Electionist: The Tuesday After The Election Before

By Jonn Last edited 103 months ago
Electionist: The Tuesday After The Election Before

Last week, you may recall, Londonist rather hubristically predicted London's election results. At the time we said we expected not to get everything right. This, it turned out, was our most accurate prediction of the day.

Here's what we predicted:

2010 prediction to post.png

...and here's what actually happened:

2010 outturn to post.png

Now technically, we were right about 63 constituencies out of 73. Which is good. But since we identified only 18 seats that were in in way controversial, and we were wrong about eight of them - plus two others that we'd cheerfully decided weren't controversial at all - our predictive powers clearly weren't quite as impressive as they may first look.

So how did we get it so wrong? In Richmond Park we underestimated the jump to the right (not only did it evict one time LibDem mayoral candidate Susan Kramer in favour of Tory Zac Goldsmith, it also elected a Tory council). In Brent Central, meanwhile, we thought Labour, as the incumbent, would benefit most from the three-way battle; in doing so we rather neglected to notice that, as a new constituency combining large chunks of Brent East and Brent South, there were in fact two incumbents fighting it out there.

Most of all, though, we underestimated Labour's continuing popularity in London. The swing from reds to blues in London was half the swing nationwide (2.5%, rather than 5%, fact fans). As a result the party managed to hold a huge swathe of seats, from Feltham to Dagenham, that looked almost certain to fall to the Tories. It also managed to take control of no fewer than nine London boroughs - almost unheard of for a government in the process of losing an election. (In contrast, Richmond was the Tories' only big success story.)

So why has London bucked the trend? It's possible that London is becoming more left-wing, relative to the country around it. It's also possible that Labour are simply better organised in London.

Our guess, though, is that the vote against Labour due to its incumbency in Westminster was partially balanced by a vote against the Tories due to their incumbency in City Hall. In other words, if Jon Cruddas were to win the Labour leadership, he's got Boris to thank for it.

Last Updated 11 May 2010