The EU Parliamentary election results are in

A dramatic result in Radlett’s EU constituency – East of England. A wipe-out for Labour and a big loss for the Tories. An amazing result for the Brexit Party, the Greens and the Lib Dems (oh, and UKIP essentially disappeared).

The Conservatives lost two of their three MEPs in our EU Parliamentary constituency, leaving them with one. The Liberal Democrats gained two seats – from zero last time around, Labour’s only MEP in the region has gone and the Greens have their first seat. The extraordinary factor here, as in so many other constituencies, is the performance of the Brexit Party – the largest party by a mile. The detail shows the scale of their win. Their vote in East of England is almost four times bigger than the Tories’.

Looking more locally, at the voting percentages for our council district – Hertsmere – there’s some fascinating detail. Turnout was 36.39% (compared with 36.4% for the East of England and 37% nationally. Across Europe, the figure exceeded 50% for the first time). You can see that UKIP’s share of the vote has fallen by 26.3% to 2.7%. Lord Ashcroft’s fascinating post-election polling (an essential read after every important election these days) suggests that 68% of UKIP voters, at the national level, switched directly to Farage’s party, with most Brexit Party votes overall coming from 2017 Conservative voters. The Hertsmere numbers suggest slightly more of the UKIP voters switched and slightly fewer of the Tories. Instructive, though, to remember that UKIP’s vote in Hertsmere in the 2017 General Election was 3% (our full 2017 results post is here).

You can see that UKIP’s share of the vote has fallen by 26.3% to 2.7%. Lord Ashcroft’s fascinating post-election polling (an essential read after every important election these days) suggests that 68% of UKIP voters, at the national level, switched directly to Farage’s party, with most Brexit Party votes overall coming from 2017 Conservative voters. The Hertsmere numbers suggest slightly more of the UKIP voters switched and slightly fewer of the Tories. Instructive, though, to remember that UKIP’s vote in Hertsmere in the 2017 General Election was 3% (our full 2017 results post is here).

The Conservatives’ collapse in Hertsmere is dramatic but they’ve lost a substantially smaller share then at the National or East of England level, falling only 20 percentage points to 17.7%. Ashcroft’s numbers also suggest that almost 40% of the Lib Dem vote nationally came from 2017 Labour voters and a quarter from 2017 Tories.

In some ways the Green Party’s performance, both in Hertsmere and at the East of England level, is most interesting – their increase in vote share has been enough to get them just above the threshold for a single seat and they’ve essentially swapped places with Labour, whose share has fallen to just below the threshold, but the whole picture is so complex – somebody really did shake the kaleidoscope.

Nationally, it’s not so different. According to Laura Kuenssberg on the BBC election results programme, if the Conservatives had done this badly in a UK general election they’d have won no seats at all.

At the wider European level it’s been a good night for the far right – the largest parties in the Parliament from both France and Italy are now from what we would once have called the nationalist fringe – and for the Greens. The largest groups in the new Parliament are still from the socialist and centre right blocs but they no longer have a majority – this is going to be interesting.

o

Most of the data in this post is from the BBC’s excellent and very comprehensive election results site, some from the EU’s and the Hertsmere turnout figure is from Hertsmere’s own elections web site.

An EU polling day round-up

Radlett is in the East of England constituency for the EU Parliamentary elections. We’ll send seven MEPs back to Brussels (and, for half the time, Strasbourg, of course). In 2014 the East of England elected these MEPs from three parties (full election results are on the BBC web site).

Our representation in the EU is already pretty patchy. Of the three UKIP MEPs on the list, only Stuart Agnew still represents the party. The others have defected to other parties. Vicky Ford no longer represents the Conservatives either: she is now a UK MP. And Richard Howitt retired in 2016. The European Parliament web site has the current line-up of MEPs. Whatever the outcome of today’s elections, the list of MEPs is going to look very different.

Candidates for today’s election are listed on the BBC web site. There are a lot of them – 54 individuals, representing nine political parties (one of these is an independent). The big parties all put forward seven candidates but you don’t vote for an individual, you vote for a party group. The voting system then takes over and assigns seats to parties according to their vote share.

