Friday, January 23, 2015

SNP vote surges by 11% in Kirkcaldy East by-election

I gather that the editor of a political website called Electoral Gambling (or some such title) mused the other day that local council by-election results may cast some doubt on the extent of the SNP surge reported by the opinion polls.  He doesn't half pick his moments, does he?  Here is the result of yesterday's local by-election in the heart of Gordon Brown's constituency...

Kirkcaldy East by-election result (22nd January) :

SNP 47.3% (+10.9)
Labour 35.3% (-14.7)
Conservatives 7.2% (+1.2)
Greens 4.1% (+4.1)
UKIP 3.8% (+3.8)
Liberal Democrats 1.3% (-1.5)


Technically it was an SNP hold, even though Labour comfortably outpolled the SNP in the ward last time around - it's one of those paradoxes thrown up by the STV electoral system.

The swing from Labour to the SNP was just under 13% - measured from the baseline of the 2012 local elections, in which the SNP were already 1% ahead of Labour nationally. If we "just for a bit of fun" extrapolate the swing on a Scotland-wide basis, it would put the SNP ahead by a whopping 27% margin - which, as it happens, is uncannily similar to the 28% gap reported by this week's Ipsos-Mori poll.

55 comments:

  1. vintage fun with the swingometer.

    James, do you know if there has been any credible polling (Scotland or UK) about renewing trident? Quick google threw up a few which didn't look like neutral questions. I thought you would be a man who knows. Another great feature of proper debate would be the inclusion of at least a couple of party leaders prepared to ask the question.

    Cheers

    Matt

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    1. Curtice wrote an article about this for the BBC the other day.

      It basically depends on how you frame the question and the terminology you use for it. If you say that it needs to be "replaced" or "renewed" then you're more likely to get opposition in polls, but if you say "maintained" or "continued" you might get support for it. The implication is that most people don't feel that strongly and don't think about it a lot. It's just not in the news enough for that.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-30897643

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  2. There was a poll last week by Wings. 1007 people in Scotland were polled, and 36% disagreed we should keep nuclear weapons.
    http://wingsoverscotland.com/the-same-and-different/

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    1. There may be some issue over the subtle nuances of the question. If you ask me a question along the lines of "should the country do x y or z?", my answer is not the same if the country is an independent Scotland or the UK. I followed a lot of the debate on the Wings survey and think it is inconclusive.

      Oh, I am not fixated on Trident, but am a Nationalist. Scottish first, British second and European third. Although that is subject to change :)

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    2. Aye, same for me. My answers can be different depending on whether you are asking me what Britain should do (which implies the rUK with or without Scotland) - as the Wings poll did - or Scotland.

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    3. I agree with SS. During the Ref there was talk that Scotland should deny the rUK its nukes by not giving them time to relocate them. That seemed to be very unpopular, my take is we don't have the right to disarm another country by direct action. But the majority were against Scotland having them here.

      I'd, because of cost of new boats and a concern about actual effectiveness now, vote against the Successor program, but would vote to let the UK keep Vanguard until it becomes unserviceable (old hulls) probably about 2030. I'd be happy if they could be relocated within 10 years out of Scotland, we've had them long enough it's someone else's turn.

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    4. Yes we do have the right to deny another country having nuclear weapons if that country is deploying them from our Ports. Westminster has known for ages that the day may arise when Scotland voted for independence and they have made no preparations of any kind to find an alternative so hell mend them.

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  3. LOLZ @ Blair McDougall's Twitter.

    Good luck @Easton4KdyEast (Kirkcaldy Lab candidate) 7hrs ago

    To

    Retweeting this Turnout for the #kdyeastbyelection is 27.27% 4hrs ago

    Mmmmm - wonder if he'd have retweeted that turnout if it went Red.



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    1. Usually where there is a low turnout in 'Labour' areas. Labour tend to hold on due their postal vote being more influential. It seems this is not the case in this result.

