Election Prediction Project

United Kingdom General Election - 2009/10

Somerton and Frome

Prediction Changed
2010-05-07 10:14:18

Constituency Profile

Conservative Party
Annunziata Rees-Mogg
UK Independence Party
Barry Harding
Liberal Democrats
David Heath
Labour Party
David Oakensen
Leave-the-EU Alliance
Niall Warry

Mr David Heath
Somerton & Frome (97.5 %)
Mr David Laws
Yeovil (1 %)


Transposed 2005 Result:
Source: Electoral Calculus


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10 04 24 Former resident
Easy LD hold.
With Clegg's game-changing performance in the TV debate, the Lib Dems are up 12% nationally on their 2005 showing, and the Tories are barely improving (2005: Lab 41, Con 32, LD 18; 2010: Con 33, LD 30, Lab 27).
There has been no sign of an LD slide. Assuming these numbers do hold, it is difficult to see the Tories taking this one, or any LD seats in the South West.
09 02 17 D E Byway
The outcome of the Somerton and Frome election is one which looks to be tightly contested. Incumbent David Heath holds a majority of less than 1000, although recent trends since his election as Liberal Democrat MP for the constituency show his majority has increased. This will be an interesting seat to monitor upon the election, given that Labour remains in a distant third place, and the Conservative party remains extremely close.
My prediction that this will be a Liberal Democrat hold is predicated upon the candidates themselves, as well as the national reflection of the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties. Annunziata Rees-Mogg has been selected as the candidate for the Conservative party. She delivers youth and energy to her party's campaign in the constituency, and given the current national trend which has seen Conservative support increase substantially, Somerton & Frome is a seat which could very well go blue at the next election. Rees-Mogg not only brings name recognition, as the daughter of William Rees-Mogg, but she has remained active in local issues including education and transport. Whilst this would suggest a victory is almost inevitable, there are certain factors which will ensure David Heath remains a viable winner.
For example, Heath resigned during 2008 from the Liberal Democrat Front Bench, after suggesting a referendum on the European Union would be important. This satisfies many of the concerns of those in the constituency who remain opposed to European integration, or wish to have a vote on the matter. Heath's recent return to the Front Bench, alongside activity on issues such as Post Offices, Road maintenance and MP spending policies, mean he remains prominent in the region. Having sat as MP since 1997, Heath also benefits from having resided in the constituency for an extensive period of time, and he also benefits from being familiar with the electorate in the constituency.
Very recent peaks in the Liberal Democrat polls might also indicate that the party is receiving additional support from those who have become concerned with Labour or with the Conservatives, or indeed with both. Although the Labour vote in the constituency remains low, the Liberal Democrats could benefit from tactical voting, and are likely to receive support from voters who no longer support the Labour party.
Although i'm not a prominent member of the Liberal Democrat party, having spoken to individuals and inquired, it seems like the constituency is going to be focused on heavily by the party. Similarly, I recently spoke to a Conservative Councillor from further South, who implied that he was going to campaign in the constituency. Ultimately, both sides will motivate and stimulate a great deal of effort when an election is called. My inkling, however, is that the unique circumstances will not give the constituency a clear majority. Heath voters remain loyal, and are buoyed by his defiance to untested European integration. They also know Heath well, and because he has lived in the area for a while, I believe this will bode well for his campaign. Rees-Mogg may gain traction from being fresh and different, and indeed, a very promising politician, the Conservatives will not necessarily receive the swing from Labour voters which they will experience elsewhere. Indeed, with the Liberal Democrat vote not yet crumbling, and with Clegg providing some positive movement from within the party, I believe the Liberal Democrats will retain the seat by a wafer thin margin.

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