Monday, February 2, 2015

SNP power to record 21% lead in jaw-dropping YouGov poll - and support for independence also reaches record levels

Tonight brings word of a truly extraordinary new full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov...

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election (YouGov, 29th January - 2nd February) :

SNP 48% (+1)
Labour 27% (n/c)
Conservatives 15% (-1)
UKIP 4% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 4% (+1)
Greens 3% (n/c)

This poll is pretty close to being a final nail in the coffin for the theory that the gargantuan SNP lead has slipped since Jim Murphy became Scottish Labour leader.  A couple of weeks ago, we had a Panelbase poll that seemed to suggest a significant drop in the lead, followed by polls from Survation and Ipsos-Mori that had smaller drops in the lead that could easily be explained by margin of error "noise".  It then transpired that the Panelbase poll was unreliable due to a dodgy question sequence.  Now that YouGov are showing a small increase in the SNP lead, the most plausible characterisation of what we've been seeing is a completely unchanged state of play, disguised by normal sampling variation in both directions.

It shouldn't be forgotten that the last-but-one YouGov poll had the SNP "only" sixteen points ahead, so the lead has actually increased by five points since then.  However, that's still consistent with margin of error noise, if you assume that the true position over the last few months (or "true" according to YouGov's methodology) has been a stable SNP lead of around 19% or so.

It goes without saying that 21% is the biggest SNP lead that YouGov have ever recorded in Westminster voting intentions, but it gets better still - the independence question was also asked, producing the biggest ever lead for Yes in a YouGov poll...

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49% (+1)
No 44% (-1)

With Don't Knows removed, that works out as...

Yes 52% (n/c)
No 48% (n/c)

The previous record lead for Yes was 49% to 45% in the last-but-one poll, which was conducted in late October, just over a month after the referendum.

It's customary to point out at this stage in proceedings that YouGov (unlike Panelbase and Survation) don't weight by recalled referendum vote, and that if they did, the reported No vote would probably be a bit higher.  However, a five-point gap is large enough to make it conceivable that the Yes vote would be reaching parity even if weighting by recalled referendum vote had been applied.  In any case, the big advantage of YouGov's current approach is that it keeps their new polls directly comparable with their pre-referendum polls, meaning that we can say with absolute confidence that the Yes vote is now markedly higher than it was at any point during the long referendum campaign.  So much for the temporary slump in the oil price "destroying the case for independence".

I would guess the biggest shock of all for Labour will be the leadership ratings, which show an almost unbelievable gap of 52% between net satisfaction in Nicola Sturgeon and Jim Murphy.  (It's Murphy on the wrong end of that gap, for the avoidance of doubt.)  That's uncannily similar to the Ipsos-Mori findings, which I had assumed were a bit freakish.  OK, Sturgeon is still in her honeymoon period, and no head of government can possibly sustain popularity of this sort forever.  But Murphy should theoretically be enjoying his own honeymoon as well - in fact, his leadership is younger than Sturgeon's.  So while things probably won't stay as good for the new SNP chief, it's quite possible that this is also as good as it'll ever get for Jackanory Jim.

For my money, this is a painful journey of self-discovery that the Blairites were going to have to go through sooner or later.  They've told themselves for years that the SNP had only thrived as a result of being up against an unreconstructed Labour B-team.  It won't be until one of their own fails as Scottish Labour leader that they'll realise the political weather has authentically changed.  In fact, it may take more than a single failure - there was a delusional article in the Economist the other day that painted Murphy as a "moderate, reforming social democrat" who self-evidently would be sweeping all before him if it wasn't for these dratted exceptional circumstances.  But perhaps by May of next year, if he's been heavily defeated not once but twice, the penny will finally drop that Scottish Labour is not unpopular in spite of people like Murphy, but because of them.

*  *  *

YouGov have now published the full results, which has allowed me to fill in the gaps in the voting intention numbers listed at the top of the post.  It looks like we were misled slightly last night about the results of the independence question after Don't Knows are excluded, which remain unchanged from the December poll at Yes 52%, No 48%.  However, the figures we were given with Don't Knows included (Yes 49%, No 44%) were accurate, and that is indeed a record lead for Yes.

The Scottish Parliament voting intention numbers are as follows...

Constituency ballot :

SNP 51% (+1)
Labour 26% (-2)
Conservatives 12% (-2)
Greens 4% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 4% (+1)
UKIP 2% (-1)

Regional list ballot :

SNP 44% (+2)
Labour 24% (-2)
Conservatives 12% (-2)
Greens 8% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 4% (+1)
SSP 3% (n/c)
UKIP 3% (-1)

In their own commentary on the poll, YouGov point out that, in spite of Jim Murphy's personal unpopularity, he remains considerably more popular with Labour voters in Scotland than Ed Miliband is with Labour voters across Britain.  That's fine until you recall that there are simply fewer Labour voters left in Scotland per head of population - the party is practically down to the hard-core of true believers.

Or maybe not, because here comes the killer blow.  Respondents were asked to assess the likelihood that they will change their minds about their voting intention before the general election.  No fewer than 67% of people who are currently planning to vote SNP selected the option "no chance at all - I will definitely vote for this party".  The equivalent figure for people currently planning to vote Labour is just 50%.  Jim Murphy may have convinced himself that the SNP lead is soft, but the polling evidence is stubbornly refusing to offer him any comfort on that score.