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    2. One of the Fife Free Press journos tweeted that over 1800 postal votes had been requested. Assuming that most of the people who made the effort to do that went ahead and voted, a pretty big chunk of the total vote must have been postal.

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    3. From experience not all who get a postal vote in local elections applied just for the by-election. The bulk I would think get a postal vote automatically as they had a permanent vote by post request previously. Local and European elections don't get a huge return of postal votes. Considering the effort the Labour party made in this by-election contacting all the known postal voters this result would scunner them a bit.

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    4. 3085 VOTES CAST - 1800 POSTAL VOTES REQUESTED?? Something very wrong here!!

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    5. I doubt if many of the postal votes were sent in. We will only know if we see the marked up register providing that the Council Offices in Glenrothes don't chuck them out.

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  4. That's a pretty catastrophic result for Labour. I thought they would win it quite easily as Fife has been one of their better areas. It voted no comfortably, Labour won most council seats in 2012 and they won both of the Holyrood by-elections (Cowdenbeath 2014 and Dunfermline 2013).

    BTW, I noticed on the twitter feed of one of the Fife Free Press reporters that was at the count that a Labour councillor for Glenrothes died recently. I guess there would be a by-election there before May 7th.

    The YouGov sub-sample this morning is SNP 41, Lab 23, Con 22. Must have been an older demographic amongst the Scottish voters, I guess. If that's true though, it's a bad indicator for Labour that they're basically getting beaten across the board. It's not like the referendum, where they could rely on the tendency for higher turnout amongst groups more likely to vote no (older and wealthier).

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    1. Surely in Fife it depends who counts the votes?

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    2. James,Gordon's constituency voted Yes in the Indyref,the area in town,where he used to hold his No events and where he thought he had most support voted a resounding Yes. I was one of his activists up till 2011 when l became LFI then joined SNP in Sept 19th,l had been 40 yrs Labour..many ex Labour feel same loathing now towards Brown and Labour as l do.SNP Membership went from about 189 to 11k within a few months post Indy

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  5. James, I'm seeing different changes reported:

    SNP - 47.3% (+15.9)
    LAB - 35.3% (-11.8)
    CON - 7.2% (-2.3)
    GRN - 4.1% (+4.1)
    UKIP - 3.8% (+3.8)

    ?

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    1. I've seen two different versions of the 2012 baseline results. I'm using the source that seems most reliable to me, but I obviously can't be 100% sure.

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  6. Candidate Name


    Party


    No. of votes



    Peter Adams

    UKIP

    117



    Edgar Cook

    Scottish Conservative and Unionist

    223



    Liz Easton

    Scottish Labour Party

    1088



    Ronald Hunter

    Independent

    19



    Callum Leslie

    Scottish Liberal Democrats

    40



    Alastair Macintyre

    Independent

    12



    Marie Penman

    Scottish National Party (SNP)

    1460



    Claire Reid

    Scottish Green Party

    126
    The Lib-Dems came sixth in an area the have an MSP Bye Bye Willie Rennie in 2016 if that trend contuines and the Greens would be up to 3 MSPs

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    1. I saw a tweet from a Courier journo showing the redistributions, which were needed as Marie didn't quite get 50% of first preferences. It wasn't a very clear image though so I couldn't read it. Does anyone have more detail on this? It looked like it had taken some rounds for her to get over the line, probably because there weren't that many votes to redistribute (two independents and the Lib Dem scored less than 50).

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    2. This image? it's quite readable in the large size, on a PC.
      And - integers to 5 decimal places - very accurate, Fife council:

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B7_p3nOCAAAcaIA.jpg:large

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    3. I see 12 Ukips broke Green on their second preference. Humans are a strange bunch.

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    4. Thanks.

      SNP got over the line after the Greens were redistributed. The Tories didn't have to be because she had already won by then.

