Sunday, April 14, 2019

Are the European elections about to hand Ruth Davidson a major setback?

First things first - I've got an article in the Sunday National today about the voting system for the European elections.  You can read it HERE.  As you can see, one point I made at the end, which at the time of writing I thought was fairly uncontroversial, was that the Tories were likely to win two of the six Scottish seats, and that the SNP were likely to win either two or three.  I'm already going to have to downgrade my level of certainty on that prediction, because two fairly remarkable opinion polls appeared over the course of yesterday which suggest that all bets could be off.  This, for example, is YouGov's estimate of Britain-wide voting intentions for the Euro-elections...

European Parliament voting intentions (Britain-wide, YouGov):

Labour 24%
Conservatives 16%
Brexit Party 15%
UKIP 14%
Greens 8%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Change UK 7%
SNP / Plaid Cymru 6%

Scottish subsample: SNP 49%, Conservatives 12%, Labour 11%, Brexit Party 8%, Liberal Democrats 7%, UKIP 5%, Greens 3%, Change UK 3%

If that subsample were to be taken seriously, it would mean the SNP are on course to win an incredible four of the six seats, and Labour and the Tories are set to take one apiece.  Now, of course, it's only a subsample, and no individual subsample should be assumed to be reliable.  I'm particularly sceptical about the SNP's very high vote, especially bearing in mind that they've tended to underperform expectations in European elections over the last twenty years.  But what I think we do need to take seriously is the possibility that the Scottish Tories could fall well short of their performances in the local and Westminster elections of 2017, simply due to massive numbers of their pro-Brexit supporters switching to either UKIP or Nigel Farage's new party for one day only, just to send a message.  As the same trend can be seen in the Britain-wide numbers, there's no particular reason to think that the Scottish subsample is leading us astray about it.  I had assumed that the Scottish Tories might be more resistant to the Faragist menace than their colleagues south of the border, because that was the case five years ago, but it appears that things have changed.

The SNP, meanwhile, don't show any sign of leaking pro-Brexit votes, so this could be a perfect storm for Ruth Davidson - if the Tory vote share actually goes sharply down while the SNP gain in terms of both votes and seats, it would be a stunning reversal of the narrative of the last couple of years that the media have fallen head over heels in love with.  It could be the beginning of the end for the myth of Ruth and her magic powers.

It's hard to work out whether Farage's intervention in this race is counterproductive from his own point of view - the poll figures seem to suggest that all he's succeeded in doing is splitting the hardline Brexit vote, and preventing UKIP from emerging once again as the largest single party, thus squandering the chance of saying that the establishment have been punished for their "Brexit betrayal".  But it's possible that the lavish coverage he's been given by the broadcasters in recent days is just the start of a bandwagon effect that will help squeeze the UKIP vote and propel the Brexit Party into first place.

*  *  *

UPDATE: Someone in the comments section queried the seats projection from the YouGov subsample and suggested that the SNP would need to be at nearly 65% to win a fourth seat.  That's categorically untrue.  As explained in the Sunday National piece, the D'Hondt formula is effectively slanted in favour of larger parties, which means the SNP would have a chance of winning four seats even on 40% of the vote.  At 65% they'd be more likely to win five seats, although that would depend on how the remainder of the vote is split between the other parties.

To demonstrate the point, here is how the D'Hondt calculation would play out for each individual seat if the YouGov subsample is right. 

First count: SNP 49, Conservatives 12, Labour 11, Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

SNP win first seat

Second count: SNP 24.5 (49 ÷ 2), Conservatives 12, Labour 11, Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

SNP win second seat

Third count: SNP 16.3 (49 ÷ 3), Conservatives 12, Labour 11, Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

SNP win third seat

Fourth count: SNP 12.3 (49 ÷ 4), Conservatives 12, Labour 11, Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

SNP win fourth seat

Fifth count: Conservatives 12, Labour 11, SNP 9.8 (49 ÷ 5), Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

Conservatives win fifth seat

Sixth count: Labour 11, SNP 9.8 (49 ÷ 5), Brexit Party 8, Liberal Democrats 7, Conservatives 6 (12 ÷  2), UKIP 5, Greens 3, Change UK 3

Labour win sixth seat

Final tally: SNP 4 seats, Conservatives 1 seat, Labour 1 seat

58 comments:

  1. Opinium UK Scottish sample

    Westminster:
    51% SNP
    19% Lab
    16% Con
    5% Green
    4% Lib
    3% UKIP

    EU:
    49% SNP
    16% Lab
    12% Con
    8% brexit
    6% Green
    3% Lib
    3% UKIP
    1% CHUK

    Seems the Yougov mibbie isn't an outlier for EU VI.

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    1. Got a link for this?

      John Robertson

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    2. https://www.opinium.co.uk/political-polling-9th-april-2019/

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    3. Scottish Skier - What's the "Yougov mibbie" you mentioned? Thanks.

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    4. Do you want to see my Scottish sample?

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  2. Sorry, I don't see how SNP can get 4 seats from those figures, using the D'Hondt system. My calculation is SNP 3, Tories 1, Labour 1 and Brexit party 1.

