Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Tectonic TNS poll puts SNP on historic high of 60% in the Holyrood constituency vote

Today brings word of our first full-scale Scottish poll since the UK general election last month.  It's from TNS, with their unique face-to-face data collection method, and it understandably shifts attention wholesale to next year's Scottish Parliament election...

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot :

SNP 60% (+13)
Labour 19% (-11)
Conservatives 15% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 3% (n/c)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot :

SNP 50% (+6)
Labour 19% (-7)
Conservatives 14% (+1)
Greens 10% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)
UKIP 2% (n/a)

(Percentage chances are from the last Holyrood poll from TNS, at the start of the year.)

As is always the case with TNS polls, the fieldwork is already somewhat out-of-date by the time of publication - it was conducted between the 13th and 31st of May.  That means it wholly predates the despicable attempts by Alex Massie, the Daily Mail, the Telegraph and even a few Liberal Democrats to exploit the tragic death of Charles Kennedy in an attempt to damage Alex Salmond and the SNP more generally.  I'm not saying those attempts will necessarily have had any impact on the numbers, but the possibility can't be entirely ruled out.  And at least part of the fieldwork was conducted during the initial glow of the SNP landslide, so we'd certainly expect some kind of honeymoon bonus.  To get a rough idea of just how strong the honeymoon effect can be in the first few weeks after a general election triumph, have a look at the scale of the Tories' victory in the 1979 European Parliament election, or in the 1992 English local elections - both held roughly one month after a general election.

So I don't think there's much to be read into the SNP's 60% share on the constituency vote - that figure is almost bound to fall back, unless something very weird happens.  What's troubling about this poll is the 10% gap between the SNP's showing on the constituency vote and the all-important list vote - there's no reason to automatically suppose that gap will narrow even if the SNP's vote drops, and that's the factor that most puts at risk the chances of the SNP winning a second overall majority.  Needless to say, there would be a clear majority if today's figures turned out to be the final result - the Scotland Votes calculator projects seats totals of SNP 73, Labour 25, Conservatives 17, Greens 10, Liberal Democrats 4.  A few regular commenters might want to note that, even on a thoroughly improbable 60% of the constituency vote, the SNP are still projected to take three seats on the list - thus spectacularly undermining the idea that we could ever reach the point of certainty that SNP votes on the list will be "wasted".

There's another way of looking at the problem, though.  Polling for the regional list has tended to be less accurate than polling for the constituency vote, perhaps because of the difficulty of replicating the experience of actually casting two distinct votes in a polling station.  In both 2007 and 2011, the Greens were predicted to do much better than they did, and we were also expecting that there would be a significant gap between the SNP's performance on the constituency and list ballots, which didn't materialise.  So it could be that a really determined effort by the SNP to stress the importance of the list ballot will once again resolve the problem, even if the polls aren't showing any evidence of that at quite a late stage.

A very peculiar shortcoming of this poll is that only the SNP, Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats were given as options for the constituency vote.  There wasn't even a two-stage process which allowed people to express a more specific preference after saying they would vote for "other party or candidate".  That perhaps wouldn't make a huge amount of difference, but it's certainly not ideal.

If TNS were following Ipsos-Mori's practice of headlining the results among respondents who say they are certain to vote, the SNP's lead would be even bigger.  Nicola Sturgeon's party would have an advantage of 61% to 18% over Labour on the constituency vote, and 51% to 17% on the list.

215 comments:

  1. I was the pessimist when looking at pre GE polling figures and look how that turned out.

    Words fail me

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  2. Is it possible to work out the effect of list vote tactical voting from the poll data?

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  3. What on earth could Labour HQ in London possibly offer the next scapegoat to entice them into becoming 'scottish' leader when it's becoming bleeding obvious they will go the same way as Gray, Lamont and Murphy? Don't think a Lordship or a think tank job for Burnham will cut it somehow.

    Good to see the continuing smears from the Daily Heil and the lib dem HQ spinners have had the 'desired' effect for them.

    LOL

    It must be excruciatingly embarrassing to be one of those lib dem spinners now that the Mail is running sordid 'kiss and tell' bullshit on Kennedy from the gossip and information those lib dem HQ spinners fed them on Kennedy just to try and smear the SNP. How proud Charles Kennedy would be of them for that.

    As I said repeatedly before the election, NEVER underestimate the ability of Clegg's ostrich faction to turn disaster into utter calamity and since most of Clegg's ostrich faction are still in place at the top of the lib dems, along with the smearing liar Carmichael, no matter how bad that poll looks for them it can and will be worse for them at polling day if they keep this up.

    Some of the westminster bubble twits seem confident that Pouter style tactical voting will come into play. Though strangely they don't seem to have worked out precisely HOW given that Labour's voting system isn't designed for it and Labour is somewhat unlikely to give up it's opposition role to the tories just to give them a few more seats..

    Expect some amusing tactical 'wheels' to pop up for the 2016. ;-)

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    1. 'Next scapegoat'. I was thinking earlier on about Ms Dugdale. She is on record as saying that she doesn't see her long-term future in politics and that she's a 'sidekick, not a superhero'. Before she put herself forward for the leadership, there was a lot of talk of installing a caretaker to take the hit for 2016.

      Maybe *she* is the caretaker. Maybe she's just keeping the seat warm, getting the lists reopened, etc. for one of the ex-MPs to take over afterwards. Although, to be fair, for all the talk of Labour losing talented, bright people last month, I'm not sure which of them you could call a leader-in-waiting.

      Gregg McClymont? Pamela Nash? Wee Wullie Bain? Wee-er Dougie Alexander? No, me neither, and they're pretty much the pick of the bunch.

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    2. "Maybe *she* is the caretaker."

      Pretty damn likely since there is no evidence whatsoever she could possibly reverse their decline.

      If anything, from what we saw of her during the westminster campaign, Deputy Dugdale was way out of her depth on anything other than parroting pre-packaged spin lines fed to her by Murphy and "no-brainer" McTernan.

      So yeah, I could see her being a seatwarmer Hapleg, but as you say, to what end?

      We know you can't just plonk someone into a leadership role and expect them to do well unless they have been training and working for that for years. Nicola didn't just pop up out of nowhere even if the westminster bubble still don't understand that fact.

      Nicola and Angus have wasted no time and you can be certain they have several excellent prospects under their wing who will be learning fast and given every opportunity to improve themselves by listening and talking to the scottish voters every chance they get. Expect a good few to appear not just for Holyrood but the EU referendum during town hall meetings and other events.

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    3. I was wondering if being Scottish Labour leader wasn't so much the 'Champagne Socialists/ Red Tories' opportunity to put Labour back on the road to recovery in Scotland, but an opportunity for the leader to aquire the status that would allow them to move on to a lucrative career when they had finished.

      You see this with all Big Shot Westminster MP's such as Brown Blair Darling etc creaming in hundreds of thousands if not millions because they have this status (and contacts).

      It seems that for the Scottish Labour Party though, only Wendy Alexander has managed to end with enough integrity intact to move on to a lucrative career outside politics.

      Perhaps her brother stabbing her in the back did her a big favour.

      Of course we have saw a few people like Lord McConnel /Foulkes having very lucrative moves into the HOL, but that is reward for betraying their own people, rather than any indication of talent.

      In my opinion! (of course I may be wrong)

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  4. I noticed a few folk on Twitter saying something along the lines of "too much yellow, not enough green." I'm presuming they're fine with all that blue, red and orange, then? Because those are the ones you should be going for, guys.

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    1. They seem to resent the SNP's high level of support and imagine that if they say "it's not fair, give us some", the SNP will meekly dole out seats to them.

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    2. "I'm presuming they're fine with all that blue, red and orange, then? Because those are the ones you should be going for, guys."

      Nail. Head.

      What's particularly jawdropping is that the few fringe Pouter types somehow can't see the damage they are doing to the SSP and Greens by their behaviour.

      There could scarcely BE a better time for the Greens to win over those remaining lib dem voters than right now. The lib dems are in absolute chaos with a smearing liar like Carmichael as the face of their party in scotland. But instead of assiduously working to win over voters who are already environmentallly inclined, we see these few fringe Pouter types demanding votes from the SNP they haven't earned. It's bonkers! The SSP too must know they can chip away at that 20%(or so) Labour vote since so many of the Labour core voters still hanker after socialism and we can't persuade them.

      You want votes then work for them.

      We worked real fucking hard since even before January to give the scottish voter something positive, substantial and a real alternative to austerity. It paid off. BIG TIME. Sitting on your arse demanding the votes of others like the Pouters did was a spectacular failure.

      We are already starting the work for next May. (and we are preparing for the EU referendum since the cowardly Cameron doesn't have the balls to hold a pivotal referendum on it's own set date so the issue is on one thing and one thing only) After the tories scraped a tiny majority you can be certain there will be little patience from SNP members for self-indulgent Pouter behaviour and taking risks when we had to get by on a majority of ONE despite a spectacular landslide in 2011.

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    3. The failure of the Greens to benefit from the Lib Dem collapse in 2011 (and at every election since) is something I've never understood.

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    4. Well to be fair Keaton in 2011 the Greens didn't really have the membership necessary while the lib dems still had the activist/membership infrastructure that having so many westminster MPs gave them.

      There was also a residual 'culture' (if you will) of lid dem support that went back for decades.

      None of that applies now though. Not only has that westminster 'life support' been wiped out but as I keep saying (because it is crucial) those who supported and backed Clegg's calamitous tenure to the hilt are still there at the top of lib dem HQ ready to go back to business as usual under Farron or Lamb. (though almost certainly Farron)

      Just look at the Carmichael and Daily Heil dirty tricks. Leaking lies to the Torygraph and blaming SNP supporters via the Mail is going to help them win in scotland how exactly? It's self-evidently not and will only make their already dire situation that much worse in 2016.

      A great many of those who deserted their party were expected by the lib dem westminster bubble types to come straight back. They desperately hoped the lurch to the right under Clegg's ostrich faction would be looked on as an 'aberration' and the voters would just 'naturally' come back to them afterwards. They won't. Demographics change as do allegiances and the sheer scale of the lib dem annihilation has ensured business as usual won't cut it. Clegg was there more than long enough to toxify ALL of the lib dems as a brand and make the unprincipled yellow tory label one they will not easily overturn in even a few electoral cycles. Once you lose trust so completely with the voters you don't just get it back quickly and magically with a change of leader. As the tories found out after 97 and as Labour are finding out now.

      Problem for the Greens though is that you still have to reach out to those voters who now feel disenfranchised and might just sit on their hands or go back to old habits unless you can reach them. They do however have the best possible chance with a membership and activist base that can allow that while having policies that we know will be attractive to lib dems.

      It comes down to connecting with voters and sharing their point of view. Unglamorous ground campaigning. Door to door chapping while seeking out those meetings/rallies and causes where your interests/policies overlap naturally. Fracking, anti-nuclear, wildlife, land stewardship, human-rights, welfare. There's no shortage of policy areas that have been completely neglected if not outright rejected under Clegg's lib dems.

      It's always going to be hard for a smaller party like the Greens but you just have to keep at it. It's what we did for so long after all.

      The Greens have to also know that they don't have the toxic legacy the lib dems are now saddled with while they come to terms with a larger membership and activist base to use most effectively. They very likely will as long as they don't get sidetracked by the Pouter level stuff.

