On social media there is a constant carping and clamoring going on, about where folks should place their vote on the regional list.
There is a constant mantra from SNP supporters for SNP 1&2 …Both votes SNP
Meanwhile Greens and Rise are like fledglings in a nest with their beaks wide open calling under the SNP big bird, to be fed our second vote.
The arguments have ranged back and forth over who deserves that precious 2nd vote most.
SNP supporters claim that it has to be the SNP that gets it, as a sort of insurance policy to ensure that if the constituency vote is not enough, then the 2nd vote will give a better chance to get over the finishing line for a majority government.
They also support this claim by saying that a vote for the Greens or Rise on the 2nd vote would play into the unionist parties hands, as neither the Greens nor Rise have enough support.
On the other side of the coin, we have the Greens and Rise claiming that a second vote for the SNP would be a wasted vote, if as expected the SNP follow up on their recent Westminster result, and bag most of the constituency’s. If that were to happen, they claim that the SNP second vote would bag very little extra seats for the SNP, and Instead boost the unionist parties. If on the other hand you gave your second vote to either Green or Rise, it would provide an alternative Indie voice to represent us in parliament and insure an Indy majority.
So who is right , and who is wrong, and where should we place that precious 2nd vote?
My own Instinct has always been to vote for who you want to vote for, and to do the same with your second vote. In my opinion tactical voting is a minefield, and nobody can accurately predict what will happen with it.
But I have had a chance to take a closer look at how this voting system works, and have come up with the following:
If we take the polling predictions from the most recent YouGov poll out today on the 12th of April as our example, and bearing in mind that the other polls have been providing similar predictions but with marginal variations from poll to poll.
We can take this as the current level of support the parties appear to be achieving in percentage of the overall vote.
The YouGov poll suggests the following:
Constituency ballot :
SNP 50% (+1)
Labour 21% (+2)
Conservatives 18% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1)
Greens 3% (-1)
UKIP 2% (-1)
Regional list ballot :
SNP 45% (+2)
Labour 19% (+2)
Conservatives 18% (-1)
Greens 8% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)
UKIP 3% (-1)
Rise 1% (n/c)
As you can see… the SNP share is holding up very well at close to or marginally above their share in the last Holyrood election.
If we were then to take these figures and apply them across the board to the vote itself (which of course will not happen,as there will be variations from region to region on how the voting goes) but purely as an example of how the transferable vote would impact on the 2nd vote for the parties, if we gave all our 2nd votes to the SNP or if the majority of SNP voters gave their 2nd vote to the Greens,as the next biggest Indy party.
Say for instance you are in a region where the SNP won 7 out of the 9 constituency 1st votes, and Labour and Tory had 1 each. And there were 7 regional places up for grabs in the 2nd ballot.
If all SNP voters went SNP 1&2 …
Once the transferable votes had been applied, what you would end up with for that region with SNP having 45% of the regional vote would be the following.
You would end up with 1 SNP regional msp , 2 Labour,2 Conservative,1 Green, and 1 Lib Dem.
Why is this you might ask? SNP had 43% of the regional ballot after all, how come they only end up with 1 Regional msp?
The reason being, that the SNP with 50% of the constituency vote have 77% of the constituency representation , and so to rectify the balance, the calculation for the 2nd ballot has a slight bias in favour of the other parties in the transferable vote calculations.
Now…lets see what happens, if SNP supporters in this example gave their 2nd vote to Greens.. And lets reverse the percentages of SNP and Greens accordingly in the regional vote, so that the Greens now have 43% and the SNP have 8% ….what happens?
The answer is not a lot really…but perhaps of significance
The Greens would now have 2 regional msps, Labour and the Conservatives would remain the same with 2 each,The SNP would still have 1…..But…The Lib Dems would have none!
In effect, we would have gained 1 more Indy voice, and 1 less unionist voice in this region. Take that right across the board for every region in Scotland, and we are looking at a whole different picture in parliament.
So given that Rise are polling only 1%, if I was going to play tactical voting Russian roulette, I would vote Green with my second vote, and encourage everybody so inclined to do the same. I would not encourage splitting the 2nd vote between Green and Rise, because we split the Indie vote…It has to be Green for the above example to work!
I would like at this point to make absolutely clear that I am not an SNP supporter, nor a Green supporter.. So I am not giving this example for the purpose of favouring them.
I am just trying to educate how the system can work, and give some understanding of what is going on.
Personally ….I suggest you follow your heart, but use your mind too. Vote how you want to vote…