Thursday, October 30, 2014

Political earthquake beckons as SNP notch up 29% lead for WESTMINSTER in Ipsos-Mori telephone poll

We now have the third full-scale Scottish poll to have been conducted since the referendum - and I'm not sure any superlative is going to prove quite sufficient this time.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 52%
Labour 23%
Conservatives 10%
Greens 6%
Liberal Democrats 6%
UKIP 2%


So, Mike Smithson, what was that you were saying yesterday about Alex Salmond being a broken man who would struggle to beat the Lib Dems (ahem) in Gordon? I'm not sure your theory about the anti-independence parties "owning" people who voted No last month is looking too hot either - on the above numbers 13% of voters plumped for No in the referendum but are now planning to vote for a pro-independence party at the general election.

What this poll reminds me of most vividly is a couple of polls that were published towards the end of the Holyrood campaign in 2011. Even then, those polls proved a touch too optimistic for the SNP, and in the entirely different context of a Westminster campaign which still has six months and a bit left to run, it's much less likely that the party will be able to pull off a result of quite this magnitude. (The biggest hurdle is that the broadcasters are seemingly still hellbent on moulding the Scottish election result to their own tastes by means of three rigged leaders' debates from which the SNP are totally excluded.) Nevertheless, this is Ipsos-Mori's best estimate of the current state of play, so we can enjoy it for what it is. It seems to me that the "Berlin Wall" that existed between Westminster and Holyrood elections in the public's perceptions has now vanished. Perhaps that's only a temporary phenomenon brought about by the aftermath of the referendum, but for the time being people regard the two elections as being about exactly the same thing - which party is best able to stand up for Scotland.

All the same, the result of this poll is a bit counter-intuitive. Scottish subsamples from GB-wide polls have been consistently putting the SNP comfortably ahead of Labour since the referendum, but we've been exercising a degree of caution with those numbers, because there was always a chance that the SNP's support was being slightly overestimated due to the inherent shortcomings of subsamples. As it turns out, Ipsos-Mori are suggesting that the subsamples have been underestimating the SNP lead - and by quite some distance. The firm is also suggesting that the Greens are doing a bit better than we previously thought, and that the Tories and UKIP are doing quite a bit worse. It's the latter point that might cause us to place a question mark on this poll, because there's a long history of the right-wing vote in Scotland being underestimated by pollsters in Westminster general elections. Given that this is a telephone poll, could there be a "shy Tory" factor at play, with some affluent and rural voters pretending that they are going to vote SNP out of embarrassment? Even if that is what's going on, it's safe to say that the SNP must still have an extremely handsome lead, but perhaps not quite as high as 29%.

It might be thought that Ipsos-Mori's status as one of the most No-friendly pollsters during the referendum (they had Yes on just 36% at the start of March, which seems absurd in retrospect) would lend greater credibility to an insanely good SNP showing, but strangely they also had a reputation for being one of the most SNP-friendly pollsters in the run-up to the 2010 election. That's a contradiction I can't readily explain, although the fact that it's happening with Ipsos-Mori and no other firm may be due to the fact that they don't weight by past vote recall of any type.

This poll is of course totally irreconcilable with the results of the two other post-referendum full-scale Scottish polls - Survation actually put the SNP a few points behind Labour, while Panelbase had them ahead by just two points. In the case of Survation, the difference can perhaps be put down to the fact that fieldwork was conducted on the day immediately after the referendum, when people hadn't yet had a chance to take stock. With Panelbase, the explanation is more likely to be the controversial decision to use a long-discredited weighting procedure, which led to SNP voters being downweighted sharply. So if I was going to hazard a guess (and it's only a guess), I'd say that the true position is most likely to be somewhere in between the two extremes of Panelbase and Ipsos-Mori - indeed it may well be that averaging the subsamples from GB-wide polls has given us a fairly accurate picture all along.

Nevertheless, polling experts such as John Curtice have been studiously ignoring the subsamples, and have almost been playing an intellectual game in which they invite us all to pretend that the only information we have on voting intentions comes from the out-of-date Survation and Panelbase polls (or even from Opinium polls conducted before the referendum!). So the biggest impact of Ipsos-Mori's intervention is that the "official narrative" of where we stand is going to change instantly and radically.

The fieldwork for this poll was conducted between the 22nd and 29th of October, which means that it spans three distinct periods - Wednesday to Friday of last week when Johann Lamont was still in harness, a brief period over the weekend when the media were trying to convince anyone who would listen that either Gordon Brown or Jim Murphy might be taking over, and then finally a period of a few days when Murphy looked like the clear frontrunner. So there's certainly no evidence here that the prospect of a Murphy "leadership" is luring anyone back to Labour. Having said that, the YouGov subsamples over the last couple of days have shown a decreasing SNP lead - but without substantial supporting evidence it would be wrong to assume that's anything more than the normal fluctuations you would expect due to the huge margin of error attached to subsamples.

