Could Grady win?

Short answer: who knows? Long answer: it’s not simple.

First, a lesson on the Single Transferable Vote sufficient to bring you to the level of political sophistication of an Irish ten year-old, which should be adequate for these purposes. Other than in a two-horse race, or a de facto two-horse race, nobody wins on the first count and what matters is how many votes a candidate gets transferred from the other candidates’ voters. Being transfer-friendly can be a bigger advantage than being the most popular. In a three-candidate election, the big question is who will come third on the first count, and where will their second preference votes go?

So, in the vice-presidential election, Vicky Blake was 181 votes behind Adam Ozanne on the first count, but when Jo McNeill was eliminated as the last-placed candidate, more than half of her second preference votes went to Vicky Blake, and Blake won. This was helped by the transfer agreement between the two candidates, each of whom asked their supporters to give their second preferences to the other.

In her UK-wide vote, Jo Grady got 3843 votes, 37%, which got her elected on the first count, and left a hefty surplus to be distributed to the other candidates. It is interesting to note that the third candidate in, Maria Chondrogianni was quite a way behind on the final count, but was elected because of the requirement to have at least one candidate from a post-92 institution elected. If Ann Gow had picked up nine more votes from somewhere, she would have been elected and Marion Hersh would not, which all goes to show how STV works.

In comparison to Grady’s first-count 37%, Ozanne, Blake, McNeill got 36%, 34%, and 30% respectively, though on a larger electorate (FE members could vote in this ballot). This would seem to mean she has a personal support sufficient for her to do well on the first round, but not enough to do without transfers.

General Secretary elections tend to have a slightly higher turn-out than NEC, but not so much that the extra turn-out makes a difference to the nature of the election, so any votes would come from the members who voted this year and the percentages would probably be about the same. The question, especially in the light of UCU Left’s criticism of her proposed candidacy, is where the transfers might come from.

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