The number of votes cast for each party and the individual candidates are:
|SCOTTISH NATIONAL PARTY (SNP)||389,503||(28.9%)|
|UK INDEPENDENCE PARTY (UKIP),||140,534||(10.4%)|
|SCOTTISH GREEN PARTY,||108,305||(8.0%)|
|BRITISH NATIONAL PARTY,||10,216||(0.8%)|
|Total votes cast||1,345,667|
|Party||range in polls||mid point||Rise/drop
from polls to election
The 5-7% swing from SNP -> Tory
This is why I wanted to do this post. What none of the commentators on the Euro election seem to have picked up is that whilst UKIP picked up a seat due to the fall in the SNP vote, the real change was that the SNP vote fall of around 7% between the pre-election polls and the vote, was matched by a relatively proportionately much greater boost of around 5% to the Tories.
As I said, almost no one has commentated about the sharp rise in the Tory vote. Indeed this was perhaps the biggest news at the election, because whilst UKIP won the seat, their vote hardly changed from the typical 10% they were getting prior to the election. I cannot think of any particular reason why people would switch their vote to the Tories. One possibility is that this always happens – that the Tory blue rinsed brigade turn out dutifully whilst all others stay at home. So, e.g. a 50% turn out by Tory voters in a general turnout of about 33% could explain the jump up for the Tories. But this cannot explain why the SNP vote dropped.
Reasons for the SNP drop
So why did the SNP vote drop? Reading the online comments, the message coming across is very simple: people did not like the SNP electioneering. Some complained at giving UKIP too much airtime by portraying them as the opposition. Others, more sympathetic to UKIP, described the SNP tactics as as vitriolic “lies” against UKIP. In other words, the loss of the SNP MEP was a pure and simple “shot in the foot” by a foul mouthed campaign attempting to bully people into voting SNP by lies intended to create a false bogeyman of UKIP. Presumably the narrative was that the SNP was to be seen as prince charming come to save the poor villagers from the bogeyman of UKIP.
However, the dislike of the SNP campaigning does not explain why those votes didn’t go to UKIP.
Reasons for the Tory Gain
Unless anyone has a better suggestion (and please do say), I think what happened is that the SNP focus on UKIP in the last week really backfired quite dramatically with the result that many SNP voters were put off voting SNP. But rather than UKIP getting a sympathy vote, they instead transferred to the Tory as an “anti-SNP” vote.
The real reason UKIP won
And to be quite frank, perhaps the reason the UKIP vote did not rise is because “mud sticks”. The disgusting lies of the SNP put voters off. Those voters needed a new home and so went to the Tories. But unless the Tories had got twice the UKIP vote, they couldn’t pick up another seat – it made the Tory seat safe, but otherwise these Tory votes had no effect. So net effect of the SNP campaign was to so dramatically lower the SNP vote, that they no longer had enough votes to pick up three MEPs and this then meant the last seat had to be allocated to another party allowing UKIP with an unchanged vote (since the polls) to scrape in.
So, it was not so much that UKIP won a seat – it was that the SNP lost the third seat – and in the voting system, UKIP were next in turn to get an MEP.