Coffee House

Labour are the real losers in Eastleigh

26 February 2013

11:38 AM

26 February 2013

11:38 AM

The Lib Dems are still on course to hold Eastleigh. Despite the loss of Britain’s AAA credit rating and the unfurling Rennard scandal, Lord Ashcroft’s latest poll today puts their candidate Mike Thornton on 33 per cent. Tory candidate Maria Hutchings is lagging five points behind on 28 per cent while Ukip are a little further behind with 21 per cent. Disappointingly for Ed Miliband, the Labour party’s celebrity candidate John O’Farrell is coming in with just 12 per cent.

This confirms two things. Firstly, the by-election is only about local politics. As we discussed on last week’s View from 22 podcast, Chris Huhne has barely been mentioned on the doorstep. From the start, the Tories were worried the local Lib Dem machine would be impregnable — something that has turned out to be true. Despite being beaten with a flurry of politicians of all shapes and statures, Ashcroft’s polling states that 45 per cent of the Eastleigh voters are most concerned with electing the best local MP. Only 21 per cent consider the by-election a referendum on the coalition.

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On the economy, the loss of the AAA rating appears to have also made minimal impact. Or as Owen Jones argued in the Independent yesterday, it could a problem with Labour articulating its message. 57 per cent of those in Eastleigh state they trust Cameron and Osborne to manage the economy in the best interests of Britain, compared to 22 per cent for Miliband and Balls. A significant chunk of Lib Dem voters — 30 per cent — support the later pair, compared to just over half who plumped with Cameron and

The second is James’ prediction on the rise of Ukip is correct. Considering they polled just 3.6 per cent at 2010 election, their rise to 21 per cent is staggering. This is a by-election, so there is still a strong protest vote element. But if the party comes in third place it’s hard to deny that Ukip are still on the rise. There’s a chance Nigel Farage is kicking himself over his decision not to run himself — his persona could have driven them even higher. Judging by the soundbites and newspaper coverage, Farage appears to have been ubiquitous in Eastleigh anyway.

What this by-election has shown is the relative strength of the party machines. On the ground, the Lib Dems have run a determined campaign, while the Tories have been fighting desperately to come in second. According to Ashcroft’s data on voter contact, 37 per cent have had Lib Dems campaigners appear on their doorstep, compared to 30 per cent for the Tories (down 5 per cent from 2010). 18 per cent note phone contact with Tories compared to 28 percent for the Lib Dems.

Ukip have undoubtedly done well but how much is due to their on-the-ground operation vs. the party’s anti-politics credentials? However, as Boris Johnson argued in his column yesterday, Labour are the real losers in Eastleigh. It appears their vote has barely budged from 2010 and Ed Miliband’s southern mission hasn’t got off to a good start.

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Show comments
  • http://twitter.com/skwalker1964 Steve pleb Walker

    What utter bollocks. The LibDems and Tories both lost well over 30% of their vote, and Labour gained marginally in a seat they were never going to win. UKIP gained by eating the Tory and LibDem votes, which is to the shame of both parties.

  • http://twitter.com/mulronie Jason Mulrone

    Funny, I thought Sinn Fein were the political wing of the IRA, yet the Labour candidate in Eastleigh was cheering for the Brighton bombing.

  • foxoles

    Photo caption:

    ‘For God’s sake, put this is your mouth and shut the f*** up!’

  • philgcdr

    UKIP (UKIP.org) Surge

    By-elections are notoriously hard to call. But everyone who comes back from Eastleigh says the same thing, UKIP are the party with forward momentum. This morning’s Populus poll bears that out. They are in third place with 21 per cent, with the Tories second on 28 and the Lib Dems ahead with 33. But, as the indispensable UK Polling Report points out, if you don’t reallocate some of the undecides to the party they voted for last time, UKIP are doing even better. The numbers then are UKIP 25%, Tories 26% and Lib Dems 31%.

    http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/coffeehouse/2013/02/ukip-surge-in-eastleigh/

  • Geo Shepherd

    Tories getting their excuses in early !!

    Here are the facts

    the Tory candidate isn’t up to it – and her party is bombing nationally

    The Lib candidate is actually pretty good despite his party being a mess

    The UKIP candidate is pretty good and energetic – much smarter than the Tory – and appeals to some voters who may not actually support all her party’s policies

    The Labour candidate is good fun – not a serious candidate and a deliberate tactical play by Lab HQ

  • Democritus
  • Democritus

    Labour have never held this seat, how can they lose what they never had? The last 6 elections have returned LD and before that it was Tory all the way.

  • Chatterclass

    I think this shows that Labour supporters are still prepared to vote tactically to keep the Tories out. Interesting.

