Friday, September 18, 2015

Another setback for Ruth Davidson as SNP win local by-election in rare Scottish Tory heartland

If Twitter was anything to go by, the Tories threw the kitchen sink at yesterday's East Ayr by-election, and no wonder - even though the SNP were technically defending the seat, the Tories won the popular vote in the ward last time around, so simply by standing still they should have been able to "gain" the seat.

The outcome will delight connoisseurs of the intricacies of the STV system, because the Tories won the popular vote again (albeit only just, after suffering a small net swing to the SNP), but still lost the seat after lower preferences were redistributed.

East Ayr by-election result :

Conservatives 38.5% (+5.5)
SNP 38.0% (+6.5)
Labour 16.2% (-7.3)
Independent 5.5% (-1.0)
Greens 1.9%

I'm rather incongruously spending the anniversary of the referendum at a Union Jack theme park in the east end of Glasgow known as the Davis Cup, but I'll add analysis later when I have a minute...

UPDATE : It may not be apparent on TV, because the cameras are mostly pointing the wrong way, but there's an absolutely enormous Yes flag in the crowd at the Emirates Arena.

UPDATE II : Apologies for the long delay - after leaving the tennis last night my diary proved to be fuller than I expected.

Basically what lost the by-election for the Conservatives was that Green transfers broke heavily for the SNP, and Labour transfers went slightly more for the SNP than the Tories.  There are two ways of looking at that - on the one hand, it illustrates why the hopes of massive unionist tactical voting in May were wildly over-optimistic.  Clearly, when push comes to shove Labour supporters are slightly more interested in voting SNP to keep the Tories out than the other way around.  On the other hand, it's quite striking that very nearly as many people who voted for a party led by Jeremy Corbyn transferred to the Tories as transferred to the SNP.  That suggests there may well be some irrational antipathy towards the SNP among the rump Labour support.

The first thing we always look out for in local by-elections is the net swing from Labour to SNP.  In this case, it was just under 7%, which is very much at the lower end of the range we've been used to recently.  Of course, you'd expect the swing to be lower in a ward where Labour aren't one of the top two parties, but nevertheless it's slightly troubling that the Tory vote increased by almost as much as the SNP's.  The most negative interpretation is that a large chunk of the lost Labour vote went direct to the Tories because of the Corbyn factor, and that the real movement from Labour to SNP was very, very low by recent standards.  A more encouraging interpretation is that the Tory increase mostly came from the independent candidate who didn't stand this time, and that Labour lost their votes en masse to the SNP.  Take your pick.

46 comments:

  1. Dinnae worry James.
    I'm sure saltires will be allowed at the Emirates Arena too!

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  2. Those who like some eye candy can see the results in graph form here.

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  3. How did you get tickets? We were convinced the online booking system was a scam.

    We were thinking from the telly viewing that we didn't want to be there after all due to all the union jacks on display, but it sounds less UKOK in real life.

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  4. Yeh I have no interest in supporting a GB team. I don't follow the Lions for the same reason. At the Olympics I wish the English athletes well, but concentrate on my own nations athletes. With Murray there is no reason why Scotland couldn't field their own Davis cup team.

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    1. Can we not think of it Scotland plus others against the Ozzies?

      Works for me.

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  5. Can we get a picture of the Yes flag??

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  6. I wont watch the Tennis or that other Brit Natsis fest the Wuggah World Cup. I would rather catch a dose of that new strain of drug resistant Gonorrhoea that I heard about on the radio whilst I was having two teeth pulled this morning.

    On result It appears that the SNP has benefited from the Greens/Independents/ Labour voters casting their second preferences for SNP and not the Tories. I really don't like STV even if on this occasion the Brit Natsis got stuffed.

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    1. Can yu explain in detail how this could ever actually be a choice?

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    2. Can yu explain in detail how this could ever actually be a choice?

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    3. There is ample evidence without writing a book on it that where SNP is coming top of the poll short of getting over the 50% plus 1 that the Brit Nat vote usually tends to go to anybody but the SNP. I would argue that STV voting in most instances disadvantages the SNP. The last Heldon and Laich by election for Moray Council where I live saw Tories transferring their vote to the Independent candidate, who in my eyes was just a closet Tory.

      In the next Heldon and Laich by election the Independent candidate has stated in his literature that he isn't a closet Tory. I think that is a tactical mistake on his part but I wonder how many folk bothered to actually read the leaflet.

