Political

Impressive second place from nowhere in Luton

Only two principal authority council by-elections this week, one an all-independent contest in Shetland (with votes at 16 and the alternative vote, as is standard for Scottish contests) and the other in Luton, featuring a Lib Dem candidate after there wasn’t one in the ward last time out.

Thank you to Basharat Hussain for standing for the Lib Dems there – and moving from no candidate last time to an impressive second place this time:

For what all this means for the running total of council by-election results since the last May elections, see my council by-elections scorecard here.

These by-election results round-ups cover principal authority by-elections as it’s only those for which comprehensive results are available. But this week, this by-election at the town/parish/community council level did catch my eye:

Understanding the opinion polls

For understanding what is happening in politics, by-elections have the advantage of being real votes in real ballot boxes. But the opinion polls have the advantage of trying to be a representative sample of voters, not just those in the places that happen to have by-elections. To understand the polls properly – and what they do and don’t really tell us – see my book, Polling UnPacked: The History, Uses and Abuses of Political Opinion Polls.

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If you sign up for my daily email with the latest pieces from this site, you’ll also get included as a little bonus the full set of council by-election results each week:

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