2nd Vote Russian Roulette

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…


About auldacquaintance

I am not a member of any political party. I am however a strong supporter of Scots Independence. Any views which I express in this Blog are purely my own. This Blog intends to be a place where I will be putting my views on Scots Independence. It will primarily concern itself with the upcoming Referendum In Scotland. However It will also be somewhat diverse in the range of day to day issues which are evident to me in modern day Scotland. Not all of it will be political, and indeed may take me off into avenues I am not even aware of yet. Please come and join in on this journey, and any comments are welcome provided they are not abusive! All the best from a new acquaintance! Rod
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8 Responses to 2nd Vote Russian Roulette

  1. I am one of the SNP advocates for SNP 1&2,my party,I have a vote for the person,then I have a vote for the party,it would seem illogical to vote for the SNP candidate,and vote against the SNP with the second vote.To my simple self it is the only way I can vote,and if as I suspect we wont take all the seats that seem so certain just now.We will need the second vote as a back up,sorry to the smaller parties but as the left has always done here in Scotland (and elsewhere) split their own vote,please don’t split ours.

  2. Reblogged this on charlesobrien08 and commented:
    I am one of the SNP advocates for SNP 1&2,my party,I have a vote for the person,then I have a vote for the party,it would seem illogical to vote for the SNP candidate,and vote against the SNP with the second vote.To my simple self it is the only way I can vote,and if as I suspect we wont take all the seats that seem so certain just now.We will need the second vote as a back up,sorry to the smaller parties but as the left has always done here in Scotland (and elsewhere) split their own vote,please don’t split ours.

  3. Peter A Bell says:

    Firstly, I’m obliged to point out yet again that there is no “1&2”. This implies preference voting. There is no preference voting in Scottish Parliamentary elections. There are two separate ballots. These are not numbered, as this would suggest an order of importance or significance. Both are equally important and equally significant.

    Having thus wasted my time once more, I move on to the second point – the reasons why #BothVotesSNP is the ONLY rational voting strategy for those who aspire to the restoration of Scotland’s rightful constitutional status and/or those whose priority is to ensure competent government in the meantime.

    Let me stress that this is not a matter of ‘telling people how to vote’. A bloody silly notion anyway, as there is absolutely no way to compel anybody to vote in a particular way. People will vote as they please regardless of anything that anyone says to them. This is about helping people to make informed choices -if an informed choice is what they are aiming for. There is no requirement to vote on the basis of sound knowledge and reasoned assessment of the parties and candidates. You are perfectly at liberty to vote for whoever has the nicest tie or shoes, if that’s your thing. You can even pick totally at random, if that’s what you want.

    You don’t have to take a test to qualify for a vote. You don’t have to give reasons for voting as you do. You don’t even have to actually vote. You can draw male genitalia on both your ballot papers without fear of punishment or penalty. That vote is yours. It belongs to you in the mast absolute sense of that word.

    Just bear in mind that your vote only has the value that you place on it. You can value it as an ineffectual gesture of protest. Or you can value it is an effective instrument in the democratic process. Again! It’s entirely up to you.

    Nor is #BothVotesSNP about ‘blind allegiance’ to the party. Of course, there are ideological motives for giving both votes to the SNP. Of course people can, and often will, vote with their hearts as well as their heads. But there are ideological reasons for voting for any party. The notion of ‘partisan loyalty’ is not exclusive or particular to any one party. What matters is the weight that one gives to party allegiance relative to other factors in the matrix of an informed electoral choice. There is precisely zero reason to suppose that SNP members and supporters are more prone to an excess of partisan emotion than the members and supporters of any other party.

    The fact that ‘blind allegiance’ is almost never mentioned in relation to any party other than the SNP is just part of the British establishment’s propaganda effort.

    What makes #BothVotesSNP the ONLY rational voting strategy for the groups mentioned earlier is that the non-emotional reasons for doing so are utterly compelling. They include, but may not be limited to, the following;

    An SNP majority government is an absolute imperative. Nobody among those who are even remotely likely to give their constituency vote to the SNP would disagree. If they were honest, even many of those who simply will not vote SNP under any circumstances would admit that they secretly hope for an SNP majority government.

