East Dunbartonshire

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4727 (8.6%)
Labour: 6754 (12.3%)
Lib Dem: 19926 (36.3%)
SNP: 22093 (40.3%)
Green: 804 (1.5%)
UKIP: 567 (1%)
MAJORITY: 2167 (3.9%)

Category: Marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, West. Part of the East Dunbartonshire council area.

Main population centres: Bearsden, Bishopbriggs, Milngavie, Lenzie.

Profile: East Dunbartonshire covers the rural hinterland and affluent commuter towns to the north of Glasgow. It is a desirable residential area with a high rate of owner-occupiers, favoured by Glasgow`s middle class professionals.

Politics: Dunbartonshire East was created in 2005, bringing together the more middle class parts of the old Strathkelvin and Bearsden and Clydebank and Milngavie seats. In England it would almost certainly have been a new Conservative seat, but in Scotland they languish in a poor fourth place. Between 2005 and 2015 it was held by the Liberal Democrat MP Jo Swinson who managed to keep most of her vote share in 2015, but managed to lose her seat anyway as Labour voters deserted en masse for the SNP.


Current MP
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Former journalist. First elected as MP for Dunbartonshire East in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 7431 (15%)
Lab: 16367 (34%)
LDem: 18551 (39%)
SNP: 5054 (11%)
Oth: 545 (1%)
MAJ: 2184 (5%)
2005
Con: 7708 (16%)
Lab: 15472 (33%)
LDem: 19533 (42%)
SNP: 2716 (6%)
Oth: 1295 (3%)
MAJ: 4061 (9%)
2001*
Con: 6635 (16%)
Lab: 19250 (46%)
LDem: 7533 (18%)
SNP: 6675 (16%)
Oth: 1393 (3%)
MAJ: 11717 (28%)
1997
Con: 9986 (20%)
Lab: 26278 (53%)
LDem: 4843 (10%)
SNP: 8111 (16%)
Oth: 494 (1%)
MAJ: 16292 (33%)

2015 Candidates
ANDREW POLSON (Conservative) Educated at Douglas Academy. Radio station manager.
AMANJIT JHUND (Labour) Born 1981, Glasgow. Educated at Edinburgh university. Doctor and entrepreneur. Contested Windsor 2010.
JO SWINSON (Liberal Democrat) Born 1980, Milngavie. Educated at Douglas Academy and LSE. Marketing manager. Contested Hull East 2001 and Strathkelvin and Bearsden 2003 Scottish Parliament election. MP for East Dunbartonshire 2005 to 2015. Parliamentary under-secretary for business since 2012.
WILFRED ARASARATNAM (UKIP)
ROSS GREER (Green) Educated at Strathclyde University.
JOHN NICOLSON (SNP) Born Glasgow. Educated at Glasgow University. Journalist.
Links
Comments - 603 Responses on “Dunbartonshire East”
  1. And if you’re politically engaged enough to follow not particularly well-known MPs on Twitter, you’re politically engaged enough to know that only the Lib Dems can beat the SNP here.

  2. Polltroll
    As much as his message probably won’t reach AND dupe many voters he’s got nothing to lose. His local party obviously know who the threat is and if his ruse convinces just one Lib Dem to back the Tories his Tweet will have been worth it as far as his campaign goes.

    I doubt that will be the only component of this deceit though rather its just the opening salvo. SNP activists here will (if their smart) casually bring up on the doorstep that the Tories are the main challengers, we might even see from the SNP some reworking of the Lib Dems infamous graphs this time showing the Lib’s doing massively worse and roughly level with the Tories.

  3. Well, certainly the SNP will hope for a good Tory performance on May 4th to muddy the water

  4. Even by pre-2016 Scottish standards, the Tory vote of 9% here is incredibly low for a very middle class suburban constituency.

    If the kinds of people who are switching to the Tories vote tactically here for the Lib Dems Nicolson is finished.

    If there was a large supressed Tory vote that backed Swinton in 2015 that will now vote only Tory then Swinton is finished.

  5. Dalek

    Swinton?? How does Greater Manchester come into this? 😉

  6. Ploppy,

    I have said this before. How can the Conservative vote go up, the LibDem vote also go up in order for them to take the seat yet the SNP vote not to go down? It doesn’t add up.

  7. You are mistaken if you think SNP supporters are suddenly going to vote Conservative.

  8. Old Nat posted some crossbreaks from various polls which suggest that there are some SNP to Tory switchers. SNP voters are not homogenous: some are ABT voters, but some are ABL voters, hardcore Brexit supporters, or non-Tory voters who could nonetheless be convinced under current circumstances.

