Poole is largely an affluent and attractive coastal town, bordering the slightly more ebullient tourist haunt of Bournemouth. It has a small, but picturesque port, which mainly functions for British coastal traffic. Tourism plays some role in the economy and there are some pottery plants in Poole.
This constituency was created in 1995 by making wards from a total of four previous seats. North Poole itself is mainly a residential suburb of the area, with above average numbers of economically active people and a high number of owner-occupiers in mostly modern housing. A significant number of commuters who work in Bournemouth or Poole live in this area.
The local electorate has displayed a habit of voting Conservative in general elections and Liberal Democrat in local elections. However, in 1997 the Lib Dems were optimistic about their prospects and fielded a former aide to Paddy Ashdown as their candidate.
They were severely disappointed when they failed to take the seat by 681 votes against the smallest drop in the Tory vote in the county.