A regional prediction

Scottish Parliament
Scottish Parliament.
In a blog post I wrote last October, I bemoaned the lack of polling data for the Holyrood regions:

What we really need is precise polls for each region. The constituencies don’t matter that much (the outcome is unlikely to change the number of seats won by each party), but we really need to know the level of support for the smaller parties in each region.

It seems Survation have been listening — at least their newest poll comes with some rather useful data tables that break the list vote down into the various electoral regions. Of course the sample sizes are tiny, so the statistical uncertainty is enormous, but it’s probably the best data we’ve got at the moment. (I’m basing the following on Table 7, “Normal weightings & likelihood to vote, with undecided and refused removed”.)

I decided to ignore the constituency figures found in the poll completely — as far as I can tell, the SNP is now Scotland’s largest party by far, and it’s likely it will win most seats (mimicking the result from May 2015); of course individual MSPs will be very popular in some places, and some SNP candidates might get into trouble, but I don’t believe these exceptional results can be predicted from the polls.

What I’ve done instead is to work out three different scenarios (see below). In all cases, the SNP aren’t doing quite as well as most people are expecting, and this is basically due to getting fewer list votes than in 2011.

Scenario 1: Same constituency results as in 2011

In the first scenario, I assume that all constituencies are going to produce the same result as five years earlier. I don’t think this is particularly likely, but it probably represents the worst possible result for the SNP.

Central Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 5 3 2
SNP 8 6 2

Glasgow:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 5 4 1
SNP 8 5 3

Highlands and Islands:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 4 2 2
Labour 1 0 1
SNP 6 6 0
UKIP 1 0 1

Lothian:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 8 8 0

Mid Scot and Fife:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 8 8 0

North East Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 1 0 1
Labour 2 0 2
SNP 10 10 0
UKIP 1 0 1

South Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 3 0
Green 1 0 1
LD 2 0 2
Labour 4 2 2
SNP 4 4 0
UKIP 2 0 2

West Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 6 4 2
SNP 8 6 2

Total:

Cons 17
Green 10
LD 9
Labour 29
SNP 60
UKIP 4

Scenario 2: Labour and the Tories win one constituency seat each

In the second scenario, I assume that Labour and the Tories will win one constituency seat each in every region. Again, I don’t think that’s particularly likely, but it represents a situation where the SNP does really well but still needs some list seats to gain a majority.

Central Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 4 1 3
SNP 8 7 1

Glasgow:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 4 1 3
SNP 8 7 1

Highlands and Islands:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 2 0 2
Labour 2 1 1
SNP 6 6 0
UKIP 1 0 1

Lothian:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 7 7 0

Mid Scot and Fife:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 7 7 0

North East Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 8 8 0
UKIP 1 0 1

South Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 1 0 1
Labour 3 1 2
SNP 7 7 0
UKIP 1 0 1

West Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 3 1 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 5 1 4
SNP 8 8 0

Total:

Cons 24
Green 10
LD 6
Labour 27
SNP 59
UKIP 3

Scenario 3: The SNP wins all constituencies

In the third and last scenario, I wanted to see what happens if the SNP wins all the constituencies. Back in 2011, this happened in the North East, and yet the SNP won an additional list seat, so I wanted to see whether this could happen again.

Central Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 4 0 4
SNP 9 9 0

Glasgow:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 4 0 4
SNP 9 9 0

Highlands and Islands:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 2 0 2
Labour 1 0 1
SNP 8 8 0
UKIP 1 0 1

Lothian:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 2 0 2
SNP 9 9 0

Mid Scot and Fife:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 2 0 2
LD 1 0 1
Labour 2 0 2
SNP 9 9 0

North East Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 1 0 1
Labour 2 0 2
SNP 10 10 0
UKIP 1 0 1

South Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
LD 1 0 1
Labour 2 0 2
SNP 9 9 0
UKIP 1 0 1

West Scotland:

Party Total seats Const seats List seats
Cons 2 0 2
Green 1 0 1
Labour 4 0 4
SNP 10 10 0

Total:

Cons 16
Green 10
LD 6
Labour 21
SNP 73
UKIP 3

Conclusion

In all three scenarios, the Survation poll predicts that the SNP will have a majority together with the Green Party; however, they only have a majority of their own in the last scenario (where they win all the constituencies).

As far as I can tell, this means the SNP will have to do two things simultaneously in order to gain a majority in May: Firstly, it has to fight ruthlessly to win as many constituency seats as possible because it cannot assume that it’ll get any list seats; and secondly, it has to try to persuade the voters that Both Votes SNP is the way forward, or any lost constituency seats will be truly lost because the party doesn’t pick up list seats to compensate.

From a Yes perspective the good news about this poll is that it’s looking like there will still be a majority of Yes parties after May’s election, but it could very well be a majority that requires the Green Party to support the SNP.

60 thoughts on “A regional prediction”

  1. Prof. Curtice thinks the Survation poll could overstate support for the minor parties (and understate SNP support) on the list because their question refers to the list vote as a “second” vote, i.e. implying that it is a second preference.

  2. I’d actually be reasonably happy with a minority SNP govt supported by the Greens or even in co-alition with Greens. My favourite Holyrood govt to date was the rainbow parliament.

  3. I’d actually be reasonably happy with a minority SNP govt supported by the Greens or even in coalition with Greens. My favourite Holyrood govt to date was the rainbow parliament.

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