Much has changed in the last week with the Labour and Tory manifesto launches. Today there was a council by-election in Enfield Lock ward of Enfield North constituency. This is important because Enfield North was one of the few Labour gains in 2015 and the Tories only need a swing of 1.2% to get it back. It is the Tories’ 12th most likely gain, and one they should take easily if they are going to get the big majority predicted.
Here was the result:
It is worth noting the unusually high turnout: 32%. This is almost certainly explained by the proximity to the general election, and for the same reason voters are likely to have concentrated on national rather than local factors.
The net swing from Labour to Tory was only 0.3%. Labour would hold Enfield North on that swing. Indeed, UK-wide the Tories would only gain Chester and Ealing Central on a 0.3% swing.
Of course I do not pretend that you can really extrapolate from a single London ward across the whole country. But over 4,000 people cast real votes in that by-election compared to the 1,100 sample of the average opinion poll. It is undeniably true that the Conservatives would have expected to do a good deal better in Enfield Lock today. I do not think we are getting a true picture of what is happening in the country from the polls and the media. There is life in this election yet.