Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine

2015 Result:
Conservative: 15916 (28.8%)
Labour: 2487 (4.5%)
Lib Dem: 11812 (21.4%)
SNP: 22949 (41.6%)
Green: 885 (1.6%)
UKIP: 1006 (1.8%)
Independent: 141 (0.3%)
MAJORITY: 7033 (12.7%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, North East. Part of Aberdeenshire council area.

Main population centres: Stonehaven, Inverbervie, Ballater, Banchory.

Profile: An affluent rural seat. In the west the constituency stretches up the Cairngorm mountains and is largely unpopulated coutryside, dotted with villages, and includes Balmoral Castle, the Royal family`s Summer retreat. The eastern part of the constituency is home to many who commute into Aberdeen and the oil boom in Aberdeen has seen an expansion in the suburbs around historic towns such as Stonehaven and Inverbervie.

Politics: Another former area of Conservative strength in Scotland, in this case one that went to the Liberal Democrats after the Conservative wipe-out in 1997 and then to the SNP in their 2015 landslide.

Current MP
STU DONALDSON (SNP) , son of Maureen Watt MSP. Educated at Banchory Academy and Glasgow University. Former Parliamentary assistant. First elected as MP for Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine in 2015.
Past Results
Con: 13678 (30%)
Lab: 6159 (14%)
LDem: 17362 (38%)
SNP: 7086 (16%)
Oth: 910 (2%)
MAJ: 3684 (8%)
Con: 11814 (28%)
Lab: 5470 (13%)
LDem: 19285 (46%)
SNP: 4700 (11%)
Oth: 379 (1%)
MAJ: 7471 (18%)
Con: 11686 (31%)
Lab: 4669 (12%)
LDem: 16507 (44%)
SNP: 4634 (12%)
Oth: 418 (1%)
MAJ: 4821 (13%)
Con: 15080 (35%)
Lab: 3923 (9%)
LDem: 17742 (41%)
SNP: 5639 (13%)
Oth: 805 (2%)
MAJ: 2662 (6%)

2015 Candidates
ALEXANDER BURNETT (Conservative) Businessman.
ROBERT SMITH (Liberal Democrat) Born 1958. Educated at Merchant Taylor`s School and Aberdeen University. Estate manager. Contested Aberdeen South 1987 for the SDP. MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine 1997 to 2015. Backed Sir Menzies Campbell in the 2006 leadership race.
RICHARD OPENSHAW (Green) Born 1975, Isle of Wight.
STU DONALDSON (SNP) , son of Maureen Watt MSP. Educated at Banchory Academy and Glasgow University. Parliamentary assistant.
GRAHAM REID (Independent)
Comments - 583 Responses on “Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine”
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  1. Note that the SNP polled a derisory 11% in the GE, yet managed to win FPTP in the SPE with the same candidate. A spectacular case of the mobility of votes between the two Parliaments.

  2. Dare I say this could be a Conservative gain if the LD vote collapses?

  3. Could well turn out to be a 3, or even 4 way marginal. Labour are pretty likely to come 4th – I don’t think they will pick up an awful lot of votes in Scotland generally given their unexpectedly strong 2010 showing, and in this seat 14% must be fairly close to their ceiling. The SNP, however, could be up close to 25% here, with the Tories staying around 30% possibly a little under, the Libdems falling back to a little over 30% and narrowly retaining the seat.

    I think the SNP are too far back to win it but will be within 10% of the winner, and it will be a close call between Con and Lib.

  4. The Conservatives did well (in Scottish terms) her last time: halving the majority and raising their vote in both real and percentage terms. However they run the risk of being gazumped by the SNP here.

  5. I can’t see the SNP winning from 16%, especially when there are 2 parties some distance ahead of them, and they’ll be coming off the back of a possibly whopping referendum defeat, and will have been in power at Holyrood for 8 years by then.

  6. Lord Ashcroft’s most recent marginal poll predicts this as an SNP gain:


  7. I rather doubt that the SNP will win here. Some of the predictions for gains they might make tend to ignore the clear message of the polls, and of previous elections, that they consistently have been doing better in Holyrood than in Westminster elections. I also think that they have gone ever so slightly off the boil – some voting intention polls even for Holyrood are now showing Labour closing the gap quite a bit though the SNP are still ahead – and since they are in government and Labour aren’t I think it’s likely that they will slip a little further too, though not collapse. I would have thought that in the context of a Westminster election this will remain primarily a LD – Con battle, though with the SNP share of the vote rising pretty sharply. My money would now be on an LD hold. I also think they will hold Berwick & NE Fife, though Argyll & Bute looks very hard to hold. I know Gordon is Salmond’s constituency at Holyrood but I think a survival for Bruce is the most likely outcome if he stands again. The polls suggest that Labour would actually win Gordon, on a uniform national swing, but I’ll believe that when I see it……

  8. On another forum some Scottish Conservatives have given the impression they’ll be putting most of their efforts into winning this seat in 2015.

