Saturday, 5 November 2011

Lib Dems enjoy shock gain in the Highlands

The Inverness South, Highland by-election confounded all expectations and resulted in a recently very rare Liberal Democrat gain from Labour. Labour's first preference vote was sharply down, which is possibly expected given the cloud under which the former Labour councillor resigned.

Highland Council

IND

LD

SNP

Lab

IMG

IAG

N-A

25

-

21

+1

17

-

6

-1

6

-

4

-

1

-

Inverness South

By-Election Candidate

Votes

Vote %

+/-

Ken Gowans

885

33.9%

+7.0%

Carolyn Caddick (E)

747

28.7%

+5.6%

Katherine MacKenzie

308

11.8%

-5.3%

David Bonsor

290

11.1%

+0.6%

Gale Falconer

157

6.0%

+6.0%

Donald Boyd (ChrP)

126

4.8%

+4.8%

David McGrath (Ind)

94

3.6%

+3.6%

The SNP benefitted from this the most in the first preference vote share, but the transfers from each round soon started closing the gap until the Lib Dems finally took the lead in the final round, winning by just seven votes.

  

Stage (Quota = 1304)

 

Candidate

1stP%

1

2

3

4

5

6

 

Ken Gowans (SNP)

33.9%

885

18

19%

903

19

15%

922

45

24%

967

38

11%

1005

79

21%

1084

(41.6%)

Carolyn Caddick (LD)

28.7%

747

14

15%

761

16

12%

777

53

28%

830

141

42%

971

120

32%

1091

(41.8%)

Katherine MacKenzie (Lab)

11.8%

308

11

12%

319

8

6%

327

30

16%

357

22

6%

379

  

  

  

  

David Bonsor (Con)

11.1%

290

10

11%

300

36

28%

336

3

2%

339

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Gale Falconer (Grn)

6.0%

157

15

16%

172

17

13%

189

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

Donald Boyd (ChrP)

4.8%

126

4

4%

130

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

David McGrath (Ind)

3.6%

94

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

No-Transfer

-

22

23%

22

34

26%

56

58

31%

114

138

41%

252

180

47%

432

(16.6%)

The Christian Party had a relatively good result by their standard and their vote, along with the Independent candidate's, were the only ones to transfer more in favour to the SNP than the Liberal Democrats. The Greens were eliminated next, also with a fairly good result for them, breaking just slightly in favour of the Liberal Democrats. However, it was the Labour and Conservative transfers that gave the Liberal Democrats their winning advantage.

The result, a genuine surprise, has given a lot of Lib Dem tweeters some hope and satisfaction today, although it remains to be seen if this is a sign of Lib Dem resilience in the Highlands, or just an example of local issues bolstering their support. As this is a three four member ward, there are still only likely to hold one seat here come next May based on the vote share they received here, so they will need to make progress on this scale on a much wider basis to make any progress, which for the moment still looks unlikely.

The other of Thursday night's Scottish by-elections in Oban North & Lorn, Argyle & Bute proved to be by far the most predictable. The SNP considerably increased their share of the first preference votes, although it still took the elimination of all the other candidates for the SNP to finally defeat the Conservatives in the final round, without reaching quota.

Argyll & Bute Council

AoIC

SNP

LD

AF

Con

N-A

A&BICG

13

-

9

-

6

-

3

-

2

-

2

-

1

-

Oban North & Lorn

By-Election Candidate

Votes

Vote %

+/-

Louise Glen-Lee (E)

1081

44.1%

+21.8%

Roy Rutherford

505

20.6%

+12.1%

Gwyneth Neal

438

17.9%

+17.9%

Graham Dale

260

10.6%

-4.0%

George Doyle

165

6.7%

+2.9%

Neal polled strongly and Doyle improved on his 2007 showing, but the overall Independent vote was sharply down, possibly due to a squeeze effect between the SNP and the Conservatives, or just because the reduced number of independent candidates failed to attract the voters who gave their first preferences to independents in 2007. The Lib Dem vote was pretty static compared to the other two parties' gains, and overall it's hard to draw comparisons for next year as it seems like the vote may be more dependent on the availability of Independent candidates than anything else.

  

Stage (Quota = 1225)

 

Candidate

1stP%

1

2

3

4

 

Louise Glen-Lee (SNP)

44.1%

1081

36

22%

1117

62

23%

1179

195

35%

1374

(56.1%)

Roy Rutherford (Con)

20.6%

505

18

11%

523

68

25%

591

167

30%

758

(31%)

Gwyneth Neal (Ind)

17.9%

438

58

35%

496

65

24%

561

  

  

  

  

Graham Dale (LD)

10.6%

260

13

8%

273

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

George Doyle (Ind)

6.7%

165

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

No-Transfer

-

40

24%

40

78

29%

118

199

35%

317

(12.9%)


 

Kristofer Keane

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  1. Inverness South is 4 member ward

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