MEPs are returned to the EU Parliament using a system chosen by each of the 28 member states. In Britain we use a proportional representation voting system (except in Northern Ireland) that’s called the D’Hondt system. The i Newspaper has an explainer. The count takes place on Sunday (most other member states are voting on Sunday) so we’ll have a result early on Monday.

Who to vote for, of course, is up to you. The polls put the Brexit Party out in front by a wide margin, wider even than UKIP’s big win in 2014. The two main parties are likely to take a beating, the Tories especially. What will be most interesting – given the odd, presumably short-term nature of this Parliament – is whether the anti-Brexit parties can put on as many votes as the pro-Brexit ones. If the outcome is an approximate balance of pro- and anti- votes – we’ll essentially be back where we were in June 2016. So much for resolving the Brexit conundrum!

And, if you haven’t voted yet, find your polling place on the Hertsmere web site.

How would Radlett vote now?

If the Brexit referendum were held today Radlett would vote Remain by a substantial margin

Just before the 2016 EU referendum we ran an opinion poll here at Radlett Wire. Although the wider constituency, Hertsmere, voted Leave – by a slightly closer margin than the national one – according to our poll Radlett voted narrowly Remain.

Radlett Wire EU referendum poll results graphic
For our referendum coverage we’ve been using the BBC’s chart format.

In February and March of this year we ran the same poll again. We deliberately asked exactly the same question. It’s the same question, of course, that was printed on the ballot form at the referendum – “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”

The overall result increases the Remain margin substantially. If Radlett were to vote again now our poll suggests Remain would win by a comfortable 10% margin (Leave 45.2% – Remain 54.8%).

This time we added a question too: “Is this how you voted in the referendum?”, with possible answers: “Yes, this is how I voted in 2016” and “No, I’ve changed my mind since then.” A total of 11.1% of our respondents (26 individuals) say they have changed their minds about Brexit since they voted in the referendum. And nearly two-thirds of them switched from Remain to Leave. Now this is probably a fairly fragile number – would you admit to changing your mind about a really big decision like this? And the swing that it reveals towards Leave is obviously contradicted by the overall swing in our numbers towards Remain. So this number is likely to remain an intriguing detail rather than a particularly revealing insight

Small print: fewer people participated in our poll this time – 235 against 361 – and, of course, it’s not a valid opinion poll because participants are self-selecting. We can’t tell if the same people participated this time as last time and we can’t be 100% sure that everyone who voted was from Radlett (although we were able to eliminate duplicate votes and spam).

Does all this help us to understand how Radlett will vote in tomorrow’s EU Parliamentary elections? Probably not. For the EU vote the story looks simpler and – as is often the case with Brexit – more complicated at the same time. In this vote – one we were never meant to have – we’re likely to see a big swing to both pro-Brexit parties and anti-Brexit parties. That’ll be helpful, won’t it



Brexit – how would you vote now?

In the 2016 EU referendum Hertsmere, which is Radlett’s electoral district, voted Leave by a small margin. In an opinion poll we took just before the referendum, you voted Remain, by an equally small margin.

In our opinion poll we asked exactly the question that we knew we’d all be answering in the referendum itself (and we added a ‘don’t know’ option because you don’t get one of those in the polling booth).

Although, like all web site polls, it wasn’t at all scientific, we did get a reasonably good sample: 361 people (or about 5% of the Radlett electorate) participated. The end result was a small majority for Remain. Dividing ‘don’t knows’ equally across the two referendum responses gives us a result of 50.7% Remain to 49.3% Leave. Given the profile of the area, that doesn’t seem implausible.

Radlett Wire EU referendum poll results graphic
Results of our pre-referendum opinion poll.

The wider polling district, Hertsmere, voted Leave by 50.8% to 49.2%. We also subsequently learnt that neighbouring Shenley had actually voted Remain – by a margin of 51.78% to 48.22% so that might also serve to confirm the validity of our poll.

So, two months before Britain legally leaves the European Union (whatever the deal), how would you vote now? Click the survey button and answer our two referendum questions (it’s entirely anonymous). We’ll share the results here and on our social media accounts.

What were the big issues for General Election voters in Radlett?

