Friday, December 12, 2014

Tories tormented as super SNP secure staggering swing in cracking Kintyre contest

Is the South Kintyre by-election result an early tremor, presaging the earthquake to come next May?  Well, maybe, but we shouldn't jump to conclusions - this is the sixth local by-election since the SNP's post-referendum opinion poll surge started, and although there's been more good news than bad, there certainly hasn't been a consistent trend.  Tonight's numbers are pretty extraordinary, though.

South Kintyre by-election result (11th December) :

SNP 62.2% (+37.2)
Liberal Democrats 14.1% (-0.1)
Conservatives 13.4% (-32.5)
Labour 10.3% (+10.3) 

Swing from Conservatives to SNP : 34.9%
Swing from Liberal Democrats to SNP : 18.7%
Swing from Labour to SNP : 13.5%

Although the SNP were technically defending the seat, the Tories had a commanding lead in the ward in 2012, as you can probably gather from the off-the-scale swing from Tory to SNP.  Of course at a national level the SNP had a narrow lead over Labour of just under 1% in the 2012 local elections, so if we "just for a bit of fun" apply the above swings on a Scotland-wide basis, the SNP would be leading by the small matter of about 28%.

However, local factors obviously come into play, and without being familiar with the facts on the ground it's impossible to know how much to read into this result.  The Tories might have run a particularly dreadful campaign this time, or the personal vote for their incumbent councillor Donald Kelly may have flattered them last time around.  The most recent batch of by-elections two weeks ago demonstrated that it's possible for the SNP to have an excellent result in one part of the country while falling short elsewhere on the same day, so for all we know the Elgin result (to be announced in a few hours' time) might paint a completely different picture.  In the meantime, though...

*puts on Canadian accent*

It's another terrrr-ible night for the Conservatives.

33 comments:

  1. If it's a trend #smithcommision offer has been a disaster for Unionists

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    1. Not just the #smithcommission, but also the political/media response to it: "The Vow has been delivered"..."Scotland has been given home rule"... "Scotland is getting the greatest transfer of powers ever..."

      If you didn't realise the media and no campaign were out to deceive you before the referendum, you definitely do now.

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  2. Moray currently has an "independent" administration with Tories both in coalition and opposition. This result may lead to a change of power.

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  3. More on power struggle in Moray http://insidemoray.scot/hopes-are-raised-of-real-change-in-moray-council-governance/

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  4. Alliteriation; always advances attempts at attacking anti-independence angles in Anglo ads.

    Allegedly.

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  5. James, the South Kintyre by-election result (and last month's Oban result) reflect the fact the the local SNP now have the manpower and resources to thoroughly canvass the Yes community and get the vote out supporting the SNP candidate with first preference votes. The likely read-through to Westminster and Holyrood is that if the SNP can maintain their ability to deliver in these regards, it can be devastating to the opposition.

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    1. Absolutely. Important to bear in mind that current poll results - impressive as they are - are *before* any campaigning has been done.

      In the run up to GE2015, the impact of 100,000 battle hardened campaigners hitting the ground running will be seismic.

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  6. Robert Llewellyn TylerDecember 12, 2014 at 9:08 AM

    Good news from Wales.
    http://cneifiwr-emlyn.blogspot.com/2014/12/plaid-cymru-wins-by-mile-in-trelech.html

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  7. Compared with 2012 vote totals:
    SNP - 942 (+324) LDEM - 214 (-147) CON - 203 (-930) LAB - 156 (+156)

    I noticed a few Labour people screaming "TARTAN TORIES" last night, so thought it was a good idea to clarify actual numbers.

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  8. This must be the tactical anti-SNP vote Stoat was on about at work presumably.

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    1. I didn't say it was definitely going to occur that way, I was just raising the prospect. It's hard to argue against the SNP doing well in May given their leads in the polls, especially given how the unionist vote is divided. Though I have my doubt at just how useful local by-elections are in predicting results given all the local factors at play. Turnout in this election was down to 28% from 46% in 2012 so it's difficult see what the implications of a local contest that hardly anybody turned up for really are.

