Northampton South's Conservative MP could lose seat to Labour if current polling remains consistent

The site successfully predicted the result of 2019's general election by using demographics as well as voting intentions

By Max Pearson
Friday, 21st January 2022, 5:29 pm

Recent forecasts by vote predictor ElectoralCalculus have suggested that Andrew Lewer, MP for Northampton South, could lose his seat to Labour if current polling holds until the next election.

According to current voting data from YouGov/ The Times Voting Intentions January 13-14, the Conservative seat would currently swing red at a ratio of 51.1 percent Labour and just 31.3 percent Tory.

According to the site, each seat prediction is not based on national polls alone, but also uses more advanced techniques of statistical analysis to estimate how groups, (like men or women, and age ranges) are likely to vote.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Like any polling data it has to be taken in context and with the expectation that it can change

These estimates are then applied to each seat individually, using the demographic make-up of each seat.

In response to the figures, Mr Lewer suggested that the poll is very short-term and not indicative of the longer-term health of either his seat or the Conservative Party as a whole. He did, however, say that controversy surrounding the Number 10 parties has hurt Tory approval ratings.

The MP said: "I do not normally take much heed of polls. Famously Harold Wilson said that a week is a long time in politics and we are probably two years from a General Election.

"I would thus distinguish political polling and voting speculation from the current situation: The seriousness of which and the hurt it is causing are very real.

"Many of the e-mails I have received about No.10 parties related times when people saw crucial moments in their lives such as visiting loved ones, sometimes the terminally ill, and attending funerals and weddings curtailed, compromised or prevented in distressing ways.

"This is, therefore, in no sense a small or a 'Westminster bubble' matter."

Opposition councillors also took the result on balance. However, they said that some voters are turning away from the Conservative party for more than just the shorter-term drama brought on by Downing Street.

Councillor Emma Roberts, Deputy Leader of West Northamptonshire's Labour Group, said: "We have to take opinion polls with a pinch of salt particularly when they are showing 30 point swings.

"The constituents that I’ve spoken to, who vote Tory or leant them their vote in 2019, are rightly very angry with what is going on with the Conservative Party and our MPs at the moment.

"I think it’s not only the parties that are massively on people's minds at the moment but also the dishonesty and lying that has come with it.

"As a country we were all isolating, missing important moments with loved ones and depriving ourselves of the stuff that realistically we cherish the most in our day to day lives in order to protect each other. Meanwhile the Prime Minister was breaking the very rules he created.

"The effect this has is corrosive to our political system and is not helped by our absent Northampton MPs."

Martin Baxter, founder and CEO of ElectoralCalculus, claimed that his site achieved the most accurate prediction out of anyone for the 2019 general election, putting the Tory majority at 361 when it landed just four seats more at 365.

The founder named Northampton South as a useful seat to indicate the voting trends of the entire UK going forward, with new data being enterable at any time on his website.

He said: "Northampton South is interesting because it is a good example of a classic bellwether seat. In 2019, the Conservatives lead over Labour was 11 percent, which was was very similar to the national lead of the Conservatives over Labour.

"It also has quite average demographics, making it very representative of the country as a whole.

"In recent opinion polls, Labour now has a lead over the Conservatives of (at least) six percent. This is reflected in our prediction, which currently predicts a strong Labour lead over the Conservatives in the seat, which is even larger than the national swing.

"Northampton South will be a key seat to watch, since it is so representative."

Time will tell whether this shift will be more impactful, or just a short-term blip on the political radar.