I have finished running notional figures for the Scottish boundary commission’s initial proposals for new Parliamentary boundaries in Scotland. Unlike in England, the topline results in terms of seats lost, gained and overall partisan impact is pretty much identical to that suggested by the rough-and-ready approach of assuming a uniform distribution of the vote throughout seats that the FT provided straight after they were released.

Overall, the Conservatives notionally lose one seat (their only one in Scotland), Labour notionally lose 3 seats, the Lib Dems lose three seats, and the SNP’s total is unchanged. This brings the total partisan effect of the boundary changes in England and Scotland to the Conservatives losing 6 seats, Labour 21 seats, and the Liberal Democrats 10 seats, with only Wales still to go.

The current Conservative seat of Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale gaines Dumfries itself (losing rural areas), making into a Labour seat and losing the only Conservative seat in Scotland. Note, however, that by losing Dumfries, the current Dumfries & Galloway seat (which becomes Galloway & Carrick) becomes substantially more Conservative, meaning Labour’s majority over the Tories there will be only 414. notionally Conservative: see correction at the end of the article.

Liberal Democrats:
The Liberal Democrats see two seats abolished – Gordon is divided up between Banff & Buchan and West Aberdeenshire (now renamed Deeside and Gordon), Charlie Kennedy’s Ross, Skye and Lochaber was almost a certainty to be abolished given its position and undersized electorate, and indeed it has been. The third loss is Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire, which as East Dunbartonshire and Kilsyth becomes a notionally Labour seat.

Labour lose five seats (the notional gains from the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats giving them a net loss of three). The disappearing seats are Central Ayrshire (split between North Ayrshire & Arran and Kyle & Cumnock), Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East (split between Cumbernauld & Coatbridge North and East Dunbartonshire & Kilsyth), Edinburgh East (the new Edinburgh East seat contains more of Edinburgh South than Edinburgh East), Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Gordon Brown’s seat, which is merged into Glenrothes… though given Gordon Brown will likely stand down Lindsay Roy shouldn’t face many problems) and Glasgow North (the seat of Ann McKechin – shadow Scottish secretary until this month).

Below is an updated spreadsheet of notional results, now including England and Scotland. All the usual caveats about notional results apply – these are a best guess at who would have won seats in 2010 if people’s votes had been counted on the new boundaries. It is NOT an attempt to predict what would happen in an election now, nor is it an attempt to predict how people would have actually voted in an election in 2010 on these boundaries, as some people’s tactical voting decisions would have been different.

I should also point out that Scotland posed some particular problems because of the split wards, and more problematically, the lack of data on the existing split wards (for wards that are currently split between seats there are no easily available figures on what proportion of voters in the ward are in which existing seat). I’ve used what information I can to tackle the second problem, such as reviews of polling places and so on.

UPDATE: Many thanks to FrankG in the comments in a later post, who has spotted an error in my original calculations. I’ve uploaded a fresh spreadsheet that corrects the errors. The changes effect some wards that are currently in a single seat, but are divided in the proposed plans. Most of the changes are relatively minor, but an important change is that the corrected figures have Galloway & Carrick as a notionally Conservative seat, rather than a Labour seat. Hence the overall projected change for Scotland becomes Conservatives unchanged, Labour down 4, Lib Dems down 3 and SNP unchanged.

Notional results for Provisional English & Scottish Boundaries (excel) (csv)

177 Responses to “Full notionals for Scottish provisional boundaries – UPDATE”

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  1. Henry / Billy Bob

    I think you need to factor something else in to your thinking.

    Posit a Referendum in November 2014. To give time (say a year) to deal with legal challenges from the likes of Foulkes & Forsyth, legislation going through Holyrood early in the 2013-14 session.

    NB I have no insider information! but that is a possible scenario.

    You need to work out all the possible permutations from that kind of scenario to have any idea of what will happen in May 2015.


    I agree absotuely with the Labour Party’s habit of self immolation, and your view that Harold Wilson deserves a better press than often given to him. The Pimlott and the Zeldin biographies are fair on HW.

