A brief election post-mortem before I get some rest – hopefully we will have an actual London result by the time I finish writing! It is almost exactly a year since the polling error at the last general election. Yesterday’s elections were the first real test of the polls since then (there was accurate polling for the Labour leadership election, but polling party members really is a completely different exercise).

Scotland

Taking Scotland first, all the polls obviously had the SNP winning, but that was hardly a challenge. Perhaps the bigger challenge was second place. In the event Labour narrowly held onto second place in the constituency vote but were pushed into third in the regional vote – the polls conducted in the last few days of the campaign did get this right, but all the Scottish polls did underestimate the level of Conservative support, and apart from YouGov’s final poll there was an overestimate of SNP support in the regional vote (though many of the polls finished some time before the election – the TNS face-to-face poll in particular – so it may be that SNP regional support dropped in the final week.)

Constituency . Regional
Pollster CON LAB LD SNP CON LAB LD SNP GRN
FINAL RESULT (5th May) 22 23 8 47 23 19 5 42 7
YouGov (2nd-4th May) 19 22 7 48 20 19 6 41 9
Survation (1st-2nd May) 19 21 7 49 20 19 6 44 7
Panelbase (23rd-28th Apr) 17 23 6 49 19 22 4 44 6
Ipsos MORI (18th-25th Apr) 18 19 6 51 19 17 7 45 10
TNS (1st-24th Apr) 17 22 7 52 18 22 5 45 8

Wales

YouGov was the only company to poll in Wales, and thei final poll held up very well, with Labour, Conservative, Lib Dem and Plaid all well within the margin of error. The only fault was an overstatement of UKIP support.

London

As I write, the mayoral results STILL haven’t been announced, and given how late they were in 2012 I’m not waiting up to write about them. Based on the live count of the first 90% of ballots the polls seem to be roughly in line with the expected result, and projections of the second round score suggest the polls are going to be close to it. You’ll apparently find out around midnight so you can compare to the polls below… but I intend to be asleep.

First round . Second Round
Pollster Goldsmith Khan Pidgeon Whittle Berry Others Goldsmith Khan
YouGov (2nd-4th May) 32 43 6 7 7 5 43 57
ComRes (28th Apr-3rd May) 36 45 6 4 6 3 44 56
TNS (26th Apr-3rd May) 33 45 7 5 4 5 43 57
Opinium (26th Apr-1st May) 35 48 4 5 5 3 43 57
Survation (21st-25th Apr) 34 49 3 5 3 6 40 60

All in all, the performance of the polls was far more credible than last year, though it looks like there may still have been some issues with the Tories in Scotland (and to be fair, most of the polling companies have been very explicit in saying they are still addressing their issues and developing their methods – the problems of last year are not going to be addressed overnight).

On a personal note – I’m most relieved the broad narrative was right. After the general election there were plenty of people saying how they knew the Tories would win, their instincts told them they would, how could those silly pollsters not spot it? Well, many of us silly pollsters thought the Tories would end ahead of Labour too: questions on leadership and the economy favoured them, we expected the polls to move towards the Tories… but the data just kept on showing the parties neck-and-neck, and ultimately a pollster’s job is to measure the answers the public give us, not report what we think they should say. We trusted the data, but it turned out to be wrong.

This time round it was the other way round. I never quite believed that the Conservatives could come second in Scotland. Yes, Scottish Labour was a mess, but Scotland would surely never vote for the hated Tories. My instincts said it wouldn’t happen in the end. A few months ago when YouGov were the only company showing Labour and the Tories neck and neck in Scotland I worried whether we’d get egg on our faces, but the data said it was happening, and I had to have confidence in the methodology corrections we’d made and in what the data was telling me… and this time, the data was telling the right story and the Tories really did come in second. Phew!


741 Responses to “Election polling post-mortem”

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  1. Which proves that you should never second guess yourself!

    Well done, Anthony. I know after last year all polling companies were under pressure to accurately forecast the result of a myriad of different elections under multiple systems.

  2. @Raf

    They might have wished they’d second guessed themselves for the GE. Btw, Michael Crick tweeted Nick Robinson to add Trades Union Bill to list of u-turns.