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    5. Mick, have you noticed that Mike Smithson has decided to add "Scottish expertise" to PB's guest post team...by bringing in yet another Tory?! Not for the first time, "unspoofable" is the word.

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    6. The scottish PB tories who somehow didn't spot that Murphy was the problem rather than the solution, praised him to the skies and then claimed the reason we in the SNP were all laughing so much was that we feared him.

      Yeah, last I looked it was still more pandas than tories in scotland so we can put their collective 'wisdom' on scottish matters right alongside the mythical scottish tory surge they are all still waiting on.

      Unspoofable indeed. :-D

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  5. So snp get 3 seats on 50% of the regional list vote and greens get 10 seats on 10% regional list vote and you comment that it "spectacular"spectacularly undermines the idea that an snp vote on the list is wasted"....not sure where you get the 3 on the list figure anyway but the figures suggest the list vote is over ten times more productive returning pro-yes candidates on the list if they back green...feel free to ignore the blatant truth.Jam

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    1. "not sure where you get the 3 on the list figure anyway"

      Perhaps you should try reading more carefully, because I explicitly stated where the projection was coming from.

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    2. Just for sh!ts & giggles, I decided to see what ScotlandVotes would predict if all the Green votes were 'loaned' to the SNP, so I changed the list figures to SNP=60 and Green=0.

      List seats prediction-
      SNP 15
      Lab 24
      L/D 4
      Con 13

      That would do nicely.

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    3. Wow. That means there would actually be MORE pro-independence MSPs if people voted SNP than if they voted Green. So much for "tactical voting".

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    4. There isn't a single set of percentages where an increase in the Green vote compared to this poll reduces the number of pro-indy MSPs. Go and check for yourselves. So is it just tribal fear that the SNP can't have the Yes campaign all to itself?

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    5. No. It's the recognition that a continuation of a majority SNP government, with Nicola Sturgeon free to manoeuvre as she sees fit, is the best way to a second independence referendum.

      All this talk of "pro-independence MSPs" forgets that we're in a party political situation. Green MSPs are a different party and don't contribute to an SNP majority. If you guys get your wish, there's a good chance we could end up with the SNP short of a working majority and having to be propped up by the Greens.

      A damaged SNP which has lost ground and lost seats and lost its majority in Holyrood will be absolutely disastrous for the independence campaign. It seems to me that it is your position that is the tribal one, saying that you don't care if the independence campaign is damaged so long as you get more power in Holyrood for your own party.

      Your sense of entitlement is getting tedious. Your party needs to go and canpaign for votes on the merits of its policies. It needs to win over scunnered LibDem voters, also Labour and Tory and people who haven't voted before. It needs to speak to the people who aren't hardcore unionists, but who don't like the SNP. That's how a small party grows.

      Instead you're sitting there like spoiled children demanding that a share of the pie be placed on your plate for you.

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    6. FGS, are we forgetting the more pressing enemy here? I am a Green party member who voted for the SNP in the GE as there was no Green candidate standing in my constituency. I didn't LOAN my vote to anyone: I believe in the goals of the SNP and voted for them without that type of grudging intent: by way of comparison, when I lived in England and where no green candidate stood, I spoiled my ballot. However, if the Greens had not come out for independence, I would not be voting for them for Holyrood, I would be voting SNP, but not LOANING my vote to them, that is a nonsense. As it stands, with greens and SNP pro-independence and perfectly able to work together, my choice is for greens and it is a massive mistake for people to advocate that others 'loan out' their votes: it is unnecessary, when progress can be made through honesty and co-operation. It, if you'll excuse the expression, lowers the tone, and that is not good for anybody's cause.

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    7. I don't think "loan" necessarily carries the negative connotations you see in it.

      Naturally your choice is for the Greens on the list ballot and it would be very strange to suggest otherwise. As I see it the main complaint about all this is the persistent attempt to share out other people's votes based on a highly speculative projection of how the overall spread of votes might lie in 11 months time, then badmouth them if they don't immediately agree that's a splendid idea and promise to go along with it.

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    8. 'then badmouth them if they don't immediately agree'

      Any badmouthing that's been going on in any of these ' list tactical voting' threads, has been squarely directed at the proponents of it as a possibility, and most of that badmouthing, I have to say Rolfe, has been coming from your own keyboard.

      And please don't bother with another 'well if all you've got is that you don't like my tone' type response. Thanks.

      braco

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    9. If you're asking for something and don't yet know whether the other person is going to agree, the word is "please" not "thanks".

      Long-term bugbear from my days dealing with know-it-all Wikipedia editors.

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    10. There is absolutely no doubt that the advocates of vote-splitting have indulged in the most intemperate attacks on anyone with the temerity to disagree with their "logic". We've been told we're tribal, that we put party before independence, that we want to exclude other parties from the independence movement, that we're happy to let Labour and the Tories have more seats and that we're insufficiently grateful for some Green supporters voting SNP last month. Oh, and that since independence can never be won unless large numbers of SNP supporters agree to vote for the Greens, we're blocking the road to independence.

      The retorts you're complaining about have been provoked by weeks of this sort of abuse, but don't let the facts put you off a good wallow in victimhood.

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  6. A greater than 50% SNP vote in May 2016 would not necessarily be a surprise. Mind the SNP just got 50% and that was before the Tories came back with a UK majority.

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    1. Well, not to blow my own trumpet but I did speculate in my guest post that the electorate that turns up for Holyrood may well be even more pro-SNP than the one that just voted in GE 2015 because people who oppose devolution are less likely to vote in Holyrood elections.

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    2. And I suspect that quite a few people sat on their hands in the GE because as Yes people they see no reason to vote for WM elections and their focus is Holyrood. After all, had we voted Yes last Sept we would have likely found it hard to find anyone willing to stand, only to have stand down in a year. And the point of voting in that election would have been hard to find. And some of that attitude will have rubbed off anyway. So I would personally not be surprised to find the turnout going up next May and most of that being Yes.

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  7. "A very peculiar shortcoming of this poll is that only the SNP, Labour, the Tories and the Liberal Democrats were given as options for the constituency vote. There wasn't even a two-stage process which allowed people to express a more specific preference after saying they would vote for "other party or candidate". That perhaps wouldn't make a huge amount of difference, but it's certainly not ideal."

    Yeah, I know the Greens have gone for a list-only strategy in the past couple of elections, but I wonder if they'll fancy their chances in a few seats this time - to get information about their support as much as anything.

    The poll also doesn't take the new pro-indy left coalition/alliance/whatever into account (quite understandably, since they don't even know what they're calling themselves yet). History suggests that the Greens' strength in Edinburgh will not necessarily be repeated in West Scotland, where voters may be more likely to go for more overtly socialist candidates.

    There's a lot that can happen between now and May...

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    1. Isn't Patrick Harvie standing in Glasgow Kelvin next year? I'm sure I read something to that effect. The Green candidate there in 2007 got 12.6% and I can imagine a fair few Finnieston hipsters voting for him.

      I'd be quite surprised if the Greens didn't stand candidates in Edinburgh Central and Edinburgh Southern too as their list vote in those two seats was very high last time. I notice too that this poll has the Greens placing second on the list in Lothian.

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    2. Yes, I think they intend to stand in a few constituencies. Good luck to them, it's a good time to go for it with their recent increase in membership and so on.

      The downside of it, seen from a "pro-independence" standpoint is the possibility that these candidates might split the pro-independence vote and let Labour (or another unionist party) in through the middle in the constituency. Now the marginal loss of a seat like that wouldn't be a disaster under a normally-functioning d'Hondt election, as the seat would be compensated by another list seat. However, if the SNP voters have been induced to give their list votes away (to the very party that split the constituency vote to their disadvantage!), the list seat will not transpire.

      The Green Pouters can't have it both ways. If they're going to stand in the constituencies, they have to recognise that that completely nullifies their plea for tactical list votes.

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    3. @Hapleg

      Yes, Harvie is standing in Kelvin, where Sandra White is currently the MSP, and is running again. I see that Kenny McAskill and Rob Gibson are stepping down. I suspect some at the top of the party may have hoped that White was going to retire as well. Humza Yousaf is standing against Lamont.

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    4. @Rolfe - yes, you're spot on. A lot of these Green list-gamers seem to think the SNP (and by extension SNP voters) owe the Greens something because of the undeniable (though fairly unquantifiable) phenomenon of Greens voting SNP in GE15.

      That is, I think the underlying mindset of this loopy tactical list voting scheme. Of course, politics doesn't work like that. The SNP doesn't owe the Greens anything for the 56 and it certainly doesn't owe colluding in a potentially very damaging hare-brained project like that.

      Like you say, if the Greens want to stand in constituencies and on the list and persuade people to vote for them by the force of their arguments, fair enough and good luck to them, but to do as some Green supporters are suggesting and attempting to trick SNP voters into backing them on a false prospectus is contemptible.

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    5. It actually seems a bit of a waste putting Harvie in Kelvin - they would almost certainly save their deposit there anyway, so they might have been better using his personal recognition to build up support in a seat where they've traditionally been very weak.

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    6. It depends though. If they're only interested in saving their deposit, then yes, you're right. But if, as I suspect, they're serious about doing what their English counterparts did in Brighton, i.e. building election on election till they win the seat, then it makes a good deal of sense for them. The worry is, of course, Labour coming through the middle and retaking the seat. That's collateral damage for the Greens but for those of us who have independence as their chief priority, it's a worrying prospect.

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    7. Personally, I'm beginning to think the SNP supporters should concentrate on getting an SNP/SNP vote, rather than moaning about Green Party tactics etc

      It's a bit boring. I think we are all being taken in by the power of the internet...there isn't that much green support...they are still widely viewed as loopy and mental...but then we do have angela constance as an msp...so who are we to talk.

      Anyway, we might also get a unionist green....

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  8. If voters want a particular party or candidate to be elected then they should vote accordingly. It is baffling that anyone would consider voting tactically as the result will not be what they want and maybe very different to what they intended. If everyone votes tactically what will the result be?
    In any event the SNP are now vulnerable to disaster on two fronts, Holyrood and Westminster. Problems at Holyrood might well be of their own making whereas Westminster is rather different. Labour will be looking to win more seats at Holyrood by attacking the SNP in Westminster where Labour have more resources and more clout. The Tories will be nothing loath to do damage to the SNP when and where they can. (A unionist cabal is not entirely unlikely.)
    The SNP need to watch out especially next Spring. That is the correct psychological moment to push the SNP into a position between a rock and a hard place. Something that can be spun and spun.
    The SNP, or more correctly the YES campaign were wide open to the Vow which came at just the right time to have maximum impact. The YES campaign failed to respond. Although the BT campaign had Saatchi working for them, the YES people should have realised that 3 days prior to the vote is when you have to play your top card. The YES people blew it. Unless the SNP have learned from this they are likely to suffer some kind of PR disaster next April. The people who put tanks on the streets of Glasgow are playing for keeps.

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    1. "In any event the SNP are now vulnerable to disaster on two fronts, Holyrood and Westminster."

      Yup! If only we had managed to get a good result for those two to protect us from imaginary disaster.

