Tactical Voting in Ceredigion

Everyone’s probably familiar with the concept of tactical voting. Under the First Past the Post system, supporters of parties which are smaller in the constituency often vote for one of the more major candidates. For instance, some greens will lend their vote to Plaid Cymru and so on.

The electoral system for the Welsh Assembly, with two votes – one for the constituency and one for the region – provides a chance to understand which groups vote tactically, and for whom.

Here’s the statistics then. It’s clear that some of the parties get less or more votes on the regional vote than on the constituency vote. The Greens got about 50% extra votes in the region than in the constituency, following their campaign to get a Member for the region. The libdems got a lot fewer votes in the region than in  the constituency. Labour was one of the other parties who got a lot more support in the region than in the constituency.

In order to understand where the votes are going between the main parties, the figures for the regional vote need modifying. 757 people voted in Ceredigion but not in the regional vote. Also, a small number of votes went to parties who didn’t compete in the constituency. After ignoring these, and raising the number of regional votes for the main parties so that the number of electors is treated as equal in the 2 competitions, we see the following differences, between the regional votes and the constituency votes in Ceredigion:
Plaid Cymru
Difference - number
Difference - percent

This suggests several things. The most obvious is that the libdems lost over a third of their support on the regional list, and given how many people had voted for the LibDems,  this meant over 3000 votes.

Another clear finding is that lots of Labour, Tory and Green supporters voted tactically in the constituency. The three parties each added around 50% extra to their vote at the regional list.

One of the very interesting things is how stable Plaid Cymru’s vote was. This is surprising to an extent, since Elin is very popular in the area, and many people on the doorstep were very supportive of her. But it looks like the local candidate is a “shop-font” for her party in general – Plaid Cymru supporters vote for Elin in the constituency and then vote for her party in the Region.

I won’t deny that Elizabeth Evans of the libdems also has a lot of supporters in Ceredigion. But if they support her, the libdem vote would be expected to be stable on the regional list also.

The only possible conclusion is that the libdem vote in Ceredigion is a coalition vote – a tactical vote against Plaid Cymru. Many Conservative and Labour supporters, and some UKIP supporters also, vote for the libdems in an attempt to stop Plaid Cymru from winning the seat. Alun Williams wrote about this phenomenon some time ago: http://bronglais.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/ceredigion-8000-why.html

This also reflects the very negative campaign that the LibDems have run in Ceredigion this year, where several LibDem leaflets appeared to focus more on opposition to Plaid Cymru than on promoting their own party. Clearly the bar charts which show that the election is a two-horse race have had an effect.

Very fortunately, Plaid Cymru ran a very postive campaing in Ceredigion this year, and the result is clear. Elin Jones has increased her majority, and the attempt to build a coalition against Plaid Cymru has been a failure. Imagine for a moment: how different would Ceredigion politics be if everyone voted for their favourite political party?

No comments:

Post a Comment