No. of Candidates
* There were no by-elections in Scotland.
** There was only one by-election in Wales, which was defended and held by Plaid Cymru.
*** There were no Independent clashes in any of this month's contests.
**** 'Other' this month consisted of Independent Community and Health Concern (321 votes), English Democrats (twice - 72 and 98 votes), United People's Party (28 votes), and Putting Hartlepool First (194 votes).
Overall, 27,576 votes were cast over 18 individual local (tier one and tier two) authority contests. All percentages are rounded to the nearest single decimal place. For comparison see July's results here.
I have altered the table's attributes slightly so it now measures the percentage change in total vote since the previous month and got rid of the confusing holds/win categories. Seat change can capture the overall state of play better in just a single column.
As noted previously, there are considerable variations month-on-month in by-elections. One month a disproportionate chunk of contests can mushroom in a Labour area and the next find themselves clustered in leafy Tory shires. Therefore huge swings in total and average votes, as seen in pretty much all the parties except for Labour this month, are more likely to reflect geographical peculiarities than real shifts in opinion among the electorate. However, where there is comparatively little swing in a party's vote over a period of time then there is a good chance it is indicative of a mood in the wider population.
Over the period of a quarter the accidents of geography stand a good chance of evening themselves out and representing an accurate - and statistically significant - snapshot of the voting behaviour of the hardest of hardcore voters. This observation however is only limited to quarters three, four, and one in a single year. As elections generally tend to take place in quarter two parties have the tendency to roll up their by-elections to coincide with them. Look at the huge numbers of by-elections that took place at the same time as May's County Council elections. As the counties generally favour the Conservatives this fed through to a large preponderance of elections in Tory-held seats and therefore a "skewing" of the entire quarter's results. I expect the quarter two skew will be tilted toward Labour in 2014 as a number of City Councils are due up.