Edinburgh South

2015 Result:
Conservative: 8626 (17.5%)
Labour: 19293 (39.1%)
Lib Dem: 1823 (3.7%)
SNP: 16656 (33.8%)
Green: 2090 (4.2%)
UKIP: 601 (1.2%)
Others: 197 (0.4%)
MAJORITY: 2637 (5.4%)

Category: Semi-marginal Labour seat

Geography: Scotland, Lothian. Part of the Edinburgh council area.

Main population centres: Edinburgh.

Profile: Residential suburbs to the south of Edinburgh, set around the Braid hills. It includes traditionally well-to-do neighbourhoods like Morningside as well as student areas like Newington.

Politics: Consistently held by the Conservatives in 1987 Edinburgh South fell to Labour in 1987, later becoming a Labour vs Liberal Democrat marginal. In the 2015 SNP landslide it was the only Labour to withstand the SNP tide, leaving Ian Murray as Scottish Labour`s only MP.

Current MP
IAN MURRAY (Labour) Born 1976, Edinburgh. Educated at Edinburgh University. Former events manager. Edinburgh councillor 2003-2010. First elected as MP for Edinburgh South in 2010. Shadow Scottish Secretary since 2015.
Past Results
Con: 9452 (22%)
Lab: 15215 (35%)
LDem: 14899 (34%)
SNP: 3354 (8%)
Oth: 881 (2%)
MAJ: 316 (1%)
Con: 10291 (24%)
Lab: 14188 (33%)
LDem: 13783 (32%)
SNP: 2635 (6%)
Oth: 1801 (4%)
MAJ: 405 (1%)
Con: 6172 (17%)
Lab: 15671 (42%)
LDem: 10172 (27%)
SNP: 3683 (10%)
Oth: 1468 (4%)
MAJ: 5499 (15%)
Con: 9541 (21%)
Lab: 20993 (47%)
LDem: 7911 (18%)
SNP: 5791 (13%)
Oth: 602 (1%)
MAJ: 11452 (26%)

2015 Candidates
MILES BRIGGS (Conservative) Educated at Perth Grammar School and Robert Gordon University. Political advisor. Contested North East Fife 2010.
IAN MURRAY (Labour) See above.
PRAMOD SUBBARAMAN (Liberal Democrat) Educated at National English School Bangalore and Bangalore Institute of Dental Sciences. Dentist.
PHYL MEYER (Green) Driving instructor and consultant.
COLIN FOX (Scottish Socialist Party (SSP)) Born 1959, Motherwell. Educated at Our Ladys High School and Strathclyde University. Contested Edinburgh South West 2010. MSP for Lothian 2003-2007.
Comments - 477 Responses on “Edinburgh South”
  1. “https://yougov.co.uk/news/2016/07/18/voting-intention-conservatives-lead-eleven/
    Details can be found above”

    Yes the subsample is far too insignificant to be taken seriously. Drawing trends from subsample polls will get you nowhere.

  2. “I only took it seriously because it showed similarities to two other Scottish polls. I think we need some bigger polls with larger samples first but I think the current polls continue to show the Tories ahead of Lab.”

    That doesn’t matter, the sample size is too small.

  3. Polltroll: STV – you get one vote which can move around, either in whole or fraction until it goes to somebody who needs in
    To work perfectly voters should rank ALL candidates in order, this never happens.

    In a 100 vote turnout 8 stand for 4 seats: Quota = (100/[4+1] + 1, ie 21 votes)
    In theory the last count will have 4 candidates with 21 votes and one with 16 who will be the runner up

    first count :
    a 28
    b 22
    c 14
    d 11
    e 9
    f 7
    g 6
    h 3

    top 2 candidates are elected stage one

    First candidate has a surplus of 7 – it will be sread out amongst the others
    Of the 28 votes the candidate a received they only needed 3/4 of each vote they received, therefore every vote will transfer to their number 2 choice at 0.25
    (if they voted b number 2 then their 0.25 vote goes to their number 3, if they don’t transfer the fraction of the vote goes nowhere)

    after disributing:

    a21 elected
    b 22 elected
    c 14 +0.25 = 14.25
    d 11 +3.25 = 14.25
    e 9 +1.75 =10.75
    f 7 + 0.5 += 7.5
    g 6 + 0.25 = 6.25
    h 3 + 0.5 = 3.5

    Non transferable 0.5 (2 ballot papers)

    At this point candidate b’s surplus of 1 is not enough to close the gap between h and g, and therefore candidate h is eliminated. Their 3 original votes will transfer at 1.00 each and the transfers will pass to their third choice at 0.25 each)

    This process continues ad infinitim until we are left with 5 candidates standing with the fifth placed the runner up OR until 4 candidates reach the 21 threshold

    Hope that helps a little

  4. I’ve had to calculate STV by hand before, for multi-member posts on the student newspaper. Never do that if you value your sanity.