      *rolleyes*


      "The SNP, or more correctly the YES campaign were wide open to the Vow which came at just the right time to have maximum impact. The YES campaign failed to respond. Although the BT campaign had Saatchi working for them, the YES people should have realised that 3 days prior to the vote is when you have to play your top card. The YES people blew it"

      ROFL

      In the sense that running about like headless chickens in an obvious omnipanic at the narrowing polls then making a blindingly obvious last gasp desperation move was "the right time"?? Yeah, sure pal. I'm sure it was all planned to the nth degree while Saatchi and the fops mind-controlled Broon.

      Though strangely, it sure as fuck looked like something they were absolutely panicked into which only worked because they had an overwhelmingly biased unionist media to spin it uncritically while ignoring the many reasonable and critical SNP and Yes responses to it. (which were of course later proved 100% correct)

      Funny that. ;-)

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    2. @bellebrise

      What an extraordinary bizarre post.

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    3. Mick and muttley

      Allow me to remind you that the YES campaign lost. Roll on the floor as much as you like but the result was failure. The YES campaign was inept in a number of areas.
      The SNP are now in a position from which they will find it difficult to climb higher, but which can all too easily be lost. There was a time not so long ago when Labour were unassailable in Scotland. That should demonstrate that things can change.
      Labour will be coming at the independence movement with everything. Not today, not next week, but soon. One would have to be foolish and naive to think that even now, the researchers are not digging for dirt. Or maybe you don't think, even though you recognise the lies that were spun, that it won't happen again?
      You can roll around some more, but the big boys play for keeps. You just don't seem to get it. All this stuff about list voting and how many votes the Greens will get is just a distraction. (And you might wash your mouth out with soap, Mick)

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    4. I did not think it was possible, but you have followed up with an even more ridiculous post that the previous one. Firstly, we know the Yes campaign lost, but it increased support for independence from around 25 per cent to 45 per cent. It also was responsible for the SNP's. the SSP's and the Greens' membership surge.

      Secondly, are you seriously arguing that Labour have not been using dirty tricks against the SNP for decades? How is that getting on? One of the major reasons SLAB have lost support is because they refuse to support significant change in Scotland's constitutional status since 1999. They refuse to recognise this reality even now.

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    5. "You can roll around some more, but the big boys play for keeps. You just don't seem to get it. "

      Yeah I kept thinking that when we won 56 out of 59 seats you absurdly out of touch twit.

      "One would have to be foolish and naive to think that even now, the researchers are not digging for dirt"

      Like Carmichael and the Daily Heil were? How did that turn out for them? *Looks at poll* LOL

      "Labour will be coming at the independence movement with everything."

      Because clearly the "big-boys" Eggman, 'no-brainer' McTernan and Broon haven't already destroyed their own party enough. We're supposed to be cowering in fear from who exactly? Deputy Dugdale? Burnham?? Wee Dougie?? Try again.

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  9. Let's pretend that the denominator of the list calculations doesn't include the number of seats already obtained in the constituency ballot....zzzzzzzzzz....they're going to win phuqall on the list if they dominate the constituency ballot...clear as day. Jam

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    1. You can't keep sticking your fingers in your ears forever, Anon. Read the comment from Wee Jock Elliot earlier in this thread - if every Green vote on the list in this poll was transferred to the SNP, there would be two more pro-independence MSPs overall (because the SNP would have twelve more, and the Greens would have ten fewer).

      That clearly isn't what you want to hear, but it doesn't make it any the less true.

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    2. You're logic is failing you.

      Here's an outline using Scotland Votes. Everything other than SNP/Green List votes is as per the TNS poll.

      SNP 60 Green 0 - Seats SNP 84 Green 0 - total 84
      SNP 50 Green 10 - Seats SNP 73 Green 10 - total 83
      SNP 40 Green 20 - Seats SNP 70 Green 22 - total 92
      SNP 30 Green 30 - Seats SNP 70 Green 27 - total 97
      ...
      SNP 0 Green 60 - Seats SNP 70, Green 42 - total 112

      And all the time the Labour, Liberal and Tory seats are squeezed but they are ONLY being squeezed by more Green List votes. The choice if you are Pro-Independence is clear - Green List.

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    3. Just for shits I did the same as Wee Jock Elliot except gave all the SNP 0 on the list vote and transferred it to the greens

      2016 (2011)
      SNP 70 (69)
      Labour 9 (37)
      Con 7 (15)
      Libdem 1 (5)
      Greens 42 (2)

      It's a good game this Wee Jock Elliot.

      Pro Indy 112 ( 72 at beginning 71 at end)
      Pro Union 17 (57)

      Just a bit of fun!

      braco

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    4. It should also be pointed out that Scotland Votes is still giving the Tories Eastwood and Berwickshire and the Liberals Shetland. That's pretty damn dubious at a 60% VI given the outcome of the 2015 General Election.

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    5. Beat me Allan! >:-(
      (Seconds or decades it's all the same)

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    6. You guys had better get that mass-hypnosis weapon ready, then. That's the only thing you're missing, if you want to get hundreds of thousands of voters to obediently do what is required of them!

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    7. I know, I charted the whole range...

      ;-)

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      Delete
    9. My last comment was to Braco.

      And of course the algorithm that ScotlandVotes uses is not available to us. We don't know how accurately it reflects real-world outcomes, where vote shares vary across constituencies and regions.

      Delete
    10. But that's the point. You don't need mass hypnosis because there is ZERO RISK. If the polls go backwards below 50% for the SNP, of course it needs reconsidered. But there is no sign of this.

      We know mathematically, that there is Hee Haw difference between a 0% Green List and a 12% Green List in terms of pro-Indy voice. One or two seats either way is meaningless (and always will be while the SNP control the Constituency vote).

      But once you go above 12%, the pro-Indy advantage just gets bigger and bigger. That is the target. If it works great, if it doesn't, no real loss.

      Delete
    11. I'll concede that there is some potential psychological advantage when the Greens become the second largest party. In our scenario, this occurs at SNP=40, Greens=20.

      Delete
    12. "You don't need mass hypnosis because there is ZERO RISK."

      NOT TRUE. There is ALWAYS a risk, because there are ALWAYS a huge number of unpredictable variables. It's absolutely nothing like the relatively easy task of weighing up the potential for a tactical vote in a single-member constituency vote.

      Even if it was true that there was no risk, that's not even the point. Mass-hypnosis would not be required because people are currently refraining from voting Green because of the "risk". It would be required because most of these voters are not Greens and have absolutely no interest in voting Green. I'm afraid you can't just click your fingers and get hundreds of thousands of people to do what you'd like.

      Delete
    13. But you and Wee Jock Eliot, (who it must be said acknowledged it was 'just for shits and giggles') can. For something that's for 'shits and giggles' it does seem to have gathered some very strange authority as it's traveled down the thread being used twice by yourself as an apparent 'hammer blow' to any pro tactical vote argument. This at the same time as Alasdair and my own 'bit of fun' (created in response to the 'shit and giggles') is ridiculed and used literally to imply that 'our' argument amounts to ' just click your fingers and get hundreds of thousands of people to do what you'd like.'

      Today's poll undermines your argument. Just admit it. Tomorrows may undermine ours. That's why our argument has a caveat. Why does yours not?

      braco

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    14. "Today's poll undermines your argument. Just admit it."

      WHAT?? That makes about as much sense as saying : "Last month's election undermined David Cameron's chances of remaining Prime Minister. Just admit it."

      My argument doesn't have a caveat. It's not dependent on polling or circumstances. Tactical voting is not a viable option on the regional list ballot of the Additional Member System used for Scottish Parliament elections. I'm not sure how much clearer I can make this.

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    15. 'My argument doesn't have a caveat. It's not dependent on polling or circumstances.'

      Then my 'bit of fun' though admittedly highly, highly unlikely, under your mathematical understanding of the d'Hondt voting system is in actual fact mathematically impossible?

      'not dependent on polling or circumstances'. Really!? This has to be nonsense surely?

      braco

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    16. "'not dependent on polling or circumstances'. Really!?"

      Yes, really. That's EXACTLY what I'm saying. I've explained why at considerable length in the umpteen blogposts I've written on this subject - partly at your direct request, if you'll recall.

      Delete
    17. But the basic point stands. The Greens could win more seats for the indy side if additional SNP voters moved to the Greens based on THIS poll.

      Delete
    18. The operative word in that sentence is "could". Tactical voting cannot be said to work unless it works reliably, without having to keep your fingers crossed that all sorts of assumptions don't prove to be wrong. So the basic point does not stand.

      Delete
    19. There are eleven months to go. As James pointed out, that 60% vote is likely to be a honeymoon bounce. On THIS poll, you could put the list votes anywhere you like and not damage the SNP's overall majority. You might lose them three MSP's, but they'd still have the 70 constituencies.

      Fast forward to next May, through a lot of events we can't predict. Then shifting these votes loses the SNP the list seats it needs to achieve its working majority. Press flays the party as having "lost Holyrood". Sturgeon's invincible persona is destroyed. She can't win as many MSPs as Salmond won. Coalition government beckons. She loses her freedom to manoeuvre and has to negotiate Harvie's agreement at every turn.

      What's not to like, if you're a Green supporter whose main priority is to see his own party in government in Holyrood? It's not difficult to see why the Green supporters are so keen on the idea.

      Trying to trick SNP supporters into going along with this, with weasel words about "pro-independence MSPs" (as if there was no party politics in Holyrood), lies about SNP list votes being wasted, and wildly over-optimistic assertions about the SNP's probable performance by the time 2016 rolls around, is dishonest, underhand and dishonourable.

      Delete
    20. Ah James a test of your credentials... Pro independence or die hard SNP. You have the audience and the opportunity to really promote a radical independence strategy as outlined above. There is very little to lose and an enormous amount to gain. It would appear!

      Delete
    21. "There is very little to lose and an enormous amount to gain."

      With all due respect, that's complete garbage. There is an enormous amount to lose and nothing to gain.

      I'm a supporter of independence first and last. If I thought for one moment that voting for a different party would make independence more likely, I would drop the SNP like a hot brick. But it wouldn't. If you think it somehow would, your explanation is going to have to be a hell of a lot more convincing than you've managed so far.

      Delete
  10. Just about everything in your post is either wrong, or a blindingly obvious fact willfully interpreted wrongly. Nice one!

    braco

    braco

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    1. That was for bellebrise by the way.

      from the second of the bracos :-)

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    2. That may be what the first braco would like us to think, but what about the second 'list' braco? Can we trust it or indeed him?

      ;-D

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    3. Of course not!

      And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you cybernats. Curses!

      (the second list) braco
      (and therefore by definition, the most important braco as he/it decides the over all make up of the bracos)

      Delete
  11. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  12. It's disappointing to see the continued ambivalence to killing off the Libs and Labour in 2016. With the Libs on the brink of extinction and the Labour Party facing a constituency wipe out, wasted List votes for the SNP are the only way that the Liberals can continue to exist and Labour can maintain a reasonable number of MSPs (enough to potentially see them continue as the Opposition).

    The Confidence Level is easily high enough for a Constituency Only majority for the SNP that a Split vote is the best possible outcome for anyone whose primary goal is independence. Only individuals who care more about the fortunes of the SNP over the goal of independence can provide any sort of argument against this - and it is a discursive argument not one based on logic or maths.

