There are 7 weeks to go until the General Election. With Liverpool home to some of the safest Labour seats in the country, there are no individual constituency polls here, but there are forecasts about how well parties are going to do based on different models. If you asked me about our canvassing returns in our target Liverpool Riverside constituency, I’d tell you truthfully that they are very good for us, and that our result there looks set to be even better than last year’s local elections, but that information potentially can be seen as partisan or biased.
So for an objective view of Liverpool, you have to look at the different websites with methodology for their forecasts that look at the potential results in the Liverpool constituencies. These are not going to be as accurate as the Ashcroft polling of marginal constituencies where the likeable Margaret Greenwood looks set to win the seat for Labour and oust Esther McVey. This blog post will look at the indications that www.electoralcalulus.co.uk gives us about the results in Liverpool. They were the most accurate online forecaster for the 2010 election, so the methodology has good form.
It is no surprise that the site predicts Labour to hold in every seat, but it is very clear that we look set to make a lot of progress from 2010. The site predicts a clean sweep of comfortable wins for Labour in Liverpool at the General Election. The Greens and UKIP will be looking to emerge as the 2nd place party across the city based on aggregate vote shares. However, the forecast makes grim reading for local Liberal Democrats, who look set to lose their deposit in four out of the five Liverpool seats. The Conservatives are predicted to lose one deposit (in Walton).
Lib Dems 4.7% [Lost Deposit]
TUSC 0.3% [Lost Deposit]
In 2014 Labour’s share of the local election vote in Riverside was 53% and Greens 27%. Turnout in a General Election is roughly double local turnout, so if even if we just hold our vote, we should do better than the election forecasts. The bookies odds show Greens as the second favourites in this seat. Labour are 1/100 in every Liverpool seat, but in Riverside the Greens are now down to 22-1 from 100-1 a couple of months ago.
Lib Dems 16.1%
TUSC 0.2% [Lost Deposit]
You’ll have seen me blog about Wavertree previously, and as the Green candidate here, I am getting contacted by email every day. I’d estimate over 600 so far. Often in response to my replies I have it acknowledged that I am the first or only person to (so far) respond. I also had the unusual experience of someone replying to me thinking I was the Lib Dem candidate (and then apologising for the mistake). I can tell you in no uncertain terms, that former Lib Dem voters are not at all happy in Liverpool.
Jake Morrison’s endorsement has also been a boost to the campaign and I don’t think the models above can allow for that impact. I’d also like to thanks Caroline Lucas for name checking me and Wavertree in her speech at Conference. I’m now in a position where I expect for us to save our deposit, but I would like to see us break that 10% barrier in this election.
Unlike Martin Dobson in Riverside, I obviously can’t predict a 2nd place finish based on the information above, but the evidence is we should hold our deposit comfortably and at a push get into double figures. This would be a big step up from the mere 1.6% we managed in 2010. I don’t think 2nd is impossible. I think the residual Lib Dem vote is inflated in this particular example, and they will actually be much closer to 10%. We’ve got some good campaign material going out and we’ve already had a couple of good endorsements, particularly from Cllr Jake Morrison.
Garston and Halewood
Lib Dem 2.1% [Lost Deposit]
In 2010 we didn’t stand a candidate in Garston & Halewood so to jump to nearly 8% would be an incredibly good start in the constituency. The shocking point in a number of these seats is the prediction of a lost deposit for the Lib Dems. They will be trying to defend their last council seat in Woolton but the prospects are not good. My view is that we will keep our deposit here and as I will argue in the conclusion, UKIP will actually do much less well than expected in Liverpool than elsewhere, largely because of the well publicised photo of Nigel Farage endorsing the Sun newspaper.
Con 4.9% [Lost Deposit]
Lib Dem 1.4% [Lost Deposit]
The evidence from last year’s local election is that we will finish ahead of the Lib Dems and we know that at a local level, a huge issue is that people want to protect Walton Hall Park. Greens have been at the forefront of campaigns to protect green space in the city. Again, to go from a standing start to more than saving our deposit and potentially even 2nd place, will be a respectable result.
Liverpool West Derby
Liberal 9.3% (Steve Radford Liberals)
Lib Dem 1.2% [Lost Deposit]
This final forecast shows that model has a factored in unique local political circumstances as it is clear to anyone who follows politics in the city that Steve Radford’s Liberals will do better than the Lib Dems here. Again a saved deposit at first time of standing would be very respectable.
The bookies and forecasts suggest Labour is currently on track to win all five seats in Liverpool (no surprise there). Ultimately the result will depend on Liverpool’s voters and no election is won until the people have cast their votes. I think we’ll do well and be a lot closer to Labour in Riverside than people currently predict and I hope we will also make substantial progress in my own seat of Wavertree and the others.
The Lib Dems are forecast to collapse around the city, with Wavertree bucking the trend. However, with all due respect to Leo Evans, the Lib Dem candidate, I don’t think they are currently showing anything that suggests that Liverpool Wavertree will be anything like as good as the forecast. Last year they were putting resources into different local campaigns in the constituency. This year it will just be Church ward.
UKIP should do well based on national swings, and I’d expect them to hold their deposit everywhere. There are some “buts” though. Firstly if a further right party stands, like the BNP or English Democrats, their couple of percent of vote share will come directly from UKIP. Secondly, Nigel Farage’s endorsement of the S*n newspaper was not widely reported and every time UKIP raise their head on social media in Liverpool, you can expect that point to follow with a suitable photographic reminder. There are a lot of football fans, of a variety of political persuasions, who were disgusted by all the party leaders from Labour, UKIP, Lib Dems and the Tories endorsing the S*n at the same time. There is definitely going to be a Green vote from some in Liverpool as we are the only one of the “big five” nationally to refuse to endorse the S*n. We prefer to campaign against Page 3 than suck up to Rupert Murdoch.
For the Greens there are some positives, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. There is some brilliant targeted campaigning going on for us to win more council seats and a Parliamentary seat. I’m very optimistic about our prospects.
One voter in Wavertree contacted me and said it was a two horse race here. I pointed out it was much more like a one horse race this time. However, things get interesting if we are back at the polls within a year of this election. With formal coalitions being ruled out, this coming Parliament could be very short lived. If we have earned 2nd place in two or more of the Liverpool constituencies, it will give us a very strong platform on which to campaign.