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Tactical Voting Diagram

 

⚠️ This is Version 4 of this post, re-written to make it all clearer to read. For the sake of transparency the older Version 3 of the post can be found here. ⚠️

 

So you want to stop Brexit? And you have the right to vote at the 2019 UK General Election?

That means you might need to vote tactically to make sure pro-Brexit parties (essentially the Tories) do not win, and that pro-Remain parties do. The problem: which pro-Remain party is best placed to win in the constituency where you live? (Labour is not strictly speaking a Remain party, but is committed to a 2nd Referendum – that ought to be enough for our purposes)

⚠️ NOTE THAT THE DATA IN THIS POST IS SUBJECT TO CHANGE! PLEASE MAKE SURE YOU CHECK THIS AGAIN BEFORE YOU VOTE! ⚠️

Anyway let’s start.

In which constituency are you entitled to vote? For overseas voters this is the last place you lived when in the UK. Put the postcode in this form, hit search, and a new window will popup where you find out your constituency name from the House of Commons Website:

Postcode:

 

⚠️ Next, a caveat: are you a student living away from home? Then you might be able to vote in one of two places. Use this tool to work out which place might be the most advantageous to vote! ⚠️

 

There are, at the time of writing, 5 online tools that try to help you work out how to vote tactically. These are:

  1. Get Voting by the pro-EU organisation Best for Britain (their methodology explained)
  2. Remain United by the pro-EU campaigner Gina Miller (their methodology explained)
  3. Tactical Vote by Becky Snowden and others (their FAQ)
  4. tactical.vote by the Vote Tools Collective, inc. Zoe Gardner, Luke Cooper and Mary Kaldor (their accuracy examined)
  5. People’s Vote Tactical Vote Tool by People’s Vote

The problem is that the outcomes from each of these sites – due to the methodology each deploys – can vary quite a lot. So here is a guide through it. Note that I am not going to go into detail about the pros and cons of each tool. In most cases most tools do a good job, and that is enough for this analysis.

⚠️ Please note that this guide does NOT cover the 18 Northern Irish seats! Hence 632 seats – the number in England, Wales and Scotland is used as the baseline. ⚠️

 

Where to start

tactical.vote has a handy table on its website that compares how all 5 sites suggest pro-Remain voters should vote in each constituency. Put your constituency name from the step above in there and see what you get.

Category 1: the easy cases where the sites agree

⚠️ If you live in Ashfield, please skip to Category 3 below! Otherwise read on! ⚠️

If there is a tick in the right column of the table – like this:

Or like this:

then you are on safe ground – you know how to vote tactically with a considerable degree of certainty.

Note that People’s Vote (the fourth column) and Get Voting (the fifth column) does not make recommendations for Scottish seats. So if you live in Scotland and the table shows results like this it is nevertheless clear what to do:

There are a few Scottish seats – Coatbridge, Chryston and Bellshill, Glasgow North East, Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, Midlothian, and Rutherglen and Hamilton West currently held by Labour in each case, with SNP second, where the Conservatives cannot win. Vote with your ideology here. Likewise Orkney & Shetland, East Dunbartonshire, Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, and Edinburgh West are held by the Liberal Democrats, with Labour or the SNP placed second. Likewise vote as you see fit here.

Only two seats need more care: Edinburgh South (clear Labour recommendation – recent results here), and East Lothian – that has now been moved to Category 3 below.

Two sorts of seats show up like in this category: competitive or marginal seats where tactical voting will work, and safe seats where tactical voting is unlikely to work, but the recommendation for which Remain party is strongest is clear.

If your seat is one of these you can relax. How you need to act here is clear. Or register to vote if you have not done that yet!

Better news still: this category covers 499 of the 632 seats!

 

But what if you are in one of the constituencies where there is no consensus between the voting tools?

 

Category 2: the safe seats where the voting tools differ

It might be all very well to vote tactically for the hell of it, but let’s not waste too much time with the seats that are not going to change hands anyway. Here the Remain United tool is the most handy – where that site makes no recommendation it is because the seat is safe, for whoever holds it. The data for the Remain United tool can be downloaded at the bottom of the page here.

Example: you live in Stone. It is a Conservative safe seat. Whether you vote Labour (as tactical.vote recommends) or Lib Dem (as Get Voting recommends) does not make much odds. The Tories are going to win, whether you like it or not.

Of the 132 seats where the five voting tools differ in their recommendations, I at this stage eliminate the safe seats where tactical voting is unlikely to work. That eliminates a further 86 of the 632 seats. 

These safe seats where the voting tools differ on who to nevertheless vote for are:

Aldershot, Arundel and South Downs, Aylesbury, Basingstoke, Beckenham, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Bexhill and Battle, Bognor Regis and Littlehampton, Bosworth, Bracknell, Bridgwater and West Somerset, Broadland, Bromsgrove, Castle Point, Central Devon, Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, Chesham and Amersham, Chichester, Croydon South, Daventry, Derbyshire Dales, Devon Central, East Yorkshire, Epsom and Ewell, Fareham, Faversham and Mid Kent, Folkestone and Hythe, Grantham and Stamford, Haltemprice and Howden, Harborough, Havant, Hemel Hempstead, Hereford and South Herefordshire, Hertford and Stortford, Hertsmere, , Horsham, Huntingdon, Kenilworth and Southam, Lichfield, Ludlow, Maidstone and The Weald, Mid Bedfordshire, Mid Norfolk, Mid Sussex, Mid Worcestershire, Newark, North East Bedfordshire, North East Cambridgeshire, North East Hertfordshire, North Somerset, North West Cambridgeshire, North West Hampshire, Orpington, Penrith and The Border, Poole, Reigate, Ruislip Northwood and Pinner, Runnymede and Weybridge, Salisbury, Skipton and Ripon, Sleaford and North Hykeham, South Holland and the Deepings, South Leicestershire, South Norfolk, South Northamptonshire, South Suffolk, South West Bedfordshire, South West Devon, South West Wiltshire, Spelthorne, Stone, Suffolk Central and Ipswich North, Suffolk Coastal, Sutton Coldfield, Tatton, , The Wrekin, Thirsk and Malton, Tiverton and Honiton, Torridge and West Devon, Tunbridge Wells, Wealden, Weston-Super-Mare, West Worcestershire, Witham,  Worthing West, Yorkshire East.