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    1. If you're going to continue to push this nonsensical line, Alasdair, today's poll is a massive problem for you. To repeat for a third time, if every Green vote on the list in this poll were transferred to the SNP, there would be TWO MORE pro-independence MSPs overall - because there would be twelve more SNP MSPs, and only ten fewer Green MSPs. There would also be one fewer Labour MSP.

      On the figures in this poll, voting Green on the list is helping the unionists. That's not to say that people shouldn't vote Green if that's the party they favour, but the idea that it's any kind of "tactical" vote, or that it will "kill off Labour" is clearly a deception.

      Delete
    2. No there would be ONE more. But if another 10ppts of the SNP vote went to the Greens there would be another NINE. Clearly the best direction of travel is to get more SNP List votes to the Greens because the projection work's best in this direction. Between 0% Green and about 12% it's even, a couple either way. But beyond 12% it gets MORE and MORE and MORE for the pro-Independence team.

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    3. "But if another 10ppts of the SNP vote went to the Greens there would be another NINE."

      I gather that mauve pigs flying over Jupiter would have a similarly dramatic effect.

      Delete
    4. If there was a 3% swing to the SNP from the Greens then the SNP go up 2 but the Greens go down 3. Thus a drop in the Green vote leads to fewer Pro-Yes MSPs. Also you say "oh look you greens are all nuts cuz there will never ever be any increase in your vote of more than 0.1%" but then advocate voting SNP by using an impossibly large 20% swing from Green to SNP. How is that realistic?

      Delete
    5. "How is that realistic?"

      As soon as I have the faintest idea what you're asking me, I'll let you know.

      Delete
  13. My name is jam Kelly....are you seriously trying to suggest that if we vote snp on the list we will get anything near what we'd get if vote green? The number OF SEATS ALREADY OBTAINED IS ON THE DENOMINATOR OF THE LIST CALCULATIONS... Oh dear. Jam

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    1. "My name is jam Kelly"

      Thankyou for at last making clear that you're a troll. Just randomly calling yourself "Jam" was never going to be enough.

      If you're asking me whether the seat projections we've been mentioning from this poll take into account how the electoral system works, the answer to your question is "yes, of course they do". How many more times are you going to raise that bogus objection?

      Delete
    2. My projections were 'a bit of fun' but yours and (Wee Jock Elliot's), zero for the greens and complete transfer to the SNP projections are described as, 'seat projections we've been mentioning from this poll take into account how the electoral system works, the answer to your question is "yes, of course they do". How many more times are you going to raise that bogus objection?'
      it's so obviously ridiculous either way at the extremes James, but in the middle of the range pro indy interests are clearly served by voting for the next most popular pro indy party with your regional list vote. IF things remain the same in polling terms. A cavieat you and the pro SNP 'faction' (how d'y like them apples?) don't seem interested in acknowledging during this 'discussion'.

      braco

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    3. I'm sorry, Braco, but I have no intention of "acknowledging" something that is absolutely untrue.

      Delete
    4. It's untrue that I and just about every other poster here putting forward 'tactical vote on the list' as a possible way forward for 2016, are not repeatedly conditioning our support by saying 'under the current polling circumstances' or ' I will assess the situation closer to the vote but if things stay as they are' etc. (para phrasing of course) ?

      That's an important caveat that when/if acknowledged, does make accusations of 'treachery', 'unionist shill' and 'intellectual dishonesty' a little harder to throw around on threads discussing the subject.

      braco

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    5. "That's an important caveat that when/if acknowledged, does make accusations of 'treachery', 'unionist shill' and 'intellectual dishonesty' a little harder to throw around on threads discussing the subject."

      As you know perfectly well, I have never used language even remotely close to "treachery" or "unionist shill". I have indeed used "intellectual dishonesty" - I explained exactly what I meant by that, and I stand by it entirely.

      Tactical voting on the list does not work under current polling, past polling, future polling or any other sort of polling. It just doesn't work.

      Delete
    6. All, and more, have been used on these threads. You know this James. By including your own in the examples, I did not (and did not mean to) imply they were all yours.

      As for the rest, the same could have been said for 2015 or 2011 (and was). We are living in politically unprecedented times. It's that simple. In such cases I will look around me as best I can, and then listen to the maths.

      braco

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    7. "All, and more, have been used on these threads. You know this James."

      No, I don't. They may have been used by others, but I have no recollection of them.

      "In such cases I will look around me as best I can, and then listen to the maths."

      The "maths". Lord, give me strength.

      Delete
    8. So now you have proprietorship over electoral maths nearly a year away?

      Smashing, good to know.

      braco

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    9. So now you have proprietorship over the meaning of words that come out of my mouth?

      Smashing, good to...actually, no you don't. Pack it in.

      Delete
  14. Fancy a wager on the number of seats snp get on the list? jam

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    1. If you carry on in this vein, I'll think you're Hamish Allan in disguise.

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  15. Naw fella my name is jam short for jamie...I'd not do anonymous but I'm not sure how to do it withoot revealing my email address..advice appreciated as everything I've said about myself is true. Jam

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    1. My advice to you - which I'm sure will be appreciated - is to run along now, fella.

      Delete
    2. Think of a code name, password, your initials etc, then select Name/URL, type it in and bang is your uncle, so to speak...That way your e-mail address is not revealed.

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    3. Well, he'd better be aware that I'm not going to allow him to post as "Jam Kelly". My tolerance has its limits.

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    4. Was not suggesting such a thing chief...

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    5. To be fair, as troll handles go, it's quite an amusing one.

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  16. The 2016 election will probably be the last one before Holyrood takes control of the electoral system. It would be good if the system could be changed ahead of future elections to using STV. That way we can all vote for who we actually want and tactical voting becomes far less important.

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    1. STV isn't properly proportional. What is needed is a national list rather than 8 regional ones. Thus vote splitting is impossible.

      Delete
    2. The more I see of d'Hondt, the better I like it. It's possible some modification would make it even better, as it's applied in Scotland though. Open lists, or as David says, a national list. Would Margo still have been elected if the list had been national, though?

      The system's fine, I doubt there's anything some people wouldn't try to game no matter how wrong-headed the attempt.

      STV is a problem because deciding how many candidates to stand is a huge dilemma. Too many and you split your vote, possibly losing out, too few and you don't get the seats your voter share could have entitled you to. By-elections are also a huge problem. In our 3-member ward, the SNP won the 3rd seat. If our councillor died or resigned, we'd never win the AV by-election for the single vacancy, and we'd lose our council representation.

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    3. The issue is that you have to chose between voting for individuals or proportional representation. We either give too much power over candidate selection to the parties or we get parties we didn't actually vote for.

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    4. That was why I mentioned open lists. I'm not sure exactly how it works, but I believe voters get some say over how the candidates appear on the list.

      STV doesn't solve anything in that respect, because the parties still choose the candidates.

      Delete
    5. NZ has a national list and a similarly sized polity (4+ million) and tactical voting is possible, but that is because a coalition govt is assumed to be the result and everyone knows who prefers to deal with who in advance and some parties rely more on the list than others and when you have a few under the system small differences matter.

      The problem with Scotland is that things are so polarised that we do not have a 'normal' politics for such an electoral system. The parties have had long enough to get used to the system but the problem is the contamination in political attitudes from the UK. To take the obvious example of the Conservatives, they could do much better in Scotland by breaking their ties with Westminster.

      The regional list thing was always a fudge with the regions not being particularly natural etc. IF we we are talking electoral systems I would be happy to change to a national list but use STV for the constituency vote. If we moved to larger, multiple member constituencies then we could really go to town on tactical voting.

      Delete
  17. Just so's I know.

    Is it OK for me to vote for Nichola Sturgeon as my constituency MSP and Patrick Harvie on the list?

    (Assuming he covers his bets, as he should.)

    I just don't know what all the arguement is about. They are - probably - the best two Holyrood politicians we have and I'd like to see both of them back after 2016.

    I am a member of the SNP, so it is probably not a great idea to admit I would vote for Patrick in the list, but there you go.

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    1. Yes it is fine. The Green vote in Glasgow will be the highest in Scotland so you have no chance at all of any votes being wasted on candidates who don't get elected. Also (although this is highly contested) due to the d'hont voting system used in Scotland a vote for the SNP is divided by the number of constituencies they win +1. The Greens are unlikely to win any constituencies so their list vote will only be divided by 1 (i.e. kept the same) making a vote for the Greens on the list more likely to get a Pro-Yes MSP elected. Also we just can't lose Patrick, that would be tragic.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I wouldn't go around admitting that as you can be expelled from the party for it (indeed every party has measures like that in its constitution).

      But leaving that aside for the moment, of course it's 'OK' for you to do that if that is what you want to happen but you should be fully aware of the potential ramifications. I can't even be bothered to answer David MacDonald's nonsense as it's been comprehensively debunked time and time again on this site.

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    3. OK? It depends entirely what you want to achieve. If you want to see the SNP forced to govern as part of a coalition and Patrick Harvie replace John Swinney as Deputy First Minister, go right ahead.

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    4. What I said is fact. That is how the system works. In Glasgow 2011 the SNP got 83109 list votes to the Greens' 12454. The Greens got 1 list seat and the SNP got two list seats. That is due to the SNP vote being divided by the number of seats it won. It took only 12,000 list votes to get one seat while the SNP got almost 7 times more than that but only got twice as many seats. Which specific did I get wrong?

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    5. "Is it OK for me to vote for Nichola Sturgeon as my constituency MSP and Patrick Harvie on the list?"

      As long as you understand that it may cost the SNP their overall majority, then yes. I was going to say you should only vote Green on the list if the Greens are your number one choice as a party, because the list is the most important vote. But if getting Sturgeon and Harvie as individuals elected is literally all you care about, then I suppose what you're suggesting is not irrational, because Harvie will presumably be top of the Green list.

      By the way, Nicola spells her name without an 'h'!

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    6. The one that says, past yields should not be taken as a guide to future performance.

      Delete
    7. Douglas, beware, you might end up electing a Unionist Green MSP.

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  18. Hapleg,

    I will vote as concience dictates. And, being excommunicated from any political party that thinks they own my very thoughts?

    Well, no thank you.

    The old joke by Groucho Marx:

    " I don't care to belong to any club that will have me as a member"

    Given that the very nature of d'hont is to allow pluralist voting I would be astonished if the SNP chucked me out for voting for their best ally.

    Though never say never.

    Anyway, what are the potential ramifications in my constituency where I will vote for Nichola Sturgeon, which I most certainly will. Or were I to vote for Patrick Harvie on the regional list?

    In what way will this choice result in either, or neither, getting elected?

    For that is my aim, to get them both elected.

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    1. That choice wouldn't harm the SNP constituency candidate at all. The list choice could do all sorts of things. It could go towards electing a Green MSP. It could destroy the SNP's chance of getting a list seat to compensate for a constituency where it was narrowly pipped by Labour. Maybe because Harvie split the vote there and let the Labour candidate through! It could militate against the SNP getting an additional list seat, and facilitate that seat going to Labour or the Tories instead. As could have happened in the North East last time, if a few more people had split their vote.