    Nick followed with:
    “@MichaelLCrick Congratulations on another news making scoop”

  3. Anthony.
    Thank you.
    I am beginning to think that J.Corbyn will go on until 2020, hold the Labour figures to about where we are now.
    Then in the new Leadership Election, unless the party rules change, there is no guarantee that the PLP will in fact put a Left Winger on the Ballot Paper

  4. Yes, it does seem that the pollsters have done rather better than in the GE, though with the complex different voting systems it must be difficult to prove.
    ————————–
    Peter C (from previous thread)

    “One of the problems with comparing this election with the last is that the referendum ( and to a lesser extent the coalition and the LibDems) has so changed the political landscape.”

    I wonder whether the forthcoming EU referendum will have a similar effect?
    ————————————-
    I have a conspiracy theory about the EU referendum. Suppose Boris (and perhaps Gove) was/were encouraged to be anti-EU by Dave and that Leave wins. On past form, the EU will then make some concessions and demand a rerun. Boris then says that
    he is satisfied by the concessions and switches sides before another referendum is held. Remain wins, partly because of the Boris factor and then he becomes Tory leader. Could this have been set up be Dave as a sort of insurance policy? Or am I being too Macchiavellian again?

  5. there is one big discrepancy in the polling though which is why the polling experts were predicting 150 lab seat losses presumably based on national polling.

    I know there has been no specific local election polling and there can be differences with local issues and voters behaving differently in locals but it doesn’t really explain why a poll lead for labour in 2012 of perhaps 10 points and a poll lead of zero In 2016 produces a similar result in the ballot box.
    Any possible reasons?

    [Shevii – no, it wasn’t based on national polling. It was the Rallings & Thrasher projection which is based on local government by-election results – AW]

  6. Further to my posts on the previous thread looking at Scottish Parliament Constituencies, here are the aggregate votes:

    Tory Votes

    2011
    Con: 276,652
    Reg: 245,967

    2015 General Election
    434,097

    2016
    Con: 501,844
    Reg: 524,222

    If the Conservatives continue to turn people out, then some of the old Tory seats will come into play in the general election.

  7. Without looking at the Ralling and Thrasher methodology, I wonder if a recent fall in Tory VI might have messed up the calculation.

  8. shevii

    “it doesn’t really explain why a poll lead for labour in 2012 of perhaps 10 points and a poll lead of zero In 2016 produces a similar result in the ballot box.”

    core areas solid, marginals going from close 2nd to distant 2nd would be a logical possibility – then again maybe the 2012 polling was wrong

    .

    a comment i read elsewhere makes an interesting point – in 1986 Cons could slaughter Militant but in 2016 Militant can hold them to a draw.

  9. Paradoxically coming third might be the best thing that could have happened to LiS. It might finally kick them out of the fatal complacency that they’ve been in for far too long.

    Realistically they need to separate themselves from Labour, so they can be seen as their own thing and not a Westminster branch office, and then become the party of devolution max. Scotland’s now largely divided along Independence (SNP) or Unionism (which the Conservatives have won the temporary battle to be the representative of). Let those two bore the pants off everyone with that debate, whilst positioning themselves as a intelligent third, mid-way option could really work for them, given that by 2020 the SNP will probably be in decline and the wheels will have come of the Scottish Conservative clown car.

    The downside to this is that it requires having intelligent politicians who can make this message work and I’m not sure LiS have any of that caliber right now. On the other hand, Westminister doesn’t look like an option so the best and brightest Scottish Labour politicians and advisers will start filtering into LiS, so by 2020 who knows.

  10. Isn’t this Tory performance in Scotland, described as a “seismic shock” by some over excited commentators, being just a little bit over-egged? Granted, it’s a major improvement on past dire results for them, and no doubt brought into sharper focus by Labour’s collapse, but is a 22% vote share (1% behind the “utterly crushed” Scottish Labour Party) really something to get this light-headed and delirious about? Yes, they’re now the largest of the also rans in Hollyrood, taking over the mantle of distant second from Labour, and Davidson pulled off an eye-catching triumph in Edinburgh, but they’re not really at the races at all in Scotland when the detailed analysis of these results is done

    Isn’t it all a bit akin to a relegation battle where the perennial punch-bags suddenly pull off a few decent results, move up a couple of places and find themselves ahead of a former big club plummeting down the league. Still a relegation battle though, even though places have been exchanged.

    There’s only one really big story in Scotland and that’s the continuing, extraordinary success of the SNP, who recorded their highest ever share of the constituency vote and formed a third successive government in Hollyrood.

