Saturday, 27 December 2014

Iain Dales General Election Predictions 8: Kent

Originally posted here >>>

Seats: 17

Current Political Makeup: Con 16 UKIP 1

Predicted Political Makeup after May 7: Con16 UKIP 1

1. Ashford
2010 Result:
Conservative: 29878 (54.1%)
Labour: 9204 (16.7%)
Lib Dem: 12581 (22.8%)
Green: 1014 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2508 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 17297 (31.3%)
Sitting MP: Damian Green (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold
Safe as houses for Damian Green.
2. Canterbury
2010 Result:
Conservative: 22050 (44.8%)
Labour: 7940 (16.1%)
Lib Dem: 16002 (32.5%)
Green: 1137 (2.3%)
UKIP: 1907 (3.9%)
Others: 173 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 6048 (12.3%)
Sitting MP: Julian Brazier (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority
A high LibDem vote in 2010 may well fragment to Labour, giving Julian Brazier a higher majority.
3. Chatham & Aylesford
2010 Result:
Conservative: 20230 (46.2%)
Labour: 14161 (32.3%)
Lib Dem: 5832 (13.3%)
BNP: 1365 (3.1%)
Green: 396 (0.9%)
UKIP: 1314 (3%)
English Dem: 400 (0.9%)
Christian: 109 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 6069 (13.9%)
Sitting MP: Tracey Crouch (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
By rights this seat ought to return to Labour if the Tories are in trouble next May. If Jonathan Shaw had stood again, Tracey Crouch may have been in difficulties, but she is blessed with a hapless Labour opponent who is not just called Tristan, but Osborne too. But she has proved to be a powerful constituency MP and has built up a strong personal following. In addition there isn’t a huge LibDem vote to crumble to Labour and UKIP haven’t got much of a presence. I’d be astonished if this was anything other than a Tory hold.
4. Dartford
2010 Result:
Conservative: 24428 (48.8%)
Labour: 13800 (27.6%)
Lib Dem: 7361 (14.7%)
UKIP: 1842 (3.7%)
English Dem: 2178 (4.3%)
Independent: 264 (0.5%)
Others: 207 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 10628 (21.2%)
Sitting MP: Gareth Johnson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
Labour held this seat from 1997 to 2010 but Gareth Johnson achieved a huge swing in 2010, turning a narrow Labour majority of a few hundred into a Tory majority of more than 10,000. That might be eaten into somewhat in May, but I doubt very much whether Labour has any real chance of winning the seat back.
5. Dover
2010 Result:
Conservative: 22174 (44%)
Labour: 16900 (33.5%)
Lib Dem: 7962 (15.8%)
BNP: 1104 (2.2%)
UKIP: 1747 (3.5%)
English Dem: 216 (0.4%)
Independent: 82 (0.2%)
Others: 200 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 5274 (10.5%)
Sitting MP: Charlie Elphicke (Con)
Prediction: Narrow Conservative hold
Dover is quite a volatile seat. It was held by Labour between 1997 and 2010 and Charlie Elphicke did well to win it back for the Tories with such a good majority. He’s been a doughty defender of Dover and had quite a high media profile. Although Labour requires quite a high swing here, they may be aided by UKIP. They haven’t been very strong in Dover up until now, but they may benefit here from the Farage effect in South Thanet. The question is, will they take more votes off the Tories than Labour? I predict a narrow Tory hold.
6. Faversham & Mid Kent
2010 Result:
Conservative: 26250 (56.2%)
Labour: 7748 (16.6%)
Lib Dem: 9162 (19.6%)
Green: 890 (1.9%)
UKIP: 1722 (3.7%)
Others: 940 (2%)
MAJORITY: 17088 (36.6%)
Sitting MP: Hugh Robertson (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold
Safe as houses.
7. Folkestone & Hythe
2010 Result:
Conservative: 26109 (49.4%)
Labour: 5719 (10.8%)
Lib Dem: 15987 (30.3%)
BNP: 1662 (3.1%)
Green: 637 (1.2%)
UKIP: 2439 (4.6%)
Independent: 247 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 10122 (19.2%)
Sitting MP: Damian Collins (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority
At the last three elections the LibDems have tried to persuade the media that they had a serious chance of winning this seat. It was total bollocks of course. This time UKIp are trying the same trick. And it’s still bollocks. Damian Collins will get an increased majority here.
8. Gillingham & Rainham
2010 Result:
Conservative: 21624 (46.2%)
Labour: 12944 (27.7%)
Lib Dem: 8484 (18.1%)
BNP: 1149 (2.5%)
Green: 356 (0.8%)
UKIP: 1515 (3.2%)
English Dem: 464 (1%)
Others: 250 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 8680 (18.6%)
Sitting MP: Rehman Chishti (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
A stupendous result for the Tories here in 2010, ousting the popular Labour MP Paul Clark with a massive swing. The only fly in the Tory ointment here is UKIP, who may well benefit from a Rochester effect, with Nigel Farage. But it would be a major shock if Chishti didn’t pull it off again.
9. Gravesham
2010 Result:
Conservative: 22956 (48.5%)
Labour: 13644 (28.8%)
Lib Dem: 6293 (13.3%)
Green: 675 (1.4%)
UKIP: 2265 (4.8%)
English Dem: 1005 (2.1%)
Independent: 465 (1%)
MAJORITY: 9312 (19.7%)
Sitting MP: Adam Holloway (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
Another Medway seat which has traditionally been seen as a bellweather. held by Jacques Arnold in the Thatcher/Major years, it was held by Labour with 5,000 majorities in 1997 and 2001. Adam Holloway won it in 2005 with a majority of a few hundred, but absolutely thrashed Labour in 2010. Will it be different in 2015? It would be a brave person who would bet that Labour could win here in May.

