Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles)

2015 Result:
Conservative: 1215 (7.6%)
Labour: 4560 (28.6%)
Lib Dem: 456 (2.9%)
SNP: 8662 (54.3%)
Christian: 1045 (6.6%)
MAJORITY: 4102 (25.7%)

Category: Safe SNP seat

Geography: Scotland, Highlands and islands. The whole of the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar area.

Main population centres: Stornoway.

Profile: Na h-Eileanan an lar covers the Western Isles (the seat was called Western Isles until 2005). It covers the Outer Hebridies, the further reaches of the archipeligo off the coast of north-western Scotland, including the islands of Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, Barra, Benbecula, Scalpay, Great Bernera, Grimsay and the uninhabited St Kilda. The only town on the Outer Hebridies is the fishing port of Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, from where ferries sail to the mainland. Stornoway also has an airport with services to the mainland. The seat is socially as well as geographically somewhat isolated: Gaelic is widely spoken, the Western Isles are the only area in Scotland were over 60% of people speak Gaelic. Sunday Observance is also still widely observed on the Islands, particularly in the Northern islands, with a widespread refusal to trade or travel on the Sabbath, due to the continuing strength of the Free Church and Free Presbyterian Church. In 2006 considerable controversey was caused with the opening of a ferry service to Lewis that operated on Sundays.

Politics: Na h-Eileanan an lar has the smallest electorate of any seat in the country with just over 20,000 voters, only a third of the size of most constituencies. Attempts to link the counstituency with others have always foundered on the geographical size of the area and problems of travel and communications for the MP. Politically the seat has been a marginal between the SNP and Labour since the war. In both 2005 and 2010 it was one of only a few seats where the Conservatives failed to retain their deposit. In the 1975 referendum on continued membership of the European Union, the Western Isles and Shetland Isles were the only areas to vote no.


Current MP
ANGUS MACNEIL (Scottish National Party) Born 1970, Barra. Educated at Nicholson Institute, Stornoway and Strathclyde University. Former teacher and BBC worker. Contested Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber 2001. First elected as MP for Na h-Eileanan an Iar in 2005. A native speaker of Gaelic. MacNeil brough the original complaint that lead to the police investigation into "loans for peerages".
Past Results
2010
Con: 647 (4%)
Lab: 4838 (33%)
LDem: 1097 (7%)
SNP: 6723 (46%)
Oth: 1412 (10%)
MAJ: 1885 (13%)
2005
Con: 610 (4%)
Lab: 4772 (34%)
LDem: 1096 (8%)
SNP: 6213 (45%)
Oth: 1145 (8%)
MAJ: 1441 (10%)
2001*
Con: 1250 (9%)
Lab: 5924 (45%)
LDem: 849 (6%)
SNP: 4850 (37%)
Oth: 286 (2%)
MAJ: 1074 (8%)
1997
Con: 1071 (7%)
Lab: 8955 (56%)
LDem: 495 (3%)
SNP: 5379 (33%)
Oth: 206 (1%)
MAJ: 3576 (22%)

2015 Candidates
MARK BROWN (Conservative) Financial services manager.
ALASDAIR MORRISON (Labour) Born 1968, Stornoway. Educated at Nicolson Institute. Journalist. Contested MSP for Western Isles 1999-2007.
RUARAIDH FERGUSON (Liberal Democrat)
ANGUS MACNEIL (SNP) See above.
JOHN CORMACK (Christian)
Links
Comments - 626 Responses on “Na h-Eileanan an Iar (Western Isles)”
  1. So, it looks like the polls were out by the same margin and in the same direction as four years ago. Difference is that Biden started with a big enough lead that it looks like he’ll hobble over the line.

  2. PA looks like the one remaining state which may stay slightly out of reach for Biden (assuming Trump wins NC).

    If Biden mops up all the rest I think that still gets him to 270 without PA

  3. Biden gets to 270 exactly by holding Nevada and picking up Michigan, Wisconsin, in addition to the already-projected gains of Arizona and Nebraska-2nd. Pennsylvania and Georgia are bonuses, but if Biden wins those too it might help extinguish supreme court shenanigans so I don’t think they’re entirely irrelevant.

  4. Sky News, Reuters, etc. haven’t called Arizona yet and Trumps team have said he’ll win it by 30,000 votes

    Have the other broadcasters gone too early?

  5. Al Gore decided not to pursue to supreme court in 2000 out of national unity. But I can’t see Trump doing the same. Sky News reported that Trump could appeal the decision several times

  6. I understand the New York Times are reporting they’ve got the number of votes counted in Arizona wrong

  7. Biden’s big advantage in postal votes is expected to take him to victory in Pennsylvania- ofc subject to all the lawsuits.

