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 why do you think, as a matter of interest, the SNP vote will decline by 9% here when they are clearly way up in Scotland compared with 2010?

  2. Marcus, I do agree this seat is natural Conservative territory, but, building on the point Barnaby makes, I just don’t think the Conservatives can outperform the national shift to the SNP to the extent they would require to win here. I do think that the lions’ share of the SNP increase will come down my way – they could be looking at massive swings in Glasgow and the surrounding area – but I do not buy that they will crash in the areas which were previously their heartlands. At least not in 2015 – possibly by the next election they will after Sturgeon steers them hard a’port.

    On a side note – I do like to dabble in the English seats’ threads, but like you, most of my opinions will be aired on the Scottish threads. I think the Conservatives have a good chance of winning WAK, and a reasonably good chance in Argyle & Bute. Aside from that, they have an outside chance in BRS, and could come surprisingly close (but won’t win) in Edinburgh West, but these are their only prospects in Scotland outside their current seat, DCT.

  3. I don’t understand how people could predict that the SNP will lose this seat when all of the Scotland wide polls show them on a much higher vote than 2010.

  4. Your lack of understanding is a commendable on in this instance. It was a nonsensical prediction.

  5. it was just my prediction and it will be my last comment on UK Poling Report after all the cheek that i have had.

  6. Disagreeing with what is (you must admit) an unorthodox prediction to say the least – I’m not sure that qualifies as cheek. People disagree on here all the time (naturally, given the difficulty and subjectivity of reading political tea leaves), but they usually manage to do so without falling out or throwing toys out of the pram.

  7. I’m not sure. Throwing toys out of the pram seems to be pretty common practice round here lately

  8. You’re right Pete. It’s just that there has been a particularly large number of nonsensical predictions in the last couple of months.

  9. Barnaby Marder
    I agree that Jeremy James’s prediction is unrealistic but having canvassed widely in this seat during the referendum I do think that this could very possibly fall to the Tories. Your earlier post is right, SNP have gained in Scotland but one of the key things in any polling data is a thing called churn which is why some seats will often fall to the losing party in an election. Knowing this seat well and knowing the reasons for this seat voting No even though it’s in SNP heartland indicates to me that SNP will not gain the tactical support of Labour or FRI, 24 OCT 2014 and they will also lose some of their voters to other parties. I am fairly certain that the SNP vote share will decrease here but it is just a case of whether the Tories can hold there votes and SNP lose enough to fall below them. I trust you do not find this partisan as it is my simple analysis of the mood and churn within this seat.

  10. Sorry the date was meant to say the Lib Dems.

  11. Reginald,

    So if you canvassed widely in this seat, what would your prediction be for Perth?

  12. CON 42% SNP 39% LAB 10% LIB 4% OTH 5%

    Con and SNP might be further apart or nearer but I have an incline that it will be this way around.

  13. A 6% swing from SNP to Conservative? I’m sorry, my reaction to that is “pull the other one”. Of course I know about churn, but though the Tories have come out relatively well from the aftermath of the referendum campaign they are not going to start gaining seats which have been SNP for a couple of decades or more. I accept that the SNP’s performance is likely to be less sparkling in terms of swing etc. than in some Yes-voting areas, but not THAT much worse.

  14. I would think the Conservatives have a good chance of pushing 35% or so, but while the result ought to be a great deal closer than in 2010, I don’t think the Conservatives will be able to take it. I have been told that the Conservatives are hoping for a boundary review in the next parliament, and believe that the proposed Perth and Kinross seat would be very much easier for them to gain.

    As yet, I have only canvassed the seat for the referendum. I certainly did meet some voters who said they were considering voting Conservative for the first time, and often these voters were in social housing, though also in work. Yet more were in former Right to Buy properties which do seem to be returning to the fold. As I haven’t been focusing on the general election, it will be interesting to find out what the mood is like.

    Reginald, in which parts of the constituency did you see improved or very strong canvass returns?

  15. Reginald,

    i think it will be closer than you predicted something like:

    Con- 37%
    SNP- 36%
    Lab- 15
    Libdem- 7%
    OTH- 5%

  16. I can see who if might think this scenario plausible because No clearly one here last month but No will be split between the four Unionist parties (UKIP included) and some No voters will vote SNP.

    I could see a swing to the Conservative here but the SNP lead in 2010 was fairly comfortable and it was huge in the two Perthshire Holyrood constituencies in 2011.

