Labour are 22 points ahead in the Feltham & Heston by-election, according to my latest poll. With a 52% vote share in the week before polling day, Seema Malhotra seems to be on course for what looks like a convincing victory.
But these numbers, with Labour up 8 points on their general election vote share, and Conservative Mark Bowen down 4 points on 30%, represent just a 6-point swing from the Tories to Labour. That would be a big result in a general election. But in a by-election – an easy opportunity for a cost-free anti-government protest vote at a time of economic gloom – Labour might have been expecting to do better. The swing is only a third of what the Conservatives achieved in Crewe & Nantwich or Norwich North in the last parliament (swings that we did not come close to matching across the board in May 2010).Read more