When you're an emotionally one dimension political hack like me you tend to do strange things for fun, like analyse spreadsheets in your spare time. I did think about taking up a hobby, like a sexual deviance, to break things up. However, I heard that rubber can chafe and I didn't fancy the taste of wee, so instead I've taken a look at an unusual Scottish constituency in the 2007 Holyrood elections.
What made Kelvin interesting was that unlike most constituencies, where only four Holyrood parties stood (Labour, Lib Dems, SNP and Conservatives) there was an array of candidates, including the Green Party's own force of nature Martin Bartos - who danced past both Tories and Lib Dems to take third place.
This, for me, is particularly interesting because the Lib Dems beat us to fourth in the regional list *in the same constituency* so we have Lib Dems voting for Martin on the First Past the Post ballot instead of where you might expect them to favour us, on the list. Mind you, this could simply be an extra argument for only standing in the list seats to prevent voters casting their Green vote on the "wrong" ballot paper.
This gives us an interesting contrast to Edinburgh Central where the constituency candidates were drawn from a far smaller pool. This time I've chopped off quite a few lower placed parties from the regional list, for the sake of sanity, if nothing else. Regional lists are along the edge, constituencies along the top;
|Region||Kelvin Constituency candidates|
Once again the Labour Party voters are the most consistent/tribal with Lib Dems and Greens most likely to split their vote. For those who did split their vote the Greens were the most likely option for Labour and SNP voters, and a whacking 8.19% of those who voted Lib Dem in the list voted Green in the constituency. Only the Tories shied away from the Green vote, which is only fair as the feeling was mutual.
For those who voted Conservative on the list but split their constituency vote I was surprised to see they were twice as likely to choose Labour than Lib Dems. I do wonder if there is something interesting, if anecdotal, brewing here about what AV might really mean for the Lib Dem vote - particularly at a time when the yellows are seen as the dishonest half of the Coalition.
While many commentators seem to the think that AV will 'naturally' favour the 'center' party the evidence does rather point to the idea that AV accentuates existing trends and a low first preference turnout for the Lib Dems may well signal a low second preference rating too where Labour and Tory *voters* choose both parties as their first two picks. We'll see soon enough I suppose.
As always you can find the figures for yourself here (xls) and my ongoing gratitude to the Peat Worrier for bringing this up in the first place.