Monday, May 8, 2017

Popular vote totals revealed : the over-hyped Scottish Tories took just a QUARTER of the vote

So, three days later than we might have hoped, we finally have the popular vote figures for the Scottish local elections.  Both of the predictions I made a few hours ago were slightly off - the Tories were in the mid-20s rather than the low-20s, and the SNP's vote was unchanged since 2012 rather than slightly up.  (Although of course the latter point also means that John Rentoul has egg on his face after telling anyone who would listen on Saturday that it was an established fact that the SNP's vote share had fallen.)

Scottish local election results :

SNP 32.3% (n/c)
Conservatives 25.3% (+12.0)
Labour 20.2% (-11.2)
Liberal Democrats 6.8% (+0.2)
Greens 4.1% (+1.8)

It should be noted that the comparison with 2012 isn't totally exact because this time a handful of councillors were elected unopposed.  So strictly speaking this wasn't a completely nationwide election, although the difference that makes is only trivial.

Both the SNP and the Tories underperformed in comparison to their recent showing in opinion polls, but the divergence is much greater in the case of the SNP.  That could mean the polls have been overstating the SNP all along, but personally I think this result has got 'differential turnout' written all over it.  The Tories, and to a lesser extent Labour and the Lib Dems, worked their supporters up to fever-pitch over the issue of an independence referendum, while the SNP remained in a different universe fighting a very traditional, 'worthy' local election campaign that was never likely to excite their core support in the same way.  It appears as a result unionist voters were significantly more likely than pro-independence voters to make the trek to the polls - which is a problem that can be successfully addressed over the coming weeks.

That's not to say there's no danger at all of this result recurring in June.  The SNP had an in-built disadvantage last week (albeit one that was partly of their own making), but it goes without saying that they also face an in-built disadvantage in any Westminster election because of the skew towards media coverage of the London parties.  They are fortunate in the sense that Labour aren't regarded as a credible government-in-waiting, so on this occasion the SNP are less likely than usual to be crowded out by a binary Tory v Labour choice.  Nevertheless, the challenges ahead are considerable, and another safety-first campaign may not be a great idea.

One interesting aspect of the result is that both the SNP and Labour ended up with a proportion of seats that slightly exceeded their vote share, while for the Tories the reverse was true.  That may have just happened by complete chance because of the way votes were distributed, but it also may be that the Tories remain a toxic party and are significantly less likely than others to pick up lower preferences.  I'm sure someone will trawl through the results to shed some light on that question.

The untold story of this contest is Labour's relative resilience - they've done somewhat better than their consistent sub-20 showings in recent opinion polls, and ran the SNP closer than expected in several councils.  Aside from differential turnout, I'm wondering if that may simply be because of their historic strength in local government, and the large number of familiar names they were able to put on the ballot paper.  Even after everything that's happened over the last few years, the act of voting Labour is still a bit like slipping on an old coat for some people.

83 comments:

  1. I believe Independents, so-called, played a more significant role in the north east. My elderly uncle, in Moray, voted 1 & 2 for independents because one is a cousin and the other is an ex-work colleage. I also believe he is not in the minority in voting this way in local elections. My uncle plans to vote for Angus Robertson in June.

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  2. Those figures clearly illustrate the unionist conspiracy against the SNP. The direct switch from Labour to SNP is incredible. One thing I would say to the rump of Labours voters is this. Do you want to vote for a party that can't win and lets the Tories in. Or do you want to stop the Tories the way your unionist buddies have switched to help the Tories.

    It's a stark choice for that 20% now. One things is clear Scottish Labour are in terminal decline.

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    Replies
    1. It would appear not. They polled 20% in the election last week. Donald Dewar's percentage in the very first Holyrood election? 33%.

      Labour are hibernating, they aren't dead.

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    2. They actually got 39% on the constituency vote under Dewar, so if we make the apples-with-oranges comparison, their support has essentially halved since then. They also got 46% at the 1997 general election.

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    3. and the SNP went from what? 20% to 50%?

      Given enough time, anything can happen. Parties of government tend to emerge from the 30s and 40s percentage wise. They don't even have to replicate the SNP's success to make a come back.

      But, as a tory, I'd prefer it if they were to unseat the SNP, eventually, rather than labour.