  1. Presumably the fieldwork predates Vow 2: Vow Harder. So Labour needn't throw in the towel just yet!

    1. 'Lie Harder' works better, but thanks for the smile.

    2. 'Lie Harder' works better, but thanks for the smile.

    3. Presumably the fieldwork predates Vow 2

      Fieldwork was actually 29th January - 2nd February 2015. So there may have been some who had seen the Record or other coverage before filling in the survey - though most will have been replying earlier.

    4. Presumably the fieldwork predates Vow 2: Vow Harder"

      By which you mean, Eggpocalypse Now 2 - Revenge of the Omnipanic. :D


      I agree with your assessment of the idiocy of Blairites James, so let's not forget "no brainer" McTernan.

      "I would guess the biggest shock of all for Labour will be the leadership ratings, which show an almost unbelievable gap of 52% between net satisfaction in Nicola Sturgeon and Jim Murphy."

      Which is only a shock for those out of touch westminster twits who..

      a/ Believed their own bullshit in the media about the Eggman's campaigning 'prowess' despite those of us in scotland who all pointed out that his crate 'tour' was a comical figure of fun where he shouted at six guys and a dug for 98% of the time.

      and b/ Somehow failed to notice that the Eggman had hired quite possibly the worst spinner and media wonk in modern politics in "no brainer" McTernan.

      The out of touch westminster twits may not have noticed the Eggman's laughable PR attempts to recast himself as a political fitba 'casual', (complete with the booze filled 'nobody likes us but we don't care' attitude) but you sure as fuck couldn't miss it in scotland.

      We need not look very far at all to find the 'brains' behind that PR stupidity. It was of course "no brainer" McTernan.

      For those who mistakenly thought we were making it up about McTernan's incredible incompetence, again, look at the evidence. Look at what he did in Australia to the Labor party and leader there when they foolishly hired him. To call "no brainer" McTernan a complete fucking disaster for them would be lowballing it. There could be no finer illustration of just how inept and clueless McTernan is than a swift look at Tony Abbot just now. Abbot was the guy who demolished McTernan and his candidate yet Abbot clearly has the IQ and political acumen of a Brussels sprout.

      Did nobody in Labour or the westminster bubble media even check how laughably bad McTernan was in his last job?? Was it too much for Murphy, little Ed or the Blairites to even ASK some of those in the Australian Labor party how well McTernan did? Apparently so.

      So when you combine all the vapid PR idiocy of the Blairites with Murphy's own obvious lack of ability - then the only shocking thing is that 'scottish' Labour didn't elect as leader low life scum like that little skitter and Miliband arselicker Ian Smart to 'reach out' to ex Labour voters who are now voting SNP.

    5. I just noticed, it should of course be.. Apocalypse Vow 2! :D

      While we're at it, those mistakenly think Quebec is somehow the only way things ever play out with Independence referenda need to have a long hard look at what actually happened there. To cut a long story short, there is ZERO chance of Nicola lurching the SNP to the right amid chaotic and furious party infighting. So you can forget about lazily using that as a 'baseline' for what happens next.

      I must also admit vast amusement at those who somehow haven't noticed that Labour certainly didn't need to wait for Lord Ashcroft to confirm that all the polls are "real" and the SNP is doing pretty fucking well thanks. The Labour omnipanic speaks volumes and you can hear the sharpening of the knives for the inevitable fall-out and blame game come 2015. It's hardly just Lamont in SLAB who noticed the malice and incompetence of the Blairites and there are plenty just waiting in the wings to say "I told you so".

      Incidently, it turns out that when a potty old bigot like Smithson from Stormfront Lite sucks the balls of the millionaire Lord Ashcroft the sound Ashcroft makes in tweet form is "mmmmmm".


    6. By the way, Mick, have you noticed that PB's resident "Green" (who still just can't stop talking about the environment!) seems to be missing you dreadfully? He seems to be working the word "chortle" into every comment about the SNP, as a kind of tribute to you.

    7. I honestly don't pay PB/Stormfront Lite all that much attention but it's hardly a surprise that the Osbrowne loving 'green' doesn't realise I used that "chortle" on PB as a 'kind tribute' to the far-right lunatic SeanT.

      Besides, I know actual green party supporters/activists and they could scarcely be more different to the snide right-wing Neil. ;)

    8. I'd also like to point out for James readers that at least in the area where I and my friends are active in the west coast the level of enthusiasm and campaigning this many months out from the GE is simply unprecedented.

      It's certainly not at peak Indyref levels but if it keeps on increasing (and so far it is, week on week) then it might even get surprisingly close to that come May. Fundraisers, meetings, leafleting, the lot. Some of the 'old hands' can scarcely believe we are getting this fired up for a GE.

      Just wait till 2016! ;)

    9. Mick,

      Where I am (Paisley and Renfrewshire North) it is apparent that the leafleters are very enthusiastic! Been round twice in the last few days. Nothing from anyone else yet.

    10. Yep. I predict a VERY busy day on Saturday too Johnny as there should be stalls, leafleting and a very visible presence all over the place with the day of action. :)

      There have been some branches that have wrestled with the 'should we wait till the candidate has been selected' dilemma but (from what I know of at least) most branches have decided to keep the enthusiasm going. The standard "more seats more powers" leaflets can go out and some other ones too without the candidates own 'personalised' ones yet. Some are going to do runs to include them all (when they can) which is also fair enough.

