Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Highest and Lowest Turnout Wards In Scotland

After a request from a friend, I've compiled a list of the electoral wards in Scotland that saw the highest and lowest turnouts in the 2012 local elections.  The list had to exclude the wards of Clackmannanshire Council as they have not published turnouts on a ward-by-ward basis, although they indicate that the council-wide turnout there was 41%, pretty close to the national average and thus it seems unlikely any of the highest or lowest turnouts are to be found there.

Highest 20 Turnouts in 2012

Shetland IslandsShetland West64.0%
Shetland IslandsNorth Isles61.2%
Na h-Eileanan SiarSgire an Rubha60.9%
Na h-Eileanan SiarSgir' Uige agus Ceann a Tuath Nan Loch60.1%
Shetland IslandsShetland North58.0%
Orkney IslandsNorth Isles57.5%
Shetland IslandsShetland South56.6%
Na h-Eileanan SiarAn Taobh Siar agus Nis56.3%
Na h-Eileanan SiarBarraigh, Bhatarsaigh, Eirisgeigh agus Uibhist a Deas55.5%
Orkney IslandsEast Mainland, South Ronaldsay and Burray55.0%
Dumfries and GallowayDee54.7%
Na h-Eileanan SiarLoch a Tuath54.6%
Orkney IslandsWest Mainland54.5%
West LothianLinlithgow53.3%
HighlandBlack Isle51.9%
InverclydeInverclyde West51.6%
Shetland IslandsLerwick South51.1%
City of EdinburghColinton/Fairmilehead51.0%
East DunbartonshireBearsden North50.9%
Na h-Eileanan SiarSteornabhagh a Deas50.7%

The highest twenty list is dominated by the island councils, which have overall turnouts considerably higher than on the mainland.   Indeed, all of the highest ten highest turnouts were in island council wards, which was why I decided to turn this into a highest twenty list rather than just a highest ten.  The highest turnout on the mainland was in Dee ward of Dumfries and Galloway - a large rural ward centred on the small town of Kirkcudbright.  Of the mainland wards that made this list, all fall into either of two categories - large rural affluent wards (Dee and Black Isle), or affluent commuter areas (Linlithgow, Inverclyde West, Colinton/Fairmilehead, and Bearsden North).

Lowest 20 Turnouts in 2012

Aberdeen CityGeorge Street/Harbour20.5%
Aberdeen CityTillydrone/Seaton/Old Aberdeen22.0%
Glasgow CityAnderston/City23.6%
Glasgow CityCalton26.0%
Glasgow CitySpringburn27.1%
Glasgow CityNorth East27.5%
Glasgow CityCanal27.7%
Glasgow CityHillhead28.1%
Aberdeen CityTorry/Ferryhill29.3%
Dundee CityMaryfield29.7%
Glasgow CityGreater Pollok30.5%
MorayElgin City North30.6%
Glasgow CityGovan30.6%
FifeSt. Andrews30.8%
South LanarkshireHamilton West and Earnock31.0%
Glasgow CityEast Centre31.3%
Dundee CityNorth East31.6%
Glasgow CitySouthside Central31.6%
South LanarkshireCambuslang East32.6%

In contrast, the lowest twenty list is made up entirely of urban wards, predominantly in Glasgow.  Some of these (George Street/Harbour, Tillydrone/Seaton/Old Aberdeen, Canal, Hillhead, and St. Andrews) are relatively affluent areas, but with very high student populations.  Elgin and Wick are both isolated and relatively deprived towns.  The rest of the list is made up of deprived inner city wards and wards containing peripheral council estates (Hamilton West and Earnock, and Cambuslang East).

As a general rule then, low turnouts in local elections across Scotland appear to be found most often in urban areas with either high deprivation or high student populations.  Conversely, high turnouts are more likely to be found in rural areas (especially on the islands), and wealthy commuter populations.

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