    • adam_01

      Yes bet many actually prefer UKIP or do you prefer mandelsonian flirting with europe and brussels to increase the budget…

  • Daniel Maris

    John O’Farrell looks knackered and unwell. Not sure what ails him but he has none of his former sparkle. I am not surprised he isn’t making much of a mark as a candidate. Eating that KFC concoction certainly isn’t going to pep him up.

  • Davey12

    Cameron is the loser. Without UKIP Dave would have won this seat. I mean 20% UKIP 28% Tory. That is 50% of the vote.

    With this amount of Tories voting UKIP Ed will win and Dave will be history.

    • David B

      That is a very unhappy prospect

      • adam_01

        Isn’t reality of UKIP silly? Why do lefties believe disbelieve Cameron when he says if in government on their own there would be far greater tax cuts for people who need them and far less waste in public spending, and a careful renegotiation with Europe, indeed a referendum. Alas St Farage of the BBC is nothing more than a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

        • Davey12

          You do not get it.

          The left do not care about anything other than power. They will bribe anyone to get in power. Anyone who stops the bribes they will call evil.

          Dave feels by being nice he will get votes from the left. He will not as they hate him because there religion says they have to hate him. He will never win with them. Instead he should be articulating what conservatism is about. Sadly he does not not know what conservatism is so how can he articulate it, He needs to win the working man over by increasing tax thresholds. Taking millions out of tax while cutting foreign aid, legal aid, green taxes and other nonsense. Sadly he thinks articulating why bankers need a tax cut is conservatism. Watched the smug Tory faces when they cut the top rate by 5p and increased taxes on pasties. Taxes on petrol, thresholds frozen. Yet welfare and foreign aid up.

          Rather have Ed and let it all go pear shape than Dave and George.

    • Chatterclass

      the polling actually shows that UKIP has taken votes from all 3 parties, so it is not that clear

      • Davey12

        Agree bit Dave has lost me an ex Tory who will never vote Tory, Labour or LibDem,

  • AnotherDaveB

    “From the start, the Tories were worried the local Lib Dem machine would be impregnable — something that has turned out to be true. ”

    ????????

    The published polls show the LDs having lost 11-16 percentage points since 2010. Two polls have showed Conservative leads, three polls have shown LD leads.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastleigh_by-election,_2013#Polling

    Anthony Wells said of the polling:
    “…the most likely explanation for the difference between the two polls is just the normal variation within the margin of error… suggesting that the race really could be neck-and-neck.”

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/7055

    The determined defeatism of Coffee House’s Eastleigh articles is not borne out by the known facts.

  • Its_not_craig

    Nice try Sebastian. The problem is – we and Grant Shapps are the big losers.

    If we can’t win in a Lib Dem seat after the Huhne and Rennard stories – Shapps’ 40/40 strategy is already shredded.

    We haven’t got a single, solitary chance of getting a majority in 2015 if we don’t win this. Miliband will have short-term embarrassment to contend with. We will have long-term pain.

    The Spectator serves no-one by trying to turn every bad-news story about the Government into a bad-news story for Labour.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      The Speccie is a LibDem newspaper

      • Russell

        I don’t think you read articles by Isobel, labours greatest speccie cheerleader and anti conservative journalist on the payroll.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

          I do buit I also know her profile and wonder

  • David Simpson

    Labour are not the real losers as they will increase their share of the vote

    Typical Tory bias

    • Colonel Mustard

      As opposed to typical Labour bias. What a joke you sad lefty losers are.

      • David Simpson

        what a poor deluded fool you are, i can smell your tory stench a mile away

        • Colonel Mustard

          Not as deluded as you though, who supports a party of nasty charlatans and liars. Smelling my tory stench, eh? That’s a clever trick – got Smell-O-Vision on your PC have you? And a nice line in hatred too, seeing how the national socialists of the Labour party believe so much in condemning “hate crime”, in promoting “diversity” and, supposedly, “plurality”. We smelly tories know what that really means though, together with the rest of your rank hypocrisy and nastiness.

          The difference is of course that you hate the Tory party of Labour propaganda – which bears no relationship to reality – whereas I detest the very real face of the Labour party, ably demonstrated by you slithering across this thread.

    • AnotherDaveB

      Labour have not attracted any of the support that the LDs and Conservatives have lost since 2010, it’s all gone to the smaller parities, mostly UKIP.

      • David Simpson

        utter rubbish, daftest post this year

      • Colonel Mustard

        They attract the support of people like David Simpson. Read his comments.

  • Chris lancashire

    What is staggering is that 22% of Eastleigh voters think Balls/Miliband are competent.

    • David Simpson

      it would seem that you are not competent

      • Colonel Mustard

        Doh! Call me stupid again!