If you live in one of these make a judgment as to who to back, but what you decide to do is unlikely to have an impact on the outcome there. Sorry! That’s life under First Past the Post.

⚠️ Not ALL Tory safe seats are in this list. Tory safe seats where the voting tools agree as to who is best placed in second will fall into the first category above! ⚠️

 

Category 3: complicated cases

So these are the ones you have been waiting for. There are – in my view – 47 of the 632 seats where a judgment as to how to vote tactically is unusual, complicated or – in a tiny number of cases – close to impossible.

⚠️ Please do not just bemoan this complexity! There are very good reasons why making a call in each of these cases is hard. Politics is not a simple game! ⚠️

These are the 46 seats:

Altrincham and Sale West, Ashfield, Beaconsfield, Broxtowe, Buckingham, Bury St Edmunds, Chelmsford, Chelsea & Fulham, Chorley, Cities of London and Westminster, Colchester, Don Valley, East Devon, East Lothian, Eddisbury, Elmet and Rothwell, Esher and Walton, Filton and Bradley Stoke, Finchley and Golders Green, Hendon, Hexham, Henley, Hitchin and Harpenden, Isle of Wight, Kensington, Leicester East, Luton South, Macclesfield, Newton Abbot, North East Somerset, Putney, Rushcliffe, Sheffield Hallam, Solihull, South East Cambridgeshire, South East Cornwall, South West Hertfordshire, Southport, St Austell and Newquay, Tewkesbury, Truro and Falmouth, Wantage, Watford, Wimbledon, Woking, Ynys Mon, York Outer.

If you live in one of these seats, read on. And read carefully.

 

(i) Unusual Seats

Ashfield, Buckingham, Chorley, Don Valley, Finchley and Golders Green, Leicester East, Sheffield Hallam, Ynys Mon

There is no way to look at these other than examine the individual circumstances.

Ashfield at first glance looks like a solid Labour hold. But on further analysis it is a really unusual case. 70.5% voted Leave. The Ashfield Independents won 9% of the vote in 2017, and have strengthened considerably in Ashfield District Council. One of their main characters – Jason Zadrozny – is running. He’s an ex-Lib Dem who voted Leave in the Referendum. Labour incumbent Gloria Di Piero is standing down, complicating matters still further. Keep an eye on this one! Recommendation: Labour, because the Ashfield Independents cannot be trusted on Brexit issues.

Buckingham (recent results here) is the seat that has been held by the outgoing Speaker, John Bercow. As most parties do not run against the Speaker, there is no data for this constituency that tactical voting tools can use for any election since 2005! However demographically it is a safe Conservative seat – held by the Conservatives since 1970. Recommendation: based on similar demography here to neighbouring seats, vote Liberal Democrat. Tory safe seat though, so do not count on it working.

Chorley (recent results here) is the seat of the new Speaker, Lindsay Hoyle. Won by Labour since 1997, the seat will be easily won by Hoyle as Conservatives, Labour and Lib Dems will not put up candidates. That the Speaker’s seat is not contested is a democratic anomaly – bad luck, people of Chorley. Recommendation: none.

Don Valley (recent results here) is held by Labour MP Caroline Flint, and she is running again. Under normal circumstances it would make sense to vote for Flint here, as the Tories are in second place. However she is the most hard-core pro-Brexit Labour MP in the running – the only one of the 6 Labour MPs to vote against the Letwin Amendment to stave off No Deal Brexit who is running again (the other 5 are retiring). Recommendation: it’s like choosing between the devil and the deep blue sea. Recommendation: vote Labour. While Flint cannot be trusted on Brexit, one more Labour MP and one fewer Conservative is marginal progress.

East Lothian (recent results here) is a tricky Scottish three way marginal. It was a Labour gain from the SNP in 2017, but the Tory vote also went up in 2017, placing the Tories in third just behind the SNP. The 2015 SNP result here looks like the outlier, not least because at the 2014 independence referendum East Lothian voted more than 60% against independence (results here). Recommendation: vote Labour.

Finchley and Golders Green (recent results here) was a Tory-Labour marginal in 2017, but has become the symbol case about Labour’s anti semitism problem. Ex-Labour MP Luciana Berger is running here for the Liberal Democrats, and other Remain parties are standing down for her (Unite to Remain alliance). While the methodology of constituency polls might be open to question, Survation ran such a poll here putting Berger clearly ahead. Recommendation: the nature of the constituency and Berger’s standing means vote Lib Dem here.

Leicester East (recent results here) was held by Keith Vaz who – due to scandals – is not running again, and what is happening in this constituency is currently unclear and hence the tactical voting tools also lack clarity. However it is traditionally a safe Labour seat. Recommendation: vote Labour.

Sheffield Hallam (recent results here) which voted 34.0% Leave is an unusual seat, in that it is a Labour – Liberal Democrat marginal. This was Jared O’Mara‘s seat, and before that Nick Clegg held it for the Lib Dems. In Version 1 of this post I advocated voting Liberal Democrat here, but this is wrong – it implies I am taking sides between Remain parties, and that is not my intention. Recommendation: Labour or Liberal Democrat. The Tories are a long way off.

Ynys Mon (recent results here) is a new entry as People’s Vote tool suggests voting Plaid Cymru (also Unite to Remain candidate) here, while it is a Labour seat currently. In 2017 Tories and Plaid Cymru were more or less tied for second. Meanwhile the Conservative candidate has had to stand down due to the expenses scandal. Recommendation: this is close enough to need some care. Needs more data.

 

(ii) Seats with prominent independents and/or incumbents running

Beaconsfield, Broxtowe, East Devon, Eddisbury, Luton South, South West Hertfordshire

Beaconsfield (recent results here) was won by Brexit rebel Tory Dominic Grieve in 2017, and he is now standing as an independent. The Liberal Democrats are not standing, having decided to back Grieve. Labour was in 2nd place in 2017, and is running. Recommendation: Grieve is among the handful of MPs who has done the most to prevent Brexit happening. From an ethical point of view he has to be backed.

