Is there an exit poll for the 2022 local elections?

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Voters are taking to the polls across the UK today. New councilors and mayors will be elected as people choose who they want to run their local public services.

Polling stations opened at 7am and Brits will be casting their votes throughout the day until they close at 10pm. The long process of counting the votes will take place before results are announced.

While some areas will begin the counts straight away and work through the night to declare their winners in the early hours of Friday morning, others will hold off until the following day, with the final results expected late on Friday or on Saturday morning.

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When MPs are elected in a general election, voters are usually told the predicted results as soon as the voting ends. The exit poll reveals how many seats each party is expected to have won, and is usually pretty accurate.

The exit poll, which is based on interviews with people leaving polling stations throughout the day, does not reveal which seats are expected to have gone to which parties – but it does indicate whether a majority government is expected to be formed, or whether there may be a hung parliament.

During local elections, there is no exit poll. Instead, voters have to wait to find out what the political landscape will look like following the contests.

Local elections decide who will be responsible for services such as housing and rubbish collections, public transport and road maintenance – but they can also indicate which parties the public favors on a national level. The handling of the cost of living crisis, lockdown breaches in Downing Street and the government’s response to the war in Ukraine could all influence voters heading to the polls.

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The first batch of results for the 2022 local elections is likely to be announced shortly after midnight once polls close, with locations including Bolton and Essex likely to be among the first. Bury is predicted to be the final declaration on Friday, and the last result this year is expected to be at around 5pm on Saturday from Tower Hamlets.

Local elections usually have a much lower turnout than general elections. The percentage of the electorate that casts a vote rarely reaches above 40 per cent during local elections.

Despite their being no exit poll on the day, opinion polls from before the polls opened can offer an insight into what might happen. Polling results published in the Daily Telegraph newspaper suggested the Conservatives could be set for their worst performance in the local elections since the 1990s.

The survey, conducted by Electoral Calculus with Find Out Now, suggested Labor could be on course to gain more than 800 seats, while the Tories are likely to lose 548 seats on councils across the country. Veteran elections expert Professor Sir John Curtice told the PA news agency it was hard to predict the outcome of local elections, adding the loss of 550 seats was “not unrealistic”.

The results for all of the council elections across England can be found in our widget below. It will be updated as results are announced. Simply type in the council you want the results for.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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