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Lothian 2016 Results, Analysis and 2021 Projections

For elections to the Scottish Parliament, Scotland is divided into 8 Regions. Each Region can contain 8 to 10 Constituencies. So everyone in Scotland gets 2 votes. A Constituency Vote and a Regional Vote. Normally people vote in both, but sometimes they only vote in one. Only voting in one does not spoil your other vote.

Constituency Vote (Vote 1 – Constituency Ballot Paper)

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Regional Vote (Vote 2 – Regional Ballot Paper)

Total Votes – 565,860, Valid Votes – 327,178, Turnout – 57.82% and SNP Vote Share – 36.23%

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  • The Regional Vote however is affected by how many Seats a Party wins in the Constituencies.
  • Regional Seats are awarded by dividing Regional Party Totals by the Number of Seats already Won + 1 (D’Hondt System) over 7 Rounds. This might look complicated but it’s really just simple adding and dividing.
  • The basic premise is that if a Party does well with Constituency Seats, the System (D’Hondt) makes it very difficult for them to do well with Regional Seats.


What can we say about the 2016 Election Results?

  • In 2016 the SNP won 6 Constituency Seats so their Regional Vote was divided by 6 + 1 (D’Hondt) = 7 from Round 1 going forward. Labour, Lib Dems and the Tories each won 1 constituency seat each so their Regional Votes were divided by 1 + 1 (D’Hondt) = 2. The Greens running in Edinburgh Central almost certainly ensured the SNP lost this seat to the Tories by splitting the vote.
  • Despite having ‘by far’ the largest number of regional votes the SNP won ‘0’ regional seats in Lothian.
  • Unionist Parties and the Greens however shared all the Regional Seats with the Greens winning the last one with 17,276 votes.
  • That meant in 2016 the SNP would have needed 120,939 regional votes (an extra 2,393 votes) to win the last regional seat from the Greens in Lothian (a 2% increase).
  • This is calculated as follows: (118,546 + 2,393 = 120,939 regional votes – 120,939 regional votes ÷ 7 (6 Constituency Seats + 1 (D’Hondt) = 17,277 regional votes).

2021 Projections For Additional Independence Parties Running on the Regional Vote

What might happen if another Independence Party ran on the Regional Vote and encouraged voters to vote for them instead of the SNP?

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  • Current Polling projects the SNP is on 52% Constituencies (48.85% in 2016) and 44% Regional (44.65% in 2016). The difference between the SNP vote in Constituencies and Regions is historic and usual because voters have more choice to express opinion on the Regional Ballot.
  • Based on current polling the SNP is now projected to win 9 Constituency Seats in Lothian in 2021 meaning that their Regional Vote would be divided by 9 + 1 (D’Hondt) = 10. Using 2016 as a benchmark, the SNP would need 172,770 Regional votes (an extra 54,224 votes) to win a Regional Seat in Lothian in 2021. Yes you are reading that right. 54,224 extra votes.
  • This is calculated as follows: (118,546 + 54,224 = 172,770 regional votes – 172,770 regional votes ÷ 10 (9 Constituency Seats + 1 (D’Hondt) = 17,277 regional votes).
  • In 2016 ‘BothVotesSNP’ did not work and given current polling it will certainly not work in 2021 either. If SNP Votes transfer to other Independence Parties then Independence MSP’s will get elected instead of Unionists.
  • If all Independence voters voted for the SNP in the Constituencies, and the SNP withdrew candidates from the Regional Vote, Independence and not an individual Party would be the winner.
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