Friday, 1 May 2015

Parliamentary elections in East Devon: the final week's campaign suggests "it could come down to just a few hundred votes"

The Express & Echo ran a piece mid-week on the state of play among the parliamentary candidates:
Futures Forum: Election hustings in East Devon - a roundup

This is its piece from today:

Could the East Devon Constituency go down to the wire? Three candidates say they could win

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: April 30, 2015

Hugo Swire is defending his East Devon Seat for the Conservatives

With just days to go to the General Election Hugo Swire is quietly confident of being re-elected as the Conservative MP for East Devon.

But speaking to the Express and Echo he said he was taking nothing for granted: “The campaign’s going well and people are really beginning to engage with the issues as the election gets closer. It has been a long campaign, longer than usual. I’ve been out and about meeting people and the thing I’ve heard a lot on the doorstep is that the Lib Dems could be in a spot of trouble. Where will their vote go?”

He said there had been a dynamic change for UKIP as their supporters were scared there could be a Labour-SNP Government and the only way to prevent that would be to vote Conservative. Speaking about his other opponents he complimented Labour’s Steve Race for doing well, but thought the political group East Devon Alliance with their Independent candidate Claire Wright had stirred up expectations over planning issues and had indulged in hype and PR.

Whether it is hype or over confidence, the Independent Claire Wright feels she is in with a chance of winning. She said: “I know that it is possible to win and I am receiving really positive feedback on the doorstep. This final week will be crucial.”

The West Hill resident said she had over 250 supporters delivering leaflets, and had raised more than £13,000 raised in crowd funding. She added: “It feels as though there is a huge momentum behind my campaign and I am now listed as the main challenger to the Conservative candidate, by ten national bookies.”

Stuart Mole for the Liberal Democrats also feels his party is doing well. He said: “One of the most encouraging aspects of this election has been the return of public hustings. Voters seemed to have tuned out from the relentless and numbing national media coverage of the general election and instead are using the internet and personal meetings with the candidates to make their choice. This is a welcome development, but it is also one which allows the Liberal Democrats to get a good hearing on the difficult choices we have had to make. I remain upbeat about the result and believe we have a lot of good support.”

Despite being a rank outsider it is generally felt that Steve Race for Labour has had a good campaign. He said: “Although there are seven days left until polling day, people are already voting in their thousands by post. My campaign has always been based around thousands of doorstep conversations, listening to what ordinary people have to say about the direction of our communities and country, and what we could do better. I've enjoyed meeting people from all walks of life while out and about, and also at the numerous hustings that we've all attended.”

Also in the running is Andrew Chapman for UKIP who has not ruled out the possibility of winning the seat believing it could come down to just a few hundred votes. He said: “This will be a vote for whether we are ruled by Brussels or by Westminster, and some people still haven’t taken the importance of this vote seriously.”

The polls open on Thursday, May 7, from 7am-10pm.

Could the East Devon Constituency go down to the wire? Three candidates say they could win | Exeter Express and Echo

There has been plenty of campaigning this last week:

London School of Economics make bold predictions over who will win in Exeter and East Devon elections

By Exeter Express and Echo | Posted: April 14, 2015

The Liberal Democrats won’t be wiped out but they will lose half of their MPs. That’s the dramatic conclusion of a study made of the South West’s parliamentary constituencies at the election in May.

Entering the world of crystal ball gazing the London School of Economics (LSE) predict that the Conservatives will come out on top with gains from Labour and the Lib Dems.

They say in their report: “Our current prediction is that the Lib Dems will lose just over half of their current seats, leaving them with only seven. We predict seven seats will swing from the Lib Dems to the Conservatives including Chippenham, Mid Dorset and North Poole, North Devon and St Austell and Newquay, and 1 to Labour in Bristol. We also predict two Conservative-to-Labour swings in Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport, and Stroud.”

However the LSE think that the Lib Dems may hang onto Paddy Ashdown’s old seat in Yeovil, and Ben Bradshaw will hold on for Labour in Exeter. But Independent Claire Wright won’t take East Devon and the Greens and UKIP won’t win any seat although Nigel Farage’s party may come second in Christchurch.

Despite their research into the various make-ups of the constituencies the boffins at the LSE are doing what everyone else is doing: guessing.

The BBC Poll Tracker has the Conservatives and Labour neck and neck on 34 percent suggesting there will be no change between the Tories and Ed Miliband’s party. That doesn’t take into account the affect the smaller parties will have. If the Lib Dems’ vote collapses as suggested by the Beeb to under 10 percent then there could be a number of very unpredictable results. The Plymouth seats may stay Labour if they were to pick up the former Liberal Democrat voters and UKIP votes may prevent the Conservatives from sweeping up all seven Lib Dem seats.

Survation have Labour ahead of the Conservatives, while ComRes have the Tories in the lead. When it comes to predictions, you pays your money and you takes your choice.

London School of Economics make bold predictions over who will win in Exeter and East Devon elections | Exeter Express and Echo

No comments: