Why Tactical Vote?

In elections for Holyrood we have 2 votes.

The first vote is on the purple paper and is for a constituency seat, which is calculated according to the traditional First Past the Post method.

The second vote is on the orange or peach coloured paper and is for regional seats  which are also called additional member or list seats. They are calculated using using the D’Hondt method.

In 2016, the SNP gained 59 constituency seats on a minority vote.

Why? Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats split the unionist vote.

In 2016 48.49% of the electorate voted for nationalist parties on the 1st vote gaining 59 seats.

Nationalist Votes in 2016 (constituency)
Unionist Votes in 2016 (constituency)

In 2016 51.16% of the electorate voted for unionist parties on the 1st vote gaining 14 seats.

Split Vote in 2016

Despite the unionist vote being in the majority, it returned significantly fewer seats in the constituency vote than the nationalist vote. 

The reason is simple: the unionist parties failed to encourage tactical voting and to cement the strategy by signing up to a pre-election pact to put forward only one candidate from the party best placed to win in a specific constituency.

This failure to work together split the unionist vote which yielded the following seats:

PartyConstituency Seats
Scottish National Party59
Scottish Conservatives7
Scottish Liberal Democrats4
Scottish Labour3
Scottish Greens0

Tactical Vote in 2021

Long-term poll trends show the unionist vote is in the majority.

Had unionist parties worked together and encouraged tactical voting in each constituency, the 2016 election would have returned the following:

PartyConstituency Seats
Scottish National Party27
Scottish Labour20
Scottish Conservatives19
Scottish Liberal Democrats7
Scottish Greens0


Got a Question?

If you have any questions for us, please get in touch

No – this is an accusation thrown about by the three Westminster parties who have been responsible for splitting the unionist vote in constituencies for the past 14 years.

All For Unity was founded to unite the unionist vote and bar the SNP from power. It has reached out to all three Westminster parties to stand down no hope candidates in constituencies and unite behind the pro-UK candidate best placed to beat the SNP. So far this plea has fallen on deaf ears, and AllFor Unity, together with numerous other unionist groups, has taken its plea to vote tactically directly to voters.

People have voted tactically in certain constituencies in Scotland for a long time, particularly LibDem held ones like NE Fife. In this election more unionists will vote tactically than ever before. The more unionists vote tactically, the more constituency seats will be won by the Tories, Labour and the LibDems.

By extension, this will weaken the power of a vote for these parties on the regional or list poll because the d’Hondt method is designed to discount votes for a party on the lists as soon as it wins constituency seats – that’s why the SNP wins almost no list seats and why Alex Salmond founded Alba to ensure nationalist votes on the list returned nationalist MSPs.

For that reason, giving both votes to the same party is bad advice. The second vote is necessarily weakened if it goes to a party that wins constituency seats in that region.

The only way to maximise the number of unionist MSPs returned on the list vote is to vote for a party not standing in constituencies. All For Unity is the biggest party, with the biggest showing in the polls, to stand solely on the list and thus be able to maximise the power of a unionist list vote.

You can, but, if your vote goes to another party standing in a constituency in your region, and if that party gains a constituency seat, the value of your vote on the regional list (2nd vote) is decreased under the D’Hondt system.

To play it safe, a second vote for All for Unity maximises the unionist vote as there are no All For Unity candidates standing in the constituencies.

Scottish politics has stagnated in the past 14 years with SNP at the helm, and sadly, none of the main opposition parties have been strong in holding the SNP Government to account for their failings.

Even worse, the main parties have given up on leading Scotland and appear content in sitting in  lacklustre opposition.

Meanwhile civic life in Scotland deteriorates.

By getting All for Unity into Holyrood, this could break up the chumocracy and set the cat among the pigeons. Even the Alba party will help shake up the stagnation within Holyrood.

No and yes, we have a team of three individuals who helped create this website, one is a member of the Liberal Democrats, one is a member of the Conservatives, and one is a former Labour member who has joined All for Unity.

We have different political ideologies but we all agree on one thing: SNP has failed Scotland in the last 14 years and been propped up by a weak opposition. The only way to change this is by tactical voting.

Have you been on Twitter and Facebook lately?  We are private citizens with concerns over our democracy, not paid politicians, activists or journalists, so why should we subject ourselves to the daily abuse users get on Twitter and Facebook for daring to express an opinion that challenges the status quo?

Me and my two buddies. Domain name is cheap, hosting is cheap. All in this website cost £130 for the year and just some of our time.

We don’t ask money for our time, but if you liked this website and would like to donate something, please consider a donation to:

For the Constituency Vote: 1,076,279 voters supported pro-independence parties, and 1,195,505 voters supported pro-union parties. 6,920 voters supported parties that did not have a stance on independence versus the union.

For the Regional Vote: 1,137,421 voters supported pro-independence parties, and 1,140,607 voters supported pro-union parties. 8,234 voters supported parties that did not have a stance on independence versus the union.

In total: 2,214,150 voters supported pro-independence parties, and 2,336,112 voters supported pro-union parties. 15,154 voters supported parties that did not have a stance on independence versus the union.