Broxtowe (recent results here) was won by Anna Soubry as a Conservative in 2017, and she is standing as an independent this time. The Lib Dems are not running. However unlike Beaconsfield, this has been a Tory-Labour marginal, and Labour stands a solid chance of winning. Recommendation: too hard to call currently. I need more data for this one!

East Devon (recent results here) is a rather different case. Claire Wright has contested the last two elections here as an independent, and secured 35% of the vote in 2017. She is committed to Remain. Recommendation: Claire Wright (Independent).

Eddisbury (recent results here) is slightly different in that ex-Tory incumbent Antoinette Sandbach is running as a Lib Dem here, but the situation she faces is hard – the Liberal Democrats only did well in 2010 here, Remain United sees this as a Tory safe seat, and the seat voted 52.2% Leave. Recommendation: I cannot see how Labour can win this, but if Sandbach can bring enough ex-Tories with her maybe she can run the Conservatives close. Vote Lib Dem.

Luton South (recent results here) was won by Gavin Shuker for Labour in 2017, and he subsequently – via Change UK – ended up as an independent. The Liberal Democrats have stood down here, and are endorsing Shuker. The Tories were in second place in 2015 and 2017, and held the seat until 1997. Recommendation: too hard to call. More data needed!

South West Hertfordshire (recent results here) was David Gauke’s seat, won by him as a Conservative in 2017. We now know he is running as an Independent here, and he is now committed to a 2nd Brexit Referendum. However at the time of writing it is not known if the Liberal Democrats will stand aside for him (as they have in Beaconsfield and Broxtowe). Recommendation: this was a safe Tory seat. Gauke might bring some support with him, and other parties are miles behind. Back Gauke.

 

(iii) Three way marginals with Conservative incumbents, Labour 2nd in 2017

All of the following seats have Conservative incumbents, Labour in second place in 2017, and Lib Dems 3rd in 2017. However they vary considerably in terms of location (and tradition of voting Lib Dem or not), percentage of the vote for Leave, and urban or rural. Polling by Survation in Esher and Walton and Wokingham (clear Lib Dems in 2nd there though!) show affluent outer suburban London leaning Lib Dem.

 

In these 18 seats, voting Lib Dem makes most sense

Chelmsford (recent results here) 50.7% Leave (Chelmsford has not had a Lib Dem MP in recent times, but the Liberal Democrats surged here in the 2019 local elections), Chelsea and Fulham (recent results here) 29.1% Leave, Cities of London and Westminster (recent results here) 28.1% Leave, Colchester (recent results here) 51.5% Leave (there have been Lib Dem MPs in the past, while the council gains in 2019 were more moderate than in Chelmsford), Esher and Walton (recent results here) 41.6% Leave, Henley (recent results here) 43.1% Leave, Hitchin and Harpenden (recent results here) 39.3% Leave, Newton Abbot (recent results here) 56.0% Leave, North East Somerset (recent results here) 51.6% Leave, South East Cambridgeshire (recent results here) 45.3% Leave, South East Cornwall (recent results here) 55.1% Leave, Solihull (recent results here), 54.2% Leave (is judged to be a safe seat by Remain United, but I was urged to reconsider it. The seat has had Lib Dem MPs in the past, and due to the demography that looks to be a good call again), Southport (recent results here) 46.3% Leave, St Austell and Newquay (recent results here) 64.1% Leave, Tewkesbury (recent results here) 53.6% Leave (some latent Lib Dem support, but still looks very solid for the Tories), Wantage (recent results here), 46.5% Leave (looking at the demography and local party activity it make sense to vote Lib Dem here), Wimbledon (recent results here), 27.3% Leave (although Labour came second here in 2017, the Liberal Democrats have an advantage in picking up disgruntled Tories and have made some local council gains. The new People’s Vote tool also backs this up), Woking (recent results here) 44.3% Leave.

 

In these 6 seats – based on a more solid history of backing Labour – it makes sense to still back Labour here

Altrincham and Sale West (recent results here) 38.6% Leave (multiple pieces of information, not least local council results showing solid Labour gains and no Lib Dem progress), Elmet and Rothwell (recent results here) 56.8% Leave, Filton and Bradley Stoke (recent results here) 48.8% Leave (data provided in confidence – little local Lib Dem effort here, Labour is stronger locally), Hexham (recent results here) 45.3% Leave (only in 2015 did the Lib Dems even make it to 2nd here, Labour has consistently been the main rival to the Conservatives), Macclesfield (recent results here) 47.2% Leave, Rushcliffe (recent results here), 41.5% Leave (no data on any Lib Dem progress here, and Labour has made some progress over the last decade, watch out for what Kenneth Clarke recommends here – it is his old seat).

 

In these 5 seats I simply cannot draw a conclusion, and need more data

Hendon (recent results here) 41.6% Leave, Putney (recent results here), 27.8% Leave, Watford (recent results here), 51.2% Leave, Truro and Falmouth (recent results here) 45.9% Leave (while Labour did well in 2017, it has traditional Lib Dem support before that. Hence too hard to advise on right now), York Outer (recent results here) 44.7% Leave.

 

 

(iv) Other three way marginals

In two seats where the voting tools differ, the 2017 result was Tory, Labour, Green

Bury St Edmunds (recent results here) 54.0% Leave, Isle of Wight (recent results here) 61.9% Leave.

In Bury St Edmunds clearly Labour has a better chance – vote Labour. I would need more data for Isle or Wight, so cannot judge that one.

 

In one seat where the voting tools differ, Labour won in 2017, with the Tories second and Lib Dems third

Kensington (recent results here) 31.2% Leave

This one is impossible to call. Labour won it against the odds in 2017. The Lib Dems are running ex-Tory Sam Gyimah here. Need more data.

 

Conclusions

At the time of writing, all four tactical voting tools make the same recommendation in 500 of the 632 seats in England, Wales and Scotland. If you live in one of those seats, trust the recommendation.

If you live in one of the 86 of the 632 seats that Remain United gauges as a Safe Seat, you are probably safe to vote with your heart, knowing anyone defeating the Tories there is one hell of a long shot. If you still need guidance there, tactical.vote will lean more heavily on the 2017 General Election result to tell you what to do, and Get Voting will align more closely with opinion polls.

If you live in one of the 46 of the 632 seats that are complex cases and where the voting tools differ or new data indicates errors, read the advice above.

  • I view 1 as a special cases (Chorley)
  • In 1 (Sheffield Hallam) it’s a free choice between Labour and the Liberal Democrats, without any real danger.
  • In 3 (Beaconsfield, East Devon, South West Hertfordshire) vote Independent.
  • In a further 21 (Buckingham, Chelmsford, Chelsea and Fulham, Cities of London and Westminster, Colchester, Eddisbury, Esher and Walton, Finchley and Golders Green, Henley, Hitchin and Harpenden, Newton Abbot, North East Somerset, Solihull, South East Cambridgeshire, South East Cornwall, Southport, St Austell and Newquay, Tewkesbury, Wantage, Wimbledon, Woking) vote Lib Dem.
  • In 11 (Altrincham and Sale West, Ashfield, Bury St Edmunds, Don Valley, East Lothian, Elmet and Rothwell, Filton and Bradley Stoke, Hexham, Leicester East, Macclesfield, Rushcliffe) back Labour.
  • In the final 10 (Broxtowe, Hendon, Isle of Wight, Kensington, Luton South, Putney, Truro & Falmouth, Watford, Ynys Mon, York Outer) at the moment I cannot make a call.

 

Note: data for this blog post gathered 11 and 12 November 2019. If you find an error please point it out to be in the comments, or contact me. Any changes to this blog post will be added, and the original text will be left present for comparison. Leave percentages from Chris Hanretty’s data – table here. I am not affiliated to any of the organisations making any of these voting tools. I voted Remain and would vote Remain in any subsequent referendum, and when I still lived in the UK was a member of the Labour Party. Today I am a member of the German Grüne but that does not shape these recommendations – recommendations are purely based on keeping pro-Brexit candidates out.

Updates since V1
People’s Vote tool added
– I was informed some of the sites explained the situation in Brecon & Radnorshire and Morley and Outwood wrongly. Having checked the recommendations for both of these, I am reassured the recommendations are right – so those constituencies both stay in the first category
– Seats in category 1 reduced by 1 (Ashfield), and in category 2 by 2 (Chelmsford and Truro & Falmouth), hence 3 more in Category 3
– Explanation for South West Herfordshire amended now Gauke is running
– Rushcliffe moved from no recommendation to Labour
– Colchester moved from Labour to no recommendation
– South West Hertfordshire moved from no recommendation to Independent
– Sheffield Hallam moved from Lib Dem to free choice Lab/Lib
– Chelmsford and Truro & Falmouth moved to no recommendation
– Ashfield recategorised and now Labour recommendation
– Wantage moved from no recommendation to Lib Dem
– Wimbledon moved from no recommendation to Lib Dem

Updates in V2
– People’s Vote tool now fully integrated
– now a recommendation given for Buckingham and Don Valley
– Burton and Christchurch moved from Category 2 to Category 1
– Castle Point, Central Devon, Derbyshire Dales, East Yorkshire, Mid Worcestershire, South Holland and the Deepings moved from Category 1 to Category 2
– Ynys Mon moved from Category 1 to Category 3
– Solihull moved from Category 2 to Category 3
– Changed recommendation in Category 3 for Altrincham and Sale West (was Lib Dem, now Labour)

Updates in V3
– diagram added!

Updates in V4
– Hexham and Tewkesbury added to Category 3
– Post rewritten to eliminate “New” tags
– Filton and Bradley Stoke, Hexham moved to Labour
– Tewkesbury moved to Lib Dem
– Chelmsford and Colchester moved to Lib Dem
– Added East Lothian to Category 3, recommendation Labour

Useful feedback:

Hendon more Labour?


Or more like Finchley and Golders Green?

Wimbledon more Lib Dem?
I have also been passed info anonymously that the Lib Dems have been doing OK in council by-elections in Wimbledon…

Is Chelmsford so safe?


Local council results 2019 lean to the Lib Dems

Seems the data for Truro and Falmouth is off


And the 2017 result confirms this. I will add this to the next update!

Is the Altrincham call right?

Morley and Outwood is not so safe – will be re-assessed at the next update!

Should I even have made a judgment for Sheffield Hallam?

Handy local lib dem knowledge

Ashfield is really complex – see the recent results, and the success of the Ashfield Independents!

A question has been raised about the Brecon & Radnorshire Data

Harrogate

44 Comments

  1. Jay

    Jon,
    I think your comments on Caroline Flint, Labour candidate for the Don Valley constituency were very slanted against her. She is one of the few Labour MPs who respected the decision of her constituents to leave the EU and she voted accordingly and with the spirit of the Labour manifesto. It is others who did not respect the wishes of their constituents
    I am not a supporter of the Labour Party but I respect the outstanding integrity of this lady.
    Were I one of her constituents, I would be proud to have her as my MP
    Vote for honesty

    • I disagree with this very strongly. Backing Brexit did not mean backing *any* Brexit and without proper scrutiny in the Commons. She went further than any other Labour MP on this. The way that people like Onn and Snell behaved was more sensible.

  2. Steve

    “many (ex) Tory Remain voters might not be able to bring themselves to vote for Corbyn. However, that means there is a serious danger of splitting the Remain vote”

    This seems to be a common problem. In my view the majority of disaffected (ex) Tory voters wishing to vote tactically will be very reluctant to vote Labour but may be willing to vote Lib Dem (if they are the only other party with any chance of winning the seat). So the Lib Dems might get many extra votes but whether it’s enough to unseat a Tory, especially if the Remain vote is split, is anybody’s guess. The whole thing is a farce and makes a mockery of democracy. If only we had proportional representation so all our votes counted!