    It’s also possible to have a churn like SNP to LD and LD to Tory, so that it looks like SNP to Tory switching on aggregate.

    So yes, it’s perfectly plausible that both the Tories and the Lib Dems could go up here. Given that national polls suggest some fall in the SNP vote and the LDs need just a 2% swing from the SNP to take this seat, we could easily see the SNP lose East Dunbartonshire without any squeeze in the Tory vote.

  9. Plopwellian Tory,

    The polls actually suggest that the total SNP loss might be less than that (at the 95% confidence level) because of the margin of error. It’s very unlikely, but the polls are coherent with a 9% drop in the SNP vote.

  10. There are two polls, both conducted on the same dates (18-21/4/2017) which show SNP support at 43/44 %.
    Since General election 2015, SNP opinion poll figures are 51,52,47.49,47,47.
    Now their support may be down a little but how much of it can be switching directly to Conservative? Not a great deal, I would suggest.

  11. BBC reporting a suspicious package found at MP’s office.

  12. PLOPWELLIAN TORY
    Why are you so convinced the SNP-Conservative swing voter doesn’t exist in the post-Thatcher, post-Devolution, Ruth Davidson era?
    April 25th, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I am not saying it doesn’t exist. However, in seats such as this, is a more likely scenario not that Conservatives who had lent their vote to LibDems in the past will now return to support their own party? I simply can’t see how the Conservative vote can go up and the LibDem vote also.

  13. Well, Labour will presumably come a deposit losing 4th this time so it is possible both Con and LD could improve.

    I doubt there is much SNP-Con switching at all, but it isn’t entirely impossible in Moray, Perth, Banff etc. where the old ‘Tartan Tory’ vote may be coming home.

  14. Plopwellian Tory: I think the onus is on those assuming it to be a fact to demonstrate that they do exist in significant enough proportions for the numbers to add up.

    And I accept it is ultimately a political matter rather than a polling one.

    The only way the Scottish polls add up is either if such voters do exist, or if the Tories will disproportionately squeeze Labour, UKIP and the Lib Dems in seats where it’s of little benefit. The latter seems more likely than the former, in the absence of evidence for what politically, at face value, seems the more likely option, and given that in seats such as this one there really isn’t much of a third party vote to be squeezed.

  15. (correction on the last point, I thought I was posting on the Moray thread)

  16. I’ve always been impressed by Swinson, though I wish she was more Orange Book-y. Wouldn’t mind seeing her back in the Commons, and I think it’s about as likely as not.

  17. Anyone on the ground got any info about this seat? I have a feeling that Jo Swinson will win this seat back from John Nicolson

  18. I know leaflets have been arriving across most of the constituency already. Swinson’s online crowdfunder also received double the donations of Nicolson

  19. PLOPWELLIAN TORY
    I do think she’ll win but not by that much. The Conservative vote will likely rise a bit here I think, and it’ll be tough for the LDEM vote to keep the CON vote as low as it was in GE2015.
    May 3rd, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Please explain how the Tory vote is going to go up but Swinsons will also go up enough for her to win the seat?

  20. I guess turnout could be a factor as well. It was higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK. If it returns to normal levels which party is likely to suffer/gain most?

  21. Scotty Boy,

    There are a number of ways, but a 5% swing from Labour to the Lib Dems and a 2% swing from Labour to the Tories would result (all else being equal) in the Lib Dems taking the seat and the Tory vote going up a bit.

    That might be probable or improbable, but it’s not totally improbable.

  22. Surely it is very likely that Lab lose their deposit here, in which case it is perfectly conceivable the Con vote could be up a little and the Lib vote up more.

  23. Labour lost deposit here? Extremely doubtful.
    Consider why Tories lent their vote to Jo in the last election. They did so to stop a Miliband Sturgeon Westminster pact. No such pact or threat of a pact exists this time so why should they vote LibDem? I can see the Tory vote going up ok, possibly quite a lot but if it does so, the SNP will hold this seat.

  24. @ Scottyboy – why is it that you predict the vote will split absolutely perfectly for the SNP everywhere?

  25. They would vote Lib Dem to keep the SNP out and hurt the independence cause.

    Ditto Lib Dem -> Labour switchers.

  26. NTY UK
    @ Scottyboy – why is it that you predict the vote will split absolutely perfectly for the SNP everywhere?
    May 3rd, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Simple solution, as Ruth Davidson says…Vote for your own party.

