Perth & North Perthshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 17738 (32.7%)
Labour: 4413 (8.1%)
Lib Dem: 2059 (3.8%)
SNP: 27379 (50.5%)
Green: 1146 (2.1%)
UKIP: 1110 (2%)
Independent: 355 (0.7%)
MAJORITY: 9641 (17.8%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Mid Scotland and Fife. Part of Perth and Kinross council area.

Main population centres: Perth, Coupar Angus, Blairgowrie, Aberfeldy, Pitlochry, Alyth.

Profile: Covers a huge swathe of remote mountains, forest and moorlands in the Scottish highlands, as well as the lowland area around Perth itself. There are a few small towns in the highland part of the seat, including the market town of Aberfeldy and the tourist centre of Pitlochry, but the large majority of the electorate is in the lowland portion of the constituency in the south, especially the city of Perth itself. Perth is the administrative centre of Perth and Kinross council and a retail and financial centre for the wider area. It has played a prominent role in Scottish history and Scone Abbey to the east of the city was the traditional coronation site for Scottish monarchs.

Politics: There have been various different constituency arrangements covering Perth in the past, sometimes pairing the city with Kinross, sometimes with the highlands of north-eastern Perthshire. Throughout these it has been held by the SNP since the 1995 Perth and Kinross by-election, and has been a marginal between the SNP and Conservatives since the 1970s.

Current MP
PETE WISHART (Scottish National Party) Born 1962, Dunfermline. Educated at Queen Anne High School. Former keyboard player with Celtic rock band Runrig. First elected as MP for Tayside North in 2001.
Past Results
Con: 14739 (31%)
Lab: 7923 (16%)
LDem: 5954 (12%)
SNP: 19118 (40%)
Oth: 534 (1%)
MAJ: 4379 (9%)
Con: 13948 (30%)
Lab: 8601 (19%)
LDem: 7403 (16%)
SNP: 15469 (34%)
Oth: 509 (1%)
MAJ: 1521 (3%)
Con: 11189 (30%)
Lab: 9638 (25%)
LDem: 4853 (13%)
SNP: 11237 (30%)
Oth: 899 (2%)
MAJ: 48 (0%)
Con: 13068 (29%)
Lab: 11036 (25%)
LDem: 3583 (8%)
SNP: 16209 (36%)
Oth: 655 (1%)
MAJ: 3141 (7%)

2015 Candidates
ALEXANDER STEWART (Conservative) Perth and Kinross councillor since 1999.
PETER BARRETT (Liberal Democrat) Contested Perth and North Perthshire 2010.
XANDER MCDADE (Independent)
Comments - 368 Responses on “Perth & North Perthshire”
  1. So you have said, at least 20 times.

  2. I can’t see very much swing happening here.
    As I’ve posted, I do hold out the prospect of a shock Tory gain off the SNP somewhere who may flounder after what will probably be a substantial rout in the referendum.
    There’s probably only about 5-6% which can come off the LDs and it could split fairly evenly across the other parties. There is a respectable Labour vote here.

  3. SNP 39%
    CON 35%

    if C do well.

  4. One wonders whether the Tories would have held this seat since 2001 if they had persuaded 25 SNP voters to vote Conservative that year.

  5. This constituency is the successor to Tayside North and not Perth ( which largely went into Ochil).

    If the Conservatives had won Perth in 2001 then the SNP would have still have won here on the incumbent SNPs Tayside North incumbency.

  6. Are you being sarcastic Andy? If Shirley Williams had persuaded 1,296 Tory voters to vote for her in 1979 perhaps the SDP would never have been formed.

    Only joking.