    Michigan Wisconsin Pennsylvania Nevada all expected to go to Biden.

    North Carolina and Georgia expected to go to TRUMP. So.looks like it SHOULD end up TRUMP 248 BIDEN 290.

  8. Don’t see Pennsylvania going Biden’s way as the votes keep tallying up – and it might take a couple of days for the result to come in but if things hold out, by then it will be irrelevant and Biden will have his 270

  9. “Don’t see Pennsylvania going Biden’s way as the votes keep tallying up – and it might take a couple of days for the result to come in but if things hold out, by then it will be irrelevant and Biden will have his 270”

    It’s quite possible for Biden to win PA, as much of the remaining vote comes from central Philadelphia where Democrats get 90% of the vote.

    If Biden only gets 270 then he’s relying on the one elector he’s got from Nebraska (a very red state under a Republican governor) not playing silly buggers under pressure from Trump and creating a 269-269 tie.

  10. That appears to be Biden’s problem though. Even in solid Dem areas he only seems to muster 75%, whereas Trump seems to pull in 85% in some rural counties and even add to his 2016 tally. Which is why both are on c70 million votes.

    Didn’t a Dem Rep defect to Trump in S Philly last year?

    Is the <1% recount by hand or machine in Wi?

  11. I assume that’s due to Dems not door knocking unlike Reps.

  12. Anyone keeping an eye on the down-ballot events, by the way? Because it’s slipped a little under many people’s radar that the Republicans have held on to the Senate. So Biden will not be able to pass a $15 MW, for example, unless mid-terms favour him which is very rare for an incumbent.

    We also now have several congressmen who believe – or at least say they believe – that Hilary Clinton and George Soros are at the centre of an international child sex-trafficking ring. This is the sort of poison that doesn’t disappear just because Trump loses office.

  13. Eight States now have passed $15 p.h min wage. (£11.55 ph).

    Interesting down ballot issues:

    AZ – legalize marijuana.. PASSED
    DC – decriminalize mushrooms
    Missisippi- legalize medical marijuana
    Montana – legalize marijuana
    New Jersey – legalize marijuana
    Oregon- decriminalize heroin, cocaine, LSD
    S Dakota – legalize medical marijuana

  14. Still TCTC.

    Arizona heading for a possible dead heat / recount, as Biden’s lead continues to shrink with late counting – but next update won’t be until Thursday teatime UK time.

    Georgia – Trump still ahead but Biden very slightly favoured based on the votes coming from near Atlanta.

    N Carolina – Trump still ahead and favoured to stay so, narrowly

    Pennsylvania – anybody’s guess. There’s as many assumptions as facts, floating around the cybersphere. Trump still ahead and the gap will narrow further – the only question is whether it will be enough. If anything, Biden slightly favoured I think.

    Nevada – Biden definitely favoured but actually, based on very little real detail coming out and they’ve not done an update for 24 hours and won’t until Thursday. Conventional wisdom is this stays in the Biden column (currently 0.6% margin), but potential to be a wildcard.

    In short, any of the above could be the tipping state.

    Not aware of any real reason for GOP to be successful overturning Wisconsin in a recount.

  15. I agree AS is too close to call.

    Trump might win AZ. It is not clear how many votes still to count.

    Texas turnout was up 26%. AZ turnout in 2016 was 2.6m

    If it follows TX, AZ turnout will be approx 3.2m.

    Using results so far reported and if above correct about AZ turnout another approx 300,000 votes to come in.

    TRUMP won 68% of last batch of 63,000 votes.

    If Trump wins 58% of the “extra 300k” it’ll be approx
    JB 1,596,000 DJT 1,574,000

  16. 58% not 68%

  17. Yes, Arizona was called prematurely, probably because the folk who made the call didn’t realise that the mail-in ballots were being counted in date order, and the late ones skewed redder compared to the early ones.

  18. “Eight States now have passed $15 p.h min wage. (£11.55 ph)”

    Including Florida, which simultaneously voted for the raise in MW and for Trump as president.

  19. Trump did exceptionally well amongst the Hispanic population in Florida and that is highly likely to have prevented Biden from winning the state, as Biden did much better with white retired voters than Clinton. In the unlikely but still possible event that Trump remains president, this will arguably be the key factor.

    The Trump campaign ran a lot of below the radar social media campaigning in Spanish, alleging that Biden was a far left communist sympathiser. With most Hispanics in FL being Cuban or Venezuelan exiles, that proved to be a highly fruitful tactic, quite reminiscent of Republican tactics in the 80s (note FL voted 60%+ Republican through the 80s).

