This page is a test for how I’ll display data from the 2022 Council Elections, using Stirling Council’s 2017 results as an example. Since launching Ballot Box Scotland in January 2018, I’ve slowly been making more and more use of the wealth of data we get from machine counts.

Given there are 354 (!) council wards in Scotland, it’s a bit late now for me to go through every single one to compile data to this level of depth – but I will be doing so next year, when it will be fresh and new. Given how much information involved, I want to make sure it all displays neatly and nicely before I do this in full for 2022. If you spot any problems, please let me know!

Contents

Overall 2017 Result

I know the big blank space under the wards in this image looks odd, but bear in mind this is a quick template to be used for all councils, some of which have a lot more wards than Stirling does!

Council-Wide Results

2017’s council election presaged the Conservative success at Westminster the next month, leading in terms of first preferences with 37.2% versus 34.7% for the SNP, though both parties tied on 9 seats. Labour lost half their votes and seats, dropping to 4 seats for 16.2% of the vote, whilst the Greens narrowly held onto their single seat a year after Ruskell had made his way back to Holyrood, passing the torch to a new councillor. The geographic divide was extremely stark this time, with the SNP leading in urban Stirling, and Conservatives in the rural and affluent west.

Administration

Following the election, a coalition administration was formed between the SNP and Labour, with a total of 13 seats. The opposition Conservatives and Greens totalled 10 seats.

Interactive Map

Council Overview and Past Results

Overview

As with many councils named for a former shire, Stirling isn’t quite a perfect reflection of the historic county. The modern Stirling council area effectively consists of the northern portion of historic Stirlingshire, from Stirling itself in the east along through the valley of the Endrick Water south of the Forth as far as Loch Lomond, plus a large portion of southwestern historic Perthshire most notably including Dunblane and Callander. That gives the area quite a stark contrast between the urbanised and somewhat industrialised east and the rural, farming west.

After some jostling between Unionists (precursors to the Conservatives) and Labour early in the 20th century, by the mid-30’s the Stirlingshire constituencies had settled into Labour areas. However, this likely disguised the fact the rural western portion was more strongly Conservative. When 1983 introduced boundaries based on the modern area and thus an expanded rural component, they’d hold the new Stirling seat until Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth was one of the Cabinet casualties in Labour’s 1997 landslide. SNP strength here was evidenced by winning the Holyrood constituency in 2007, then obviously taking the Westminster equivalent in 2015. Conservative resurgence briefly turned the area blue in 2017, before losing heavily again to the SNP in 2019.

2007

The first STV election in 2007 was a real masterclass in how messy that voting system can be, with Labour claiming 8 seats on 28.2% of the vote, the SNP 7 on 29.2%, and the Conservatives 4 on 25.3%, barely ahead of the 3 the Lib Dems won on 11.5%. Established patterns of support showed clearly here, with all Conservative councillors drawn from the rural West and Dunblane, versus clear SNP or Labour leads in the urbanised East.

2012

As part of their collapse in 2012, the Lib Dems were totally wiped off the council. Their losses led to am additional 2 seats for the SNP, who also had a substantial growth in vote share. Labour held steady in both seats and votes, and the Conservatives held all of their seats in the face of a large vote share decline. The remaining seat was won by the Greens, and saw former Mid Scotland and Fife MSP Mark Ruskell returning to elected office after 5 years.

Individual Ward Results

Trossachs and Teith

Councillors and Key Stats

3 Councillors, in order elected:
Conservative - Martin Earl
Conservative - Jeremy McDonald
SNP - Evelyn Tweed
Turnout: 59.4%
Quota: 1329

Candidates

Green - Gordon Cowtan
Conservative - Martin Earl
Conservative - Jeremy McDonald
Labour - Gerry McGarvey
Lib Dem - Galen Milne
SNP - Evelyn Tweed
SNP - Fergus Wood

First Preferences

This chart simply shows the total first preferences votes per party. Where a party had multiple candidates, their individual results are also shown, and the total vote for that party distinguished by a black border.

Transfers

This chart shows the transfer rounds. Where multiple candidates from one party stood, they are differentiated by colour and by surname initials.

Where a candidate’s vote drops to 0, it means that candidate was eliminated, and the corresponding increases for other candidates shows where the votes went. If it drops to a number, it’s because that candidate was elected, and all surplus votes above the quota (listed earlier) have been transferred.

Results by Polling District

This chart shows the estimated vote per polling district. Starting from the 2022 elections, I’m intending on assigning an estimated share of postal votes direct to districts. This works on a relatively simple basis of assuming a given party’s postal vote follows a similar distribution to their in-person votes. For example, assume a party wins 1000 in-person votes and 500 postal votes. If a district has 100 in-person votes for that party (10% of their total), then it will also be assigned 50 (10%) of their postal votes.

This won’t be 100% accurate, of course, but it will probably give a reasonable estimate of the combined vote rather than totally separating in-person and postal votes. I’m also expecting the pandemic will have accelerated the general uptick in postal voting, which given the rule requiring boxes with fewer than 200 votes to be merged with other boxes for “voter secrecy” could play general havoc with these district breakdowns!