      The pluralist vote allows you to express a more nuanced view of the election, and it allows supporters of small parties a meaningful vote for them whereas they might have no chance of taking a constituency. You have to decide what view you want to express.

      A vote SNP-SNP says you want the SNP to have an overall majority in the parliament. A vote SNP-Green says you'd rather see the SNP lose its overall majority and have to go into coalition with the Greens. Only you can decide which of these views is the one you want to express.

      Delete
    2. If only we could have an SNP-Green coalition, it would be all my christmasses come true :P

      Delete
    3. That could only happen if the SNP won fewer seats than it did last time. If, in fact, the party "lost" Holyrood. Nicola Sturgeon personally would be badly damaged, being unable to win as many seats as her predecessor had achieved. It would certainly be all the Labour party's Christmases come at once. The effect on the independence campaign could be severe.

      If that's what you want, go for it. Just don't try to sell it to others by dressing it up as what it isn't.

      Delete
    4. "Given that the very nature of d'hont is to allow pluralist voting"

      Oooh, that's not right. d'Hondt is simply a formula for distributing seats - in fact it's probably used most often in elections with only one vote, and where 'pluralist voting' isn't even possible.

      It's AMS that allows for two votes. It was set up that way to allow some discretion for personal or tactical voting on the constituency ballot (which is where tactical voting can actually work), but it was always understood that the vast majority of people would vote the same way on both ballots.

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    5. I can't help wondering how the Greens would like it if we had a d'Hondt system with a single vote? People would be strongly drawn to a "tactical" constituency vote for one of the big parties, for a candidate with a realistic chance of taking the seat. And then their list preference would be assumed to be for that candidate's party.

      They'd be reduced to begging their own supporters to hold fast to the party line and vote for the no-hoper in the constituency, so as to have a chance of getting list members elected.

      I like the AMS variant precisely because it allows a tactical constituency vote while still allowing supporters of small parties to vote freely for that party on the list. These present shenanigans are putting me off the supporters of the small parties who are attempting to subvert the system, not the system itself.

      Delete
  19. I must admit to being a dimwit with the Holyrood vote. Essentially, when I get in the wee booth, I will NEVER, EVER, put a saltire in any box which isn't associated with the SNP. It's not a cybernat thing, just only that the SNP are the only party putting Scotland first and I suspect the majority will feel the same way.
    As for Greens, I like my coal / wood fire too much.

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    1. Your wood fire is fine though if it is a traditional fireplace fire it will not be very efficient as a heat source. A fire which stands out in the room heats the space much better. Back in our house in NZ we heated a knocked 3 into 1 space that ran the length of the house and had four large single glazed windows and two doors with a potbelly stove and a naked metal flue. It was so efficient the manufacturer would not warrant it used with the highest calorie coals as they would get so hot they would melt the grate. So I burned wood and a bit of lignite, the cheapest sort of coal.

      This was in Dunedin in the south which could get fairly cold. I distinctly remember getting up early in -10C to go and buy coal (the merchant was only open to the public first thing on particular days of the week). I opened the flue etc and built up the potbelly before going out and the room was nice when I got back. As for using to cook on, we made popcorn on it.

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  20. Rolfe,

    Thanks for the comment / advice

    I want a specific Green re-elected. His name is Patrick Harvie. It is within my remit to vote for him. Assuming he stands on the Glasgow list.

    I do not expect the SNP to lose it's outright majority if the above opinion poll is even mildly correct. I do not agree exactly with this:

    "and it allows supporters of small parties a meaningful vote for them whereas they might have no chance of taking a constituency."

    I think it, rather, gives us the freedom to look at all our options and express them in a slightly more nuanced manner.

    ---------------------------------------------------------

    As for anonymous that burns coal and wood?

    Wood good, coal, not so much.

    Just asking.



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    1. As a personal position, that's not unreasonable. It's not dissimilar to SNP supporters who might have decided to give Margo their list vote, even though it might reduce the chance of the SNP getting another list MSP. because they put having Margo in the chamber above having another SNP list member.

      I wouldn't even try to argue you out of that personal position.

      It's all this pie-in-the-sky wholesale parcelling out of list votes on what are essentially false premises that I object to. A personal reason for casting a split vote is entirely reasonable, just like a vote for Margo.

      Delete
    2. "I do not expect the SNP to lose it's outright majority if the above opinion poll is even mildly correct."

      The SNP can easily lose their majority even if this poll is bang-on accurate - because it's not claiming to be anything other than a snapshot of opinion, taken almost a full year before polling day.

      Delete
    3. Taken at what may well be the peak of a honeymoon bounce, as you observed.

      We have to bear in mind that the SNP only achieved 53 constituency wins in 2011, on a whopping 45% of the vote. The 16 list seats were absolutely vital to getting the working majority. Anyone who thinks that 69+ constituency seats are already guaranteed in 2016 is delusional. And bear in mind that anything less than 69 seats will be portrayed as a body-blow for Sturgeon, showing that she couldn't win as many seats as Salmond did.

      Even 65 constituency seats would be an amazing achievement, and that isn't even a working majority on its own, never mind an improvement on 2011. Remember only 53 in 2011, on 45% of the vote.

      I think some people are a little drunk on big numbers, and need to have a wee look at reality from time to time.

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    4. I'd also add that perhaps the SNP numbers are so high, due to, wait for it, some will find it absurd, but the fact Labour have no leader, in the UK or in Scotland will also have an effect on things.

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  21. I'm here because James Kelly is excellent. Part of that is simply that he's one of the very few to use political language precisely, and be very, very careful about his assumptions. Also the maths, obvs: I'm grateful for his patient explanations of what's going on with this. There's almost certainly no point in summarising, but what I'm taking from those is:
    1. The only way to achieve the most possible SNP MSPs is to vote SNP/SNP
    2. There is no way to game the system to elect a) a majority SNP government, *and* b) maximum *variety* of pro-indy MSPs *and* c) minimum number of anti-indy MSPs
    3. Therefore, people should vote for the party/parties they *want* to represent *them* in parliament (rather than imagining they can prevent people electing other parties).
    I haven't seen anyone actually contradict those points, which isn't surprising.

    I think folk are confused about 2. because they assume a) + b) = c) or b) + c) = a). Whereas you cannot: control the outcome of an election (a + b + c); or, control the weight of any vote relative to the others *actually cast* (b + c); or, control anything beyond the fact that your vote(s) either support or do not support x party (a or not-a). And those 3 things just are true.

    That (prediction sites notwithstanding) means 'using' your vote(s) to attempt either of the first two is pointless, and likely to interfere with using your vote(s) to affect the one variable you know you can affect. (But you can if you want - only the evidence you'd need for it to be evidence-based won't exist until after the election.) Of course, people vote x for bogus reasons that they think are impeccable in every election - that's democracy, folks!

    The thing I am seeing, though, is a depressing amount of stupid/ugly. No party 'owns' any votes. No voters are obliged to vote, or to vote for any party (members or not). People advocating voting for their party are not an enemy to be insulted. The votes you 'worked for' are the ones you just got, not future ones. In the most volatile political situation for centuries, it's moronic to 'have decided' now how you (and apparently, everyone else) 'should vote'. Voting always involves a choice, not only between parties, but to prioritise - using the actually available information, or guessing - which outcome you actually most want to support. Minus James and a couple of others, everything on this page - and the last one like it - is the sort of pointless, lazy, tribal infighting that makes one not have to ask where the Labour supporters went.

    A certain amount of wank is inevitable in this pre-season phase of the electoral cycle. But 'progressive politics' my SFA. Yes, if everyone voted x and no-one voted y, x would win: that actually is Chinese democracy, and watching people shout it at each other is just embarrassing.

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  22. Agreed. Vote honestly, and seek to persuade others honestly. Nothing is then open to question after the fact.

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    1. Agreed. In the context of the opinion poll being discussed, if the 10 percentage points that seem to shift from the SNP to the Greens genuinely represent Green supporters giving the SNP a tactical constituency vote, and people who particularly value diversity or Patrick Harvie's presence in Holyrood or whatever, the outcome looks fine to me. In fact it looks fine any way you slice it.

      The concern is with the 10% drop, in the context of a lower starting point. In past elections the SNP's vote hasn't generally dropped more than 2 percentage points between constituency and list, and that's how the landslide was achieved. A drop of 10% from a constituency vote of 50% would be pretty disastrous.

      Nevertheless, I note one interesting comparison with 2011. The Greens got 4.4% on the list, and that certainly didn't all come from SNP constituency voters, as the SNP only lost 1.4 points. Most of them probably voted Labour in the constituency vote, because Labour's vote dropped 5.4 points. We may be looking at a combination of a genuine increase in the Green vote (post-referendum surge as with the SNP) and a much greater tendency for Green supporters to go SNP on the constituency rather than Labour.

      I don't think anyone can or should complain at whatever outcome emerges, if everyone votes honestly and debates honestly. It's the attempted parcelling out of other people's votes against their basic party allegience (often based on faulty premises), followed by bitter resentment when they don't immediately agree to the demand, that's causing the friction.

      Delete
  23. Something just occurred to me. Now, every time a Holyrood opinion poll is published, we're going to be dragged through all this again, with the Pouters insisting that another 10% of SNP supporters must donate their list votes to the Greens to "maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs", refusal being met by accusations of tribalism, putting party before independence, wanting the independence movement to be owned by the SNP, and being happy to let Labour and the Tories in. Oh yes, and destroying Scotand's chances of independence because we can't be independent unless lots of SNP supporters agree to vote Green apparently.

    I think I'll emigrate to a nice Pacific atoll until April. By then I imagine there will be a Wheel which will be telling me I have to vote Left Alliance for the constituency and SSP on the list to "maximise the number of pro-indy MSPs".

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    1. I'm beginning to feel that way as well - it's absolutely unbearable. This blogpost is about an opinion poll, not about tactical voting. But there is no way of analysing the poll honestly without pointing out the significance of the gap between the SNP's vote in the constituencies and on the list, and the potential adverse consequences for the SNP in terms of seats. As a result, fury in the comments thread from the "strategisers". Are they going to do this after every single poll? Because I'm not sure I can take another eleven months of this.

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    2. Me neither. But it's a distinct possibility. The only comfort may be that you're having an effect. I'm seeing more and more people realise the pitfalls in the split vote argument, and begin to understand that for an SNP supporter the only way to vote is a straight SNP ticket at least unril independence is achieved.

      The gap between constituency and list vote is important, but it's difficult to analyse. There will always be some gap, because some supporters of smaller parties will always vote SNP for the constituency. The question is, is the gap we're seeing purely explicable in these terms?

      In 2011 the SNP only lost 1.4 percentage points between constituency and list, which is a very small drop indeed. Labour in contrast lost 5.4 percentage points. The combined Green and SSP vote was only 4.8%. It would seem that more of these voters votes Labour in the constituencies than SNP.

      We have two new phenomena for 2016. One is the probability that both the Greens and the SSP have increased their vote share as a result of the referendum campaign. The other is that supporters of both these parties are more likely to vote SNP in the constituencies than they were five years ago. This is likely to inflate the SNP constituency vote significantly above the level of the party's real electoral support.

