Five Oldham East and Saddleworth By-Election Predictions…

The first by-election of this Parliament occurs on January 13th, here are five (rough) predictions for the winners, the losers, and beyond: –

Labour will win the seat by around three thousand votes- Two polls published over the weekend of the 8th/9th January point to a Labour victory of around seven thousand votes (with a similar turnout to the 2010 General Election result). I cannot see Labour doing this well for two reasons- turnout and tactical voting. Turnout should be down on the 2010 General Election result because of many in the constituency not seeing the need for a second election so soon and because of the cold weather. Tactical voting will impact on Labour’s majority in the seat, as Conservative supporters may change their votes to Lib Dem to keep Labour out. Tactical voting is the major factor that could stop the seat being very safe for Labour and being a Labour/Lib Dem marginal.

There will no real resentment to Labour over the Phil Woolas scandal which led to the by-election- The recent VAT rise and the raising of tuition fees will be seen the by the electorate as fresher in their minds therefore negating any resentment towards Labour over Woolas’ case. Debbie Abrahams hasn’t really said a word campaigning in the constituency (at least on camera), a tactic which has made he by-election a referendum on the Coalition and not on what has gone on before with Woolas. Elwyn Watkins has attempted to raise the issue of the Woolas case, but his words do not seem to have gained traction with the constituents of Oldham East and Saddleworth.

The BNP will do badly in the by-election- If Nick Griffin had stood for election in Oldham East and Saddleworth then the BNP may have cemented their place as the fourth placed party in the constituency due to his media prominence. As it stands, the chances of the BNP candidate Derek Adams look to be in tatters, with the party not being allowed into hustings and struggling for canvassers in the constituency. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the BNP being beaten by UKIP and the Green Party in the by-election, perhaps even losing their deposit.

UKIP will do well in the by-election- The definition of doing “well” for UKIP in this by-election would be fourth place. Sentiment in the whole of the country has become more eurosceptic since the bailout of Ireland last year and I feel UKIP will capitalize on disenfranchised voters in the constituency who would usually vote for the three mainstream parties plus the BNP.

The by-election will not change the national picture of politics greatly- The broadcast media (and myself) love a by-election but ultimately barring a Lib Dem win the by-election won’t steer momentum greatly towards one party or away from another. On the January 14th, David Cameron will still be the Prime Minister, Nick Clegg will be the Deputy Prime Minister and Ed Miliband will still have his blank piece of paper devoid of policies.


One Response to “Five Oldham East and Saddleworth By-Election Predictions…”

  1. The vote totals for the by-election were as follows:-

    Labour 14,718
    Liberal Democrats 11,160
    Conservatives 4,481
    UKIP 2,029
    BNP 1,560
    Others 982

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