  2. This poll puts the SNP in a very good position going into the final campaign. However, I still expect that lead to crumble, due to the media blackout of the SNP in the final few months...

    1. Which is why it is so important the debates go ahead as currently proposed.

      If they do, the SNP can't just suddenly turn up as a major player for the debates, the overall coverage provided on BBC and ITV will have to reflect that. I'm not saying the SNP will get anything like parity of coverage but it will get much more than previously.

      Even if the debates don't proceed, the longer the current polls hold, the longer the SNP will have to be acknowledged as a potential broker post-election if nothing else - not that I think the realpolitik of Westminster will allow the SNP to win any significant concessions for Scotland.

  3. Should Scotland be an independent country? (YouGov)
    Yes - 49% (+1%)
    No - 44% (-1%)

    Excluding Don't Knows
    Yes - 53%
    No - 47%

    1. Which is the highest support for indepdence in a YouGov poll.

      In fact this poll is very encouraging for us. Th FM has a +42 approval rating compared to Murphy's -10. Voters also believe that the SNP are best placed to stop the Tories (that's Labour's only strategy busted then). SNP voters are also most decided on how they will vote.

    2. Actually in this case that doesn't equate to Yes being 53% - if you look at page 3 of YouGov's tables:

      it actually works out at 52% according to them (they're rounding from the actual figures rather than derived percentages).

      However as James points out:

      It's customary to point out at this stage in proceedings that YouGov (unlike Panelbase and Survation) don't weight by recalled referendum vote, and that if they did, the reported No vote would probably be a bit higher.

      and always one for tradition I have to point out that the sample is 48.4% Yes rather than 44.7%. Adjusting the 'referendum tomorrow' result of 52% Yes gives about 48% Yes from a more balanced sample. We haven't got all the crossbreaks that we had in December for some reason, so we can't be exact but there's no way that a balanced sample would give a Yes figure over 50%. James is right to point to a swing to Yes since the referendum, but it's not there yet.

      This bias may not matter, except for the question about another referendum where a similar turnout could be expected to apply. You might expect the General Election turnout to be lower than the referendum's 85%, though I would expect it to be higher than in the recent past, maybe even 70%. There seems to have been many normally unengaged people who turned out for the referendum to maintain the status quo and vote No, but who are less likely to vote in 2015 (and even less so in 2016).

    3. "Adjusting the 'referendum tomorrow' result of 52% Yes gives about 48% Yes from a more balanced sample."

      I don't think there's enough information to make that calculation. For one thing, it's likely that No is being flattered by the rounding on the figure with Don't Knows excluded.

      "This bias may not matter, except for the question about another referendum where a similar turnout could be expected to apply."

      Not necessarily - one thing driving the turnout would have been the closeness of the polls.

    4. For one thing, it's likely that No is being flattered by the rounding on the figure with Don't Knows excluded.

      It's probably the other way round. If it was 49.0 to 44.0 it would work out at 53% Yes as Clyde1998 pointed out not 52%. But even if the difference were as extreme as Yes 49.4, No 43.5,(which it can't be) it would still only adjust to Yes 49.1%. We have exact percentages for the referendum result and this sample (Yes 465, No 496) after all.

      one thing driving the turnout would have been the closeness of the polls

      Well they're even closer now! So we would expect a similarly high turnout in a re-run. But what I meant was that in lower turnout elections the proportion of Yes and No voters might more closely mirror what you find in this poll.

      Before the referendum there was much discussion about 'missing' voters and an assumption that they would be Yes voters as being alienated from the political process and wanting something new. But they just have been mostly uninterested with a tendency to want to keep things the same and so voting No. And of course such people will be the sort who don't bother to take part in surveys and so missed by the pollsters.

    5. "It's probably the other way round. If it was 49.0 to 44.0 it would work out at 53% Yes as Clyde1998 pointed out not 52%."

      Exactly, that's the point I'm making - on the unrounded figures, the Yes vote could be as high as 52.5%.

      "Well they're even closer now!"

      No, they're just as close, but with Yes in the lead rather than No. But I'm not anticipating a static position between now and whenever the next referendum is, so presumably pollsters will want a methodology that is robust at different turnout levels.

    6. Exactly, that's the point I'm making - on the unrounded figures, the Yes vote could be as high as 52.5%.

      No because that would round to 53% and we know that YouGov rounded it to 52% and 49.0 vs 44.0 is 52.7% which would also become 53%. And whatever it is, there's no way that after correction to allow for the sample being 48.4% Yes rather than 44.7%, that any of these figures get over 50% for Yes.

    7. All right, if we're in the letters section of Pedants' Quarterly, I should have said 52.499999999999999999999% rather than 52.5%.

      As a matter of interest, how does your calculation deal with people who didn't vote in September?

  4. Meanwhile on the UK's foremost political wagering forum this poll is being ignored in favour of discussions about a non-existent TNS poll and whether lembit o'prick can get his old seat back.

    They're not even trying anymore. Even that old racist from Monza has accepted notSlab's destruction.