      It looks like the SNP got most of the Greens' second preferences (60 out of ~100). UKIP's were surprisingly even in their split - only 36 to the Tories, 23 to Labour then 12 each to Greens and SNP.

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  7. Daily Record PressmanJanuary 23, 2015 at 10:07 AM

    A great result for the Nat's and only highlights the problems Labour face both at local and national level. I think what's even more worrying for Labour was the cause of the by-election and their inability to capture the initiative.

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  8. 40 votes for the Lib Dems.

    I can't stop laughing about that.

    It's just.... farcical.

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  9. Lib Dems 40, forty?

    Must come from a small family!

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  10. The Ipsos Mori via Electoral Calculus shows Labour with 4 seats, with Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath being one of them. Ian Davidson's seat had a low percentage lead for him over SNP, and this by-election also with GB apparently standing down, shows it too can go SNP. In any election parties tend to concentrate on "target" seats where they think they can overcome the sitter. This Election all 53 non-SNP seats are target seats, plus keeping their own 6 where it seems the SNP vote is unlikely to go up much. There can be no concentration of resources.

    I thnk, sadly, it also shows the formal "YES Alliance" was right in not being formed, but I hope Green and SSP voters go for the SNP in May, and then go for broke on the list at least in 2016 to get MSPs in Holyrood - as Opposition instead of the ineffective Labour!

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  11. At first, after the Referendum, I too wanted a YES alliance, but after some weeks watching all the YES party memberships going up, I realized I wanted all the YES parties to put their best resources (especially the younger ones) into Holyrood, not Westminster. Although we need good people down at Westminster, we have as great a need here in Scotland to improve the calibre of our representation.

    I am a bit concerned about losing good people, (especially the younger ones) to the London cesspit that is Westminster. I suspect that each and every one of them will be under constant attack by the unionists and the media from day one. It is my feeling that in a YES Alliance, the non-SNP MPs would have been the first targeted - as the unionists favourite strategy is divide and conquer tactics so those who do go will need the protection of a supporting strong organization. It is probably easier for SNP to do this than a new YES Alliance organization.

    Do remember that the London MPs will be working to put themselves out of a job.

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  12. Just wondering if there is document anywhere the process for voting at the GE2015
    i.e.
    when to apply for postal vote
    what to expect through the mail for voting
    what to expect when at the polling station
    what should be on the voting slip, serial number or identifiers etc
    thanks,
    Ian

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    1. Sorry, should read like the following, as it would be a little clearer

      "if there is something documented online, anywhere, the process"

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  13. I was thinking about the new labour policy of by-passing Holyrood and devolving power to their local councillors in the cities so that they retain some control.

    I am not sure this will work as surely if the SNP wipe out a lot of their MPs and their MSPs then obviously the SNP, Greens and SSP will also wipe out most of their councillors in the local elections as well.

    Why have they not realised this yet?

    Do you think they will be able to work it out before the next local elections?

    hoss

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  14. Yeee Haaa !

    I have worked out how to post in Google account.

    For all you Anon trolls it is quite easy - just go to google blogger page and set it up.

    Simples.

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  15. A swing of just under 13% nationally would net the SNP only 11 of labour's forty-odd seats. Not quite the bloodbath being predicted - and with 3 and a half months including a 4-6 week formal campaigning period still to play out, anything is possible.

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    1. Anyone can pluck figures out of thin air, before adding "so there's all to play for!" The Ipsos-Mori poll suggests a swing of almost double the one you mention.

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    2. But you yourself mentioned a swing of 13%. I'm not sure how a swing of 13% in a particular area can be extrapolated to a swing of double that amount in the wider country.

      11 labour seats would fall to the SNP on a uniform national swing of 13%. The figures are taken from the May 2015 article "why the SNP may struggle to win more than twenty labour seats". Google it - it's a very interesting read.

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    3. "But you yourself mentioned a swing of 13%."

