While Labour held its vote at Eastleigh and candidates broadly to the left - from the National Health Action Party and the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition - also ran, you have expected the left challengers to have won more votes, given the scale of the economic and social crisis presided over by the coalition government.
Until that is, one examines the turnout of 52.7 per cent.
There was saturation media coverage of the contest and there were large numbers of party activists in the constituency during February.
But the verdict seems to be that in the absence of a sufficiently appealing and coherent alternative to austerity nearly half preferred to stay at home.
The parties of the right - the Tories, Lib Dems and Ukip - clearly have support.