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    4. "The undecideds and the bottlers will put it in the back of the net for 'remain'. I'm sure Cameron also has a few tricks up his sleeve to deploy in the dying days of the campaign."

      - 'Aldo'

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    5. Annnnnd Aldo's off the tablets again.

      Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Thank you to everyone who had some great discussions further up the page, see you again next time he gets taken in...

      Delete
  3. You forgot to allow for the massive postal vote fraud.

    How is it possible for there to be 100,000 more SNP votes but no increase in vote share? You'd need turnout to have increased by 20 points according to the maths, and that didn't happen.

    What were the actual numbers and change on last time?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The increase in the absolute number of votes was due to a substantial increase in turnout.

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    2. You'd need turnout to have increased by 20 points according to the maths, and that didn't happen.

      Yes it did.

      SNP 2012 - 503,233 out of 1,556,773 (32.33%)
      SNP 2015 - 610,454 out of 1,889,658 (32.30%)

      And at the risk of dislodging your tin foil hat, 'massive postal fraud' is pretty hard in an election with hundreds of very small wards and a transferrable vote system.

      Most wards only have a few thousand voters in total, so any stuffing is going to stick out a mile. So you're going to need to fiddle the results in hundreds of voting booths and count stations by similar amounts without a single slip, anywhere.

      If they could manage that, the SNP wouldn't have 56 MPs in the first place.

      Delete
  4. How proportional is the STV? In the Netherlands where they use a Party List system the number of seats is almost directly proportional to the vote, I believe.

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    Replies
    1. More so than FPTP, but less than true PR.

      The problem with PR is that it usually means breaking the link between voter preference and the person representing that area, something the British tend to be quite keen on.

      With full PR, let's say UKIP got 5%. They'd get 5% of councillors, which means somewhere is going to be represented by a UKIP councillor when in reality said person was far and away not the choice of those people.

      Either that or you start having generic councillors who don't represent a specific ward.

      We still seem to like the idea of having 'our' MP or councillor, so STV let's you keep that.

      There's also a line of argument that says STV slightly favours more moderate parties, because they tend to get more 2nd and 3rd preference votes as people rank away from their preferred party towards the middle.

      Delete
  5. Don't forget that other pro-indy party, the Green party.

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  6. My experience from chapping doors in working class areas of Glasgow is that there is still a very strong loyal group of Labour voters.They are mainly over 60 .They all came out on Thursday and it also helped that the incumbent Labour councillor who is well known.It was hard work to get the younger SNP voters out for a local election .SNP support must be running at 80% amongst under 40s some how we got to galvanise mobilise them in June .My impression is that our core vote wants an uncompromising Indy message

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    Replies
    1. Doing that will play right into Tory hands. Only poll I've seen to show "certainty" to vote shows 90% of Scottish Tory voters are absolutely certain to vote, corresponding figure for SNP was 80%. Could be all the difference in some areas.

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    2. How does getting our core vote out "play into Tory hands"? The Tories are going to turn out and vote Tory, no matter what. The only way to counter them is to get our voters out to vote.

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    3. Yes, I agree, Anon. There used to be a strong argument for not scaring the horses on independence, but those horses are already well and truly scared, so we've got nothing left to lose, and everything to gain. We need to convince young pro-independence people that there is a tangible prize if they turn out to vote in sufficient numbers.

      Delete
  7. James, do we have an idea of the number of spoiled ballots where people put X rather than 1,2,3? I'm making the assumption that's the majority of spoiled ballots BTW.

    To other posters - ScotCouncil elections aren't proportional at all (statistically) due to the small number of seats/ward. The smaller the number of seats then the less likely that votes for "smaller parties" ever come into play. No doubt James might know but I suspect most/many wards never got past round 3/4 of voting?

    Just curious on the spoiled ballots issue as due to the small number of votes in some wards its easy to see how a concerted 1,2,3.. campaign on postal ballots would work well. Thinking elderly voters in homes/etc here - for whatever party - are a big player in STV council elections.

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    Replies
    1. Average number of stages in Aberdeenshire was 5.1

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    2. Anonymous at 3.20pm, ballots with a single cross are counted as a first preference vote. If they have two or more crosses they are spoilt and don't count.

