Last night I blogged about the downsides of the Euro electoral system and the tactical voting it encourages. I argued that there were two seats in contention, and they could be between any of the Tories, the Greens, the SNP, UKIP and the Lib Dems. Just after I posted it, though, YouGov’s final Scottish poll was published. It’s got a 533 sample size, so the margin of error is bigger than with a normal 1000 person poll (up to 4.2%, rather than around 3%), but even so..

LAB – 28%
SNP – 26%
CON – 15%
UKIP – 13%
GRN – 11%
LDEM – 6%

The way this would work under the Euro electoral system is as follows (it shows the SNP on double UKIP’s vote, let’s assume they’re a notch above that, which only affects the order in which the last two seats are won):

Parties Votes 1 Seat 1 Votes 2 Seat 2 Votes 3 Seat 3 Vote 4 Seat 4 Vote 5 Seat 5 Vote 6 Seat 6
SNP 26% 26% SNP 13% 13% 13% SNP 8.7%
Lab 28% Lab 14% 14% 14% Lab 9.3% 9.3%
Con 15% 15% 15% Con 7.5% 7.5% 7.5%
Lib Dems 6% 6% 6% 6%  6%  6%
Greens 11% 11% 11% 11% 11% 11%
UKIP 13% 13% 13% 13% 13% 13% UKIP

The last two vote columns are key. If this were the result, the last two seats would go SNP/UKIP, with both parties’ votes at 13% at that stage (the SNP having been halved because they won the second seat). But look at the Votes 6 column. The Greens would, on this poll, fall just 2% short of claiming that last seat from UKIP. No-one else is even close at that stage – Labour would need 39% instead of 28% to take it, the SNP likewise, the Tories would need 26% instead of 15%, and the Lib Dems would need 13% instead of 6%. With a 4.2% margin of error, even assuming it all went in favour of Labour, or the SNP, or the Tories, or the Lib Dems, they couldn’t stop UKIP.

Only a boost to the Green vote, on this showing, could realistically stop Scotland electing a UKIP MEP.

If we took that two percent from the SNP, that’d leave the last two seats as Green/UKIP rather than SNP/UKIP, which cannot be the objective. So the tactical message to all non-SNP voters who don’t want to see UKIP in is lend the Greens your vote. This applies most of all to Lib Dem voters: your seat is lost, as all the polls agree. Your final message is about in or out of Europe – a Green MEP for Scotland rather than a UKIP MEP makes that case better than a wasted vote for the Lib Dems.