    • Thanks Steve this is exactly my concern in Putney especially as it is one of the seats where the Brexit Party has stood down to help get a Tory voted in, there is no Remain Alliance pact here, plus it is losing Justine Greening who at least was a Tory prepared to defy her party leadership (before she lost the whip) to vote against Brexit, which one assumes the new Tory candidate isn’t (although he has conspicuously omitted any reference to Brexit from his campaign literature).

      All three non-Tory candidates (Labour, Lib Dem and Green) have made it clear they are 100% Remainers (including the Labour candidate who has signed the “Labour Remain” pledge to campaign and vote for Remain in Labour’s referendum) but that means the Remain vote is now split 3 ways (albeit in practice I think it is between Labour and Lib Dems – but the Greens could e.g. take votes from Labour?).

      The biggest issue is that historically Putney has been a straight fight between Tory and Labour – unlike many constituencies in SW London, the Lib Dems have always been a distant third in both general and local elections here: Putney is a very mixed constituency demographically where there are pockets of strong support for both main parties, for example (mostly Tory and very affluent) West Putney vs the (mostly Labour) Alton estate in Roehampton – so if you only use that data it should have been an obvious tactical vote for Labour (even if you hate Corbyn); however in the recent EU elections analysis has shown that for the borough of Wandsworth (which contains Putney) the Lib Dems were miles ahead of both the Tories and Labour probably due to Remainers making a protest vote about Brexit against both the main parties (as Labour was still much more equivocal about supporting a 2nd ref in May). Add to that the strong showing for the Lib Dems where recent local polling has been done in nearby constituencies with similar histories and demographics (e.g. Wimbledon and Kensington) and it’s obvious why this one is such a tough call!

      In my opinion it’s the balance between a) how many Tory Remainers who can’t stomach Corbyn will vote Lib Dem, b) how many will hold their noses and vote for Labour anyway as they are now committed to a 2nd ref, and c) how many Labour Leavers will vote Tory as they want Brexit more than anything else, which will determine whether we get a Tory Brexiter MP on 13th December – and it’s very hard to decide how to vote tactically to avoid that without any local polling to guide us.

      I really don’t know why this hasn’t been commissioned at least by one of the parties (Labour or Lib Dem) in with a chance in Putney given how close it seems to be!

  3. Remco

    Very helpful overview, thanks. Two initial suggestions for updates.

    It looks like Remain United have now barged into the safe seats after all.

    I was looking for Cambridge and Bermondsey & Old Southwark within Category 3 but could not see them (yet?). Those ought to sit with Sheffield Hallam in the ‘vote either way’ – right?

  4. Tone Grina

    Can I ask for the rationale for voting Lib Dem in Wimbledon? In the last election Labour massively increased their share of the vote with an unknown (last minute) candidate. Since then, a strong local candidate was voted in. The Lib Dems came a distant third. I don’t see how the Lib Dems can win in this constituency.

    • I see 2017 as an outlier – look at the polling now, and also data from local elections, and I do not think Labour can repeat 2017 there.

  5. I’m confused about Cambridge. I guess it has recently changed from being simple to being complicated. Can you help?

  6. Exasperated in Putney

    Thanks Jon. Outstanding work.
    I’m in Putney and tearing my hair out over what to do. Like you, I really can’t make a call on this one. I naturally gravitate towards Labour but just want to stop it going to the Tories (not Justine Greening this time around) and am very happy to support the Lib Dems if that will do the trick. At the minute, the polling I’ve seen is split between who out of Labour and Lib Dems is doing better but it’s infuriating that, between them, they’re picking up close to 60% of the vote but we’ll probably end up with a Tory on 38%. Both Labour and Lib Dem candidates are strongly vocal People’s Vote supporters, so nothing to choose between them on that front. If you have any hints in your next update, we’re desperate for them here. We could end up with the horror show of a Tory who is committed to Johnson’s “deal” picking up one of the strongest remain constituencies in the country.

    • This is really one of the very, very hardest to call 😢

      I can’t help you right now (18 November) – but if there is some more data I will happily try to make a recommendation!

    • Another exasperated of Putney here. I am a very strong Remainer and really would not want to see a Tory – who I note has not put one single word about Brexit into his campaign literature, and is conspicuously avoiding the subject when campaigning, but who I believe is a Brexiter and must have signed up to vote for Johnson’s deal – get in in a constituency that voted 70+ % to Remain. I want someone who will represent that majority Remain viewpoint in Parliament and will vote tactically to do so, but currently it is impossible to tell who to vote for in order not to split the Remain vote.

      I am really surprised that there has been no constituency level polling in Putney given its difficulty. Interestingly there has been some in neighbouring Wimbledon which has a similar demographic and similarly at the last election had Labour second to the Tories, but a recent poll has shown the Lib Dems are now the challengers and only 2 percentage points behind. I would not be surprised to see something similar in Putney where many (ex) Tory Remain voters might not be able to bring themselves to vote for Corbyn. However that means there is a serious danger of splitting the Remain vote, and that is something I really do NOT want to see, so as per the above post PLEASE let us know if your advice updates.

    • Wimbledon Voter

      One slightly weird thing you could do is drive/walk/cycle/bus around the constituency and count the number of posters for each party. If one side is clearly ahead it ought to be a good proxy for the result. Give it a week though, as it is probably still a touch early for posters. Roehampton will be different to West Hill though, so you have to choose a route covering different areas.

      • Chris Paul

        Posters don’t vote. And i many places they do not provide any sort of guide as to what will happen on polling day. In my experience even posters on garden stakes and o trees do not confirm the voting intention of a household. And window posters, particularly for one party in my direct experience, that you might think are a stronger guide, are no such thing. I have seen level pegging or small differences either way on a poster game and a 30,000+ majority. Have also seen poster domination and a 30,000 majority. And also fairly light poster display and you’ve guessed it a 30,000 majority. These are three continguous seats in one northern city.