  7. Canvassing around the Strathtay ward shows a fairly comfortable majority for the No campaign. While the contest is quit tightly fought in urban estates, middle income houses and rural voters more solidly back No. I am surprised, given the general enthusiasm for the referendum, that so many of the people I canvassed in Stanley said they weren’t going to vote. For the No side, it is perhaps reassuring to note that the people more likely to back Yes are also least likely to vote. The other key finding was a significant divide between supporters in terms of income and education, with the preponderance of Yes supporters I spoke to being out of work or on the incapacity register. More confident of a good No vote in SNP Perthshire than in formerly Tory Edinburgh.

  8. Interesting report Marcus. Is the ward in Perth itself or in the more rural part of the constituency?

  9. Seconded, and I find it very surprising. Certainly, if the SNP are unable to carry their heartlands – Perthshire, Angus, Aberdeenshire, Moray etc – then Yes hasn’t a hope of winning. Not sure how to square this with polls which seem to have narrowed down to a 5/6% gap.

  10. “Is the ward in Perth itself or in the more rural part of the constituency?”

    Stanley is on the railway line to Inverness, I’m guessing 7/8 miles north of Perth.

  11. Hopefully after the results are in Dalek will be able to construct a notional result of how Kinross & West Perthshire would have voted. I know H. Hemelig would very much appreciate that ๐Ÿ˜‰

  12. I can’t wait

  13. I looked at some data by the 32 Scottish councils as I was keen to know whether the first authorities to declare on the 18th were likely to have bigger or smaller yes votes than average. Given what I’ve seen in polling I tend to the view that the no vote is stronger in areas of less deprivation, stronger amongst people who weren’t born in Scotland compared to those who were and stronger amongst those aged over 60 than under.

    The handy thing is you can look at each of these factors for the 32 councils. From this work I reckon Perth and Kinross will have a bigger no vote than the Scottish average (note that is not the same as saying no will win in Perth and Kinross – however if Scotland ended up 50/50 I reckon this would very likely be a no). There is far less deprivation here overall and 33 per cent of those aged 16+ are at least 60 (compared to 24 per cent for Scotland overall).

    Perhaps surprisingly I also think Argyll and Bute will have a greater ‘no’ than average as it has more people aged 60+ than any other council (37% in 2013) and 24% of the population weren’t born in Scotland, compared to 17% on average – possible impact of faslane?

    For different mixes of these reasons I reckon stronger showings for no in Aberdeenshire, Edinburgh, Scottish Borders, Dumfries and Galloway, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, Shetland, Orkney, Aberdeen City, South Ayrshire and Angus.

    The flip side is I reckon the yes vote might be highest in places with higher deprivation, a high proportion of people born in Scotland and lower proportions of those aged 60+. North Lanarkshire comes up highly here, others include Inverclyde, West Dunbartonshire and East Ayrshire. Glasgow would be high – but as a city has far more people than average who weren’t born in Scotland.

    This also kinds of makes sense if you compare it to the council results in the 1997 referendum for the Scottish Parliament – whilst all 32 said yes – support ranged from 57% in Orkney to 85% in West Dunbartonshire. I reckon the same pattern will hold this time.

    Clackmannanshire declared first last time – if it was the same this time – then on this analysis (Which might turn out to be utterly wrong!) I reckon a small yes vote wouldn’t necessarily mean Scotland has said yes overall.

  14. The upshot of what you’re saying is that huge numbers of SNP voters in their rural heartlands will be voting No. In that case, why have they been consistently supporting the SNP for the last 20-25 years?

    Conversely you are expecting a big Yes vote from poor Labour voters in Glasgow and surrounding suburbs?

    What you say does slightly surprise me, but from 450 miles away it’s really impossible to follow what’s happening. I do doubt that it will be the kind of No landslide that many are lazily expecting.

  15. yeah – it is surprising on the face of it! and I stress I’m talking about relative scales of yes/no votes across the councils – not necessarily where yes or no will win.

    But in 1997 places like Moray, Aberdeenshire and Perth and Kinross were far cooler on setting up the Scottish Parliament than the country as whole (74%). The highest yes support was in traditional Labour heartlands – the Western Isles was the only council outwith the central belt in the top ten yes votes in 1997.