    We gave up on trying to reassign surplus votes as fractions, and just picked surplus votes to reassign at random.

  5. It’s once the fraction brings someone over the quota and has to be reduced the a ridiculously small fraction the head melts .

  6. Thanks Robberbutton for the explanation

  7. On theory is that since Labour’s rout at the 2015 General Election Kez Dugdales strategy was to recover left wing voters from the SNP by making Labour more left wing. However, Labour’s post 2015 residual vote was very centralist (not left wing) and Dugdales left wing appeal caused many residual Labour voters to switch to the Tories in 2016.

    If, however, you consider a Lanarkshire constituency were the SNP vote remained static and the Labour vote fell by 3000 and the Tory vote increased by the same amount is this 3000 Labour voters switch to the Tories or is this just the net effect?

    Perhaps –

    1500 Labour voters switched to the SNP
    1500 Labour voters switched to the Tories
    1500 SNP voters switched to the Tories

    Could traditional elderly Labour voters (the type who would never vote anything other than Labour) not have passed away over the 5 years since the previous elections and new younger voters who had never lived under the Thatcher years have joined the electoral register and voted Conservative is the Lanarkshire seats where the swing from Labour to Conservative was greatest?

  8. There’s little evidence that younger voters are more pro-union than the middle-aged population. If anything, it seems to be slightly the reverse, The big difference is between the working age population and pensioners, who are much more pro-union.

    Also, Kezia is hardly a screaming lefty. She’s very much not a Corbynite, although she’s trying to avoid saying too much about it to try to keep the party together.

    The idea that the Tory strategy should be to be clearly to the right of everyone else is pretty brave. I think Ruth Davidson will focus much more on competence and common sense rather than trying to portray everyone else as being dangerous liberal lefties.

  9. Ruth is a down-to-earth pragmatist who gets anyone who listens to her to forget about whether people are righties or lefties – the art of a clever politician.

    If you have to spell out what side of politics or your own party you’re on for people to realise, then you don’t have that key instinct., you just sound like a . . . politiician.

  10. Loads. That Scottish census link I gave you before would probably have more info but many Edinburgh and Napier Uni students will live in the seat.

  11. No Simon, there’s no evidence to support your claims. Consistently opinion polling has pointed towards a strong unionist vote among adolescents.

    The last comprehensive opinion poll of young people was in July 2014 (sample of 1,000) – which found a 52% No, 29% Yes, 19% Don’t Know response among 16/17 year olds eligible to vote in the referendum. At the time the average result for Yes was in the high 30’s with Don’t Knows included.

    “In June 2013, a poll of over 1,000 14- to 17-year-olds conducted by the University of Edinburgh found that 21% supported independence, 60% supported the Union, and 19% were undecided. Only 17% of the teenagers’ households said they would vote yes in the referendum, however, which led the Newsnet Scotland website to question the accuracy of the opinion poll. A similar poll by the University of Edinburgh in June 2014 found that support for independence was 29%, opposition 52% and 19% were undecided.”

    Furthermore the vast majority (19 out of 20 – if I recall correctly) of secondary school surveys have underlined a significant vote against independence among adolescents which has consistently been recorded as being WELL above average.

    The evidence against this? Sub-samples – which are mean nothing.

  12. *which are meaningless.

    I can also recall one survey in Motherwell where students and teachers were both questioned: the vote against independence was higher among the students (by 10% IIRC)

  13. “Furthermore the vast majority (19 out of 20 – if I recall correctly) ” – sorry that’s wrong, it was 9 out of 10.

  14. While that’s all interesting, it’s all about school pupils. I know 16-17 year olds can vote, but what polling evidence there is from the referendum suggests they didn’t actually vote significantly differently from other younger voters, except that turnout was likely somewhat higher. I was talking about younger voters. Thatcher left office 26 years ago, so you could legitimately say all those under 30 grew up in a post-Thatcher era. There’s no evidence of this group being more pro-Union than the rest of the voting population.

  15. “you could legitimately say all those under 30 grew up in a post-Thatcher era.”