    To add to your dates of 1978-1979 and then the Iraq war, I would add some events in reverse order.
    Forcing Blair out of the leadership, 2006-2007.
    John Smith’s Shadow Budget 1992.
    Bennism 1970-1987
    Neil Kinnock’s campaign against Devolution 1974-79.
    Roy Jenkins Budget of 1970.
    Jim Callaghan over In Place of Strife
    The 1966 Dock and Merchant Seamen’s strikes.
    The 1964 non devaluation
    Nye Bevan 1951-1955
    Cripps refusing a ‘nice’ budget in 1951/1950
    Attlee going to the country to please the King 1951
    Bevan’s ‘Vermin speech 1948
    Macdonald in 1931

    Sad days

  3. RinN

    ‘But it ain’t always easy to be civil to political opponents or to forgive your opponents impoliteness’.

    Although you do this pretty effectively most of the time.

  4. @ Henry

    “If the Tories are polling around 20% then the Tories don’t exist north of the border”

    That means that the Lib Dems don’t exist anywhere !!!!

    Only joking. We know that Lib Dems have pockets of support in certain areas, following successful local grass roots work i.e. the Focus teams.

    Not sure how the boundary changes will affect some of the current seats. From what I have seen of the proposed changes, they could get squeezed and lose seats, particularly if they lose votes from the floaters who have backed them during the last 10 years. These are people that were fed up of Labour and Tories, thinking the LD’s offered something different. Now that they are in bed with the Tories on a temporary basis, some people just won’t like that. The question is how many of the floaters are unhappy ?

  5. OldNat

    You need to work out all the possible permutations from that kind of scenario to have any idea of what will happen in May 2015.

    Thank you for the additional information; I am afraid all my poltical predictions are very much like trying to pick the Derby winner with a pin in the newspaper, usually with the same degree of success, except for Scotland my technique is not nearly so scientific.

  6. Henry

    There are probably more possible outcomes from the referendum process than entries in the Derby! :-)

  7. R Huckle

    ‘That means that the Lib Dems don’t exist anywhere !!!!’

    If we are not careful we may become like ‘that demned elusive pimpernel’.

    Hopefully however our vote may gradually recover and a number of our MPs will as usual perform a major act of escapology and survive for 5 more years.

  8. It’s being suggested on PB that there is a Populus poll out at 8pm.

    Any confirmation of that?

  9. Oldnat – that’ll be because Sam Coates has tweeted it!

  10. Oldnat

    When is the last possible date for the independence vote, is it possible to delay until after the UK GE, also what effect will a big labour lead in the polls have on the vote, I could imagine myself voting for independence if the blues are leading in the polls or just behind, but voting against if labour had a big lead. Will that be a factor?

  11. Anthony

    Ta. I hate! people who don’t quote their sources.

  12. RinN
    ‘I could imagine myself voting for independence if the blues are leading in the polls or just behind, but voting against if labour had a big lead. Will that be a factor?’

    But you are in Norway, Richard, they might not let you vote.

  13. RiN

    As I say, I have no insider info! It could even be that the referendum was combined with the 2016 Scottish GE! (though unlikely).

    What does seem likely is that there will be legal challenges to the Scottish Parliament holding the referendum. It would be suicide for a political party to do that, of course, but that’s not how it would be arranged.

    There are ways around that, of course, but for anyone to try to predict just what will happen is unwise.

    For those on here, it might be interesting to speculate about the political consequences of all kinds of situations, but it would just be speculation.

  14. Henry

    I was speaking hypotheicaly but I won’t rule out a move to Scotland before the referendum although it could be construed as cheating

  15. Oldnat

    But speculation is so much fun. I’m not sure how much fun legal challenges will be, I fear that such moves could unleash a partisan war here on ukpr

  16. @Leftylampton – “Lab=A – 1.00*Lib
    where A varies between ~ 51 – 59.”

    I have to congratulate you on a really interesting piece of research, and to get an equation from it really takes the biscuit. Well done. Time will tell if your statistical model holds true.

    @Rob Sheffield makes a perfectly valid point regarding the new age of centre right coalition politics. He may well be right, but what is interesting is that the current polls still fit your model. The 37/41/10 split AW is currently showing is still within your range of possibilities, albeit right at the bottom of the 51-59 variation range.

  17. An equally interesting correlation is time since 1964 and share of the vote the 3 main parties combined get. It is equivalent to y = 99 -0.8x, where y is the sum of Labour, Conservative, and Liberal Democrat votes, and x is the number of parliaments since 1959. It has a correlation co-efficient of 91%.

    If you extrapolate that to next parliament, that’d give you a vote share of 87.6% of the vote, +/- % 4.38% with 95% confidence.