    By contrast, Hispanics in the south west are increasingly flexing their muscles for the Democrats and turning TX and AZ into purple states. The recognition that the Hispanic voter bloc is diverse and that Mexicans in Texas do not think like Cubans in Florida is welcome and overdue.

  20. I think it’s still 50/50 between the 2. Just as Biden is making up ground in Georgia and Pennsylvania he’s losing it in Arizona and Nevada

    Biden’s task is easier in that he only needs two – and any two at that – of the five undeclared states to go his way, but evidence suggests that might or might not happen

    This election seems to have everything – incorrect pollsters, fluctuating results, and an unbelievably tense finale – right up the wire.

  21. Very fascinating in Georgia.

    With estimated 61,000 votes left to count, Biden needs them to break 65-35% just to catch up.

    Feasible but not definite – Nate Silver’s worked out that, on average, they are coming from 19% bluer counties than the state average – that would imply a Biden share of 59-60% to 40-41% for Trump.

    However, being absent votes they are probably ‘bluer’ anyway so in theory favouring Biden more – but there’s so many unknowns plus sometimes pockets of these votes turn out to have already been counted, etc.

    Truly a nailbiter, that one.

  22. True. Plus I think CNN said a military base’s ballots in Georgia were among those yet to be counted.

  23. Polltroll- not completely confirmed that the Reps have won the Senate. If Perdue is forced into a run off in Georgia, there is a chance that the two Senate races in Jan in Georgia will allow the Democrats to pull even in Senators…with the VP having the casting vote. Unlikely the Dems win both of course but possible.

  24. Also, I think a few posters here must be Oregon already and coked off their tits. Describing the Presidential race as 50/50 or TCTC is just ludicrous. Yes Trump can still technically win, but Biden is hugely favoured as of right now.

  25. Technically I there are 44 ways for Trump to win but yes there are over 100 ways for Biden to win so to describe him as favourite is accurate

  26. Trump about to hold a press conference…expect a shitshow!

  27. Just called the polling companies crooks and the polls were deliberately understating his polls – “suppression polls”.

  28. Just a stream of bullshit and lies. Horribly divisive and damaging. I’ll hand it to him that he is at least calm…for now.

  29. Anybody suggesting that Trump can win now is clearly maniacal although could not trump pull it back in Georgia – once the military vote comes in, who will stick back despite his comments that US soldiers who died fighting for their country ‘losers’ and ‘suckers’

    I hope not as if Biden takes all four I stand to win my bet – having stakes money on a Biden victory between 300 and 330 electoral votes

  30. Georgia Sec of S has announced a recount.

  31. Always going to happen given how tight that margin is

  32. Georgia – who knows
    AZ- 99.5% probability Biden gain
    PA – 99.9% Biden probability gain

    Biden will be declared 46th President (by the TV networks) in next few hours.

  33. Arizona is beginning to look doubtful. Of course it doesn’t really matter as a Biden victory in Pennsylvania seems an inevitability- it’s just a question of how large his margin will be

    I was looking at the electoral map for the 92 election the other day and it’s completely transformed. Many of the counties that Trump was getting 70%+ voted for Bill Clinton

    I guess we have seen the same phenomenon in England. Some of the Tories best areas in the 2019 election – Brigg, Brownhills, Cannock, Clapton, Canvey island – were Labour in 97

  34. Clacton rather than Clapton

  35. “Polltroll- not completely confirmed that the Reps have won the Senate. If Perdue is forced into a run off in Georgia, there is a chance that the two Senate races in Jan in Georgia will allow the Democrats to pull even in Senators…with the VP having the casting vote. Unlikely the Dems win both of course but possible.”

    That’s an understatement.

    If Trump carries on his Basil Fawlty meltdown and has to be dragged out of the White House kicking and screaming by the secret service, there will be a big price to pay in those runoff elections and the Dems can expect to win them both. Even disregarding Trump, the Dems voters will be on a high and the GOP vote disillusioned. If the Dems can drag the senate to a 50-50 tie then VP Harris will have the casting vote and they will have control.

  36. HH- good point. I wonder if that’s in the mind of some senior Republicans as Trump continues his very public mental breakdown. Whatever happens, an insane amount of money is going to be spent on these two Senate races… it’ll make the budget for the latest Avengers movie look like chicken feed.

