An electoral swing analysis (or swing) shows the extent of change in voter support, typically from one election to another, expressed as a positive or negative percentage. A multi-party swing is an indicator of a change in the electorate's preference between candidates or parties, often between major parties in a two-party system. A swing can be calculated for the electorate as a whole, for a given electoral district or for a particular demographic.
A swing is particularly useful for analysing change in voter support over time, or as a tool for predicting the outcome of elections in constituency-based systems. Swing is also usefully deployed when analysing the shift in voter intentions revealed by (political) opinion polls or to compare polls concisely which may rely on differing samples and on markedly different swings and therefore predict extraneous results.
A swing is calculated by comparing the percentage of the vote in a particular election to the percentage of the vote belonging to the same party or candidate at the previous election.
One-party swing (in percentage points) = Percentage of vote (current election) − percentage of vote (previous election).
Labor Party 51% (this year) less Labor Party 41% (four years ago) means the Labor Party saw a swing of 10 points (this implies in their favour and can also be published as +10 points).
Examples include the comparison between the 2006 and 2007 Ukrainian Parliamentary elections.
The above charts show the change in voter support for each of the six major political parties by electoral district and nationwide vote results.
In many nation states' media, including in Australia and the United Kingdom, swing is normally expressed in terms of two parties. This practice is most useful where most governments tend to be from an existing two-party system but other candidates do sometimes run, and is used to predict the outcome of elections in constituency-based systems where different seats are held with different previous levels of support. An assumption underlies extrapolated national calculations: that all districts will experience the same swing as shown in a poll or in a place's results. The advantage of this swing is the fact that the loss of support for one party will in most cases be accompanied by smaller or bigger gain in support for the other, but both figures are averaged into one. Employing the two assumptions allows the analyst to compute an electoral pendulum, predicting how many (and which) seats will change hands given a particular swing, and what size uniform swing would therefore bring about a change of government.
In Australia, the term "swing" refers to the change in the performance of a political party or candidate in an election or opinion poll. As Australia uses the preferential voting system, swing can be expressed in terms of the primary vote (first preference vote), or in terms of the two-party-preferred or two-candidate-preferred result, which may represent significantly different values due to preference flows; ie a 5% primary vote swing does not necessarily represent an equivalent swing in TPP or TCP terms.
In the UK a two-party swing (averaged model) is generally used, which adds one party's increase in share of the vote (expressed as a percentage point) to the percentage-point fall of another party and dividing the total by two.
So if Party One's vote rises by 4 points and Party Two's vote falls 5 points, the swing is 4.5 points (Party 2 to Party 1).For disambiguation suffixes such as: (Con to Lab)(Lab to Lib Dem)(Lib Dem to Con) must be added where three parties stand. Otherwise a problem when deciding which swing is meant and which swing is best to publish arises where a lower party takes first or second; or where a party loses one of the top two places.
Originating as a mathematical calculation for comparing the results of two constituencies,any of these figures can be used as an indication of the scale of voter change between any two political parties, as shown below for the 2010 United Kingdom general election:
Swing in the United States can refer to swing state, those states that are known to shift an outcome between Democrats and Republican Parties, equivalent on a local level to marginal seats. By contrast, a non-swing state is the direct equivalent of a safe seat, as it rarely changes in outcome. The extent of change in political outcome is heavily influenced by the voting system in use.
Some websites provide a pie chart based or column-based multi party swingometer where ± x%, ± x%, ± x% and so on is displayed or can be input for three parties (or more in more plural democracies). This tool or illustration provides likely outcomes wherever more than two political parties have a significant influence on which politicians are elected.
Plurality voting is an electoral system in which each voter is allowed to vote for only one candidate, and the candidate who polls more than any other counterpart is elected. In a system based on single-member districts, it may be called first-past-the-post (FPTP), single-choice voting, simple plurality or relative/simple majority. In a system based on multi-member districts, it may be referred to as winner-takes-all or bloc voting.
The 2004 Canadian federal election, was held on June 28, 2004, to elect members of the House of Commons of Canada of the 38th Parliament of Canada. The Liberal government of Prime Minister Paul Martin lost its majority, but was able to form a minority government after the elections. The main opposition party, the newly amalgamated Conservative Party of Canada, improved its position but with a showing below its expectations.
In American politics, the term swing state refers to any state that could reasonably be won by either the Democratic or Republican presidential candidate by a swing in votes. These states are usually targeted by both major-party campaigns, especially in competitive elections. Meanwhile, the states that regularly lean to a single party are known as safe states, as it is generally assumed that one candidate has a base of support from which they can draw a sufficient share of the electorate without significant investment by their campaign.
The swingometer is a graphics device that shows the effects of the swing from one party to another on British election results programmes. It is used to estimate the number of seats that will be won by different parties, given a particular national swing in the vote towards or away from a given party, and assuming that that percentage change in the vote will apply in each constituency. The device was invented by Peter Milne, and later refined by David Butler and Robert McKenzie.
A swing vote is a vote that is seen as potentially going to any of a number of candidates in an election, or, in a two-party system, may go to either of the two dominant political parties. Such votes are usually sought after in election campaigns, since they can play a big role in determining the outcome.
