Sunday, 22 April 2012

Scottish Local Elections 2012: Dumfries and Galloway

Dumfries and Galloway COUNCIL

2007 Results 
18 Conservative
14 Labour
10 SNP
3 Lib Dems
2 Independents
(Conservative/Lib Dem minority administration)

24 Conservative
20 Labour
14 Independents
14 SNP
5 Lib Dems
3 Green
2 UKIP Prediction
Conservative 18-20
Labour 13-15
SNP 9-11
Independents 3
Lib Dems 1

Dumfries and Galloway covers the south western part of Scotland from its borders with Ayrshire and Lanarkshire down to the Scottish border with England.  The major population centre is Dumfries, which is also home to the council headquarters, with other notable towns including Stranraer and Lockerbie.

Dumfries and Galloway has been covered by two Holyrood constituencies since 1999, although the boundaries of these were redrawn in 2011.  The western half of the council is currently covered by the Galloway and West Dumfries seat (previous Galloway and Upper Nithsdale), which is a longtime SNP/Conservative marginal seat with an SNP victory in 1999, being gained by the Tories in 2003 and held since.  It is currently held former Presiding Officer Alex Fergusson.  The eastern half of the council is now the Dumfriesshire constituency (formerly Dumfries), which has been consistently held by Labour's Elaine Murray since 1999.  Part of the council area also makes up the constituency of the sole Scottish Tory MP David Mundell.

24 seats are needed for an outright majority on Dumfries and Galloway Council, so only the Conservatives are fielding sufficient candidates to achieve this.

The Conservatives, unwilling to work with Labour or the SNP, formed a minority coalition with the Lib Dems in 2007.  Whether or not this could form the basis of a new administration after May is first and foremost dependent on whether the Lib Dems will hold any of their seats here.  If not, a Conservative minority may be the most likely outcome.

Stranraer and North Rhins (3 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / SNP
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / SNP

Labour had a substantial lead here in 2007, but their sitting councillor Willie Scobie is now defending his seat as the independent candidate against a new Labour candidate.  Scobie topped the poll here in 2007, and also stood for Labour as a Holyrood constituency candidate just last year.

The Conservative and SNP votes are each large enough to get their single candidates elected, leaving the third seat to be battled out between Labour and Scobie.  With his personal vote and high profile from last year, Scobie seems the favourite to beat the new Labour candidate.

Wigtown West (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Lab / Con
Candidates Con / Ind / Lab / SNP

Again, the sitting Labour councillor is standing as an independent against a new Labour candidate.  The SNP actually narrowly topped the poll here in 2007, but have opted to stand just one candidate again.

The Conservative and SNP candidates are pretty secure to be re-elected with another Labour/Independent battle for the third seat.  Although as the ex Labour councillor here has less of a profile than the previous one, he will benefit from a likely large excess of SNP preferences, allowing him to hold his seat as an independent.

Mid Galloway (3 seats)
2007 Result SNP / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab / SNP(x2)

The SNP and Conservatives polled the largest share of the votes here before, but with each standing only one candidate, the LibDems managed to gain a seat too.  However, the Lib Dem councillor has stood down without a replacement, so the seat has already been abandoned although it would almost certainly have gone to a second SNP or Tory anyway.

The SNP and Conservatives will hold on seat each, with the third seat being very close between the two, but probably slightly leaning towards the SNP on their slight lead last time.

Dee (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / Ind / SNP
Candidates Con / Grn / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Conservatives easily topped the poll here before, but have actually cut their number of candidates from two down to one.  The sitting independent is defending her seat whilst the SNP are the only other party who polled above 10% here last time (making the LibDem decision to contest this seat but not the previous one even more confusing).

There should be three easy holds for the Tories, SNP and sitting independent.

Castle Douglas and Glenkens (3 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Ind
Candidates Con(x2) / Grn / Ind / Lab / LibDem / SNP

Another strong Tory ward, although poor vote balancing last time lead their two candidates to come first and last respectively in first preferences.

The SNP and Conservatives will hold their seats, whilst the Conservatives will be trying to gain a second seat off of the independent.  If they can correct their vote balancing issues, they should gain it easily.

