Sunday, 21 December 2014

IAIN DALES General Election Predictions 2: Norfolk

Originally posted here >>>

This is the second in a series of blogposts which will seek to predict the outcome of every seat in the run-up to the next general election. The notion of a universal swing in May 2015 can be totally discounted. Each seat has to be treated on its merits. I’m starting off by trying to analyse the counties I know best, but eventually will turn to ones I know very little about at all. Feel free to add your comments and tell me where you think I have got things wrong. I will return to update each county analysis when and if I get new information.
Seats: 9
Current State of the Parties: Con 7, LibDem 2
Predicted State of the Parties: Con 6, LibDem 1, Labour 2
2010 Result:
Conservative: 24338 (46.2%)
Labour: 7287 (13.8%)
Lib Dem: 17046 (32.4%)
BNP: 871 (1.7%)
Green: 752 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2382 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 7292 (13.8%)
Sitting MP: Keith Simpson (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative Hold
It would take an earthquake to shift Keith Simpson. The LibDems used to have pretensions here but the so-called ‘North Norfolk effect’ has so far not trickled south of Aylsham.
Great Yarmouth
2010 Result:
Conservative: 18571 (43.1%)
Labour: 14295 (33.2%)
Lib Dem: 6188 (14.4%)
BNP: 1421 (3.3%)
Green: 416 (1%)
UKIP: 2066 (4.8%)
Others: 100 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 4276 (9.9%)
Sitting MP: Brandon Lewis (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold
A genuine three way marginal, this seat ought to swing back to Labour if Ed Miliband is to win a majority. However, much of Labour’s vote has defected to UKIP and this seat is one of their top targets. In local government UKIP has won a swathe of seats on both the borough and county councils. As elsewhere, UKIP has had candidate troubles here and that may count against them. Brandon Lewis, who won the seat with a bigger than expected majority in 2010 and has been quite a high profile junior minister will do well to hang on here, but he may well just do it.
Mid Norfolk
2010 Result:
Conservative: 25123 (49.5%)
Labour: 8857 (17.4%)
Lib Dem: 11267 (22.2%)
BNP: 1261 (2.5%)
Green: 1457 (2.9%)
UKIP: 2800 (5.5%)
MAJORITY: 13856 (27.3%)
Sitting MP: George Freeman (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold
North Norfolk
2010 Result:
Conservative: 15928 (32.1%)
Labour: 2896 (5.8%)
Lib Dem: 27554 (55.5%)
Green: 508 (1%)
UKIP: 2680 (5.4%)
Independent: 95 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 11626 (23.4%)
Sitting MP: Norman Lamb (LibDem)
Prediction: LibDem hold
This was the scene of my electoral defenstration in 2005. Despite adverse boundary changes, which took Fakenham out of the seat, Lamb’s majority increased in 2010 to more than 11,000.. It will probably be cut this time, although UKIP is making a lot of inroads into the Tory vote. Labour has a very active candidate in Denise Burke and it is expected that she will start to build up the almost extinct Labour vote here, almost entirely at the expense of the LibDems.
Norwich North
2010 Result:
Conservative: 17280 (40.6%)
Labour: 13379 (31.4%)
Lib Dem: 7783 (18.3%)
BNP: 747 (1.8%)
Green: 1245 (2.9%)
UKIP: 1878 (4.4%)
Christian: 118 (0.3%)
Independent: 143 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 3901 (9.2%)
Sitting MP: Chloe Smith
Prediction: Labour gain
This is the seat where I cut my political teeth back in the mid 1980s. It hasn’t changed a lot since then, although there are quite a few new build housing estates. This is another seat which goes with the prevailing political wind. If Cameron wins a majority Chloe Smith will hold her seat. If he doesn’t she will face a very tough fight against the impressive Labour candidate Jessica Asato.
Norwich South
2010 Result:
Conservative: 10902 (22.9%)
Labour: 13650 (28.7%)
Lib Dem: 13960 (29.4%)
BNP: 697 (1.5%)
Green: 7095 (14.9%)
UKIP: 1145 (2.4%)
Others: 102 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 310 (0.7%)
Sitting MP: Simon Wright
Prediction: Labour gain
If there was one definite Labour gain at the election, this would be it. Much to his own surprise Wright won this from Charles Clarke 2010 and since then seems to have remained in a total state of bemusement. Having been Norman Lamb’s campaign manager, Wright knows all there is to know about the LibDem campaign manual for holding a seat once you’ve won it, but he seemed to give up on this seat almost from day 1. The Greens have pretensions here, but usually flatter to deceive in general elections. It’s conceivable that they could gain five percent from both the LibDems and Labour, but in reality it’s difficult to see anything other than a Labour gain.
North West Norfolk
2010 Result:
Conservative: 25916 (54.2%)
Labour: 6353 (13.3%)
Lib Dem: 11106 (23.2%)
BNP: 1839 (3.8%)
Green: 745 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1841 (3.9%)
MAJORITY: 14810 (31%)
Sitting MP: Henry Bellingham (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
This seat went Labour for a time under Tony Blair, but it returned to the Conservative fold in 2001 and Henry Bellingham has built a solid majority. This might well increase in May as UKIP slices into the Labour vote, although they might do the same to Bellingham.
South Norfolk
2010 Result:
Conservative: 27133 (49.3%)
Labour: 7252 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 16193 (29.4%)
BNP: 1086 (2%)
Green: 1000 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2329 (4.2%)
MAJORITY: 10940 (19.9%)
Sitting MP: Richard Bacon (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold*
The LibDems have done their best here in the past and have controlled one or two local councils, but they have never seriously threatened the Conservative majority, and certainly won’t do this time.
South West Norfolk
2010 Result:
Conservative: 23753 (48.3%)
Labour: 9119 (18.6%)
Lib Dem: 10613 (21.6%)
BNP: 1774 (3.6%)
Green: 830 (1.7%)
UKIP: 3061 (6.2%)
MAJORITY: 13140 (26.7%)
Sitting MP: Liz Truss (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
Of all the so-called safe Conservative seats in Norfolk, this one that is most volatile. It has seen a huge demographic change in the last 20 years. It almost went Labour in 1997 but Gillian Shephard just held on. UKIP have got a foothold here, but no one quite knows where their vote might come from.
Coming Next: Suffolk

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