Today's choices, tomorrow's impact

May’s elections will be extremely consequential for the local government sector, and the impact of voters’ choices should be examined not just as a straw in the wind for the General Election, says Simon Kaye.

This year's local elections deserve to be seen as so much more than a predictor for the next General Election.

For one thing, local election results are a terrible source for forecasts of what's going to happen in nationwide politics. These are actual elections, not just polls with very big samples. The demographics turning out to vote are different, the issues on the ground are different, and the decisions made in the polling booths are structured by a different set of goals and preferences. The willingness to register a protest vote, or to ‘reward' a particular politician for their efforts even if they don't represent the voter's first-choice party, varies greatly in a local election context.

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