About a week ago, just before the 2017 General Election, we asked you which local issues would motivate you to vote. We did this for the last election too, back in 2015.

So, in order of importance to you, here are the issues that got the Radlett electorate voting, with the 2015 position in italics and the number of votes for each issue (in brackets).

1. The NHS (140) – up from 3rd position
2. Local amenities (134) – up from 8
3. The freight terminal and the green belt (133) – down from number 1
4. Caring for the elderly (130) – up from 11
5. Crime and policing (130) – down from 4
6. Transport and commuting (129) – non-mover
7. Young people (129) – up from 9
8. Development in Radlett (121) – down from 2
9. The Newberries car park development (121) – new entry
10. Housing (120) – up from 12
9. Local business (117) – down from 7
10. Environment (114) – non-mover
11. Or is it really all about Brexit? (112) – new entry
12. Schools (105) – down from 8

The NHS has displaced the freight terminal as your number one concern since 2015, the Newberries car park redevelopment is a new entry at number nine and, although we were really expecting you to tell us that Brexit trumps everything else, it was the second-least important issue in the survey. Does this reflect a national loss of interest in the mechanics of Brexit, now that it’s a done deal? And will the biggest electoral surprise in decades throw the whole Brexit calculation in the air again anyway?

It’s also fascinating that schools have dropped from number eight to last place. The huge cuts coming down the pipe for all state schools are clearly not freaking out the population of Radlett.

Our 2017 election survey results are here. And you can read the 2015 results here.

And on the national scale, Tory donor (and noted tax avoider) Lord Ashcroft runs a large and detailed survey of UK voters after every major vote. His most recent data is absolutely fascinating. He shows, for instance, that the only age group that voted majority Conservative in last week’s election was the over-55s.

Your Radlett General Election guide

Let’s start with the 2015 results for the Hertsmere constituency. Here’s our analysis of the voting two years ago.
Screenshot of Hertsmere general election result from BBC web site, 8 May 2015
Four parties stood last time (no Greens) and the Tory share was a substantial 59.3%. According to the excellent Electoral Calculus, Hertsmere is the Conservatives’ 103rd safest seat and Oliver Dowden has a 97% chance of retaining the seat so all the action this year will be at the margins. Will the Liberals lose share, as some predict? Will Labour do better than expected?

Your candidates. There are five this time around:
Oliver Dowden, Conservative.
David Hoy, UKIP.
Joe Jordan, Liberal Democrats.
Fiona Smith, Labour.
Sophie Summerhayes, Green Party.
Here’s what we know about them so far.

And what about that other big vote?. Our polling district voted Leave by a margin of 1.6% (50.8 – 49.2%), putting the district 262nd of the 382 UK polling districts – meaning that 261 districts, or 68% of the total, had larger majorities for Leave. We put together a quite detailed analysis of the Brexit vote in Hertsmere – putting the local vote in the regional and national context. Referendum vote counting was done differently from election counting, so we don’t have ward-by-ward voting data, except for neighbouring Shenley, which, thanks the BBC’s Martin Rosenbaum, we know voted Remain.

Before the 2015 election we ran a survey. We wanted to know what were the Radlett issues that got you all voting. The big issue last time around was the railfreight terminal- a story that has moved on since then but is still not in any way resolved. Do please take two minutes to fill in this year’s survey! It’ll take two minutes and we’ll share the results here and on Facebook and Twitter.

What to do on the big day. There are usually four polling stations in Radlett – the United Synagogue and the Radlett Centre, Newberries Primary School and the Phillimore Community Centre, and if you don’t know which one is yours, there’s a handy web site where you can find out.

Local and Parliamentary elections in Radlett are run by a team at Hertsmere Borough Council. They have a useful web site where you can find out about candidates, counts, previous results and so on. On the My Society web site, there’s a very useful, plain English guide to voting in UK elections.

Radlett’s EU referendum vote in context

Hertsmere EU Referendum 2016 results comparison

It was, let’s face it, a surprise. As late as the close of polling on Thursday bookmakers were still offering 7/1 on Brexit (that’s a 12.5% probability). The opinion polls weren’t too far off for this vote but still gave Remain a small lead.

