Here are my completely unscientific forecasts (like a political equivalent of the Met Office’s output, if you will) for the elections taking place today. I could get it horribly wrong as I’ve not given it much thought and these are gut feel numbers based on nothing but intuition and prior experience.
South Shields – Labour hold with around 55% of the vote on approx a 51% turnout.
UKIP to come second with around 6800 votes giving them around 21%. This will be a hoovering up of the BNP votes from 2010, taking a few from Labour and the Lib Dems, and winning over a proportion of the disillusioned previous Conservative vote.
County Council Elections – Labour to take control of seven authorities.
UKIP to win no more 20 seats, but their vote will lead to more second places in wards and Conservative seats being lost to Lib Dems and Labour.
If the UKIP figures sounds low relative to the polling numbers, it’s because the polling numbers are national and UKIP has nothing resembling a coherent local organisation to identify and target their support and concentrate efforts on getting out their pledged voters – in addition they will get virtually no postal votes for the same reasons.
Farage, famously and to UKIP’s detriment, doesn’t do detail. Whereas what’s left of the Tory machine will work hard to get out their supporters in wards where canvassing shows UKIP is a threat.
Do feel free to leave your predictions in the comments and we can compare them tomorrow.