    We need to get the Greens above Brexit's 8%

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    1. No, that's wrong. It's definitely SNP 4, Conservatives 1, Labour 1. I've updated the blogpost to walk you through the whole calculation.

      Your comment below states that the SNP would need to be close to 65% to win four seats - that's also wrong. At 65% they'd be more likely to win five seats, although that would depend on how the rest of the vote is split between the other parties.

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    2. Quick explanation. D'Hondt is simply a method finding a tariff of votes that gets you a seat. In this election you could simply pick a number and see how many seats you allocate.
      So if that's 8% then the SNP would get 6. Which doesn't work. If it's 10 then SNP get 4, Labour and Cons 1 each.
      The way D'hondt works though is by asking the question of each party, "if they got the next seat what would the tariff be?" and giving it to the one that maximises that value. Not entirely pointless in this case but very useful in cases where some seats are already allocated such as Holyrood as in that case if they got lucky some parties will already have more seats than simply picking a number would give them.

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  3. To get a 4th MEP, the SNP vote would need to be nearly 65%.

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    1. My Calculator (i use this) gives 4 seats to the SNP. Going on what James said in his article the D'Hondt system favours large parties and, of course, the SNP is now by far the largest party in Scotland.

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    2. https://user.eng.umd.edu/~yavuz/electioncalcEE.html

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    3. No they don't. Only one party get's exactly the number of seats their votes would give them for the final tariff D'Hondt finds for the last seat. Every other party could have as many as one less than that number of votes "wasted". A Rule of thumb might be (N-1)/2 seats worth of votes on average. In this case there are 8 parties so 3.5 seats worth of votes lost. 100 / (6 + 3.5 ) ~ 10.5% votes per seat as a first guess. Although it's probably closer to 11%.

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    4. Just noticed that that rough estimate works without needing further adjustment. Also that in this case it gives the minimum percentage of votes for 4 seats as 42.

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  4. This one gives same result
    https://icon.cat/util/elections#

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    1. Malendra FitzwiltonApril 14, 2019 at 11:16 PM

      Actually, Ruth Davidson's main problem is she can't get her hair into a scrunch fountain.

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  5. French Mrs Skier just got her voter registration form through. She'll be voting SNP.

    :-)

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    Replies
    1. Frogs voting in Scotland! What next the Krauts! Send them all back I say.

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    2. Annunziata ScheissmeisterApril 14, 2019 at 10:53 PM

      And take the Dagos, Wops and Wogs with them. Rule Brittania.

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    3. Aye right that is a good idea and send the English back as well. RULEJOCKOLAND AND WALLACE.

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    4. Cordelia and its blood and soil nationalism, everyone.

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  6. Re Mr Farage, He will certainly get wall to wall exposure on BBC, Sky, STV, etc. Since it became possible that there will be European elections the tacit assumption on the BBC (based on the phrasing of questions) is that the UKIP type parties will 'sweep the board'. This morning BBC Scotland had an interview - a fairly unchallenging one - with Professor Alan Sked, founder of UKIP and no friend of Farage. However, I suspect that the media will push for deals amongst UKIP/Brexit Party/Tories. If Tory candidates are selected by constituency parties, they will probably be 'LEAVE NOW' supporters.

    If the European elections take place we must advocate a large turnout so that it can be a fairly significant snapshot of public opinion. (Of course, that could entail a UK majority for Leavers!!)

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    1. Opinium are saying Remain voters will turn out en masse.

      Leavers by contrast are saying they're much less likely to bother.

      Which to be honest, is ok with me.

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    2. The Leavers could, of course, do what Roger Helmer advises and write Brexit on their ballots.
      For any Leavers lurking here, a little guidance on that tactic; bring your best crayon cos someone on Twitter thinks the Remoaners will rub out your protest.

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    3. Can they write?

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    4. I'm given to understand that most of them can at least spell X.

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  7. Given the polls it would on the face if it look like insanity to call a GE. Admittedly, May's government does have form on that front but it does seem unlikely they could be so suicidal.

    However, all the recent polls indicate a significant return to the SNP since 2017 which in itself wasn't all that shabby a result. Interesting times.

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  8. Anonymous 12.00 PM:

    At first I read that as "write Brexit on their bollocks." Well, I obviously need to go to Specsavers. But it does seem oddly appropriate... :)

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    1. (Laughs loudly) What they do in private, as consenting adults, is their own business. I don't like to judge.

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  9. In 2016, 63% of Scots voted 'Remain'. Since then, Scottish polls suggest many Scots 'Leavers' (5 in my family) may have switched to 'Remain'.

    The only large Scottish party unequivocably 'Remain' is the SNP.

    In my opinion, there could be a repeat of the 2015 General Election, when a huge, angrily motivated Scots turnout, voted 50% SNP, in protest at the broken promises & naked 'Better Together' triumphalism of Indyref1.

    Scots are angry and motivated again at: the power grab; being ignored (again) and the hypocritical bourach of both the Labour & Tory Parties.

