Pair of Lib Dem wins in final by-elections of the year

Three principal authority council by-elections this week to round things off for the year, and a full slate of Lib Dem candidates too.

Two of those contests were for Liberal Democrat held seats, and both defences were successful:

Congratulations to new councillors Andrew Savage and Sue Jordan and the team.

Elsewhere it was a Conservative hold in the Isle of Wight:

Last time, there was no Lib Dem candidate even though there were six candidates in total. So particular thanks to Ray Harrington-Vail for getting the Lib Dems on the ballot, and in sight of a future win in the ward too.

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, these by-elections at the town/parish/community council level in Somerset did catch my eye:

The decisive win by the Conservatives in the Fairfax East by-election saw them reclaim the seat from the Labour Party …

Thursday night’s count witnessed a double victory for the Conservatives as Alistair Hendry, another Conservative Councillor on Somerset Council, unseated the Liberal Democrats on Burnham & Highbridge Town Council… Cllr Alistair Hendry won the Highbridge Parish Ward by-election by a minute margin – only two votes. [Somerset County Gazette]

And also this one:

Congratulations to new councillor Glynn Smith and the team. Not many Liberal Democrats who can claim to have defeated Father Christmas, or as the ballot paper description put it, “‘Independent and Volunteer Village Santa”.

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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