  5. It seems to be clear now that Independence is consistently in the lead in polls. This is pretty damn encouraging. However, there does appear to be a problem with the support for another referendum. I saw a poll mentioned today which gave 13% immediate, 22% within 5 years. This is much more of a worry.

    I speculated in another place that this may indicate that the Quebec Effect might be much stronger than people think (or at least the 3% guess I've pretty much come to believe). If so few of the people backing Independence (and yes I know different polls etc) are also wanting another Referendum, it does seem that that self-doubt when asked to make such a big decision is very strong.

    Is it possible the entire 6% swing between where the polls *might* have been in the final two weeks and where the result actually finished could be the Quebec Effect? It does seem that over 200k people "bottling it" could be excessive. But perhaps it's not completely impossible.

    1. Supporters of independence will be giving the answer they feel they "ought" to give when asked about the time-scale. The most important thing about those polls is that most people want another referendum, and within a generation or less.

    2. Perhaps I'd be more accepting of this view if I could see why you get the assertion that people are answering in this way. I don't think I can work that out myself and generally, I do occasionally detect an over-optimism in some of the assumptions and interpretations of your articles.

      Is the danger, at this point, right now, not that people cannot be persuaded to support Independence in polling but that they SNP cannot be persuaded to take the risk on including a Second Referendum in the 2016 manifesto?

      Surely there is a strong argument to be made that the reason that Quebec has so far failed is that the PQ waited too long between Referenda. After all they won a landslide after the First Referendum. I don't pretend to know enough about all the Ins and Outs of Quebecs fight for Independence but that long gap does appear to an outsider to have cost them.

      The other danger, of course, is what happens if the Quebec Effect is underestimated. What if it is 6% not 3%, if most of the "losses" that may have happened in the last two weeks were nothing to do with the media onslaught and everything to do with the Quebec Effect?

      So if this lack of support in polls influences the SNP to delay a second referendum, the entire Independence movement could fail. That would break my heart.

    3. '..and within a generation or less.' - good as time is not on my side. :)

    4. "I do occasionally detect an over-optimism in some of the assumptions and interpretations of your articles"

      Thanks, Alasdair - they don't call me the Sultan of Sunshine for nothing. Put it this way - if I was asked by a pollster when the next referendum should be, even I wouldn't say "immediately", because it would feel like a silly answer to give.

    5. By the way, I don't necessarily buy in to this "Quebec effect" - I'm not aware of any hard evidence for it.

    6. Not accepting it has any effect would pretty much be ignoring 100 years of Behavioural and Cognitive science. This tells us not just that people are risk averse but that heightens at the last possible moment of the decision process, which in this case is at the ballot box.

      Negative conditioning demonstrably happens before the actual negative condition applies (this is why people generally wince before the needle goes in, for example).

    7. As you associate it with Quebec, I was talking more about concrete polling evidence from the Quebec referendums, rather than behavioural or cognitive science (which is obviously well above my pay grade).

    8. But surely this is an important part of any interpretation of polling. Polling is a mathematical model but the outcome is based on human behaviour. Arguably the historic comparison basis used in polling is not even measuring anything except behaviour outcomes and trying to estimate a mathematical best fit.

      I don't have figures for the 1980 referendum. But we do know that in Quebec 1995 and in Scotland 2014 the last few polls gave a higher percentage of Yes than was recorded in the ballot. That seems to me to be reasonable evidence for this effect occurring.

    9. Well, it's not in Scotland's case, because at least part of the reason for Yes being overestimated in the final polls seems to have been a) differential turnout and b) a small systemic bias in the polls. If there was any on-the-day swing to No it seems to have been minimal.

      As far as Quebec goes, it's been a while since I last went over the 1995 polls, but my recollection is that there was a gap between the final poll and referendum day itself, and nobody knew what was happening to public opinion in between. I believe the possibility of a small systemic polling bias has also been raised.

    10. On Quebec: I don't think the 15 years gap was the reason the second referendum failed. If I remember correctly, support for independence at the start of the 1995 campaign was similar to support in 1980, but the yes side got a lot of momentum during the campaign. James probably knows more about it than I do.

    11. The next referendum has to wait until the large cohort of brits die off.
      As SS constantly says, it's about national identity. A large enough amount of them may be dead within 5 years and so make September's result nominally in favour of independence.
      Of course that if we're not leaving the EU....

    12. The question of when should Indy2 be held is daft. In the event that we succeed to have everything except defence and foreign affairs devolved the stopper will be back in the bottle for a long time. If - as is likely - they give us as good as bugger all then the clamour for independence will become unstoppable and the question will become when should we declare independence.

      So for now I would not dwell on speculating about it.

    13. Alasdair, I have a Yesser friend who works for Mori in Leith who claimed consistently that the polls in general were overestimating Yes by 3-5%. He didn't mention any Quebec Effect but what he had in mind was similar -- simply that Yessers were more happy to remain on the line and give Mori their voting intention, and that this wasn't being accounted for sufficiently in the weighting. I.e.that there was indeed a significant shy No effect.

      I was staying with this guy in the final week before iref1 and he'd drilled all this stuff into me so effectively that when I was on the Yes stall in Portobello I was literally the only Yesser who didn't believe we were going to win. He told me the final Yes vote would be 43-45% and of course he was dead right.

      Dunno about you, but I'd like us to have a lead of 5-10% immediately before iref2 to be confident of winning.