    Davidson and the Scottish Tories are a bit of a sideshow in all this, although a very convenient counter narrative for Tory Central Office to spin, aided and abetted by some scandalously poor political reporting and journalism, not least from what is now looking like a cravenly obedient BBC.

  11. @Anarchists Unite

    Why do you think by 2020 “the wheels will have come of the Scottish Conservative clown car.”?

    The Scottish Tories are doing well in old school Tory areas – they arn’t competing with Scottish Labour at all. They trying to get back their old seats from the SNP.

    Here’s another interesting result: Aberdeenshire West (2011 results in brackets):

    Con 13,400 (6,027)
    SNP 12,500 (12,186)
    LibD 7,262 (8,074)
    Lab 2,036 (2,349)

    Again the bulk of the Tory vote came from previous non-voters. I don’t think we’ve seen a phenomenon like this before.

    My guess is that the SNP will keep the seats it has taken off Labour, but will lose seats in old Tory areas to the Conservatives. And in the general election the Conservatives only need a handful, they don’t need to sweep the whole of Scotland.

    If Ruth Davidson can continue this streak of wins in next years council elections, then she is a contender to be Tory leader (and PM) – they’ll find her a seat because if she can win in such a hostile territory, she can win anywhere.

  12. Crossbat11 – “Isn’t this Tory performance in Scotland, described as a “seismic shock” by some over excited commentators, being just a little bit over-egged?”

    No. They took seven constituency seats – if they can take seven Scottish seats in the general election, it extends their majority and counters Lab’s strength in London. It also means there arn’t any no-go areas for them, which is an immense strength to a govt.

  13. A lot of flak for Zac at the mo’: Ken Clarke, Steve Hilton, even his sister…

  14. Crossbat11,

    If the Tory vote had gone down by 9% and 10%, would that be a “sideshow”? I understand you’re upset about the results, but I don’t think that you should compromise your usual objectivity.

  15. Is it cockup or conspiracy that the last knockings of the Boris regime in City Hall can’t even get the voting machines to count properly, delaying the announcement of what is actually a (to quote LBC) ‘pretty impressive’ performance by Lab in London.
    Cockup would be the most likely answer, and the one consistent with performance over the last 8 years :)

    Anyway, all the media are trying to spin it as bad for Labour – if they do badly it proves Corbyn is carp, if they do well it means carp Corbyn will survive

  16. @Candy

    Largely because the dynamics. You point to non-voters coming out, which appears to be true, but I willing to bet that the reason they came out and voted Tory has very little to do with enthusiasm for them. It’s likely more to be that the non-voters who came out are unionists who didn’t want to risk another independence referendum. So they came out and plumped for the Tories likely because they had more chance of winning in those areas, they were explicitly running on a unionist pitch, Ruth Davidson is a more well-known figure and LiS’ general f**k-wittery.

    Outside standing as the unionist candidate the S-cons don’t have a lot in the tank and I suspect they won’t; they’re certainly not going to be arguing to make more use of the new powers so they’ll largely just be promoting Scottish versions of the Conservative agenda, for which there won’t be much enthusiasm. If LiS can get their act together than I expect they’re support will largely fall away back to somewhere around where it was before.

  17. For what it is worth Sadiq Khan received 11,562 more votes than those cast for the Labour candidates in the Assembly. constituencies and Zac Goldsmith 98,436 more than the Conservative ones.

    In contrast Sian Berry received 84,578 fewer votes than the Green Assembly constituency candidates, Caroline Pidgeon 70,827 fewer than the Liberal candidates, and Peter Whittle 98,776 fewer than the UKIP candidates.

    Potentially then, over half the UKIP voters supported Zac Goldsmith for London Mayor, which might help explain why Whittles result was approximately half what the pollsters consistently found.

    Labour voters are obviously more disciplined than either the Conservatives, Liberals, Greens and UKIP, but it will be interesting to see if the Labour list vote holds up or does the same as what happened to the SNP vote in Scotland.

    Interestingly the Green Mayoral candidate, Jenny Jones, achieved almost the same vote running for Mayor as she did on the list in 2011. I will be interested to see what happens this time.

    So there is a clear transmission belt of votes going back and forth between the Conservatives and UKIP, not a surprise – which might help explain Zac Goldsmith’s team’s use of “racial” and “extremist” issues as a political tactic as a means to attract wavering Conservative UKIPers.

