Survation Meopham North By Election Survey – What Could The Effect Be Of The Government’s Green Belt Policy Proposals?
Full crosstabs for this survey are now available; Meopham North By Election for ITN
Background. Meopham North is a council ward located in the parliamentary constituency of Gravesham, a seat that the Conservatives have held since 2005 (previously a Labour seat since 1997).
The constituency and its predecessor the Gravesend constituency have been called a Bellwether constituency; until the 2005 general election, they had voted for the winning party in each election since the 1951 general election, and in each election since World War I other than the 1929 general election. In the 1929 and 1951 elections, they voted for the party with the largest share of the vote nationally.
The borough council is Labour controlled, with 25 Labour Party Councillors and 19 Conservatives, one of whom (in Meopham North) is standing down as he is moving from the area forcing a by election. Gravesham is a mix of urban and rural housing and it is the impact of the Government’s Green Belt building proposals on the voting behaviour of such rural wards that Survation were interested in gauging.
As a result we have conducted a by election survey ahead of the Meopham North By Election – Thursday October 13th – surveying 302 voters (8.6% of the total electorate), over the period of 4th-6th October.
Survation Meopham North Survey – Key Points
1) Previous Result (using ‘top vote method’): Conservatives 71.1%, Labour 28.9%.
2) Voting Intention: John Cubitt (Conservative) 52%, Geoffrey Clark (UKIP) 26%, Andrew Mylett (Labour) 20%. David Gibson (Liberal Democrats) 2%,
3) The UK Independence Party are predicted to be second in a ward where they have not stood before (although Geoffrey Clark stood in the 2010 General Election with 4.8% – 4th place).
4) In the answer to the question “If there was a general election tomorrow, for which party would you be most likely to vote? (Excludes respondents who will not vote (7%), Did not know (13%) and refused to answer (17%). The parties stood at; 59% Conservative, 21% Labour, 11% UKIP, 5% Liberal Democrats and 2% Others.
5) 17% of Conservative voters at the 2010 General Election said they are going to switch to UKIP in this by-election. 18% of Conservative voters at the 2011 Local Election said they are going to switch to UKIP in this by-election. 19% of those who voted Conservative at the 2010 General Election are undecided as to how they will vote in this by-election; which is in a safe Conservative ward.
6) Anger over the Green Belt Housing Plan; 32% of respondents said it was very likely to affect how they voted. Of that 32% (very likely) group, UKIP have a clear lead in voting intention (UKIP 56%, Con 36%, Lab 5%, LD 3%).
7) Although the Green belt housing plan was previously mentioned to interviewees, 27% of respondents cited the Green Belt Housing Plan as the main reason affecting their vote. The Conservatives have a slight lead in voting intention with these respondents (Con 47%, UKIP 46%, Lab 5%, LD 2%). The second most mentioned issue was transport with 11%.
8 ) In answer to the question “Of the parties standing for election – Labour, Conservative, UKIP and Liberal Democrats, which do you feel are most likely to be against the planned ‘green belt’ housing expansion?” 52% recognised UKIP as the main party against the Green Belt Housing Plan; far more than any other party (Con 9%, Lab 3%, LD 2%).
9) As far as contact with voters is concerned only UKIP and the Conservatives have been campaigning to any extent. They have both delivered a leaflet to at least half the respondents (UKIP 59%, Con 50%, Lab 4%, LD 3%) . In addition, UKIP has appeared to have canvassed 20% of the respondents; none of the other parties appear to have knocked on many doors. 39% of respondents had seen a UKIP poster or billboard in the ward; again, the other parties did not seem to have many visible signs.
10) Voters who said they had seen heard “nothing” from any party were, in order of absence (Lib Dem 95%, Lab 95%, Con 48%, UKIP 31%, ALL (those who say they have had no contact from any party