* * *

SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Notwithstanding my suspicion that subsamples are providing us with a more accurate picture at the moment, I do of course give far more weight to full-scale polls in the Poll of Polls. The Ipsos-Mori poll makes up well over half of the sample in this latest update, with seven subsamples also taken into account - four from YouGov, one from Ashcroft, one from ComRes and one from Populus.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 47.2% (+5.5)
Labour 24.4% (-0.3)
Conservatives 12.9% (-4.6)
Liberal Democrats 6.1% (+0.4)
Greens 5.1% (+0.1)
UKIP 3.1% (-0.9)


(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)

32 comments:

  1. bloody hell!!!

    fiedlwork must have been during the labour meltdown, lamont resignation? surely to god that can't be replicated in may 2015

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  2. That's quite something. Even if Labour do manage to drag it back a little by framing it as a Labour vs. Tory contest, it's hard to imagine any outcome other than Labour taking a hammering.

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  3. Wow. I genuinely thought the best SNP could hope for is to take about 8 or 9 seats of both Lib and Lab but this is pointing towards serious collapse for Labour. These figures are unlikely to hold as high as this and I think FPTP system will means some prominent figures will hold onto their seats but I now seriously believe SNP can be the majority party from Scotland...

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  4. Poll conducted between 22 - 29th October.

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  5. chris knowles, you're correct on that. Fieldwork was between October 22 and 29 according to the STV website.

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  6. Clearly rogue. I mean, the Lib Dems as high as 6%?!!

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  7. That's without campaigning....

    And Murphy hasn't been appointed yet, it might touch 60% after that.

    : )

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  8. However, might this poll explain why there is talk of Murphy planning to enforce a Holyrood by election lifebelt for himself on the same day as the Westminster election... ?

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  9. Well, this would solve the EVEL problem anyway.

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  10. Astonishing poll. Even if a bit of an outlier (worth noting at least some of the fieldwork was done before Lamont's resignation) it still signals an extraordinary shift. Labour now in deep, deep trouble on both sides of the wall. The only thing that can save them is the Conservatives falling apart after Rochester & Strood. Which I think they probably will.

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    1. That eventuality is unlikely to help them much in Scotland, though.

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    2. The tory twits should look on the bright side, they would only lose 1 MP. :-D

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  11. It goes to show that the YouGov subsamples aren't lying to us. It may well be the best poll rating the SNP ever gets, but boy is it fun to look at!

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  12. Tories 10%? They usually get 17% or 18%. I guess the poll is a bit of an outlier in that respect, though from the other polls there's no doubt the SNP is well in the lead overall.

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  13. I think the branch office of Lodon Labour may have just laid an Egg.

    LOL

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  14. with a view to getting the pro-Scotland voters out on the day please support the scot 2scot multi-media initiative which is in its start-up phase http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/10/30/scot2scot-westminster-theres-a-storm-coming/

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  15. There will be a lot of careerists choking on their prawn cocktails and Bollinger champagne tonight. What a picture the coupons on Curran, Murphy, Alexander, Davidson et al tonight...Scottish Labour's Gala event indeed.

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    1. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.


      ROFL

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  16. Conservative 10% is particularly suspicious given that they normally poll and get in elections around 16%. Nothing has happened that would make 6 percentage points vanish.

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    1. Well, they have been in government for four years. That normally has at least some erosive effect on a party's vote. Is your assumption that the Tories are already whittled to their core and would therefore be immune from this general principle?

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    2. If the Conservatives have the same level of supporters but the turnout was higher, it would push their percentage share down.

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    3. What if the Tory voters, who have been on the receiving end of tactical voting in Scotland for decades are seeing a chance of revenge? Vote S.N.P. - keep Labour out? They lose one MP, but get to piss themselves laughing at Labour being annihilated. Too tempting to miss?

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  17. @Muttley

    Aye, the Gala dinner Glasgow should be great fun for all present. Atmosphere will be electric.

    They can play traditional party games such as pass the buck (or knife).

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    1. There's going to be a demo outside and I would think there might just be a few journos hoping to catch a word or a piccie of the happy smiling faces of said Labour 'worthies' as they march in to their 'last supper'.

      Pass the buckfast for a great many of them when they see this poll.

      :-D

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  18. We just need the guy with the rickshaw to do his stuff again, and the humiliation will be complete. I am sure he could find an appropriate tune to play, something mournful....

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  19. Amazing figures in that poll. 6% for LD and Greens. I doubt if many of the LD personal votes will save many LD MP's. Good personal votes did not save many SNP MP's in 1979 when the SNP polled badly then.

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    1. Charlie Kennedy is the only one I think might be saved and I would be quite happy - still think he's one of the good guys. Danny next door on the other hand doesn't have a chance!

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  20. Pete Wishart just retweeted an ITV journo who stated that IPSOS were so surprised at results they redid the poll with a larger sample, got the same result!!!

    This has really set the heather on fire, MSM are circling labour like vultures

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  21. One political earthquake follows another. If the unionist media wasn't so laughably biased then the staggering and colossal rise in the SNP membership would have been given the prominence it deserved and a poll like this would not have seemed all that surprising in the wake of it. Fact is if it was any other party but the Yes parties who had experienced the kind of massive surge in membership it would have utterly dominated the political discourse. Imagine for a second if the tories or labour had experienced more than a tripling of their membership in a matter of a few very short weeks. You think that wouldn't have been 24/7 across every newspaper and TV news outlet in the land? Course it would have. They reap what they sow and this proves that they can spin the Eggman and Labour's meltdown all they like because the political reality is way, way ahead of them.

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  22. It's fun looking back on the old polls from months ago, isn't it?

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