  17. In the referendum we saw monolithically Labour areas such as Glasgow voting Yes, while SNP-voting ones such as this one and Angus voted No. Rather than predicting sweeping changes in the Scottish political landscape come May, maybe the conclusion we should be drawing is that the referendum was not a general election, and the results don’t seem to be comparable.

    It was always too simplistic to suggest that SNP areas would have a higher Yes vote, especially when the Westminster picture is so distorted by anti-Tory tactical voting. Incidentally that’s why I believe the predictions of s Tory gain here are wide of the mark – I believe much of that Lib Dem vote will collapse to the SNP, pushing them towards 50%.

  18. Sadly the incumbent seems pretty settled. No realistic chance of an SNSWP loss here.

  19. Snswp?

  20. With a few exceptions, high No votes tended to occur in areas where the Conservatives still have strength. Something like 95% of Tory voters voted No. It’s not really as much of a surprise that SNP held seats largely voted No, because the Tories tend to be in second place, and the SNP vote often includes a degree of tactical voting. Unless Labour and Lib Dem supporters decide to abandon the SNP and risk having a Conservative win the seat. then the SNP seem pretty safe.

  21. Barnaby Marder

    Yes, but I’m not neccesarily suggesting the SNP do worse I’m just suggesting the Conservatives do better as a result of more fear of SNP rather than Conservatives. In other words the better of two evils will be the Conservatives rather than SNP for Labour and LibD voters. The reason I’m not predicting any great loss for SNP is because of the first-time voters who will fall about equal I reckon into the Tory and SNP folds.

    Marcus Buist

    I don’t dispute that it will probably be narrow.
    I canvassed a lot around Blairgowrie, Scone, Perth itself, Dunkeld and Pitlochry. I found that Perth itself was a lot more evenly spread with different party voters at each door. In Perth I found a lot of labour people who had voted SNP last time to keep Tories out but who will vote the other way to give SNP a good kick. Surprisingly enough I found that a lot of people who voted SNP due to Pete Wishart last time are now looking at voting where their heart lies in terms of party and on the outskirts this translated to what I feel was a more Tory positive feeling. Another surprise I received was how well liked David Cameron was. I thought he was hated with a passion in Scotland but I even found teenagers who described him as ‘cool’. Pitlochry was clearly Tory whilst Dunkeld was more balanced. Blairgowrie was more SNP. Scone was balanced but the Yes’s were a lot more verbose than the Nos and the Labour vote I think will be high here.


    That is exactly what a lot of people will do.

  22. Andy54

    I’ll guess that you are from somewhere deep in the central belt or maybe even further south and have never even been anywhere in this seat.

  23. Andy54
    I’ll guess that you are from somewhere deep in the central belt or maybe even further south and have never even been anywhere in this seat.

  24. Reginald,

    I agree with what you are saying because i canvassed in this seat and many Labour and Libdem supporters were going to vote for the Tories to get Pete Wishart. I canvassed in Blairgowrie and the majority of No voters said they were going to vote conservative for the first time to get Pete Wishart out. I think this seat will be a very close win for the Tories.

  25. A reversal in the traditional anti-Tory tactical voting in Scotland would be interesting, but doesn’t seem to be borne out by what current polling there is.

  26. I don’t think we can really tell anything from current polling TBH. I think it is credible that we could see anti-SNP tactical voting in current SNP and Lib Dem held seats in the north, as the referendum will probably have changed people’s priorities.
    A lot though will I think rest on the performance of the new SNP leadership. Constant banging on about ‘the 45’ and ‘the Yes alliance’ might play well in the central belt (though I am sceptical of this anyway) but it will definitely alienate voters in these northern seats.

    As to current Scottish polling:
    Most of the SNP’s increase has come at the expense of Labour, and will likely be in deprived central belt areas – even if their massive poll leads became reality at the election, does anyone really expect the likes of Berwickshire or Dumfriesshire to fall?
    And if the Lib Dems do fall to 6%ish how much of this will be in held seats and how much will be just the inevitable and total collapse in the majority of the central belt? (genuine question)

  27. If the LDs fall to 6% in Scotland (which to me doesn’t sound unreasonable) then they can expect to keep hold of Orkney and Shetland and Charles Kennedy’s seat. That’s pretty much it.

