Saturday 21 February 2015

Hengoed Result - Crunching the Numbers

Thanks to everyone who has commented on the Hengoed result. Some of the comments on Twitter are not borne out by an analysis of the numbers, so here is what the maths actually say.

The first thing to note is that the County Council elections in 2012 saw a turnout of just over 37%. Turnout for the by-election was 35%.

Secondly, Hengoed is a two member ward. This complicates matters slightly, but Plaid, Labour and People First all had two candidates in 2012, and so it is simple to calculate their share of the vote for both elections.

In absolute terms, Labour and Plaid stood still. George Edwards polled 338 votes in 2012, while Penny Edwards polled 335. Martin Davies for Plaid polled 313 votes this time (315 in 2012) and lost out by 22 votes (23 votes in 2012).

The two parties were neck and neck, in other words.

More interesting is the parties' share of the vote.

Labour's share rose from 28% to 33%. +5%
Plaid's share rose from 28% to 31%  +3%

The biggest shift occurred in the performance of Siân Caiach's People First which saw its share drop from 29% to 8%.

Ukip, which did not contest the 2012 election, took 15% of the vote, which is only slightly higher than their current poll ratings across the UK which are hovering around the 12% mark.

On that basis it looks very much as though the main story here was a switch from People First to Ukip, which just happen to be at opposite ends of the political spectrum.


As expected, it was a very close race for the county council seat in the Hengoed by-election, with Labour beating Plaid by just 22 votes. The turnout was just 35%.

Labour - 335
Plaid Cymru - 313
UKIP - 152
People First - 80
Independent - 76
Conservative - 54

Penny Edwards is thus elected for Labour.

Susan Phillips for Plaid won the election for the vacant seat on Llanelli Rural Council by a rather more comfortable margin:

Plaid 351
Lab 285
Ukip 165
People First 65
Ind 37

The result leaves Labour with 22 councillors on the County Council, while Plaid has 29.


Anonymous said...

Interesting result- poor performance for Sian's Caiach People First . typical low turnout in Llanelli Well done Plaidin nearly getting it but worrying the level of sup[port for UKIP

Anonymous said...

Thought there were six candidates for the Rural seat?

Anonymous said...

Considering both Labour (2012 -338) and Plaid (2012 - 315)kept their vote the big question is what happened to the People First vote? In 2012 they gained 337 and were real contenders. Last night their candidate came fourth with only 80 votes. Probably too simplistic to say their votes moved to UKIP who were not on the ballot in 2012.

Cneifiwr said...

Anon@08.38 You are right. The council has not published the results yet, and I have been unable to find out how many votes the Tory got - not many being the answer.

Anonymous said...

Plaid and labour vote held up, where did the UKIP vote come from?

Anonymous said...

The big story is People First and their massive collapse in support. Sian's personal intervention - the first part of PFs leaflet is a passionate plea from Sian Caiach asking for voters to back the PF candidate. This call is echoed by the Carmarthenshire Planning blog for a vote for PF. At the start of the campaign Sian Caiach announced that she will stand for the Llanelli seat in the House of Commons. No doubt the timing was intended to generate press interest in the PF cause in Hengoed. All to no avail. This result shows that PF is probably going the way of the so called peoples groups in the east that all revolved around a couple of charasmatic individuals that defected from the Labour party. Today there is virtually no evidence of their existence.

Anonymous said...

These are very interesting election results in the context of the upcoming general election.

On the face of it, both Labour and Plaid Cymru held their vote share from 2012. But this is a large urban ward next to the town represented by a Labour AM and Labour MP - a Shadow Minister, no less.

After 5 years of a Tory government one would expect the Labour party to be romping home in this by-election.

There has been a lot of speculation at how well UKIP would do, but it seems clear from these results that they're particularly impacting the Labour vote.

Whilst Plaid Cymru volunteers may be a little deflated in not winning the county seat last night, they could end up having the last laugh with a major scalp in just a few months time.

Very interesting times indeed.

Anonymous said...