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  8. So, the unionist share of the vote went up by 1% while the pro-independence share went up by 1.8%. The problem is that we don't know what the split was for the Independents.

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  9. James,

    Thanks for that.

    Could I just say that your commentary at:

    " but it goes without saying that they also face an in-built disadvantage in any Westminster election because of the skew towards media coverage of the London parties."

    I doubt I am alone in preferring you, Munguins Republic, Bella Caledonia, Wee Ginger Dug, Newsnet Scotland and obviously 'Wings' over any dependent media. Between the lot of you, you probably reach as many folk as print media. (Missed the Nordic lass, her, Lesley Riddoch, who argues convincingly that we ought to be Nordic.)

    Power to all your elbows!

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  10. And the massively overhyped, low energy SNP took less than one third of the vote. They now hold a 7 point lead over the Tories, meaning a swing of 3.5% brings them level. Staggering! If I were an SNP donor, I'd be demanding answers.

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    Replies
    1. "Staggering" again? Let me know when your birthday is, Aldo, and I'll buy you a thesaurus.

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    2. Normal state for Toryboys, 3 cans of Charger and they are staggering....

      Aldo,
      Were you in that photo from Glasgow with the arch republican Tomkins ? The one where 5 minutes later Team Toryboy all got their dinner money and trainers taken from them by the local lassies.

      Delete
    3. Annnnnd Aldo's off the tablets again.

      Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Thank you to everyone who had some great discussions further up the page, see you again next time he gets taken in...

      Delete
  11. James

    Ramsay Jones in today's P&J in his comments section is making noises about the % of the vote in various Westminster constituencies frmo the local govt elections. I presume this can be calculated by adding up the appropriate wards to get to the constituencies. He's saying that tories quite a bit ahead in Aberdeen South and Moray last week..any thoughts?

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    Replies
    1. Sounds entirely plausible. Of course, that doesn't mean those results will necessarily be replicated in the general election when the turnout will be much higher.

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    2. Yes they were well ahead. Biggest shock was Gordon. Tories polled around 18000 votes to the SNP 14000. To put that in context the Tories polled just 6,800 votes in Gordon at the general election. If they pull that off on June 8th it's difficult to see how Alex Salmond can keep his seat.

      Across all Aberdeenshire Tories were up 19% SNP down 11%.

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    3. Could it be? Salmondo, Agnes and Pishart, all knocked down in Portillo-like defeats?

      If that happens, I'll blow my load.

      Delete
  12. Polling for these local elections put SNP in the high forties, Tories on 19%. They must be the most crap polls ever.

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    Replies
    1. Figures all over the place from council to council, shows how fragmented it can be regionally.

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  13. Interesting spin there. For the record these elections were last fought before the Indyref and the total rewrite of Scottish politics that followed. You'd think the SNP would have at least added a few % nationwide.

    Wouldn't read too much into specific party vote shares at an election where independent candidates polled 10% of the popular vote and upto 30% in some areas.

    What is interesting is the SNP/Tory gap was just 7% alot less than the 10-14% show in national polls and far less than the 20-26% in the two polls specifically for the local elections.

    As for differential turnout, the SNP added 105000 extra votes for the same vote share as 2012, suggests SNP supporters were as energised as anyone else.

    A wee point of interest Tories topped the popular vote in every ward of Gordon bar one, Bridge of Don and even there they increased their fp vote share by 23% with the Tory candidate topping the poll and being elected automatically. Bridge of Don hadn't had a Tory councillor in at least 20 years.

    Further such was the weight of Tory votes in some Aberdeenshire wards they effectively missed out on seats by not standing more candidates. There were a handful of wards where the Tory had double the vote of the next candidate.

    Also they topped all but two wards of Banff and Buchan...

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  14. Could anyone provide the interesting detail about 'first preferences' nationally? For that might tell us, indicate even, how the General Election might result?

    Am I alone in wondering why this information is unavailable?

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    Replies
    1. It is available. It just takes time to work it all out.

      https://twitter.com/nickeardleybbc/status/861536676136574976

      Scottish national level first preferences are on that link. I'm sure the UK ones are kicking around as well.

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    2. By which I mean the UK national results, there are obviously no first preference figures for the UK as a whole, because we're the only bit that uses STV except, I believe, for Northern Ireland.

