Reading the runes

Elections can be very unpredictable, and this one may be more so than most. We don't know the impact local candidates have been having. We don't know who has managed some form of contact with electors which their opponents have not. We don't know how many will vote, and how inclined people will be to support Independents rather than parties.

But we did have some rather good quality research from the Police Foundation earlier in the election applying opinion poll shifts and likely second preferences to the general election numbers. We also have data on how the opinion polls have shifted since and we now know what the Police Foundation couldn't have known, namely where the Liberal Democrats are fielding candidates. Add these to a few bits of knowledge about events that may have impacted on the election and it is possible to have a look at what the results might be, other things being equal, which of course they aren't.

I'll not go into the detailed stats, as 41 opportunities to be wrong in one day has seen off many others who would be in a better place to make predictions, and is quite enough for me. However, it would be useful to have something to compare the actual results with. I cannot tell you whose campaign is going well or badly, or which candidates really have turned out to be best in electoral terms, but estimating what the general trends mean for each area may enable us to see who has done particularly well or badly when the real results are known.

So, without further ado, and pausing only to point out that I'd really have preferred to do this off local election data than off national opinion polls that offer broad outlines of party support, this is the list of probable PCCs I am left with on my sums. I wonder how many I'll get right.


Labour – 19

Cheshire – John Stockton

Cleveland – Barry Coppinger on 1st Pref

Cumbria – Patrick Leonard

Derbyshire – Alan Charles on 1st Pref

Durham – Ron Hogg on 1st Pref

Dyfed-Powys – Christine Gwyther (no second preferences as only 2 candidates)

Greater Manchester -Tony Lloyd on 1st Pref

Gwent – Hamish Sandison on 1st Pref

Humberside – John Prescott

Lancashire – Clive Grunshaw

Leicestershire – Sarah Russell

Merseyside – Jane Kennedy on 1st Pref

Northumbria – Vera Baird on 1st Pref

North Wales – Tal Michael on 1st Pref

Nottinghamshire – Paddy Tipping on 1st Pref

South Wales – Alun Michael on 1st Pref

South Yorkshire – Shaun Wright on 1st Pref

West Midlands – Bob Jones on 1st Pref

West Yorkshire – Mark Burns-Williamson on 1st Pref


Conservatives -14

Cambridgeshire – Sir Graham Bright

Devon and Cornwall – Tony Hogg

Essex – Nick Alston

Dorset – Nick King

Hampshire – Michael Mates

Hertfordshire – David Lloyd

Kent – Craig Mackinlay

Northamptonshire – Adam Simmonds

North Yorkshire – Julia Mulligan (no second preferences as only 2 candidates)

Surrey – Julie Iles on 1st Prefs

Sussex – Katy Bourne

Thames Valley – Anthony Stansfeld

West Mercia – Adrian Blackshaw on 1st prefs (just)

Wiltshire – Angus Macpherson


Way Too Close To Call (within 3% of each other) – 8

Avon and Somerset – Labour's John Savage slightly ahead

Bedfordshire – Labour's Olly Martins slightly ahead

Gloucestershire – Labour's Rupi Dhanda slightly ahead, unless the voters have been listening to her comments about refusing to police the badger cull

Lincolnshire – Conservative Richard Davies slightly ahead

Norfolk – Labour's Steve Morphew slightly ahead, but only because former-Conservative-turned-Independent Stephen Bett will split off some Conservative votes

Staffordshire – Labour's Joy Garner slightly ahead in this two-horse race

Suffolk – Conservative Tim Passmore slightly ahead

Warwickshire – Fraser Pithie slightly ahead

In this model Labour's total is 24, with 17 likely for the Conservatives, and many Labour candidates are elected on first preferences alone, suggesting the real election was in the early part of the year, when candidates in some areas were chosen.

The great unknown is the Independents. I don't personally see any Independents making it on their own, but there could be a national surge towards Independents. If that happens then, in my view, 4 in particular are worth watching, for different reasons – Martyn Underhill in Dorset, Ann Barnes in Kent, John Norrie in Northamptonshire and Ian Chisnall in Sussex.

That's my best guess – what's your's, and what would it mean?

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19 Responses to Reading the runes

  1. ianchisnall says:

