Local Elections 2023

23 May 23

Local Elections 2023

Professor Jane Green joined an expert panel at a recent event - Local Elections and Beyond: Shifting Tides in British Politics.

The panel provided analysis of the local May elections, which could be the biggest electoral test for the government ahead of the next general election.

Discussion focused on how to read the results of the local elections.

Labour tends to underperform its polling in local elections – because its general election voters are less likely to turn out in local elections, but also – and very importantly – because Labour shares the same sort of electoral coalition as the parties who do much better in local elections – the Liberal Democrats and Greens. As such, the results tell us about the anti-Conservative vote at the moment. They don’t tell us exactly how that anti-Conservative vote will be distributed in a general election.

It is also likely, given historic trends, that the Conservatives will see some uptick in their support ahead of a general election. So the doomsday scenario from the locals for the Conservatives is not clear either.

Jane Green and panel at the elections event at Pembroke College

Professor Green said:

"One very important context is the loss of the Conservative lead on the economy. That coincided with the Liz Truss mini-budget and, when compared to previous economic crises (the global financial crisis, and the exchange rate mechanism crisis in the early 1990s), looks set to persist through to the next general election. Important lessons can be gained from understanding the electoral importance of competence shocks, especially for the upcoming general election."