    @ Anthony: My one ongoing gripe with the pollsters is that they consistently favour the established parties over the emerging ones. The Guardian “UK elections tracker 2016” for example, shows how misguided this is for London:

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/ng-interactive/2016/may/05/uk-election-results-tracker-2016

    Their interactive London Assembly shows only two constituencies where the Lib Dems still come third, the Southwest and Croydon Sutton, noting than in Havering Redbridge, City and East, Bexley and Bromley, Greenwich and Lewisham and Ealing and Hillingdon they are now fifth.

    There is an ongoing problem with the pollsters polling numbers consistently showing the Lib Dems and their candidates running third in London, when they are in fact consistently running either fourth or fifth.

    There is, to my mind, a significant difference between 5.8%, 4.7% and 3.6%, but perhaps less so between 9.1% and 7.4%. At least get the order right.
    .

  18. Anarchists Unite,

    The Scottish Tories have historically underperformed compared to public opinion on their policies, so while “Scottish versions of the Conservative agenda” won’t win them any pluralities of seats in Holyrood, they would still do well if that was how they were known.

    The Tories’ problems in Scotland have, for a long time, been more about trust than policies. You can have the most appealing platform in the world and go backwards if you lack the trust of the electorate, as SLAB have found in the past three elections in Scotland.

    I think that part of the story of this election has been that the Tories no longer have AS MUCH “toxicity” in Scotland as they once did. They’re still very disliked by most of the electorate and they have a low ceiling, but I think that Scottish politics has changed in many ways as a result of Indyref, and this particular aspect was masked by tactical voting/increased turnout of non-Tory voters in 2015.

  19. @ Candy et al

    At 22% in the constituency vote the Conservatives are only 5.4% above 2007, what makes everyone think it is meteoric is the climb up from 12.4% in 2011.

    Labour’s error, which started long before Blair is to think and sound like a left wing “conservative” party, especially when it comes to economic and social policy.

    If Labour wants to rebuild in Scotland it will have to stop sounding like a cross between the “conservatives” and all the “other social” democratic parties in the world.

    After a while some voters simply reach the conclusion that if they are going to vote for “conservative” economic policies they might as well vote for the real thing.

  20. Final London result after reallocations

    Sadiq 1310143 56.8%
    Zac 994614 43.2%

  21. Does anyone do a turnout map of London? It would be interesting to see if there was a distinct pattern of high in some places, low in others.

    my guess
    – black and white working class low
    – white middle class and asian (all classes) high

  22. @Mr Jones

    You can try London Elects.

    As far as I can see turnout was pretty good everywhere – generally between 40-50%.

  23. ty

  24. Anarchists Unite – ” It’s likely more to be that the non-voters who came out are unionists who didn’t want to risk another independence referendum. So they came out and plumped for the Tories likely because they had more chance of winning in those areas”

    And yet the Scottish Tories took Aberdeenshire West from third place…

  25. ‘A lot of flak for Zac’

    Good analysis IMO by Tim Montgomerie who blames the Crosby/Textor campaign strategy for negating all that was attractive and potentially vote winning about Zac Goldsmith. I found it very puzzling that Zac’s green credentials, anti-third runway at Heathrow and his brexitism were not brought to the fore because I could imagine that they would be appealing to a broad swathe of London voters.

  26. @Candy

    “And yet the Scottish Tories took Aberdeenshire West from third place…”

    From the Lib Dems, who are a brand in crisis and showing little sign of recovery. They also didn’t play the unionist angle as strongly.

  27. ‘ Labour did abysmally in Scotland but in England and Wales pretty well.’

    Re- Scotland – Labour performed badly but at the same time slightly exceeded expectations. Their constituency vote share was at the high end of forecasts and the general assumption was that they would end up with no constituency seats at all. In the event, they managed to win three – compared with just one at the 2015 General Election. Of course, the Tory outperformance was much more striking, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that had this week seen a Westminster Election – rather than for Holyrood – Labour would have reached 25% with the SNP on circa 45%. That would still have been a big SNP win – but also a step backwards from 2015 when they polled 49% to Labours 24%.

  28. @Syzygy

    “Good analysis IMO by Tim Montgomerie who blames the Crosby/Textor campaign strategy for negating all that was attractive and potentially vote winning about Zac Goldsmith. I found it very puzzling that Zac’s green credentials, anti-third runway at Heathrow and his brexitism were not brought to the fore because I could imagine that they would be appealing to a broad swathe of London voters.”

