One way of predicting the results of the Police and Crime Commissioner elections is look at the results at the last General Election in the relevant areas and then make an adjustment reflecting the swing to Labour indicated by the opinion polls. The Police Foundation offered some analysis along these lines which I reported in August.
The Local Government Chronicle have published (£) some further thoughts on the subject with a few tentative predictions from Colin Rallings and Michael Thrasher.
They suspect independents will struggle as the constituencies are so large. Looking at local council byelections they say holding the elections in November will reduce turnout by 5%.
The Supplementary Vote system is operating. If no candidate wins over 50% of first preferences then the top two candidates have added to their tally any second preferences of those voting for the other candidates. But how much diffference will it make? Often voters don't exercise a second preference or use it for another candidate who is eliminated.
The authors say:
Our analysis of mayoral elections since 2001 shows that on average fewer than four in 10 eligible second votes are transferred and affect the final outcome.
What about the predictions. The authors used Council election results rather than adjusting from the General Election. This broadly led to the same destination with most seats expected to have clear Labour or clear Conservative majorities:
More intriguing are the three Midlands police authorities, which have attracted three candidates each. The Conservatives polled the most votes across the Leicestershire, Warwickshire, and West Mercia areas at both the 2010 general and 2011 local elections, but could be vulnerable in the first two if turnout in the towns matches that in the country.
What about Humberside? That will be the result on the night that the media will be most excited by given Labour's candidate is Lord Prescott. Sam Chapman extrapolated the data as meaning Labour ahead by 9.7%. That makes it marginalish.
Rawling and Thrasher say:
Former deputy prime minister John Prescott is likely to top the first ballot among the seven candidates in Humberside, but could be beaten if the candidate in second place is also the alternative anti-Prescott choice of all those who initially voted for someone else.
Matthew Grove, the Conservative candidate for Police and Crime Commissioner
has an excellent manifesto. But maybe he needs to get stuck into some negative campaigning – there is'nt exactly a shortage of material. Also some of the: "It's a two horse race. Only Matthew Grove can beat Lord Prescott.." stuff.
The Local Government Chronicle also report that three former Council chief executives are standing. Two as independents – David Bowles in Lincolnshire and Kingsley Smith in Durham, one for Labour, Patrick Leonard in Cumbria.
I think if I lived in Durham I'd give Kingsley Smith a second prefeence – his election pledges sound pretty good.