  7. Mike

    I don’t like your recommendation of Caroline Flint for Don Valley. As you note she’s a mega-hard Brexiteer and there is a remain-united candidate standing there. It’s really important that remainers there stand up and send her a message that she might win on the backs of the labour vote, but she is not supporting the will of the people. She actually rebelled and voted for no deal over revocation of article 50 so there’s absolutely no guarantee that she will support a second referendum or in fact be bettter than her tory opponent.

    • I am sorry, but there is not a hope that the Remain candidate will live there. You have to hold your nose and vote for Caroline Flint.

  8. Russell

    Looks like you have some Data for Kensington http://www.deltapoll.co.uk/polls/kensington

    The main poll has LD and Labour within MoE but the tactical voting questions look pretty compelling to me- LD can beat Conservatives, Labour can’t.

  9. Michael

    Those wishing to undemocratically scupper the referendum result should simply vote Tory

    Boris after all has no intention of delivering BrExit and is simply pushing May’s Surrender deal through for the FOURTH TIME !

    It leaves us in the EU to all intents and purposes, under their cointrol and under the jurisdiction of the ECJ.
    It is BRINO. Remainers would be daft not to vote for Boris. You are guaranteed to Remain that way

  10. Nicola Barnes

    Hertford and Stortford has always been a Conservative safe seat since the borders were redrawn by Thatcher in the ear!y 80’s.
    However the incumbent MP (Mark Prisk, a one nation Tory) is retiring and the local Conservative party were forced to choose their new candidate from a shortlist of hard-brexit supporting Boris Johnson fans by the party HQ. Local rumours suggest that not everyone in the local party were entirely happy about this.
    Looking at the results so far this century we see that the Liberal Democrats finished 3rd behind the Conservatives and Labour on all but two occasions. In 2015 UKIP finished 3rd beating the LibDems into 4th place. In 2010 Andrew Lewin finished 2nd beating Labour into 3rd. Lewin was a local from Bishop’s Stortford whereas the Labour candidate at that time was from Walthamstow. Lewin has since changed parties to Labour, heading the Remain Labour pressure group.
    Of the four announced candidates for Hertford and Stortford the Green Party Candidate is the most Local as she grew up in Bishop’s Stortford, the Labour candidate lives just outside of Bishop’s Stortford, the Conservative candidate is from south Essex over 35miles from the constituency and the LibDem candidate seems to be from Bath as far as I can tell.
    While the odds are certainly in the Conservatives favour here there is an outside chance that an upset could happen. Based upon past performance and trends I think that if the LibDems had selected a candidate from the local area I would have given them a chance here but as they picked someone from the opposite side of the country I would have to advocate for Labour.
    The Labour candidate is fairly local, he is an ardent remainer (having signed the Labour Remain pledge) in an area that was 50% remain at the time of the referendum and is closer to 60% now, past history suggests that Labour has more General Election support and a blue rosette may not carry the number of automatic support it used to.
    Personally I wish the Green Party had a greater showing here but the best they have ever managed is 4.8% of the vote.
    I may just be dreaming that the Tories can be beaten here but I won’t give up hope until the result is declared therefore I will be voting Labour here unless someone can produce a reputable local general election poll that says someone else will poll better.

  11. Paul Norris

    Interesting that the various sites come down in Plaid for Ceredigion. It was Liberal for a long while and has recently swapped between LibDem and Plaid, with a margin of 104 for Plaid’s Ben Lake in 2017. I’d put it in the same class as Sheffield Hallam.

    • Thank you! Will amend accordingly at the next update of the post!

      • Chris Paul

        I thought the two parties mentioned here were in an alliance? Feels strange that incumbency pulls no rank on this one, even if it was won by quite a narrow margin.

  12. Martin M

    Can I make a recommendation regarding Tewkesbury. Currently showing as a safe Conservative seat with no agreement between voting tools on who to vote for. Breaking down the electoral history though, I think a strong case can be made for the Liberal Democrats given the recently improved standing compared with 2015 & 2017.

    My rationale would be as follows. The seat has generally had a comfortable Tory margin for years with Labour and Lib Dem interchanging between second and third place. The 2017 Labour ‘surge’ only gave them an extra 4,700 or so votes – 22,500 short of what they needed to win. However, a much closer scenario occurred in 2010 when the Lib Dem candidate grabbed an extra 7,000 votes to come within 6,300 of the Tories. On top of that, in 2015 and 2017, the Lib Dem vote didn’t entirely collapse there – it just fell back to its pre-2010 level so there is a solid local block of Lib Dem support.

    Obviously the Conservatives have a comfortable majority there but a strong local Lib Dem campaign seems more likely to give them a run for their money.

    • Thanks. I will move Tewkesbury over for the next update. Sounds rather similar to the situation in Solihull.

      • Chris Paul

        Strange. You are being asked to simultaneously consider recent voting (in non comparable contests from my point of view), to ignore 2015 and 2017, and to strongly consider 2010. This one is a stretch however you cut it but recommending the party in third and some way back based on 2010 before they enabled a Tory govt is just a bit weird. Perhaps you should ask pundits going forward to identify any party membership Nd any current role in the local seat they are commenting upon.

        I am ling time Labour Party member and some timr councillor, until May this year, I appreciate the effort and analysis and see your results as generally respectable, but I’m worried that that good work will be undone by paying too much attention to closet partisans.

      • Eh? I think you are overdoing it there. I am willing to consider Tewkesbury, and not view it as a safe seat. I have NOT yet at the time of writing fully considered it. Oh, as for Altrincham, were you not the (not so closet) partisan telling me I had that one wrong? 🤔

  13. Peter Wilkinson

    Some thoughts on both Hendon and Finchley and Golders Green – but a declaration of interest first. I have been a member of Chipping Barnet Labour Party for over 40 years and, for several years in the early 1990s, was its treasurer at a time when Ross Houston (selected as Labour candidate for Finchley & GG just over two weeks ago) was its chair. I am, however, writing this entirely in a personal capacity.

