Pollster Find Out Now and election experts Electoral Calculus have run a MRP poll on the upcoming district council elections on 5 May 2022.
The poll asked residents of the 201 district and unitary councils up for election, whether and how they intended to vote on Thursday. Areas up for election include London, Scotland, Wales, parts of the north of England, and elsewhere.
Ward by ward predictions are available from Electoral Calculus on commercial terms. Please contact us for details and prices.
Polling was conduced before the police fines for Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak.
The number of councils in England and Wales predicted to be controlled by each party is shown in this table
|Party in Control|
|NOC / Coalition||37||17||-20|
Note that there are four new unitary authorities this year: Cumberland, North Yorkshire, Somerset, and Westmorland and Furness.
The prediction is that Labour will gain around 20 councils and are not expected to lose any. The Conservatives might gain and lose a few councils, but their net total is expected not to change much.
The Liberal Democrats should pick up the new Somerset unitary authority.
This would be a good result for the Conservatives, and Boris Johnson personally, given the Conservatives' problems with Partygate.
In terms of the number of wards won, the prediction is:
(Note that implied results for the wards in all districts with new ward boundaries have been inferred as at 2019 for comparison purposes. These inferred totals are different from the seats actually won by the parties in 2017 and 2018.)
Labour are predicted to gain around 800 seats, with the Conservatives losing a similar number. That may be disappointing for the Conservatives, but it is not catastrophic and does not indicate a meltdown in Conservative support.
Some people have also asked to see the comparison of the prediction against the actual wards won when the wards were last contested. This is complicated by the fact that there have been several significant sets of new ward boundaries since then, particularly:
The table below shows, with the same prediction, this alternative starting point based on the old ward definitions:
Note that since the total number of seats is decreasing by over 550, most parties appear to lose seats. This is not necessarily the most helpful basis of comparison, but you may see it used elsewhere.
Conservative losses and gains:
Liberal Democrat gains:
Plaid Cymru gains:
Scottish local elections are run using a proportional representation system which makes it more difficult to estimate the composition of councils in Scotland.
Martin Baxter, CEO of Electoral Calculus: "If the actual results are similar to our predictions, then Boris Johnson will be spared new backbench pressure to unseat him. Although the Conservatives will lose some ground in these local elections, it doesn't look like a catastrophic defeat, and that is a good result for them after their poor poll ratings post-Partygate."
Nick Fox of Find Out Now: "We're expecting the results to confirm the headway that Starmer has been making in the polls, but the council gains we have predicted for Labour haven't translated to Conservative losses, so it's not a result that will give Johnson any real unrest. Whether this is the end of the Partygate scandal or we are seeing its effects temporarily diffused by the conflict in Ukraine remains to be seen."
Modern polling analysis often uses statistical regression techniques to get more accurate and geographically detailed results. Also called MRP (multi-level regression and post stratification) they have been used successfully by Electoral Calculus and other pollsters to predict general elections, local elections and the 2019 European elections.
These techniques work by spotting patterns between people's demographic characteristics and their likelihood to vote for various parties.
Both because of their larger sample size, and the more advanced statistical analysis, regression polls are often perceived as one of the more accurate ways of measuring public opinion both nationally and for specific geographic areas.
Clients who have benefitted from insights from regression polling include well-known UK political organisations, non-departmental public bodies and campaign groups.
Ward-by-ward predictions for the local elections are available to purchase from Electoral Calculus. Please contact us for details.
Find Out Now polled 12,115 residents of 201 GB district and unitary councils online between 4-8 April 2022. The sample was weighted to be representative by gender, age, social grade and past voting patterns. Regression techniques were used to infer ward and council results.
Find Out Now and Electoral Calculus are both members of the British Polling Council and abide by its rules.
Data tables are available here.