The geographical distribution of Yes and No votes in 2014

In an article on Wings over Scotland, the importance of Glasgow for the independence campaign was dismissed: “[T]his site’s prediction remains the same […] – if we get 38% in Glasgow come the autumn of 2014, we’ll win.”

This might of course be true, but it didn’t sound plausible to me, so I decided to have a quick look at the likely distribution of Yes and No votes in the case of a narrow win for the Yes side.

I first found the regional votes from the 2011 election (discarding all parties smaller than the LibDems):

SNP Labour Cons LibDems
West of Scotland 117306 92530 35995 9148
South of Scotland 114270 70595 54352 15096
Lothian 110953 70544 33019 15588
Central Scotland 108261 82459 14870 3318
Glasgow 83109 73031 12749 5312
Mid Scotland and Fife 116691 64623 36691 15103
North East Scotland 140749 43893 37681 18178
Highlands and Islands 85082 25884 20843 21729
Total 876421 523559 246200 103472

I then got some useful figures from Ipsos Mori about the correlation between political views and independence voting intentions:

SNP Labour Cons LibDems
Pro 70% 15% 5% 19%
Contra 17% 73% 94% 73%
Don’t Know 13% 12% 1% 8%

If we assign 90% of the Don’t knows to Yes (this might not be realistic, but it’s the easiest way to get a majority in favour of independence), we get this:

SNP Labour Cons LibDems
Yes 81.7% 25.8% 5.9% 26.2%
No 18.3% 74.2% 94.1% 73.8%

The result of referendum according to these distributions would be a very small Yes victory (51% Yes, 49% No). The geographical distribution would look as follows:

Yes No
West of Scotland 48.7% 51.3%
South of Scotland 46.7% 53.3%
Lothian 49.9% 50.1%
Central Scotland 53.4% 46.6%
Glasgow 51.0% 49.0%
Mid Scotland and Fife 50.7% 49.3%
North East Scotland 55.4% 44.6%
Highlands and Islands 54.1% 45.9%

If my calculations are correct, it’s likely the results in Glasgow will be extremely close to the results for Scotland as a whole, and it seems unlikely that 38% Yes in Glasgow would be sufficient to ensure that Scotland becomes independent.

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