Our polling district, Hertsmere, voted Leave by a margin of 1.6% (50.8 – 49.2%), putting the district 262nd of the 382 polling districts – meaning that 261 districts, or 68% of the total, had larger majorities for Leave.

The table, which uses data from the BBC web site, puts Hertsmere in the context of its immediate neighbours and confirms what we essentially already know about the vote in England. London, and a handful of other urban districts, voted Remain, while prosperous suburbs, rural areas and struggling towns voted Leave. The three London boroughs to Radlett’s South voted Remain and all of our other neighbours outside London (except St Albans) voted Leave.

For comparison, I’ve included London itself and the constituency with the largest Leave vote – Boston in Lincolnshire – and the one with the largest Remain vote – Lambeth (I’ve excluded the obvious outlier, Gibraltar, where all but 823 people voted to remain).

It’s difficult to know how Radlett itself voted. The referendum poll – unlike general elections – is not broken down by ward and, of course, there’s no such thing as a ‘safe seat’ in a referendum. Every vote counts. Thanks to Martin Rosenbaum at the BBC, though, we do know how the good people of Shenley voted. He used FOI requests to get referendum voting data at the ward level from all the UK local authorities that collected it. So, although it’s not clear why Hertsmere reported voting for Shenley and not the other wards, we are fairly sure that Shenley voted Remain. Our own opinion poll of local voters gave a small win to Remain.

And incidentally, the Radlett margin predicted by our poll (which closed on the morning of the referendum) was exactly the same as the actual margin achieved by Remain in critical North East district Newcastle upon Tyne – the first mainland seat declared and the one that got Remainers sweating because it came in below the number suggested by the BBC model.

Radlett Wire EU referendum poll results graphic

Some local people are clearly in shock – especially those whose jobs depend on the financial sector. Others are celebrating. Were you surprised by the result? Do you think we’ve made a terrible mistake? Or is this, as Nigel Farage puts it, a ‘new dawn’ for Britain? Leave a comment below (anonymously if you like) and we’ll share your reactions here, on Facebook and on Twitter.

The Guardian and the BBC both have excellent detailed analysis of the national results.

Lord Ashcroft’s detailed polling, published the day after the referendum, is essential reading.

The Radlett Wire EU referendum poll – the results are in

Our EU referendum opinion poll closed early this morning. You voted – narrowly – in favour of Remain. Now it’s time for the real thing. During the ten days the poll was live, things moved around a lot, though, and both sides had a majority at one point or another. With a sample of 361, the poll is probably pretty representative.

Final results of Radlett Wire's EU referendum opinion poll
Turnout in Hertsmere at the last general election, in 2015, was 67.9%. Will the feverish – not to say furious – atmosphere of the campaign and the sheer gravity of the decision we have to make produce a higher turnout? Or will the rain keep voters at home? We’ll know in about twenty hours.

We’ll be at the count and will bring you the results as soon as they’re public. Follow us on Twitter or on Facebook to get the news first.

How will Radlett vote in the EU referendum?

UPDATE: we closed the poll early this morning, before voting in the referendum began. A total of 361 votes were received. The final results are in the poll box below.

It doesn’t matter where you stand on EU membership – everyone is agreed that this may well be the most important vote that any of us make in our lifetimes. And the drama, the acrimony, the unexpected twists and turns have made the campaign so far the most gripping/energising/infuriating (take your pick) in recent electoral history.

So wouldn’t it be interesting to know how Radlett is going to vote in the referendum?

In general and local elections, Radlett votes Conservative. And Conservatives, if the polls are to be believed, will vote leave, by a substantial majority.

So will Radlett vote leave? Or will a commuter town with a big dependence on the City and on the financial sector buck the trend and vote to remain?

With ten days to go before the real vote, let’s find out. Vote below to tell us how you’re planning to vote (anonymously, of course) and we’ll share the results here and on our social media accounts.

In the poll below, we’ve used exactly the language that you’ll see on the referendum polling form and we’ve added a third question for don’t-knows and people who haven’t made their minds up yet.

You can only vote once and you can see the results so far once you’ve voted.