    One factor to allow for is that Labour antisemitism is not a new issue in either constituency – not because there is a high incidence of antisemitism in the local Labour parties (if anything, very much the reverse) but because the local Conservatives have consistently been pushing the idea of the Labour Party nationally being antisemitic since at least Ed Miliband’s criticisms of the 2014 Israeli attacks on Gaza. One effect is that most of the undoubtedly sizeable Jewish Remainer vote is likely to have voted Conservative in 2017, even where it was voting Labour up to 2010. In turn, this means that, before taking tactical considerations into account, the Liberal Democrats are likely to find rather more 2017 Conservative voters and somewhat fewer 2017 Labour voters prepared to vote for them this time than they might do in other parts of the country.

    However, there are differences between the constituencies that also have to be allowed for. On 2011 census figures, Finchley and Golders Green was 21% Jewish and 28% BAME; Hendon was 17% Jewish and 40% BAME. In the 2016 referendum, according to Hanretty, Finchley & GG was about 69% Remain, while Hendon was “only” about 59% Remain. The Hanretty figures for this year’s Euro elections showed Finchley & GG as 34% LibDem, 15% Labour, 12% Green and 8% ChUK; and Hendon as 24% LibDem, 22% Labour, 8% Green and 7% ChUK.

    On this basis, I feel fairly certain that the best tactical voting choice in Hendon will be for Labour – while the Liberal Democrats are likely to see a definite increase in their vote, they are still unlikely to get above third position if current national polling figures are anywhere near right.

    So far as Finchley and Golders Green is concerned, the Survation poll, as well as the methodological questions usually raised, had at least one rather unobvious flaw. The poll was conducted using named candidates as part of the prompt, at a time when Labour did not have a candidate in place. Survation therefore chose to use the name of Labour’s 2017 candidate, Jeremy Newmark, in the prompt. However, while Newmark is Jewish, he has had quite a lot of unfavourable coverage in the Jewish Chronicle in connection with maladministration allegations relating to a Jewish community organisation – rightly or wrongly, use of his name in the Survation poll is likely to have depressed the Labour figures. The new Labour candidate, Ross Houston, while not Jewish, is likely not to get the same reaction – he has been distinctly critical about the weakness of Labour’s response to cases of antisemitism, is firmly pro-Remain and has been a local councillor in the constituency for over a dozen years.

    In my opinion, the Survation poll in Finchley and Golders Green almost certainly overstated the LibDem position and understated the Labour position. My feeling is that, in the absence of tactical voting, the LibDems are coming from far enough behind that Labour would probably have a somewhat more likely chance of beating the Tories in Finchley & GG. However, there are probably more possible LibDem voters not prepared to vote Labour than Labour voters not prepared to vote LibDem – so that may alter the calculation.

  14. Sale West voter

    I’m not convinced that Lib Dem is the right recommendation for Altrincham and Sale West. I think in this constituency the specific individuals standing for Labour and the Lib Dems will be a significant factor.

    The Labour candidate is well known locally: he is the leader of Trafford council, he was the 2017 candidate, and he has lived in Sale all his life. He is popular locally and is a strong campaigner: in the last two years he has led the successful campaign to turn Trafford council from a Tory majority to a Labour majority council, and he made big cuts to the Tory majority in the 2017 election. He is also a committed Remainer, which is a good match for the constituency.

    Conversely, the Lib Dem candidate has no connection to the area, and has been parachuted in very recently. The one thing she has done since arriving which has made the news is to complain about the fact that she won’t get a loss of office payment if she loses here. Other things that people who are following politics more closely may know about include: the “funny tinge” comment, the racist husband, support of fracking… none of it is very attractive, and my impression is that she is not going down at all well locally.

    Given the above, and the fact that Labour had more than 5x the votes the Lib Dems had in 2017, I would be very surprised if the Lib Dems can overtake Labour here.

    Disclaimer 1: I live in the north of the constituency, which I would say has more of a Great Manchester feel; I might have a different impression of how the candidates are getting on if I lived down at the southern edge on the border with Cheshire.

    Disclaimer 2: I am a Labour party member. However, I’ve tried to put this aside in my assessment of how things stand here. I would happily vote tactically for a Lib Dem if (a) I believed they were most likely to beat Graham Brady, and (b) we had a candidate I could respect. Indeed, I used to vote Lib Dem tactically when I lived in Oxford West and Abingdon.

  15. Jason Cook

    Thanks for this excellent work.

    The polls are moving somewhat. Since 29th Oct, on average and across all pollsters, Labour have gained 4% and LibDems have lost 2%. Is this scale of movement likely to alter any of your recommendations? If not, what scale of movement will?

  16. NickPalmer

    Very interesting, thanks! I know a good deal about Broxtowe (as the MP 1997-2010),. I’ll try to be objective! In Broxtowe, my understanding is that it’s coming down to yet another Con/Lab fight, with Anna Soubry suffering from lack of organisation and data (who voted what last time?) – in theory the LibDems are backing her, but their activists have fought her for years and are quietly going to other places like neighbouring Ashfield. I expect her to get something like 8-10%, drawn from all sides, and it’s hard to judge where most will come from. But the anti-Brexit vote should clearly be Labour and the pro-Brexit vote should equally clearly be Tory.

  17. Michael Huet

    Sorry to be lazy, but assuming your recommendations were followed, what is the final make up of parliament?

    • I don’t know, and cannot know. Because to know needs a figure on how many people vote tactically – and I cannot begin to calculate that. Sorry!

  18. Mr Rob Kinnon-Brettle

    I would be interested to know what you recommend for “Labour fortress” seats like Blackley and Broughton which have a hard-line pro-Brexit Labour MP. Also West Lancashire would come into this category.

    • Agh, I thought Stringer was standing down for some reason, but seems he is not. I suppose he has to commit to the party line backing a 2nd Referendum. Rosie Cooper is, on Brexit matters, slightly less bad. I suppose in both it is best to vote for both of them, so as to stop Tories winning in each.

