27 May 2009

The Boundaries are A-Changin: Glasgow

This region sees a very significant change. Well, the boundaries don't shift greatly, apart from at the edge of Rutherglen, but the region loses a seat in the City itself. As it's Baillieston which has fallen victim to the Commissioners' red crayons, one can sympathise with Margaret Curran's desire to decamp to Westminster.

Anyway. Glasgow Anniesland stays Labour with a majority for Bill Butler of 4,700. Glasgow Cathcart also stays Labour, with a notional majority of just under 2,000, while Glasgow Kelvin stays Labour by just 700.

Glasgow Maryhill & Springburn stays Labour by 4,000 for Patricia Ferguson; Glasgow Pollok stays Labour by 4,600 for Johann Lamont and Glasgow Provan stays in the red column with a whopping 5,100 majority for Paul Martin. Glasgow Shettleston stays Labour, with Frank McAveety defending a notional majority of around 4,500.

I want to take time to discuss Glasgow Southside. I get a lead for Nicola Sturgeon of just under 200 votes. However, it's only right and proper that I direct you to Yousuf, who gets a Labour lead of just over 300. Now, on that basis, our results are probably within each other's margin of error, but the bottom lines that we reach are very different indeed.

Now, we both have concrete figures handed to us on a platter by the Scotland Office ballot box by ballot box dataset on the 2007 elections. However, they don't tell the whole story: it's possible that we've allocated some polling districts in wards split between seats to different constituencies; it's possible that we've treated results in amalgamated ballot boxes (where the individual boxes contained less than 200 votes) differently where they cover areas that are divided by the proposals; and it's a racing certainty that we've handled postal votes differently as they're presented on a constituency-wide basis.

The synopsis of this little discussion is that we can't both be right (and I think it's fair to say that we both acknowledge the possibility of error). Luckily, these figures are only realy a basis for projecting the outcome of opinion polls and a way comparing the 2011 results with what went before. So regardless of the outcomes we get now, what matters that should Nicola Sturgeon win Southside (or should the SNP be projected to win it based on an opinion poll), I'll be posting it as an SNP hold while Yousuf will see it as an SNP gain. Should Labour win it, he'll see it as a hold and I'll see it as a Labour gain. Given that any other conclusions we reach are based on something that didn't happen - i.e. we're imagining what would have happened if these boundaries had been in place in time for the last elections, which as we know, isn't the case - I advise against treating these figures as conclusions. They are only starting points which allow us to make conclusions later. I had to put that caveat somewhere and this seems like a suitable place for it.

The last constituency is Rutherglen. Now, Rutherglen was removed from Glasgow in the last change to the local government map, when it was placed in South Lanarkshire, and it has to be said that the locals are probably reasonably happy with that turn of events. However, despite that change being reflected in the dropping of the word Glasgow from the consituency name, it's still lumped in with the rest of the City. I'm not sure what the locals think of that, but there you are. It stays Labour by 5,000 votes.

As for the List, with the Region's external boundaries changing only slightly, and Labour arguably over-represented at constituency level, it's little surprise that the SNP keep four seats, and the LibDems, Tories and Greens keep one between them. If, however, Southside were to be considered Labour, the SNP would have five seats - the extra one coming at the expense of Patrick Harvie.


ASwaS said...

For what it's worth, I got the same result as you did regarding Southside.

I got a slightly higher lead for Labour in Kelvin, but still under 1,000. You should see their regional vote margin in said seat.

Will said...

Well, as the man whose shoes I'm trying to fill with this, that makes me feel a little better. Am I being overly arsey by wishing that the split over who wins Southside didn't seem to follow party lines?

BellgroveBelle said...

I think there's a bit of wishful thinking going on from both sides, but I can't see Labour mounting a campaign to oust Nicola. Or indeed much of a campaign anywhere.

The new Shettleston super-seat will be interesting - Kodak Curran and McAveety may be skipping round the east hand in hand, but I'm not sure this is having an impact on the ground. The south of the river section may also end up being neglected between now and 2011 as it's not part of the new constituency.

PS. Loving the boundaries feature, good work.

Yousuf Hamid said...

A combination of me having never done this before and ASwaS and Will being rather brilliant suggested.

When a Council ward is split down the middle do you much divide the vote in half or do you actually look at which polling stations are in each half of the ward?

This may explain some of our discrepancies, as well as my lack of consideration for postal votes.

Will said...

Cheers BB - it was tough but anything that gives me the chance to pretend that I'm Peter Snow is welcome!

I had a practice run on the initial proposals, Yousuf, but this was my first proper analysis - and I should point out that mild sleep-deprivation was kicking in by the time I got round to Glasgow...

In terms of methodology, I tried to allocate the polling stations accordingly using the Boundary Commission maps so I'm reasonably confident about that but I did employ a bit of guesswork (and a very dodgy assertion) with the postal votes, just so I could account for them somehow, but it was based on turnout rather than any real analysis of party strengths in the various parts of the old constituencies.

Anonymous said...

If its any help when looking at polling districts in Govan ward with the Scotland Office figures, GV01 & GV02, GV11 & GV13 will come under Glasgow Pollok (these are the former FPTP wards of Drumoyne & Govan). GV21 & 23, GV31, 32, 33 & 34 will go into Southside (formerly Ibrox & Kingston).

Or else I have spent 15mins searching for old ward maps for no reason!