  9. 2012 locals 1st prefs votes in the 6 wards that are all in this seat
    snp 7166
    con 7093
    lib dem 5241
    lab 2557
    snp came top in 1st prefs in the 3 split wards and after looking at the figs by polling place i guessing these “bits” would add about 300 to the snp maj over con.

  10. What makes Berwickshire so hard to predict is the strong Tory performance in 2007 and 2011 Holyrood elections set against the strong Lib Dem performance in 2010 (where John Lamont was the Conservative candidate).

    Argyll & Bute is the most likely Lib Dem loss because they are facing a SNP/ Con/ Lab challenge, and I think that seat is even harder to defend that Edinburgh West or East Dunbartonshire.

    Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine is the second most likely loss to the Tories.

    I think that the Labour vote is certain to rise in East Dunbartonshire but the softness of the Conservative vote could help Swinton hold on. In Edinburgh West, the Tory vote appears stronger in recent local elections so the Lib Dems don’t have the advantage of having a soft Tory vote to squeeze. However, the SNP could take many of the former Lib Dem votes that Labour need to win the seat. I think that both these suburban seats will be very close either way.

    Were it not for Lord Thurso and Charles Kennedy in Caithness & Sutherland and Ross, Skye & Lochaber, I would regard these seats as SNP gains but incumbancy should just hold out.

    Orkney & Shetland is the Lib Dems safest seat and one of only three in the UK that voted Lib Dem in the 1999 European elections….and was won by the Lib Dems even in their dreadful Holyrood performance in 2011.

    I am certain that Menzies Campbell will hold on and fairly sure that Malcolm Bruce will to.

  11. The Scottish Conservatives are hopeless. My best guess is they’ll hold their one seat – DCT, with a reduced majority, but even that might be optimistic. In spite of their unpopularity, the LDs will most likely hold on here and in the borders.

  12. A closer look at the result in West Aberdeenshire in 1966-
    Davidson (Liberal)- 15, 151 (43.15%, +9.93%)
    Hendry (Conservative)- 13, 956 (39.74%, -6.69%)
    Henderson (Labour)- 6, 008 (17.11%, -3.25%

    Majority- 1, 195 (3.40%)
    Swing- +8.31% From Con to Lib.

  13. A closer look at the result in West Aberdeenshire in 1970-
    Mitchell (Conservative)- 18, 396 (46.58%, +6.84%)
    L. Grimond (Liberal)- 12, 847 (32.53%, -10.62%)
    Hay (Labour)- 6, 141 (15.55%, -1.56%)
    McKinley (SNP)- 2, 112 (5.35%, N/A)

    Majority- 5, 549 (14.05%)
    Swing- +8.73% From Lib to Con.

  14. that must be Jo Grimond’s missus Laura.

  15. ”that must be Jo Grimond’s missus Laura.”

    Yes, that’s correct.

    Davidson, the incumbent Liberal, actually actively campaigned with her, but in spite of this, she lost the seat on a swing of nearly 9% to Colin ‘Mad Mitch’ Mitchell.

  16. Laura Grimond incidentally was a member of the famous Bonham-Carter family- So another in a long line of Liberals to come from that lineage.

  17. Yes, I understand that there is a law that if you’re called Bonham Carter, you have to be a Liberal or Liberal Democrat. 🙂
    I knew Jane Bonham Carter slightly from my school days – she’s now a Lib Dem peer.

  18. Whether John Bonham of Led Zep was a Liberal is another matter. 🙂

  19. Interesting, Barnaby.

    I do wonder sometimes if the reason for the Liberals’ continued strength in West Aberdeenshire was because of the after-effects of Davidson’s candidacy?

  20. A closer look at the result in East Aberdeenshire in February 1974-
    Henderson (SNP)- 18, 333 (50.77%, +20.95%)
    Wolridge-Gordon (Conservative)- 12, 634 (34.99%, -5.91%)
    Cruikshank (Liberal)- 2, 727 (7.55%, -3.73%)
    Sissons (Labour)- 2, 416 (6.69%, -11.3%)

    Majority- 5, 699 (15.78%)
    Swing- +13.43% From Con to SNP.

