The decline of the SNP and why Scotland matters

I blogged here the other day, comparing the Labour and Conservative “surges” in the recent general election. I’ve now had the chance to play with the data some more,  and Scotland has jumped out at me.

First, see below for my visualisation of the 2015 and 2017 turnout broken down in GB regions. I realise that Scotland and Wales are actually a nations and not a regions, but for the purpose of this post and to make it easier to write, I will only refer to the term “region” to mean Scotland and Wales too – but the unwritten part is that I accept they are both nations.

I’m quite pleased with the visualisation, as although it takes a little effort to read, it does give a lot of info in a small space. Points to note:

  1. Each constituency has a vertical dot plot of (red) 2015 and (green) 2017 turnout.
  2. In each region the constituency (green) 2017 turnout dots are in descending order.
  3. Each region has a red and green line which is the average regional turnout for 2015 and 2017 respectively.
  4. The regions are ordered in descending order of 2017 turnout.
  5. Because each constituency is shown as a vertical dot plot, the width of each region is proportional to the number of seats in it. So you can compare region sizes.

Scotland has gone from having the highest turnout in 2015, to the third lowest turnout in 2017, and more importantly it is the only region that had a fall in turnout.

06 Turnout by Region

So turnout in Scotland fell. But even more importantly, the SNP’s fortunes declined from their quite stunning zenith in 2015. They’ve fallen back down to earth with a bump, losing 21 seats.

The horizontal dot plot below shows the change in 2015 (light grey) majority and 2017 (black) majority. It is descending order of 2017 majority. As well as losing 21 seats, they now have several hyper marginals, and they now have no seats with a majority of more than 7,000. (Data visualisation point: this type of plot is often referred to as a barbell or dumbbell plot).

Given the fall in majorities seen in 2017 it essentially means every SNP is now a marginal in play at the next election. This is something I missed, and has been rather under reported by the political commentators. Given how close this election was overall, Scotland could be the deciding factor in the next general election.

06 SNP majorities



One thought on “The decline of the SNP and why Scotland matters

  1. Pingback: Where Labour can gain seats from the SNP | More Known Than Proven

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s