Monday, November 17, 2014

SNP rocket to Westminster vote of 46% in stupendous Survation survey

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) :

SNP 45.8%
Labour 23.9%
Conservatives 16.7%
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...

SNP 52
Labour 5
Conservatives 1
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.

*  *  *


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.)


  1. I know this has been pointed out before by others, but I find it interesting how firm the Conservative vote is, although the Tories are probably already down to their core anyway in Scotland. Maybe now Labour and the Lib Debs are down to their hardcore supporters too.

  2. I see that Survation are going to release the Holyrood VI figures in the data tables - even though the record isn't going to do a story on them, it seems.

  3. One interesting statistic from this poll is that 83% of Yes voters intend to vote SNP. I'd be interested to compare it to before the referendum. Does anybody know how many of those intending to vote Yes before the referendum were intending to vote SNP?

    1. I don't, but if those Yes voters not intending to vote SNP, but perhaps Green and SSP, could be persuaded to vote SNP / Alliance for the GE, that could add another 6% to the SNP figure for 51.8% :-)

    2. Not really in terms of Westminster voting because it was asked so rarely last year - Survation's July poll would have been the last apart from the rather dodgy Opiniums. For just before the actual referendum the best guess is the YouGov poll (f/w 15-17 Sep) which gave 77% of Yes voters giving a constituency vote of SNP, though only 66% for the region. As you'd expect the main difference between the two is Green and SSP voters, who are probably going to make the same decision with regard to Westminster constituencies as they did for Holyrood one. But there may be additional Yes voters who have since switched, especially from the 18% Yes voters in Labour's then 32% Holyrood vote to move the figure up to the 85%

      Another movement may be of SNP 2011 voters 18% of whom went for No, which matches with the fact that in September only 80% of SNP 2011 were still supporting the SNP. It may be that some of that 20% have since returned to the SNP, now they feel that independence is not going to happen.

      Roger Mexico

    3. Obviously that should be "in the last year". Equally obviously until we see the Survation tables we can't really be sure what they mean by 83% of Yes voters.


  4. Labour MPs in Scotland? There is clearly a VOW to destroy the Labour party.

  5. And the 5 SLAB MPs would be - Willie Bain : Gordon Brown : Tom Clarke : Ian Davidson and Tom Greatrex. Time to bayonet the wounded perchance?

    1. you mean Jim Murphy, favourite to win the branch office manager post, would lose his seat thereby having to resign the post since he wouldn't be an MP or MSP? LOL.

      That said I don't see it happening. The next highest vote in his constituency is for the Tories and they are predicting only one. There is NO WAY the SNP will win East Renfrewshire.

      The SNP % share can't be equally divided over Scotland

      Anon 1

  6. I guess the ideal result of the General Election is for Labour to have perhaps a 10 or 20 seat lead over the Tories, with the LibDems down to 23 or less, UKIP on no more than 15, and the SNP on 40+.

    Then the SNP can drive policy forward such as more devolution right up to FFA with the help of the UK Labour even against Tories, UKIP and LibDems, but can abstain on purely EVEL issues with the Lab Government needing but being able to get support on an issue by issue basis from the LibDems and UKIP who indicated they might work with Labour.

  7. Strikes me that with the unionist leaders approval ratings so low, in Scotland, people are looking to the only leaders with positive ratings....

  8. Calum, could the conservative vote be being propped up by a steady supply of retirees moving to Scotland for the good life and being horrified of any changes? I don't know if that vote would be big enough to show up in polls but it might be one explanation.

    1. That's also possible, but it could be that Tory supporters are core voters and always voted anyway.

  9. Survation tables have been published.

    There are Holyrood VI results. These are also good, but a bit more mixed for the SNP - very strong on the constituency vote (SNP 50, Labour 23, Tory 14) but the list vote is more fragmented (SNP 41, Labour 20, Tory 13, Greens 10, UKIP 8, LD 6.

    Referendum and Holyrood 2011 recall was used in the weighting.