      I've got pelters for sharing this info on this site in the past -- the usual snoozeville accusations of concern trolling etc -- even though this was months after the referendum. Let's see if the usual troupe of chickenshit Anonymouses try the same crap again today.

      But he doesn't believe there's any overestimation of the SNP in the current polls, and he stands by Mori's refusal to weight by recalled past vote. In other words he believes the SNP lead is nearer Mori's 28% rather than the (also wonderful) 21% above.

    14. Sean, what your friend is talking about is completely different from Alasdair's "Quebec effect" theory - it's systemic bias in the polls, rather than people changing their minds at the last moment. The final polls overstated Yes by an average of 3% - that seems to have been caused by a combination of systemic polling bias, late swing, and differential turnout. Those factors cumulatively had a significant effect, but each one on its own was actually pretty small.

    15. Ah gotcha. My apologies.

      Just one additional point. There seems to be a general perception that the famous Yougov 51% poll was the high point of Yes. Don't have the figures handy, but that's not my memory at all. IIRC there were three polls on the final Saturday that gave Yes an average of 50.5% and *this* was Yes's high point (this was in fact the one day when I thought we'd win). The Sunday was then full of those disappointing 48/52 polls, which then became suspiciously consistent among the different polling firms.

      I.e. the swing to No wasn't the 10-14 day one that Alasdair seems to be referring to and that's somehow become accepted history (even Alex Salmond has implied this). It was a very late final week swing.

      An important lesson possibly follows from this, ignoring for the moment the other factors you mention. This is that the Shock and Awe that began after the Yougov poll wasn't necessarily effective (the week of its greatest intensity Yes went up from 47.5% in the poll of polls to 49%), and it was in fact the Vow in the final week that was No's greatest weapon.

      Where this leaves my buddy's theory is anybody's guess. ;-) But perhaps it might mean that if Yes has a lead of, say, 4% before iref2 we can actually be confident that we'll win.

    16. The final Saturday polls were skewed by one (rogue) poll for ICM with a small-ish sample that gave Yes 54%.

    17. Sure, James, but in the week prior to that Saturday -- the week of Shock and Awe's greatest lunacy -- Yes went up something like 1.5% in the polls. As I say, I don't have the exact figures handy but at the time of the Yougov poll Yes were at something like 47% in the polls of polls. By that final Saturday Yes was at 49%. The peak came five days from the end, not twelve.

  6. I 100% beleive SNP will put Federal Union referendum 1st year in 2016 manifesto

  7. Daily Record PressmanFebruary 3, 2015 at 12:53 AM

    It's getting worse Jim it's getting worse!

  8. Water, I believe that too.

    I wrote down my predictions on the 19th of Sept. And who the funk I am, just a blabbering idiot, but so far so good ;)

    Winter 2014 - Indy parties see mass increase in members.
    Feb 2015 - Smith devolves nothing at all groundbreaking- a bit o' this, and a bit o' that.
    GE 2015 - SNP win in Scotland
    HE 2016 - SNP, Green and SSP win over 90 seats. All 3 release plans for 'maximum devolution'.
    2017 - Scotland votes for 'Devo Max' in a ref.
    2020 - Polls since 2014 show Indy support at 55-60% consistantly.
    2021 - SNP announce plans for Indyref2.
    2022/2023 - Scotland votes YES

    We'll see I suppose.

    1. excellent predictions

      Vow + was a bit left field to predict

      what do u predict Ashcroft poll weds 11am

  9. @Clyde1998
    "I still expect that lead to crumble, due to the media blackout of the SNP in the final few months..."

    That's what usually happens. But there are differences this time.
    The longer the SNP vote stays up, the more often they are mentioned in UK news.

    1. Post-Referendum effect where many voters want some consolation prize.
    2. SNP will be in TV debates.
    3. Brown/Blair had Scottish connections. Ed Miliband is remote.

    Now with this "Vow Plus", voters see that SNP strength is resulting in more devolution promised.

    The obvious message is: Strong SNP = More Powers for Scotland
    People could get used to that feeling of influence.

  10. It seems to me that the % for NO since Oct has dropped.

    The problem in comparing Quebec for me comes when we take into account the questions which were being asked in both referenda. They were preposterous. No wonder the electorate was confused and voted no by the smallest of margins in 1995.

    One thing we must do is tighten legislation around voting (when it becomes devolved). Not interested in conspiracy theories but the fact that anyone can vote without ID is absurd. And we did lose votes through that. Postal votes can be abused as well. This needs rectified.

  11. Kevin I agree with your predictions, I wouldn't 'want' an indyref2 immediately either. The outcome of the referrendum has to be seen to be respected before we can have another, and when we do have the next we have to be confident of a 60%+ win. Referrendum on devo max first then showing that Scotland can confidently and successfully manage fiscally is the way to win over risk averse scots

  12. Electoral Calculus updated their numbers yesterday for the first time this year. They are predicting SNP on 47 seats with Labour on 12. I see that as a bit too much "broad strokes" but, picking the bones out of the seat-by-seat analyses there was one thing that really jumped out.

    Currently Labour is predicted to achieve 10 lost deposits in Scotland in May. Last time around the worst showing in a single seat was 10.2% in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk but now the prediction is for no less than 10 sub-5% showings across the country. That would have been unthinkable even a mere 12 months ago. I have to admit that I checked the stats 3 times as I couldn't quite believe what I was reading.

