Parliamentary by-elections

The real battle in Newark will be for second place, not first

Another opinion poll has suggested the Tories are going to hold on to Newark in Thursday’s by-election.

Here are the figures, compiled by Survation for Lord Ashcroft:

Newark opinion poll 2 June 2014

The poll shows a larger gap between the Tories and Ukip than that suggested by the opinion poll published last week.

But the Conservatives are still down on their share at the 2010 general election. Here’s a reminder of how the constituency voted last time:

Newark 2010 resultLast week I wondered if there was a bit of a tussle developing between Ukip and Labour for second place in Newark. The new opinion poll implies otherwise, though I’d still argue the more interesting outcome of Thursday’s election will be the gap between Ukip and Labour rather than Ukip and the Tories. It would be something of a sensation (for the media, at least) if Ukip ended up in third place.

I also wonder whether a bit of tactical voting might take place. What chance a few Labour supporters will “lend” their vote to the Tories to make sure Ukip are runners-up?

One trend that is consistent across both of the Newark opinion polls is the very poor showing by the Lib Dems. The party seems to be just about holding its own against the “others”, but it’ll be a close run thing. The Lib Dem candidate David Watts will probably struggle to retain his deposit – a fate he’s likely to share with, among others, Nick the Flying Brick and the Bus-Pass Elvis Party.

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