    I think you’re being very generous with the timings there. I’d put the threshold at people who are now in their mid to late 30s. I’m 40 and probably among the youngest people who were aware at the time that we were growing up in the “Thatcher era”…and in my case I grew up in a mining village during the strike so probably became politically aware much earlier than kids who grew up in a more comfortable middle class environment.

    This means that the oldest people who can’t remember Thatcher as prime minister are now entering middle age….certainly there are no “young voters” (defined as those under 35) who will now be able to do so.

  16. I’d put it far earlier than that. People born after 1980-82 will have little to no recollection of Thatcher in power.

  17. “While that’s all interesting, it’s all about school pupils. I know 16-17 year olds can vote, but what polling evidence there is from the referendum suggests they didn’t actually vote significantly differently from other younger voters, except that turnout was likely somewhat higher. I was talking about younger voters. Thatcher left office 26 years ago, so you could legitimately say all those under 30 grew up in a post-Thatcher era. There’s no evidence of this group being more pro-Union than the rest of the voting population.”

    All of the evidence I provided you! Many school polls were exclusively for 16/17 year olds – almost every single one had the NO side ahead significantly compared to the national average.

  18. The polling and school surveys provided all suggest a strong NO vote among 16-17 year olds in the region of 10-20% in excess of the national average (or 65-75% NO). This phenomena is more prominent among those under the age of 20: most polling suggests that the yes vote widens out as you approach 25-35 age band, which would represent voters first enfranchised Between 1999-2009.

  19. Exactly. I also picked up a flicker of political awareness at the age of about 10. I recall Westland, the Libya bombings (both in 1986), and the run up to the 1987 election. This perhaps coincides with when teachers start to talk about politics to their pupils. I recall the miners strike (84-85) and the Falklands war (82) but only the events themselves rather than the immense political turmoil they caused.

    The youngest people who remember Thatcher’s resignation and appreciated the political significance of it at the time would be at least 36 now, whilst you would have to be at least 47 to have had political awareness during the whole Thatcher reign.

  20. “Suggesting that the demographics are going to move against “Yes” in the future.”

    Maybe the demographics will remain essentially unchanged. The schoolkids will shift more to Yes as they get radicalised at university, whilst people will shift back to No again as they approach retirement, fearful of their pensions and savings.

    In both 1974 elections, the Tories came third among under-30s….these same people 40 years later now give the Tories a massive poll lead. Just goes to show how things change as people age.

  21. “Suggesting that the demographics are going to move against “Yes” in the future.” – not necessarily, people’s opinions change across the course of their lifetime. The demographic issue for the SNP in the future would be Scotland’s aging population…

    @ Simon – My points stand, do you have any evidence to suggest that the Yes vote was average/high among 16-17 year olds?

  22. Apologies for brining this thread back ON TOPIC. 😀

    I read somewhere that Ed. South is likely to get the chop out of the Edinburgh seats in the next Boundary Review. Is this still likely to be the case?

  23. Yes it’ll be carved up between North East, South East, South West and North West if the 2018 Review is accepted, which will probably annihilate any chance of Labour sustaining its position in Edinburgh South/recovering in North & Leith.

  24. Onto my most surprising shot in the dark guess for Edinburgh in 2017:

    Almond – 2 CON 1 SNP 1 LIB
    Pentland Hills – 2 CON 1 SNP 1 LAB
    Drum Brae / Gyle – 1 CON 1 SNP 1 LIB
    Forth – 2 SNP 1 LAB 1 CON
    Inverleith – 2 CON 1 GRN 1 LAB
    Corstorphine / Murrayfield – 1 CON 1 SNP 1 LIB
    Sighthill / Gorgie – 2 SNP 1 LAB 1 CON
    Colinton / Fairmilehead – 2 CON 1 SNP
    Fountainbridge / Craiglockhart – 1 CON 1 GRN 1 LAB
    Morningside – 2 CON 1 LAB 1 GRN
    City Centre – 2 CON 1 GRN 1 SNP
    Leith Walk – 1 SNP 1 GRN 1 LAB 1 CON
    Leith – 1 SNP 1 GRN 1 LAB
    Craigentinny / Duddingston – 2 SNP 1 LAB 1 CON
    Southside / Newington – 1 CON 1 LAB 1 GRN 1 SNP
    Liberton / Gilmerton – 2 SNP 1 LAB 1 CON
    Portobello / Craigmillar – 2 SNP 1 LAB 1 CON

    City of Edinburgh: 22 CON (+11) 19 SNP (+1) 12 LAB (-8) 7 GRN (+1) 3 LIB (=)

    This would probably result in the Conservative’s forming a minority administration in Edinburgh, sending the Scottish media into a frenzy.

