Election Week – Trafford is one to watch


According to the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU), Trafford will simply be a Conservative hold and the borough does not make it into the organisation’s top 50 councils to watch. Perhaps Trafford’s results in the past 8 years have been so consistently uneventful that they’ve stopped looking. From a disinterested observer’s point of view, Trafford looks fairly stuck in its political map. Labour has a stronghold in the northern area but the Conservatives have won consistently in the western, central and southern areas of the borough. Elections have been extraordinarily predictable with only Urmston and Sale Moor wards being prone to any change of preference. From the LGIU’s point of view, Labour might be expected to take the remaining Conservative seats in Urmston and Sale Moor but that would still leave them marooned on 24 councillors – nowhere near sufficient to dent the Conservative majority – they currently have 37 councillors.

Since the media tends to use the LGIU for its briefing on the Local Elections, the message has been consistent: don’t expect surprises in Trafford. I think they’re wrong.

Looking at last year’s results:

Ward Winning Margin 2011 Swing required for change of party
Altrincham
716 10% Con to Lab
Ashton upon Mersey
553 8% Con to Lab
Bowdon
1956 28% Con to Lab
Broadheath
112 2% Con to Lab
Brooklands
823 11% Con to Lab
Bucklow-St Martins
879 20% Lab to Con
Clifford
1956 33% Lab to Green
Davyhulme East
311 5% Con to Lab
Davyhulme West
405 6% Con to Lab
Flixton
281 4% Con to Lab
Gorse Hill
1272 24% Lab to Con
Hale Barns
2048 29% Con to Lab
Hale Central
1289 19% Con to Lab
Longford
1460 16% Lab to Con
Priory
517 8% Lab to Con
Sale Moor
234 4% Lab to Con **
St Mary’s
527 8% Con to Lab
Stretford
1157 19% Lab to Con
Timperley
896 10% Con to Lab ***
Urmston
345 5% Lab to Con **
Village
309 5% Con to Lab ***

** Swings required are to hold seat, as Lab won in 2011

*** Swings required are swings required from Conservative vote to take previously Lib Dem wards. (3way marginals won by Conservatives in 2011)

The projected shares of the vote nationally were Cons 35% Lab 36% Lib Dem 16% in May 2011. The polls are now showing Cons 31% Lab 41% and Lib Dems 11%. So if you believe those polls, there’s been a 4.5% swing from Conservatives to Labour since May 2011. Labour should feel confident of gaining the remaining Sale Moor and Urmston seats, Broadheath and Flixton are realistic targets. There then follows a whole clutch of seats where any improvement on a 5% swing could see seats tumbling across Trafford. Davyhulme East, Davyhulme West, and Village would all fall if 6 voters in 100 switch to Labour. Timperley too has to be in our radar as it’s clear the Lib Dem vote is collapsing there and we’ve moved from being third placed to the only viable alternative to the Conservatives.

It’s a big ask, but not impossible, that the BBC and Sky will be rushing to the George Carnall in the early hours of Friday morning to cover some very close finishes in the Tories’ flagship authority.

Without question it would be good for Trafford if it was close fought. The other figure to look out for is the total votes for each party. We are aiming to win the popular vote in Trafford.


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