So what distinguishes the ten local areas that voted “YES”?

I used to pride myself on being able to read accurately the mood of my local area and predict reasonably accurately its election results.   However, when I cast my vote in the AV referendum on Thursday morning, I have to confess that I had absolutely no inkling that I was voting in one of only ten local areas (out of 439 in Great Britain as a whole) that would record a majority of “YES” votes when the results were finally declared. 

My feeling had been that Haringey would vote (albeit narrowly) against AV.  In fact, the declared result showed a vote for “YES” by a margin of 56.62% to 43.38% – the fourth biggest margin in the country.

It is not clear whether there any distinguishing features in the the ten local districts that voted “YES”:

  • Cambridge
  • Camden
  • Edinburgh Central
  • Glasgow Kelvin
  • Hackney
  • Haringey
  • Islington
  • Lambeth
  • Oxford
  • Southwark

No doubt some academic will do the demographic analysis and the psephological postmortem ……

6 thoughts on “So what distinguishes the ten local areas that voted “YES”?”

  1. So, if that was a FPTP election the result wouldn’t be approx 70/30 across the UK but 98/2 (429/439). An interesting example of the flaws of FPTP !!!

  2. There is a correlation of 0.2 between turnout percentage and the yes vote percentage which is statistically significant (p < 0.025). But this does not explain the ten local districts that voted yes.

    What would be interesting to know is the breakdown of the turnout between the parties. It is likely that the Conservative turnout was higher than other parties, but I have seen no actual evidence for this assertion.

  3. This is pretty interesting, and I’d be interested in seeing a proper analysis. The obvious thing to note is that they are all cosmopolitan urban areas with relatively youthful populations which voted yes — which makes sense to me, given the presumed demographic of a yes voter.

  4. Without having spent too much time studying the demographics, I think its actually quite straightforward:

    Four are counting areas with high and concentrated student populations – Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow Kelvin and Edinburgh Central. Yes to AV put a lot of effort into getting the student vote out and in those areas they wouldn’t have been out-voted by older opponents in the way they were in some other places.

    Other areas with large student populations produced strong or near-miss yes votes: Brighton and Hove, Norwich, Bristol, other parts of Glasgow, Cardiff Central and Arfon (Bangor University).

    In addition I suspect there were actually some constituencies that voted yes in Northern Ireland but which were concealed by only the overall total being announced, which was significantly less anti AV than the UK overall: because of student Yes votes and the support of Sinn Fein, the SDLP and the Alliance Party for a yes vote.

    There is also probably some truth in my suspicion that areas that had used PR of one sort or another were less hostile than those that hadn’t – and which could be more easily scared by the lies of the No campaign and the Daily Mail.

    The other areas were London boroughs and I strongly suspect that the active support of people like Tessa Jowell and David Lammy helped swing them, as well possibly as the backing of Operation Black Vote.

    Peter Hain hit the nail on the head on R4 this morning: he wasn’t able to spend as much time as he would have wished campaigning for a Yes vote because in Neath the Welsh assembly elections were his priority. Where was the one place where there weren’t competing priorities on Thursday? Answer: London.

    Upshot I think is that a referendum on a different day in the autumn, say, COULD have been won.

  5. In which case the wrong-headedness of Nick Clegg and the LibDems in pressing for a referendum on 5th May is even clearer ….

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