Second Preferences

This chart shows the second preferences for each party. This data isn’t available from the transfer chart, because as soon as one candidate is elected or drops out, they can obviously no longer receive second preferences. This also isn’t the same thing as the most preferred next party overall for a given party’s voters.

For example, if you imagine three left-leaning parties stand but only one right-leaning, it might not be a huge surprise to see the right-leaning party with a plurality of second preferences from one of the left parties, because voters don’t move neatly along the ideological spectrum the way many expect them to. However, the two other left parties combined will probably receive more next preferences, it’s just they ended up more split.

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

This chart shows the outcome after progressively eliminating the lowest place candidates until only the top two remain – i.e. who would have won an election for a single seat. This is the same re-calculation that I do for by-election previews, just presented without the round-by-round transfer data for the sake of brevity.

Votes that didn’t transfer are left in the total, as I think it’s useful to see the relative popularity of the top two candidates amongst the overall electorate. Where there are very high didn’t transfer shares, that may indicate relatively lower levels of support – or, perhaps, just a very busy ballot paper!

The most exciting thing about this chart is it will allow me to be accused, by partisans who object to listening to how STV actually works, that “you’re only saying X party didn’t electorally speaking gain a seat because you’re biased” on Twitter years before any by-election is even called! I’m all about efficiency here at BBS.

Forth and Endrick

Councillors and Key Stats

3 Councillors, in order elected:
Conservative - Alistair Berrill
Conservative - Robert Davies
SNP - Graham Lambie
Turnout: 60.8%
Quota: 1554

Candidates

Conservative - Alistair Berrill
Conservative - Robert Davies
SNP - Graham Lambie
Green - Michael Marten
Independent - Evan McLean
SNP - Ian Muirhead
Labour - Richard Simpson

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Dunblane and Bridge of Allan

Councillors and Key Stats

4 Councillors, in order elected:
Conservative - Alastair Majury
Conservative - Douglas Dodds
SNP - Graham Houston
Green - Alasdair Tollemache
Turnout: 61.8%
Quota: 1396

Candidates

Lib Dem - Stuart Auld
Conservative - Douglas Dodds
SNP - Graham Houston
SNP - Rosemary Hunter
Conservative - Alastair Majury
Labour - Mike Robbins
Green - Alasdair Tollemache

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Stirling North

Councillors and Key Stats

4 Councillors, in order elected:
Conservative - Ross Oxburgh
SNP - Susan McGill
SNP - Jim Thomson
Labour - Danny Gibson
Turnout: 45.2%
Quota: 927

Candidates

Green - Chloe Campbell
Labour - Danny Gibson
Independent - James McDonald
SNP - Susan McGill
Conservative - Ross Oxburgh
Labour - Jen Preston
Lib Dem - Fayzan Rehman
SNP - Jim Thomson

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Stirling West

Councillors and Key Stats

3 Councillors, in order elected:
Conservative - Neil Benny
Labour - Christine Simpson
SNP - Scott Farmer
Turnout: 55.3%
Quota: 1313

Candidates

Conservative - Neil Benny
SNP - Scott Farmer
SNP - Morag Fulton
Green - Kevin Ralston
Labour - Christine Simpson
Lib Dem - Robert Skilleter

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Stirling East

Councillors and Key Stats

3 Councillors, in order elected:
SNP - Alison Laurie
Labour - Chris Kane
Conservative - Bryan Flanagan
Turnout: 45.7%
Quota: 947

Candidates

Conservative - Bryan Flannagan
Lib Dem - William Galloway
Green - Linda Hendry
Labour - Chris Kane
SNP - Alison Laurie
Labour - Corrie McChord
SNP - Gerry McLaughlan

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Bannockburn

Councillors and Key Stats

3 Councillors, in order elected:
SNP - Alasdair MacPherson
Labour - Margaret Brisley
SNP - Maureen Bennison
Turnout: 41.8%
Quota: 876

Candidates

SNP - Maureen Bennison
Labour - Margaret Brisley
Lib Dem - Gordon Bruce
Conservative - Paul Henke
SNP - Alasdair MacPherson
Green - Jennifer Tollemache
Labour - Violet Weir

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

By-Elections since 2017

Forth and Endrick, 6th of May 2021

Note that polling district data will look slightly different to what is in the results post due to changing how postals are accounted for. Post-2022, this will be consistent between full and by-elections.

Context

Cause of Vacancy: Death of Incumbent
SNP - Graham Lambie
Notional 2017 Winner: For one seat
Conservative

Winner and Key Stats

Councillor Elected:
Conservative - Jane Hutchison
Turnout: 74.5%
Quota: 4045

BBS Coverage

Candidates

Wendy Faulkner (Green)
Paul Goodwin (SNP)
Jane Hutchison (Conservative)
James MacLaren (Liberal Democrat)
Colin O'Brien (Labour)

First Preferences

Transfers

Results by Polling District

Second Preferences

Two-Candidate Preferred Result

Changes in Affiliation since 2017

Councillor Ward From To Notes
Robert Davies Forth and Endrick
CON
IND
Membership of the Conservatives terminated on 29/09/2017.
Maureen Bennison Bannockburn
SNP
ALBA
Resigned from the SNP on 05/09/2020. Initially sat as an Independent.