    Zac was a string candidate. The campaign destroyed him. He could do himself a lot of favours if in the next few weeks he admits he made a mistake and disowns the Ill-fitting rags he was asked to wear.

  29. The tipping point in London was reached last time with Boris only squeezing a win by a) being Boris and b) Livingstone messing up his campaign. It needed both.

    The balance has tipped further since then so although I agree a different campaign could have made the result a bit closer he was always going to lose.

  30. Some interesting vote comparisons between 2016 London Mayoralty – Constituency – List voting:

    Labour:1.148,716/44.2% -1,139,017/43.9%-1,054,801/39.9%
    Conservative:909,755/35% -812,505/31.3% -764,230/28.9%
    Green: 150,673/5.8% – 236,505/9.1% – 207,959/7.9%
    UKIP: 94,373/3.6% – 193,201/7.5% – 171,069/6.5%
    Lib Deb: 120,005/4.6% – 191,878/7.4% – 165,580/6.3%
    Other: 173,439/6.8 – 19,998/.8% – 252,037/10.5%

    Clearly there is a need to offer the quarter of a million list voters, who chose someone other than the top five candidates and parties a second option as is given in the Mayoralty race.

    FPTP on the other hand clearly forces people into choices they otherwise would not make.

    Rather than a top up system why not elect on a straight proportional system? That way really minor parties would have a shot at electing someone if they passed, say a 5% to 3% threshold.

  31. @ Raf

    ‘Zac was a string candidate. The campaign destroyed him. He could do himself a lot of favours if in the next few weeks he admits he made a mistake and disowns the Ill-fitting rags he was asked to wear.’

    The irony of Lynton Crosby being knighted today must have more than grated…

  32. @syzygy

    Well, Crosby’s strategy worked previously in diverting Labour voters into the arms of Ukip.

    But that involved talking about recently-arriving immigrants, as an anonymous mass of peeps, where it’s hard to check tne reality.* Such an approach prolly wasn’t liable to do so well up against an individual like Khan who hadn’t arrived from eastern europe just a few months ago, who people already knew about and who was already enjoying quite a bit of support, because any concerns probably already addressed.

    Similar efforts to tarnish Miliband via his Dad also backfired for related reasons. Zak didn’t ask me though, indeed it seems like he may not have even paid much attention to his sister…

    * Eg peeps sometimes being more agin immigration when not having much to do with immigrants. Whereas those who live more among them, often have fewer issues…

  33. @syzygy

    Another way of looking at it is this tweet:

    “Martin Hoscik [email protected]

    A senior Tory tells me Zac campaign failed because it blew “a dog whistle in a city where there’s no dog”.

    3:43 PM – 6 May 2016”

  34. @RAF

    “Zac was a string candidate.”

    ——–

    Well yes, that’s why his campaign unravelled…

  35. Okay, now most results are in, time to try and give each party a fair hearing:

    Conservatives: while they are the governing party, in the council elections they were coming from a low base – the seats up for grabs this time were last time contested in the shadow of the infamous “omnishambles” budget of 2012. They’ve gone backwards relative to the general election, but every governing party has done that since time immemorial. Excellent results in Scotland, where Ruth Davidson has somewhat decoupled her party’s brand from its Westminster branch, have been balanced by the inevitable result in London following a nasty campaign. Overall a 7/10.

    Labour: the third place in Scotland is not Corbyn’s fault, but the London Mayoralty is not Corbyn’s victory either. In fact it’s not even really Khan’s victory, as following the poisonous Conservative campaign a tub of lard could have triumphed if it was wearing a red rosette. They still run Hastings and a handful of other councils in areas they needed to win at Westminster last year, but generally failed to do so, and with the membership still buoyant that may give them useful footholds to anchor their ground campaign for 2020. Wales was in many ways the biggest disappointment – similar to the GE in 2005 they lost a lot of votes but weren’t overly punished for it – and the Assembly is now remarkably unproportional for an additional member system. 6/10, enough to keep Corbyn in his job.

