Friday, 4 May 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012


by Stephen Fisher, 4th May 2012

In yesterday's Scottish local elections, both Labour and the SNP were up and the Tories and Lib Dems were down relative to when they were last run in 2007. 

The BBC collected the results of the first preference votes for the 93 wards in 6 councils. (Local elections in Scotland use STV.) The shares of the vote were as follows (with 'aoth' referring to all but the four main parties aggregated, and turnout in the final column).

    council_name   con12sh   lab12sh   ld12sh   snp12sh   grn12sh   aoth12sh   turn12  
        Aberdeen       9.7      29.7     15.1      31.3       2.5       14.2     33.0  
          Dundee      11.3      30.1      9.0      43.4       0.6        6.3     35.9  
       Edinburgh      21.2      28.1      9.3      26.9      11.4       14.5     41.9  
            Fife       7.8      38.5     13.1      31.1       1.0        9.5     37.2  
         Glasgow       5.9      46.9      2.9      32.6       5.5       11.6     31.3  
    Renfrewshire       9.1      47.6      4.4      35.3       0.0        3.7     41.6  

The corresponding changes in the share of the first preference shares of the vote were as follows.

    council_name   con0712   lab0712   ld0712   snp0712   grn0712   aoth0712   turn0712  
        Aberdeen      -4.4       5.1    -11.8       1.8       0.9        9.2      -17.2  
          Dundee      -1.3       0.8     -2.3       3.4      -0.0       -0.6      -14.0  
       Edinburgh      -0.9       5.2    -12.7       6.5       3.2        1.8      -15.7  
            Fife      -2.8       9.8     -9.3       3.3      -0.4       -1.0      -12.9  
         Glasgow      -1.6       3.7     -5.2       8.1      -0.9       -5.0      -12.1  
    Renfrewshire      -2.4      10.8     -5.4      -0.1      -0.2       -2.8      -14.0  

The average changes since 2007 across all the 93 wards were Con -2.2, Lab +6.3, LD - 8.2, SNP +4.3. 

Turnout was down heavily mainly because the 2007 elections were fought on the same day as the Scottish Parliament elections in 2007.  The confusion and the number of spoilt ballots that arrangement caused led to the local elections being delayed by a year this time round.

Given that the SNP replaced Labour as the largest party in Scotland in 2007 it is perhaps unsurprising that Labour's share of the vote has gone up more than that of the SNP's.  But while the SNP improved on their 2007 result, it has come nowhere near being able to match their performance in last year's Scottish Parliament elections. Labour however have recovered a bit on their poor performance then.  Comparing the first-past-the-post share of the vote from 2011 with the share of the first preference votes this year in the BBC Key Wards the overall changes were Con -0.7, Lab +1.6, LD -1.0, and SNP -12.2.

Overall the SNP won 424 seats and Labour 394. But it is not yet clear which party will be ahead in terms of the share of the first preference votes. 

Acknowledgements

Thanks to the BBC, John Curtice, Rob Ford and Jon Mellon. This who provided help with data and analysis.  The views and errors are all mine.

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