Orkney and Shetland

The winner in 2010 was Alistair Carmichael (Lib Dem). The votes cast for the four main parties were as follows:

PartyVotes
SNP2042
Labour2061
Lib Dem11989
Conservative2032

The 2011 Holyrood election was conducted using different constituencies, but we can calculate the equivalent Westminster result. We can do something similar for the independence referendum result, mapping the Yes votes to SNP votes and the No votes to Labour, LD and Conservative votes according to their distribution at the last UK election. If we do this, the results were as follows:

Party20112014
SNP317810552
Labour10782557
Lib Dem737414876
Conservative10162521

The latest opinion poll by YouGov (8th-9th April) gave Labour 25%, the SNP 49%, the Tories 18% and the Lib Dems 4%. If we apply the swing implied by these figures to the 2010 results for this constituency, we get:

PartyVotes
SNP7672
Labour0
Lib Dem9106
Conservative2283

Lord Ashcroft conducted some constituency polls earlier this year which seemed to show that the swing to the SNP was 4% greater in Labour-held seats (and as a consequence smaller in seats held by the Tories and the Lib Dems.) The 2010 winner in this seat was the Lib Dems, so we should apply a smaller swing. If we do this, we get:

PartyVotes
SNP6898
Labour0
Lib Dem9106
Conservative2283

Finally, another opinion poll has shown that voters will to some extent vote tactically in seats where there is a clear opponent to the SNP. This seat was won by the Lib Dems in 2010, and this party is still the SNP's main opponent if we apply uniform swing. We should therefore expect tactical voting:

PartyVotes
SNP7081
Labour0
Lib Dem10430
Conservative776

This prediction is the best we can do at the moment. This blog therefore predicts the constituency of Orkney and Shetland will be won by the Lib Dem candidate.

The size of the predicted majority is so small, however, that SNP activists should by no means give up – this seat is very much winnable!

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