  16. Pete – nice gag upthread about Kinross & W Perthshire notionals. I chuckled out loud ๐Ÿ™‚

  17. David

    The big difference in 1997 was that Labour (obviously) advocated voting Yes. Thus there’s little surprise that most of their supporters did so, and that the places with the strongest residual Tory vote were less supportive.

    Core Labour voters in & around Glasgow actually going against their party is a completely different situation in 2014.

    I’m not saying you’re wrong – let’s see what happens.

  18. Thinking about it, it’s not that surprising that some SNP voters in SNP strongholds might vote No. Some such voters will have started to vote SNP in these constituencies for mainly tactical reasons; they may well for whatever reason have turned against the Tories, perhaps they are sympathetic to Labour, and only the SNP could realistically prevent the election of a Tory MP in their constituency – e.g. this seat, Angus, Banff & Buchan. They may not necessarily agree with the SNP’s aim of independence, and of course many voters who backed the SNP in the last Holyrood elections will vote No in many parts of country.

  19. “of course many voters who backed the SNP in the last Holyrood elections will vote No in many parts of country.”

    That’s obviously true.

    I’m much less convinced that districts which have been supporting the SNP since 1987 – Banff & Buchan, Moray, Angus – can be anything other than overwhelmingly pro-independence. If they are not, then surely it will be a No landslide. The latest polls suggest it will probably be closer.

  20. I suspect that, paradoxically, Labour will provide a lot of the Yes vote, while many SNP voters will tend towards No. I have heard a lot of people sight risk as a determining factor, although, I would prefer a more positive argument for Union. I hop about across Perthshire, but mainly stay in rural areas. Stanley itself is moderately deprived, and although Strathtay as a whole is rural, Stanley is a small town of about 6,000 people. While there are pockets of affluence, most of the town is tenement and social housing. Yes are clearly more vocal, and have a much better ground operation, but local opinion is much more balanced with a slight edge for Union.

  21. I’m assuming then that the more genteel towns here (eg Pitlochry) will be much more convincingly No than Stanley?

  22. Labour’s Yes voter obviously are keener on change than Scotland’s more affluent voters. It is seen as a way of spiting the Tories and perhaps enabling some change. It doesn’t surprise me at all that SNP heartland areas, formerly very good areas for the Scottish Conservatives, are seriously considering voting No. The SNP won so convincingly in 2011 because it seemed like a credible alternative to the lackluster Labour party. Mired by the sleaze of the Major government, and with a fairly timid electoral platform, the Scottish center-right will prefer to affect change through the SNP. The danger for the SNP is that in aiming to win this referendum, they move to the left and spook their loyal voters back into voting Conservative. Then again, one can easily get carried away with such ‘perfect storm’ arguments for Tory revival. While I am confident they will make gains in 2015, Perth and North Perthshire will not be one of them.

  23. I think there’s something in what Marcus says. There’s plenty of anecdotal evidence that some Labour voters are voting Yes – there are indeed some quite well-known examples I think – but that some SNP voters are quite happy for Alex Salmond to be First Minister of the existing devolved government.
    If No wins however one has to wonder if it’s the beginning of the end for his political career. Perhaps he’s not quite ready to hang up his boots yet.

  24. I don’t know about Pitlochry. From old work colleagues, I am aware that there is a drugs problem in the town. Moreover, Highland ward is emphatically SNP. I would struggle to describe it as deprived, but I really don’t know how it will vote. Recently, a canvasser told me Dunkeld, which is very posh, is not a good area for the Conservatives. I suspect it will go for No, but it is neighbouring Birnam that provides the Conservatives with their local vote.

  25. I’ve holidayed in Dunkeld for a few days in the dim & distant past. It seems like solid Tory hunting shooting & fishing territory, but I’ve seen film of Pete Wishart campaigning there, and doing pretty well.