      So if you're wondering why those aren't available, it's because they don't exist.

      Delete
    3. Here's a list of final votes, spoiled ballots, first preferences for the whole estate: https://www.facebook.com/groups/NicolaSturgeon/permalink/1323955684361717/

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    4. Frank O'Donnell‏Verified account @fodonnell23 7 hours ago

      To be clear, Jill Stephenson not a columnist in @TheScotsman and has never been a columnist. Therefore, cannot be removed as a columnist.

      Delete
  15. Just for fun, I put the local election percentages into the Scotland Votes calculator for Westminster:

    SNP 35 seats
    Tories 13 seats
    LibDems 8 seats
    Labour 3 seats.

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    Replies
    1. Labour getting 3 seats at 20%? In 2015 they only got 1 seat at 24% (which is almost as much as the Tories got this time).

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    2. Haha...yes that looks about right....jeez

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  16. James has to add up the Nat si and Con votes to get the Thatcherite total. This would be a true vote based on similar policies.

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    Replies
    1. Get in the sea, troll.

      Delete
  17. Sturgeon insists that the last set of Holyrood elections and the subsequent vote in parliament provide her with the mandate for another referendum: so why risk complicating that narrative by setting yourself another test in which your support could drop off?

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    Replies
    1. There is no such mandate. The Green 'trigger' for indyref2 was never met.

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    2. The "Green trigger" is largely a figment of your imagination, so that's an irrelevant point.

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    3. There is a mandate you balloon.

      The Scottish Parliament is Democratically elected. There was a majority that passed the motion for another indyref.

      That is a mandate.

      You either respect the Parliament or you do not.

      If you do not respect it and the people that elected the people in it, then you are undemocratic and bordering on erdogan.

      Aldo Erdogan.

      Delete
    4. But do not respect the two million people who voted to remain in the Union under three years ago ya piece of fascist shit. Erdogan is an islamic fascist no one except you Nat sis compares with that piece of shit.

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    5. He is quite comparable with the leader and principal defender of your precious union.

      Theresa has him on speed dial. Need someone to buy the airplanes for when she throws her toys out of the pram because Europe doesnt like be talked down to by a 2nd rate Thatcher who shites it whenever a camera comes near.

      What's even worse is that she knows a sizeable no of Scots will swallow anything she says. They literally hate their own country that much that they are prepared to see it flounder and have it's arms handcuffed behind its back whilst its so called union partner rips the collective pish out of them.

      Away and suck on the teet of Westminster you subservient, worthless troglodyte.

      Delete
    6. There was a vote Aldo, you got beat...Thats the mandate. Suck it up like the nice Tory you are.

      Where is the mandate for this snap General election, is there not a law against this type of thing.

      Delete
    7. Annnnnd Aldo's off the tablets again.

      Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Thank you to everyone who had some great discussions further up the page, see you again next time he gets taken in...

      Delete
    8. The Greens did go back on their manifesto. They said there should be evidence that the people of Scotland want a referendum, such as a mass petition in favour of one. The figure they gave was 1 million signatures. None of this has materialised.

      You wont get your indyref until post 2021 anyway, so its really a moot point.

      Delete
  18. For whatever reason the SNP local election results have trailed their national results by a fair margin. In 2007, a vote held on the same day in the same booths saw the SNP take 28% at the local elections and 33% in the Holyrood elections.

    In short I think the SNP vote will be higher in 4 weeks and more likely to be in the 42 to 43% range. I think Labour won't drop as low as the polls suggest and many of their remaining voters will find that putting that x against a Tory is a step too far. I think the SNP will have around 45 seats...which is what I thought they would get last time. Anything more would of course be most welcome :)

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    Replies
    1. That's the best hope for the SNP, I think - that they have a recent history of doing better in "big elections" (Westminster and Holyrood) than in the locals and Europe.

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  19. Peter Murrell, her better half, says we got 105,000 more votes than last time!

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  20. Of the spoilt papers I would say that at least 30% of these belong to the SNP as they had multiple candidates in many wards. These voters will not make the same stupid mistakes in a general election a only one x is required. I was an election agent in the council election and saw the spoilt papers first hand.

