Wednesday, December 17, 2014

SNP hold 17% lead in new Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls

There's still no sign at all that the elusive "Murphy honeymoon" is having any effect whatever on the SNP's polling strength.  Nicola Sturgeon's party is at 44% in today's YouGov subsample, which is a touch higher than their recent average.  Admittedly Labour are also towards the upper end of their current "normal range" at 31% - that's probably just the effect of normal sampling variation, although it would be ironic if Murphy's coronation ended up slightly boosting both the SNP and Labour.  The logic for thinking that might happen is that some core Labour voters hate his guts, while lots of natural Tory voters love him to bits - ring any bells?

Today's update of the Poll of Polls is based on the recent full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov, plus Scottish subsamples from eight GB-wide polls - four from YouGov, two from Populus and two from ComRes.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 43.8% (-1.2)
Labour 26.7% (+0.2)
Conservatives 16.9% (+0.2)
Liberal Democrats 4.7% (+0.2)
UKIP 3.7% (+0.2)
Greens 3.2% (+0.3)

(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.)

There'll probably only be one more Poll of Polls update before the end of the year, because YouGov will shortly be closing down their daily polls for the Christmas/New Year period.  We'll then be into the scary twilight zone where public opinion might be changing without us having any way of knowing.  But from early January onwards, we'll have regular polling (at GB level) all the way through to polling day in May.

Incidentally, the above update doesn't include today's ICM poll in the Guardian, because the datasets haven't been published yet.  (I briefly thought I'd found them and posted the Scottish subsample on Twitter, only to realise that I was looking at the November poll!)  However, the Britain-wide figures are interesting, because they offer the first credible sign in ages that the Lib Dems might yet cling on to third place in the popular vote -

Britain-wide voting intentions (ICM, 12th-16th December) :

Labour 33% (+1)
Conservatives 28% (-3)
UKIP 14% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 14% (+3)
"Others" (including SNP) 6% (n/c)
Greens 5% (-1)

This of course flatly contradicts the picture painted by YouGov recently, which has suggested that the Lib Dems are roughly level-pegging with the Greens on around 6% or 7%, and only just barely ahead of the SNP and Plaid Cymru.  Most of the difference can probably be explained by data collection method - YouGov are an online firm, while ICM (at least in these polls) use telephone fieldwork.

If ICM are closer to the mark, it's hard to say whether it's good news for the SNP or not.  Assuming the Lib Dems are proving more resilient than expected in England, then that further increases the chances of a hung parliament, which is obviously exactly what we want.  But on the other hand there must be at least some kind of correlation between the Lib Dems' fortunes north and south of the border, and if they start to do too well it might threaten the SNP's chances in one or two of the more difficult target seats.  Then there's the issue of which party takes third place in the next House of Commons, which is not only psychologically important, but might also affect speaking rights in the chamber (for example at Prime Minister's Questions).


  1. "(I briefly thought I'd found them and posted the Scottish subsample on Twitter, only to realise that I was looking at the November poll!)"

    Haha, I just went and did exactly the same thing too! Thanks for the heads up.

  2. I've found them now, with the help of Haartime on Twitter.

    SNP 43%
    Labour 35%
    Conservatives 7%
    Liberal Democrats 7%
    Greens 5%
    UKIP 1%

    And the SNP are on 5% GB-wide, so they're level with the Greens.

  3. Another blog has postulated that the high Lib Dem rating in today's ICM poll is due to low contact rates at this time of year (Christmas shopping). ICM weight by 2010 recall. They were only able to contact 102 people who voted Lib Dem in 2010, so the people they contacted were weighted up by almost 30%. It's then more likely that the people they did contact were unrepresentative of 2010 Lib Dem voters as a whole.

    ICM also have an adjustment (an attempt to correct for "shy Tory factor") whereby they allocate half of past supporters of a party who now say "don't know" back to that party, i.e. they assume that half of those don't knows will end up voting the same as before after all. With vast numbers of 2010 Lib Dems no longer supporting them, ICM tend to have the Lib Dems rated higher due to this adjustment anyway.

  4. " But from early January onwards, we'll have regular polling (at GB level) all the way through to polling day in May."

    Indeed though more constituency based polling in the new year would be most helpful of all as by then the early campaigning should have begun in most areas where the SNP membership has rocketed.

    Those branches have certainly not been idle since, as well as coping admirably with the massive logistical tasks associated with that colossal influx of new members, they have been keeping the members informed and enthused with meetings, events and assessments of campaigning strength for 2015. Obviously not all the new members will be on the streets, canvassing or leafleting but what members can do and in what area of campaigning is already being assessed so as to maximise the potential for mobilisation, particularly in areas where they are most needed in 2015.

    Worth remembering that when the Lib dems were relevant much of it was because of campaigning on the ground shoring up their vote in vital areas. Leaving aside the fact that Clegg's ostrich faction are still heading over the cliff at amusing speed, it is inevitable that ground campaigning for 2015 will be crucial as we are talking about trying to overturn some truly gigantic Labour majorities.

    I'm struggling to see what a right-wing ultra-Blairite Eggman could possibly do in the face of that (except to galvanise campaigning against the London Labour branch office since he is such a polarising figure) but no doubt his many tory admirers may think another '100 towns' comedy tour on a crate will do the trick. ;-)

  5. re-blogged stats here
    together with some others, showing labour is doomed in the republic of ireland

  6. It's amazing the effect the referendum has had in energising SNP voters to join polling organisations. Meanwhile in the real world brent crude goes sub $60.

    1. A troll with an oil-fetish lecturing us about the "real world". Chortle. Why not tell us about those North Sea oil "discoveries" that were made five minutes after the referendum was over? It's a miracle!


    Ipsos Mori for Dec 13-15th..Scottish subsample. Labour at low teens, Libs and Tories even lower... SNP at 50% area... projecting wipeout of Labour seats in Scotland