    SNP: a victim of their own high expectations. While the constituency vote was up and they gained constituency seats, they ultimately lost out on another majority due to the Green Party taking some of their list votes. There was also evidence of improved tactical voting by unionist parties in some seats. However, seen through the prism of their ultimate goal of independence, this was a good night for the union. While with support of the Greens there is a pro-independence majority at Holyrood, it is hard to argue that there is a mandate for a second referendum. 5/10 relative to their own high expectations, but they are still the dominant force in Scottish politics.

    Lib Dems: when was the last time you heard the phrase “Lib Dem gain”? Sure, there were only three gains across all the elections being contested (two Holyrood constituencies + Watford council) but you have to start somewhere. Overall they’re showing that they can compete locally but not yet nationally – but this bodes well for 2020 which is in effect a set of 600 local elections, showing that the likes of Eastleigh may yet be in their grasp. The first time in ages they’ve had even a little bit to smile about: 7/10 (relative to fairly miserable expectations).

    UKIP: with the exception of Wales, UKIP were up against it – they are unpopular in London and irrelevant in Scotland. However, they must be congratulated for gaining the most councillors of any party in the locals, in a FPTP system that is very difficult for them. In the end they may have been a little overhyped in Wales too, gaining 7 AMs compared to the 9 or 10 that some polls had suggested. 6/10.

  36. Polltroll

    I think that is a bit unfair on Khan. Not everyone would have been as cool in the face of such slurs from an opponent.

    He also handled Livingstone’s imbecility well.

  37. Thanks AW for your usual interesting and informative summary. I must say the Polling by YouGov seems to have been more accurate this time.

    I was certainly wrong when I suggested that the latest Opinium poll was more accurate than YouGov’s, as Labour and the Tories are neck and neck on the actual results from yesterday. However it remains my view that on that basis Labour continue to have little chance in 2020.

  38. @Raf

    “Zac was a string candidate. The campaign destroyed him. He could do himself a lot of favours if in the next few weeks he admits he made a mistake and disowns the Ill-fitting rags he was asked to wear.”

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Goldsmith eventually resigns from the Tory party, maybe as soon as shortly after the EU Referendum. He’s always struck me as a bit of a semi-detached politician anyway, who’s heart isn’t really in it and I suspect, secretly, he’s as appalled as most people are by the the Crosbyite campaign he was forced to run in London. He’s got some strongly held views on the environment too that don’t sit comfortably with Toryism and if I was Natalie Bennett I might be inclined to have a quiet word. A Green Party ex Tory Brexiteer; now there’s a story for you!

    Might even keep Ruth Davidson, the new Nelson Mandela of British politics, off the front pages of the newspapers too!

    :-)

  39. Good morning all from a sunny Itchen Valley.

    As I said on the previous thread well done to the pollsters and thanks for the recap on all the elections AW.
    ……….
    GRAHAM
    “Re- Scotland – Labour performed badly but at the same time slightly exceeded expectations. Their constituency vote share was at the high end of forecasts and the general assumption was that they would end up with no constituency seats at all. In the event, they managed to win three – compared with just one at the 2015 General Election. Of course, the Tory outperformance was much more striking, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that had this week seen a Westminster Election – rather than for Holyrood – Labour would have reached 25% with the SNP on circa 45%. That would still have been a big SNP win – but also a step backwards from 2015 when they polled 49% to Labours 24%.”
    ____________________

    I don’t know if you honestly think anyone reading your comment will come away thinking “oh it wasn’t that bad after all for Labour”

    It was their worse election result for 100 years in Scotland. They came 3rd in a national election in a country where they have been the dominant political force for decades.

    I notice you have a habit of of rounding down when it comes to the SNP vote so I would like to correct a couple of points.

    The SNP polled 49.97% in 2015 most people would round up to 50% and not round down to 49%.

    The SNP polled not circa 45% but in fact 46.5% which was 1% up on their 2011 result and the first time a political party has reached over 1 million votes in the devolved parliament.

    I know you’re trying your best to gloss over Labour’s results in Scotland but its looking like Poundland gloss and very watery. Labour did win 3 seats but there are 73 FPTP seats for Holyrood compared to 59 for Westminster.

    And to compare the SNP’s performance this week with that of 2015 as “a step back” has to be one of the most ludicrous comments I’ve read. In short Scottish Labour have a problem and that is they can’t find a narrative or a place in Scottish politics, they are being asset striped from the left by the SNP and asset striped from the right by the Tories and what you are left with is a remedial party with no sense of direction.

