Edinburgh East

2015 Result:
Conservative: 4670 (9.9%)
Labour: 14082 (29.9%)
Lib Dem: 1325 (2.8%)
SNP: 23188 (49.2%)
Green: 2809 (6%)
UKIP: 898 (1.9%)
TUSC: 117 (0.2%)
MAJORITY: 9106 (19.3%)

Category: Semi-marginal SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Lothian. Part of the Edinburgh council area.

Main population centres: Edinburgh.

Profile: This seat includes the Old Town of Edinburgh, covering Edinburgh Castle, the Royal Mile, Holyrood palace and now the Scottish Parliament (though the boundary runs along Princes Street, so the retail heart of Edinburgh lies in Edinburgh North). The redevelopment of run down flats and the arrival of the Scottish Parliament means this is now a far more modern, upmarket and desirable area. Most of the electorate however live on the other side of Arthur`s Seat and Holyrood Park in areas like Meadowbank, Duddingston, Mountcastle, Portobello, Prestonfield, Restalrig, Southside and Tollcross. There are mixed areas here, some dsirable housing, a lot of student accomodation from Napier University, Victorian tenements and a lot of council accommodation from the last century, including notoriously deprived and troubled areas like Craigmillar and Niddrie, both largely demolished and redeveloped since the 1980s.

Politics: This was a safe Labour seat that fell to the SNP in 2015. The Edinburgh East and Musselburgh seat in the Scottish Parliament, fought as the name suggests on significantly different boundaries, fell to the SNP in 2007.


Current MP
TOMMY SHEPPARD (SNP) Born Ireland. Educated at Aberdeen University. Former Hackney councillor for the Labour party. First elected as MP for Edinburgh East in 2015.
Past Results
2010
Con: 4358 (11%)
Lab: 17314 (43%)
LDem: 7751 (19%)
SNP: 8133 (20%)
Oth: 2309 (6%)
MAJ: 9181 (23%)
2005
Con: 4093 (10%)
Lab: 15899 (40%)
LDem: 9697 (24%)
SNP: 6760 (17%)
Oth: 3260 (8%)
MAJ: 6202 (16%)
2001*
Con: 3906 (11%)
Lab: 18124 (53%)
LDem: 4981 (14%)
SNP: 5956 (17%)
Oth: 1487 (4%)
MAJ: 12168 (35%)
1997
Con: 6483 (15%)
Lab: 22564 (54%)
LDem: 4511 (11%)
SNP: 8034 (19%)
Oth: 526 (1%)
MAJ: 14530 (34%)

2015 Candidates
JAMES MCMORDIE (Conservative)
SHEILA GILMORE (Labour) Born 1949, Aberdeen. Edinburgh councillor 1991-2007. Contested Edinburgh Pentlands 2007 Scottish election. MP for Edinburgh East 2010 to 2015.
KAREN UTTING (Liberal Democrat) Contested Edinburgh Central 1997, Falkirk East 2001.
OLIVER CORBISHLEY (UKIP)
PETER MCCOLL (Green) Born 1980, Belfast. Educated at Edinburgh university.
TOMMY SHEPPARD (SNP) Born Ireland. Educated at Aberdeen University. Former Hackney councillor for the Labour party.
AYESHA SALEEM (TUSC)
Links
Comments - 133 Responses on “Edinburgh East”
  1. Jack Sheldon,

    That sounds reasonable.

  2. The SNP have generally been between 55 and 60% in TNS polling for Holyrood since the UK election. The real question with the poll is whether the emerging gap between the constituency score and the list score is real.

  3. Is it TNS who prompts for “first vote” and “second vote” rather than “constituency” and “regional” votes in their Holyrood polling? That would explain the gap, since some respondents are bound to interpret “first” and “second” vote as a first and second preference, rather than realising that they are separate ballots.

  4. “Is it TNS who prompts for “first vote” and “second vote” rather than “constituency” and “regional” votes in their Holyrood polling? That would explain the gap, since some respondents are bound to interpret “first” and “second” vote as a first and second preference, rather than realising that they are separate ballots.”

