Monday, May 10, 2021

We all know there was a pro-independence majority in the popular vote on that all-important #PeachVote - but how big was it?

As has been widely mentioned (albeit perhaps not on the mainstream media!), the SNP, Greens and Alba took a combined vote share of 50.1% on the regional list ballot, ensuring there is a pro-independence majority in the popular vote on the more important of the two ballots.  (And the Conservatives themselves acknowledged it was the more important by banging on endlessly about how much they wanted people's #PeachVotes.)  But that doesn't in any way mean that 49.9% of the vote went to unionists - there were a large number of fringe parties and independents with a variety of views on independence.  So I've done some quick calculations...

50.1% pro-independence vote if you only include the SNP, the Greens and Alba

50.4% pro-independence vote if you also include the Scottish Libertarian Party, Restore Scotland and Scotia Future

50.5% pro-independence vote if you also include independent candidates who are well known to support independence, such as Andy Wightman and Martin Keatings

And that still doesn't mean 49.5% can be assumed to be the anti-independence figure - for example as far as I can see the Women's Equality Party don't have a policy on independence, so have to be treated as neutral.  The Scottish Libertarian Party directly confirmed to me on Twitter a couple of weeks ago that they still support independence, which ironically means that votes for Mark Meechan, aka Count Dankula (a former UKIP candidate) can be regarded as pro-indy votes.

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I have an article in The National today about the impact of tactical voting on the regional list seat allocations - you can read it HERE.


  1. Would I be right in saying this is the first election where we have had an absolute majority of the list vote for pro-Indy candidates (even using your most expansive definition).

    By my quick toting up of the previous numbers (including fringe parties and explicit pro-Indy independents) that would be:

    2011 - 49.8
    2016 - 49.5
    2021 - 50.5

  2. Are you counting Ashley Graczyk and Restore Scotland for Yes, too? Since we're getting deep in the weeds here! Several very minor parties are mentioned in this piece at the National:

    1. I did count Ashley Graczyk, yes. I'll go back and check about Restore Scotland - if they stood on the list I must have overlooked that they were pro-indy. But that might not make any difference to the calculation anyway.

    2. OK, I've updated the post to include Restore Scotland. That made a difference to the figure excluding independents, but not the one including them. So the only remaining question is whether I've overlooked any other pro-Yes independent candidates.

    3. Good stuff! 🤓

      For what it's worth, I know more indy curious (but currently still No) people who voted SNP than I do Alba supporters, let alone the minor parties we're totting up here. But they knew what they were voting for. They won't be surprised if Indyref2 goes ahead based on their votes towards the SNP's mandate. Indeed, I think they'd be less surprised than me!

  3. The majority in both Slseats and votes line should be getting amplified more by the Yes movement in my opinion. It's a strong argument.

    The list vote is more representative, there's no doubt about that.

    If anything the slim minority could be caused by pro Yes people spoiling they're ballot. Wonder who might have given them that idea?

  4. This is why secret unionists were arguing that the constituency vote be the 'plebiscite for indy' whilst calling for folk to vote unionist in some seats; most indy parties don't stand on it, so you are much less likely to get 50% of the vote share for Yes parties.

  5. The ideal outcome for the independence movement would have been a Scottish government with a secure working majority elected on a #ManifestoForIndependence with a record high turnout and over 50% of the vote on BOTH ballots. A majority on the constituency ballot alone would have been only a fraction of the value. 50%+ on the regional ballot is of negligible value at best.

    The opportunity was there to at least aim for and work for that ideal outcome. Most of the Yes movement decided it had better things to do.

    1. You included, Peter - you were busy having a heated debate with yourself, if I recall.

      It may well be that a plebiscitary election would have produced a pro-independence majority on the constituency ballot popular vote as well, simply because we know a substantial minority of Labour voters are pro-indy, and if independence had really been on the line they might have moved across.

    2. Sorry, but the list ballot is the only one of importance for judging % share of votes for Yes parties. It is what decides the election result as the final allocation of all seats is based upon it. AMS is a PR list system with some constituency elements.

      The 'great British' constituency vote is where you vote for a person (favored local candidate) under FPTP, not a party. Hence many parties don't even stand here, making it impossible for many Yes voters to actually vote for the party they want to..
      Why should a Green voter have to vote SNP if they don't want to? They can choose to do so on the constituency, but they should not have to. Likewise an indy supporter who likes their local Labour candidate can vote SNP on the PR list, but for e.g. Jackie ballie locally. The list ensures people can do this and the result should end up proportional to the list anyway. They vote for the party they want in government (PR list) and a local MSP (constituency).

      The list is a vote for a party under PR, where you can vote for all parties standing, so the only way of judging what % of people voted for Yes parties.

      It's why unionists want the constituency to be the important one. Like English blogs for example, which suggested it be the indy plebiscite.

    3. Surely it's fairer to use the list as a pleb? And in fact the list percent is a more accurate reflection of yes support?
      On constuency folks vote for a person. They might like that person, especially in places like the Shetland Islands where they always elect lib dems.

      But on list they choose party which may be more where their ideals really lie. Which seems a fairer indicator than the constituency.

    4. Sorry you are all over the place on this. Only a few days ago you were telling us (in response to someone saying they may vote Labour on the constituency vote

      A vote for a pro-union candidate is a vote against iref2 / independence. No question about it. You endorse the manifesto of the candidate / party you vote for. You can't vote No in iref2 saying 'I was really voting yes but don't like the SNP'. That's not how things work, obviously.

      Now you are saying:
      Likewise an indy supporter who likes their local Labour candidate can vote SNP on the PR list, but for e.g. Jackie ballie locally.

      Which is it?

    5. Finally convinced. Stu is a mole. He'll come out against indy just before a ref takes place. 'cause trans!

  6. Under great British precedent, 37% of the vote is a sufficient mandate for a referendum on leaving a political union.

  7. It is odd that those who were publicly calling for an early Indyref2 have spent little time or effort on persuading voters to vote "yes". I still see constant attacks on SNP and NS. Why would someone vote FOR independence if the new county is going to be run by people who are incompetent or liars etc. ?? People seeking independence bed to stop sniping at each other and stop being distracted. AFTER you get Indy you can piss on each other all you want.

  8. The greater importance of the list vote is highlighted by the fact that the turnout for it was notably higher. 1000's more voted on the list than on the constituency, presumably as for many, they were unable to vote for their preferred party on the latter.

  9. Don’t forget about the “Independent Greens”. Although as a party they appear to be anti-ref, some people will have been tricked into voting for them, thinking that they were voting for a pro-Indy party.

    Difficult to know how to count these votes in the tally, though.

  10. Why all this hand-wringing over figures? We won! SNP 64 ToryLibLabour 57.
    Let's bin all this Unionist spin about "Failing" to get an overall majority.
    The Greens are being co-opted on the unionist side by sleekit MSM journalists.
    It's high time Keith Brown acted on his promise to set up a rebuttal unit to counter the bullshiit in the media.
    Not holding my breath on that one.