Predicting Green gains in Preston Park and Hollingdean & Stanmer in May’s local elections

Yesterday Luke Walter made some really interesting observations about changing demographics in areas outside the town centre (see yesterday’s post).  He noted that Green supporters from the town centre wards are moving to more outlying areas which could result in electoral gains for the Greens in areas such as Hollingdean and Stanmer.  (For the record, Luke is standing in Hollingdean and Stanmer for the Greens). 

As you would expect, Labour activists have responded.  Dan Wilson, the thoughtful Labour candidate in Regency ward has written: “I don’t disagree with Luke’s view of how Brighton and Hove is changing. But I would note that his critique of change relies on Labour being in govt. I think a coalition at Westminster combined with a Tory council locally is a salient difference on the doorstep in 2011. It’s a precarious situation out there. Clear anti-Tory sentiment, I sense a lack of clarity of where the Liberal support will land, massive numbers of Green/Labour switchers. And who knows what they will do. Good canvassing for us lately but proving hard to crystallise the Labour vote as ever but it is so different from a year ago and the run up to the General Election. I am quite surprised the Greens aren’t doing more to protect their flank.”

My prediction is that the Green vote in Brighton Pavilion will harden, resulting in comfortable Green wins in St Peters and North Laine, Hanover and Elm Grove, and Regency.  I also think that the Greens will pick up at least one extra seat in Preston Park in addition to the one already held by Amy Kennedy.

Hollingdean and Stanmer is harder to predict, but in each election where a party has momentum unexpected results are achieved (as with Amy Kennedy in Preston Park last time). I suspect that H&S will be the ‘breakthrough ward’ for the Greens this time, defeating established Labour councillors.  I have previously said that ousting Labour’s Jeane Lepper is the big ask, and I doubt whether all the factors are there for this to happen.  She will survive because of Labour’s relative strengthening in the polls but more importantly (and this is why I single her out) her reputation in the ward which others underestimate. I think H&S result will go 2 Green and Jeane Lepper.

The Greens may well strengthen their position in Patcham and even Westdene, but I doubt whether they will run the sitting Tories even close.

So in Brighton Pavilion, my prediction is the Greens returning 12 councillors, the Tories 6 and Labour 2.

  • Hanover and Elm Grove: 3 Greens
  • Hollingean and Stanmer: 2 Greens and 1 Labour
  • Patcham: 3 Conservatives
  • Preston Park: 2 Greens and 1 Labour
  • Regency: 2 Greens
  • St Peters and North Laine: 3 Greens
  • Westdene: 3 Conservatives

In the next couple of days I will share my predictions for Hove and Brighton Kemptown (including a sensational prediction for Rottingdean Coastal!).

16 Responses

  1. Why was Amy Kennedy’s result in Preston Park in 2007 “unexpected”? The Green’s had won a seat in 2003 with Richard Mallender, who I think then went off to be a councillor elsewhere.

    The unexpected thing at that point was that unlike in other wards previously where they had established a foothold, the Greens did not go on to win all three seats. In fact the other two Green candidates (including the then serving councillor Simon Williams who moved a la Sven Rufus) finished a good four to five hundred votes behind.

    Amy Kennedy (green) was top on 1633
    Juliet McCaffery (Labour) was 3 votes behind on 1630
    Kevin Allen (Labour) was third on 1474
    Nick Jarvis (Labour) was fourth on 1324
    Simon Williams (Green) was fifth on 1185
    The third Green candidate finished behind an independent on just over 1000, with all three Tories in the 700s and the Lib Dems way back on 300/450/250 or so – not really enough LD votes to boost the Greens by the 300-500 needed even if all switched.

    The Greens switched candidates at the last minute, including I think one who is running there this time around, in a dispute over ballot priority.

    The sitting Labour councillors were (and are) popular and had taklen a high profile stand on schools admissions.

    As for Hollingdean and Stanmer, the Greens have to pick up around 400 to 500 votes just to draw level with the two lower placed Labour councillors, assuming zero increase in the Labour vote between 2007 and now. That’s pretty much doubling the Green vote even if the Labour vote does not increase by 10% as it has done in almost every by-election recently. Again there were only 200-300 Lib Dem votes in 2007 to plunder now.

    If it was a by-election under a Labour government – as with Goldsmid in 2009 – it would be do-able. In citywide elections with Labour well ahead in the polls and the Tories in power locally and nationally, it’s a much tougher ask.

    • Mr Morgan, forgets there might be a rise in turnout, but like the rest of this, that is just guess work as there might not be too

  2. Putting Labour on two seats in Pavilion (when at 44 per cent in the polls) shows this is a worthless exercise.

  3. I’m getting pretty board of all the extreme elections nerdiness at the moment but I feel i should make some counter argruments to Warren Morgan’s.

    1. Greens won their first council seat in Brighton and Hove when Labour were at their strongest nationally in 1996. So we can see that Brighton is different to what happens nationally.

    2. The Caroline affect!

    3. Labour have lied to people too many times with their Vote labour or the Tories get in scare stories.

    4. A lot changes in 4 years between local elections. You can easily make arguments for why election results from 4 years ago are not very relevent.

    • 1. True, I’ll give you that one. But Greens have won elsewhere (eg Lewisham) and lost seats later.

      2. Not always a good thing, some will inevitably be disillusioned or dissatisfied, happens with all MPs and all parties.

      3. Haven’t used that argument at all – I accept that Labour and the Greens are fighting for mostly the same anti-Tory vote, and the Tories are “in” locally in terms of council control and nationally. I agree it doesn’t hold much weight given the number of Green cllrs and the fact there is a Green MP but…

      4. My argument entirely, these elections are being fought under entirely different circumstances to the 2005 General, the 2007 locals, the 2009 Europeans or the 2010 General.

      Nerdiness? I though that is what this site was all about…

      • Yes it is definately what this site is all about! It is quite fun in some ways 🙂

        I can’t belive there are so many of us election nerds around really!

  4. I think the prediction is pretty much spot on. I think the Greens will gain in Hollingdean & Stanmer on their shear work rate alone. They are heavily canvassing the ward, and as I understand, gaining positive feedback.
    I think a problem Labour has locally is that the Greens are now seen as established and credible. This means that although Labour is not in government, their local popularity, as a result of any national unrest, may not automatically transfer into votes coming their way. I think Labour stand a real chance of winning all or some of their Queens Park seats back but elsewhere it’s looking good for the Greens.

  5. Also, Warren forgets that the Green vote across Pavilion has increased since both the 2005 General Election and the 2007 local election.

    In fact, the Greens gained an extra 7000 votes in Pavilion from the 2005 GE. These 7000 have to live somewhere, do they not?

  6. Rottingdean is one thing, but there is also Billy Wilder’s view of the local election to consider.

  7. the big guns are starting to show up – Simon Hughes spotted in Brunswick on Saturday

  8. Off topic a bit and returning to the subject of websites, has anyone seen the new Tory one?

    Much of it seems to be in Latin, and it lists ALL their candidates as councillors.

    Vultus , quis a screw sursum…

  9. warren morgans post about the conservatives website and education made me laugh out loud – who says politicians don’t have a good sense of humour

    yours promoting a less tribal politics

    green party member

  10. The amazing thing is what Warren says about the conservative website is so bizarre but i believe it because its the sort of thing the Tories would actually do!

    Last year when SussexTory appeared on Twitter they started off with a picture of Thatcher as their profile pic (but were swiftly advised to take it down by Charlotte Vere) then they changed it to a picture of a knight slaying a dragon!

    Tories can be quite bonkers.

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