  25. Wouldn’t an SNP/Green minority coalition be more likely? Labour would probably be more willing to back them than the Conservatives

  26. I think that looks very optimistic indeed for the Conservatives, and they’d need to score a long way in excess of 25% to get those sort of results. The other disadvantage they have is that, in many areas, they’ll not get a whole lot of second preferences. They should get very few from SNP and Green voters, and Labour preferences tend to split roughly equally between the SNP and the Tories when forced to choose. In areas where it’s close between Lab and Con for the last seat, I’d imagine Labour will do a lot better in terms of picking up preferences.

  27. Also, the Lib Dem councillor in the Almond ward has been deselected, has left the group and announced his intention to run as an independent. I’d imagine that, if this does happen, the fourth seat will be up for grabs and will either go to the SNP or Labour. More likely the SNP, assuming they have the sense to run a second candidate.

  28. As they always seem to be these days in Scottish politics Labour would be between a rock and a hard place in that situation. On the one hand at a time when they are losing unionist votes to the Conservatives it may appear to be in their interests to form anti-nat blocks with the Cons and LDs. On the other hand Labour politicians are programmed to see the Tories as evil, so helping them form an administration (even just a minority) is something they would be very reluctant to do. Plus it could backfire politically by alienating their remaining more left-wing voters.

  29. It’s fairly apparent from the way that Labour preferences split that their remaining vote is divided on whether they prefer to work with the SNP or the Tories. Given the existing administration is Lab/SNP, there’s a fairly good chance that this continues after the election if the arithmetic allows.

  30. Looking back at my suggested results for Edinburgh for 2017 I would like to point out that: the final seat in Almond could go SNP; I’m not entirely confident of my suggestions for City Centre and Inverleith; the Greens could take the final seat in Portobello / Craigmillar.

    Explaining how I came up with these results:

    * We know from recent local council by-elections (such as Irvine West) that the SNP are significantly disadvantaged by a lower turnout: these very by-elections suggest that the Conservatives will improve upon their strong performance in 2016.
    * Compared with the 2011 Scottish Parliament election the SNP’s List vote in the City of Edinburgh in 2016 fell by nearly 10%. In the same election the Conservatives made some substantial advances across Edinburgh, increasing their vote share by around 10%. The Greens vote share increased by roughly 2% of the vote whilst Labour’s vote share fell back by 3-4% of the vote.

    The 1st Preference share of the vote would look something like this (completely clueless guess):
    * Conservative – 31%
    * Scottish National – 24%
    * Labour – 18%
    * Green – 18%
    * Liberal Democrats – 8%

  31. I strongly doubt that the SNP will make any significant advances in Edinburgh in 2017.

  32. Perth & North Perthshire was SNP in 2012 if I recall correctly… I doubt that will change.

    “I think they’ll fall back a bit in Edinburgh”

    I actually believe that is very possible.

  33. Its fair to assume that the SNP are certain to poll 40 – 45% of the vote in 2020, perhaps more.

    The fate of the most marginal SNP Westminster constituencies (anything with a majority of under 10,000) will depend on the boundary changes, whether its the Conservatives or Labour who establish themselves as the main Unionist party and the degree of anti SNP tactical voting.

    What appears evident is the SNP now seem more secure former safe Labour seats recently acquired in 2015 with huge majorities than in the successors to the constituencies taken from the Conservatives in 1987 and 1997.

    This appears re-informed by May’s Scottish Parliament elections.

    The new SNP heartlands have shifted from NE and Mid Scotland to West Central Scotland and East Central Scotland outside Edinburgh.

  34. I only have the SNP down around 3-4 points since 2011, unless you are including Margo’s vote as part of the SNP vote. I think it would be an error to do this – obviously there’s no objective evidence here, but I think she took votes from a range of parties. Anecdotally, most people I know who voted her are left of centre, but not particularly SNP-friendly.

  35. @ Simon- sorry a miscalculation on my part 😛

  36. “I certainly don’t think the SNP are invincible in the following seats:
    Perth and North Perthshire
    West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine
    Aberdeen South
    Dumfries and Galloway
    Edinburgh South West
    Banff and Buchan
    etc etc”

    No constituency is invincible, though some constituencies are more invincible than others.