10. Maidstone & The Weald
2010 Result:
Conservative: 23491 (48%)
Labour: 4769 (9.7%)
Lib Dem: 17602 (36%)
Green: 655 (1.3%)
UKIP: 1637 (3.3%)
Christian: 131 (0.3%)
Others: 643 (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 5889 (12%)
Sitting MP: Helen Grant (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
As in Folkestone & Hythe, the LibDems have always had high hopes in this seat. Ann Widdecombe kept them at bay even though they have consistently done well in local elections. In parliamentary elections in this seat they’ve never managed to break through. If they couldn’t do it in 2010 it’s difficult to see how they will now. Having said that, they have a hard working candidate in Jasper Gerard and Widdecombe’s successor Helen Grant is said to be unpopular with her local party as well as being a rather invisible sports minister. Despite that, it would be unbelievable if she contrived to lose this seat. The truth is that if this seat behaves like others, her majority could actually increase.
11. North Thanet
2010 Result:
Conservative: 22826 (52.7%)
Labour: 9298 (21.5%)
Lib Dem: 8400 (19.4%)
UKIP: 2819 (6.5%)
MAJORITY: 13528 (31.2%)
Sitting MP: Sir Roger Gale (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
Safe as safe can be, with a split opposition. Even a north Kent UKIP surge is unlikely to affect the result in any serious way.
12. Rochester & Strood
2010 Result:
Conservative: 23604 (49.2%)
Labour: 13651 (28.5%)
Lib Dem: 7800 (16.3%)
Green: 734 (1.5%)
English Dem: 2182 (4.5%)
MAJORITY: 9953 (20.7%)
UKIP: 16,867 (42.1%)
Conservative: 13,947 (34.8%)
Labour 6,713: (16.8%)
Green 1,692: (4.2%)
LibDem 349: (0.9%
Others 497: (1.3%)
MAJORITY: 2,920 (7.3%)
Sitting MP: Mark Reckless (UKIP)
Prediction: Conservative gain
It was a fantastic achievement for UKIP to win this seat in the by-election. The question is, can they retain it at the general election? This depends on a number of factors, not least whether the voters UKIP took from Labour will return to their natural home. If they do, Mark Reckless is stuffed. Much may depend on turnout too. A high turnout will help Reckless. The Conservatives will put in a lot of effort into this seat and if they win it back the cheers will be heard far beyond Rochester or Strood. My guess is that there will be a lot of cheering.
13. Sevenoaks
2010 Result:
Conservative: 28076 (56.8%)
Labour: 6541 (13.2%)
Lib Dem: 10561 (21.4%)
BNP: 1384 (2.8%)
UKIP: 1782 (3.6%)
English Dem: 806 (1.6%)
Independent: 258 (0.5%)
MAJORITY: 17515 (35.4%)
Sitting MP: Michael Fallon (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold
An increased majority for Michael Fallon, methinks.
14. Sittingbourne & Sheppey
2010 Result:
Conservative: 24313 (50%)
Labour: 11930 (24.6%)
Lib Dem: 7943 (16.4%)
BNP: 1305 (2.7%)
UKIP: 2610 (5.4%)
Independent: 158 (0.3%)