  18. @ Neil A

    “I wish people would stop misusing the term “NeoConservative”. It doesn’t mean “very right wing” or anything of the sort. It’s a very specific term meaning someone who originated on the mainstream left of politics but who has moved towards pro-actively supporting the spread of democracy, by violence if necessary.”

    I’m not sure that’s right. I don’t think any of the NeoCons started as leftwingers. I’ve always used the term and understood the term to refer to those who had a certain foreign policy agenda.

  19. Rob S

    Forgive me, but I don’t quite understand what you are arguing.

    “the rather strong correlation for the last 50 or so years (particularly the last 30) will say nothing and means nothing for current voting patterns nor the voting patterns at the next election. Its apples and pears- a common failure of statisticians and those seeking to analyse/ apply past statistical relationships to the future.”

    I agree 100% of course about the danger of simply extraploating through to the future. But that doesn’t necessarily make IGNORING past relationships the correct course either.

    I’m not sure for one why you highlight the correlation of the past 30 years as being particularly strong. It’s no stronger or weaker than the corresponding data for 64-79. This is a very pertinent point – this correlation long pre-dates the Gang of Four and the Big Schism.

    Now, I’m not being so obtuse as to suggest that the sum of centre-left leaning voters (Labour’s pool) is always in the region 51-59%. That would be simplistic and patronising to the LDs who are genuine centrists or even right-centre sympathisers.

    What I take from the data is that there has arguably been a very long term figure of perhaps 40-45% left-of-centre voters, with perhaps 10-14% who are genuine centre or right-of-centre voters.

    You are right of course that we are in new territory of coalition politics. But I’m not sure what your conclusion is, other than to say that things are different now.

    My conclusion is that I see no reason whatsoever why that figure of 40-45% centre-left supporters should decrease. It’s been more or less steady for half a century, so why should the emergence of a coalition change that?

    In which case, the conclusion on the effect that the coalition (and with it, then end of the Great Centre-Left Schism) should have on electoral maths is, I would have thought, quite obvious. Labour would have to do very badly to poll <40-some% in 2015.

  20. Ohoho! Even more interesting: if you normalize the data for all elections so that the three main parties have the same share of the vote as they did in 2010,the LibLab correlation becomes even stronger! The reason that 41/10 is at the bottom of LeftyLampton’s range is because as time goes on, all three main parties are losing voters to smaller parties at a roughly equal rate. There’s actually two components to the LibLab vote, as time is a factor too.

    If you normalize the results, you get:

    C L LD
    38.44602851 39.3401222 9.83503055
    37.86036961 43.26899384 8.112936345
    41.80952381 39.08281573 7.271221532
    34.82672234 33.91022965 17.41336117
    33.27157895 36.04421053 17.56
    41.01061571 34.48619958 13.04883227
    39.48179872 26.32119914 23.50107066
    39.82289417 29.39308855 21.80777538
    40.16993464 32.51851852 17.21568627
    29.90989011 41.48791209 16.4021978
    31.14855876 39.90909091 17.5210643
    31.42729306 34.37360179 21.60626398
    35.67494357 28.73814898 22.79232506

    This produces a LibLab sum average of 51.76% – smack bang on where it is as at the moment.

    It also tells something very interesting. Lib and Lab votes are strongly interdependent upon each other, but the Conservative vote does not strongly correlate with either of the other two. Any change in the Conservative vote outside losses to small parties seems to be due to Conservatives just not turning up, or the Conservative base shrinking.

  21. Socal Liberal @ John Dick

    Here’s a question for you. “… in England [where] you guys take class warfare and class based division to the extreme. Even those few wealthy constituencies that would fall to Labour would fall to Labour because the constituencies also had housing projects with high rates of poverty and unemployment.

    Scotland seems to have gone a different, seemingly more American route …”

    Classification again. (Of class)

    Up till the mid 20th Century class correlated with divisions in wealth, occupation, speech, travel, voting, education (in England), diet, housing, holidays, sport, pastimes and taste in music. There were distinctions drawn between the top and the bottom ends of Upper, Middle or Lower classes.

    People “made a good marriage” pretended to be “above themselves” or “knew their place”.

    Wealth was essential to enable you to live a middle class or upperclass lifestyle but was neither the sole nor an essential primary identifier.

    Now we only have rich and poor, and a middle income group that thinks it is taken advantage of by both. Race or class does not closely match income or wealth any more though I don’t suppose anybody living on state benefits goes to the big opera houses in London often.

    Social Class is still measured by occupation alone, but individuals can possibly be found who have all the combinations of class marker combinations possible.

