As was exclusively revealed here a few hours ago (well, after a fashion) there is a stonkingly brilliant new poll of Westminster voting intentions out tonight - it's the second part of the Survation poll for the Daily Record.
Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election (Survation) :
Liberal Democrats 6.1%
Although this poll is obviously a halfway house between the other full-scale polls we've seen recently (it's a bigger lead for the SNP than in YouGov or Panelbase, but a smaller lead than in Ipsos-Mori), what's even more interesting about it is that it comes from the only firm to have found Labour ahead of the SNP in any full-scale post-referendum poll. On the day immediately after the referendum, Survation conducted a poll that put Labour on 38.6% in Westminster voting intentions, and the SNP on 34.7%. On the face of it, that means the SNP have made an 11.1% gain over the last two months, and Labour have suffered a 14.7% drop, amounting to a net swing from Labour to the SNP of 12.9%. However, a direct comparison isn't possible, because the September poll was conducted by telephone, whereas tonight's poll was online.
This is the Record's projection of what the result suggested by the poll would mean in terms of seats...
Liberal Democrats 1
Obviously if the actual result is even remotely close to that, it would leave the SNP as comfortably the third-largest party in the new House of Commons. Even on a very good night, the Liberal Democrats aren't going to be much higher than 30, and the conventional wisdom is that 12 is the limit of UKIP's realistic ambitions. So this is the fourth successive full-scale Scottish poll to pile enormous pressure on the broadcasters to reverse their untenable proposal to exclude the SNP from the leaders' debates, but to include UKIP and the Lib Dems.
Talking of which, I was amused to spot the Labour spokesman in the Record trot out the standard issue "Michael Foot" quote used by any party in deep, deep trouble -
"The only poll that matters is the one on May 7 next year."
For as long as the broadcasters are using (or claiming to use) the polls as part of their "objective criteria" for deciding who gets into the debates, the above statement cannot possibly be true. Tonight, for example, there's a GB-wide YouGov poll that puts the Greens ahead of the Lib Dems on 8% of the vote. If that sort of finding becomes typical over the coming weeks, it's very hard to see how Natalie Bennett won't be involved in the debates (although whether legal action will be required to get her there remains to be seen).
As noted last night, Survation have followed Panelbase's example by introducing weighting by recalled referendum vote. In Panelbase's case that led to the SNP vote being adjusted downwards - we'll have to wait for the datasets to see whether the same thing has happened in the Survation poll, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me.
Although there isn't much detail yet, we've been told that this poll offers the first direct evidence that traditional Labour voters have moved to the SNP specifically because Labour backed a No vote. If true, that might suggest that the SNP vote will prove more resilient in the face of media bias than we've been fearing, because the referendum experience was such a powerful one for many people, and could well override other factors. It was interesting that in Sunday's GB-wide YouGov poll, Scottish respondents were actually slightly more likely to plump for the SNP after being presented with various hypothetical line-ups of London party leaders, even though all of those lists treated the SNP as if they didn't exist.
The one small piece of bad news about tonight's poll is that it's not as bang up to date as you'd normally expect from an online survey - the fieldwork started the best part of two weeks ago.
Someone sent me an email asking why the Record has published a poll showing Labour facing a wipe-out, and wondering whether it might be a tactic to scare Labour voters back into the fold. I think there's a danger of over-thinking this sort of thing - the reality is that any media organisation that goes to the expense of commissioning a voting intention poll is going to make use of the results, regardless of what they show. As we saw last night, if there had been any way at all, however implausible, of putting a Nat-bashing gloss on the numbers, they would have done it. As it is, they've made the best of a bad job by reporting the story in front of them and using it to drum up interest, although admittedly they've made a small, half-hearted attempt at spin by falsely claiming that the result suggested by the poll would end hopes of getting Cameron out of Downing Street.
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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
This update of the Poll of Polls is based on the full-scale Survation poll, plus Scottish subsamples from eight GB-wide polls - four from YouGov, two from Populus, one from Ashcroft and one from ComRes. I won't be able to include the figures for UKIP and the Greens until the Survation datasets appear.
Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :
SNP 44.1% (+1.1)
Labour 24.8% (-0.9)
Conservatives 16.7% (+1.3)
Liberal Democrats 6.3% (+0.6)
(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.)