  19. Horatio Mortimer

    In Buckingham where there is no General Election data, it might be useful to note the Euro election results mapped on to the constituency by Chris Hanretty. https://medium.com/@chrishanretty/ep2019-results-mapped-onto-westminster-constituencies-8a2a6ed14146

    BRX 34%
    CHUK 5%
    CON 13%
    GRN 13%
    LAB 3%
    LD 30%
    UKIP 2%
    Other 1%

  20. In a Politically Restricted Role

    Incredible piece of work Jon. Hugely valuable.

    I am mostly struck by being resigned to 86 seats being sewn up before a vote is cast. Obviously it’s a damning indictment against FPTP but underlines the lack of serious will amongst the opposition parties to get the country out of its tailspin. We have a situation where the governing party can walk 86 seats despite pretty much any assessment of past, or future, plans being embarrassing. And that’s probably been made even easier by Farage’s capitulation.

    But, as people try to weigh up where best to vote tactically it seems like disaffected Conservatives voters are being glossed over. I think that’s part of the methodology driving some sites towards Lib Dems even where Labour lie second? And that’s presumably why Remain United is steering clear of the debate.

    Nevertheless, could someone take these ‘safe’ seats a bit more seriously? Remain United’s numbers have 21 seats where the LAB+LD+GRN vote shares equal or exceed CONs (Aylesbury, Basingstoke, Berwick-upon-Tweed, Chelmsford, Croydon South, Devon Central, Devon West and Torridge, Epsom and Ewell, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire North East, Hexham, Huntingdon, Maidstone and The Weald, Norfolk South, Reigate, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner, Solihull, Somerset North, Sussex Mid,
    Tunbridge Wells, Weston-Super-Mare).

    Obviously BXP leaving the field in those seats has an impact but it cuts both ways – well, I’d hope it would also give moderate Conservative voters second thoughts. And when they look elsewhere everything I’ve seen suggests it’s not going to be in Corbyn’s direction. Labour failing to acknowledge Corbyn’s limited appeal amongst many who have a history of voting Conservative is a problem. The LDs aren’t blameless in their rhetoric but Swinson swings against Corbyn because it’s necessary to present clear water between her party and him in order to appeal to exactly those disaffected Conservative voters who are not going to vote Labour, regardless of who came second in 2017. That Labour activists go on the offensive in retaliation is understandable but also sadly short sighted.

    It is asking an awful lot to field a single candidate (and the optics of ‘collusion’ might not be worth it in terms of wider fall out) but equally they’re only a handful of seats. And if you put those seats under pressure would anything else start to unravel in terms of that solid Tory base?

    It’s so depressing that given the situation it’s people like you and the other tactical voting sites having to coach and guide us rather than the parties behaving like adults to step out of each other’s way.

    I look forward to your future updates as we go through all the fun of the next four weeks.

  21. Steve

    What do you think about vote swapping? http://www.swapmyvote.uk

  22. Rebecca Taylor

    Hi Jon,

    Firstly, thanks for this gargantuan effort! I will pass on to friends who want to vote tactically in their seat but are confused by conflicting advice.

    In relation to the comment about Sheffield Hallam; a cursory glance should tell you that the seat isn’t really a Lib/Lab marginal. It was a Tory seat, which the LibDems gained in 1997 and held until 2015. Labour were traditionally 3rd placed; the first time they managed 2nd was in 2015. It was a bit of a fluke that Labour won in 2017 (you’d have expected 2015 to have been their best shot) and an unusual mix of factors were in play including soft Tory voters who simply didn’t believe Labour could win. Labour cannot win the seat now. Every psephologist and every bookie has it down as a LibDem gain.

  23. Sandra_T

    Thanks for understanding that for some of our constituencies the predictions are not clear cut at all.

  24. Chris Paul

    The Altrincham comments collected are right. Your opt for Lb Dems here was bizarre. Labour are a strong second and the Lib Dems a very distant third. You should change that recommendation to Labour.

  25. Hi York Outer you need to look at the 2019 council elections in which the Lib dems won all but one of the wards that make up York Outer. that’s why the Greens stood down for them there – and the Green Party has done very well in York as well, winning multiple council seats in York central in 2019. York is now a Lib dem / Green council.

    In the Euros Labour only got 6k votes vs 16k Lib dems, 11k Greens.
    https://www.york.gov.uk/EPEResults

  26. Ma Shumba

    Filton & Sadly Broke: IDK if this data point helps, or if you already took it into account, but this constituency (my sister’s) includes UWE — perhaps the student vote will have an effect here?

    (PS: None of the fields are marked * in my browser, but apparently some of them are actually required?)

  27. Wimbledon Voter

    Based on the deliveries received so far, Wimbledon definitely looks like a Lib Dem target with a locally high profile candidate (took Mayor of London to court and won to stop police station closing). I don’t think this should be a surprise – in demographic and “feel” it is more like Kingston and Twickenham than Croydon or Mitcham. Plus, the recent Cannon Hill local by-election had the Lib Dems come from third to first.

  28. Gareth

    Great work – some thoughts on one of your final 13.
    Full disclosure – I’m a Labour member in the seat, but judging on the data in Rushcliffe, where in 2017 Labour got 22,213 and the Lib Dems 2,759 (a Labour gain of 11.8%), should really point toward voters favouring Labour over the LDs? The local candidate for Labour has already confirmed she would campaign for Remain in Labour’s confirmatory referendum already promised as part of the Party’s manifesto.

    This was Ken Clarke’s seat (local 49year veteran MP and Europhile) the Conservatives have selected Ruth Edwards who is pro-Brexit (“Only Boris Johnson and the Conservatives will get Brexit done and respect the referendum” in her literature). Rushcliffe voted 40,522 – 29,888 in favour of REMAIN.

    The Lib Dems are standing as a Unite to Remain candidate after the Greens stood their candidate down – I think a fact check of the two manifestos (LD and Lab) on their green credentials would also be interesting for the 1,626 Green voters from last time (not far behind the Lib Dems!) on their choice here too.

    For me, Labour is the better option as there is the least distance to travel to beat the Tories in the seat. Interested to hear your thoughts, Jon – and feel free to check my figures.

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