Elections 2015: Safe Seats or Swing Seats?

On Thursday each of the city’s 14 wards have one seat up for election, so there’s something for everyone to play for, more or less. Sarah Cheverton looked at last year’s election results to find out which wards elected their representatives on a landslide and which had only a hair’s breadth between candidates.

Wards elected with 5% or less margin between candidates in 2015

(Order from least % difference between candidates to most)

If this year’s election runs along the same lines as last year’s, the wards with everything to play for are Charles Dickens, Nelson, Paulsgrove, St Thomas, Baffins and Fratton.






Data source: Portsmouth City Council

Will these seats swing right or left in 2016?

You decide, Portsmouth.

Wards elected with over 5% margin between candidates in 2015

(Order from most % difference between candidates to least)

By contrast, the ward with the most decisive victory in 2015 by far was Drayton & Farlington – the spiritual home of Conservatism in Portsmouth – which gave the opposition an utter drubbing, winning with a margin of 48% for a Conservative victory over Labour. Hilsea, Copnor, Cosham, Milton and Eastney & Craneswater had decisive victories of between 17-19%. Finally, Central Southsea and St Jude come in with a more modest, but still respectable, margin of just under 10%.






Data Source: Portsmouth City Council

How did 2015 compare to results in 2014?

2015 was also a general election year, and local turnout was higher. So how do 2014’s local elections compare to the safe and swing seats for 2015?

Wards elected with 5% or less margin between candidates in 2014

With the exceptions of Paulsgrove and Copnor, the closest wins were found in the same 5 wards: Charles Dickens, Nelson, Fratton, Baffins and St Thomas, suggesting these areas of the city more than others could be anyone’s winner on Thursday.


Wards elected with over 5% margin between candidates in 2015

Interestingly, the top two safer wards remain the same: Drayton & Farlington and Hilsea, although the gap between the winner and second candidates broadened in both areas in 2015. Other wards where the gap between winner and second candidates similarly widened in 2015 were: Eastney & Craneswater, Cosham and Milton, and it will be interesting to see if these results are echoed on Thursday.

By contrast, wards where the gap between the winner and second candidates slightly narrowed in 2015 were: Central Southsea, and St Jude.

Paulsgrove sees the sharpest narrowing of the vote, dropping from 10% between the winning and second candidates in 2014 to 1% in 2015. It will be interesting to see what happens on Thursday in this former Labour heartland.


What happens on Thursday is in your hands

Can the Tories duplicate their success in the same year as Smeargate?

Will the Liberal Democrats have won back the hearts of votes disgruntled with the previous administration and the grubby legacy of Mike Hancock?

Will local voters be able to work out who the genuine left wingers in the Labour party are in time to show that Jez, Portsmouth can?

Or will UKIP prove Nigel Farage (far) right and win more seats in the city?

Pompey, it’s over to you.

Image Star & Crescent.