  37. “Although the SNP majorities are large in seats like Banff & Buchan, Angus, Perth & North Perthshire etc I think these are harder to hold given that they mostly voted against independence”

    One swallow does not make a summer. The dynamic in Westminster elections is totally different to Holyrood. As long as the SNP can credibly claim to be the party standing up for Scotland’s interest at Westminster they will most likely continue to hold all those seats you list.

    “Based on 2016 I see Glasgow and the Central Belt as the SNP fortress, where they have successfully eradicated the Labour Party as a going concern.”

    See above. It is far too early to say that Labour have been eradicated as a going concern in Scotland.

  38. Fantastic post H.HEMMELIG, I completely agree.

  39. Surely not.

  40. HH’s post should be viewed through the usual context of his Tory pessimism of course. Concluding that there are a load of seats where the conservatives have made progress which they have no chance of winning whilst simultaneously there are oodles of central belt boroughs in which Labour go from one disaster to another but might well come back to the reds, seems just a little bit of an odd thing to conclude.

    The dynamics of Scotland shifted, and Labour seem in danger of becominof harking back to a grand old age in the 2000s much like how various Tory types love remembering 1951 with giddy fondness.

  41. “HH’s post should be viewed through the usual context of his Tory pessimism of course.”

    Tory pessimism is usually justified on the subject of their performance in Scotland.

    “Hemmy is just pissed off at the Tories because of Brexit I should think. Although maybe less so now. He did have a “break” from UKPR iirc.”

    As a teenager it is you who should be pissed off about Brexit, not me. I’ve already benefitted as much as I needed to from free movement by living and working all over Europe. You most likely won’t be able to, at least as easily. Brexit has given me a much cheaper mortgage deal and made my exports (three quarters of my income) much more competitive. I’ve hardly ever been so busy in the summer. But for people your age, not to mention my own kids who are much younger, the long term ramifications could be very limiting.

  42. “Prove me wrong folks, prove me wrong!” – Here’s a thought, try comparing the results of the 2015 and 2016 elections. Notice anything?

    Well, for a start, turnout significantly lower in 2016. The Tory vote from 2016 would only give them ONE additional constituency (Berwick, Roxburgh & Selkirk – not East Renfrewshire, not West Aberdeenshire & Kincardine): there’s no basis to assume that the Conservatives will magically poll ahead across the north east: what is your supporting evidence? A gut feeling?

  43. Adding: the Conservatives didn’t come remotely close to taking any constituency seat in the North East other than Aberdeenshire West in 2016: how can they do so so much better in 2020 weighing in a higher turnout which will benefit the SNP.

    Given that you are making a baseless claim without any supporting evidence it is you who should be proving us wrong.

  44. *if you want to be taken seriously.

  45. The reason NTYUK is one of the better posters here is exactly because you can’t tell his political views from a short glance through his posts.

  46. That the Tories are consistently putting on 7,8,9% in first preference votes in local byelections suggests they will do a lot better in the next round of local elections next year, unless something calamitous happens for them between now and then. As for 2020, still too far off to say what the environment (and boundaries) will be by then.

  47. Good point Simon, much of us could take heed including myself

  48. @NTYUK ”Did you forget the surprise Labour hold in Dumbarton in 2016?”

    Jackie Baillie only survived because of anti-SNP tactical voting from Helensburgh and Lomond where there are significant Lib Dem and Tory votes. Baillie herself virtually admitted this when she was interviewed on BBC after the result came through.

  49. @ PEPPERMINTTEA: Yes, and I’m not disputing that point – canvassers from all parties reported a strong Labour constituency vote in the Helensburgh and Lomond section of the constituency, with an equally strong SNP vote in the West Dunbartonshire side of the constituency.

    My point being that Dumbarton, on the whole, is not a particularly affluent constituency – demographically it is around the Scottish national average. In many respects the constituency is quite similar to Cowdenbeath, which the SNP gained by over 10% of the vote… It was widely anticipated to go SNP in 2016. It went completely against the grain: the SNP’s vote share in the constituency fell back by around 5 percentage points from the 2014 Scottish independence referendum (well against the Scottish national average) and 10% from the 2015 UK general election.

  50. The result in Dumbarton was certainly exceptional within the context of the 2016 Scottish Parliament election.

    @ Simon: Thank you very much! I’m quite surprised to be honest, I always thought that my political views came across too much from my posts on here.

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