      The Northern Scot which pretends to be politically neutral but is really a bloody Tory rag is running an SNP bad story on one of its front pages just two weeks before that by election. Forgetting abut every other inept or corrupt thing the ruling Independent Tory coalition has done since 2012 and before.

      There is an automatic assumption and I think it is a wrong one that folk wont vote Tory as a second preference. I know many a Labour voting Brit Nat who still have a tribal hatred for SNP. Oh and how to stop Greens here voting SNP as a second preference, well run a story about wind turbines and SNP bad.

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  7. Aye, the SNP won by 35 votes and me and the rest of the folk who worked their socks of in Ayr East are well pleased.. The last set of preference votes distributed were the Labour votes, 600+ of them. But it was obvious that more labour voters nominated the SNP ahead of the Tories as their higher preference. So did we win thanks to labour? Might have been. Or else just pure hard Ayr East SNP endeavour and loads of Ayrshire SNP help. Thanks darlings.

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    1. Nice work! Those transfers wouldn't have done it without the big number of snp first preferences and they don't come without working hard.

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  8. it ismt even a second referendum, just that if the SNP wins the Scottish elections next year, we will be given a time in the future for another IN/OUT Referendum. we don't like David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May and especially Iain Duncan Smith trying to break the #NHS and give us a US style hospital that asks you to pay upfront and operate 7-days-a-week, putting hospital staff on 0-hours contracts or demand that your local hospital turn into a "super hospital"? imagine that, a 24/7 hospital with 0-hour-contract staff, using foodbanks - and your complaining that the SNP wants to." break up the UK"? the UK is corrupt and flawed as it is. we will still be part of Britain if we vote, in Scotland, to leave the UK. a lot of English, Welsh and Irish back us, and lots more from Europe too!

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  9. it ismt even a second referendum, just that if the SNP wins the Scottish elections next year, we will be given a time in the future for another IN/OUT Referendum. we don't like David Cameron, George Osborne, Theresa May and especially Iain Duncan Smith trying to break the #NHS and give us a US style hospital that asks you to pay upfront and operate 7-days-a-week, putting hospital staff on 0-hours contracts or demand that your local hospital turn into a "super hospital"? imagine that, a 24/7 hospital with 0-hour-contract staff, using foodbanks - and your complaining that the SNP wants to." break up the UK"? the UK is corrupt and flawed as it is. we will still be part of Britain if we vote, in Scotland, to leave the UK. a lot of English, Welsh and Irish back us, and lots more from Europe too!

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 9:50 PM

      Scotland could have a referendum on whether the Scots want to pay more in tax to pay additional money to the NHS and top up welfare benefits.

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    2. break the #NHS

      Ah, the wonderful NHS that murdered so many people in Mid Staffordshire! Imagine the outcry from the Left if a private hospital had done that!

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  10. Happy Union Day everybody!

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    1. You're quite wrong, old chap. Union Day is May 1st - the day that the bells of St Giles rang out the tune of 'Why am I so sad on this my wedding day?' (the finest historical example of a rhetorical question).

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  11. James, why are your posts usually so small?

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    1. Please clarify whether you're a troll or are enquiring about font size - it's one or the other, but I've no idea which.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 9:41 PM

      Passed the Govan Orange Hall on the bus tonight and they had huge Union Flags on display celebrating the Anniversary.

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    3. How did you know they were celebrating something? Is there a way of telling the difference?

      If they're big on marking anniversaries, I can't wait to see what they do on May 7th next year.

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    4. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 11:13 PM

      They had a big banner.

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    5. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 11:44 PM

      I am sure James you embrace religious diversity and liberty and would hope the Orange people would embrace the SNP.

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    6. I very much doubt that anyone who gets out the party hats for 'Union Day' would be interested in embracing the SNP, but we can always live in hope, I suppose. I'm not proposing that the Orange Order should be banned, if that's what you're asking me. I don't think the principles of tolerance and liberty require me to embrace them any further than that.

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    7. Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)September 19, 2015 at 5:52 PM

      James, the OO don't do tolerance as it has fascist tendencies. They seem to dislike a lot of groups and religions.

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  12. I wonder when someone in the MSM will finally start paying attention to what Ruth Davidson has actually achieved in her time as Tory leader in Scotland.

