The Cicero election team has taken the top 40 most likely seats to change hands at the 2015 General Election and mapped all of the local wards within each. We have done this because local by-elections take place regularly in between general elections.

This matrix is updated with each new by-election taking place in our top 40 to give us our interactive Real Votes tracker below, showing the performance of each party (bars) in relation to their national polling position on that day (line points).

Updated: December 2014

CON pin CON: Average performance – 28.5% LAB pin LAB: Average performance – 33.2% LD pin LD: Average performance – 12.9% UKIP pin UKIP: Average performance – 17.7%

(Scroll right → for latest results)

Headline Strategic Findings

1 A Tory/UKIP deal won’t work.

Conservative voter turnout is the most consistent among all parties within our samples, performing either just below or above their national polling position on most occasions, despite a strong UKIP presence in the election or not. More tellingly, however, when UKIP haven’t stood, this hasn’t necessarily meant that the Conservative vote then surges accordingly. Whilst national polling suggests that most UKIP voters align more closely with Conservative policies than any other party, there is at present seems to be little appetite for them to return to the Tories in the marginals.

2 The Lib Dems show it pays to be Hyper-Local.

There seem to  be only two speed settings when it comes to Lib Dem voter turnout in local wards – either significant over or under-performance. This arguably trumps both the Tories’ consistency and UKIP’s over-performance, as whilst they get a much larger share of the vote across all of the elections, they have failed in each case to be the winning party. There is no prize for second place in our electoral system and where the Lib Dems do well, they are better at pipping other parties at the post.

3 Labour are on course to make big gains.

Labour’s wins are comfortable in more than half of the elections in which they have stood, suggesting that if there were a General Election tomorrow, a significant number of these most vulnerable of seats would either turn red or become a lot safer for their Labour incumbents. However, the party’s performance is patchy overall, and of course, the election is not tomorrow.

4 UKIP won’t win any Top 40 seats in 2015.

UKIP’s performance in every local election in our marginals far exceeds their national polling position. But this isn’t good news for the party. Even with their current Real Votes trend of around 20%, they have failed to secure any local seats since we’ve been tracking as of mid-2013.  Even if the poll-beating trend of 20% lasted until May 2015, there is no evidence here that the Top 40 marginals are winnable for them. Where this may be disproved is in the 22 May local election results, where UKIP were able to be the party with the largest share of the local vote in Thurrock and Dudley North. Whether this could be retained is dubious, however, given the likely pro-UKIP bias of the 22 May elections coinciding with the EU elections and that only 60% of current UKIP voters say that they would vote for the party again in 2015.