  26. I would be interested to see how much of the support for Scottish independence comes from the left and how much comes from the right in some kind of more detailed opinion poll. It might explain how Perthshire would vote. Speaking for myself, I lean towards the right but also support independence. Am I alone in that regard?

  27. I have a feeling we could see a No vote now.

    I don’t know what the longterm consequences of that would be, but it could have some kind of effect on the SNP’s cause- they’d have to concentrate on keeping power at Holyrood and maybe regroup at Westminster and try and stay a force in the General Elections in a good number of places. I think their vote could decline if they don’t get independence- the Nationalists seemingly have everything to lose with this and Labour everything to gain back.

  28. Most of those for Independence are on low incomes and are from the political left, although, in many cases, they do not have a coherent political position. No surprise that there are those on the centre-right for independence, Michael Fry being a notable example, but they are a minority within the movement. Even if there is a No, unless the SNP descend into bickering, I suspect they will continue to do well. Perhaps they spook a few on the right back to the Conservatives, but I doubt this will be hugely significant this time around, Provided they remain the main alternative to Labour at Holyrood, their vote will hold fairly comfortably.

  29. If it’s No, especially a narrow No, Salmond will play the victim and get a good sympathy vote in 2015.

    The best way to look at Salmond is essentially as Scotland’s Bob Crow. Scotland appreciates that he is the most effective person to hammer a good deal out of Westminster, even if they don’t want independence. If he stands again for First Minister he will be re-elected, and I think they’ve a good chance of gaining seats in 2015.

  30. The Nationalists are riven with bitterness and in fighting, always have been, Salmond’s only triumph has been to hold his party together for so many years. The vultures have been hovering over him since the first tv debate which was a disaster for him and I predict after a NO vote on the 18th the SNP will do the same to Salmond as the Tories did to Thatcher.

  31. “Salmondโ€™s only triumph has been to hold his party together for so many years”

    LOL. So winning a majority at Holyrood wasn’t a triumph? The biggest threat to No is from Labour’s complacency and it shines through in posts like yours.

  32. Please give examples of our complacency.

  33. Your post itself contains several examples….assuming that the vote will definitely be No, for a start. And also the fact that bitterness and infighting characterises Scottish Labour “and always has done”, just as much and perhaps more than the SNP. Salmond’s history shows that he is not a man to be underestimated and I will not be confident at all about his defeat until the fat lady is singing.

  34. There’s no need to be so rude about Johann Lamont

  35. HH – the Telegraph blog today highlights the problem: the No campaign fail to highlight a positive patriotic case, because much of the Left hates Britain. Pete – v funny. Have you noticed however how most Scottish female MSPs have the hairstyle and weight of Rab C Nesbitt’s wife?

  36. Looks like Marcus was spot on with his analysis. Perth and Kinross was 60/40 No. And the most impressive Yes results were in deprived areas of the Central Belt.
    Ultimately I think the Scottish Tories are capable of staging a revival but it will take another turn of the electoral cycle. If, as I think likely, the SNP under Sturgeon seek to exploit Labour’s vulnerability in the Central Belt and tilt to the Left then, ultimately, it will open up an opportunity for the Tories, particularly if Ruth Davidson continues to develop as a credible political leader. (She has had a very good referendum). But the benefits are unlikely to accrue for a few more years yet.

  37. prediction for 2015-

    SNP- 44%
    Con- 32%
    Lab- 18%
    Lib- 6%

  38. I had a thought while thinking about this seat and began to think about the difference in Turnout between the referendum and the election. General Election 66.9% and the referendum turnout in Perth and Kinross of 86.9%. Obviously if the deference in turnout was in proportion to the final Yes/No vote then it is not important.

    However, if the higher turnout was explained by No voters mobilising themselves, say after the poll showing the Yes campaign lead, then SNP chances of holding here are very good in deed. For the Conservatives to really challenge here they would first need to get these No voters out to vote, which they clearly haven’t been willing to do at General Elections previously.

