Two Lib Dem wins in East Riding and held deposit in Rochdale

Five principal authority council by-elections this week, alongside a Parliamentary contest.

The headlines are dominated by the Rochdale by-election, where thanks are due to Iain Donaldson for being the Liberal Democrat candidate:

Elsewhere, there were two impressive Lib Dem defences in the East Riding:

Congratulations to new councillors Ross Harrison and Tony Henderson on their wins, and increased majorities.

Plus also:

Thank you to Tony Harris for standing for the Lib Dems.

Then in the results from Friday:

The winner is the former Conservative council leader who lost her seat there last year. Commiserations to Gary Hayes for missing out.

Thank you to Nico Kearns for being the Lib Dem candidate.

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-elections at the town/parish/community council level did catch my eye:

Wellington Town Council has a new member after Steve Mercer (Liberal Democrat) was elected unopposed. [Around Wellington]

This makes the Lib Dems the largest party on the council, a good reminder of a benefit from standing more candidates.

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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3 responses to “Two Lib Dem wins in East Riding and held deposit in Rochdale”

  1. Firstly really pleased that Iain Donaldson held his deposit, in a very bizarre election. Saddened that George Galloway has added Rochdale to his tally of constituencies where he has been the MP, but comforted to know he will be gone before the end of the year at the next General Election.

    Secondly pleased that you mentioned the by-election in Wellington Town Council. Parish/Town council elections are often side-lined, yet these are important too. I know you report any that you are told about, but wish that more attention was given to this tier of local government on other websites.

  2. Is there any analysis as to why our recent performances (including two pre-Rochdale by-elections) have been so disappointing? Are we targeting certain seats and giving up on others? I am much less hopeful than I was following the Somerton and Frome by-election or am I being unnecessarily pessimistic?

    • Alun – we do choose very carefully how much effort to put into different campaigns, in order to make the most out of first past the post (i.e. there are lots of prizes for winning but not many prizes for getting, say, 15% and being a long way off winning). Our vote share holding up in Rochdale is therefore pretty promising in the overall circumstances.

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