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The 2014 European Election: the first result

 

So, one result is in from the European elections already – that for turnout, based on the ‘validation’ of the votes conducted by the various local authorities.

The overall figure that has been given for turnout is 32.1%. (It is possible that this might change a little bit, as I understand that this number is based on ‘provisional’ figures from the local authorities, but it’s not going to change much). That would suggest that turnout is up 1.7% on the dismal 2009 figure of 30.4%, which is progress I guess, although hardly a triumph for participatory democracy.

It is very difficult to compare local turnouts between now and 2009, as in 2009 the counting units were parliamentary/Assembly constituencies whereas this time, as in 2004, they are local authorities. In the table below, therefore, I’ve put in the provisional figures for turnout by local authority, and the change since 2004. All the percentages are negative, as turnout is universally lower than a decade ago. But before we beat ourselves up too much over this, we should recall that the 2004 elections coincided with the Welsh local elections, which would have given people rather more incentive to show up at the polls.

 

Local Authority

Turnout %

Change from 2004

Blaenau Gwent

27

-17

Bridgend

29

-6

Caerphilly

29

-11

Cardiff

32

-6

Carmarthenshire

36

-10

Ceredigion

37

-14

Conwy

31

-11

Denbighshire

32

-12

Flintshire

31

-7

Gwynedd

35

-7.5

Merthyr Tydfil

27

-12

Monmouthshire

34

-14

Neath Port Talbot

32

-9

Newport

31

-5

Pembrokshire

35

-14

Powys

37

-8

Rhondda Cynon Taf

30

-11

Swansea

30

-8

Torfaen

29

-10

Vale of Glamorgan

37

-7

Wrexham

30

-9

Ynys Môn

38

-11

As a point of interest – well, it was interesting to me, anyway – turnout by local authority in these elections correlated highly with that in the March 2011 referendum (r = 0.80); while turnout in 2014 correlated slightly less highly (r = 0.72) with turnout in 2004.

Do these turnout figures portend anything for the actual result? It’s very difficult to say. There are some people who suggest that a low turnout is bad for Labour and good for their opponents. I’m not so sure – it’s probably worth recalling that Labour’s two best National Assembly election results have come in the two elections where turnout was the lowest. As of now, I’d still stick with what I said after the publication of the Welsh Political Barometer poll: Labour seem very likely to win a seat, and so do UKIP. The remaining two seats look like a very close, three-way fight between Labour, the Conservatives and Plaid. And right now we just don’t know which way that fight is going to turn out.

Comments

  • J Jones

    Turnout in the Fro Cymraeg is 36.5% and in the rest 31.3. Plaid have got their vote out in their heartlands and, I imagine, elsewhere. Labour didn’t seem to make much effort and polling in their strong areas looks light.

    • Roger Scully

      Well, I’m not sure I would be so confident of that, Jon. We know where people have voted – at least by local authority. But we don’t have so much information yet on who voted, or indeed how they voted.

      Having said that, I was contacted yesterday by activists from both Plaid and UKIP who seemed fairly upbeat – particularly so in the latter instance. But we don’t have too long to wait now.

  • J. Jones

    I’m reading blogs where someone knows someone who attended validation and Plaid (so they say) is dominating the vote in its heartlands. If UKIP are also upbeat then the Tories have good reason to be worried. Labour is the unknown. I saw nothing of them in the NW but were they active in the South and East?

  • Catherine Thomas

    Dismal turnout indeed, glad I live in Ceredigion where we are a little bit more engaged.
    But can you help ,? We know now 4 members for Wales but how are they (if at all ) allocated to a region in Wales ?
    Dioch yn Fawr

    • Roger Scully

      Annwyl Catherine,

      They aren’t allocated to a region within Wales; they all represent Wales as a whole. Until 1999 we divided Wales up into single-member constituencies; now we have a PR system in which all those elected are elected to represent Wales in its entirety.

      Roger

  • J. Jones

    I would be interested to know how you felt the Barometer did in predicting the final outcome. Between the two polls the trend was predicted but nowhere near the extent of that movement.
    Yougov are going to have to consider whether online polls in Wales are good predictors without more filters/ weighting factors.

    • Roger Scully

      I’m going to Blog on that soon, Jon. I don’t think the poll did too badly. But there are questions, clearly about UKIP. Also, slightly less obviously about Labour – are YouGov over-stating Labour support? But that isn’t for today – general post appearing soon, more on details later.

  • J. Jones

    Although the UK Yougov poll was pretty close to the actual vote share for UKIP and Labour in Wales. They polled on 21-22 May so have caught later movement. Just goes to show, Wales doesn’t think so very differently than England when it comes to Europe/Immigration.

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