There seems to be quite a bit of confusion over my myth-busting post about the Holyrood voting system, so I'll try to explain the point in more detail. To reiterate, the claim I was correcting (and it's one that you'll hear from both Alba supporters and detractors alike) was this -
"The more seats the SNP take in the constituencies, the more seats Alba will take on the list."
That's not accurate, and in some cases it will be the complete opposite of the truth. What *is* true is that the better the SNP do in the constituencies, the greater the overall representation will be for pro-independence parties in the parliament. But sometimes it may well lead to Alba as an individual party missing out on seats.
As an illustration, let's take two alternative hypothetical results in the same region. Let's assume the region is a typical one with nine constituency seats and seven list seats.
SNP: 7 seats (7 constituency, 0 list)
Conservatives: 4 seats (2 constituency, 2 list)
Labour: 3 seats (0 constituency, 3 list)
Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (0 constituency, 1 list)
Alba: 1 seat (0 constituency, 1 list)
Pro-independence parties: 8 seats
Anti-independence parties: 8 seats
SNP: 9 seats (9 constituency, 0 list)
Conservatives: 3 seats (0 constituency, 3 list)
Labour: 3 seats (0 constituency, 3 list)
Liberal Democrats: 1 seat (0 constituency, 1 list)
Alba: 0 seats (0 constituency, 0 list)
Pro-independence parties: 9 seats
Anti-independence parties: 7 seats
Result A is a fairly standard outcome where the SNP are not awarded any list seats, because they've already taken their full entitlement of seats in the constituency section. Instead, the seven list seats are shared out between other parties, and Alba take one to boost the overall pro-indy representation to eight seats.
In Result B, the SNP do even better and take all nine constituency seats, which means that even before the list seats are allocated, the SNP already have more seats in the region than their share of the vote warrants. That effectively takes two seats 'out of the system' altogether and means the seven list seats are spread more thinly. The Conservatives are given three list seats, as compared to two in Result A, to compensate them for the two constituency seats they've lost - although of course that's only partial compensation. That means there's one fewer list seat available for the other parties, and in this example it's Alba that miss out.
And yet in spite of the fact that Alba do worse in Result B, there's still one more pro-indy seat overall than there was in Result A. So that's the importance of Alba strongly urging an SNP vote in the constituencies - it's not a way of maximising Alba's own representation and they may sometimes actually lose seats as a result, but it absolutely *is* a way of maximising overall pro-indy representation.
In a nutshell, Alba are willing to risk sacrificing some of their own candidates in the best interests of the independence cause. And that makes the nature of the Alba campaign genuinely unprecedented in Scottish political history.
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You can catch-up with Episode 6 of the Scot Goes Popcast, in which I speak to Alba Party leader Alex Salmond, HERE (with video) or HERE (audio only). And if you find Scot Goes Pop's coverage of polls helpful and would like it to continue, I'm currently running a fundraiser HERE.
Interesting. That, plus the fact ALBA activists are out delivering leaflets which literally campaign for SNP 1 makes it bonkers that there is so much hatred and abuse coming from the SNP leadership and its cheerleaders. It's self defeating beyond belief.ReplyDelete
Ok, but Alba seem to be first and foremost about getting Yes voters to elect Alba MSPs and not actually creating any more Yes voters? At least that remains the message on their website ('use pro-indy list votes for Alba').Delete
By contrast, the Greens + SNP have spent a lot of time and effort turning ~33% support into 50%+ Yes support over the years, only to now be moaned at for 'not doing enough'.
I think it would be amazing if Alba could get 6% votes all from former No voters. That would be furthering the case. But if they just get 6% off the SNP, they've not furthered the cause whatsoever; we are still stuck at the same level of support.
"By contrast, the Greens + SNP have spent a lot of time and effort turning ~33% support into 50%+ Yes support over the years"Delete
Have the Greens done that? I agree they played their full part in the indyref campaign, but since then?
Salmond turned 25% support into 52% support during the first independence campaign. Sturgeon's SNP has done nothing to raise that *despite* the huge influx of members gutted we didn't get it; Brexit; Johnson as PM and the best possible chance of - at the very least - making the case for independence we've ever had. Instead nothing has been done by the SNP and Green majority. No planning, no arguments made, no plan beyond "keep asking for a second referendum". If Johnson was to say, "OK but it must be within the next 3 months" we would lose as there is no plan or case for it at all.Delete
Salmond turned 25% support into 52%Delete
Erm, Yes got 45% and Sturgeon was Salmond's right hand woman in 2014. The dynamic duo. Also, Yes was around 43% in 2011 in post-election polls. TNS even had Yes in the lead in one. So Salmond and deputy actually oversaw a plunge in Yes support into 2012 which the campaign fought to bring round again by 2014. Totally bounced into it by Cameron.
