The local elections on 22 May were the first time since local elections in May 2013 that a sizable number of voters have cast their verdict on the UK’s political parties. Over 5,000 council seats were voted upon, with local elections taking place in 16 of the 40 most marginal constituencies in the UK.

There will be huge focus on these battlegrounds in May 2015 and our analysis looks at which party stands to gain the most support from the people whose votes will count the most in the key marginal constituencies.

Cicero Elections over-layed maps of council ward boundaries with those of Westminster constituencies, and grouped those wards which fall within individual battleground constituencies. We then mapped those aggregated results with national polling figures. Through this methodology, we have been able to paint a more accurate picture of how voter intentions on 22 May could translate into Parliamentary seat results in the Top 40 Marginal constituencies.

There are important caveats to these findings: Firstly, local elections have a historically low turnout that traditionally favours committed voters. As UKIP voters registered as the most committed voters in polls leading up to 22 May, it can be assumed that this low turnout will have marginally inflated UKIP success.

Furthermore, the disparity between the local and European Parliamentary election result vote shares showed that voters do distinguish between different elections and can change their vote accordingly. This indicates that voters will likewise exercise a degree of distinction between 22 May local elections and a General Election; already polling is showing that 40% of those who voted UKIP won’t be doing so again next May.

ConservativesLabourLib DemsUKIP
16 of our Top 40 Marginals had local elections within their Parliamentary Constituency boundaries on May 22. The Conservative Party’s 2014 overall local election result in each is marked below against the vote share that they achieved in the 2010 General Election.

LD MAY 22 RVT

bar chart icon 2014 Local Election % share of the vote.

Line chart icon 2010 General Election % share of the vote.

See section below for full interactive Tracker for all parties.

16 of our Top 40 Marginals had local elections within their Parliamentary Constituency boundaries on May 22. The Conservative Party’s 2014 overall local election result in each is marked below against the vote share that they achieved in the 2010 General Election.

LD MAY 22 RVT

bar chart icon 2014 Local Election % share of the vote.

Line chart icon 2010 General Election % share of the vote.

See section below for full interactive Tracker for all parties.

16 of our Top 40 Marginals had local elections within their Parliamentary Constituency boundaries on May 22. The Liberal Democrat Party’s 2014 overall local election result in each is marked below against the vote share that they achieved in the 2010 General Election.

LD MAY 22 RVT

bar chart icon 2014 Local Election % share of the vote.

Line chart icon 2010 General Election % share of the vote.

See section below for full interactive Tracker for all parties.

16 of our Top 40 Marginals had local elections within their Parliamentary Constituency boundaries on May 22. UKIP’s 2014 overall local election result in each is marked below against the vote share that they achieved in the 2010 General Election.

LD MAY 22 RVT

bar chart icon 2014 Local Election % share of the vote.

Line chart icon 2010 General Election % share of the vote.

See section below for full interactive Tracker for all parties.

1UKIP can win Westminster parliamentary constituencies
Matching the national trend, UKIP’s vote share surged in the marginal seats. If UKIP maintains a similar level of popularity, and can convert this vote share into an effective local campaigning machine, our real votes tracker shows that the party may be able to win Parliamentary seats in the first-past-the-post system.  Newark’s upcoming by-election will give us an insight into UKIP’s ability to translate this increased vote share into a longer-lasting groundswell of support on the national stage.

2The Conservatives must shore up their marginal seat strategy
Holding onto only one of its five constituencies included in the analysis, the Conservatives face an uphill battle improving their vote in these key marginal constituencies with a year to go. Although attention is being paid to how the Conservatives can shore up votes against UKIP advances, Cicero Elections’ analysis shows three out of four losses would be to Labour with vote share margins of 4.5% (Wolverhampton South West), 10% (Carlisle) and 13% (Amber Valley). The Conservative Party must significantly improve the delivery of its campaign message in these key swing seats if they want to remain in the race to Downing Street in May 2015.

3Labour is set to make substantial gains in 2015
Labour votes on 22 May show the party is well placed to gain seats from both the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats were a General Election held tomorrow.  The Opposition gained Amber Valley, Bradford East, Carlisle and Wolverhampton South West while successfully holding six of its eight seats. Labour’s only projected losses are by margins of less than 1% of the vote – Dudley North to UKIP by 0.88% and Southampton Itchen to Conservatives by 0.55% – making the losses arguably within a margin of error.

4Liberal Democrats face substantial losses
Despite the Liberal Democrat’ famously effective ground troop campaigners, the party lost vote share to all of the other parties, including the Greens, resulting in the loss of all three of their Top 40 Marginals to the Conservatives (Solihull) and Labour (Bradford East and Norwich South). Unlike Labour’s losses, the margins between the Liberal Democrat vote share and the winning party is large – 15.5% in Solihull, 10% in Bradford East and 25% in Norwich South – reflecting the wider shift in electoral support away from the Liberal Democrats that we have seen in both national polling and in the European Elections.

Full Real Votes Tracker: May 22 Analysis

Each ward within our Top 40 Marginal Parliamentary Constituencies has been mapped, with 16 of these facing the ballot box at the local elections on May 22. The share of the vote for the four main parties in each of these 16 are shown in the bars below, with each point marking what that party achieved in that same constituency at the 2010 General Election. In most cases the mainstream parties are down on their 2010 showing to the benefit of UKIP.