      So if the 10% gap we're seeing represents people who genuinely support the Greens (SSP etc.) and want to see them represented in Holyrood, but who chose to give their constituency vote to the SNP, I don't think we can complain at all. Thanks guys. On the arithmetic of the actual poll above, it works out pretty well, let;s face it.

      The worry is that a significant number of people who are fundamentally SNP supporters become sucked into this Green Pouter scam, and decide to split their vote not because they're keen to see the Greens to well as such, but because they have been bamboozled into believing that their list vote is "wasted" if it's given to their own party, and that "maximising the number of pro-independence MSPs" is something that can be guaranteed.

      These people need to understand that what they're voting for in that case is for the SNP to lose control of Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon to be humiliated on 6th May by having won fewer seats than Salmond and no longer having a majority, and the SNP having to be propped up by the Greens in the next parliament.

      I've said it before, if this is their strategy, the Greens should stand as "Patrick Harvie for Deputy First Minister" on the list. It would at least be honest. Calling them Pouters is entirely reasonable, because they are indeed advocating a tactical voting plan to oust the SNP from its Holyrood majority.

      But at the moment we don't know if this is happening to any significant extent. We can be happy for Green support in the constituency vote, while continuing to point out the serious danger of SNP supporters being sucked into a dishonest scam to persuade them to bolster a different party.

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    3. TBH as soon as the first signs of the Pouter style stuff appeared I knew it would stay around. Look at the Pouters themselves. Utterly clueless but they just kept banging away regardless.

      What you need to remember though is the effect this stuff is having on SNP members particularly now that we are making plans and beginning the Holyrood and EU referendum campaigning work.

      The risk the list stuff has been noticed already and it's been brought up in quite a few actual branch meetings as well as around the SNP hubs and shops. And most certainly not in a good way.

      We've only just finished working flat out since January to achieve the astonishing westminster result and now these fringe Pouter types start popping up telling SNP members they are somehow obligated to vote for someone else on the list after all the hard work they have done and will now do campaigning??

      Yeah, somewhat unsurprisingly, it's not going down well with the membership AT ALL.

      Bottom line is that the more they spam Independence and SNP sites/Facebook arrogantly demanding votes they have no intention of earning, the more angry and hostile it's going to make the very SNP members and supporters they are claiming to want the votes of.

      I have no idea who they think they are helping but it sure as fuck isn't themselves the longer they keep this up. I can tell you that for a fact.

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    4. I had a discussion about it with a campaign manager on Sunday afternoon. He mentioned the need for HQ to have a clear central strategy to maximise list votes. I think they changed the rules after last time so that "Nicola Sturgeon for First Minister" wouldn't be allowed.

      We were both quite hopeful that the idea will gain little traction, being confined to a few internet geeks with a shaky grasp of arithmetic and poor communications skills, nevertheless it would be foolhardy to ignore it completely.

      Of course counter-arguments are not going to persuade the Bracos and the Alasdairs out there. They are impervious to any arithmetic except the bits that support their own position. I think the important point is to explain why they are wrong, as clearly as possible, every time they start pushing their case, so that people reading their proposition can also read the rebuttal.

      The "an SNP list vote is a wasted vote" and "maximise the number of pro-independence MSPs" lines sound seductive. Less seductive though when people realise this means the possibility of Nicola Sturgeon being humiliated on 6th May when it's revealed that she's won fewer Holyrood seats than Salmond did, and perhaps even lost her overall majority.

      The SNP has always won list seats, and the 16 it won last time made the difference between continuing as a minority government and the actual majority that delivered the independence referendum. Deciding in advance that the party will inevitably win so many constituency seats that these list seats can be thrown away with impunity is exactly the sort of hubris that is swiftly followed by nemesis.

      The seductive "pro-independence MSPs" has to be understood in the context of party politics. Green MSPs are not SNP MSPs. and don't contribute to the SNP's majority. If the Green party does well without trying to cannibalise SNP votes and seats, that's a bonus. But the idea that 64 SNP MSPs plus 14 Green MSPs is better than 70 SNP MSPs plus 4 Green MSPs only exists in the minds of Green party supporters. The former may be more "pro-independence MSPs", but it's a coalition government with Nicola Sturgeon having to be propped up by the Greens. The latter is a continuation of the majority SNP government. SNP supporters, as you say Mick, want the latter.

      I defy anyone to explain in what way the SNP being knocked back and reduced to coalition status is better for independence than for the party to continue in majority government. Waffle about diversity and "strong opposition" (for that, read "being bloody obstructive in a coalition") isn't going to cut it for most SNP supporters.

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    5. I don't think it has been banned rolfe, I couldn't see anything about it, only an article that they tried to stop the Alex Salmond thing in 2011..

      On the other points, I think the best strategy, if they don't go down the presidential route, is to simply say, 2nd vote you vote for who you want in government.

      Delete
    6. That's the sensible message from all parties. It explains exactly how to vote in the d'Hondt system without dictating who you should vote for. Odd thing is that the unionists attacked the SNP for exactly this message in 2011.

      Delete
  24. Who would like to see the SNP lose control of Holyrood?

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    1. Everyone agitating for "second vote Green", apparently. They believe the SNP is too powerful and needs to be curbed. They believe the SNP must not be allowed to be in the driving seat of the independence movement. They're desperate to see the party lose control of Holyrood so that Green MSPs can enter the government as coalition partners.

      Why anyone who is an SNP supporter is giving this the time of day I don't know. The answer seems to be that the Green Pouters have dressed it up in panguage like "more pro-indy MSPs" and "wasted list vote" so that the SNP supporters who're listening to them don't understand what's really being proposed.

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    2. Get a grip Rolfe.

      Making up the 'enemy' you are most comfortable fighting is the long term strategy that served Labour so well. It's harder to engage in the real debate being put forward so just invent one that suits you better. In the end you end up talking to yourself and the ever decreasing circle that adopt the same strategy. Agree or disagree, but at least agree or disagree on the actual arguments being advanced. I and many others on this thread have written enough stating the direct opposite (of most) of which you are projecting. You repeating the same accusations over and over again won't change any of that.


      braco

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    3. As you keep repeating the same misleading mantra, then repeating the valid counter-argument is entirely reasonable.

      If you want to split your vote and boost the Greens, that's your decision. Fine. But trying to parcel out other people's votes under false pretences, then abusing them with names like "tribal" and "anti-independence" when they point out the errors in your reasoning, isn't fine.

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    4. The only people misleading anyone are those who put the SNP above Independence.

      The language used is foul, earlier you called anyone advocating a split vote a "Pouter". Accusing people who want Independence of being unionist quislings is beyond reproach - or should be but you seem to be fine with it.

      It is misleading to believe that the SNP are not very likely to get a majority PURELY on Constituency seats. Those advocating split votes make it clear that one needs to consider any changes in polls. Those advocating SNP first, Independence maybe like yourself appear to have no threshold to work the AMS system effectively, It is SNP, SNP, SNP and no other consideration.

      Despite the continued danger of Unionist parties. Despite the knowledge that strong Unionist parties are the foundation for the anti-Independence lies which continually get rolled out in the media. Despite the basic maths and logic being explained to you.

      It is a disgrace that you stick to this party line and ignore the benefits of a split vote.

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    5. Alasdair, stop misleading us. The fairies at the bottom of your garden ARE real, and it is a disgrace that you are putting your anti-fairy stance above independence.

      Only the fairies can protect us against the terrible DANGER of Kezia Dugdale. Without the fairies, Jackie Baillie will destroy us with TANKS. The fairies are the thin, sparkly line between us and the HORROR of Richard Baker.

      It's time to stop the tribal fight against the fairies, Alasdair. JOIN the fairies.

      Delete
    6. It's not a question of individuals posing a danger. It is a very obvious fact.

      When you line up a debate with 1 SNP vs 3 Unionists the pro-Independence message is lost in the sheer weight of Unionist lies. If you didn't see that in the run up to GE15 then your eyes need opened. Yes, Nicola did well, because, well she's Nicola.

      The weight of focus shifting to a situation where all political debate is a four way between 2 Unionists and 2 Pro-Indendence is one of the best ways to move the support for Independence into the upper 50s needed to win the Second Referendum.

      The gradualist approach of waiting, waiting, waiting for the Second referendum didn't work in Quebec (indeed it killed it) and for me, there is too much risk in letting the Unionists set the agenda because they have the weight of numbers in lying about an Independent Scotland.

      Right now, the SNP First lobby are the biggest threat to independence with the continuing devotion to the myth that you MUST vote SNP/SNP.

      Delete
    7. @Alasdair Allan

      The gradualist approach of waiting, waiting, waiting for the Second referendum didn't work in Quebec (indeed it killed it) and for me, there is too much risk in letting the Unionists set the agenda because they have the weight of numbers in lying about an Independent Scotland.

      Right now, the SNP First lobby are the biggest threat to independence with the continuing devotion to the myth that you MUST vote SNP/SNP.


      The gradualist approach has got us to where we are today. If we had listened to the fundamentalists on independence, such as Gordon Wilson, then we would have voted No in the devolution referendum in 1997. That is what they wanted independence supporters to do then. The SNP are the principal vehicle to independence, they have the knowledge gained from decades of activism, often in times when there appeared no chance of even achieving a devolved parliament let alone a referendum on independence.

      The SSP are committed to independence, but it is obvious Patrick Harvie is lukewarm towards it.

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    8. If other independence-supporting parties can grow their support by honest means, they'll get more coverage. At the moment we're not seeing the honest means though, we're seeing dishonest exhortations to hand them votes based on dubious arithmetic and an unpleasant sense of entitlement.

      I haven't heard anyone peddling any "myth" that anyone must vote SNP/SNP. I've seen reasoned rebuttals of the dodgy arithmetic being used to try to hoodwink people whose primary political allegience is to the SNP into giving away their votes to benefit the Greens.

      For about the millionth time, if you're a Green supporter, vote Green on the list. And so on. If you're an SNP supporter, however, don't be fooled by the dodgy promises of "more pro-independence MSPs" or the untruth that an SNP list vote is wasted.

      Anyone who thinks that a second independence referendum is more likely to come after the SNP have lost their majority in Holyrood, Nicola Sturgeon has been humiliated by winning fewer seats than Salmond did, and the party has been forced into a coalition with the Greens who have explicitly vowed to act as an opposition to the SNP's plans for government, is welcome to do so. Personally, it is my belief that the second referendum is far more likely to happen under a majority SNP government and I will continue to vote according to that belief.

      Delete
  25. Why does everyone assume those voting SNP constituency are automatically of 'the left'? My intention next year is SNP constituency and SDA list. Before posters prattle on about wasted votes - how can any vote be wasted if it's for what you believe to be the best policies?

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    1. You raise a good point, although the SDA has got such a low profile, I think unfortunately your vote will not result in an MSP being returned for them. I really think there needs to be a stronger centre right voice in favour of independence if ever we're going to manage to win it - we need to be able to draw as many people into the tent as we can. Wealthy Nation had a very low profile during the indyref campaign too. There is a potentially pro-indy economically liberal audience out there - there just needs to be someone/something which credibly engages with it.

      Delete
  26. If the european referendum is on the same day as the Holyrood election then the resources spent on the No to Europe campaign will effectively be anti-SNP resources without having to be counted as such by the electoral commission. The SNP is identified strongly with a pro europe position.