    Hi Sam, its been a while since I responded to one of your blogs – you have been a constant throughout this 12 month long process and deserve to be listened to by many people interested in what went wrong. I genuinely hope you get to speak at many conferences in the months to come. I am honoured to be included within your shortlist of outside surprises and so thank you. On a personal note I hope to be one of the ‘spoilers’ and that you have understimated the outcome in terms of Independent results although my own hope was that 4-6 areas might go Independent so we might not be far apart. My own reflections at this stage are two fold. The first is that whilst no Government is about to launch another new experiment in democracy we can guess that lessons won’t be recorded, let alone learned in a way that will strengthen the cause of democracy. Secondly assuming this post is retained and irrespective of which areas might go Independent, unless there is a major upset in favour of Independents we can assume that next time around this will be seen as a Party Political contest by the parties and for which few Independents could hope to contend. We won’t even have the benefit of the Police Authority structure to develop new talent and provide a track record for candidates to offer up. Even amongst the parties it will be hard to see anyone other than a member of the PCP could articulate a claim to understand the role. Thirdly amongst those who have been paying attention to the discussions since the last general election and before (no matter how superficially), I suspect few will believe any Political Party ever again when it stands up and argues that we need to reinvigorate democracy and bring in new faces and talent. This is a major problem because although I don’t believe any of the parties individually have the potential to reinvigorate the democracy that we have so often trumpeted in other countries, they have all fallen on their priniciples in this contest. Every single party articulated a need for this not to be a party political arrangement (including Greens and UKIP), every one of them has chosen to fight the contests, not a single one has articulated a case for some form of level playing field for Independent candidates. Finally I reflect some anecdotal data here, but I have been heartened in responses from surprising quarters. Sussex is predominately Conservative and most of the comments have come from Conservative party members. I have been approached directly by lifelong voters from both the parties who sought me out to express their intention to vote for me and in some cases support my campaign with small kindnesses (such as offering to distribute my leaflets with their own party literature). This may reflect no more than a temporary aberration, but these are people who for the first time are voting against their party, at least with their first preference. If these anecdotes are reflected across the country I think the party political edifices have just developed a crack!

  2. ianchisnall says:

    Oh and I can’t count – before someone else spots it!

  3. chriswdrew says:

    Brave man!
    Using the same finely tuned predictive skills as yourself, I can confirm that you have called 33 of them right.
    Modesty and professional discreti

    • samchapman says:

      That’s 80% Chris – I feel I’ve done quite well. Now the question is, “Which ones?”

  4. Well done Sam – I admire your courage at making all these predictions! Have you placed a spreadbet – you could make a fortune! And generaly, thanks for all your blogging through out the campaign. Yours is an informative and most helpful blog – a source of good insight into the PCC elections. I still don’t understand why the Govt did not commission you to be the authorative source of info about all the candidates!

  5. Suzanne Hazelgrove says:

    From Wykehamist. Sam, you may be right but for the wrong reasons. Most people I have spoken to don’t know anything about the role or the candidates and consequently without any other information are voting on traditional party lines. The few people thinking about the election and looking at the candidates web sites have usually gone for the Independent. The government has effectively muted the independent candidates by not allowing manifestos to be distributed by post. A disgrace.

  6. Jon Collins says:

    Excellent attempt to predict the winners Sam. For what it’s worth, my personal view is that Gloucestershire should go Conservative based on past polling data, Bedfordshire is genuinely too close to call (but our maths has the Conservatives marginally ahead based on past data), Leicestershire is also in my too close to call column (though on past polling alone it should go to Labour), and Labour may have slightly more support that the Conservatives in Warwickshire. Think Norfolk should be Conservative, but good call on impact of Stephen Bett. Makes it very hard to predict. Other than that, I agree

    • samchapman says:

      We finally agree? My work here is done! Thanks for joining me in taking the risk of being wrong. My choice of ‘way too close to call’ reflects my belief that if I was strict about margins of error the ‘too close to call’ section would be too big for the ‘prediction’ to have any value or interest.

  7. Selina40 says:

    You seriously Labour are close in G’shire? No Lab votes at all in Cotswolds or Tewkesbury, very few in Cheltenham a bit in the Forest but way less than Tory and the Dhanda name in mud in Stroud and Gloucester. The only place they will get votes in Glos is Barton and Tredworth where they have done all their campaigning.
    My prediction is that Tory will win, Inde 2nd and close between Lib and Lab for 4th place.

    • samchapman says:

      Yes, serious, but have not been able to allow for differential turnout. With Rupi’s badger problem I hope you’re right.

  8. @CllrJonSHarvey and I have both been following events in the Thames Valley. Stansfeld’s (Con) camapign hasn’t been very well conducted in my view, while Cooper’s (UKIP) has. I think the Con vote could well suffer accordingly. I’m not confident enough to make any prediction, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the first-vote result is quite close between several of the candidates, with the second vote result anybody’s guess! But then again, the chances are that I’ll be completely wrong.

    • samchapman says:

      Yes, I wouldn’t use the term ‘confident’ either. These are what the available numbers show, but there’s a lot that isn’t available or is not shown.

    • Jon Collins says:

      Will be interesting to see if a good result for UKIP actually helps the Conservatives. If UKIP get their supporters out, but their candidate doesn’t get into the top two, many UKIP voters would be expected to give their second preferences to the Conservatives. So it could actually help them?

      • samchapman says:

        Depending on how many actually use their second preference. In Mayoral elections Ithink it was about half – pretty sure Thrasher had expectations as low as a third, and these will not necessarilly all go to one party.

  9. Richard Enderby says:

    Watch for LIncs Sam -one of your classic failures – David Bowles will win – you read it here first- from sunny Malta

  10. Still Sceptical says:

    I hope you are wrong about Kent – the Tory candidate here turned to negative campaigning in the last couple of days – hardly a fit and proper person.

  11. jibberino says:

    Really interesting read, thanks. I think the independent here is South Wales “Mike Baker” looks promising but it usually goes to Labour whatever the weather.

  12. Pingback: LED Lighting News » Blog Archive » Corby and police commissioner election results: Politics live blog

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