Regional Predictions for Holyrood 2016 as at August 2015

Original post 13/10/15.  Editted 14/10/14 using August and September data combined.
Editted again 13/11/15 - H&I have 8 constituency MSPs and NE 10. 

Now in my previous posts, I have argued that its important that we vote accordance to our beliefs in policies - see Vote for what you believe in - and also that with the SNP riding high and likely to do a clean sweep Constituency seats there is an opportunity to 'game ' the List vote to minimise the unionist and conservative (small C) old parties.

Some people get very excited about this: I dont think we are going to get mass switching of list votes from SNP in the List as return for Greens voting SNP in the constituencies.  But that's life.  But if we look at the detail, we see that small shifts can deny unionist seats with no risk to SNP List seats in four of the eight regions (You can't risk a seat you aren't going to get!).

But those predictions made so far look at the national picture and what we have is a Regional series of situations.  I've always said we need to look at the detail.  

The problem is that the data on such isn't very robust.  When a poll of 1029 people is split into the 8 regions, there aren't many people asked in each region.  A rule of thumb is that a poll of 1000 will be accurate +-3% - better for big parties and much worse for small parties.  Once the sample gets split between 8 regions the figures are much less reliable.  However having done that health warning, let's have a look at the regional situation - but I'm tempted to say 'Just a bit of fun - these are just predictions'.The data used can be found at and

The sample sizes are very small but the overall results seem to be fairly stable: there isn't a great trend showing.   So what I am going to do is add the actual numbers sampled between the two months together to get a more reliance number.  It is still a small sample and all results must therefore be treated with caution. 

 Constituency predictions

The SNP vote is holding up very well in the constituencies - very much in line with the General Election results.  Of the 73 constituency seats, the SNP are predicted to win 71. 

Overall result

Now the model for allocating the regional seats I will use can be found at

For each region, we need to know the number of seats for each party and the regional list vote.  Plugging in these two sets of figures gives us the numbers of additional member seats allocated. 

But we have a problem.  ScotlandVotes doesn't tell us which two constituency seats are not won by the SNP.   Well, I'm going to assume that the LibDems hang onto one seat in the Highlands (let's not get into which one!) and that the Tories hang onto a seat in the South of Scotland.  I hope the SNP do better than this but let's go with the prediction and my assumption. 

Highlands and Islands

There is an extra constituency seat in Highland and Islands as Orkney and Shetland each have a constituency MSP.  And I am going to assume that the LibDems hang onto a seat in this, their traditional last redoubt in Scotland.  

Tiny sample warning! Number of Additional seat for SNP = zero - the level of support for the SNP in the Highlands simply isnt high enough to give a Regional Seat.    With 9 UKIP supporters found in the September sample,, they get allocated a seat.   You all know what to do. 

In practice with the well known and well respected John Finnie topping the Highland list, I'm pretty confident that the Greens will have enough votes to have a Highland Regional List seat.  The question is whether the Tory and UKIP voices can be overcome to quash UKIP.  

North East

Tiny sample warning! This is an SNP stronghold with in addition to the 10 constituency seats, the SNP predicted to win 2 List seats.   It's very much up to Greens to improve their own performance to win a List seat here at at present they are not close.  

Mid Scotland and Fife

Mid Scotland and Fife
Tiny sample warning! Again a strong performance by the SNP means that theygain a Regional List seat after the LibDems.  Greens need to target suurplus LibDem votes to deny Tories the last seat.  


Tiny sample warning! The SNP don't pick up any List seats and the Greens pick up two. A better than expected performance by Labour or Tory would put that at risk.   Greens should be appealling to SNP voters to help them.  


Tiny sample warning! A strong performance from the SNP means they pick up a List seat as do the Greens. It would take a lot for either to be able to deny the Tories the last seat. 


Tiny sample warning!  Labour pick up lots of List seats, the SNP none and the Greens one.  Greens would need an extra 4% on their vote to gain a second seat to the detriment of Labour.  So Glasgow is a place where SNP supporters could switch to Green to reduce the unionist seats.   I think that is more likely than Greens switching to SNP and risking their one list seat - the SNP have nothing to lose by switching.

It's embarassing having UKIP showing on the poll and 4% for Tories is VERY low.  


West of Scotland
A strong showing by the SNP means they pick up two list seats.  The Greens fails to achieve one.  Each must present their own cases to reduce the unionist parties further.


South of Scotland
Here I assume a Tory hangs onto a constituency seat.  I know.  Miserable, isn't it?

The SNP pick up one Regional List seats and the Greens gain one.   The Greens should be targetting the LibDems to try to deny Labour a seat.  

Summary and Conclusions

In three regions, the SNP are highly unlikely to gain any List seats but they have a good chance in the other five.  Where Greens are strong: Highland and Islands; Lothians; and Glasgow, small switches of SNP votes to Green could dent unionist voices.   

Worth doing? - well SNP supporters in these three regions need to ask themselves if they want an extra unionist or an extra Green.