Relax, everyone. The following posts are relevant to Penarth. But even ignoring the relevance, it’s always been of interest to me: which parties will be targeting which seats with most vigour? Ok, there are some obvious contenders, but perhaps there are a few surprises along the way. I notice that Electoral Calculus has done something a little bit similar here, but on a sole Conservative-Labour axis, and using data for a UK election.
So let’s find out where the Conservatives will be swivelling their eyes in May 2015.
I’m going to use a 50:50 weighting for this analysis (based on this data), and I’m going to use the last Assembly elections as my guide because they were the most recent Welsh plebiscite (although I recognise that voting patterns are different in Assembly and Westminster elections). The first part of the weighting is what proportion of the popular vote the party received in the previous election. That’s important because it’s obviously easier to get your vote out if you’ve previously captured a reasonable proportion of the electorate. The second part of the weighting is what percentage behind the first-placed party was the party in question. That’s an indication of the competitiveness of the seat; in some seats there’s a virtually unassailable lead for any other party to challenge, while in others it’s a three-way tussle.
So based on the 2011 Assembly election, the Conservatives already hold: Aberconwy, Carmarthenshire West & South Pembrokeshire, Clwyd West, Monmouth, Montgomeryshire and Preseli Pembrokeshire.
That leaves the following seats as the top 10 targets, in order of ‘best contender for a challenge’ (the full list is here):
- Cardiff North
- Vale of Glamorgan
- Brecon & Radnorshire
- Vale of Clwyd
- Ynys Mon
- Newport West
- Clwyd South
So much for what the stats are telling us. Let’s ground-truth it using the UK election results as an indication of the seats already held by the Conservatives. Seats held at Westminster by the Conservatives not held at the Assembly? Cardiff North and the Vale of Glamorgan.
Now I’m feeling pretty pleased with my analysis.
Probably the person with most to be concerned about is Roger Williams. On current form it’s unlikely that the Conservatives are going to make major gains in 2015 at Labour’s expense – although time may well prove me wrong. Is it possible that a collapse in Lib Dem vote could make even Brecon & Radnorshire vulnerable? I’d be very surprised. Roger’s had a firm grip on the constituency for a good while and he’s got a healthy 10% majority. The Lib Dems showed in Eastleigh that they can hang on tenaciously even when times are grim at a UK level. So if Roger’s the one who should be most concerned, and I’d be very surprised if he’s going to lose out in May 2015, that suggests that the Conservatives should give up on this list.
Digging in their heels is going to be the order of the day. And we’ll see in the following posts where the juiciest of the low-hanging Conservative fruit are.