‘Super Thursday’ voting in the UK: A new low for Labour? (plus #DogsAtPollingStations) (Update)

Voting is taking place in Wales, in Scotland and all over England today. There are so many elections taking place that the British press has dubbed it “Super Thursday.” Yesterday, Boris Johnson put out this brief video encouraging everyone to get out and vote.

As I write this, polls will be closing fairly soon; however, because of COVID restrictions the results of nearly all of those elections aren’t expected until Friday morning at the soonest and some won’t be resolved before Sunday. The Guardian put together a list of when certain race results will be available here.

What nearly everyone agrees going into Super Thursday is that it’s likely to be a pretty good day for Boris Johnson and the conservatives and likely to be a very bad day for Keir Starmer’s Labour Party.

Jubilant Tories predicted that Labour will ‘hit bottom’ under Keir Starmer tonight amid signs Super Thursday will see them inflict more huge blows on the Red Wall…

Bullish Conservative MPs who have been on the ground in the constituency today pointed to a ‘clear swing’ towards them. ‘If you thought the bottom of Labour was Corbyn then you are wrong,’ one told MailOnline.

Meanwhile, Labour activists doorknocking sounded relentlessly glum. ‘We are suffering from Long Corbyn,’ one senior figure said in a grim coronavirus analogy.

“Long Corbyn” is a brilliant description. You probably recall that previous Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who campaigned as a Democratic Socialist, led his party to an epic defeat in 2019. At the time, there were a number of voices who pointed out that Corbyn had something in common with Bernie Sanders and that his loss under a cloud of anti-Semitism allegations connected to the Labour Party, might portend bad things for Sanders here in the US.

But the other problem for Labour this year is that people are pretty happy with Boris Johnson’s handling of the vaccination program, the result of which is that the 7-day average of deaths as of yesterday was 13 for the entire UK.

Boris had been in a lot of trouble early on last year when he seemed to be heading down a herd immunity path similar to what Sweden ended up doing. But he reversed that and by most accounts did a good job with the vaccinations. In fact, he can credibly argue that his success in pushing through Brexit was part of the reason the UK did so well scooping up vaccines while efforts lagged in the EU. Even some Brexit critics have admitted it seems to have helped in this instance.

One of the races being watched as a bellwether this year is the election in Hartlepool. Hartlepool is a town in northern England which has elected a Labour MP in every election since 1964. But this year, Labour’s own internal polling shows they are in bad shape and likely to lose the seat to the conservatives:

Hartlepool is the backdrop for the first byelection since Boris Johnson’s landslide victory in December 2019. It is seen as a key test of Labour’s appeal to its traditional heartlands, just over a year after Starmer became leader with a pledge to rebuild the “red wall”.

The mood among some Labour figures in Hartlepool was “pretty desperate”, sources said. Internal data from six weeks of campaigning shows that just over 40% of previous party supporters have said they will vote for the party again this week. The figure is what is known as a “promise rate” – who people say they will vote for – and is based on the canvassing of more than 10,000 people in the town, most of whom have recently voted Labour.

“If we were knocking on every single door and getting 40%, we could win it, depending on how it splits. But we’re only getting about 40% of people who we think are Labour, so it’s not great,” said one insider.

The results in Hartlepool should come in very early Friday morning which will be prime time here on the west coast. If I see any updates tonight I’ll add them below.

Finally, since there’s not much happening today as far as results, some in the UK seem to be having fun taking their dogs to the polls. The hashtag #DogsAtPollingStations was trending on Twitter.

This photo almost looks like a painting.

Some people did get a bit partisan with their pics.

Maybe this one is a green voter?

At least two of the candidates for Mayor of London brought their dogs.

There was a #CatsAtPollingStations hashtag as well but none of the cats looked remotely happy about it.

Update: As I said above no results until later tonight but reporters are already hearing from both sides that Hartlepool has gone for the Tories.

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