    A ringing endorsement of Jim Murphy's talents!

    1. Electoral Calculus is posting some extremely bizarre predictions at individual seat level. LibDems at 0.1% in some seats is ludicrous.

  13. I will be surprised if Labour get 12 seats on the day. SLAB support will continue to decline before May. Murphy is detested and Brown is seen as an irrelevent mischief maker and Uber Brit.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. I think this % has always been the case and the election was rigged with postal votes.

    1. It can't have been. Analysis of the numbers shows that's impossible.

  15. Steady, guys! Keep your feet on the ground. The SNP will probably take 10-20 seats in May, but it will be portrayed by the MSM as a great failure, on account of the fact that Labour is not completely wiped out, as expected.

    The BBC Labour comment: "Could have been worse......, a big improvement from the polls, SNP should have done better blah blah blah".

    Personally, any significant damage to the Red Tory party is to be welcomed. They are, after all, the biggest obstacle to an independent Scotland. We can grind them down, but it may take two or three cycles. One step at a time.

    1. 20 seats is within the range of plausible possiblities. But 10 seats is not, unless something truly extraordinary happens.

  16. Luigi, 10-20 seats will be a great failure, we need to show tha tthe momentum from September 2014 is still with us, tha tthe people of Scotland are still invested enough in constitutional change to push for proper home rule. If Labour 'wins' the GE in Scotland, it'll be business as usual, back in your box for the Scots for years to come. There is an opening here to change Scotland, less radical than the one we failed to grasp in 2014, but real nontheless.

  17. Luigi the polls don't show anywhere near that low level of prediction. We have to judge things by opinion polls until the vote. They show th SNP worst case scenario as 30+ seats!

  18. Yougov tabs are up:

    Some mind numbingly bad stuff in there for Murphy & the Minions ...

    Which party's MPs would be most effective at:

    Securing powers for Holyrood:

    SNP 64 (inc 52% of what's left of the Lab vote)
    Lab 15

    Giving Scotland a voice at Wminster:

    SNP 58 (inc *59%* of what's left of the Lab vote)
    Lab 18

    Hearty lolz!

    1. Giving Scotland a voice at Wminster:

      SNP 58 (inc *59%* of what's left of the Lab vote)
      Lab 18

      That's extraordinary. That promises a medium-term (or imminent?) collapse for the Scottish Red Tories below Blue Tory levels.

      Consider "Murphy and the Minions" nicked btw. Love it.

  19. "But perhaps by May of next year, if he's been heavily defeated not once but twice, the penny will finally drop that Scottish Labour is not unpopular in spite of people like Murphy, but because of them."

    Don't be so sure that the penny will drop at all. The Scottish conservatives have been in this position for some time. They are still labouring under the impression that it's simply down to the Scots not getting the message. They've been telling themselves this since Thatcher. You would think a comprehensive defeat in 97, would have been a wake up call for them. But as Alex Massie observed once, the Scottish tories are on the wrong side of history in Scotland, and what's more, content to stay there. Hell, they even launched a much publicised committee into discovering why they were still unpopular and decided it was still the Scottish electorates fault. That's why Ruth Davison can go on record saying "8 out of 10 households contribute nothing to the UK", then ask those households to vote tory. A level of disconnect as wide as a country mile.

    Scottish labour have dined out on anti-tory sentiment for so long, they have gotten fat and lazy on it. Their sense of entitlement to that vote is quite staggering. They are incapable of changing tack, which is why the party leadership think its the price of the polished turd they're selling thats the issue. They are starting to make similar errors that the conservatives did.

  20. Indy gender gap has disappeared: M 53/47 F 52/48

    Kellner correction still upweighting 51 Lab 2010/SNP 2011 voters to 101.

  21. This comment has been removed by the author.

  22. I think the narrative of SNP being portrayed as 'failing' if it does not get the upper end of its estimate seats would be a possibility if Jim Murphy had not stated that he would not allow Labour in Scotland to lose ANY seats. I don't know what possessed him to make such a claim since it will make him look a fool even if he only ends up losing half a dozen or so. Feels like a rare moment of open stupidity by Murphy. If he said nothing then any lack of perceived 'success' from the SNP would dominate the narrative.

  23. The reason Murphy predicted that is because Scottish Labour just expect the Scots ,to fall back into old habits. He thinks they are just having fun in the opinion polls and will revert to Labour on the day. He just can't get it into his tiny mind that the people of Scotland have embraced the SNP and rejected Labour. He has only himself to blame. He spent the whole referendum banging his John Bull drum and siding against Scotland. Then he expects the Scots to believe that he cares about Scotland after sding with the Tories,Orange Order,UKIP and the Ulster unionists.

  24. Folks, I will be extremely happy if I am proved wrong, but my gut feeling remains at 10-20 gains for the SNP. Over high expectations will surely lead to disappointment (we've been there so many times before). Current opinion polls do look great, but don't forget the dark power of the MSM and the silent ones, the scared ones and, of course, the postal votes. You can all slag me off if the SNP do better on the day - I won't mind, not one little bit!

    1. I can understand 20, but why 10? For that to happen, the SNP vote would not only have to collapse, but the Lib Dem vote would have to recover dramatically.

