Wednesday, 5 May 2010

A Look @: Cornwall [update]

Cornwall is a fiercely contested Conservative/Liberal Democrat battleground which the latter won at the last General Election taking all five seats. Since then Cornwall has received an extra seat, and the Lib Dems have become a little less popular locally, so they look set to lose their Orange County. The Tories became the largest party in the new council following the 2009 elections, but Cornwall has a tradition of backing independent councillors and in light of the expenses scandal third parties could have a big say this May. UKIP and the Cornish Nationalists, Mebyon Kernow (MK), could distract the main parties from each other and possibly alter the outcome. MK could be a problem for the Lib Dems as they share a similar political platform but this may be cancelled out by Conservative voters defecting to UKIP. Labour are only vaguely competitive in Camborne & Redruth; a seat they lost in the last election.

Constituency

Incumbent

Notional Majority

Swing Needed

Favourite

Prediction

Cornwall SE

Colin Breed

5,485

5.9%

3/10

LD Hold

Cornwall North

Dan Rogerson

2,892

3.5%

1/3

LD Hold

St. Aust. & Newq.

  

5,723

6.3%

1/2

LD Hold

Truro & Falmouth

Matthew Taylor

3,931

4.7%

2/7

LD Hold

Camb. & Red.

Julia Goldsworthy

2,733

3.6%

5.2%

2/7

LD Hold

St Ives

Andrew George

10,711

12.3%

1/10

LD Hold


 

The Liberal Democrats have held Cornwall South East since Colin Breed won the seat in 1997. His retirement has left the Tories with a very good opportunity. It'll be a tight race between Sheryll Murray (CON) and Karen Gillard (LD) who both have a great deal of experience in local politics. The Conservatives need a couple of seats in Cornwall and without Breed's personal vote they'll be looking to Murray to overcome the fairly large notional majority. But the Clegg bounce seems to have had some traction in the South West with a 5.5% swing from the Tories to the Lib Dems recorded by YouGov regional breakdowns. Although the South West is one of the least homogonous regions in the country it will be hard for Murray to negate all of that. I think Gillard will win this, but expect it to be close; Lib Dem Hold.

In Cornwall North Dan Rogerson is ending his first term in a seat the Lib Dems have held since 1992. He was unscathed by the expenses row which should help him defend his fairly small majority. The Conservative PPC here is Sian Flynn who is a former Surrey Councillor and local businesswoman. She is certainly not out of this one and but the Clegg bounce will make it hard for her to secure a gain for her party. First term incumbent Lib Dems usually do well and so Rogerson should hang on; Lib Dem Hold.

The big boundary change in Cornwall has been the splitting of Matthew Taylor's old constituency in two. Calculating notional majorities in Cornwall is notoriously difficult due to the success of independent candidates in county council elections. As a result you can find wildly differing notional figures from UKPolling Report compared to those we've quoted from Rallings and Thrasher. Taylor won the Truro and St. Austell seat in 1987 and the Liberal Democrats, and their previous incarnations, have held it since 1974. The Conservatives will be looking to pick up one at least one of these two new seats and St. Austell and Newquay is the prime target. UKPR suggest the majority here is virtually nothing and the Conservatives have selected the former TV Presenter and Journalist Caroline Righton from their A-List which suggests they mean business. The Lib Dems have local councillor Stephen Gilbert running and to make his life more difficult the Mebyon Kernow leader, Dick Cole, is also contesting the seat. Cole won 78% of the vote in his St Enoder ward which is contained in this constituency. But the Lib Dems have more Councillors elected from this seat than the Conservatives. Think the Lib Dems will have Clegg to thank for blunting the Cole effect. In reality the notional figures here are almost irrelevant and it's a tough call. But the national and regional swing is with the Lib Dems, as is the Council split; Lib Dem Hold…but anything could happen!

On the face of it Truro and Falmouth is
an easier hold for the Lib Dems. They have former local Councillor Terrye Teverson running against the politically inexperienced Sarah Newton for the Conservatives. The local election results here do not offer many clues as Independents hold the most council seats in this constituency with the Tories and the Lib Dems fairly even. I'm sticking with the bookies on this one but it's a bit of a lottery with these notional figures. Current polling would suggest a Lib Dem Hold.

Julia Goldsworthy won the three-way marginal Camborne & Falmouth in 2005 as the Lib Dems came from third to take the seat with surprising ease. She is now defending the heavily altered Camborne and Redruth constituency and she can't afford to slip up if she hopes to secure a second term as an MP. Although she bought rocking chair at the taxpayer's expense she looks likely to hold off the Conservative challenge from ex-spin doctor George Eustice. Jude Robinson is hoping to regain Labour's foothold in Cornwall by retaking this seat but she is likely to be way off the pace here thanks to her party's national performance. Lib Dem Hold.

Andrew George in St Ives may enjoy the biggest majority but he has also been the most affected by the expenses scandal. Allegations surrounding his daughter living in his second home may dent his majority, but with over 10,000 votes to lose he's likely to survive. Expect a reduced majority, but Lib Dem Hold.


 

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2 comments:

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