    The Green Party must be a major factor, focusing on list seats. The only real exception seems to be the Scottish Green Leader Patrick Harvie who contesting Glasgow Kelvin and the bookies suggest that he may come second.

  5. While the Green Party of England & Wales may compete with the Lib Dems more for votes than any other political party for the same type of voters the Scottish Green Party (with its YES agenda) will also compete with the SNP.

  6. “While the Green Party of England & Wales may compete with the Lib Dems more for votes than any other political party for the same type of voters”

    Historically true, but these days surely the Greens are in competition mainly with the Corbynistas (and losing that battle if polls are anything to go by).

    Anyway, getting back on topic if what Andy54 says is true then that sounds like a very plausible explanation. It also does seem the Greens are doing relatively well in Scotland on the list, something the SNP seem to be aware of with their #BothvotesSNP hashtag.

  7. The Greens always seem to poll higher than they actually score on the day. Every time they are talked up as likely to win 6-10 seats and they end up with one or two. The only exception was 2003 when both the Greens and the SSP won seats in most regions. That, probably not coincidentally, was when the SNP was at its weakest.

    There is also a lot of debate about how committed the Greens are to independence. They appear to want to park the issue for the foreseeable future, are opposed to a second referendum any time soon, and allow a much wider range of views on the issue than other parties do. I believe that pro-independence candidates secured the top list slots in most or all regions, but there are a number of anti-independence people on the lists.

  8. I wonder if Bristol West (really Bristol Central) will be sustained as a Lab/ Green marginal.

    Perhaps the large Green vote there was momentary dissatisfaction with the Lib Dems.

    Alternatively, now clearly in second place, they could squeeze the Lib Dem vote further.

  9. @Dalek

    As a student seat with a transient population few of the same people probably vote in it from one election to the next. But basically the type of people that voted Lib Dem in this type of seat in 2005 (anti-Iraq War) and 2010 (general anti-government sentiment but from a demographic that doesn’t like the Tories) had gone back to Labour and to the Greens by 2015. Now the left-wingers who voted Green have less of a reason not to vote Labour so if Corbyn’s still around in 2020 they’ll probably do badly and Labour will win the seat easily. I doubt the LDs are going to make any sort of comeback among this demographic in the near future, though I could be wrong.

  10. We should also keep in mind that TNS is just one pollster, and that there polls contrast strongly with the likes of YouGov and Survation.

  11. New YouGov poll:

    Constituency:

    SNP 50 (+1)
    LAB 21 (+2)
    CON 18 (-1)
    LD 5 (-1)

    List:

    SNP 45 (+2)
    LAB 19 (+2)
    CON 18 (-1)
    GRN 8 (-)
    LD 5 (-1)
    UKIP 3 (-1)

    Backs up my view that the Tories could come second but that it is not likely – maybe a 25% chance.

  12. “Backs up my view that the Tories could come second but that it is not likely – maybe a 25% chance.”

    I think it is now less likely than a couple of months ago.

    Small movements from Conservative to SNP could be decisive in places like Eastwood, Dumfries, Ayr and Galloway & West Dumfries (all now major SNP / Con contests with Labour out of the race).

    Personally, while Scotland Votes still projects Conservative victories in Ettrick, Lauderdale & Berwickshire, Eastwood, Dumfries, Ayr and Galloway & West Dumfries….I think that the Conservatives could struggle to offset the SNP advance in Eastwood.

    Although Scotland’s most middle class seat, Eastwood is more now strongly influenced by Glasgow than ever before.
    It would be a major victory indeed for the Conservatives to secure this Glasgow suburb.

  13. “I think it is now less likely than a couple of months ago.”

    Polls haven’t moved much. Perhaps the recent bad headlines for the govt. will put off centrist Labour voters who are tempted by the Tories, but there isn’t much evidence of that happening.

    On the constituencies I do think they’d do very well to take more than Ettrick, with Dumfriesshire the second most likely. Eastwood is a very long shot where they could easily come 3rd.

