Where VoteSwap did – and didn’t – make a difference

The May 2015 election results were a huge blow to everyone who wanted the Tories out of government. Nevertheless, amid the disappointments, there are still some seats where VoteSwap may have helped to make a difference.

Overall, more than 21,000 Labour and Green supporters swapped votes through VoteSwap, and 430,000 people visited the site (see How VoteSwap went viral). Some notable results included:

  • The constituency with the highest number of swappers was Hove, where 508 Green supporters pledged to vote Labour in exchange for Labour supporters voting Green elsewhere. In addition, our Hove voting advice page attracted 2,762 vistors. This is significant as social media chat suggests many voters used VoteSwap to decide how to vote without formally swapping. Hove was one of the few Tory seats won by Labour, with a majority of 1,236.
  • In City of Chester, won by Labour from the Tories with a majority of just 93, we signed up 104 Green pledges to vote Labour, and 845 referred to our advice page. (On the other hand, Derby North, where we only signed up 58 swappers, was won by the Tories with a majority of less than 0.1%; just 42 more swappers would have made the difference.)
  • Other narrow Labour wins where swappers made up a significant part of the majority included Ealing Central and Acton (170 swappers and a majority of 274) and Brentford and Isleworth (134 swappers and a majority of 465).
  • The seat with the highest number of Labour supporters pledging to vote Green was Hackney North and Stoke Newington, with 341 pledges. In addition, that constituency's advice page attracted 4,062 visitors. Here the Greens received received their fourth highest vote share nationally - 15% - and almost beat the Tories into second place. (Labour swappers pledging to vote Green were less concentrated than their Green counterparts due to the higher number of safe seats - where we tended to offer swaps for the former - than marginals).
  • A similar pattern was repeated across inner London, which provided our top 10 constituencies for Labour supporters pledging to vote Green (the 11th was Brighton Pavilion, the only Green versus Labour battleground where we did not take a neutral position). In each case the Greens vote surged and in several they vied with the Tories for second place.

Overall, though, the tide was against us. There were other Labour targets, like Brighton Kemptown (456 pledges) and Calder Valley (402 pledges), where a significant level of swapping was not enough to overturn Tory majorities.

So we say thank you – but also commiserations – to everyone who took part. We certainly think it has been a worthwhile experiment, and one we will build on in the future – while continuing to campaign for a voting system that makes vote swapping unnecessary.

Green supporters voting Labour – top 20 seats

Constituency Swappers Result
Hove 508 Lab win
Brighton Kemptown 456 Con hold
Hornsey and Wood Green 412 Lab win
Calder Valley 402 Con hold
Manchester Withington 362 Lab win
Hampstead and Kilburn 292 Lab hold
Lancaster and Fleetwood 251 Lab win
Sheffield Hallam 247 Lib hold
Leeds North West 219 Lib hold
Warwick and Leamington 202 Con hold
Plymouth Sutton and Devonport 200 Con hold
Exeter 196 Lab hold
Tooting 192 Lab hold
Bermondsey and Old Southwark 191 Lab win
Finchley and Golders Green 187 Con hold
Stroud 179 Con hold
Bristol North West 173 Con hold
Ealing Central and Acton 170 Lab win
Hastings and Rye 168 Con hold
High Peak 146 Con hold

In total, 10,705 Green supporters swapped to vote Labour, across 131 constituencies.

Labour supporters voting Green – top 20 seats

Constituency Swappers Seat type
Hackney North and Stoke Newington 341 Lab safe
Hackney South and Shoreditch 282 Lab safe
Camberwell and Peckham 245 Lab safe
Lewisham Deptford 224 Lab safe
Dulwich and West Norwood 218 Lab safe
Islington North 194 Lab safe
Bethnal Green and Bow 185 Lab safe
Tottenham 172 Lab safe
Holborn and St Pancras 162 Lab safe/Green target
Vauxhall 152 Lab safe
Brighton Pavilion 148 Green marginal
Lewisham West and Penge 135 Lab safe
Streatham 124 Lab safe
Walthamstow 123 Lab safe
Oxford East 105 Lab safe/Green target
Islington South and Finsbury 104 Lab safe
Manchester Central 103 Lab safe
Liverpool Riverside 94 Lab safe/Green target
Manchester Gorton 90 Lab safe
Newcastle upon Tyne East 89 Lab safe

In total, 10,705 Labour supporters swapped to vote Green, across 370 constituencies.