Monday, 21 April 2008

Eck in fantasyland

Eck Salmond heid honcho of the Gnats seems to be living in fantasyland if he believes that they can gain at least an extra 14 seats at the next Westminster election. Reasons? Well at the 2005 Westminster election the Gnats won 6 seats and came 2nd in 20. Two of their held seats Perth & North Perthshire and Angus are held by a small majority (Perth 1521, Angus 1601) and are vulnerable to folk voting Tory to oust the Gnat type tactical voting.

Lets have a look at the 20 seats where they are second:
Airdrie & Shotts. Labour majority 14 o84. Swing required 21.2%.
Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill. Labour majority 19 519. Swing required 25.5%.
Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East. Labour majority 11 562. Swing required 14.8%.
Dundee West. Labour majority 5 379. Swing required 7.3%.
East Kilbride, Strathaven & Lesmahagow. Labour majority 14 723. Swing required 15.4%.
Falkirk. Labour majority 13 475. Swing required 14.7%.
Glasgow East. Labour majority 13 507. Swing required 21.8%.
Glasgow North East (Speaker). Speaker majority 10 134. Swing required 17.8%.
Glasgow South West. Labour majority 13 896. Swing required 22.4%.
Glenrothes. Labour majority 10 664. Swing required 14.3%.
Inverclyde. Labour majority 11 259. Swing required 15.6%.
Kilmarnock & Loudon. Labour majority 8 703. Swing required 9.8%.
Kircaldy & Cowdenbeath. Labour majority 18 216. Swing required 21.8%.
Lanark & Hamilton East. Labour majority 11 947. Swing required 13.7%.
Linlithgow & East Falkirk. Labour majority 11 202. 12%.
Livingston. Labour majority 13 097. Swing required 14.8%.
Motherwell & Wishaw. Labour majority 15 222. Swing required 20.5%.
Ochil & South Perthshire. Labour majority 688. Swing required 0.735%.
Paisley & Renfrewshire North. Labour majority 11 001. Swing required 13.5%.
West Dunbartonshire. Labour majority 12 553. Swing required 15.1%.

As they borrowed two seats from us at last year's Holyrood elections they must be added as Westminster targets too:
Argyll & Bute. Lib Dem majority over Gnats (4th) 9 070. Swing required 10.5%.
Gordon. Lib Dem majority over Gnats (4th) 12 910. Swing required 14.5%.

In a YouGov opinion poll which was published on the 8th of April voting intentions in Scotland were listed as Labour 35% Gnat 31%. Bearing in mind that Labour polled 38.9% and the Gnats 17.7% at the last Westminster election this shows that the Gnats have achieved a swing of 8.6% since then. This would mean that of their Labour target seats they would win Ochil & South Perthshire, Dundee West and be quite close to (but no coconut) Kilmarnock & Loudon. Say they also win one seat from us but lose one of their holds to the Tories, then they would have a grand total of 8 Westminster seats. A far, far cry from the 20 that Eck wants - does the man's arrogance and smugness have no end?

Being slightly less controversial, I would argue that voters tend to punish an unpopular government with whatever club available. This in Scotland could see us taking Aberdeen South, Edinburgh South, Edinburgh North & Leith and Glasgow North with the Tories possibly taking Dumfries & Galloway, East Renfrewshire, Edinburgh South West & Stirling. Of course this will only happen if the current Government continue with their lack of popularity and remember that Broon will probably, given our current political landscape, continue until 2010. The Gnats also need to remember that people vote differently when voting for Westminster than they do for Holyrood.


Jeff said...

My goodness man, look at all those % points! You know how to get a psephologists heart racing...

Now, allow me to try picking your theory to pieces:

My overall disagreement stems from your opinion that the recent poll equates to the following number of seats:

Labour 35% (34 seats)
SNP 31% (8 seats)
Lib Dem 12% (15 seats)
Tory 17% (2 seats)

I accept it's not a PR situation so you can get some odd returns but the analysis in your blog, though seemingly reasonable at first glance, just does not stack up given the above breakdown.