Abbey (4 seats)
2007 Result Con / SNP / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP / UKIP
(2008 By-election Con hold)
(2011 By-election Lab GAIN from Con)

This is one of a number of wards across Scotland to have seen, not one, but two by-elections since 2007.  This ward was strongly Tory in 2007 but Labour narrowed the gap on first preferences in each by-election until they won on transfers in the 2011 by-election.  The sitting councillors (now two Labour, one Conservative, one SNP) are all defending their seats, joined by a new Conservative and a UKIP candidate.

One hold for each of the three parties is assured, with Labour defending their by-election gain against the Tories for the final seat.  The by-election results suggest a trend towards Labour over time, so they seem best placed to win the final seat.

North West Dumfries (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con / Lab(x3) / SNP

One of the most severely undercontested seats across Scotland, at least two Labour candidates are guaranteed victory here regardless of votes cast.  That being said, Labour dominate this ward and won nearly three quotas of first preferences last time, only failing to get a third candidate elected due to transfer leakage to the SNP.

Two Labour seats are guaranteed, and the Conservatives should be able to hold their own without problems.  The SNP vote is a little precarious, making the last seat fairly competitive between them and Labour, especially with fewer candidates to move transfers around this time.

Mid and Upper Nithsdale (4 seats)
2007 Result Lab / Con / Lab / SNP
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP / UKIP

Labour narrowly topped the first preferences ahead of the Conservatives, and the SNP were again quite fortunate to win a seat here last time, polling under half the first preferences of both Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour should hold their two seats and the Conservatives their one.  The SNP seat looks vulnerable to a Conservative gain given the limited transfers to be gained, with the absence of a Lib Dem candidate this time making it something of a tossup between the two.

Lochar (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / Con / SNP / Con
Candidates Con(x2) / Lab(x2) / SNP

Another very undercontested ward, with the Conservatives and Labour each assured of at least one seat due to a lack of competition.  The SNP won the third seat here rather than the fourth as in the previous two wards, but the party vote was still well behind that of Labour and the Conservatives.  On top of that, the SNP incumbent is standing down.

The Conservatives and Labour are guaranteed one each.  The Conservatives are likely to hold their other seat, and the last seat is going to be competitive between the new Labour candidate and the SNP candidate, although the SNP are more likely to reach a quota with their one candidate.

Nith (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / SNP / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind(x3) / Lab(x2) / SNP

A strong Labour ward, with both the Conservatives and SNP being fairly competitive.  The three independents are all new candidates.

All four current seats here should be easily held.

Annandale South (4 seats)
2007 Results Lab / LibDem / Con / Lab
Candidates Con(x2) / Ind / Lab(x2) / LibDem / SNP

The strongest Lib Dem ward in the council area, this will be their best hope for a defence.  Labour topped the poll last time with the Conservatives second, whilst this is the weakest ward in the council for the SNP.

Labour will hold their two seats and the Conservatives their seat.  The Lib Dems polled close to a quota of first preferences last time, but are likely to slip back on the general national swing.  However, they are still considerably closer to a quota of preferences than the Conservatives were to two, however, so a Lib Dem hold seems fairly likely.

Annandale North (4 seats)
2007 Results Con / Lab / Con / LibDem
Candidates Con(x3) / Grn / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The Conservatives topped the poll here by a long way, with the other parties languishing close together far behind.  The Lib Dem seat is being defended by a new candidate, whilst the other three incumbents are defending theirs.

The Conservatives' two seats should be safe, although being short of two quotas in 2007 does make a third seat seem unlikely.  Labour should hold their seat fine, therefore the Lib Dems are defending their seat against the SNP who were only very marginally behind them in 2007 and seem likely to gain it.

Annandale East and Eskdale (4 seats)
2007 Results Con / Con / Lab / Con
Candidates Con(x3) / Ind(x3) / Lab / LibDem / SNP

The strongest Conservative ward in all of Scotland, they won well over half of the first preferences here in 2007.  However, one of their incumbents is standing down, whilst another is defending his seat as an independent.

Graham's personal vote is questionable, especially considering he polled third of the three Conservative candidates last time despite having the advantage of being first alphabetically.  Neither the SNP nor the Lib Dems are really in contention here either, so three Conservative holds and a Labour hold seem the most likely outcome.

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