  28. What about Danny Alexander’s Inverness seat. I think it will be close but he may hang on in that seat

  29. As stated elsewhere, I cannot see the LDs losing Fife NE, and I’d also back Thurso and Moore.

  30. oh of course I forgot. Local factors, massive personal votes and shock holds will dominate the picture.

    Yes, LDs to melt in the belt but hold on to all they have.

  31. Remember that in 2011 the LDs won 8% in constituencies and 5% on the list (the equivalent of a poll)

  32. I don’t see what point you’re making Iain : With a marginally higher vote share than the recent poll, the LDs managed exactly zero constituencies in mainland Scotland. And that somehow indicates that they would win at least 5 seats?

  33. Your post hasn’t flashed up, it wasn’t a response.
    I think the LD share will be closer to 10%, and anyway the swing will be very uneven nationwide. I can’t see any of Orkney, Ross or Fife NE falling.

  34. Are you expecting the LDs to poll a better percentage in Scotland than they do nationwide?

  35. No

  36. Iain,

    What would you predict this seat to be in 2015 ?

  37. As long as the current SNP bubble stays afloat, this should be a very easy SNP hold.

    The question is whether that bubble will stay afloat until the GE – in a situation where Labour actually starts hacking away at that SNP lead/in the medium term if there is a medium term for Scots Westminster seats, this sort of seat is clearly going to be difficult for the SNP to juggle with its newfound social radicalism in the central belt. The SNP’s hope has got to be that they can keep themselves buoyant for another electoral cycle or two, enough to get a second referendum before inevitably their coalition starts fracturing on the rocks of reality.

  38. Iain,

    I completely agree with your analysis.

  39. James Baillie

    The SNP ‘bubble’ might stay afloat in the central belt but I struggle to see it doing so here.

  40. Well, quite, my expectation would be a certain amount of deflation before the 2015 GE – but if the SNP are looking at 45+ percent of the Scottish vote it seems a near inevitability that would involve holding here.

    As it is, I suspect they’ll have dipped below 40 when it comes to the crunch, which may still mean a narrow hold here but might give the Tories something to play for.

  41. Kevin Jefferson – I expect this seat to be an SNP hold, but a Tory gain would not shock me.
    In all honesty, it is still very hard to predict Scottish seats, and I don’t think we’ll be able to see a clear picture until the New Year at the earliest.

  42. I’m increasingly of the opinion that we won’t get a good idea of where we’re headed in much of Scotland until a) we have a new SLAB leader in place and b) Ashcroft heads north of the border.

  43. James Baillie

    I agree that it would look pretty hard for the Tories if the time came and SNP had a similar position in the polls. Like you I don’t think that will be the case. However, even if the former were to occur then I would still see the Tories having a chance here. Seats in Scotland where the Tories come narrow second, I feel, have a rather unique position if it is SNP that currently holds the seat. Their voting patterns could well be moons apart from the overall voting pattern across Scotland.

  44. Wonder what the new property tax effect will be in areas with houses around the 250.000 mark? Could help the Tories get a few more seats.

  45. Apparently, the Economist’s ‘World in 2015’ has called this seat for the Tories. This is more than premature, and while I don’t agree with the verdict, I do expect the Conservatives to do rather better, and the SNP somewhat worse. Certainly, it is the seat I will choose to vote in come May.

  46. This must have been one of the few constituencies in Scotland to have swung from Lab to Con in 2010.

  47. I know the bookies are primarily protecting themselves in the face of a surging SNP, BUT Ladbrokes have the SNP at 1/100 to hold this seat.

    That is a pretty strong hint which commentators might do well to absorb 🙂

  48. The Economist is not noted for calling elections well. I think for example they predicted that the ruling Social Democrats would be returned in Romania a few weeks ago; they were comprehensively thrown out in favour of a right-wing party. They’ve made many other mistakes over the years & should stick to economics rather than party politics.

  49. Oh dear. The proposition thatbthe SNP is going to lose any held seats in the 2015 GE to any party is nonsensical. The LD, Labour and Tory vote in Scotland is lower than 2010 in every scottish poll.

  50. I agree that it is a nonsense that they’ll lose any held seats, but the Tory vote is not lower in every poll, and usually fluctuates between 18 and 20 per cent, with a high of 23 and a single low of 15. Agreed, Labour and the Lib Dems will be retreat in Scotland, but in individual seats, they should buck the national trend, just as the SNP may fall back in seats where it has already collected its maximum possible vote, but has alienated its ‘Tartan Tory’ base.

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