    What is true now is that provided you have enough money to join the super rich in a separate economy, your class or foreign origins and taste will not hold you back from joining them.

    Equally the multimillionaire footballer can retain any working cllass habits he chooses to.

    Two things have made Scotland different. Reformation principles have made education for all not so much a privilege or even a right, but a duty, and for centuries in rural areas as today the issue is not whether there is more than one type of school for different classes, but how far away is the nearest school. In rural areas, the upper class landowners, of necessity, had to mix with the educated middle class, or else speak to nobody but family and servants.

    Reformation egalitarianism has also predisposed Scots of all classes to reject the selfishness ot Thatcherism.

    It’s just what we don’t do. It’s not illegal or a sin to vote Tory, but just as there is not much demand for pork sausages in Israel, Scots don’t vote Tory. It’s a quaint and almost deviant practice which is tolerated with amusement by the majority.

  22. Calum Smith

    “The Unionist parties in Scotland, in particularly the Conservatives, must get their act together and at least win one seat, otherwise its playing right into Salmond’s hands”


    “I am wondering whether those predicting 0 seats, are allowing their own strong dislike of the Tories to influence their judgement.”

    I’m focusing on a 50 year decline and predicting it won’t be reversed. How does Murdo Fraser fit in with your hypothesis?

    Neil A

    “It’s simply not the done thing to be a Tory if you’re a Scot. To become one involves a sort of “participation penalty”; an overcoming of social stigma and negative perceptions that only the most determined will pursue.”

    If it isn’t quite like that yet, it will be by 2015 if present trends continue.

    Henry @ BillyBob

    “I feel that the Tories have a few things going for them in Scotland (as far as winning 3 or 4 seats say)”

    Have you been consulting “The Oracle”? One, maybe two.

    “Their ambitions are limited and therefore they are able to target ….”

    by buying up second homes in the constituencies and registering there. Short of that, FPTP defeats them more than SNP.

    “They are IMO underestimated by SNP and Labour”

    No, they are out of it. Google Murdo Fraser’s campaign if you don’t believe me.

    “They seem to have picked up a few percentage points since the election”

    ComRes crossbreaks 186 respondents We know nothing.

    “The Coalition activities in England will be less likely to damage them, particularly if they change their name.”

    The need to disown some past policies too. It doesn’t much matter which. Trident would be good becaise it is reserved.

    “The LDs did gain alot of the Tories votes and if they start losing votes then the Tories may gain”

    No. 2/3 to SNP, 1/3 to LAB in Scotland

    “If the LDs can recover some of their lost votes in Scotland then thus would not happen and hopefully the LDs would then save more than one seat.”

    I can tell them how to do it and they would be as likely to take my advice as any other party. Charles Kennedy will also win a seat in the Highlands.

    Henry & Neil A

    “it is really a matter of effective targetting….”

    No. It’s an effect of FPTP, Lab/Cons favoured system.

  23. @SoCalLiberal,

    Google Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Irving Kristol or Charles Krauthammer.

  24. R Huckle @ Henry

    “Now that they are in bed with the Tories on a temporary basis, some people just won’t like that. The question is how many of the floaters are unhappy ?”

    In Scotland half the LibDem vote disappeared but only a third of that went to Labour because there was another not-the-big-party option. It will be interesting to see what hapens in England.

  25. Has anyone tried projecting the Scottish Parliament constituency results onto the new Westminster ones?

  26. John B Dick.

    But “Scots don’t vote Tory” is only an immutable political law that has come around since 1992. Before that a decent number of them did. Enough to win a dozen constituencies.

    Something more is wrong with the Tory party in Scotland than Scots just don’t vote Tory.

  27. @StephenW,

    But the Tory vote in the whole of the UK slumped hugely between 92 and 97. The difference is that the Tory vote in the rest of the UK slowly recovered, whereas their vote in Scotland has only increased very marginally since 97. My point is though that it is under Major that the big drop happened, not so much under Thatcher. I suspect it has to do with the psychological and practical consequences of the “wipeout”. But then again the Tories bounced back in Wales, where they also wiped out. Perhaps the wipeout of the Tories in Scotland created elbow room for the nats that PC didn’t manage to exploit to the same degree in Wales.

    To an empirical but not-very-knowledgeable outsider, the “Scots Tories were more left-wing and abandoned the party because of Thatcher” doesn’t seem to quite fit the data.

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