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Gordon EF

Holyrood 2021 Tactical List Vote Guide

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The mechanism for deciding list MSPs is relatively complicated and, if you want to vote tactically, it's very difficult sometimes to decide which party needs your vote most or which party has the best chance of keeping or taking list seats. Because I'm bored and a massive nerd, I decided to write some code which would help out.

Essentially, I've taken the 2016 election results from each region of Scotland and simulated the process for assigning list MSPs within that region. In each region there are 9 constituencies and 7 list seats available. Once all the constituencies are called, the 7 list seats are assigned in sequential order. In each of the seven rounds the list votes for each party is divided by the total number of seats already assigned to that party plus one.

So as a really simple example, in the Central Scotland region, the SNP won all 9 constituencies in 2016.

  • SNP got 129,000 list votes and so in the first round their total is (129k/10 = 12.9k)
  • Labour got 67k list votes and so their total is (67/1 = 67k)
  • Tories got 44k list votes and so their total is (67/1 = 44k)
  • Greens got 13k list votes and so their total is (13k/1 = 13k)
  • Lib Dems.... lol, only kidding.

So Labour wins the first list seat and in the second round their total becomes (67k/2 = 33.5k) as they now have one extra seat. In the second round, the Tories would have the largest score and so be assigned the second seat, etc, etc.

For tactical voting, the most important factor is who got the 7th and final seat and how close everyone else was to getting it. For example, if you want to vote tactically to maximise pro-independence MSPs, if a pro-independence party won that 7th seat, you want to vote for them to make sure they hold it in 2021. If a unionist party won that 7th seat, you want to vote for the pro-independence party that came closest to taking that final seat off them. Vice versa that if you want to vote for pro-union parties.

This started off as me wanting actual evidence in deciding whether to go second vote SNP or Green in Lothian next year but the code can easily be run for each region so I'm going to run through each region and see what it says.

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Central Scotland

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Scotland_(Scottish_Parliament_electoral_region)#2016_Scottish_Parliament_election

The SNP took all 9 constituencies here in 2016. In the list, Labour took 4, the Tories took 3 and no other parties got any.

Quote

Last winner = Con

SNP needed = 16258

Lab needed = 5567

Green needed = 1812

LibDem needed = 9519

As the results form the algorithm show, the Tories took that 7th and final list seat. The SNP would have needed more than 16,000 extra votes on top of the 129,000 they already got to have taken that final seat from the Tories. Labour would have needed more than 5,000 extra votes to take a 5th list seat. Whilst with only 1,812 more votes, the Greens could have nicked that last list seat from the Tories.

Pro-indy Tactical Voting Verdict: You'd be absolutely mental to give the SNP your second vote in Central Scotland. The Greens have a fantastic chance of taking a seat from the Tories here in 2021. The SNP took 47% of list votes last time and got nothing, the Greens got 4.7% and almost took a seat. Any pro-indy voter not going 2nd vote Green in Central Scotland needs a boot in the baws.

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Far too early for any pro-Yes voter to be handing out their 2nd vote.   Let's see how things look in March.  The D'Hondt system might require a switched 2nd vote but lets be guided by the polls.  

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Glasgow

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glasgow_(Scottish_Parliament_electoral_region)#2016_Scottish_Parliament_election

The SNP took all 9 constituencies here in 2016. In the list, Labour took 4, the Tories took 2 and the Greens took 1.

  Quote

Last winner = Con

SNP needed = 36564

Lab needed = 14681

Green needed = 6135

LibDem needed = 8916

Like Central Scotland, the Tories also took the 7th and final list seat in Glasgow. The SNP needed an absolutely eye-watering number of extra votes to take it. In fact, with the Greens already securing Patrick Harvie's list seat quite comfortably in the 4th round, they need a fair number to get a second list MSP here. 

Pro-indy Tactical Voting Verdict: Even if they were to lose a seat or two to Labour in the constituencies, it would take something special for the SNP to get an extra list seat in Glasgow so a vote for them is wasted. Potentially a long shot but the Greens offer much better odds of punting a Tory out of Holyrood.

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4 minutes ago, Andrew Driver said:

Far too early for any pro-Yes voter to be handing out their 2nd vote.   Let's see how things look in March.  The D'Hondt system might require a switched 2nd vote but lets be guided by the polls.  

Of course, all this can change and polls should be taken into account but it's fairly uncontroversial to say that in large parts of Scotland pro-Yes voters are far better giving the Greens their second vote rather than effectively watching tens of thousands of SNP list votes get flushed down the toilet for no return. I'm just trying to demonstrate that with figures.

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2 minutes ago, Gordon EF said:

Of course, all this can change and polls should be taken into account but it's fairly uncontroversial to say that in large parts of Scotland pro-Yes voters are far better giving the Greens their second vote rather than effectively watching tens of thousands of SNP list votes get flushed down the toilet for no return. I'm just trying to demonstrate that with figures.

You're not wrong.  