  14. It probably doesn’t matter much whether the Tories win seats like those Dalek mentions because they’ll largely get them back on the list in any event. In terms of first past the post seats, the Tories may well lose everywhere but Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, but it won’t do much to impact on their chances of beating Labour (which I still see as unlikely).

  15. “Eastwood is a very long shot where they could easily come 3rd.”

    I am certain Labour will come third because there will be a massive unwinding of Ken MacIntosh’s anti-Tory tactical vote. He will lose the large tactical vote that backed him 4 years ago (ie many people who voted in the first instance for the SNP on the list….the SNP outpolled Labour on the list vote) and the mass loss of old Labour voters in places like Thornliebank, Stamperland and Busby.

    I would quite frankly be astounded if Labour retained second place.

    Some people argue that Ken MacIntosh’s has incumbency by Stewart Maxwell and Jackson Carlaw also have incumbency as West of Scotland List MP’s who focus on the Eastwood Constituency. Like Ken, Stewart and Jackson all live in Eastwood.

  16. “Eastwood is a very long shot where they could easily come 3rd.”

    I am certain Labour will come third because there will be a massive unwinding of Ken MacIntosh’s anti-Tory tactical vote. He will lose the large tactical vote that backed him 4 years ago (ie many people who voted in the first instance for the SNP on the list….the SNP outpolled Labour on the list vote) and the mass loss of old Labour voters in places like Thornliebank, Stamperland and Busby.

    I would quite frankly be astounded if Labour secured even second place.

    Some people argue that Ken MacIntosh’s has incumbency but Stewart Maxwell and Jackson Carlaw also have incumbency as West of Scotland List MP’s who focus on the Eastwood Constituency. Like Ken, Stewart and Jackson all live in Eastwood.

  17. I will bow to your greater knowledge of the territory, but would point out that the Tories have severely underperformed in Eastwood/its Westminster equivalent ever since 1997, with the single exception of 2007. Tactical votes can only explain so much. Anyway, as Simon rightly says who wins the constituencies isn’t ultimately of enormous importance to the overall result.

  18. I was looking at the various Eastwood Facebook pages –

    East Renfrewshire Conservatives 440 likes
    Eastwood SNP 231 likes
    Eastwood Scottish Labour 160 likes

    The Tory and SNP pages contain images of lots of campaigning with photos of large teams of people out, confidence and activity.

    By contrast, Labour’s page has a few images of the same few people and little evidence of large scale campaigning.

    Ken is also promoting himself as the only candidate who can stop the SNP adding that if you don’t stop the SNP there could be another Scottish referendum.

    What is ironic is that in May 2011 Ken was the magnet for the anti-Conservative vote (the only one who could keep the Tories out under boundary changes that were massively to the Conservatives benefit).

    Now Ken is presenting himself as a magnet for Tory / Unionist voters to Ken the SNP out. They also use one of the dodgy Lib Dem charts showing the Tories clearly in third place last May on 22% (but that was based on the Westminster and not Holyrood boundaries that now exclude the SNP/ Lab stronghold of Barrhead).

    Ken’s only hope is that the Tory vote collapses and he picks up the bulk of the Tory/ Unionist votes. The problem for Ken here is that I don’t see the Tory vote collapsing here in the way that Ken wants and much of his RED NAT vote of May 2011 will gone to the SNP.

    I was fairly sure that this would turn out to be a SNP / Con battle with Ken in third place and the SNP marginally ahead. A one point I though the budge may have boosted Labours position against the Tories and Ken may have still had a chance of securing second place by the recent Perth & Kinross by election seems to indicate that the Scottish Tories may have offset any damage from the budget.

    Verdict: Close result with the SNP edging ahead of the the Tories and Ken in third place.

    While some opinion polls will suggest that the Conservatives could regain Eastwood (notionally lost in 2011), I think that the Tories will perform relatively stronger in constituencies outside the central belt of Scotland.

  19. I think those who have not experienced Scottish politics first-hand sometimes underestimate the degree to which the Tories have been regarded as utterly toxic. I was a Scottish Labour activist in the run-up to the 2011 election, and I can state from personal experience that in Eastwood Ken Macintosh benefited from anti-Tory tactical votes. It was a strategy that we were encouraged to use on the doorstep – “How would you feel if you woke up with a Tory MSP?”

