Referendum turnout and ward trends

Some anaylsis it seems on how supporters of various parties have voted in the referendum.
But not so much on turnout, generally reported as being high (72.2%), and the highest national vote since the General Election of 1992.
In Nottingham, postal vote turnout was 84.3%, yet overall turnout was low, at 61.8%.
Now, it may be that the referendum coming just after many university students have gone to new jobs or to their other homes, could explain a lot.
But given the emphasis on how there are huge numbers who would vote for an alternate politics, there has to be a question mark over that assertion.

Meanwhile, what drives the voting?
The national campaigns yes; and the pattern of results then reflects a number of sociological trends.  Crudely speaking, in Nottingham, wards dominted by the council housing estates of the 20’s/30’s and of the ’70s voted LEAVE; the wards with more older housing, or by university living, or more metropolitan living, voted REMAIN.
After that, local activity can make a difference, and does, and in the New Meadows, did.

13529205_1330269360326834_5665592945932092117_nReturning to the national result, could Jeremy Corbyn, with better campaigning have changed the result?
I did, too often, have to explain on the doorstep that Jeremy was voting REMAIN, and in the end, isn’t that the real criticism?
In a major test – a decision for the future of the country – in which the choice was limited to one of two options, too many of the voters didn’t understand what his position was.

Could it have switched 635,000 voters?  Or won an extra 1,270,000 voters? Or the right mix of both?
Whatever, the notion that Jeremy would be a catalyst to the non-voters can no longer seem significant.

Michael Edwards is common

Screenshot (341)b0513h Labour Michael Edwards name matches
Michael Edwards is common and you already knew that – why otherwise would the website be addressed as MichaelMEdwards.wordpress – cos who cares about the middle M?
That the name is so common is confirmed by a little routine the Labour Party put together to allow people to check they are on the electoral register and launched on national registration day – geared up to get more people to register to vote.
Turns out there are more Michael Edwards’ than the average home attendance of AFC Telford – get in..

Individual Electoral Registration (IER)

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Register to vote in Nottingham.

Nottingham City Council published its first Individual Electoral Registration (IER) register on 1 December.

There are now 191,378 electors on the register compared to the 204,407 at 1 February (the last register under the old household registration system) – an overall fall in electorate of 13,029. About 12,500 of this 13,029 are students whom we removed from the register as no longer resident in halls.
(However, a re-calculation has just been circulated, so these figures will now be revised.)

Generally the electorate figures in the City are stable and details, by polling district, are attached in a spreadsheet. In most residential areas the impact of IER has been minimal and where the electorate has fallen this is mainly attributable to the absence of student registrations – the polling districts with significant drop in electors are predominantly student areas or areas with high rise flats with key pad entry where the council can’t get access to canvass and/or where there is a high turnover of tenants /residents (students or private renters) who probably did not match with DWP records anyway.

Bridge wards figures are stable too – up 53 voters.
But the number of voids is phenomenal.
And whilst there is some planned demolition that might explain a part of it, around half of the city centre properties are down as void, and properties in Castle Marina and along Queens Road may also be contributing to high voids.
(I will ask some more questions.)

Ed Miliband has expressed concern.
The Guardian has expressed its surprise as the complacency over the fall in numbers. They highlight a bigger concern of millions more missing anyway.

Being British

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After years of watching by-election result nights, I’m still amazed when people buy into the melodrama.
As if the punditry on the TV before the results are in is not tedious enough.
The key requirement is to win when you’re expected to have a reasonable chance of winning.
And Labour did that last night.
It was a much reduced majority share. So don’t then tell a new MP, in their very first words as an elected representative, to tell the world on TV what a marvellous vindication it all is, especially of the leader of the party, even if your share of the vote has gone up.
It is true that in Heywood & Middleton, people will have voted UKIP as a protest, expecting to go back to normal voting at the General Election. I found the same in a post election survey in 2010, when I spoke to South Derbyshire people who had voted Labour in the General Election, but voted BNP at the 2009 county and European elections. It’s a practice political activists abhor, although the media encourage it.
The one significant change to future dialogue from these by-elections is now that if any MP changes political party, they will now have to explore whether they intend to resign their seat to re-contest it under their new colours.
Yes, Labour does have to think about what’s working and what isn’t. (You always do.) But saying you’ll listen, or that you’ll work harder, ain’t the way to make people think you’re thinking. A Guardian journalist has been quite critical about this.
As for UKIP, they now think it’s OK for people to be frightened about who their neighbour might be, or of people who speak a foreign language in your carriage on a train, and now, to be worried about people coming to work here who are HIV positive. I don’t see what is so British about being so easily frightened. And I don’t see what is so radical about this kind of hate.

Arguments against votes at 16

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At an event to promote voter registration amongst young people, and a topic for debate is introduced – votes at 16. And the young people are largely against. Despair!
I employ the EMA and bedroom tax arguments, but to no avail.
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The arguments against are shown in the diagram (held triumphantly behind me), including
– fear of influence (despite them not being influenced) and
– not being ready (despite being good at debate).

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But I still support votes at 16 – see – http://www.votesat16.org/

In very simple terms, bedroom tax was exempted for pensioners cos the pension vote turns out (71%).
Education Maintenance Allowance was withdrawn, knowing that turnout of 18-24 year old is 47%, and 16-18 year olds, the most affected, don’t have the vote.
Perceptions of voters’ responses shapes policy decisions.

Participants were tasked with listing the arguments against and maybe the reference to lack of issues affecting the age group was a debating point, but the number of issues is pretty extensive. They maybe our best educated generation, but they also face the most daunting set of challenges in modern times.

The voter registration event was organised by the National Citizens Service and Nottingham City Council, and I was pleased to meet two residents from Bridge ward.
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