The turnout figures are based on valid votes cast as a proportion of the electorate on 5 May 2016. Turnout data has been derived from returns from returning officers, election results on local authority websites and electorate data included in the Saturday 7th May edition of the Scotsman.
Turnout at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election was 55.6% on the constituency vote and 55.8% on the regional vote, compared to 2011 turnouts of 50.4% and 51.1% respectively (turnout is based on the number of valid votes casts). Almost 290,000 more people voted in the 2016 election than in the 2011 election, including those in the recently enfranchised 16 and 17 year old age group. Although considerably lower than turnouts during both the 2015 UK General Election (71.1%) and the 2014 Independence Referendum (84.6%), the 2016 turnout is the highest seen at a Scottish Parliament election since 1999.
The table below details turnout for both the constituency and regional vote for each electoral region, and for Scotland as a whole. As can be seen, turnout level varied considerably by region, for example on the constituency vote the variation was from 47.2% in Glasgow to 59.7% in West Scotland.
Turnout by Constituency and Regional Vote, 2016
|Region||Constituency Vote||Regional Vote|
|Highlands and Islands||58.9%||58.9%|
|Mid Scotland and Fife||58.2%||58.3%|
|North East Scotland||52.8%||53.0%|
The following table, compares turnout at the 2016 election with turnouts at the four previous Scottish Parliament elections. Glasgow’s turnout has always been the lowest in Scotland, never quite reaching the 50% mark. However, turnout in Glasgow increased by 6.5 percentage points between May 2011 and May 2016, thus reversing the declining trend seen since 1999.
Turnout (Based on the Constituency Vote), 1999-2016
|Highlands and Islands||61.2%||52.3%||54.7%||53.4%||58.9%|
|Mid Scotland and Fife||59.3%||49.7%||52.8%||52.0%||58.2%|
|North East Scotland||54.5%||48.3%||50.7%||48.8%||52.8%|
The constituencies with the highest and lowest levels of turnout are detailed in Table 10 below. Turnout was highest in Eastwood (at 68.3%). This was also the case in 2011 when turnout in Eastwood was 63.2%. The lowest turnout in 2016 was in Glasgow Provan at 42.9%. This was considerably higher than the lowest turnout in 2011 when the same constituency saw a turnout of 34.8%. As can be seen in the table below, six of the ten constituencies with the lowest turnout levels were located in Glasgow.
Highest and Lowest Turnout by Constituency (on the Constituency Vote), 2016
|Highest Turnout||%||Lowest Turnout||%|
|Edinburgh Western||64.5||Glasgow Shettleston||43.7|
|Edinburgh Southern||64.2||Glasgow Maryhill and Springburn||44.0|
|North East Fife||63.0||Glasgow Pollok||45.5|
|Perthshire North||62.7||Glasgow Kelvin||45.7|
|Strathkelvin and Bearsden||62.6||Aberdeen Central||46.7|
|East Lothian||62.3||Glasgow Southside||47.8|
|Shetland Islands||62.1||Banffshire and Buchan Coast||48.5|
|Orkney Islands||62.0||Airdrie and Shotts||49.3|
|Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch||61.3||Hamilton, Larkhall and Stonehouse||50.1|
The largest increases in turnout between 2011 and 2016 were seen in North East Fife, Orkney Islands and Shetland Islands. Although every constituency across Scotland saw an increase in turnout since 2011, the lowest percentage point increases were seen in Linlithgow, Edinburgh Eastern and Na h-Eileanan an Iar.
Turnout by constituency
Change in turnout from 2011 by constituency