The 2007 Ontario general election was held on October 10, 2007, to elect members (MPPs) of the 39th Legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, Canada. The Liberals under Premier Dalton McGuinty won the election with a majority government, winning 71 out of a possible 107 seats with 42.2% of the popular vote. The election set a record for the lowest voter turnout in an Ontario provincial election; only 52.8% people who were eligible voted. This broke the previous record of 54.7% in the 1923 election.
The 2005 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday 5 May 2005, to elect 646 members to the House of Commons. The Labour Party, led by Tony Blair, won its third consecutive victory, with Blair becoming the only Labour leader beside Harold Wilson to form three majority governments. However, its majority fell to 66 seats compared to the 167-seat majority it had won four years before. This was the first time the Labour Party had won a third consecutive election. As of 2020, it remains the last general election victory for the Labour Party and was also the last general election until 2019 that a single political party would manage to achieve a large overall majority over all other parties.
The 2010 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 6 May 2010, with 45,597,461 registered voters entitled to vote to elect members to the House of Commons. The election took place in 650 constituencies across the United Kingdom under the first-past-the-post system. The election resulted in a large swing to the Conservatives similar to that seen in 1979; Labour lost its 70-seat majority it previously enjoyed. However, none of the parties achieved the 326 seats needed for an overall majority. The Conservative Party, led by David Cameron, won the largest number of votes and seats, but still fell 20 seats short. This resulted in a hung parliament where no party was able to command a majority in the House of Commons. This was only the second general election since the Second World War to return a hung parliament, the first being the February 1974 election however unlike then the potential for such an outcome had been anticipated, and subsequently the politicians and the country as a whole was much better prepared for the constitutional process that would follow such a result. The coalition government that was subsequently formed was the first coalition in British history to eventuate directly from an election outcome. The hung parliament came about in spite of the Conservatives managing both a higher vote total and higher share of the vote than the previous Labour government had done in 2005, when it secured a comfortable majority. A total of 149 sitting MPs stood down at the election, the highest since 1945, including many former New Labour Cabinet ministers such as former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, Alan Milburn, Geoff Hoon, Ruth Kelly, James Purnell and John Reid. One reason for the very high number of MPs standing down was the parliamentary expenses scandal a year earlier.
Local government elections took place in England (only) on Thursday 4 May 2006. Polling stations were open between 7:00 and 22:00.
The term swing refers to the extent of change in voter support, typically from one election or opinion poll to another, expressed as a positive or negative percentage point. For the Australian House of Representatives and the lower houses of the parliaments of all the states and territories except Tasmania and the ACT, Australia employs preferential voting in single-member constituencies. Under the full-preference instant-runoff voting system, in each seat the candidate with the lowest vote is eliminated and their preferences are distributed, which is repeated until only two candidates remain. While every seat has a two-candidate preferred (TCP) result, seats where the major parties have come first and second are commonly referred to as having a two-party-preferred (TPP) result. The concept of "swing" in Australian elections is not simply a function of the difference between the votes of the two leading candidates, as it is in Britain. To know the majority of any seat, and therefore the swing necessary for it to change hands, it is necessary to know the preferences of all the voters, regardless of their first preference votes. It is not uncommon in Australia for candidates who have comfortable leads on the first count to fail to win the seat, because "preference flows" go against them.
Scotland has elections to several bodies: the Scottish Parliament, the United Kingdom Parliament, local councils and community councils. Before the United Kingdom left the European Union, Scotland elected members to the European Parliament.
The Mackerras pendulum was devised by the Australian psephologist Malcolm Mackerras as a way of predicting the outcome of an election contested between two major parties in a Westminster style lower house legislature such as the Australian House of Representatives, which is composed of single-member electorates and which uses a preferential voting system such as a Condorcet method or IRV.
The 2011 National Assembly for Wales election was an election for the National Assembly. The poll was held on Thursday, 5 May 2011 and decided the incumbency for all the assembly's seats. It was the fourth election for seats in the National Assembly for Wales, and the second election taken under the rules of the Government of Wales Act 2006.
The 2007 Scottish Parliament election was held on Thursday 3 May 2007 to elect members to the Scottish Parliament. It was the third general election to the devolved Scottish Parliament since it was created in 1999. Local elections in Scotland fell on the same day.
In the run-up to the general election of 2010, several polling organisations carried out opinion polling in regards to voting intention in Great Britain. Results of such polls are displayed below.
Swing, in British politics, is a number used as an indication of the scale of voter change between two political parties. It originated as a mathematical calculation for comparing the results of two constituencies. Britain uses a first-past-the-post voting system. The swing is the percentage of voter support minus the comparative percentage of voter support corresponding to the same electorate or demographic.
Elections to East Lothian Council were held on 3 May 2012, on the same day as the other Scottish local government elections. The election used the 7 wards created as a result of the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, with each ward electing three or four councillors using the single transferable vote system a form of proportional representation, with 23 councillors elected.
Elections to East Dunbartonshire Council were held on 3 May 2012, the same day as the 31 other local authorities in Scotland. The election used the eight wards created under the Local Governance (Scotland) Act 2004, with 24 Councillors being elected. Each ward elected either 3 or 4 members, using the STV electoral system.
The 2015 United Kingdom general election was held on Thursday, 7 May 2015 to elect 650 members to the House of Commons. It was the first general election at the end of a fixed-term Parliament. Local elections took place in most areas on the same day.
The 2015 United Kingdom general election in England was held on Thursday, 7 May 2015 for 533 English seats to the House of Commons. The Conservatives won a majority of seats in England for the second time since 1992.