  • HookesLaw

    Poor if labour cannot get the leftcentric protest vote

  • CHRISTOPHER WHITE

    on national polls 1/2 LD vote to LAB. Here obvious LD candidate only one with chance of defeating Tory ? DON’T defect

    • Smithersjones2013

      So Is that don’t defect vote for ‘the defects’ instead?

    • Archimedes

      Don’t defect? From the LibDems? Not sure what you mean: to be a LibDem is to be in a permanent state of defection.

  • Teriros

    I’m in the Eastleigh constituency and whilst I have a log-burner full of ConDem campaign literature I have 1 for Labour! I don’t think they’ve tried hard at all – Ive seen John O’Farrell in the town centre a lot but not much else. And whilst I won’t be voting UKIP – their campaign strategy has been formidable so I’m not surprised their numbers are up! For most voters here its the local issues that count and unfortunately there’s also an element of voting the same way for the last twenty years and doing the same again because it doesn’t require much thought!

  • Colonel Mustard

    Labour are real losers alright. O’Farrell is a joke and his selection is cynical beyond belief, personifying the cosy Labour/BBC lefty hegemony that so damages plurality and diversity in politics.

    • David Simpson

      usual tosh Mustard, O’Farrell is far the best candidate

      He knocks spots off the Hutchins woman who has been an absolute disaster

      • Andy

        O’Farrell is an idiot, and a nasty one at that. His comments regarding the Brighton Bomb show him for what he is. I never cease to be amazed at how downright evil so many Labour Party supports are.

        • Daniel Maris

          I think that comment certainly disqualified him as a democrat – in wishing for the death of another democrat.

          • Andy

            Well as the saying goes ‘Those for others death look out, their own unlooked for comes about’.

        • David Simpson

          he was only saying what 3/4 of the population thought at the time.

          She was a witch

          • Colonel Mustard

            You took a poll did you? What nonsense. Compared to the grim panoply of Labour politicians inflicted on this country over the years she was an angel.

            • David Simpson

              you poor deluded fool, have you taken your blue tory pill, because you are in need of it

        • David Simpson

          you obviously did not read his book as you would not make such a fool of yourself if you had.
          context you twerp, read it in context

      • Colonel Mustard

        Per Andy. And it’s Colonel to the likes of you, lefty.

        • David Simpson

          you are just a stupid person, all your posts reek of the tory stench

          • Colonel Mustard

            Ha ha! Not stupid enough to vote mindless Labour though.

      • AnotherDaveB

        The Survation poll found Mrs Hutchins to be a good candidate. She had attracted more supporters to the Conservatives than the other candidates had attracted to their parties. (see page 7 in linked pdf)

        http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Final-Eastleigh-Report.pdf

        • David Simpson

          you live in cloud cuckoo land, i repeat she is a disaster

          • Colonel Mustard

            Ha ha! You get even better. Are you the duty troll? And au contraire, lefty, as a Labour supporter YOU live in cloud cuckoo land!

      • Wessex Man

        You are so sadly a tosh pie mate!

  • Smithersjones2013

    Do the Spectator have to put this drivel online? The poll was undertaken as these news stories were breaking. People had not had chance to fully digest the full implications of them (such as the Libdems gross negligence in dealing with such accusations). To therefore dismiss the potential impact based on such a poll is disingenuous and stupid in the extreme. Chances are the full ramifications of the revelations will not have sunk in until today or tomorrow (now the police are involved in the Rennard case for example).

    Furthermore. the Libdem machine is not ‘impregnable’. In case anyone hasn’t noticed the polls suggest that their vote is down by anything between 13 and 18 points and perhaps more when the polling companies adjustments are disregarded. They have lost something like one third of their vote. In any other circumstances that would be a disaster . The reality is though that their main competitiors are their coalition partners who have for their efforts in government lost a quarter of their vote as well. Its not that the Libdems were impregnable but that the Tories are considerably weaker than they were two years ago (its a microcosm of their woes in the 1997 to 2005 period)

    Then of course there is the nonsense about Farage not standing in Eastleigh. Its shows the immaturity and naivety of the commentariate that this narrative keeps being peddled. If Farage is to demonstrate that UKIP are a serious party then he cannot keep treating it as his personal soap box and that he were a one man band bouncing from one election to another until he gets elected. Now quite rightly he made it clear that he is the leader of the party and already has a job on top of that in Brussels to do. It was the right thing for him to let his party choose their candidate rather than impose himself on them again. He unlike some others I can think of is starting to show some signs that he actually might be a leader worth listening too.

    I think the key point form the credit rating issue is that in the real world it meant far less to the markets than the outcome of the Italian elections (with its undertones about the state and nature of the EU). Now if the Conservatives were a Eurosceptic party they might be able to use that but sadly being a fully signed up cheerleader of ‘ever closer integration’ they can’t.