Others: 319 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 12383 (25.5%)
Sitting MP: Gordon Henderson (Con)
Prediction: Conservative hold
A Labour seat throughout the Blair/Brown years, Gordon Henderson won it in 2010 with a massive swing, akin to those in neighbouring seats. I can’t see any of these Medway and North Kent seats returning to the Labour fold unless Ed Miliband wins a substantial majority throughout the country.
15. South Thanet
2010 Result:
Conservative: 22043 (48%)
Labour: 14426 (31.4%)
Lib Dem: 6935 (15.1%)
UKIP: 2529 (5.5%)
MAJORITY: 7617 (16.6%)
Sitting MP: Laura Sandys (Con)
Prediction: UKIP gain
Laura Sandys is standing down after only one term. People interpreted this move as being ‘frit’ by Nigel Farage’s UKIP candidacy. Not true. However, as a popular local MP, it’s certainly not helped the Conservative cause. She has been replaced by Craig Mackinlay, a former UKIP deputy leader, but better known for his failure to beat the hapless Ann Barnes in the Kent Police & Crime Commissioner election. Constituency polling, which is notoriously unreliable, puts Nigel Farage behind, but the UKIP campaigning machine will be deployed. The question is whether the candidate, Nigel Farage himself, is able to put in the time needed to win the seat. He’ll have to. Even then, victory won’t be assured. This is the seat that every single media organisation will be represented at on election night. It has the potential to change the very nature of British politics. No one can be sure what will happen here, and I openly admit that my prediction is based on nothing more than thirty years of observing these things and my own political instinct. And that’s been wring before, as those who heard me threatening to run down Whitehall naked if the LibDems got 57 seats in 2010 will testify to!
16. Tonbridge & Malling
2010 Result:
Conservative: 29723 (57.9%)
Labour: 6476 (12.6%)
Lib Dem: 11545 (22.5%)
Green: 764 (1.5%)
UKIP: 1911 (3.7%)
English Dem: 390 (0.8%)
Others: 505 (1%)
MAJORITY: 18178 (35.4%)
Sitting MP: Sir John Stanley (Con)
Prediction: Definite Conservative hold
One of the safest seats in the country. And this won’t be changed by the fact that Sir John Stanley is standing down.
17. Tunbridge Wells
2010 Result:
Conservative: 28302 (56.2%)
Labour: 5448 (10.8%)
Lib Dem: 12726 (25.3%)
BNP: 704 (1.4%)
Green: 914 (1.8%)
UKIP: 2054 (4.1%)
Independent: 172 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 15576 (31%)
Sitting MP: Greg Clark (Con)
Prediction: Increased Conservative majority
A decline in the LibDem vote should see Greg Clark home with a majority of not far short of 20,000. This is assuming UKIP don’t filch votes from the Tories. They had made a breakthrough here on the local council, but the 2014 results were a disappointment for Nigel Farage.
Coming next: East Sussex

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