    Indeed, I’m not sure that it is necessary to have been there personally to understand the role tactical voting played in Eastwood in that election – as Dalek has pointed out, one only need look at the difference between the constituency and the list vote to see that plenty of people must have voted for Macintosh in the constituency and SNP on the list.

    I was not involved in the 2010 election in East Renfrewshire but I was assured by activists who were there that the anti-Tory message was used then as well, to evidently great effect. Both Macintosh and Jim Murphy had substantial personal votes (another thing I learned on the doorstep) but my (relatively informed) view is that this was dwarfed by the tactical element.

    The Scottish political landscape has altered substantially since I lived there, so my predictions for the future are much less informed than my reading of past results. That being said, I don’t believe the Budget will have harmed the Scottish Tories much. The Holyrood election is being fought on Scottish issues. Labour tried to make the 2011 election a referendum on the Westminster government and we know how that went for them.

    As for Eastwood (I realise that this would probably be better discussed on the East Ren thread, but here we are) I agree with Dalek that it will be an SNP gain with the Tories in second place, though I suspect the SNP’s margin of victory will be substantial.

  20. “The YouGov Scottish poll for the Times has topline figures of SNP 50%(+1), LAB 21%(+2), CON 18%(-1), LDEM 5%(-1) for the constituency vote, and SNP 45%(+2), LAB 19%(+2), CON 18%(-1), GRN 8%(nc), LDEM 5%(nc) in the regional vote.”

    What’s incredible about this poll is that the Labour and SNP positions are almost the reverse of what they would have been in the 1980’s and 1990’s.

  21. Andy54 @

    I would tend to agree with you…..the SNP lead over the Conservatives here could be quite substantial.

    For the Conservatives to win in Eastwood they would been to win in places like Giffnock and Clarkston to offset strong SNP leads in Thornliebank, Stamperland and Busby.

    I could see the SNP winning in Giffnock and Clarkston and the Conservatives only remaining dominant in Newton Mearns.

  22. Agreed. I think we will be seeing a fractured unionist vote, with a strong Labour second behind the Conservatives giving the SNP a strong edge to take the seat by a relatively significant margin.

  23. New Panelbase poll:

    Constituency:

    SNP 51
    LAB 19
    CON 18
    LD 5

    List:

    SNP 47
    CON 19
    LAB 18
    GRN 8
    LD 4

    On these kind of figures, given the national picture, the difficulty LAB will have winning any constituencies at all, and the tendency (at least elsewhere in the UK) for the Tories to outperform polls and Labour to underperform on polling, the Tories have more than a chance of second place now.

  24. Most polls show Labour comfortably second. Only Panelbase and YouGov show a close contest.

  25. Labour can only realistically win in two constituencies, those being Edinburgh Southern and Eastwood. I suspect the two will go to the SNP, and Eastwood quite comfortably at that.

  26. Not ‘comfortably’. Survation had a three point gap last time on the list, TNS are the only pollster showing a much larger gap. The general picture is of a close race, with Labour perhaps narrowly ahead in votes but close to a dead heat in seats. I’m not saying the Tories will definitely come second or that they are favourites, but on this evidence it is well within the bounds of possibility. In 2011 Labour performed much worse than in polls, and even in 2015 did even worse in Scotland in the end than most polls suggested.

  27. The unknown in all of this is which pollsters have made adjustments to their methodologies, and whether those changes were necessary in Scotland. For example, there was a very sudden jump in the Tory score with YouGov towards the end of last year at exactly the same time as they made changes to the way they carried out UK polls. Greater openness would certainly help in evaluating how accurate the polls are likely to be.

  28. I’d argue that the Conservatives have a good shot of winning Dumfriesshire and very (very) remote shots in Ayr and Galloway.

    @ Simon – the same argument can be made for TNS in the opposite direction, who made a very dramatic jump of 47% SNP before the election to 60% afterwards.