    1. This is exactly what you want to see. Anyone who believes in Scottish Independence has a duty to vote for the Greens on the list.

      Eliminating the Red Tories from constituency seats at Holyrood is not enough. They will still end up with a couple of dozen thanks to the top up lists IF SNP voters vote SNP Constituency and List. However if 50% vote SNP Constituency that is close to enough for every FPTP seat to go to the SNP. But it also makes it impossible to get any List seats. Voting Green prevents Labour picking up List seats and provides an even larger pro-Independence majority at Holyrood.

      With 50% support for SNP in constituencies, an SNP List vote is a WASTED vote.

    2. The 2011 election demonstrated that "tactical voting" on the list vote is a mug's game. In fact it's almost a contradiction in terms, because it backfires pretty regularly.

  10. Whats the rest of the numbers on the consituency vote? Where do the 9% of SNP voters go on the list vote? Greens or UKIP?

    1. Other Holyrood 2016 constituency shares are LD 7, UKIP 3 and Green 2.

      40 of the 76 Green list voters are SNP Westminster voters. UKIP list votes are more from a mixture of Tory and Labour (very few SNP).

  11. Murphy, because we all know it's a done-deal postal vote-wise, will still get an easy time from "Scottish" media. He and they sicken me. I believe I am not alone in that emotion.

  12. James: "If true, that might suggest that the SNP vote will prove more resilient in the face of media bias than we've been fearing..."

    With this in mind, would you be starting to wane from the idea that the YES Alliance concept is a bigger attraction than the SNP, who are going to allow non-SNP members to stand for them?

    Not only is the SNP lead in the polls maintaining itself, it is growing. I have no doubt that the gap will lessen before the election, but the SNP have embarked on the right strategy - convincing the electorate a vote for them is a vote to enforce Devo Max.

    Labour will as ever campaign on the idea that a vote for the SNP will let in the Tories, and it will have some effect no doubt, but far less than before imho.

    1. Boab,
      83% of YES voters intend to vote SNP.
      As yesindyref2 says
      'I don't, but if those Yes voters not intending to vote SNP, but perhaps Green and SSP, could be persuaded to vote SNP / Alliance for the GE, that could add another 6% to the SNP figure for 51.8% :-)

      That six % could be the difference between a landslide and 'close but no cigar' especially after the BBC and MSM do theeir campaigning and innevitably eat away at some of these current SNP percentages. 38% is the threshold to majority, each % after that adds seats exponentially. That can mean 20 or so extra seats for only a handful more % points.

      Why walk away from that 17% of yes voters in the hope they will 'see sense' and vote SNP tactically against their own party of choices advice? Without even a discussion.


    2. Looking at the tables, Westminster voting intention by referendum vote is very interesting:

      Yes voters:
      SNP: 83% Lab: 11% Others: 6%

      No voters: :
      Lab: 37% Con: 31% Lib Dem: 11% SNP: 10% UKIP: 8% Others: 3%

      Nationalists mostly back the SNP with the Unionists being split 5 ways. It's why FPTP could benefit us this time.

    3. Braco: "Why walk away from that 17% of yes voters in the hope they will 'see sense' and vote SNP tactically against their own party of choices advice? Without even a discussion."

      You don't think it hasn't been discussed within the higher echelons of the SNP? Of course it has, and they've decided that this is the way to go. to think 100% of YES voters would vote for the SNP or a YES Alliance is just a pipe dream!

      The SNP are courting the votes of the 60-75% of voters that support a form of Devo Max. Limiting themselves to just the 45% who voted YES would be dumbass.

      You think having a Yes Alliance will simply add 6% to an SNP total, without scaring others away? Thats just out and out crazy!

      Like I said weeks ago, the SNP wouldn't stand under a Yes Alliance ticket - what they have done is very wise and allowed other non-SNP members (that would entice non_SNP voters) to stand.

      So we may well see people like Ivan McKee, Aamer Anwar or even Elaine C Smith stand, but they'd be doing it under the SNP banner.

