IndyRef’s biggest unanswered question: what if it’s a draw?

July 18th, 2014

 

Electoral workers begin counting votes in the fiscal treaty referendum in Dublin, Ireland

We all know what happens if the Pro-Indy movement wins (split up of the UK) and what happens if the Better Together movement wins (status quo) but there’s a third possibility no-one has considered: What if the #indyref leads to a draw?

Now before you scoff, it’s unlikely, but it’s not impossible. We spoke to Paddy Power and they put it at 1,000-1 which is the exact same odds Ladbrokes would have given you for Germany beating Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup semi-final. In fact when you look at the results of the last few elections they mostly end with an even number.*

_57582295_mmhorchepstowdeadheatedit

So what happens if there is a draw? It’s already been stated that there will not be a recount of the votes. Equally the normal council election rules of straws being pulled out a hat or the toss of a coin to decide don’t apply.

So what happens?

We reached out to the Electoral Commission and asked the straightforward question: “what happens in a draw?” After all, there must be something covering all eventualities in the Edinburgh Agreement or other paperwork, yes? To quote Bruce Willis in Armageddon, “you must have people around here thinking this stuff up?”

No.

In the words of the Electoral Commission: ”There is no provision [for the eventuality of a tie in the independence referendum] so it would simply be the declared result.”

So that means if it’s a draw, the status quo prevails, yes? Apparently not. The “no provision” part of the above means that there is no plan in place if it is a tie for either of the ruling. Not penalties, not mud-wrestling, caber tossing or a comparison of Facebook likes. No one knows what happens and who would be in charge.

We’re asking Better Together and Yes Scotland what they think should happen in the event of a tie and we’ll let you know what they say. But in the meantime, what do you think should happen?

* Every UK election since 1997 has had an even number of votes (31,284,698 in 1997; 26,366,992 in 2001; 27, 148, 516 in 2005 and 29, 687, 604 in 2010). In Scotland, every election since the Parliament was set up has been even numbers when you look at just the constituency votes except 2003. If you look at the total number of votes (including List MSPs) the numbers have been all odd.

UPDATE: We’ve just learned that STV’s Robert Dawson Scott wrote a mini-play for The National Theatre of Scotland on this very topic. And you can watch it below:

Dead Heat | The Great Yes, No, Don’t Know Five Minute Theatre Show from National Theatre of Scotland on Vimeo.

By Craig McGill 

CraigMcGill-450x250

Craig is Weber Shandwick‘s Digital Strategist. 


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Germany vs. Scotland and the #indyref

July 15th, 2014

 

_76239690_germanytrophylift

On Sunday evening, Germany were crowned World Champions in a thrilling encounter in Rio de Janeiro.

In less than two months, on Sunday 7 September, the Germans will host Scotland in the opening qualifying match of Euro 2016 in Dortmund.

You’ll have probably read those first two sentences as asked ‘what on earth does this have to do with the IndyRef’?

Well, the answer as it turns out, could be a lot more than you might think.

There are some within the Yes campaign who privately believe that a Scottish victory in September could have a serious impact on the outcome of 18th September. They believe that a win over the world champs (echoing Scotland’s famous 1967 3-2 victory over the then World Cup holders, England at Wembley) could boost their support by 10%. A heavy defeat might have an impact too.

Others in the group believe a heavy defeat could see people rally round Yes and Scotland.  However, history suggests otherwise.

Linking the success of the national football team is not a first for Scotland either.

Many people (such as Hugh McIlvanney and Christopher Harvie) believe that a sporting collapse in Argentina was linked to the muted support for Scottish devolution in 1979’s referendum.

Back in 1978, Scotland went to a South American world cup with high expectations. Manager Ally McLeod whipped supporters (and the rest of the nation) up into a frenzy and many Scots went to Argentina with a sense of expectation, rather than hope.

Scotland's Football Captain Bruce Rioch

However, once in Argentina – the Scots lost to unfancied Peru, drew with Iran and inevitably beat the Netherlands in a ‘too little, too late’ final group game.

The impact on Scots was massive. In Graham McColl’s book ’78: How a nation lost the World Cup, Margo MacDonald described the aftershock: “People lost a lot of faith in Scottishness and their own abilities. Football is woven through the Scottish psyche.”

It’s not just Scotland where we can see the impact of a sporting result on political outcomes. Following last week’s humiliating 7-1 defeat to Germany, there is much speculation about how President Dilma Rousseff’s election prospects have been damaged ahead of Brazilians going to the polls later in the year.

Denis Howell, a former referee and Minister of Sport in Harold Wilson’s Government laid partial blame for Labour’s defeat in 1970 to England’s ejection from the World Cup just days before the election. His autobiography notes, “everything simultaneously began to go wrong for Labour”.

The idea that a game has to take place in close proximity to an election certainly gains credence when you look at a  2010 American academic study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which found that “A local [Ameican] football team’s win in the 10 days before an election garnered the incumbent senator, governor or president (or his or her political party) an extra 1.61 percentage points of the vote, the researchers found. They found no effect for games played earlier than two weeks before the election, suggesting that the game must be fresh in the voter’s mind to have an effect.”

Which brings us back to Dortmund. Our sources at Yes might be over-egging the pudding to suggest that a Scottish victory over the Germans might give the Yes campaign a 10% boost. But if the polls are tightening in the lead-up to the game, then the Scotland result could have much bigger implications than just three qualification points.