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    2. Och Stoat, I was teasing man. LOL.

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    3. Heh, no problem. I've got a pretty thick skin (Wouldn't have been canvassing otherwise). I've always been pretty sceptical towards the by-elections. Take, for example, last year's Hollyrood by-election where the SNP lost Bill Walker's former seat to Labour. Although I was pleased with the result, I never expected it to have implications for future elections or the independence referendum.

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  9. You beat me to it Skier LOL

    Unionist alliance collapses at first hurdle as voters realise they have differing opinions

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  10. Good grief, what a turn up that is! About the only reason I look at PB these days is for the local election updates. Last night's had a hilariously poor summary of both Scottish elections, completely failing to understand AV by-elections in a multi-member STV ward. This was described as an SNP defence (in the sense that it was an SNP councillor's seat), but given the huge tory vote previously it was obvious that under AV for a single seat they were the defenders. I'd pretty much written off the result - so what a cheerful read this was this morning!

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  11. forargyll.com's coverage of this one ought to be entertaining.

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  12. Elgin North first preference results:

    SNP 728 (38%)
    Independent - Cooper 472 (24%)
    Labour 287 (15%)
    Tory 273 (14%)
    UKIP 81 (4%)
    Greens 77 (4%)

    This will take a while (at least four rounds) because the SNP are 241 votes short of the quota (i.e. more than half of the total). The SNP vote share is down a bit on 2012 but that's a lot of candidates for a council by-election (vote splitting in more directions). I think Labour would have hoped to do better than 15%.

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    1. SNP won the election on the final round of transfers.

      The result after the penultimate round was SNP 773, Independent 595 and Labour 368. Reid (SNP) won after the final round of transfers with 850 votes. It is perhaps notable that the SNP didn't pick up many transfers. That said, if there was tactical anti-SNP voting it was very inefficient.

      https://twitter.com/TheMorayCouncil

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    2. It's always tricky when so-called "Independents" stand in an election.
      Very low turn-out.
      I'm just happy SNP won.
      Moray, and Elgin north, have a fair amount of ex-RAF folk who have stayed on in the Lossie/Elgin area after leaving the service. Not natural SNP voters.
      I was most happy with the first round results. FPTP in May, of course. Maybe I'm wrong about being so happy?

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    3. You should be happy. Local election can just mean that - local. Personalities can come into play in local elections rather than national elections. I presume the Independent is well known to take nearly a quarter of first preferences.

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  13. The Labour first preference vote in Elgin North was down 15 points on 2012!

    SNP 38% (-5)
    Independent 25% (+16)
    Labour 15% (-15)
    Tory 14% (-3)

    UKIP and Green (4% each) did not stand last time.

    https://twitter.com/DavidJFHalliday/status/543375900717625344

    Also worth reading this:

    http://www.ncpolitics.uk/2014/12/scotland-update-new-meaning-of-45-per.html?spref=tw

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    1. Excluding the Independent to get party shares, the SNP polled 49.7% of party affiliated first preferences.

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  14. Hopefully this is an example of the results achieved by tactical voting from the unionists.

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    1. More like an example of the results achieved by voter apathy.

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    2. Unionist party voters the most apathetic?

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    3. I would say so, Skier. I always saw voter apathy as the greatest threat to my side throughout the referendum. People who are relatively content with the status quo are less inclined to political action of any description.

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  15. Oh well, so much for the media coverage Jimbo was going to get after his coronation as Labour branch officer...

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/30451727

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    1. Murph's anointment is only being announced tomorrow. I would expect the Sundays to care more about that than the latest nail in Rangers' coffin.

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  16. The S Kintyre is not going to be fully representative of current trends - apparently the Conservatives chose a candidate who lives 50 miles outside the ward boundary. A fatal mistake in such a close-knit area

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    1. Plus from what I've heard, the SNP winner was a popular local figure.

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    2. To be fair, this result couldn't be fully representative, because it would imply the SNP are 73% ahead of the Conservatives nationwide.

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  17. The best candidate won. But what does it say about the rest if they cannot find locals to stand?
    Mogabee

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