Saturday, May 06, 2017

Crunching the preferences No 1 Gurn think tank observations on the grand game of Glenurquhart Road Bingo - aka Highland Council Elections

Number 1. Liz's slow but steady fall from the top slot

The Gurn's mathematics and statistics research unit has been analysing the polling data published by Highland Council and making observations on how it all went. 

We have to say it was remarkable how much Liz MacDonald's total of first preferences slipped in comparison with 2012. Back then she crossed the line first in her own right with 1,012 votes. This time round she amassed a mere 647 votes in comparison and the kudos of top of the poll was Tom Heggie's for the taking on the day. 

Perhaps the SNP policy of splitting the town between two candidates was more efficient this time with voters doing as instructed but it was in place last time when Colin MacAulay got 407 first preferences – this time Stephen Fuller got 586. All sitting councillors amass a rolling body of “antis” over their terms of office and the longer they serve the bigger that gets. Sometimes there are misunderstandings and things councillors just can't do for people and given the cutbacks of recent years it gets harder for local members to rememdy issues. Liz was unable to comment on planning issues due to an intention to develop her land however and here at the Gurn we think this will have had a significant effect on increasing that number of folk who were motivated to encourage others not to vote for her. 

Anyway Liz is elected, our research department came up with this very interesting and ironic point however. From 1st over the line last time Liz had to wait until the 7th preferences were chewed by the Highland Council computers before she finally crossed the line:

“#7: Stephen Fuller's elimination proves pivotal, because of course the transfers from him (518) go almost entirely to Liz MacDonald. Laurie (41) and Michael (34) get just a handful and Peter Saggers (4) hardly any. So Liz leapfrogs over Laurie and Peter Saggers and gets re-elected on the back of Stephen Fuller's departure. Some irony that the one (veteran) SNP only gets in by virtue of her colleague getting the chop!"

Highland Council results and data available here.