      Oh, for pity's sake. As I made abundantly clear, the baseline result for that swing was the 2012 local elections (when the SNP were 1% ahead of Labour) and not the 2010 general election (when the SNP were 22% behind). This is pretty basic stuff.

      I read the May 2015 article when it was published. It basically reduces to "the SNP can't win these seats because they'd need a really, really big swing". The thing is, the polls are showing they're on course to get a really, really big swing.

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    4. Just as an additional explanatory note for trolls - if we use the 2010 general election as a baseline result, the swing from Labour to SNP in Kirkcaldy East was probably in the region of about 24% - bang in line with the Ipsos-Mori poll, and putting the SNP on course for a landslide.

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  16. Why is it "trolling" to come on here and challenge your point of view? Your use of the 2010 result as a baseline is statistical nonsense. In so far as council by elections are of any use at all for predicting general elections, you would need to compare like with like. You are cherrypicking to support a swing of 24%. When was the last time a swing like that was achieved in Britain or, indeed, anywhere in the world? The Labour landslide in 1997 - the most dramatic election result in my lifetime - was achieved on a swing of 10.3%. According to the May 2015 website, swings of 15% and above are extremely rare and very short lived when they do occur.

    I think you are setting yourself - and others - up for some major disappointment on May 8th. And setting the bar so high for your cause will only harm it.

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    1. I can hardly think of a better definition of trolling than to conflate swings from two completely different baselines, and then to accuse the person who sets you straight of (ahem) "statistical nonsense".

      You've been caught out. Move on.

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    2. You're comparing apples and oranges - which I suppose is inevitable when talking about two different types of election. But if you're going to do it at all then at least compare the last local election with this one, find out the associated swing, and then apply it to the results from the last general election. That is the only sensible way to do it - and even then the prediction would still come with a major health warning.

      Based on a uniform swing of 13% from the last election, like I said, that nets the SNP eleven labour seats from the last election to add to their current tally of 6. I'm assuming the tory seat in the borders is beyond their grasp and that they will win the vast majority of the lib dem seats (say 9 out of the 11). This puts them on 6 + 11 + 9 = 26 of Scotland's constituencies. In other words, the results from the by election, extrapolated, predict a result in keeping with what the betting markets are predicting.

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    3. You're the equivalent of the little boy in the playground who thumps someone, then bursts into tears and screams "Miss, he hit me!" The "you're comparing apples with oranges" line was almost exquisite in its brazenness.

      Do you HONESTLY think people are too stupid to spot the game you're playing?

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  17. I have no idea what you're going on about. You can only calculate a meaningful swing between two elections of the same type. You are looking at a general election and a local council by election. This makes no sense. All we know is that there has been a 13 point swing from one local council election to the next (over the same period we were led to believe that the labour vote had collapsed). If it had indeed collapsed to the extent that is being suggested, we should be seeing your 24 point swing in this local election (or perhaps even greater due to the 'free hit' nature of elections like this). But we didn't. What we saw is a relatively modest shift in public opinion and I believe polling day will bear this out.

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    1. Please stop trolling. In the highly unlikely event that you genuinely don't understand why your line of argument makes no logical sense, then you're past help - because I explained it clearly in my second reply to you.

      Either you stuck your fingers in your ears and sang "la la la la I'm not listening", or you're a troll. My money is firmly on the latter.

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  18. I am not a troll. I am not being insulting, abusive or provocative. I'm just trying to have a conversation here. I've asked you why you're doing a direct comparison between general election votes and a local council by election. I think it's a reasonable query, to which you have responded with a level of bluster that would make George Galloway proud.

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    1. If you're claiming not to be a troll, please acknowledge that I factually corrected you in my second reply. Please address that correction seriously, and not in the fatuous manner that you have done so far. To refresh your memory, the correction was as follows -

      "Oh, for pity's sake. As I made abundantly clear, the baseline result for that swing was the 2012 local elections (when the SNP were 1% ahead of Labour) and not the 2010 general election (when the SNP were 22% behind). This is pretty basic stuff."