    If the opposite is true, if the Yes campaign proved far more effective at getting people who previously did not vote to go out and vote for Yes then the SNP does have a problem. They need to either hold on to the No voters the clearly must have under this scenario or be the ones who need to mobilise a fairly large numbers of voters who were not inclined to go out and vote.

  39. I live in Perth and my prodiction would be:

    SNP : 30%
    Con : 36%
    Lab : 18%
    Libdem :15 %
    Other : 1 %

  40. Jeremy James

    I agree with your prediction except that I think if the Tories win then they will win by a larger margin. The tactical votes from Labour and Lib Dem voters that stopped the Tories winning in 2010 may now tactically vote for the Tories as they see SNP as more of a threat now.

  41. With respect I think that’s way out. The Tories aren’t doing too badly in Scotland compared with recent times, but a 7% positive swing from the SNP against a well-established and, by all accounts, pretty popular incumbent? Pull the other one. SNP hold.

  42. Yep, the Tories are barking if they think they can win this one. Surely though they will have learned the lesson of 2010 and target a small number of realistic seats in 2015. This one would struggle to make it into the top 10 for most likely Tory gains in Scotland – and they will not gain anywhere near 10 seats.

  43. Barnaby,

    While I’d say Swinney was popular, and, though I can’t stand her, Roseanna Cunningham is, too, it would be absurd to say the same for Pete Wishart. I can’t see the Conservatives winning here, although they have a better chance than they did in 2010. Despite that, we can’t imagine increased SNP majorities and holds years on end. It just isn’t credible to suggest that the Conservatives will never be able to win because of tactical voting or a shrinking base.


    I tend not to comment on English seats because I know so little about them, but as I live in PNP, I get to canvass voters, and have casual chats about politics every so often. While I think a shorter list of targets is needed, PNP could easily be on that shortened list. Knowing the constituency well, it is natural Conservative territory, and the SNP poll lead here reflects some significant weaknesses for them. A big No vote, the SNP moving to the left, the very significant drops in unemployment, the small business regeneration of Perth, the Lid Dem vote moving to the Conservatives in the Euro elections, their reliance on tactical votes from Labour… etc, etc. No gain, but a much reduced majority.

  44. Marcus – a very interesting post.

  45. I agree, it is interesting. I was always under the impression that Wishart, rock musician & charismatic personality that he is to some extent, was quite well-liked, but I bow to your local knowledge. However, as you do Marcus I stick firmly to my prediction of an SNP hold. The Tories could stand to win the odd seat but not this one – currently I lean very slightly towards them taking W Aberdeenshire & Kincardine.

  46. I like how Marcus only posts on seats/issues he knows something about, and when he’s got something interesting to say. He avoids meaningless and uninformed predictions. We should all try to follow his example….most especially those amongst us who “trytopredictpolitics”.

  47. unless you’re brilliant like Pete & me. We are demigods who can predict pretty accurately even in seats we don’t know at all ๐Ÿ˜‰

  48. To your credit, both you and Pete also avoid meaningless, uninformed exact predictions.

    There’s nothing duller than 600 threads repeatedly spammed with

    Con 43.2%
    Lab 35.6%

    etc etc

    Mostly based on no local knowledge whatsoever

  49. I can imagine Wishart being a rather divisive figure.

  50. The Tory’s will only get this seat if they do not repeat the same mistake they made in 2010, which was to announce their target seats at the party conference. Pete Wishart is not very popular in Perth neither is Roseanna Cunningham

    At the referendum Perth was a strong NO vote ( Yes-40%,
    No-60%) and at the 2010 election SNP were voted in by roughly 40% and a lot of Labour voters voted Yes.

    My new prediction would be:
    Con – 44%
    SNP – 31%
    Lab – 15%
    LD – 9%
    OTH – 1%

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