  27. Maybe in Scotland we should start having on the ballot..

    SNP

    Unionist

    That would at least solve the difficult question for unionists of which party to support this time in order to defeat the SNP candidate.

  28. The Lib Dems should get this back by 5-8,000 or so, but a Tory recovery could scupper it as I think quite a lot of previous Lib Dem support came from them tactically.

    LD 25,000
    *SNP 18,000
    CON 7,000
    LAB 5,500
    GRN 800

  29. I don’t know how Gloyish that post is meant to be…

  30. Possibly just a bit of over egging.

    The SNP may hold though.

  31. So far the Lib Dems have held all their council seats and gained 2 extra seats. This will be a boost for them in the run up to the general election campaign

  32. Local Election Result

    SNP 31.8%
    Con 27.3%
    LD 27.3%
    Lab 9.1%
    Green 4.5%

    The Kirkintilloch East Ward that is in Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East returned SNP 1/ Lab 1/ LD 1.

    This would infer that the constituency itself was more Tory than the council area as a whole. Certainly the Conservatives will be ahead of the Lib Dems. On paper this should be a shoe in for the Lib Dem’s but as per the council elections above, does a strong Conservative surge not make Swinton’s campaign much more difficult?

  33. The dynamics of an FPTP election should comfortably see Swinson home.

  34. In 2005, 2010 and 2015 most Tory voters believed that a Tory vote was a wasted vote. That is not the case now and that’s the problem Swinton has here and Murray has in Edinburgh South.

  35. Anyone who can read a bar chart can see quite clearly why the Tories are on the road to nowhere in this seat.

  36. By this logic the Conservatives would never have become the main competitor in Aberdeenshire West or Berwickshire.

  37. To be fair, Dalek, AWAK and Berwickshire both were in an odd place in 2015, being LD/Con marginals against a surging SNP. The case here is a slightly falling SNP with both the LDs and the Tories up a bit nationally. I’m not sure how that impacts it, but it certainly is not the same as 2015 in the seats you mention.

    I think this will be less easy for Swinson than people here think. Could Labour drop lower? If they’re getting 13-18% nationally, I could see this seat going as low as 6-7%. Those votes would probably go for Swinson.

  38. Labour’s already down to 9% here in the locals, and this didn’t stop Tories polling ahead of LDs.

    Confused tactical voting may not be enough to see Swinson home, though it may be enough to prevent Tories winning and to see SNP home through the middle.

  39. Unionist parties with bookies are favorites in these constituencies
    Aberdeenshire West & Kincardine 1/5 (CON)
    Berwickshire Roxburgh Selkirk 1/6 (CON)
    Caithness Sutherland Easter Ross 10/11 (LD)
    Dumfries & Galloway 1/6 CON
    Dumfriesshire Clydesdale Tweeddale 1/6 (CON)
    Dunbartonshire East 4/6 (LD)
    Edinburgh South 6/5 (LAB)
    Edinburgh West 1/2 (LD)
    Fife North East 10/11 (LD)
    Orkney Shetland 2/7 (LD)
    Renfrewshire East 8/13 (CON)
    There are other seats where its very close with the bookies such as Sterling, Ochil & South Perthshire, Perth and North Perthshire etc.

  40. If this becomes a three-way marginal – as indicated by local elections – then an SNP hold is most likely result.

    There is likely to be significant churn as follows:

    SNP -> not voting – diminished motivation
    SNP -> LD some
    SNP -> Lab limited
    SNP -> Con unlikely

    LD -> Con – tactical unwind
    LD -> Lab – tactical unwind
    LD -> SNP – limited
    LD -> not voting

    Lab -> not voting – demotivated
    Lab -> LD – tactical and remainers
    Lab -> Con – switchers
    Lab -> SNP – v limited, this already happened in 2015

    Con -> LD – tactical voters
    Con -> Lab – unlikely
    Con -> SNP – very unlikely
    Con -> not voting – limited, circumstantial.

    Greens – if not standing – will vary by region but mainly to SNP, LAB or LD.
    UKIP – even if standing, mostly to Con.

    DNV -> Con – significant, motivated at last
    DNV -> LD – tactical votes
    DNV -> Lab or SNP – unlikely

    The above patterns will apply across Scotland, but the proportions and absolute numbers will vary regionally. Movement to / from not voting is likely to be more significant than switchers between parties except in seats, such as this, where TV is likely to be material.

  41. This problem here is that the Conservatives took a totally unrealistic 9% in 2015 that suggested a much greater element of tactical voting than Edinburgh West of Fife NE.