    She seems to have built a following amongst the Tory press pack in England while simultaneously presiding over a catastrophic loss of electoral support. Her public persona as a jolly hockeysticks beer-guzzling metro Thatcherite seems somehow to work, at least on a comedy level.

    But eventually somebody has got to at least be thinking - is this the best we can do?

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 11:51 PM

      Maybe it is because she is a les being. After all Scotland is to the right including the Nat sis.

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    2. There is a very limited number of Scots who can thole current Conservative policy,so I don't think a better Scottish leader would make much difference.Their core vote is dieing out.

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  13. And this is news. Orange Hall with huge Union Flag. Pity they don't know the colour of flag of the nation they live in. Union flag is a state flag.

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 18, 2015 at 11:16 PM

      I believe the flag of the nation they live in is contained in the Union Flag.

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    2. Well named - "Butcher's Apron".

      The only flag for Scotland is the Saltire.

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  14. Independent vote actually down 6.7% - there were 2 Ind candidates last time.

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    1. Well, the combined Independent vote was down 6.7%, but the chap who stood in the by-election was down only 1.0% on his 2012 share, as stated. (I would have left the percentage change blank if he hadn't stood before.)

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  15. Glasgow working class that's a funny first name what is your last name it wouldn't be idiot would it?

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  16. The size of the postal vote compared to the total turnout jumps out at me. Did the Tories trawl every Nursing Home in the ward? Looks like a 40% discrepancy between turnout on the day and postal voting. I would expect this ward to have a high core Tory vote than other places.

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  17. This doesn't look good for a left revival in England:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/jeremy-corbyn-loses-fifth-of-labour-voters-with-critics-already-plotting-to-oust-him-10508584.html

    Chimes with the Yougov poll which found similar.

    We also have a Comres out tonight which I understand will include UKVI figures, so our first chance to see if leftie Corbynmania is sweeping the true blue home counties where UK elections are decided.

    http://blogs.independent.co.uk/2015/09/19/poll-alert-56/

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    1. UK Comres for the Independent and Mirror. Post Corbyn.
      42% Con
      30% Lab
      13% UKIP
      5% SNP
      3% Green

      Nothing to see there basically.

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    2. I was hoping that a Corbyn leadership might inspire the 35% in England who see no point in voting to vote Labour.

      Clearly not yet - or else pollsters just aren't reaching these folks.

      If Corbyn fails to rally the left in England then the union really does have problems.

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  18. "The first thing we always look out for in local by-elections is the net swing from Labour to SNP. In this case, it was just under 7%, which is very much at the lower end of the range we've been used to recently"

    Not sure its helpful to set expectations according to swings. The SNP votes since indyref have been pretty close to what you'd expect if you take the council's Yes vote and adjusting a few % either way according to affluence. South Ayrshire council voted 42% Yes. And Ayr East ward is more affluent than Scottish average.

    38% is pretty much bang on.

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  19. Re the tennis, there was a shot lasting a few seconds between games, of a guy with a large saltire with Yes over printed on it (no, not Alex Salmond reprising his Wombledon triumph). I did wonder why there was no immediate cut away, but I suppose coverage by BBC Sports Dept wont always be the same as the Current Affairs.

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  20. After reading the articles I have started skimming through the comments, only looking at some of James Kelly's and Scottish Skier, for the polls and analysis.
    Sorry, to any bone fide commentators.

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  21. Latest SS UK poll off polls, taking into account 3 post Corbyn election (Comres, Yougov and Opinium). Changes on GE result in brackets

    39(+2)% Con
    31(+1)% Lab
    14(+1)% UKIP
    7(-1)% Lib
    3(-1)% Green

    No sign of any clear movement / Corbynmania. If anything, the right-wing vote is on the rise, with Con+UKIP on 53%.

    #BetterTogether

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  22. Seems Corbyn backs using Scotland as a base for England's nuclear weapons.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/Jeremy_Corbyn/11875708/Labour-MPs-agree-to-serve-Jeremy-Corbyn-after-being-told-Trident-will-not-be-scrapped.html

    Vive la revolution!

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 21, 2015 at 1:30 AM

      England does not have nuclear weapons the UK does and we have the employees here in Scotland. Jobs and work and defense. SILLY NAT SI.

      England does not have any bases in Scotland. I would welcome a revolution in your brain.


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