 

By Duncan McKay

Duncan is a member of the Public Affairs team at Weber Shandwick. He will be taking trams, planes, trains and a monorail to attend the game in Dortmund. He is definitely travelling in hope, rather than expectation.


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New YouGov poll

June 18th, 2014

 

YouGov

YouGov teamed up with The Sun to deliver this week’s third indyref poll.

This poll will have made for encouraging reading for the Better Together team.

The result puts Yes on 36% (-1), No on 53% (+2) and Don’t Knows down 1 to 11. It marks the first drop in Yes support in a YouGov poll since October 2012 whereas No are on their highest YouGov numbers since last September.

Also included in the YouGov poll were voting intentions for the 2016 Holyrood election, which, if replicated, will likely see another coalition administration in Edinburgh.

The results were as follows:

Constituency Vote

SNP — 35%

Labour — 37%

Conservatives — 14%

Liberal Democrats — 5%

Others — 9%

 

Regional Vote

SNP — 31%

Labour — 33%

Conservatives — 15%

Liberal Democrats — 5%

Greens — 8%

Others — 8%

 

When plugged into our Holyrood prediction tool, we see that Labour become the biggest party with 50 seats, followed by the SNP on 46. The Conservatives make a gain of two seats, with the Lib Dems losing a seat. The Greens would see their number quintuple from two to ten.

This poll certainly paints a different picture from last week’s Holyrood voting intentions poll from the last two Survation polls, with the latter predicting the SNP being returned as the largest party. However, there is one consistent theme across the YouGov and Survation samples with both predicting growing support for the Scottish Greens.

Holyrood16


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Panelbase and ICM poll analysis

June 16th, 2014

 

Panelbase

We had two more polls over the weekend, taking us to five polls in June already with half of the month still remaining.

It’s difficult to look at polls and argue that these two polls are anything but positive for the Yes campaign.

Both the ICM and Panelbase polls show an uplift in support for Yes.

The Panelbase poll,  commissioned by Yes Scotland, puts Yes on 43% (+3), No on 46% (-1) and Don’t Knows on 12% (-2). This marks the highest mark of Yes support in a Panelbase poll (apart from a much maligned survey last September).

In the ICM poll, Yes finds itself up 2% to 36% and No is down 3% to 43%. In previous ICM polls, the No vote has fluctuated month-to-month, with up-down being the only real trend. Despite a two point gain for Yes, 36% still represents the second worst polling performance from Yes in ICM polls since the turn of the year.

The two polls from ICM and Panelbase, added with last week’s polls point to an upward trend in support for Yes. We shall have to wait until the next installment to see if there whether a significant movement of support is taking place.

ICM


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Digital Campaign of the Year!

October 19th, 2011

 

ScotlandVotes has been shortlisted for Digital Campaign of the Year at the 2011 European Public Affairs Awards.

We need your support to help us win the award.  Please follow this link bit.ly/rqsT15 and in the Digital Campaign section vote for ScotlandVotes.  Feel free to vote for entries in the other categories, but you don’t have to.

This nomination is a great accolade for ScotlandVotes and Weber Shandwick and follows hot on the heels of our win at the Chartered Institute of Public Relations Scottish PRide Awards, where we picked up Gold for the Best Website.

Here is what the judges said about our nomination for the PRide Awards:

“Weber Shandwick Scotland started with a bold objective- to become the authority on the Scottish elections. With this highly usable website and supportive media campaign which saw their team grab hold of the issue, they’ve succeeded admirably. The interactivity of the website gave it the feel of an online version of Peter Snow’s infamous ‘swingometer’. The involvement of politicians and respected bloggers gave the site much-needed gravitas.”

Thanks to you the users of ScotlandVotes, whether on the website, Facebook, Twitter or those who attended our hustings online or in person.  We had a great time covering the 2011 Scottish Parliament election and we are already working on setting up the new boundaries for the next Westminster election!


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Lib Dems to be left with 2 MPs in Scotland

July 27th, 2011

 

Charles Kennedy and Alistair Carmichael would be the only two Lib Dems MPs left in Scotland according to Weber Shandwick’s ScotlandVotes seat predictor.  The results were calculated using the latest polling results from Angus Reid.

The poll results broken down for Scotland showed Labour on 44%, SNP on 35%, Conservatives on 13% and Lib Dems on just 3%.

The results see both Labour (+2) and SNP (+15)  gaining votes while the Conservatives and Lib Dems fall.   For the SNP the results are broadly in line with the recent Scottish Parliament elections and sees them gain primarily from the Lib Dems but with one seat (Ochil and South Perthshire) coming across from Labour.

The ScotlandVotes.com seat predictor for Westminster would see a dramatic change in the make up of MPs in Scotland, however Labour would still have a majority of MPs in Scotland.  The results would see Labour with 42 MPs (+1), SNP 13 (+7), Conservative 2 (+1) and Lib Dems 2 (-9).

Senior Scottish Lib Dem MPs would be lost including Danny Alexander, Menzies Campbell, John Thurso, and Jo Swinson.

You can view the Westminster seat calculator here.

Quick update:  The next election will be fought on new boundaries.   We will update ScotlandVotes with the new boundaries when they are published by the Boundary Commission, however until that point we will continue to use the existing ones.


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