  21. I think the SNP will gain this is 2015

    SNP 30
    Con 29
    LD 22
    Lab 14
    Others 5

    I think this will flatter to deceive for the Tories like Perth and North Perthshire in 2005.

  22. ‘I think the SNP will gain this is 2015’

    Lord Bob is very highly regarded in these parts, and should have a strong enough personal vote to hold odd both the Tories and SNP

    Besides it would take an enormous swing for the SNP to win here – and if they did pull off a swing of that size, you suspect most other seats will be SNP gains too

  23. There won’t be a uniform swing in 2015. The SNP will also gain Gordon, Caithness, Argyll and Inverness from the Lib Dems

  24. That’s a very brave prediction

    Gordon and Argyll I agree with you on.

    I think the Lib Dems will hold here and in Inverness and Caithness.

  25. I think Scottish seats are too difficult to call, if there is a no vote next year then the SNP could possibly end up losing seats.

    Their poll rating in local by elections also appear to be on the slide.

    If there is a no vote in 2014 then I would guess something like:

    Lib Dem 34%
    Tory 32%
    Labour 18%
    SNP 12%
    Oth 4%

  26. Being brave is sometimes better than a quiet life.
    That said,
    I think the SNP will find it’s wings clipped somewhat after the inevitable rout next year.

    There will be people who think what is the point of the SNP.

    But people are probably stilll happy with them at Holyrood.

    Given the LD vote could still fall away disastrously outside the rural areas, there probably is still room for a signficant SNP and Labour rise at the same time in Scotland
    but I think I’d be surprised to see this seat go SNP.

    It remains one I hope the Tories could pick up – more because of the LD position though.

  27. It is funny how things change – or perhaps don’t change.

    In 2008, we had predictions in some Labour seats as being SNP-LD marginals, – look where that is now.
    (not this one though).

  28. Declaration of West Aberdeenshire in 1979-

  29. IF the result from the recent by-election (discussed on the Dunfermline/West Fife thread) was repeated (in terms of LD, SNP, C vote shares changing) then this seat would indeed go blue.

    Of course that’s an overly simplistic way of looking at things and the relevance of the by-election is likely negligible but it does provide a crumb of comfort to those who despair of the Tories’ continuing misery north of the border.

    For the record it would also make Angus and PNP extremely close to call.

  30. SNP: 28%
    LD: 27%
    CON: 26%
    LAB: 16%
    UKIP: 4%
    OTH: 5%

  31. “Anyway, I’ll leave you to read Lord Ashcroft’s report for yourselves, but for the record it also contained Westminster voting intention figures for Scotland, concucted earlier this month. CON 18%(+1), LAB 40%(-2), LDEM 6%(-13), SNP 31%(+11), UKIP 2%(+1). Changes are from the 2010 election and reflect a big swing from the Lib Dems to the SNP. If it was repeated as a uniform swing across Scotland the Lib Dems would be reduced to three seats in Scotland, the Tories would gain two seats, Labour would gain two and lose one, the SNP would go up to 11 seats.”

    I assume that the two Conservative gains would be Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine and Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk?

    The Labour gains would be East Dunbartonshire and Edinburgh West and the Labour loss would be Ochil & South Perthshire?

    The three retained Lib Dem seats would be Orkney & Shetland, Ross, Skye & Locharber and NE Fife…?

    ….which would mean that Argyll & Bute, Caithness Sutherland & Easter Ross, Inverness and Gordon could fall to the SNP.

  32. that seems like the most logical conclusion one could draw, yes.

  33. I think the most likely Conservative gain is Aberdeenshire West & Kincardineand not Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk?

    I could also see the Lib Dems coming third in Argyll & Bute with the consituency effectively being challenged between the SNP and the Tories.

    Ochil & South Perthshire – Not certain because the Labour majority is now over 5000. Like Edinburgh South in 2010, I could see the solidity of the Tory vote making it harder for the SNP to collect enough additional votes to oust Labour here.

    Fairly certain that Labour will gain East Dunbartonshire but not so sure about Edinburgh West where the Lib Dems had a 10000 + majority in 2005. Brown was popular in Scotland but not in much of England, which may have given Labour a better than normal result in Edinburgh West in 2010. If the Lib Dem vote was to collapse though, it could just as easily go to the SNP. I think that Edinburgh West could be an interesting 4 way marginal, that the Lib Dems may just hold with the other three parties being between 1% and 10% behind.