  40. Hello everyone, time for my annual election look in on the site, which is always interesting.

    General coverage has been pretty down on labour and Corbyn in particular. The order of the day seems to be personal attacks, by both sides and indeed from inside their own parties.

    The BBC webiste was extrapolating the results to 31% labour 30% conservative if this had been a general election. I don’t know how well they migth have calculated this (or whose figure they used), but at face value it seemed to me 1 year into a new parliament that was a pretty good result for labour.

    Similarly they seem to have done relatively better in the council elections than had been expected.

    It entirely begs the question of whether this was because of or despite having a perceived left wing leader. The question remains, wouldl labour do better with a genuinely more left outlook. Someone above suggested they would in Scotland.

    The libs still do not seem to believe it, but their move to centre right destroyed them with regard to the popular vote.

    So what happens to the UKIP voters in six months time?

  41. I very much agree that it was a good day for Unionism, if nothing else.

    SNP lose their majority. Tories resurgent in Scotland, partly as a result of a hardening of Unionist tactical voting

    Nationalists in Wales do fairly well, but not nearly so much progress as the very-Unionist UKIP new boys. Wales gets to keep her decent Labour FM.

    Southern England and London demonstrate that rhetoric about Tory domination in England – useful to nationalist “othering” efforts – isn’t remotely the whole story. Labour doing well. UKIP not making any real breakthrough, despite having just about every planet aligned for them.

    Whether any of this will strengthen unionism sufficiently to protect the union against the risks of a possible Brexit I’m not so sure, but I find it encouraging.

  42. CANDY

    I’m not taking anything away from the Scottish Tories for what was a great result for them but lets keep mantra down a bit.

    They polled well in some of the old Tory heartlands but I would put that down to them getting their vote out more than the SNP did and to some extent in the more affluent areas tactical voting. Tories like their voting and tend to come out and vote more.

    They polled 22% in the election and their leader won a seat from the SNP on 30%. I think the SNP won the seat on 28% last time but it’s now a 5 way marginal. I think 70% of the peeps in that seat will be astonished that they now have a Tory MSP and thinking “how the hell did that happen?”

    Ruth Davidson said Scotland needs a strong opposition, something I think most people would agree with but her opposition is 6 seats smaller than the last one. She also said the SNP’s case for independence is now dead yet the parliament has a majority of MSP;s who support independence.

    I like Ruth Davidson and she had an excellent election campaign but she has to remember she only has a mandate of 22% of the electorate and 31 seats out of 129. A long way to go yet before we can truly say the blues are back in town but like I said not a bad result for them in the wider context of things.

  43. NEIL A
    I very much agree that it was a good day for Unionism, if nothing else.
    SNP lose their majority. Tories resurgent in Scotland, partly as a result of a hardening of Unionist tactical voting
    ________

    The SNP lose their majority through the way the system works but their vote went up to over one million, no other party has achieved this in Holyrood. The Greens and SNP now have 69 seats which is a majority of 3 in favour of independence.

    The majority of the Scottish people voted for two parties who want independence and both stated they were committed to it so the people who voted for them knew what they were voting for,

    I really can’t understand why people are trying to down play the SNP and gloss over some results as being good.

  44. @AC,

    Yes there is still a “majority” for independence amongst MSPs but it is a smaller majority than before the election.

    As for the total number of SNP votes, I’m not sure that’s really relevant in a country where

    a) the population is growing

    b) the population is ageing – so a higher proportion of the population are of voting age

    c) the voting age has been reduced to 16 since the last election, increasing the electorate considerably.

    d) turnout increased by 5% since 2011, increasing the number of votes available.

    There are lies, damned lies and statistics. Big Headline Numbers are one of the worst culprits.

    It amused me that the SNP press line included the odd declaration that “no party has ever achieved three consecutive victories in the history of the Scottish parliament”. Great, so in the grand 18 year history of five elections, having three consecutive victories is somehow a landmark? It’s sound-bite cliché gone mad!

  45. One last thing…Looking at two out of the three Labour seats they won and four out of the seven Tory seats they won I would put these wins down to tactical voting which throws up another problem…Why can’t the Scottish Labour party and the Scottish Tories appeal to voters on their own policies alone rather than relying on tactical voting from other parties? I would rather voters vote for me rather than vote against something.