  37. Some thoughts on the polling:

    Nationwide polling- there are still quite a number of voted to be counted and tallied (predominantly in California and NY). Once these are factored in, it’s possible that Biden will win the popular vote by anything by 4-6%. As the final polling average on the 538 website was 8.4% on Tuesday, I think the upper level of that range would be a respectable MOE result.

    Statewide polling- as in 2016, a mixed bag, from the excellent to the truly horrendous. The polls pretty much got states like New Mexico, Colorado, Indiana, Minnesota, Virginia, Maine and New Hampshire completely spot on. The sun belt polls reflected a very mixed picture which was accurate in the end. However, the polling in 4 states (Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa and Ohio) was badly, badly off- just as it was in 2016. I’m wondering what has suddenly made it so difficult for otherwise excellent pollsters (the A+ rated ABC news poll had Biden winning WI by 17 points just last week…laughable) to poll these particular states for the last two cycles.

  38. On the face of it it looks like white working class going for Trump probably on jobs but a small but significant amount in the polling were shy Trumpsters *saying either DNK or Biden when interrogated by the pollsters).

    One event that truly sums up the madness of Donald Trump : some TV networks pulled away from his TV address from the White House on Thursday!!

  39. At this point the only reason the race hasn’t been called is because the news networks don’t want the ratings boon to end. If America had any non-commercial broadcasters, they would have officially projected Biden to win the presidency by now.

  40. A probability expert showed there were 44 ways for Trump to win v 98 ways for Biden.

    It’s as ridiculous for Dems to claim there were no instances of error and fraud as it is for Trump to claim there was fraud per se. That’s the problem when you elect everyone from the DA To the Sheriff – almost all are either Dems or Reps.

    Here you’d just get a council official.

    In my experience it’s usually incompetence rather than corruption. The 20,000 duplicate ballots sent out due to a printing error (was just on CNN), reminded me of a count in Merseyside a decade ago. Each rebundling and recount produced a different result. [Remember these are just a mixture of library staff and students conducting the count.] Eventually the next day Labour lost the ward by 10 votes.

    Personally, I can foresee the SC reverting PA back to polling day and so Trump would win that and possibly Ga, but he’d have to be a very lucky man to take Arizona too. On that basis Biden is 75%+ certain.

  41. The probability expert would also acknowledge that 98 vs 44 doesn’t mean anything because those scenarios are not all equally likely. The “44 ways Trump wins” presumably involve real edge cases.

    With the exception of Arizona, due to its different voting laws, in every other critical state the remaining ballots will be more Democrat than Republican. The chance that Trump wins this is utterly negligible at this point.

  42. Biden has built up his lead in Georgia to such an extent that a recount is extremely unlikely to render a contrasting result

    I think Biden will probably end up adding Nevada and Arizona to his tally – although the latter is likely to be another knife edge affair.

    I think it will be beneficial to Biden’s first term if the Republicans win the two senate seats in the upcoming – although Trump’s quite frankly disgraceful behaviour is likely to be a heavy scar on any republican running for office

  43. ‘Personally, I can foresee the SC reverting PA back to polling day and so Trump would win that and possibly Ga’.

    Why do you think that? Any actual evidence here you can provide?

  44. Like most Trump fans I suspect Lancs doesn’t believe the result because he doesn’t like it.

    Legally Trump doesn’t have a leg to stand on and the chances of it reaching the Supreme Court are minimal

  45. ‘Like most Trump fans I suspect Lancs doesn’t believe the result because he doesn’t like it’.

    Ding ding ding! We have the winning answer. Just wanted to see him admit it.

  46. There is an argument i suppose that provisional and military ballots which aren’t included in the total might change things but most Trump can hope for is recount territory in PA

  47. With Ohio backing the losing candidate for the first time in many years there is now no bellwether state

    It used to be Ohio and Nevada, but the latter backed the loser in 2016 despite voting in line with the popular vote

    Ohio’s days as a swing state look truly over and I would have thought future Democrats gains will be focussed on the sunbelt

  48. Assuming it’s 306 – 232, Tim has won the prediction challenge. We’ll wait for the dust to settle and the final gavel to come down.

    GRUMPY: BIDEN 265 (-41)
    MARK FELT BIDEN 248 (-58)
    TIM JONES: BIDEN 335 (-29)
    TRISTAN: BIDEN 351 (-45)

    But it was v v close. If you take Wisc; AZ; Penn & Georgia (17.4m votes, 57 El Coll votes) collectively they were all won by Biden and with a collective margin of approx 90,000 votes (0.4%). If these were reversed I would have got it almostvspot on! 😉

  49. I’m guessing Tim got to 335 by predicting every state correctly except for Florida.

  50. I almost destroyed my betting slip when the Florida result came in

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