    The failure of the other parties is so abysmal and comprehensive that there really isn’t a meaningful choice in this election. Nobody – not even SNP activists such as myself – considers this to be a desirable, or even an acceptable, situation. It is most assuredly NOT what a healthy democracy looks like. But it is the reality that we have to deal with. Wishful thinking won’t change it. Only the often irritatingly slow grind of the democratic process will bring about the development of parties which offer a credible alternative to the SNP.

    For the moment, there is only the SNP. So we have to ensure that they get the seats they need to form a majority government. The SNP is NOT ‘guaranteed’ that majority on the constituency vote. It is likely that regional seats will be required. The fact that, from one perspective, the electoral system works to penalise success in the constituency ballot doesn’t, as some claim, imply that we should be less inclined to give them our list vote. It means that we should be more inclined to do so. Because more votes are needed to be effective in achieving the desired outcome.

    Asking people to vote for some other party on the regional ballot is asking them to vote AGAINST the outcome they want.

    There’s more to it than seats. It’s important that the SNP wins an outright majority. But it’s also important that the Scottish Government has a clear and unchallengeable mandate from the Scottish electorate. Make no mistake, the British establishment will do everything in its not inconsiderable power to deny or diminish the legitimacy of the Scottish Government. To the very considerable extent that this is a matter of Scotland versus the British state, we need to equip our government with the kind of mandate that even the most rabid British nationalist will have difficulty questioning.

    Again, people will object that this is not a great way of ‘doing democracy’. Again, I would point out that we are dealing with a particular set of political circumstances. We are optimising our potential for ‘doing democracy’ better in the future. As undesirable as single party dominance may be, it is infinitely better than the alternative of risking the British parties once again taking control of our parliament.

    The third reason I will give for going with #BothVotesSNP is that there is nothing to gain by doing otherwise. While some of the other pro-independence parties (OPIP) are feverishly touting the notion of a ‘rainbow parliament’, the actual possibility of such a thing is almost entirely refuted by the electoral arithmetic. Pleasing as the thought of a diverse, but predominantly pro-independence, parliament may be, there is nothing in current polling to suggest that this is anything more than a fantasy.

    And if we want a pro-independence parliament, why would we vote for any party other than the SNP? It is, after all, the only party that is unequivocally and unconditionally committed to bringing Scotland’s government home.

    OPIPs claim that they will bring ‘alternative voices’ to the Scottish Parliament. Perhaps! But will they be heard? Is it not more likely that the mainstream media will simply ignore them? The British establishment is finding it difficult enough to accept that the SNP is now part of the equation. What regard are they going to have for ‘alternative voices’? The British establishment’s dearest wish is a return to the halcyon days of the faux rivalries of the British parties. The very last thing they want is to offer a platform to ‘alternative voices’.

    Except, of course, when those ‘alternative voices’ are echoing the lies and distortions peddled by the mainstream media. Anything that can be spun into the service of anti-SNP propaganda will be seized upon. Other than that, the OPIUPs might as well not exist.

    Quite simply, electing OPIP MSPs does vanishingly little or nothing at all to make our parliament better serve the priorities of good governance; maintaining an environment in which progressive politics can flourish; and progress towards independence.

    That’s why my rational choice is #BothVotesSNP.

  4. The reality is, though, that nowhere near that many SNP voters are going to switch to the Greens in the regional vote. In fact, relatively few will and it’s highly likely that enough will switch to cost the SNP a regional seat, but not enough for the Greens to win an extra one.

    • It is precisely why I entitled this piece 2nd vote Russian Roulette.
      If the Westminster scenario is repeated, and the SNP romp the constituency vote… The it really wont matter how many vote for them in the Regional ballot..they will be lucky to get any more than 1 list seat. The Maths stack up against them.
      If on the other hand, these SNP votes went to Green, it may be enough to promote them from no seat to 1, or 1 seat to 2. without damaging the number of seats that the SNP win on the list.
      However….Should it be a case in a region, that the SNP are not running away with the constituency seats, and the others pick up a greater share of the constituency seats….That is where it does make a big difference to the SNP that their voters also vote them in the list…

      Knowing which region in which to play which cards, is I would imagine beyond the ken of the vast majority of voters…..Hence the constant mantra from the SNP for both votes..
      Irrespective of what is best from an Indie point of view, All parties want your vote!
      It really is up to you, what way you choose….And we shall see what we shall see the day following the election, what would have been the best way to vote to get the best Indie result.
      Unfortunately, none of us have that crystal ball yet.

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