What was the turnout in the 2016 Election?

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
Central Scotland 52.9% 52.9%
Glasgow 47.2% 47.4%
Highlands and Islands 58.9% 58.9%
Lothian 57.6% 57.8%
Mid Scotland and Fife 58.2% 58.3%
North East Scotland 52.8% 53.0%
South Scotland 58.8% 58.9%
West Scotland 59.7% 59.8%
Scotland 55.6% 55.8%

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

Region 1999 2003 2007 2011 2016
Central Scotland 59.4% 48.5% 50.5% 48.0% 52.9%
Glasgow 47.9% 41.5% 41.6% 40.7% 47.2%
Highlands and Islands 61.2% 52.3% 54.7% 53.4% 58.9%
Lothian 61.1% 50.5% 54.1% 54.8% 57.6%
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%
South Scotland 61.7% 52.3% 53.6% 53.0% 58.8%
West Scotland 61.5% 53.3% 56.5% 53.1% 59.7%
Scotland 58.2% 49.4% 51.7% 50.4% 55.6%

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 %
Eastwood 68.3 Glasgow Provan 42.9
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

Turnout at the 2016 Scottish Parliament election for the constituency vote

 

Change in turnout from 2011 by constituency

Change in Turnout