  34. I think that the LDs could well be 3rd in Argyll & Bute, but I rather think the Tories will be (an albeit close) 4th behind SNP, and either Labour or LD. I doubt whether the Tories can win W Aberdeenshire & Kincardine, though it’s possible; I’ve never thought them that likely to gain Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk which I suspect the LDs will narrowly hold. Labour’s trouble in Ochil & S Perthshire is perhaps that Gordon Banks won’t enjoy the 1st-time incumbency boost that he had in 2005. It’s quite possible he may survive; actually it’s quite possible that the SNP will take Falkirk & miss out in Ochil, which is likely to be close. Labour’s next most vulnerable seat to the SNP is probably Dundee W but I think it will be held. I don’t think the SNP will do that well in Edinburgh W, and suspect the Tories will fall back further there, and therefore I still think Labour can & probably will take it.

  35. @Dalek

    The Liberal Democrats are certain to lose Edinburgh West because they only polled 16% there at the May 2012 local elections!

    The tories are doing relatively well on Scotland to be on 18%. I perhaps marginally underestimated Ruth Davidson but still think they will still on one seat as they might only marginally increase their vote in seats where it makes no difference such as E Renfrewshire or Edinburgh S, partly due to the LDs being a complete busted flush/irrelevance.

    I can see the tories gaining this seat in 2019/20 but still think it is a bit of a stretch in 2015.

  36. I appreciate Lord Ashcroft’s polling however, the next 12 months is clearly going to be a major factor in some key Scottish marginals.

    Personally, I think the No camp will win the Referendum and I think this will have a major impact on the SNP especially at a Westminster election. Pre 2010 the SNP had massive leads over Labour for Westminster and could only muster 1 in 5 votes on the day, can you imagine what this will be like after a referendum defeat?

    I also think the Lib Dems will do better in areas of relative strength and will benefit from the general split in the vote.

  37. The Argyll & Bute Holyrood consituency voted SNP 50%, Tory 18% and Lab 15%. As the Westminster constituency is not as good for Labour as the Holyrood constituency (Lab perhaps being 13% in 2011). I don’t see Labour polling over 22% (which in itself would represent an increase of 9%). Labours best chance here was 2001.

  38. It is just worth considering whether the SNP could
    do a lot worse than expected in 2015 –
    I wonder whether they could get a nasty punishment people don’t see coming – like in 1979.

    Probably not on balance – people still like them being around with roughly the kind of have your cake scenario at the moment – and carry on whining.
    And with the Lib Dems in retreat – although perhaps not in some rural areas – there will be votes for the SNP to pick up aswell as Labour.
    Maybe the Tories can stabilise the position and start to add on 1-2% if they are in a strong position in 2015.
    Perhaps a unionist stance may bring some rewards at the margins.

  39. It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens to the SNP vote post referendum. I reckon the current betting odds are about right in indicating an 80% plus chance of a No vote.

    There are very few international precedents on the basis of which we can make any sort of judgement as to what happens when a nationalist party loses an independence vote. Quebec is the only one I can find. The first time independence was rejected the pro-Independence Party vote held up well. On the second occasion the secession proposition went down only narrowly, but the vote for for the parties that campaigned on the losing side went into decline and has yet to recover.

  40. If Quebec has gone its own way would Canada have been split in two parts?

  41. The Tories are planning on having a US style primary for their candidate selection: http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/scots-tories-to-trial-us-primary-election-system-1-3169596

  42. It would be a huge shot in the arm to the Tories if they took this seat.

  43. The Tories should select someone like Sandy Wallace here

  44. Dalek – not exactly but Quebec would have seceded from the rest of the country and become an independent nation in much the way as the SNP wants Scotland to.

  45. Tory gain here, unless the SNP supporters vote en masse for the Lib Dems.

  46. Re the idea of holding a Primary here. It would be really interesting to see how that plays out in a UK environment

  47. It would be funny if at the next election people just voted for whatever party was best placed to defeat the Lib Dems.

  48. you’ve seen that in Twickenham before now, Joe. In 1994 the LDs were so hated amongst some voters because of the town centre issue & the ice rink that in W Twickenham ward some Tories clearly voted tactically for Labour to get rid of them, knowing that the Tories couldn’t win that ward as it was then drawn; and at the count the Tories loudly cheered our gain of those 2 seats. I myself took a couple of voters to the polls & found that the husband was a Tory who was voting tactically for us to get rid of the LDs; he turned out to be a cousin of Jan Tomaszewski the famous Polish goalkeeper

  49. Could be another retirement announcement in the offing here

  50. If Robert Smith retires the Libdems will not hold on here – he has a decent personal vote. I can see the Conservatives winning in his absence, and they may even do so if he sticks around, though it will be tight if he does.

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