Friday, July 10, 2015

The Thorniewood teaser : why are Tory and UKIP voters such big fans of Scottish Labour?

Here is the full result of yesterday's by-election in the Thorniewood ward of North Lanarkshire Council.  As you can see, the swing from Labour to SNP was even bigger than we were assuming from early reports last night - it was a whopping 25.3%.  Given that the SNP start from a better baseline in local by-elections than they did at the general election, this is the equivalent of a 36% or 37% swing on May 7th - very, very close to the peak of 39% reached by Anne McLaughlin in Glasgow North-East.

Thorniewood by-election result (9th July) :

SNP 47.0% (+22.7)
Labour 42.6% (-27.9)
Conservatives 4.5% (-0.7)
SSP 2.4% (n/a)
Greens 1.5% (n/a)
Christians 1.0% (n/a)
UKIP 0.9% (n/a)

From a political anorak's point of view, there's an immense advantage in the fact that nobody won outright on the first count, because it gives us a chance to see who was favoured by supporters of the smaller parties in their lower preferences.

There were only 29 votes for UKIP, but they were redistributed as follows : Conservatives 9, Labour 7, Greens 4, Christians 4, SNP 1 (the other four votes were non-transferable).  So it looks as if UKIP supporters, at least in that corner of Lanarkshire, will back absolutely anyone other than the SNP.

The transfers from the "So Macho" Christian Party are probably the least significant, but for what it's worth they broke like this : SNP 9, Conservatives 9, Greens 6, Labour 5, SSP 1.

As you'd expect, the SNP did particularly well on the Green transfers : SNP 21, Labour 11, SSP 7, Conservatives 5.

And you really do have to wonder who the three SSP voters were who preferred the Tories to both the SNP and Labour.  The SSP transfers were :  SNP 36, Labour 23, Conservatives 3.

Last but not least, here are the Tory transfers : Labour 61, SNP 25.

Are you noticing the pattern here?  Supporters of left-wing parties (SSP and Green) transferred more to the SNP than to Labour, but supporters of right-wing parties (Tories and UKIP) broke much more for Labour.  That's the authentic legacy of Labour campaigning with the Tories in the referendum, and electing Jim Murphy as leader to the delight of the right-wing press.


  1. I'm getting in early ! ! 50.9% for pro independence parties using your figures James. There you go trolls, there's your bait ;-)

  2. Does anyone know who's the leader of the Christian Party in Scotland? I thought they folded a few years ago.

    1. Well youall that'd be the Lord Jesus, ain't no mistakin'

  3. Nothing to do with left or right, more likely that Conservative and UKIP voters are more comfortable voting for another unionist party if they have the option to as opposed to voting for three nationalist parties.

    1. Just as well the other unionist parties are right wing then?

    2. Anon: So you are saying Con and UKIP are obsessed with the constitution, so taking their 'eye off the ball' when it comes to the important things like the NHS, education and stuff?

    3. Or that they are more interested in the NHS, education and 'stuff' than they view the SNP to be so they want to vote for someone other than the SNP.

    4. Nah. They wouldn't be voting Tory in the first place if they were interested in the NHS.