Labour voters are switching straight to Tory as second preference and Tory straight to Labour in Scottish local government by-elections held under the STV system. These are not opinion polls, they are real elections.
I was shown results and transfer sheets yesterday in the margin of the SNP vetting assessment of potential candidates which I was attending. Unfortunately I did not have a chance to copy down the figures, but the pattern was clear.
For those unfamiliar with single transferable vote, you mark the ballot paper 1,2,3 in the order you prefer the candidates. What is now becoming clear is that Labour voters tend to put the Tories at 2, and Tories put Labour as 2. I have been arguing for years that there are no significant policy differences between Labour and Tory – it is a fake choice. I will never forget at the count in Clackmannan the Labour and Tory councillors and their wives all celebrating together, all looking well-heeled and arrogant and entitled, impossible to tell apart.
That the few remaining Labour voters put the Tories as second preference, instead of the Greens, SNP or Liberal Democrat, shows that the core Labour support base is largely Blairite. Which explains why the ultra-Blairite Jim Murphy, scion of the far right Henry Jackson Society, is set to become Labour Party leader in Scotland. It is also interesting that Tory voters are happy to give second preferences to Labour, recognising that Ed Balls, Yvette Cooper, Tess Jowell and Harriet Harman – every one a millionaire – are doughty protectors of the rich and the established order.
I haven’t been able to find a website that records local byelection results including the transfers – some results are listed on politicalbetting.com but only give the final result after all transfers. If anyone can find the data online I would be grateful. I should love to see an analysis from James Kelly on this one.