Penny Edwards [Labour] got a huge sympathy vote as her late husband was well liked. Susan Philips {Plaid] is very active in the community and local campaigns, problably better known in Hengoed than Plaid's county candidate. Both are deserving winners. If Plaid had put Susan up for the County, they may well have won.

Anonymous said...

In spite of winning, I`m sure that Labour will be worried about the number of votes that they had - after all, their canvassing effort was MASSIVE. When you think that (for example), the independent candidate Edward Skinner - essentially a `one-man band canvasser` got 76 votes, the Labour vote is less impressive. I was personally visited by Labour canvassers four times and spoke politely to them twice, and my impressions of the two men to whom I spoke to was that they were not `locals` ie they had been brought in to assist the Labour Canvassing Army.

Unknown said...

Congratulations to both Penny and Susan. It was moving to hear Penny speak last night.

A great result in the Rural vote - Susan knew everyone!

Exciting times ahead. Thanks to the people of Hengoed for their support and generosity. Best wishes.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comments. Tory vote was 54. It was a hard fought campaign with many, many labour personnel not drafted in but volunteering to come and help. It really was #TeamHengoed. It was predicted that Susan would win as she is very well known as being the postmistress in both Pwll and Sandy for many years. Saying that Labour should romp home after 5 years of a tory government is somewhat simplistic as it is the Assembly and Council that have had to make the cuts and other political parties normally do not even mention the Tories usually blaming Labour Assembly and Labour led council for everything.
This combined with all the controversary about PPH would you would have thought given Labour quite a challenge but they won with only one less vote than in 2012. It would appear that UKIP has taken over from the Lib Dems as the 'protest party' in this area. Given all that the labour vote held up very well and there was definitely not a sympathy vote for Penny Edwards as she is also very well known and like and has also worked in the community and assisted George extensively. I do actually feel sorry for Martin who tirelessly campaigned for himself and Susan who was rarely on the scene. I really do not think this is a predictor of the GE much as Plaid would like it to be. Local elections usually have a life of their own.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe how some are trying to dress this up as an impressive day for plaid!

The maths tells us all the story. Labour have maintained the same number of votes as in 2012, despite a vote of 150 for UKIP. It's pure make believe to say that the UKIP vote has come from labour, in fact the maths shows it came from someone other than labour and plaid.

I wouldn't have expected a 'romp home' by any party in a by election as they always have a low turnout and only the core vote comes out.

In terms of canvassing operations, so what if labour had a massive campaign. Leanne woods has personally canvassed the area twice and still no plaid breakthrough! You can't deny that having your leader turn up to canvass and still lose is a dire result.

In terms of the rural vote, I believe Susan won because she had a personal vote above that of plaid's. As a postmistress in the village she would be expected to outperform the party vote.

Anonymous said...

The Labour party threw everything at keeping the two seats, but I suspect they'll be more releaved to have kept the county one. I agree with Anon 11:05 in that this was a test run for the general election.
In 2011 Sian Caiach standing cost Helen Mary the seat. Her 'party', in her own ward, hardly made a dent this time.
In May I think UKIP will cost Nia Griffith her seat.

Anonymous said...

Don't forget the Labour party had its conference on the Saturday before the poll in Swansea and delegates were encouraged to pop over the river and engage in a bit of canvassing. Probably explains the reports of 'non local' canvassers.

Anonymous said...

No-one was 'encouraged' everyone volunteered. Great to hear that most of the voters did not believe the untruths to say the least of the UKIP candidate. All PPs be aware of this in GE.

Anonymous said...

Am I right in thinking the People First now no longer hold the balance of power on the rural council and that there are no Labour councillors elected from Hengoed to Llanelli Rural?

Anonymous said...

Re. 18.21
(1) People First have never held the balance of power on Llanelli Rural Council.
(2) Hengoed ward in now represented by 3 Plaid members and 1 PF.

Anonymous said...

Where can you find the details of Rural Councillors affilations.The Llanelli Rural website only has the names of the councillors and the results statements produced by the county only have names and again no political affiliations for community results. A lot clearer on the town council web site.

Anonymous said...

Here's a list of Llanelli Rural Council members political affiliations:



S. Caiach