Friday, October 25, 2013

Dunfermline result provides further evidence that SNP hold a nationwide lead

In the immortal words of Peter Snow (possibly modified slightly by Rory Bremner) - "It's just a bit of fun, that's all it is!"  I decided to use the seats calculator at the Scotland Votes website to see what the composition of the Scottish Parliament would look like if the 6.9% swing in the Dunfermline by-election was replicated across the country at the next election.  This is what I came up with...

SNP - 53 seats
Labour - 52 seats

If Labour would be satisfied with that result, then by all means let them celebrate today.  As Tony Blair memorably said about the Tories 'celebrating' their dismal results in the 1999 Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly elections - "The better they think these results are, the better it is for us."

In reality, of course, the above calculation almost certainly underestimates the SNP's true lead over Labour by a significant amount (and the opinion polls bear that out).  As Professor John Curtice pointed out several times last night, by-election results are not an accurate guide to the national picture because incumbent governments almost always underperform in them.  And that's before you take into account that this contest was fought against the highly unusual backdrop of the outgoing MSP having been convicted of domestic violence, and that Dunfermline is a particularly weak constituency for the SNP, where they had no history of parliamentary success prior to 2011 when they won an almost miraculous, wafer-thin victory off the back of Labour's national meltdown.

Marcia said it best on Wings last night - this by-election is the SNP's second-best ever result in the constituency.


  1. Two local by-eletions held last night, one in the same Dunfermline Consituency, Dunferline South. The changes from 2012, Labour hold but 1st pref down by 3%, SNP up 5.4% LD down 4.9% Tories up by just 0.6%, Green down the same 0.6% and UKIP intervention with 2.8%

    The other seat in Hamilton had almost the same result as 2012. SNP down a fraction of 0.1% Labour up a tiny fraction too. Labour gained the seat because the STV nature of these multi-member wards. Labout took over 51% over the vote in 2012 and did so again so gained the seat. I expect the seats to go back to 2 each for Labour and SNP in 2017 if the current STV electoral system is in place then.

  2. Indeed James.
    An unsurprising win in the end for labour given the circumstances of Walker. It did however showcase the excellent Shirley-Anne Somerville and some extremely spirited campaigning on the ground which now ensures that Dunfermline is now a very attainable target from now on.

    Though I fear I'll have to call you out for your disgraceful omission of the lib dems staggeringly impressive triumph at Dunfermline.

    Even for scottish lib dems it's a showstopper, which is saying something.

    Sadly I fear that it's awe inspiring implications may have driven some of Clegg's yellow tories over the edge. They seem to think it was so good that the only thing that could possibly improve it is sending Clegg himself to scotland as often as possible.

    If only. ;)

  3. The transfers for the Council election show 36% of Conservatives going to LibDem, and only 16% going to Labour.

    This makes a nonsense of the Tory comment that some of their voters voted tactically for Labour.


  4. So Macbeth, you probably have confirmed that some of the LibDems voted for Labour......after all they are tied at the hip with the Tories in England.I remember before GE we Labour especially in the seats where it was between Lib Dem and Tories down south were told to vote Lib Dems, I'm sure Lib Dems would have felt to return favour for Labour.

  5. More evidence that caron L is so full of anti-SNP hate that she is prepared to put a whole load of lies into print.

    On Libdem(nae)voice claiming that clegg is loved in Scotland and that the Libdems are well positioned to take over from the collapse in the SNP vote. The woman is quite, quite mad.