Saturday, May 07, 2005

A bit of electoral maths

Following my last post about the Tories having a greater share of the popular vote in England than Labour, I've been doing some maths using the BBC’s final figures.

In the 645 constituencies which have declared (South Staffordshire having been delayed), there was a total of 27,132,327 votes. Divide that by 645, it means an average of 42,066 votes per seat.

Labour got 9,556,183 votes total throughout the UK. Divide that by 42,066, it translates to just 227 seats – opposed to the 356 they’ve actually got. A difference of 129.

The Conservatives got 8,772,598 votes, which translates to 209 seats, rather than 197. Not much change – they’ve only been cheated out of 12 seats.

The Lib Dems are the biggest losers from the current system with their 5,982,045 votes resulting in just 62 rather the 142 seats their share of the vote should net them – a difference of 80.

Following the same (admittedly flawed) logic, the Scottish National Party would have 10 seats rather than 6, Plaid Cymru would have 4 rather than 3, Respect would still have 1 seat, while non-scorers UKIP (618,898 votes) would have 15, the Greens (257,758 votes) 6 and the BNP (192,850 votes) 4 or 5. With 43,514 votes, the Scottish Socialists would be the smallest party to get a seat.

5 Comments:

Anonymous Armin said...

But then typically smaller parties don't get a seat in countries with a proportional system.

In Germany the treshold is 5%, which typically only SPD (Labour), CDU/CSU (Conservatives), Gruene (Green Party) and sometimes FDP (liberals, but much more conservative than the Lib Dems here) manage.

Which luckily has kept far right parties out of the parliament for the last 30 odd years as far as I can remember.

5/07/2005 07:38:00 pm  
Blogger Voice 1 said...

I thought you might like to take part in this PR opinion poll, try it out, it will show how it is possible that our flawed electoral system can be changed so that no candidate can win ever again without achieving more than 50% of the vote:

http://www.demochoice.org/dcballot.php?poll=PropRepele

5/07/2005 07:48:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your maths is probably right but who cares? The Lib Dems & other small parties because the bias is against them, and maybe now the Tories because they've lost 3 times in a row. Labour whined when they lost 3 times too, and even promised to change the system (but didn't).

The fact is our system favours a winner, even on a minority vote. You might think it's better when a minority party like the Lib Dems has the 'balance of power', but isn't that just the same thing, but with undue influence exercised by the minority parties?

When Labour was in the Liberal's position, they promised that they would introduce "fair votes". They stopped saying that as soon as they had replaced the Liberals as the opposition. The same is happening now with the Lib Dems, only in reverse.

5/07/2005 08:01:00 pm  
Blogger Toque said...

Do you have figures for the spread of seats in England?

5/07/2005 10:03:00 pm  
Blogger Luca's Ade said...

Gareth, do you mean this?...

Seats in England

Labour 286
Tory 193
LibDem 47

Share of Seats in England
Labour 52%
Tory 35%
LibDem 9%

Votes in England
Labour 8,038,965
Tory 8,102,662
LibDem 5,197,746
Total 22,688,250

Share of votes
Labour 35.4%
Tory 35.7%
LibDem 22.9

Compare the share of votes to share of seats!

5/08/2005 11:07:00 am  

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