Friday, June 5, 2009

Devon Election Results (2)

Further to the overall view of yesterday's election results for Devon County Council, there are some surprising things about the 21 electoral divisions that changed parties.

All but three changed from LibDem to Conservative. But talking about a "swing" from LibDem to Conservative could be a bit misleading. Of course this does look like what happened in a few places. For example, in Holsworthy Rural, the LibDem share of the vote went down by 22 percentage point and the Conservative share went up by 18 percentage points. But in other divisions, the situation is more complex.

A good example is Seaton Coastal. In 2005, the LibDem had a majority of about 900. In 2009, the Conservative had a majority of 135. But, bearing in mind that the turnout almost halved, look at the share of the vote. The Conservative share of the vote actually remained exactly the same in both elections. The reason they won is that the LibDem share went down by 17 percentage points. The UKIP vote went up by almost the same amount.

This pattern of the LibDem vote going down and the UKIP vote going up ocurred in many of the seats won by the Conservatives in Devon. That's not to say that other factors weren't in play - the Labour vote getting cut, the role of Independents, votes for the Greens - but this does look like a major factor.