Tactical VotingMy thought process was one of:

  • Is it true?
  • What’s the provenance of it?
  • How could I work on the underlying data?

The last one was the easy bit, given that after the 2014 elections I had captured every single English ward’s results into one workbook. I set to on my data, as follows:

  • I excluded seats where either Labour, Conservative or UKIP didn’t stand.
  • Then I took out those where another party, usually an Independent, had won
  • I removed the 164 seats UKIP had actually won.

This left me with 2293 seats where all three stood and either Labour or Conservative won.

The next question was “how many such tactical voters would it have taken to have a noticeable impact”. Here’s the answer, with me trying out different levels of tactical voting from 20% to 100% (the latter just for illustrative purposes). The results will astound you, as below:

% Lab-Con or Con-Lab Switching Tactical Voters Additional UKIP Seats
20% 581
25% 618
33% 691
50% 838
100% 1273

If only 20% of the losing major party voters (Labour or Conservative) had voted UKIP, then we would have increased the number of UKIP seats by 350%.

So, as those of you who are canvassing work the doorsteps keep that thought in your head. If you’re in a Tory seat and encounter a Labour voter, put the idea into their head of tactical voting to keep the Tory out: and vice versa in Labour areas. Do your own research for each ward. Work out exactly what percentage of losing legacy party voters you need to capture, and that’s your target.

Good Hunting!

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