After the transfer of second and third preferences, Joe Wallace of the SNP won the Penicuik (Midlothian) by-election last night to make the SNP the largest party in the council.
By stage 3, Joe Wallace had 2237 votes to Tory candidate Murdo Macdonald’s 1788, giving him a 25% overall lead and 46% of the total vote of 4781.
With a high turnout for local politics of 42.9%, a 46% overall vote and evidence of Labour supporters giving more of their second and third preferences to the SNP, this result is more positive for the SNP than the underwhelming media response.
574 2nd and 3rd preference votes went to the SNP with only 335 going to the Tories.
We can take five things, reasonably, from these results:
- The notion of ‘SNP peak’ having passed with the 2017 General Election is wrong
- With 46% of the overall vote, support for the SNP and for the Yes campaign still has a solid base
- The Richard Leonard effect is minimal
- The Corbyn effect is fading
- The willingness of Labour supporters to betray their progressive policies to preserve the Union is less strong judging by the transferable votes above than it might have appeared a year or so ago. See:
I’m not getting carried away but it’s still a good news story.