop in voter turnout. This number fell by almost 44 percentage points, to 25.7% after ignoring 57 rejected ballots.

This is not the lowest by-election rate since the war. That “honor” still goes to Manchester Central, where only 18.1% of voters turned out in November 2012. But Stretford & Urmston have moved up to seventh on the list.

Two immediate explanations for low turnout come to mind.

It is true that seasonal factors influence turnout rates. Since the war, voter turnout in contests held in December has fallen more than in any other month – the average drop is 22 points.

Voters who visited yesterday’s polling stations in the Greater Manchester area faced sub-zero temperatures, enough to deter anyone reluctant to brave the outdoors. In nearby Wigan, a council by-election there saw turnout drop to 5.3%, a new post-war record.

Then there was the postal strike. In 2019, 14,520 postal ballots were counted in this constituency, representing 29% of the total vote.

The percentage of registered voters by post was 82%. Trafford Council has taken steps to avoid disruption, establishing locations in local areas where voters can cast their ballots. But we may not know how many people took advantage of this arrangement.

As a result, any significant disruption in the postal system has the potential to affect voter turnout.

There are other explanations for low turnout. One of them could come from the Conservatives, who may argue that their drop in votes is not due to former supporters defecting to Labor but to rejecting this by-election. .

With more by-elections coming up, we may not have to wait long to test this explanation.


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