    The Tories are now well ahead of the Lib Dems in local government here and likely to poll over 20% even if much of their support votes Lib Dem.

    A good indication for the scale of tactical voting here is to compare the 2001 notional result for here (that had the Conservatives in a good third) to the actual 2005 result that showed their support at the same level as in Strathkelvin & Bearsden despite losing most of Kirkintilloch and gaining Milngavie and the missing part of Bearsden.

  42. I don’t see why Tories living here would vote Tory in huge numbers to let Nicholson back in with an increased majority.

    If anything that 9% could be squeezed even more, as some who voted Tory in 2015 will have hated the outcome here when they saw it the next day. But I take your point that the national polls will have some affect and so no net change or a small rise to 12% overall seems more likely than a more than doubling in the Tory share when they’re not in the running.

    Just look at the history of LD marginal where they weren’t fighting Tories (there aren’t many). In those eg David Alton in Lpool and Simon Hughes in Southwark they repeatedly squeezed the Tory vote (usually 20% to below 10%) by being the anti-Labour candidate. I would have thought with Corbyn as Leader that will prove as effective as it was for them in the ’80s and 90s re Foot & Kinnock.

  43. Yes, I don’t think the Tory vote will increase that dramatically. Voters here are well aware of how close it was in 2015 (as they have repeatedly received the bar chart in the post) and soft-Tories will be targeted hugely in this campaign.

    The Tory candidate here also apparently posted on Facebook that they “wouldn’t be packing their bags for Westminster”, which I’m sure the Lib Dems will jump on.

  44. This is a very strange election in East Dunbartonshire. Firstly, the SNP claims a very large membership of the party across Scotland. According to Wikipedia its membership in 2016 was 120,000. That works out as an average of 2,000 members in each Westminster constituency. That should provide the SNP with two things: a large amount of money and a large activist base. So how is the SNP using those resources?
    I haven’t come across any forecasts which suggest that the SNP is likely to win fewer than 40 seats. That leaves only 16 seats where the SNP is under any possible threat: the rest are safe. Any sensible party would then be expected to throw most of its resources into those sixteen seats.
    Most forecasts suggest that one of the sixteen is East Dunbartonshire.
    On the basis of the above analysis it could be expected that the SNP would be extremely active in East Dunbartonshire. Money would be pouring into the campaign and activists would be coming in from nearby safe seats to supplement the already-large number of activists in the constituency.
    The reality is that I have not yet received any kind of contact from the SNP. No leaflets. No canvassing. Nothing.
    The only sign I have seen of SNP activity is a few SNP activists standing inside a gazebo at Bearsden Cross on a Saturday morning. Doing what I do not know.
    Maybe the SNP have decided that East Dunbartonshire is going to be a definite loss and are concentrating their resources elsewhere.But John Nicholson is very active on his Twitter account. That really should do the trick.

  45. @Dalek and BT Says

    The figures for the local elections you are quoting are for the seat % for each party, not the %s of 1st Prefs for each party. There were 6 Ind candidate, one of whom was actually elected and between them they had 5,650 votes.

    The 1st Prefs votes per party is as follows:

    SNP 13,590 (29.1%)
    Con 11,569 (24.8%)
    LD 7,076 (15.8%)
    Lab 6,538 (14.0%)
    Inds 5,650 (12.1%)
    Green 2,187 (4.7%)
    Total 1st Prefs 46,612

    So SNP first but well down on any GE %. Con a close 2nd with LD and Lab well back in 3rd and 4th.

    There is no Green candidate.

    All to play for here and a possible shock?

  46. johnogilvie1615 – For those at the very top of a party the balance is slightly different. But for rank and file MPs and challengers (even high profile challengers such as Swinson) the problem with Twitter is that the “good” things they say will generally only be read by voters whose attention they already hold.

    By contrast the “bad” things they say will generally be circulated far more widely. This of course applies to Swinson just as much as Nicolson.

  47. Lib Dem gain

    Lib Dem 21,023 – 40.6% (up 4.3%)
    SNP 15,684 – 30.3% (down 10%)

    Tories up 6 and Labour up 2.2% left on 14.6% each.

    Now one of the biggest Lib Dem majorities in the country. I imagine Swinson will be party leader soon.

  48. So an increase in the Tory and Lib Dem votes WAS possible. And a bigger Tory vote % increase than almost anyone would have expected.

    Awful result for the SNP. They were expected to lose, but not by such a margin.

  49. Swinson now the bookies favourite to be the next Lib Dem leader

  50. I think she would do a good job.

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