Friday, 16 November 2012

Cardiff South and Penarth - the results

2012  By-election November 15 results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Doughty, Stephan Labour & Co-op 9,193 47.87
Williams, Craig Conservative 3,859 20.09
Molik, Bablin Liberal Democrat 2,103 10.95
Nicholas, Luke Plaid Cymru 1,854 9.65
Zeigler, Simon UKIP 1,179 6.13
Slaughter, Andrew Green 800 4.17
Jordan, Andrew Socialist Labour Party 285 1.48
Griffiths, Robert Communist 213 1.11
Electorate 75,764 Turnout: 19,204(25.35%)
2010 General election results

Party Votes Cast Percentage
Michael, Alun Labour 17,263 38.9
Hoare, Simon Conservative 12,553 28.3
Hannigan, Dominic Liberal Democrat 9,875 22.3
Aslam, Farida Plaid Cymru 1,851 4.2
Zeigler, Simon UKIP 1,145 2.6
Burke, George Independent 648 1.5
Townsend, Matt Green 554 1.2
Bate, Clive Christian Party 285 0.6
Griffiths, Robert Communist 196 0.4
Electorate 73,704  Turnout: 44,370 (60.20%)
So Labour did it. Not much doubt about it even on a turn-out of over a quarter of the electorate Stephan Doughty increased Labour’s majority from 4,710 to 5,334. 
Whilst Labour had broad smiles both the Westminster coalition parties will have very long faces. Both saw their votes shrink away. Not only did their actual vote fall but their percentage of the poll fell. 

In the case of the Liberal Democrats they shrank from 22.3% to 10.95% yesterday. A figure that is broadly in line with their national opinion poll ratings.
Plaid Cymru of the four main parties remain fourth. There was no Leanne Wood bounce. They managed just 3 more votes that the general election result. Although the party will no doubt be spinning that they’ve doubled their share of the poll. 

Of course, if you get the same vote on a low turnout simple arithmetic says that your percentage will be better. The same can be said for UKIP, Green and even dear old Robert Griffiths of the Communists who more than doubled his percentage of the vote. Mind you it only went up by 17 extra votes to 213. 
It’s still true that there are damned lies and statistics. Never more so when political parties comment on election results.
The figures are skewed because turn out was less than half of the 2010 figure - 25.35% yesterday, compared to 60.2% two years ago. 

So the real winner early this morning was the Apathy party. Who will have had a good day yesterday not only in Cardiff South and Penarth but also in the whole of Wales in the Police and Crime Commission elections. Where early indications show that the turnout is hovering around the 14% mark.


  1. Not sure I agree with your logic about Plaid's relative performance (or even UKIP) Gareth.

    If you're going to dismiss increases in share of the vote as unimportant because of lower overall turnout, then I think you'll need to provide a bit more evidence that the 'missing' quartile in Cardiff South and Penarth would ALL definitely vote Lab/Con/Lib if they bothered to turn out. The evidence in Grangetown (Cardiff South), Riverside, Fairwater and Ely (in Cardiff West) over the last 10 years suggests this just isn't true any more. Good candidates, good campaigns and favourable conditions do result in Lab-Plaid-Lib transfers of allegiance, not necessarily big enough to change the overall result (Labour victory), but statistically present. The Plaid vote in inner-city Cardiff can certainly not be described as 'loyal hardcore' who will always turn out (and by extension... not one else would vote for them if they bothered to vote at all)any more. It is much more fluid than that.

    Your argument requires that we believe two truths: Plaid attracts no floating vote in Cardiff & Plaid attracts no 'uncommitted to go to the polls' vote in Cardiff. That may have been the case 20 years ago but it is far from the empirical evidence today. Unless you have evidence to the contrary?

    I guarantee Labour strategists in Transport House won't take it that lightly, though I'm equally sure they won't be committing hara kiri just yet either...

  2. Even Obama would admire Plaid's Get The Vote Out machine in the constituency. Getting ALL the voters out despite the turnout more than halving.

    That would my spin on it.

  3. It is true that the main winner here as across the country more widely today was voter apathy, but the collapse in the Lib Dem vote in this instance and elsewhere does seem to be telling. If matters continue along their current trajectory, the Lib Dems look set to face electoral meltdown in 2015.

  4. Few people bother turning out on a dark and cold november evening

  5. Gareth's point about turnout and the Plaid vote makes sense IF you believe all the voters who stayed at home weren't Plaid. It's too big an if for me. What's happened is that Plaid along with the smaller parties have done proportionally better than usual in this seat because they haven't pissed people off like the coalition parties. Plaid will therefore be relieved but it's not progress that will ever threaten Labour.

    The Lib Dems will be the most disappointed. Finishing 3rd or 4th is irrelevant but losing so many votes in an urban seat shows that they can basically forget Cardiff Central at Westminster. For them that will be a huge deal.

  6. Is it quite possible that Plaid's percentage might have been lower if the the turnout had been higher?

  7. All it proves is that Plaid can get proportionally more people out to vote for them at times when Labour is popular- it's a credible performance but nowhere near enough extra votes to actually threaten Labour.

    More interesting to me is the Tory result and how they actually lost votes. This is relatively unusual in Wales where the Tory vote has been holding up in recent years.