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    2. I'm well aware that the swing of 13% refers to the last round of local elections and not the general election. What I did was to apply the same degree of change (assuming people behave in the same way) that we saw in this election to the general election results of 2010. I realise there are pitfalls in this - but this is probably the only real life indicator we will get of public opinion, unfiltered by the various competing methodologies of the polling companies, prior to the general election. So I thought it might be worthwhile doing a prediction based on this 13% movement from labour to SNP. You don't seem too keen on this idea though. But what is wrong with acknowledging that, if this 13 pt swing is repeated in the GE itself, it will only be sufficient to overturn the labour majorities in 11 of its 41 seats?

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    3. "What I did was to apply the same degree of change"

      Yes, what you did is blindingly obvious. What is considerably less clear is WHY you did it. (Apart from the obvious intention to mislead.) What possible justification can there be for taking the result of a local election, adjusting the SNP lead downwards by TWENTY-FIVE PER CENT, and claiming that's the "real" result?

      Can you honestly not understand what a total nonsense this is?

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    4. Your tone is very angry. I think you need to calm down just a little. All I did was to apply the same swing to the general election. That is all. I know the two elections are not directly comparable, however I put more stock in a real life election than any opinion poll - even if it is a poll for the wrong type of election.

      When the last round of local elections was held in 2012, the labour party were still dominant in the polls. Now their poll ratings have crashed through the floor, you would expect there to be a larger swing than 12.8% in Kirkcaldy - especially as the election is largely inconsequential. But what we have is a relatively small change from last time, implying the result of the GE may not be as dramatic as some suggest (possibly).

      I don't know how old you are but I remember polls in the 1990s predicting that Blair would win by 30 points. He won by twelve. I remember the democratic primaries in America in 2008 when polls would project a state for either Obama or Clinton by margins of 10% or above only for the other candidate to clinch it. There have been further polling debacles as recently as last year - with polling companies chronically overstating SNP support in the run up to the European parliament elections.

      A real life election is sometimes a better judge of the public mood than any poll. And if your polls had been correct, the swing last Thursday would have been far greater.

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    5. You're damn right I'm angry, sunshine, and I have no intention of calming down until you stop trying to mislead people. The stunt you've attempted to pull on this thread is as cynical as any I've seen from a troll on this blog, and that's saying something.

      The remainder of your comment is just a load of distraction, bluster and waffle that has nothing whatever to do with the matter in hand. This is not an argument about swingback. This is an argument about you taking a local election result, adjusting the SNP lead downwards by TWENTY-FIVE PER CENT, and claiming that as the "real " result. Please stop evading the issue, and address that point.

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    6. As we don't seem to be getting very far here, perhaps you can enlighten me (preferably without unpleasant accusatory or patronising language), why it is so hideously wrong to apply the same degree of change to the last general election results, aside from the obvious - which is that it's a different sort of election.

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    7. I've already explained that very clearly. Will you FOR THE LOVE OF GOD read what I said in my second reply, and read it properly. I've already reposted it once.

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    8. Sorry, I've Just read your latest diatribe. Perhaps you can answer me this - why wasn't the swing in Kirkcaldy greater than 12.8? If the labour party and SNP have essentially changed positions since 2010, labour should have received a hellish arse kicking. But they didn't. In fact, I would say their vote held up pretty well considering. Now why is that?

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    9. Just to clarify, the labour party retained 70% of its previous level of support. If the general election is anything like that, I think Murphy and Miliband will breathe a sigh of relief and call it a win.

      Right, I'm off. I don't want you literally going "pop".

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    10. If the swing in the Kirkcaldy result is repeated, the Labour party will be left with fewer than 10 seats in Scotland, and the SNP will have over 50. If Miliband would sigh with relief at that result, he must be a bigger idiot than you've pretended to be on this thread.

      But I can at least thank you for your promise to stop trolling now. Off you pop.

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