Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Norwich North: The Expectation Game

All parties will be trying to manage expectations in the Norwich North by election. Everyone seems to expect the Conservatives to walk it. Knowing the constituency as I do, I somehow doubt that. Chris Fisher, the EDP's political editor Shaun Lowthorpe, the EDP's Public Affairs Editor, has already written that a majority of under 3,000 for the Conservatives would be seen as a failure. With respect to him (and I have a lot!) that's rot. A win is a win. Tory Press chief Henry Macrory has just twittered...
Suggestions of a 4000-plus Conservative majority in Norwich are way off beam. Our team there is forecasting a tight finish.
Some will interpret that as trying to calm things down, and time will tell if he is right. The LibDems have been careful not to overplay their chances, and are relying on a "late surge". Second place for them would be a success.

The truth is that no one knows what is going to happen to the Labour vote, and that's why it's so difficult to predict. A low turnout means the Labour vote will have stayed at home. A higher turnout could mean that the Labour vote has transferred to other parties. Or it could mean that it has remained loyal.

On the basis that I am the world's worst predictor, if I was putting money on it I would be betting on a Tory majority of 1-2,000 on a turnout of under 50%.


Hamish said...

Finally, that video of the guy on the tightrope which you seem to enclose in every post seems apposite.

Anonymous said...

Having managed a number of people making calls from home, I would concurr with Iain.

There is little enthusiasm for the election. Turnout will be low, probably less than 45% and the margin of vistory will probably be less than 2.5% of the vote.

I am still not sure whether Labour might just scrape it either.

The Purpleline said...

Iain, if the BNP or UKIP come second or their share of the vote rises, will you promise to do a full spread in 'Total Politics' that is neutral and based on why the electorate voted for these parties.

no longer anonymous said...

"Iain, if the BNP or UKIP come second"


Iain Dale said...

Er, no. I am not the editor. If you want to put forward that as an idea to the editor, then please do so. But I can't see how a slight rise in the UKIP or BNP vote would warrant a 2 page spread. A victory might.

Curmudgeon said...

Norwich is historically quite a left-wing city and I'd be surprised to see a big Conservative majority. 2,000+ would be good going, I would say.

Desperate Dan said...

If the Tories want to win seats with large majorities and hang on to them they need to install candidates a bit more inspiring than Chloe Smith. I'm sure she'd make a very good primary school teacher but she doesn't strike me as being MP material.

John said...

In a general election about 68% would vote. So if it is only 50% we would expect that most would be off the labour vote,say 14% Labour and 4% tory, add to this a 10% swing to the Tory party and you should be near the final vote.
In 2005 Labour 21,097 Con 15,638

Bill Quango MP said...

Lets say 2400.
Seeing as I was 5000 out in Glasgow East this translates to either a Con,Lab,Lib or possibly even a UKIP win.

John said...

In the 2005 election Labour had a 11.6% lead

Desperate Dan said...

The Glenrothes byelection was swung to Labour by the unusually high number of postal votes. What is that percentage of postal votes in Norwich North?

Anonymous said...

But a 1-2000 majority over who? I'll be so annoyed if Labour's rubbish campaign has slumped so far as to mean it's 1-2000 over the Limps and their "late surge".

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if that was part of the Mandelson plan, the better to stitch up "the progressive coalition".

Anonymous said...

A huge "Vote Labour" poster has appeared just down the road overnight. Rather flimsily supported by 2 bits of wood knocked in the grass bank outside a former council estate, now run by a housing association.

It's already had the word "Don't" added, followed by "Poo" underneath...

Polly Toynbee's Hairdresser said...

At least Portillo and rent a gob Abbott are off the air at the moment.
To those clowns a majority of 7000 would be poor.

A win is indeed a win, but a very narrow win would further underline the odd situation the Tory party is in.
An exhausted, discredited Government on it's knees, and a weirdo as PM who's every act as Chancellor has been seen to be flawed.
Yet still they are in the hung Parliament game.

Presumably a number of factors are in play here.
Labour's client state of professional benefit scroungers, and state employed paper shufflers remaining blindly loyal, and the sheer massive disappointment of New Labour must be strong factors.

Surely though fron October the Tories have to begin to set in stone a clear policy agenda, so at least people can make a judgement.
Stick with the spendaholic liars, or take a punt on something new.

Man in a Shed said...

No one knows what will happen with the Labour vote ?

That must be why R4's Today ran a long article on Fox hunting this morning.

Still Jonah hasn't been to visit the constituency so perhaps they still have a chance ?

watch the boxes said...