    I suggest Green voters give their support to the SNP in May, as the surest way of squeezing out Brexit Party/UKIP.

    Scots Labour MPs never supported the SNP in any indicative votes at Westminster, although many English Labour MPs rebelled and did act honourably. Scots Labour MPs might have voted a little more circumspectly, if they had thought for one minute that Scots would be going to polls for the EU Parliament in May! Corbyn's honeymoon period with Scots Labour voters is well and truly over. He's proven himself to be just another Londoncentric politician, who does not give 2 hoots for Scotland and knows even less. Corbyn has also proven to be a complete oxymoron, a nimbyist/Marxist, turning the young against him also. Just last week, Scots Labour MPs completely trashed their now proven mythical anti-Trident and pro-free-movement credentials.

    I don't want to get ahead of ourselves but I am sensing another 2015- esque result in favour of the SNP.

    If so, then cue the MSM returning to its ludicrous one party state anti-SNP mantra! LOL!

    But maybe a huge win in the EU election for the SNP may be the tipping point for Sturgeon to name a date for Indyref2. So Greens, with that in mind (the only prize for Scotland is Independence or bust), please consider giving your vote to the SNP. Every vote will count.

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    1. I just wonder what Charlene Tilton thinks about it all.

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  10. This will be the first I've voted on E.U.elections SNP r the only party that's fought tooth and nail for the ppl. Westminster is a comedy show..I'm hoping N.S comes back with a U.D.I and get rid of Tory and lab unionists as they don't respect us Scots in any way.independence nows the time..

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    1. Voting in an EU election is voting for corruption and the Mafia. I will not vote and never have.

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    2. Cordelia's keeping its best crayons for writing to the Heil.

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  11. English starting to lose patience with the (incredibly Irish sounding) 'Brits' in N. Ireland.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-47913254

    DUP 'holding Conservatives to ransom' over Brexit, Tory MP says

    A Conservative MP has accused the DUP of holding his party to ransom over Brexit.

    Shrewsbury MP Daniel Kawczynski said he would prefer the prime minister to call a fresh Westminster election rather than renew his party's confidence and supply arrangement with the DUP.

    Referring to the DUP, Mr Kawczynski said he does not "want the tail to wag the dog any longer".

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    1. You only have to read the history of the man. Catholic and Polish. It was Mrs May who said NI would not be sold out and the DUP expect the PM to keep to her word.

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    2. Theresa May is catholic.

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    3. Oh, and Angela Merkel is a protestant.

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    4. Theresa May is not Catholic. She went to a Catholic school but she's a practicing Anglican. Her father was an Anglican priest. Some High Anglicans *think* they're Catholic and even call themselves "Anglo-Catholics," but that's not the same thing.

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    5. I call myself a Drimble but I mmm actually a Gashfan. And that's not the same thing by a long chalk. A very long chalk indeed. Like Jimmy Whacko Edwards used a write with .Whacko! Sorry Sir! Whacko.

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    6. Chaps you are getting aff the issue. Mrs May said she would not sell out NI and should be held to account.

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    7. English May is busy chatting with English Corbyn as to how their formal coalition can dispense with the DUP, so setting the backstop in stone.

      That's why the DUP have largely vanished from the headlines; they're going to be crapped on from a great height.

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    8. US watching the UK closely over the GFA.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-47877709

      Brexit: Mike Pompeo says Good Friday Agreement must be sustained

      "It seems like a moment when we should be standing up - Republicans and Democrats - and telling our friends in London that whatever they do they need to recognise the existing fragility of peace in Northern Ireland and the importance of protecting that peace process no matter how this agreement with the European Union turns out."

      The Irish lobby in the US is very powerful.

      UK will never get a trade deal with the US or EU unless N. Ireland effectively remains in the single market and customs union.

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    9. The Belfast Agreement is dead since the terrorist group Sinn Fein IRA pulled the plug.

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    10. You didn't complain when they were pulling your plug. If my memory serves me right.

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    11. You need to state your memory!

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    12. Cordelia there, expecting evidence when it never presents any of its own. Snivelling hypocrite.

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  12. Annunziata Rees-Mogg is a Catholic too. Who would have thunk it?

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    1. Don't tell Cordelia, it'll have a fit.

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    2. Kaffliks are not the only religion that believe in something they can't prove exists. Just dafties but I do like a Cadburys cream egg. Wee Knickerless looks like a cream egg with hair oan the tap.

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    3. I always think Julie Andrews looks like 2 different people at the same time. Do you?

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  13. Julie Andrews is a miracle worker. The Hills are alive.

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    1. Jimmy the PluggerApril 17, 2019 at 7:28 AM

      Yeh. I like going up mountains with Julie Andrews. I go right up. She loves it.

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    2. Always fun watching Cordelia and its many personalities chatting amongst themselves.

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  14. I'd like to argue with passers-by at the Minnie Haha Water Park in Leicester. I'd like to swear at them and distress them.

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  15. And another good idea would be coaches on trains for people who want to travel without wearing any clothes.

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