Has the bar been set even higher for Gord?
At the last Euro elections on June 10th 2004 the national polls shares (excluding NI) had Labour in second place on just 22.6% a full four points behind the Tories. UKIP beat the Lib Dems into the third place slot.
These were the 2004 shares: CON 26.7: LAB 22.6: UKIP 16.1: LIBD 14.9: GRN 6.3 In spite of the performance, it should be said, Tony Blair led Labour to its third successive general election victory only eleven months later.
But there was one element which was in place then which we won’t have in the next Euro elections in June – all postal voting which was staged in half the English regions as part of an experiment. In the run-up to this vote Labour got itself into a row with the Electoral Commission and the other parties over the scale of experiment. Tony Blair, perhaps believing that Labour would do better, wanted it to be as wide as possible. In the end he got his way.
On the same day, of course, there were local elections over large parts of England, particularly in the metropolitan boroughs which, then, were Labour dominated.
The table below shows the proportional change in Labour’s vote share in 2004 compared with the previous Euro election in 1999.
Although the figures are distorted by the extraordinary performance by Robert Kilroy-Silk for UKIP in the East Midland the broad picture is that where all postal voting was in place the party losses were contained more.
Now the question for this June is whether the absence of postal voting this time is going to have an impact and whether that will be detrimental to Labour?
This could be crucial. This will be the last national election prior to the general election and all eyes will be on Labour national vote share. A very bad performance – maybe down to below 20% – could have a serious impact.
No betting markets yet but let’s hope we see something on the party shares.