Eastleigh goes to the polls

"Still too close to call here" say Lib Dems while pollsters puts Conservative in lead. Result in Winchester and Chandler's Ford also predicted to be a tight contest between Conservatives and Lib Dems.

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Despite soggy and windy conditions in Eastleigh voting in the General Election is off to a busy start.

According to opinion polling, Conservative Paul Holmes has been the Candidate most likely to become Eastleigh’s fourth MP in six years but the latest YouGov constituency poll shows that his lead over nearest rival – the Liberal Democrat candidate Lynda Murphy – has narrowed. Lib Dem leaflets claim the vote ‘is still too close to call’ and this may prove to more than just election bluster. Eastleigh had been Lib Dem target seat and a well-funded leafletting campaign has included the targeting of young first-time voters whose support could prove crucial.

The Conservatives established a strong poll lead in Eastleigh at the start of the campaign after the Brexit Party tactically withdrew their candidate Marlene Godwin. Eastleigh’s Ukip branch and local homegrown Eurosceptics The Spitfire Party also decided not to stand against the Conservatives who have pledged to deliver Brexit by January 31and some Ukip activists have directly supported the Conservative campaign by delivering leaflets for them.

The respected Electoral Calculus website – which predicts individual seat results using opinion polling data and data from previous elections – has predicted the Conservatives winning in Eastleigh with a similar majority to 2017 capturing 50.9% of the vote as opposed to 50.4% in 2017. They predict the Liberal Democrats will increase their vote share from 25.7% to 29.1% and that Labour’s share will soften from 20% to 17.2% with the Green Party as beneficiaries, increasing their vote share from 1.7% to 2.8%. The latest YouGov MRP poll for Eastleigh also shows a likely Conservative win but a much tighter contest with just 8 points separating them from the Lib Dems. The previous MRP poll had a much wider margin so – according to the MRP data – there has been a surge of support for the Lib Dems not only in Eastleigh but also in Winchester and Chandler’s Ford where Steve Brine is defending the seat for the Conservatives. Here, the Yougov MRP poll is now predicting a ‘likely win’ for the Liberal Democrats but Electoral Calculus say Brine will hold on to the seat comfortably while bookies Ladbrokes currently have the Lib Dems and Conservatives neck and neck as 5/6 joint favourites.

Betting exchange site Betfair show Paul Holmes as 1/10 Odds on favourite to win in Eastleigh – which is an implied probability of 91% – while the Lib Dems are 5/1, Labour 20/1 and the Green Party 64/1.

If elected Paul Holmes would be Eastleigh’s youngest MP since Sir David Price who first won the constituency in 1955 at the age of 31 while if Lynda Murphy is returned she would be the first woman to represent Eastleigh for the Liberal Democrats. Should Paula Ferguson unseat Steve Brine in Winchester she will become the constituency’s first woman MP.

Polls close at 10 pm and the results will be announced in the early hours of Friday morning.

Eastleigh Candidates:

Paul Holmes – Conservative
Sam Jordan – Labour
Ron Meldrum – Green Party
Lynda Murphy – Liberal Democrats

Winchester and Chandler’s Ford Candidates:

George Baker – Labour
Steve Brine – Conservative
Paula Fergusson – Liberal Democrat
Teresa Skelton – The Justice & Anti-Corruption Party