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    Replies
    1. Doesn't that say something about SNP voters? You're required to rank your local candidates by order of preference, once, every 5 years. But they couldn't manage it. Jeezo. I wouldn't like to see the SNP on 'crystal maze'.

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    2. If the SNP had 32% of the vote and 30% of spoilt ballots were SNP it implies that SNP voters are about as likely as those of any other party to unintentionally spoil their ballots, assuming Anonymous' estimation is correct. Not really any grounds to cast aspersions.

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    3. It does, however, seem logical that the SNP may have had a slightly greater problem with spoiled ballots because of the number of candidates they were standing. If so, it will only have made a very small difference.

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    4. Chris Musson‏ @camusson 8h

      It's a schlong s-Tory, Ruth.. Rookie Tory councillor outed for willy boasts and slagging off benefit claimants https://www.thescottishsun.co.uk/news/politics/977083/tory-stirling-council-alastair-majury-tweets-benefits-election-twitter/ …

      Delete
  21. It is Eurovision on Europe day. Who do you rate James?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Rape Clause Ruth and her repulsive bigot toriesMay 9, 2017 at 4:01 PM

    Michael Gray‏ @GrayInGlasgow 4 hours ago

    Extremist Tory candidates elected to councils across Scotland https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10929/extremist-tory-candidates-elected-councils-across-scotland … via @TheCommonSpace #Council17

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Annnnnd Mick's off the tablets again.

      Oh well, it was good while it lasted. Thank you to everyone who had some great discussions further up the page, see you again next time he gets taken in...

      Delete
    2. There was a vote Aldo, you got beat...Thats the mandate. Suck it up like the nice Tory you are.

      Where is the mandate for this snap General election, is there not a law against this type of thing.

      Delete
    3. Michael Crick‏Verified account @MichaelLCrick 4h

      I was told by May aide I wasn't on list to ask May a question, & there was no point in putting my hand up to ask one

      Delete
    4. that worked well, didn't it twat?

      Delete
    5. someone busy doing real work in the locals and now the GE rather than just posturing on the internet
      how dare they

      Delete
  23. Rape Clause Ruth and her repulsive bigot toriesMay 9, 2017 at 5:25 PM

    Michael Gray‏ @GrayInGlasgow 4 hours ago

    Extremist Tory candidates elected to councils across Scotland https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10929/extremist-tory-candidates-elected-councils-across-scotland … via @TheCommonSpace #Council17

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How do you define an extremist?.... Could it be someone who opposes the Jock Nat si Tartan Tory Party?

      Delete
    2. The poster above is a scotland hating tory yoonMay 9, 2017 at 7:21 PM

      The troll 'GWC2' scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, arbitrary deportations and public mutilations, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial, homophobic and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor

      Delete
    3. You define an extremist by someone or others who do not drop the subject.
      The Jock Nat sis are extremist and need an eye kept on them like the PIRA were.

      Delete
    4. piss off you sad little tory sockpuppet twat

      Delete
    5. I am medium sized British.

      Delete
  24. Rape Clause Ruth and her repulsive bigot toriesMay 9, 2017 at 7:21 PM

    Michael Gray‏ @GrayInGlasgow 4 hours ago

    Extremist Tory candidates elected to councils across Scotland https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/10929/extremist-tory-candidates-elected-councils-across-scotland … via @TheCommonSpace #Council17

    ReplyDelete
  25. I with the idiot who keeps posting after GWC2 would fuck off with the repetitive postings. We all know GWC2 is a troll but you are ruining the comments section on this website.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am the resident Troll and need respect for attacking narrow minded flat earth Jock English hating fascists and anti semites.

      Delete
    2. pweeeeaese pwotect GWC2 coz I is not a sockpuppet either

      Delete
  26. Jock nat sis have an antipathy towards British soldiers who fought against the Natzis and the fascist PIRA.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I see the much hyped election expenses scandal never came to anything. Mick was getting rather excited about it all as well. Shame.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a case of you are guilty untill proven innocent. The Nat sis cannot be trusted to give justice for the Scottish people and the English have no chance.

      Delete
    2. Election expenses cap is a farce anyway. If you've raised the money through legit means, you should be able to spend it however you choose. Election expenses cap holds back winners and tells them they must go no further as the losers are struggling to keep up.

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