  29. The big lesson of GE 2015 polling is that even in the era of online polling and new polls being published on an almost daily basis they must be treated with caution. They can tell us important things about what is happening, as they did in 2015 – they were right to point us in the direction of a relatively tight contest, a Lib Dem collapse, UKIP in double figures and the SNP well ahead in Scotland. But there is always a margin of error (in reality a bigger one than the published statistical margin of error) and the potential for them to be a few points out (indeed, it was only 3 points each way that they got 2015 wrong by). People like Anthony are very clever people who have been working very hard to improve on the methodology they used last year, but without any actual election results to test it against it is very hard to say to what extent, if at all, they have succeeded. That’s why on current polling I won’t rule out Goldsmith winning in London and certainly won’t rule out the Tories coming second in Scotland.

  30. Another pollster shows a very tight race for second in Scotland, this time Survation:

    Constituency:

    SNP 53 (+1)
    LAB 18 (-3)
    CON 17 (+1)
    LD 7 (+1)

    List:

    SNP 43 (-1)
    CON 18 (+2)
    LAB 17 (-2)
    GRN 11 (+1)
    LD 7 (+1)
    UKIP 4 (-)

  31. I suppose we will see in a couple of weeks. My own feeling is that the uniform swing model used by ScotlandVotes (and other predictive tools) is no longer adequate to accurately predict what will happen in May.

  32. I agree Andy. Eastwood seems to be a relatively likely SNP constitunecy.

    I think we’ll have something like LD Holds in either Orkney or Shetland (good night if they hold both), a Conservative hold in Ettrick, Roxburgh & Berwickshire and possibly a Conservative gain in Dumfriesshire.

    If I were a gambling man I’d place my money on the SNP gaining Eastwood (good odds). There’s also some good odds if you’re confident that the Conservatives will win in Dumfriesshire – alas, I am not so confident here.

  33. I strongly suspect that the SNP will do better on the list than the polls are currently suggesting. The normal gap between their FPTP vote and their list vote is around 1.5%, with a peak divergence of 2.9% in 2003. At least in the last two elections, most opinion polling was showing a much larger gap, but the end result was that the SNP scored broadly in line with their constituency figure on both votes. If they do rack up 50+% on the list, they will start getting seats there even if they sweep the constituencies (as happened in the North East in 2011, where they won all the constituencies and a list seat with 52%).

  34. @ Simon – That seems reasonable. I’d probably suspect that the Green vote on the regional polls is overstated in place of the SNP.

    If the elections follows the same lines as the 2015 UK General Election the SNP vote could fall on 2011 around the North East, rising elsewhere.

  35. New Ipsos MORI poll, again suggests second place very tight. Tories perhaps even favourites now. Changes below are from February.

    Constituency:

    SNP 51 (-2)
    LAB 19 (-1)
    CON 18 (+2)
    LD 6
    OTH 6

    List:

    SNP 45 (-4)
    CON 19 (+4)
    LAB 17 (-2)
    GRN 10 (+4)
    LD 7 (-1)
    UKIP 1
    OTH 1

  36. I though the budget may have scuttled the Scottish Tories chances of becoming the main opposition but if the Conservatives can maintain a lead over Labour on the Regional vote they are likely to win more seats.

    What’s ironic is that even if Labour remain ahead on the constituency vote, the Conservatives have 4 real prospects (a possible gain of Dumfriesshire but not really Eastwood).

    Even if the Conservatives hold only Ettrick, Lauderdale & Berwickshire they could still end up with more constituency seats than Labour.

    The 30% + clear lead on the constituency vote over the two main unionist parties would appear to make every constituency in Scotland (other than Ettrick, Lauderdale & Berwickshire and Shetland) more likely than not to go SNP.

    What is ironic is that dozens of majority unionist seats will be won by the SNP. Its a bit like the unionist winning nationalist majority seats in Northern Ireland in the 1980’s due to the divided unionist vote or the reverse happening in the 2000’s with the nationalists gaining the then unionist majority Belfast South (though I think that constituency has become much more mixed since).