Sturgeon has overseen Yes rise by a baseline 5% to 50%, peaking briefly at 55%. Not bad going.
If Johnson was to say, "OK but it must be within the next 3 months
Is this not what Alba are arguing for? Where is their plan to ensure we don't get 49.9% Yes which is possible based on current polling? I see Green and SNP manifestos with policies to tempt more unionists across to Yes. Alba so far are not offering anything here, just seemingly 'indyref now, even if there's not enough Yes support!'? I hope their manifesto has something to offer softer unionists too and isn't just preaching to the converted.
@skier, unfortunately some strange folks will literally not vote for independence due to not liking the way the SNP is heading but who voted yes lat time. Yes, that's ridiculous, but there are folk out there like this I know some. They're at least starting to doubt if they'll vote, or maybe just apathy will make them not turn up.Delete
Alba is not necessarily increasing the Yes vote, but it will also prevent it from haemorrhaging
Who's up for a game of Skier bingo?Delete
I don't like Alex Salmond/Alba
I love Nicola and am voting SNP/SNP
I live in the south of Scotland
I have a French wife
I have an Irish passport
I don't like Stuart Campbell/Wings
Campbell cannot be regarded as Scottish as he doesn't live here
I can be regarded as Irish although I don't live there
Relieve the tedium of reading Skier's daily diatribe by seeing how many times he mentions one of the above today.
Result B is not possible: D'Hondt allocates all list seats.ReplyDelete
I'm afraid you've miscounted, Elizabeth - all seven list seats are allocated in Result B.Delete
To the person attempting to troll me, if you really think it's ridiculous to suggest the SNP would take zero list seats if they 'only' took seven constituency seats, I suggest you take a look at the actual Lothian result from 2016: the SNP took six constituency seats and no list seats. Try again.ReplyDelete
So your reply is "the Greens took two seats in Lothian". Er, so what? How does that change the fact that the SNP took six constituency seats and no list seats? Bizarre reply.Delete
I'm sorry I miscounted the seats in your example - that was very silly of me. But I still can't produce your results - I can't get the Conservatives to get 3 list seats. What are your second vote percentages, and what are you using to calculate the results?ReplyDelete
Elizabeth, if you'll forgive me for saying this, I think you're going wrong on a 'conceptual' basis with this. You shouldn't be having any problem at all getting the Conservatives to three list seats - they could just as easily be on four. That's what the Additional Member System does - it compensates parties that fall short in constituency seats by giving them list seats instead.Delete
Got it, it just needs the right vote-shares, thank you for clarifying that. And well done for calling out those who give us wrong perspectives. There's also some comment somewhere about more SNP constituency seats giving more indy seats overall, which is probably not true if the percentages aren't right, but I'll look at that tomorrow.Delete
Got it, just need the right votes percentages, they're crucial. And well done for calling out those who try to give us false perspectives.Delete
The SNP needs to be shamed into focusing on independence. SNP/Alba in the north eastReplyDelete
Any list calculation is a pandora`s box, complicated by all sorts of factors such as the effect of opinion polls.ReplyDelete
The only certainty is that the previous SNP list vote is likely to partially split to ALBA or maybe the Greens.
Also the arrival of ALBA is sure to raise the Indy profile, as proven by independence dominating the TV debates.
I don't agree though that all Alba's vote will be exclusively ex-SNP.
there is a novelty factor in any new political party which may attract list votes away from Labour and the LibDems in particular.
It sure is complicated. When Alba first launched as a list-only party, my first thought was that it would damage the Greens' vote share. But now I'm not so sure - I think that Alba successfully getting the message across that both votes SNP is a potential waste of pro-independence votes may well encourage some people to vote Green on the list rather than Alba, for various reasons.Delete
Add to that the Greens standing in some constituencies makes it even more impossible to call. Previously I suspect a lot of pro-independence Green supporters will have been 'lending' their constituency vote to the SNP but this is likely to change somewhat this time around, with Green members naturally supporting their party on both votes. This could create a kind if domino effect where the Green constituency votes reduce the SNP constituency seats (but with no Green wins) therefore reducing the SNP divisor for list seats, and giving the SNP a list seat that might otherwise have gone to Alba or (ironically) the Greens.
I agree that Alba may attract some Labour and Lib Dem voters who couldn't bring themselves to vote SNP or Green previously.