    4. Braco: to say nothing of the missing half million Yessers who've now disappeared back among the Don't Knows, Won't Votes, and Unreachable by Surveys.

      And nobody is saying a Yes Alliance could have kept that 17% plus the entire missing half million on board next May. But even 5% + 100,000 would have made a massive difference. At the SNP's current levels every few extra % make a big difference in terms of seats.

    5. Thanks for those figures Calum, very interesting.

      I think it underlines the simple logic of some sort of Alliance. Nobody is questioning the 'SNP alone' strategy if going only on the current polling figures. The question is in the 'IF', and in the nature of FPtP elections delivering large landslides on small percentage points over a threshold (in our case I think about 38%).

      Do we all confidently believe that the SNP will be able to deliver the current polling numbers in the face of all the old, tried and tested techniques previously deployed by Labour, the BBC and the entire MSM? If so what is the evidence for that belief and how is it more convincing than attempting to harvest as many of the YES voters, as well as as many of the Devo max NO vote as possible, through some sort of Devo Max Alliance.

      This would also have the effect of redrawing the Westminster election in Scotland as something very different to the usual Party political dog fight that plays directly into the 'vote Labour to keep the Tories out' sloganeering and Media campaigns we know that have worked so well in the past to sideline and diminish the SNP on the UK stage.


    6. Also interesting, changes from last comparable Survation poll in July:
      SNP: 46% (+8)
      Lab: 24% (-9)
      Con: 17% (nc)
      Lib: 6% (nc)
      UKIP: 5% (nc)
      Green: 2% (nc)

      It looks certain the SNP are the only party that have benefited from the referendum, and entirely at Labour's expense.

  13. By the by, for anyone that has been paying attention, the SSP whom many of the more dedicated YES campaigners might wish to vote for, have been almost non-existent in not only Westminster voting intentions, but Holyrood too.

    1. Boab,
      some of the most hardworking and effective campaigners that helped deliver those 1.6 million yes voters were SSP activists (and other minority parties/ no parties). You must factor in the possible loss of those campaigners into the 'SNP alone' Westminster Campaign. It's not the simple numbers game you seem to believe it to be.

      The referendum showed the campaigning power of enthusiastic and energetic minority interests upon the motivation of the electorate getting involved, engaged and into that voting booth.


    2. Sounds about right braco.

      Those in the SSP and Greens that I know have certainly not given up and they had a membership surge too after all. Though not the colossal 85,000+ of the SNP still more than enough to still make them a formidable fighting force compared to the rest of the unionist parties in scotland. They do know the reality of FPTP and 2015 but they also know that they have to keep campaigning to keep enthusiasm and their membership enthused for 2016 when they will almost certainly see real and tangible gains for their efforts. Apart from anything else a great many of those in the SSP have no problem AT ALL campaigning against Labour and indeed relish the prospect of taking on the ultra-Blairite Eggman. Will the nature of FPTP and the recent polling curb some of the individual party campaigning compared to what we will see in 2016? Absolutely. But anyone who thinks these polls are great news for the unionist parties and terrible news for the Yes parties has their head firmly lodged up their arse. (not that you are saying that braco but a reality check is needed for those others who still don't grasp the magnitude of the change we are seeing in the scottish political landscape.) The SSP, Greens and indeed the Yes alliance have hardly vanished but that campaigning strength was always going to transform to match the reality of a 2015 GE under FPTP.

  14. So 10% of No voters plan to vote SNP.

    But remember all those people who were ALREADY SNP voters who voted No in indyref?

    So it looks as if the approach this site's regulars are so fond of, that of concentrating on converting pro devomax Unionists to the SNP, may in fact be converting NO ONE.

    And now we have the proof.

    1. If you say so Sean.

      Good luck with yer campaign. Looks like you have a whopping 2,345 followers of the YES Alliance on twitter now!

    2. Anon,
      I was looking forward to a reply to Sean's point there.... but then..oh well, never mind.


    3. Stupendous post, "anon". You're dead right, of course.

      The fact that the main focus will now be on converting Unionists, which common sense told us was daft and we now know isn't working -- with the potential loss of up to thirty seats in the GE -- is of course AS NOTHING compared to the fact that a Twitter account I have nothing to do with has X number of followers.