I wish the 2 or 3 new Yes groups like ISP or whatever Wings has planned just campaigned behind the Scottish Greens.   

We need a singular option for a 2nd vote shift, but there's too many egos involved.  

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Highlands & Islands

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highlands_and_Islands_(Scottish_Parliament_electoral_region)#2016_election

The SNP took 6 of 8 constituencies here in 2016, with the Lib Dems picking up 2. In the list, Labour took 3, the Tories took 2 with the SNP and Greens picking up one apiece.

Quote

Last winner = Lab

SNP needed = 9976

Con needed = 1095

Green needed = 8113

LibDem needed = 7118

This is an interesting one. This shows Labour taking the 7th seat and only the Tories close behind but that hides the fact that in 2016 this was actually an incredibly close three-way shoot out for the last 2 seats between SNP, Labour and the Tories. With the SNP and Labour taking seats in the 6th and 7th round.

Pro-indy Tactical Voting Verdict: Given that the Greens safely secured one list seat before the SNP did in the list rounds and the Tories were actually pretty close to taking the SNP's solitary list seat, I'd say it's better to play it safe, vote SNP and make sure they pick up at least one list MSP.

Edited by Gordon EF

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34 minutes ago, Andrew Driver said:

You're not wrong.  

I wish the 2 or 3 new Yes groups like ISP or whatever Wings has planned just campaigned behind the Scottish Greens.   

We need a singular option for a 2nd vote shift, but there's too many egos involved.  

The Greens are a principled left wing party that recognise that independence isn't the start and end point of building a better Scotland. That's exactly why the ISP and Wings will never back them.

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2 minutes ago, NotThePars said:

The Greens are a principled left wing party that recognise that independence isn't the start and end point of building a better Scotland. That's exactly why the ISP and Wings will never back them.

It's not really.  

The 'Yes movement' are generally sound c***s but its the ego-filled maniacs that rise to the top.   ISP are already falling out with two other new indy parties.   

Everyone understand that a split unionist vote helps the Yes cause, but these egomaniacs will ensure the Yes vote is split.   They care more about themselves and social climbing.  

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47 minutes ago, Stan Hope said:

flicked my eyes over the post, stopped reading at ''So Labour Wins''  i'm by no means a senior citizen/pensioner, but i'll be dead before they useless c***s win anything again.

I like your optimism but I'm not quite sure we're quite at the stage of a total Labour wipe out in Holyrood.

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Mid Scotland and Fife

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mid_Scotland_and_Fife_(Scottish_Parliament_electoral_region)#2016_Scottish_Parliament_election

The SNP took 8 constituencies here in 2016, with the Lib Dems picking up 1. In the list, Tories took 4, Labour took 2 with the Greens picking up one.

Quote

Last winner = Green

SNP needed = 40612

Con needed = 16007

Lab needed = 2207

LibDem needed = 15319

The solitary pro-Yes list seat is the 7th and final one which went to the Greens. Realistically, Labour are the biggest threat here, especially if they strike out again in all 9 constituencies. With the SNP effectively needing more extra votes than there are eligible voters in the largest town in this region, this could well be the area of Scotland where 2nd vote SNP is the biggest wasted vote of all.

Pro-indy Tactical Voting Verdict: Utter no-brainer. It has to be the Greens. They beat Labour to the last list seat by a whisker in 2016. Every pro-Yes voter giving their second vote to the SNP is inviting Labour to take that seat and actually reduce the independence majority in Mid Scotland and Fife.

Edited by Gordon EF

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I can save you some time here. If you want to assist the pro independence parties most with your regional vote and aren't too bothered between them:

South of Scotland - vote SNP

Everywhere else - Green

For the unionist parties:

Highlands & Islands, Lothian, Mid & Fife, North East - Tory

Glasgow, Central - Labour

South, West - too close to say.

As for the calculation of the seventh seat, there's far too much variability election to election to try to game that. 

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15 minutes ago, Arch Stanton said:

How do we keep Douglas Ross out?

Assuming he stands on the NE list the best way would be to vote Tory with your constituency vote if you're in that region, and, assuming that tactic is successful and the Tories win those seats, SNP with your second vote.

That's clearly not a smart idea...

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7 hours ago, Arch Stanton said:

How do we keep Douglas Ross out?

Surely you want DRoss to get in? He's utterly hopeless and the FM will absolutely run rings around him. 

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1 hour ago, Day of the Lords said:

Surely you want DRoss to get in? He's utterly hopeless and the FM will absolutely run rings around him. 

He'd be much better to point and laugh at if he was out of a highly paid job tbh.

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1 hour ago, Day of the Lords said:

Surely you want DRoss to get in? He's utterly hopeless and the FM will absolutely run rings around him. 

DRoss.   I like that It's excellent wordplay.   

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"Vote BNP with your second vote to keep the tories oot" or something.


Given your previous noted concern with the size of the Jewish vote it seems the BNP might be a fitting vote for yourself.

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