    And as the Tories and even some within Labour prefer the FPTP system then the Scottish parliament would be very different.
    So here is the actual result of the main election in Scotland.

    SNP…59 up 6

    Tories 7..up 4

    Labour 3 down 12

    Lib/Dems 4 up 2

  46. In all the Scotland polls you need to add 3% to the CON vote!

    So there is still a significant % of Tory voters who won’t admit that they are going to vote Tory!

    I have my own ideas as to why people vote Tory but wont admit it. But whatever the actual reasons, it is, has been, and remains, an issue in polling.

  47. Interesting reading all the comments since the results came in. My view is,

    The SNP were expected to get another landslide and they did, so that’s a bit of a non story. The sky hasn’t fallen in over the last 10 years, so I doubt it will again over the next 5. The SNP has, despite all the rhetoric, shown itself to be a responsible party in government.

    Khan was expected to win the mayor vote and he has done this convincingly, despite questions being asked on the company he keeps. Goldsmith had a lacklustre campaign and without another ‘Boris type’ candidate, the Tories always had an uphill struggle in labour dominated London. It will be interesting to see how Khan performs, what his priorities are and the types of people he pals up with. Will he be mayor for Londoners, as Boris has been, or will he get involved in the politics of distant countries, as Ken did.

    Labour has performed better than expected in the locals, so that is quite a story. That should ensure that Corbyn stays.

    The Tories also performed better than expected in the locals despite having a Cameron led government for 6 years. So even that is a bit of a story.

    Labour won in Wales, no story there but Plaid did very well, so eyes are going to be on them in future elections to see if they can emulate the SNP and start to replace labour. Certainly Rhonda was a magnificent win for them.

    For me the big story of the night was Ruth Davidsons breakthrough into second place in Scotland, OK a distant second, but second nevertheless. Her strategy of going for the unionist vote, was clearly spot on. After all, that is how the blues used to win in Scotland. Labour are in terminal decline there (just plot the results of the last few Scottish elections on a graph) and their strategy of trying to be more left wing clearly failed. Asking people to vote for tax rises is hardly a vote winner and as a result they scared off any centre’ists who might have voted for them. RD has created a sound basis for future expansion in subsequent elections and maybe just maybe, will kill off the independence question.

    Now for the referendum…..

  48. @ TOH

    “I was certainly wrong when I suggested that the latest Opinium poll was more accurate than YouGov’s, as Labour and the Tories are neck and neck on the actual results from yesterday. However it remains my view that on that basis Labour continue to have little chance in 2020.”

    Nice to see someone acknowledge that their hunch was wrong. And I’d agree that a Labour victory in 2020 looks unlikely despite yesterday’s better-then-expected results.

    It’s worth saying though that the Tories appear to be leading on GE voting intention, despite Labour winning narrowly on Projected National Share by 31% to 30% in the locals. It could be argued that this demonstrates that Corbyn is a drag on Labour, but that voters are more willing to support the party in a context which doesn’t directly involve him. I’d understood that Labour tended to do less well against the Tories in local elections than their GE Voting Intention might imply. From these results, the opposite is now true.

  49. Glad that opinion polling got it about right. Thanks for the summary AW.

    From the results it would seem all parties have reasons to be cheerful, and all to play for in 2020, if the parliament gets that far. Hard to draw conclusions for the General Election from these results though, as FPTP will operate then.

    Labour will need a bit of luck though, as there will not be that cushion of safe Scottish seats, and as has been said there could be a few Conservative gains there as well.

    Then there’s the question of at least one party (Conservative) likely to change leader and it is always possible that UKIP and Greens could follow suit in the next four years. Interesting times.

  50. NEIL A

    Indeed the population is growing and ageing,just as it is in the rest of the UK and across Europe so nothing unique there. The SNP’s vote share as a percentage went up as did the Tories so I’m trying to strike a balance here and admit that both parties did well.

    However this stuff (mantra) the Tories are coming out with that somehow the SNP’s main goal is now dead in the water is awful. More people as a percentage voted for pro indy parties and both were quite vocal about independence during the election but the SNP lost their majority because the system caught up with them not because they lost votes.

    I really think when I read that it was a good day for unionism is a little bit OTT…The Tories (22%) did better than last time and Labour folded.

    Anyway I can see how we are all trying to convince one another of each others spin….I’ve not been convinced by anyone’s spin yet.

    Have a good weekend peeps..

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