Keep an eye on the ballot boxes Iain. They mysteriously vanished after the Glenrothes by election where Labour won by about 6,000 votes. This equalled the number of postal votes. A ten fold increase in postal voting by the way. None of the votes could be verified so there's no way of confirming if they were real voters.
Glenrothes was rumoured to be a practise run by Labour's special operations section in the use of postal voting to swing marginal seats. said...

Turnout 47%, Tories win by 2600

The Purpleline said...

No longer Anon.

I see what a clever fellow you are, but missing the caveat of gaining share of the vote.

How very Nu Labour, I see you obviously have a problem.

Iain- I actually think they deserve a neutral piece in the 'Total Politics' magazine, we need to grasp the nettle and find out what makes them attractive to Labour supporters. I will write to the Ed.

I also subscribe to the belief that the BNP are a far left group and not on the right. Which is why Labour hoons are so aggressive towards them, it is a political spat on the same side of the political argument.

I know some fellow conservatives believe the same.

Anyway, now Brown has mentioned the English Cricket team is doing well, I have just had a punt on Australia wining the series 2-1. The Jonah strikes again I fear.

Unknown said...

Having been up in Norwich for the last couple of days and four or five times in the last few months, I agree with Iain's broad prediction.

The critical question about any prediction of a majority will be the level of turnout, which I suspect might be quite low for a by election. There is a fair amount of voter fatigue given the length and intensity of the campaign. There is also a good deal of Norfolk-bloody mindedness (which is a complement) that thinks that Gibson had a raw deal and as they are not minded to like any politician in general at the moment, they might just not vote at all.

In this light, a majority of 1,000-2,000 would be a genuine success.

Sally Roberts said...

I agree with your guesstimate, Iain! We need to fight to the finish line and not be complacent.

Lola said...

My bet is that it'l go greeen. The Greens are about as fascist as New Labour and the BNP combined so that should do nicely for Norfolk.

Henry North London 2.0 said...

Having been out handing out leaflets for the Libertarians and seen Craig Murray UKIP and Our beloved Chloe processing past me, I would say that voter turnout is going to be apathetic in the extreme. 25% turnout

Im praying that all the Libertarian voters turn out and that the rest stay at home. Then I win my 500-1 bet.

Having said that Chloe is a bit of a shrinking violet when directly addressed She didnt even stop to say hello properly...

She cant go round parading round Norwich saying she's the queen bee until the votes are cast. Pride goeth before a fall as I often like to quote.

I predict an upset..

The Solar eclipse today is to blame.

Thomas said...

I think, oddly, the Green vote might be interesting. They did awfully well in that area in the European elections.

Mark Senior said...

By now the majority of the postal votes will have been opened and verified . The party agents will have a pretty good idea of the comparison with the CC elections and should be able to have a reasonable idea of the result .

business as usual said...

I think Chloe's background might work against her. Seconded to the Tory party from Deloitte Touche ( who gave RBS excellent audits for years )and working for James Clappison MP who claimed £100K in expenses while owning 24 houses. It just sounds like business as usual with the old system of cronyism.

Anonymous said...

Having met Chloe, she is a very capable candidate. In the four way debate chaired by Stuart White, she was perfectly competent.

But living as I do in the constituency, and being broadly a Conservative, I don't want to vote for her.

She is just too young, and inexperienced in life to represent this city for a long time in terms of her really embedding herself as the MP. If she doesn't win this constituency, she will be culpable, as even the weakest of candidates should win it, albeit by a small margin.

The reason Iain Dale would be a better candidate than Chloe Smith is that he does have experience and a depth of knowledge. This rush towards younger candidates isn't necessarily bad, but if she loses this constituency, the Conservative association would have to take a huge reality check.

A more experienced candidate, such as a local businessmen, headmaster, partner of a professional services company, charity worker, would have walked this for the Conservatives.

My prediction, Conservative majority of 2,800 and a strong performance from the Green Party.

Comrade D said...

I live in Norwich North

Con 29%
Lab 20%
Lib 18%
Green 15%
Murray 6%
BNP 3%
Other 2%

Anonymous said...

It hasn't really been fair for the BNP - they have experienced a total (near enough) news black out! What does that tell us about democracy and open government?

Im a Norwich guy and I for one dont wish to see the City become like Birmingham, Leicester,Blackburn where the local Norfolk people become a minority in their own town - who else but the BNP represents these concerns?!

no longer anonymous said...

"I see what a clever fellow you are, but missing the caveat of gaining share of the vote."

I missed that bit out because it's plausible. What isn't plausible is the idea of either of them coming second. To suggest such a possiblity is laughable. Hence the HAHAHAHA.

Barbara Suzuki said...

To Anon @ 7.55 pm
What do you mean the BNP had no publicity?
I have been writing about little else for last fortnight.