Thursday, 3 March 2011

“Super Thursday” is here!!!

If you are familiar with American politics then you should be versed in the importance of 'Super Tuesday'. Over here we don't generally get big election nights outside the first week of May but tonight is about as close as we will get! With the variety of elections taking place today we will get a timely insight into how the 5th May will pan out, with actual votes as opposed to opinion polls.

The big vote is taking place in Wales where they are holding a national referendum on whether to extend the law making powers of the Assembly. Opinion polls are showing a big lead for YES which is in line with the received wisdom on issue. The step is a rather small one and in many ways probably doesn't require the effort of a referendum. As one is taking place there is something to look out for us politicos. Referendum on a technical political issue, hasn't really captured the nation, low turnout expected…sound familiar? As Mike Smithson points out, this referendum could indicate what how low turnout for the Alternative Vote ballot will be in areas with no council or devolved legislature elections taking place on the same day. This is quite important as, in general, more important elections are taking place in regions which sway towards YES where as in many rural areas the referendum is the only thing to go to the polling station for. We will have to wait until tomorrow for news on that as they are not counting until the morning.

Elsewhere we have the Parliamentary by-election in Barnsley Central, which is almost certainly going to return a Labour MP with a significantly increased majority. The battle for the minor placings is quite interesting though as a Survation* poll at the weekend showed the Liberal Democrats falling from second to fourth and barely saving their deposit. In the grand scheme of things I'm not convinced this will be as big an embarrassment as some are suggesting but I for one am intrigued to see how low they go. At least they're starting the expectations game in the best position!

Finally we have a handy mix of Council by-elections. There are vacancies in Wales and Scotland ahead of their devolved national assembly elections in May. There are also two seats up for grabs in North West Metropolitan Boroughs which will also host partial Council elections in two months time. Finally there is a relatively straightforward by-election in Cambridgeshire.

So there we have it. If I have managed to sell this to you as an exciting night worth following then I should probably suggest a way to keep up to date. We will be live tweeting from @BritainVotes from 10pm onwards, and (to my knowledge) you don't need to sign up to twitter to view a feed. So if that bit of self promotion didn't put you we'll see you all in an hour or so!

* Survation have kindly cross-posted our article on the Barnsley Central by-election to their blog.


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