  37. Ladbrokes still have Labour as comfortable favourites to come second at 1-2 with the Tories 6-4.

    Elsewhere the Conservatives are only favourites to win one constituency seat: Etterick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire at a best price of 1-4. Other than that the seat where they are closest to being favourites is Eastwood where Ladbrokes have them on 11-10 with the SNP 10-11 favourites.

  38. Meanwhile, Scotland Votes is still giving five constituencies to the Tories. Very unlikely to happen in my view, though I wouldn’t be entirely surprised if they win all three southern seats. STV have profiled Galloway & WD – http://www.itv.com/news/border/update/2016-04-22/watch-can-the-tories-keep-a-hold-of-galloway-and-west-dumfries/ Bizarre that Aileen McLeod – SNP candidate and environment minister – couldn’t seem to string answers together on basic questions. Also rather odd comments on female candidates from the Lib Dem!

  39. The competence or otherwise of the SNP’s candidates appears to have little impact on their ability to get elected, hence the continuing electedness of Pete Wishart.

    I think the SNP stand a better chance of sweeping all the mainland constituencies than the Tories do of winning more than two.

  40. If I were a gambler I would be putting my money on the Tories taking Dumfriesshire and the SNP taking Eastwood: good odds, good chance.

  41. Panelbase’s final poll is a relatively strong one for Labour.

    Constituency:

    SNP 49 (-2)
    LAB 23 (+4)
    CON 17 (-1)
    LD 6 (+1)
    GRN 3 (+1)*

    List:

    SNP 44 (-3)
    LAB 22 (+4)
    CON 19 (-)
    GRN 6 (-2)
    LD 4 (-)
    UKIP 3 (-)
    RISE 2 (+1)

    * This can’t be right as they are only contesting three constituencies. I expect that bumps the SNP up to 52%.

  42. New Survation poll out. This is a phone poll, I think the first of the SP campaign?

    Constituency:

    SNP 49
    LAB 21
    CON 19
    LD 7
    OTH 5

    List:

    SNP 43
    CON 20
    LAB 19
    GRN 7
    LD 6
    UKIP 2
    OTH 2

    Second place still v. tight. Note that on these figures ScotlandVotes gives the Tories the most unlikely total of no fewer than six constituencies – Berwickshire, Dumfriesshire, Galloway, Ayr, Eastwood, Edinburgh P.

  43. Yes. Would be best result for the Scottish Tories since ’92.

    Unsurprisingly given the recent polls the odds to finish second to the SNP have shifted. Ladbrokes now go 4-6 Labour, 11-10 Conservative.

    I still think Labour will finish second. Just.

  44. Nope 😛

  45. Labour is pretty good value at 4/6 imo.

  46. YouGov with the final poll of the campaign – and it’s another with the Tories second and on 20% on the list. Interestingly the patterns of constituency and list support are v. similar to the last Survation. That is, LAB a bit ahead of constituency but the Tories v. narrowly ahead on the list.

    Constituency:

    SNP 48 (-2)
    LAB 22 (+1)
    CON 19 (+1)
    LD 7 (+2)

    List:

    SNP 41 (-4)
    CON 20 (+2)
    LAB 19 (-)
    GRN 9 (+1)
    LD 6 (+1)
    UKIP 4 (+1)

  47. If things play out this way the constituency results may fool everybody into thinking LAB have saved second, only for the list results to show that they haven’t.

  48. This time last year the pre-election polls were roughly 2-4% out for the SNP and 1-3% out for Labour: SNP up on the opinion polls, Labour down.

  49. The result in Edinburgh Central was quite simply remarkable… the previous four times the seat has been contested the Tories were *fourth*. Leaders with a high profile surprising in their constituencies was a feature of the devolveds with Willie Rennie and Leanne Wood also defying the odds.

  50. Emerging scene in Scotland is a fairly impregnable looking SNP heartland in Glasgow and much of the rest of the central belt, but signs of a unionist resurgence elsewhere in places that had a strong No vote. Interesting that though they held there were significant swings away from the SNP in their traditional base in the Highlands and Aberdeenshire.

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