I don't know about you but I always have doubts about the professional companies who produce the election polls. I often wonder who they ask because I have certainly never been approached and apparently never have any of my friends of family.
I therefore decided just for a bit of fun to see if the most recent 2009 local By Elections have produced any kind of evidence on which to hang our hats. I therefore produced a spreadsheet and fed in all the results. The results themselves were not surprising but when they are analysed for trends then there are some significant examples.
To begin with turnover is risible. The Westminster politicians with their history of sleaze and dishonesty has switched off the electorate to such an extent that on average only some 28% of the electorate thinks that it is worth turning out. Now I realise that these elections are comparatively minor but 28% is shocking for a so called western democracy.
Significantly when the BNP field a candidate the turnover rises on average by almost 5% which could be interpreted either that people are turning out to vote against them or it is more likely that the BNP candidate has been welcomed in many areas as a viable alternative to Westminster politics.
The other minority parties are irrelevant according to this survey. UKIP field few candidates and get only a smattering of votes whilst the Greens are virtually ignored outside of London.
So what about the Westminster three? Here are the bare totals of the votes which they have gathered so far this year:-
Lib Dems 13819
Independents 1917 (This is a total of all kinds of independent)
So on the face of it no real surprises but the bare figures only tell part of the story. For example the Westminster three fielded candidates in 26-31 of the 32 elections but the BNP and the Greens only fielded candidates in 10 elections. If one calculates an average poll for each party by dividing their total votes polled by the number of elections attended then suddenly things close up considerably.
In this respect the results are a follows:-
NoLab 611 24.15%
Conservatives 595 23.51%
LibDem 512 20.24%
BNP 409 16.17%
Green 163 06.44%
Independents 174 06.90%
UKIP 66 02.60%
So much closer eh? But there is more; the bulk of the NoLab vote comes from the poor immigrant areas in London where they poll amazingly well. If we subtract their London votes then they barely finish in front of the LibDems and the Tories have a substantial lead. Outside of London they still poll well in their traditional heartlands but they are getting almost wiped out in the rural areas or the better class urban areas.
This year the BNP have obviously cherry picked their elections but if they can field more candidates for example in the European Elections this summer it is obvious that they are not far off from making a significant impact.
I am aware that there are lies damned lies and statistics but I think that this is much closer to the truth than the professional polls are showing because it has been done without prejudice. Time will tell!