    So what this campaign has shown is not that the Libdems are particularly strong but that all three establishment parties are weak and only UKIP are moving from strength to strength. The big question is whether UKIP can consolidate their position over forthcoming years?

    Otherwise should the Libdems win and thats not yet signed and sealed then it will be more by luck (that the Tories have screwed up as well) than anything else.

    • HookesLaw

      Both parties in govt mid term and Labour do not get the protest vote
      it goes to the right wing nut jobs
      poor for Miliband

      • Smithersjones2013

        Every day your spittle splattered rantings become less and less coherent

        • HookesLaw

          Nut Jobs and economic with the truth with it
          Its sad that you are one with them and sadder that The spectator has become a repository for their spittle
          What is coherent is that to be part of the free trade Single Market we still need to sign up to EU regulations and pay to tegional funds Like Norway
          UKIP will not tell its voters that

      • Tim

        Can you ring the bell by your bed and ask the nurse to bring your medication?

        Or go down to the off licence and get another bottle?

        Right wing nut jobs? You’ll be saying the Nazis weren’t socialists next.

    • salieri

      You may well turn out to be right about the potential impact on the voters of breaking news stories, but I fear this may also be wishful thinking. This particular non-story has been non-breaking for 5 days now. The absurdity of the non-development of a manufactured scandal – not least by a whole weekend’s pussy-footing on Coffee House – has been about the only consolation for those of us who are utterly sick of that prissy word “inappropriate”, are angered by all the sanctimonious hysteria and are supremely indifferent to who told whom what, and when, about who was trying a grope whom. Despite the BBC’s helpful and of course totally unbiased attempts to stoke the flames – it passes belief that the Radio 4 news just ended devoted its lead story and 15 more minutes to an interview with one (alleged) gropee – it is conceivable that the voters of Eastleigh feel the same way.

      • Smithersjones2013

        I don’t disagree that the eventual impact will perhaps be negligible and indeed it is a moot topic (after all who will categorically be able to prove its impact one way or another).

        I certainly don’t deny either that Pervgate is at best a sideshow. However that said I do think it has a certain significance politically. For many years the Libdems have peddled an impression that they are somehow morally superior to other polical parties, sanctimoniously preaching from their ivory towers about the sins of the other parties. Of course this image has been dented by the failings of individuals (Kennedy, Oaten, Laws, Huhne) but I don’t recall a scandal before that has left a bad smell lingering around their collective party image. In that this is quite significant.

        Beyond that its timing so close to Eastleigh only emphasises what in one way is a momentous time. For the first time in more than a century it seems the electorate in great numbers is no longer ‘protesting’ by voting for the third Parliamentary party. Instead almost one quarter of the voting electorate seem intent on voting for a party not incumbent in Westminster. That is quite significant and perhaps this scandal is symbolic of the end of the LIberal Democrats as a party of protest, (their fall from grace) and of the end of the hegemony of the three establishment parties?

        • salieri

          Very true, all of it. Let’s hope that one way or another it really does make a difference.

          • Andy

            The LibDems have the well deserved reputation of being the ‘Nasty Party’. The fight very, very dirty and are not so keen when their tactics are turned on them.

            • salieri

              Also true. If only their tactics were being turned on them, however; everyone is being far too nice about this bunch of unprincipled posers and chancers.

  • Archimedes

    “On the economy, the loss of the AAA rating appears to have also made minimal impact.”

    The strange thing about this is that the only group of people that appear to be capable of turning the loss of the AAA into an electoral disaster are the Tory backbenchers. They seem quite determined to do so, too.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

      They are holding the Guru handling the 2015 Election to account.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

    Did the Tories articulate the Gay Marriage issue to see how it resonated with LibDem Voters ?

    • MirthaTidville

      They would have done, but there`s not many of them left now

  • foxoles

    UKIP, anti-politics? Are they?

    From what I can gather, they just seem to be against undemocratic, Euro-appeasement politics.

    • dalai guevara

      Yes, Britain has turned into the Italy of Northern Europe, even without any form of proportional representation. And some think this country could still be governed like this…

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

        What is bemusing is that Marta Andreason stands on a LIST system for UKIP but defects to the Tories. Surely she is no longer an MEP since the LIST is what Voters chose not the Candidate ?

        • Andy

          That should be the logic of the thing.

        • Russell

          No different to the British MP’s (of integrity) who cross the floor in the HoC.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100004981542519 Tom Tom

            British MPs are however NOT elected on the List System but as Candidates for a Constituency. The LIST SYSTEM is different or have you not noticed ?

            • adam_01

              Your point Tom Tom is arguably strong but on reflection actually avoids the “de facto” democratic shift that is fair in politics, cross the floor etc. Why people don’t just leave Clegg’s party ’til he quits is a surprise.

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