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  27. My idea was to vote SNP/Green, but only because I believed a lot of us doing this would result in less Unionists MSP's managing to get elected from the list.

    The fact that there is so much confusion about this shows just how hard the Labour Party worked to ensure the Scottish Parliament was neutered from day one.

    The quicker we change this to a system in which the people of Scotland can vote to get rid of or for that matter retain, list MSP's the better.

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    Replies
    1. It's actually a good system, in my opinion, until people start trying to get too clever with it. It's used in many countries around the world, and I've a feeling this is the first time there has been any comparable campaign to subvert the intention of the system.

      There really should be no confusion. In the constituency vote, you vote for the candidate you want as your constituency MSP. If that person hasn't a hope in hell, you might choose to cast a tactical vote for a candidate you prefer who actually has a chance of winning. In the list vote, you vote for the party you want to see in government. (Or, occasionally, you might choose to prioritise voting for a charismatic independent such as Margo.) Most people will in effect vote for the same party twice, as they will usually vote for their preferred party's candidate in the constituency vote.

      That's how people are meant to understand it, and if they treat it like that it works fine. This gaming the system where voters try to assess if their preferred party might have enough votes already and if so, gift their vote to a different party on the list, is frankly Kafkaesque. It's like something out of an Escher drawing. It has the potential to backfire spectacularly, and we can only hope if gains minimal traction.

      Delete
    2. The theory of manipulation through tactical voting, is for "geeks"

      The majority, finally... of my family friends and acquaintance are now firmly for the SNP and Independence. If anyone was to try and coax them towards sympathy for a tactical list vote, I 100% guarantee they wouldn't be interested. I also know that beyond Independence, a fair number of them would consider voting for various other parties but for now, it's SNP all the way and imho that's as it should be.

      The majority of the electorate are not geeky enough to take these schemes on board. We are getting very very close to a majority of the electorate favouring independence.

      This whole subject of tactical list voting is through the wardrobe, Narnia stuff. How would it ever be organised and how would the electorate be marched into the booths en masse clutching their tactical voting orders....

      I am with James and you Rolfe, I don't want to face another 11 months of getting diverted by this.

      It's James's blog and if he decided to ban or restrict discussion on these tactical voting schemes I would support him.

      The goal is Independence. The unionists would like nothing better than for us to get bogged down in these reckless schemes and grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

      Just think for a moment of a First Minister Kezia through the backdoor caused by a vote split... This is crazy talk

      Delete
  28. I don't totally believe the above poll. I might be an odd ball though as the SNP/Greens/SSP have to earn my vote and right the now none of them are doing enough to get that vote at either constituency or list level.

    The only thing I can say for sure about how I will vote is that I will never ever vote UKIP/Tory/Fib Doom or Labour. Right the now I am thinking that I will vote tactically to keep the British Nationalists out. That is what tactical voting to me means.

    In an ideal world I would be voting for something I actually believed in but UK PLC isn't ideal, in fact it is a dystopian nightmare world and the only escape from it is Scottish Independence.

    I see where Rolfe is coming from. I voted for Margo on the list vote when I lived in Lothian's. Luckily she got enough votes to get elected.

    I am presently living in the Highlands and Islands for list voting purposes and that presents a problem as I have a dislike for Harvie who has blown away all the good he did in the Referendum from my point of view and I don't see the SSP at this stage garnering enough votes to get anybody elected on the list, at least not in H&I.

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  29. It's completely clear in a high snp vote scenario then green is the way to go on the list...those on this forum who have argued against it have not come up with any plausible reasons why. Some nonsense about persuading people or not trusting polls (despite this entire thread being almost exclusively aboot polls). The vote on the list for most of us (possibly region dependent) looks like green. So just do it and stop talking shite

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    Replies
    1. Watch your language, please - and if you really believe that none of us have offered any reasons, consider investing in some remedial reading lessons.

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    2. All you have said is we cannae trust the polls and the difficulty of persuading folk...not insurmountable problems....language point taken.

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    3. Wrong on both counts - I've said considerably more than that, and the things you've mentioned are indeed insurmountable problems anyway.

      Delete
  30. Sunshine on CrieffJune 10, 2015 at 9:49 PM

    I'm just being curious, but why do you say that about Harvie? I have my own opinion of him, not entirely positive, and I think he could come out of it very badly if he ever got any degree of scrutiny, but I'd be very interested to hear your views.

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  31. In the Scotland Votes website no matter what figure the Lib Dems have in the constituency seat they still hold Shetland, even at 0%.

    More likely to be Orkney the last seat the Lib Dems loose.

    As with FPTP the list system has tipping points.

    Scotland Votes gives SNP overall majority with 60% in constituency vote.

    Playing with the prediction website with SNP 60% in the constituency vote falling to 43% in the list means no list seats and if all 17% went to Greens they would be third largest party. If 1 in 3 people who vote SNP vote Green in the list they would the official opposition with 3 seats more than Labour..

    Most extreme situation if everyone who voted SNP in constituency voted Green on list the Greens win 42 seats.

    Anyway it is to far out to seriously discuss merits of tactical voting and consequences as events can still cause the polls to swing and context of the predicted situation will impact upon each individual persons belief in the merits of how they freely act when casting their two votes.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hello, square 1.

    *goes off to do something more useful, like baling out the Atlantic with a sieve*

    ReplyDelete
  33. it's perfectly possible to vote green on the list to maximise the yes vote in a high snp constituency scenario...we all know it so why not do it....we're on the same side so let's nail it. If it looks like said scenario we should be mature enough to make the calculation...alisdair on this thread is obviously correct and I will be making the same calculation....these problems you cite are not insurmountable...it simply requires a calculated will.let's do it...and romp home

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    1. With all due respect, you are the absolute last person on this thread who has any business lecturing the rest of us about "maturity".

      "so why not do it"

      The reasons have been explained to you again, and again, and again. If you are utterly determined to stick your fingers in your ears and chant "la la la la, I can't hear you", there's not much the rest of us can do about that.

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  34. Care to explain them?

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  35. It's obvious to vote green on list in high snp constituency scenario...it gets many more seats for yes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crikey, you're a broken record, man.

      Delete
    2. These strikes are wrong, especially when negotiations are still going on. Parents and the public have been let down. The government has acted in a reckless and provocative manner. BOTH sides need to get around the negotiating table.

      Delete
    3. Do you think he's actively trying to undermine the SNP, and hence the prospect of a second referendum? It's beginning to look like it to me. The persistent refusal to consider the party political consequences of what he's proposing is difficult to explain otherwise.

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  36. Come the day before the election and if the SNP are polling anywhere near the 60% mark in the constituency vote then what Jam has just stated is pretty unanswerable, and that's why this is going round and round. Our argument has caveats regarding the circumstances in each region and in the polling numbers for SNP in the constituencies close to the election, yours does not. In fact you have already stated about your argument that 'It's not dependent on polling or circumstances.' What's it dependent on then James, if not even circumstances? I really don't see it.

    braco

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    1. "Come the day before the election and if the SNP are polling anywhere near the 60% mark in the constituency vote then what Jam has just stated is pretty unanswerable"

      Absolute rubbish. As I stated in the blogpost, even on this poll, the SNP are projected to win three list seats - driving a coach and horses through your contention that we could ever reach the point of certainty that SNP list votes will be "wasted".

      "What's it dependent on then James, if not even circumstances?"

      Arithmetic and logic.

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    2. Oh, and it's a bit rich one side of a continuing argument accusing the other of 'broken record' while themselves constantly repeating the same, obviously unsatisfactory reasoning (in their opponents eyes) over and over again.

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    3. Is that Braco again? The person who vexatiously kept saying "but you haven't explained properly, James"? I don't think complaining about MY repetitiveness is your strongest argument.

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    4. Yes that was me, sorry. I have not complained of a broken record' and my arguments are not vexatious. It's just that I, like you, won't back down if I can't see or understand the logic in the argument being made against my own. Simple. If I can see and understand that about your position, why is it so hard for you to see that in mine?

      braco

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    5. "my arguments are not vexatious"

      Really? They do a damn good impersonation of it.

      Delete
  37. How do you know the arithmetic and logic to be applied before you fully know or understand the circumstances?

    The argument is that in certain scenarios potential pro indy MSP gains for the same voter share would far far exceed the 3 gains that the SNP could expect to make. That is the only way that 'wasted' is being used in this discussion and you know it.

    braco

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    1. "How do you know the arithmetic and logic to be applied before you fully know or understand the circumstances?"

      Because, Braco, as we have discussed about a billion times, there are some factors that apply in ALL circumstances.

      "That is the only way that 'wasted' is being used in this discussion and you know it."

      Will you stop telling me what I "know", please? It's becoming incredibly tiresome, especially when you're making claims that are flatly untrue.

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    2. Could you maybe email me if he ever gets round to the question of all "pro-independence MSPs" not being the same, and the different consequences of differents splits between the SNP and other small parties?

      The way he goes on you'd think the Green MSPs were simply going to take the SNP whip and add to Sturgeon's majority, instead of either becoming coalition partners and making bloody nuisances of themselves, or sitting on the opposition benches either doing little or again making bloody nuisances of themselves.

      Delete
    3. Democracy Rolfe, eh? It's such a 'bloody nuisance!'

      braco

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    4. Have you really no answer as to why SNP supporters should vote so as to damage their own party and instead elect MSPs for a different party whose leader goes on and on about how he wants to oppose the SNP?

      This isn't a binary choice referendum. It's party politics, and parties oppose each other. MSPs aren't going to Holyrood in big happy "pro" or "anti" independence camps.

      Green MSPs are going to oppose the SNP from the opposition benches with luck (though you're doing your damndest to ensure that's not the case), or from within a coalition. Either way they're going to make life difficult for Nicola Sturgeon.

      Why would SNP supporters want to go along with this, and why would anyone characterise hoodwinking them into doing that as "democracy"?

      Delete
    5. I, and many other SNP voters, want to see as few unionists in Holyrood as is humanly possible. By reducing the unionist representation in Scotland to it's barest core vote at the next elections, the second knock out blow will have been landed.

      That is in my view how the independence momentum will be continued and expanded. That's how we will create long term and structural pro-indy majorities in a parliament with a voting system chosen specifically to deny just such a scenario. It's also how the insidious bias of the 3 against 1 media tactic (by using the electoral party politics as cover) during the last Indy ref campaign will be ameliorated if not ever completely overcome.

      These are just a few of the arguments which have been put during this thread's discussion Rolfe. I fully understand that your loyalties lie strongly with the SNP as a political party, but my support for the SNP is as simply the best tool to gain Independence from alone. If I can see an additional way, on top of voting SNP, that will enhance our chances of calling and winning that second referendum to gain our Independence as quick as possible, then I will. No one is trying to 'hoodwink' anyone. We just have a slightly different judgement on the best way forward.

      My decisions currently have caveats, yours and James's do not. That says to me that your priority is Independence through the SNP. My priority is Independence through the SNP and any other tool available to us as a 'movement'. I hope this goes some way to answer your questions.

      braco

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    6. No, your priority is to act out an ideal of the electoral system being forced to work in a way that it just can't work. You're elevating that ideal above independence itself. Even if you get this "strategy" to work (which can only ever happen by pot luck - the risk will always be enormous), in all probability the only thing you'd achieve is to slightly increase the number of pro-independence MSPs over and above the majority that would have been there anyway. But if it backfires, the penalty could be not having a pro-independence majority at all.