      Really, nobody can compete with strategic insight on that level. Thank Christ we have your cognitive firepower on our side.

      As a matter of interest, just how often are you directing posts like the above at your fellow Yessers?

  15. This is an on-line survey, so is it missing the over 55s?

  16. There has been an interval of only two months since the referendum Sean. Are you arguing that there has been no dramatic changes in Scottish politics since then? Do you not think we need to give some No voters the chance to react to what they have voted for, over a longer period of time than a few months?

    1. That's a fair point, muttley, and maybe its implications are correct. Maybe by March or April that 10% figure will be considerably higher -- so much higher that it proves the approach of the SNP and this site's regulars correct. Would you care to take a lighthearted wager on this? Give me a figure and if you're roughly correct I will pay a forfeit of your evil devising and have to listen to your muttley sniggers. ;-)

      Or maybe this figure won't improve at all, and may even deteriorate. Remember that current 10% is against a background of the SNP at an all-time high.

      Aren't you disappointed by that 10% figure? I certainly am. It suggests that me and braco are correct, but let's be clear: I want to be wrong on this issue. I don't WANT the ditching of the official Yes Alliance to be the colossal blunder I fear it might be. I want the SNP to be right on this.

      There were four areas (at least) of potential gains next May. Let's list them in descending order of how often they're mentioned on this site and at party level.

      1. Converting pro-devomax Unionists to SNP.
      2. Converting Labour Yessers to SNP.
      3. Combining SNP and Green votes.
      4. Keeping the missing half million Yessers engaged and voting.

      Based on the only evidence we have, here's the progress we've made in two months:

      1. Terrible. Zero progress.
      2. Beyond our wildest dreams (but we're doing so well here that it may be masking the lack of progress elsewhere).
      3. Now dead in the water. Rejected at party level.
      4. Barely even merited a discussion.

      Over to you, compadre. Good to find someone here who can disagree about strategy but keep it civil. The toys-oot-the-pram stuff has been embarrassing.

    2. @Sean

      Do you not believe the tremendous surges in the membership of the SNP, the SSP, and the Scottish Greens is not progress? What about the opinion polls showing SLAB's support plummeting? What about the polls showing support for another independence referendum within a decade or so?

    3. Muttley, where have I ever said we've made no progress? For a start I've said above that our conversion of Labour folk to SNP has been beyond our wildest dreams. I've just posted elsewhere that it's never felt better to be Scottish. These are wonderful times.

      But it's possible the euphoria has gone to the parties' heads and they've made a mistake that could cost between ten and thirty seats. I very much hope I'm wrong on the Yes Alliance issue but the current evidence suggests not.

  17. "SNP rocket to Westminster vote of 46% in stupendous Survation survey"

    That'll be the Eggman 'effect' then.


    You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.

    Two weeks ago the 'Murphymania' in the westminster bubble media and among his tory supporters was at fever pitch yet the scottish and indeed Labour voting public appears to be amusingly unimpressed by the Blairite Eggman and his boss little Ed.

    As for the differences across the pollsters, sure, they are a caution to take any Labour wipeout claims with a pinch of salt. (not that we need that since we do actually know> the size of the huge Labour majorities we'll be fighting to overturn or drastically cut) However, there's been more than enough polls now to know for certain that this isn't a blip and that right now 'scottish' Labour are looking at GE outcomes which can be compared to falling off a very tall building and falling off a cliff. It's certainly not looking good for little Ed and his Eggman, to say the least.

    As for the rest, meh. The blue rinse brigade won't change much so a scottish tory surge looks as amusingly unlikely as it was in 2010. The fate of the yellow tories also seems set in stone as Clegg's ostrich faction sprints towards the brick wall of scottish public opinion with the same kind of speed as in 2011 when they were reduced to an irrelevance in scotland and a taxi full of MSPs.