08 August 2009

Bit Of Fun: Lets Translate Goldsmid Result As Universal Swing Across B&H

Lets first assume that the Greens will hold all their current seats in Regency (2), Queens Park (3), St Peters and North Laine (3) and Hanover and Elm Grove (3) wards.

So that is 11 seats, plus the one they have in Preston Park and the one in Goldsmid making the 13 they currently have.

I think it is safe to also assume they will pick up the other 2 seats in Goldsmid and possibly the 2 other seats in Preston Park, which gives the Greens a total of 17 seats, so far..

In the recent Goldsmid by-election the parties achieved the following swings:-

Greens +17.5%
Tory -0.5%
Labour -6.8%
Lib Dem -7.3%

I thought I would translate this result across the city to see what would happen. I assumed in my naive way that this would help the Greens since they were the only party to gain votes, I had a nasty shock. I forgot we are talking about the first-past-the-post system here, that punishes heavily parties with similar ideologies that consequently split their supporters votes.

For simplicity I have left out very safe wards. The wards that are most marginal and the ones with actual changes are listed below.

So first off, lets look at how this affects the Brunswick and Adelaide ward result:-
surprisingly LIB DEM HOLD 2 seats, though only by 108 votes from Greens.

Lib Dem 873 (942)
Lib Dem 675 (729)
Green 567 (482)
Green 506 (431)

The following is a truly shocking result which happens as a result of the left vote being split three ways.

Moulsecomb & Bevendean - TORY GAIN 2 & HOLD 1 seat

Tory 979 (984)
Tory 978 (983)
Tory 959 (964)
Labour 948 (1010)
Labour 948 (1010)
Labour 790 (848)
Green 550 (468)

So, after looking at this I have revised down my Green seat prediction to no more than 19 seats in 2011 and possibly only 15 when before I optimistically had said they could get 21 seats.

I think the Greens will do better than Goldsmid swing in Brunswick/Adelaide ward, especially if Lucas becomes MP for Pavilion.

Also, maybe Preston Park might keep its 2 popular Labour members and the Labour vote is bound to bounce back a bit when the Tories are in Westminster - the other wards are far too safe for the Greens to take.

There is a risk the Tories might add a seat or two in North and South Portslade at Labour's expense bringing their total up to 26 which with the Tory independent, would be enough for them to again take control of the council. With the 2 seats gained in Moulsecomb & Bevendean the Tories would have 28 seats and total control with or without the independent.

Oh, the vagaries of our electoral system that gives power to one party that only need to achieve about 30% of the total vote to win absolute power. Sickening.


  1. Neil, I think you’re initial predictions actually were more or less spot on, as you’ve made an important miscalculation judging by your projected Brunswick and Adelaide result: You’ve applied the changes in overall %age terms between two elections in one ward (Goldsmid), to the raw votes in another (which is not comparing like with like).

    e.g. One LD candidate’s vote going down by 6.8% of 942 to equal approx 873
    e.g. One Green candidate’s vote going up by 17.5% of 482 to equal approx 567.

    The problem is that this was not how the votes for each party changed in Goldsmid. If this projection was made on the 2007 Goldsmid result (using top candidate from each party, excluding ‘others’) the result you would get is:

    Con: 1325 (down 0.5% of 1330)
    Grn: 1187 (up 17.5 % of 1010)
    Lab: 1147 (down 6.8% of 1231)
    LD: 667 (down 7.3% of 609)

    So by that logic the Tories would’ve held on!

    …So, here’s how the vote for each party actually changed in Goldsmid:

    The Con vote in 2009 was down 17% on 2007 (from 1330 to 1104)
    The Lab vote was down 34% (from 1231 to 816)
    The Lib Dem vote was down 54% (from 609 to 280)
    The Green vote was up 44% (from 1010 to 1456)

    So here’s what things would look like if applied to Brunswick and Adelaide:

    Grn: 694 (144% of 482)
    Grn: 621 (144% of 431)
    LD: 443 (46% of 942)
    LD: 335 (46% of 729)

    I haven’t tried applying this to the rest of the city yet. However, I think you may still be right about FPTP helping the Tories in this scenario (and about how it sucks generally). Sorry if I seem pedantic (and if I do at least you have a life!).

  2. Tom M, that is brilliant. I have completely messed up the maths haven't I?

    That has really cheered me up. I thought I must be doing something wrong. When I get the time I will re-calculate and work out the marginal wards (maybe I haven't got a life after all). Good to see my initial impresssion that the Greens will win in Brunswick was generally right. Just goes to show how careful you have to be when using maths. Cheers.