      In other words, the risk is enormous, and the potential rewards are trivial. No true gambler would accept that bargain, let alone a true tactician.

      "No one is trying to 'hoodwink' anyone."

      Then I look forward to you retracting some of the claims you have made on this thread.

      Delete
  38. What factors apply in ALL circumstances then James as I must have missed that billionth discussion?

    braco

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    1. Under all circumstances, tactical voting on the list depends on making several assumptions about how other voters are going to behave, and being right about all of them. Under all circumstances, the list vote is your "banker" vote which you can be absolutely certain is not going to go to waste unless it is not needed. There is no equivalent certainty about the constituency vote - which is the basket which you want us to put all our eggs into.

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    2. If the constituency polling is 60% SNP in the days running up to voting day then I think I, and many others, will feel confident enough to go without the safety net of the list vote (just as we had to at Westminster, with acceptable success) and use our 'safety net' list vote to try and win more pro Indy seats from those remaining that would otherwise be divided up among the unionist parties.

      Just as happened at Westminster recently, if anti unionist tactical voting fever takes hold in the run up to Holyrood, it's highly likely that the SNP will gain from it in the constituency vote. Making it more, not less likely, that they would be able to gain their majority from those 70 odd constituency elections alone.

      Most green and SSP supporters voted SNP in May even though they had a candidate of their own to support, because they understood FPtP. I would guess, in similar circumstances they will do the same for Holyrood FPtP. The list is a completely different matter though, and again supports our argument for building on that core vote and help maximise it.

      braco

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    3. If the SNP is polling so high in a region that you can be certain in advance that they'll win all the constituencies - no wait I can't go on. There can be no such certainty. You can't trust any polls to that extent. Especially as it's very unlikely anyone is going to do even regional polls this time, let alone individual constituency polls. And even if they did, I remind everyone of Ashcroft putting the SNP eleven points ahead in DC&T a week before the vote last month, and then Mundell won by 2%.

      But just for the sake of argument, let's say we have that certainty. In that case, the SNP is definitely in the running for an extra list seat. You can't be sure of all constituencies and yet still be sure you aren't going to get another seat on the list. There's no such number.

      The Greens want the SNP to throw away their list seats, either the extra ones they'll be in line for if they're riding high, or the ones they'll need to keep their majority if they're not, and they miss out in a few constituencies. They want the SNP to do this in order to gift seats to a party that can't attract support on its own, but wants seats anyway so it can oppose the SNP.

      In which universe are SNP supporters expected to think this is a good deal?

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    4. "will feel confident enough to go without the safety net of the list vote (just as we had to at Westminster, with acceptable success) and use our 'safety net' list vote to try and win more pro Indy seats"

      Nope, that doesn't work - because list votes for smaller parties are only any use if they do well enough to win at least one seat in that region. The Greens failed to win a seat in six out of eight regions last time, and the SSP failed to win a seat in all eight. In those circumstances, switching your vote from the SNP to a small pro-independence party simply helps the unionist parties to win free seats. But, hey - you already know that, Braco.

      And, of course, as Rolfe points out, the idea that we could ever have any confidence that the SNP will win more than 65 constituency seats simply cannot be taken remotely seriously.

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  39. I nominate James and Rolfe for this years patience of a saint award!

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  40. schrodingers catJune 11, 2015 at 6:04 AM

    the SNP are still projected to take three seats on the list - thus spectacularly undermining the idea that we could ever reach the point of certainty that SNP votes on the list will be "wasted".

    nothing spectacular about the snp winning only 3 list msps, 12 less than in 2011, and the the union parties increasing the number of list msps. id rather the snp had 73 constituency msps and no list msps and the other indy parties with 44 list msps between them. the unionists would be wiped out, including rennie and ruthie. whats not to like. that would be spectacular

    your dislike of the other indy parties is clouding your judgemnent

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    1. My "dislike" of the smaller parties is something that exists only in your own head (unless you count James Mackenzie, but every party has the odd bad apple).

      You're completely missing the point - possibly deliberately, but who knows. I didn't say three seats on the list was spectacular. I said it spectacularly undermined the idea that we could ever reach the point of certainty that SNP list votes would be wasted. Clear now?

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  41. schrodingers catJune 11, 2015 at 6:06 AM

    the idea that we could ever have any confidence that the SNP will win more than 65 constituency seats simply cannot be taken remotely seriously.

    except if we look at this poll and the results from the GE, then it is more than a remote possibility, it looks very likely and we have the figures to show it. thats what this poll is indicating, no?

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    1. You've helpfully answered your own question there - the answer is no.

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  42. schrodingers catJune 11, 2015 at 6:12 AM

    list votes for smaller parties are only any use if they do well enough to win at least one seat in that region. The Greens failed to win a seat in six out of eight regions last time, and the SSP failed to win a seat in all eight. In those circumstances, switching your vote from the SNP to a small pro-independence party simply helps the unionist parties to win free seats.

    winning enough votes....isnnt this the point of the snp voters switching to the SG/SSP in the list? granted, neither did well in 2011, but both had good ref campaigns, and are very likely to improve on the 2011 result

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  43. I see both sides of the argument. Both are correct and both are wrong! It really could go either way and depends how everything stacks up after the count. It really is impossible to predict this far out. Even nearer the day - be wary of opinion polls (funny how they effectively frightened UKIP voters back to the tories but away from Labour last month - how convenient). I wouldn't put it past a few dubiously weighted polls coming out next April showing which way "they" want you to vote. We are up against some clever barstewards.


    At the end of the day, we will probably have to go with gut feeling. I think green supporters should be a little more respected though, because without a shadow of a doubt,, many green votes were loaned to the SNP last month. Don't take them for granted! Personally, I would like to strengthen the greens at Holyrood, but I really do want another strong SNP government elected in 2016. It is a risk either way - do I stick or do I twist? Too soon to decide. Will keep you posted.

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    1. I know my Green-supporting friends voted SNP last month to help unseat Mundell. This was a free choice they made, weighing up the best place to put their votes under the FPTP system. I didn't ask them to do it, and they didn't make any bargain with me that they'd do it only if I agreed to vote Green on the list next year!

      Of course, for a Green supporter, a vote for the SNP to help get rid of Mundell was only common sense. Nobody should be expecting favours to be returned for a common-sense vote that was cast freely without coercion or bargaining. In particular, a vote cast which couldn't possibly harm the Green party (as the candidate didn't have a hope in hell of winning) cannot demand in return a vote which will damage the SNP.

      But hey, the Greens did fiels a candidate anyway. Despite knowing she had no chance. It was a dummy run for 2016 apparently. Despite knowing the SNP was going to need every vote it could scrape up to beat Mundell. The Green candidate got just over 800 votes. Mundell's winning majority was just under 800 votes.

      I'm inclined to observe, with friends like these, who needs enemies?

      I don't disrespect Green voters whichever way they chose to vote. I do disrespect this petulant whining to return a "favour" that was never given in the first place. This sense of entitlement that says, we support independence (conditionally, rather weakly) so since we can't get enough votes of our own, you should give us some of yours.

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    2. Agree with everything you say there Luigi. It's far too early to rule anything in or out, as we just don't have the information or circumstances at hand yet (if we ever will).

      Thinking about things and considering what might be an effective electoral tactic for many of us that prioritise advancing the Independence 'movement' over individual pro indy party political loyalties, is what we should be using this time for, exactly in order to test it's possible viability as a tactic and work out the conditions that would be required for it's likely success (or likely failure). That's how any judgement, in the end, should be made on the subject (in my opinion). We are talking theory at the moment, encouraged by the polling and extraordinary political circumstances we in Scotland are living through at the moment, but still only theory. Discussion and debate seem the only way to keep testing the circumstances and as such seems entirely healthy and certainly not 'broken record' boring.

      braco

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    3. Rolfe, those green voters you are so bitter about could quite easily be unionist green supporters, just as there are a few (8-10% ?) unionist supporting members within the SNP ranks.

      The inability of the pro indy supporting parties to form a YES alliance made such circumstances inevitable I am afraid and it's very hard to blame political parties for standing candidates in political elections.

      The point is that it was their 'supporters' (and many of their activists) that decided to tactically vote SNP in the FPtP election (even actively campaigning SNP) and it's very likely those same folk will treat the FPtP constituency vote at Holyrood in exactly the same way (to exactly the same SNP advantage).

      This will NOT be the case on the list, hence it makes sense to fall behind them (and their list vote) to maximise that vote. The 'practical' value of which during the count is multiples of anything the SNP list vote can expect to be worth.

      The theory is surely not that difficult to grasp? Whither the theory stays relevant we will only know a lot closer to the election and that's why it's important for people considering the idea, to keep it reviewed.

      braco

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  44. Firstly I'd like to thank James for putting up with us all talking and arguing in what seems like ever decreasing circles!

    I do think discussion of this (and any other) tactic is required, and would just ask that everyone stays civil and polite. We are all trying to achieve the same outcome of independence, are we not?

    Personally, I'm trying to see both sides of the argument, look at the evidence, crunch numbers, and weigh up the risks versus the benefits of both sides, and come to an informed decision.

    At the moment, I am coming down in favour of not supporting this particular tactic.

    Thank you all for your input so far, and thanks again James for allowing this and putting up with it. At the moment there doesn't seem to be anywhere else that these things are being discussed.

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    1. Seconded Wee Jock Elliot.

      braco

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    2. Although obviously, at the moment, I am coming down in favour of the tactic.

      braco

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  45. Ok different strategies...I think this is an excellent blog so I will contribute more positively on this thread where people clearly disagree...the vote green on the list strategy is where we have reasonably high confidence of a high snp constituency scenario...in such a situation snp would likely get no more than 3 on the list and very possibly fewer as Scotland votes still assigned libs both Orkney and Shetland constituencies increasing snp highlands and islands snp list....highly unlikely in my view on a 60% snp constituency vote 1 or 2 on the list may well be more likely...we also know that below 10% green there isn't much difference in total yes list votes...the big difference occurs when green gets over 10% so the downward risks of such a strategy are minimal...if we can't persuade people to adopt it no loss but if we can then big gains....so the only real risk is how do we recognise a high snp scenario? ok we don't know now but if all the polls are pointing towards it then that is probably good enough evidence to shift the vote to green. That is the precise contention of snp supporters who are toying with this strategy...it is not 1 snp =1 green...it is 15 greens are better than 14 unionists and 1 snp

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  46. If the greens reiterated their pro-independence credentials and ruled out any form of support for unionistparties would that increase the likelihood of sceptics here adopting a green list strategy given the right scenario?

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  47. The elephant in the room is that the Green Party wasn't formed to fight for Scottish independence. The SNP was.
    What if the Greens/Patrick Harvir gets a taste of power and changes their stance on indy?

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  48. Pretty unlikely as no pro-independence voter would ever back them again.....and they stood for years on a yes platform...but to alleviate that concern see my post at 12:28 today....would that be sufficient? I think harvie should say it

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    1. Can Harvie guarantee that every Green candidate is a yes voter?

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