A near doubling of the SNP vote will stretch to more additional MPs than a mere 2.

And I'm sorry to say it, but 11 is the most the Lib Dems can hope for given Nick Clegg is a non-entity up here relative to Charlie K and your high of the Iraq War opposition has now passed. You're sitting at 12% and that's consistent since November 2007. You took 23% (and 11 seats) at the last election so you have a heck of a lot of work to do just to break even next time round.

Finally, noone can say with confidence any more that the SNP don't do as well in Westminster elections as they do in Holyrood. They have proved themselves at the highest level in the past year and we just don't know how that will filter into Westminster voting patterns.

Yes, 20 is optimistic, but just inside the reasonable bounds of reality and, anyway, what's wrong with aiming high and stoking the dreams of the party faithful?

It didn't do David Steel any harm when he told the Lib Dems to prepare for Government...

Iain Rubie Dale said...

Sorry Jeff but a near doubling of the SNP vote may well not gain more than 2-3 seats. You see the SNP in their campaigning have always taken a shotgun approach and failed to target. We in the Lib Dems are the masters of tagetting which is why that in some areas our vote is lower than our average. Bear in mind that our jump from 13% in 2001 to 23% in 2005 only saw us make 2 gains in East Dunbartonshire & Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (though the length of the name of this seat means it shout count as three gains!). Then of course came the Dunfermline by-election!

Also remeber that the Tories are sneaky buggers with deep, deep pockets and they have learned targetting lessons from us so I wouldn't be surprised if the SNP lost Angus or Perth to them. Now if the SNP don't take Ochil by at least 4000 then it's going to be a bad bad bad night. Interestingly enough I shall be an elector in the Ochil seat at the next GE and if my arm is twisted hard enough might even be the Lib Dem PPC although I'd prefer my partner, who stood in 2005, to stand again.

Ok then Jeff - a challenge to you; name the 14 (minimum) seats that the SNP can take from the other parties, actually better make it 15 in case you misplace either Perth or Angus.

Jeff said...

Challenge already accepted!

See my posts earlier this week on the subject. I'd do that jazzy links thing but my IT skills really are that poor.

And following your logic on Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, does that mean the SNP will only get a 1/2 each for Ochil and Angus!? ;)

PS Perth and Angus are going nowhere!

Stephen Glenn said...

Boy the two of you are as bad as each other with the IT skills.

For a link in comments jeff use

< a href="insert URL here [then close inverted commas and close this part of the tag.
[Insert word/s you want to make link off]
close the tag i.e. one each of the following \a<> but not in that order, move the third to the front.

This Is Alba said...

Yet if we use the most up to date yougov poll that so called swing of 8.6% reaches a mighty 14.9% meaning you can automatically add another seven seats (Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East; Falkirk; Glenrothes; Lanark & Hamilton East; Linlithgow & East Falkirk; Livingston; and Paisley & Renfrewshire North). Factor in the Holyrood results and we could easily see seats like Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey and Argyll and Bute will easily swing SNP way.

Furthermore your belief that Angus or Perth stand a chance of being won by the Tories is complete fantasy. Both seats have strong incumbents and let's not forget that in the equivilant Holyrood constituencies the SNP vote increased substantially.

Also remember the SNP campaign machine has evolved significantly since the 2005 election. 20 seats might seem ambitious but it's certainly not impossible.

On the subject of the Lib Dems, I wouldn't hold your breath. I've still yet to figure out why Lib Dem members elected a leader who looks, sounds and thinks like Cameron. Under Charles Kennedy the Lib Dems managed to make massive gains out of the Iraq war, they were percieved to be -the- left wing party. I'm afraid Clegg has made his laissez-faire liberalism clear to all. While I hardly see the electoral calculus scenario of zero LD seats, it's clear that there will be loses. The question is where. I suspect that most of these will in fact be in the traditionally middle class parts of England rather than rural Scotland. Regardless, it's certainly going to be an interesting result.

PS: I would be delighted if you stopped censoring my posts!