    2. James, it's just the massive swing(s) required. I understand the tipping point factor in FPTP elections, and I agree that a very big overall swing to the SNP now seems likely. However, there could still be, after all that, a large number of close seconds, if the SNP vote fails to "tip" it. A lot of close seconds would be pretty disappointing. All Murphy and Brown have to do is sow enough confusion in a small but critical number of target wavering voters, and they hold most of their seats. As I said, if I'm wrong, I shall be over the moon. I just don't want lots of good people to be disappointed (again).

    3. The swings required in Lib Dem seats are enormous - but the SNP are surpassing the required numbers by light-years. There aren't all that many Labour seats that the SNP could pick up by being only slightly ahead in the national vote, but there are a few. Basically, there would have to be an extraordinary collapse over the next three months for the SNP to do as badly as the lower end of your prediction.

  25. On Jim Murphy, 9 years at university and no degree suggests that he is not that smart. What on earth possessed Scottish Labour to elect him as leader I will never understand.

    People that are not too smart tend to have difficulty in adapting to change and fall back on what worked in the past. Sound familiar?

    1. 9 years is a bit misleading for the Murph (I was the year below him at Strathclyde and a passing acquaintance of his one time acolyte Dougie Trainer, don't know where he disappeared to? I expected him to be a Lab MP by now).

      His sole focus was climbing the greasy pole of student politics within Labour and the NUS to be NUS Scotland president and then UK president and then go for the jaw dropping sellout of dropping NUS opposition to loans and fees at the behest of the incoming Blairite NuLab hierarchy. He was rewarded with the run at Eastwood and the rest is history.

      If he'd spent anything like the energy on studies as he did on machinations, he'd have a first. He's not stupid and is driven to do anything in support of his 2 overarching political priorities: "Jim" and "Murphy".

    2. The problem with Murphy's university history is that it doesn't match his claims.

      His sabbatical at Strathclyde was in 91-92 which meant (as IIRC he was third year when given Sabbatical) he must have begun in 1988 (you can't start a Sabbatical if you haven't successfully completed your year under the rules at the time). This means his first year was 88/89 but his claim is he left South Africa in 1986 to attend Strathclyde. Clearly this is impossible.

    3. I started in Oct 88 and he was either 1 or 2 years above me.

  26. "Scottish Labour is not unpopular in spite of people like Murphy, but because of them." You absolutely hit the nail on the head mate!

  27. "...on Murphy...9 years at degree..not that smart.." etc.
    Murphy was not at uni.for a degree, I surmise.He was, however,"off the streets" and in a subsidized environment where he "apprenticed" himself within student politics making "extra curricular" labour contacts to build a career,however repugnant.He's never lifted a hammer or swung a sickle for real in his "labour" life.He reputedly, however, has lots of income and a good personal wealth. Degree? Smart? He's a journeyman politician.

  28. Luigi - With regards to the postal vote. This might not have the same impact as the referendum. The GE will be lucky to poll 75% of the elctorate. There will not be as many postal votes and the lower turnout suits the SNP anyway. There wil be no co-ordination with the postal vote in terms of Unionist v's nationalist. It's a multi party vote so it's not us against the UK. So a high postal vote does not frighten me in the least. It did in the referendum for different reasons.

    1. I agree - it's mainly the massive Red Tory majorities that concern me. The swing(s) required are so huge that even a slight reduction in the SNP lead could result in a lot of close seconds. The lead will be eaten into once the MSM cranks up. The good news is that, after a few false alarms last week, the SNP vote does not seem to have peaked yet. If the SNP vote peaks at 55-60% in March, then I would say yes, more than 20 seats likely. Time will tell...

    2. 60%? We won't ever see that, for the SNP or anyone else. If it did happen, you wouldn't be looking at twenty seats, but probably all 59. And I say this as someone concerned as anyone else that the figures from now won't be retained, so it's not about me being an optimist (I'm really not one) but to look for 60% before being convinced the SNP will get one third of the seats is a bit much :)

  29. re: the update. So the SNP's core vote is 32% (48% x 67%), but Labour's core vote is only 13% (27% x 50%) ??

    1. James is being slightly unfair because another 34% of Labour's voters agreed with "Unlikely – I may yet change my mind, but I would be surprised if I didn’t end up voting for this party" which gives a total of 84%.

      But the equivalent total for the SNP is 91% and your 'core' equvalents become Lab 23%, SNP 44%.

  30. I think the aim is 30 seats for the SNP. To me a majority is what we need to send a message to them down there. I will be happy with 29+ but delighted with 35+. If we get into the dream scenario of 40+ then independence will happen pretty quickly. Anything less than 40 will be difficult to cause total disruption for the sitting government. It will be a drip drip to independence with 35mp's.

  31. I don't want to be negative but could it be that with the referendum 'safely lost' previously feart Scots voters feel it is now safe to give their support to the SNP in the GE and opinion polls.However if it was the real thing again (another referendum) a fair chunk of these voters would retreat to the safety of Britannia?

    1. That doesn't take into account the systemic problems the corrupt westminster parties have. Sure, we are doing well here in scotland but little Ed, Calamity Clegg and the fop Cameron are hardly setting the world on fire in rUK either as a hung parliament looks ever more inevitable.

      It's also not us who will have to prove how "Better Together" we are at the next Indyref while the westminster parties and the unionist media grow ever more distrusted by the scottish public.

