Today is the last day before the referendum on electoral reform, and although it looks like we’re stuck with the old ways (according to the pollsters), I did wonder how the politics in our constituency would now look if we’d voted using AV in the previous ballot.
I took the votes from the 2010 general election, and then began a process of wild speculation as to second preferences, based entirely on vague notions of the political spectrum: I assumed that right wing second preferences would gradually come in from the extremes towards the Tories (IND→ED→BNP→UKIP→CON); Green Party supporters would do likewise for Labour, and Lib-Dem second preferences would split 50-50 each way for the biggest two parties. Although this is mostly pie-in-the-sky thinking, the Green Party’s Shooters Hill candidate for the council election got more votes than their Parliamentary candidate; and since both elections happened on the same day, this suggests that Shooters Hill voters went for Green in the locals and possibly Labour in the nationals.
|2010 General Election Results|
|Steven Toole||Liberal Democrat||5,299||12.6||-4.7|
|Roberta Woods||British National Party||1,745||4.2||+1.6|
|Ray Adams||UK Independence Party||1,011||2.4||-0.4|
|Mike Tibby||English Democrats||217||0.5||+0.5|
Well, based on rather crude apportioning of second preferences on a spectrum, and considering that Clive Efford didn’t get more than 50% of the overall vote in the first count, Andrew Graham (IND) dropped out of the competition at the end of round one. Part of his manifesto included bringing back capital punishment, so his second-preference votes got thrown in with the far right, and they went to Roberta Woods in round two, mainly as I’m not entirely sure what the English Democrats were campaigning for, only realising that they existed when I got to the voting booth. This reallocation didn’t make any difference to the overall picture, so Mike Tibby (ED) dropped out, and as before (according to an arbitrary political spectrum), his votes went to Roberta Woods, although she still wasn’t getting anywhere nearer to a 50% share of the vote. In round three the Green party votes went to Clive Efford (LAB), taking him up to a 42.4% share… again not enough for a win. And so to round four, at which point UKIP fell out of the running, and their votes went to David Gold (CON), taking him up by 2.5% to 40%. On to round five… here all the right wingers’ votes went to David Gold, and he nudged ahead of Clive Efford by just over two percent, but still not by enough to become our MP. At this point the Lib-Dems dropped out of the competition, leaving only two parties in the final round. I gave LAB and CON half each of the Lib-Dem votes, and because the CONs had previously benefited from more second hand support from right-wing voting, David Gold ended up as the 2010 (AV) general election winner!
Overall then, this (imaginary) vote count went right to final round, and was incredibly close in the end – I’m not sure that splitting Lib-Dem second preferences down the middle was a very realistic move. Equally, BNP support often comes from disgruntled Labour supporters having a protest, so giving their secondary support to the Tories may also have been a bad idea…
Since this whole trifle has been based on wild speculation about voting behaviours in Eltham, it would be a mistake to really make anything of it really. However, this being a marginal seat, it could be the case that voters who don’t initially support Labour or Tory candidates might get more of a say.