      For those who have somehow missed it, Labour are also relying on someone who is buggering off at the GE to 'save' them in Brown. So it's going to be a touch difficult even for the out of touch London broadcasters to persuade soft scottish Labour voters to put all their trust in someone obviously who has no power whatsoever and is self-evidently leaving politics. All we need to say to any soft Labour voters who still have delusions of "home Rule" and THE VOW delivered by Brown is, "he's quitting". That's it. End of story. It's not hard to to persuade them just how worthless the vow is when they realise that.

      Then you have the colossal SNP membership surge. That is already having consequences with some really impressive candidates and the prospect of even more come 2016. That's before we get into the ground game and the obvious impact that has in elections/referenda. None of the three westminster parties look to be taking that anywhere near as seriously as they should be considering their activist base has been weakening year after year after year.

      The demographic changes/identity politics over the coming years also do not favour the unionists, to say the least.

      So while there will unquestionably be some who would vote SNP but not vote for Independence the fact is that once you bridge that gap from die-hard - "I'll never vote for the SNP" unionists to - "okay, I'll give them my vote for this" then you have already transformed what was a monolithic and stubbornly anti-SNP Labour vote into voters who will listen to what you say and a far more amenable to the arguments.

      You could also make the case that this is also scottish voters giving westminster one last chance to show us all how "Better Together" we are. If they don't live up to it then hell mend them.

  32. @ David Agnew

    "Don't be so sure that the penny will drop at all. The Scottish conservatives have been in this position for some time."

    Don't forget about Murdo Frazers attempt to start a new Conservative Party in Scotland that would be entirely separate from the Westminster Party, David.
    Although he didn't win, he got a sizeable chunk of the vote, so clearly the penny has dropped for a lot of Tory's.
    As well as this, Ruth Davidson won by promising a 'line in the sand' as far as further Scottish Government powers was concerned, so I would think that this makes it clear that her support came mostly from uber Brits as well as a lot of English voters, so the fact that not long after her 'Line in the sand' Vow (what!!! another one?) she reneged on it, shows that their was a danger that the party would be badly damaged if she kept to this promise, so Cameron forced her to do a U-turn.

    I honestly think the problem with Scottish Labour MP's / MSP's, is that they are simply thick as mince.!

    This is because the Westminster Party has needed them to be pliable and easily manipulated, as well as people who would be prepared to stab their own people in the back.
    I doubt if Labour ever imagined that the Labour Party would ever be seriously challenged in Scotland, so intelligence or strength of character would have been undesirable characteristics in potential Labour MP's.

    Now we have people like Brian Donahue (Russian subs coming up the Clyde) Jim Hood (I wouldn't support independence even if I knew Scotland would be better off with it) Michael Kelly, Margaret Curran, etc etc.

    So, all that is left to say is, 'Good riddance Labour Party in Scotland, you most certainly wont be missed.

    1. "As well as this, Ruth Davidson won by promising a 'line in the sand' as far as further Scottish Government powers was concerned"

      There was also some amusingly 'sharp practice' between Cameron's placewoman and Murdo. Namely some curiously murky goings-on at CCHQ to push her over the line and stop Murdo at all costs.

      Something I somehow doubt Murdo and his followers have forgotten about. Something that might even be in the back of his mind should there still be as many Pandas as tory MPs come May 2015. ;)

      Agree with your assessmen of the Labour 'talent' Patrick. Some of them are barely sentient westminster seat-warmers who exist only to suck up as much in westminster expenses as they can. They are also usually most of the same ones who simply cannot conceive of Labour voters doing anything other than delivering them another term regardless of anything they or Miliband do.

  33. I've just seen the breakdown for the "Which party is best to deliver more powers to Scotland?" and "Why party will provide the strongest voice for Scotland" on Wings.

    In both cases just TWO percent believe that the Liberals will be best. This is the FEDERALIST party. The party historically committed to a Federal solution, the place we are most likely heading at the present moment. But so toxic have they become that only two percent believe they are the best option for Scotland.

    That's just so telling.

    1. "In both cases just TWO percent believe that the Liberals will be best"

      Clegg's ostrich faction really are a pitiful joke of a party now.

      Clegg's clueless spinners have grown so desperate and deluded they are trying to claim the credit for getting scottish votes to 16 and 17 year olds at Holyrood. Yeah, it's all because the bumbling Carmichael backs it isn't it? LOL Like fun it is.

      Speaking of which, It's taken as read that Carmichael is in the safest of seats (and may well end up the only scottish lib dem MP left after the carnage in May) but what isn't as well known is that even there the inept Clegg cheerleader's comical antics are very rapidly bolstering a growing SNP presence. The SNP membership in Shetland has grown some 6X to approaching 300. That ain't nothing and it sure as hell isn't a good sign for Carmichael any more than the pathetic 2% he and Clegg's ostrich faction got in that poll.

      For those who still don't get it we are in this for the long run. Even if we can't overturn some of the truly gigantic westminster majorities we are determined to cut them well down to size for the future.

    2. The last Liberal in Scotland will be John Sinclair.

  34. A word on the Ashcroft polls tomorrow. If weighted by 2010 they'll be vulnerable to false recall. If so, there's a good chance they could underestimate us, but that could our motivation high.