Monday, February 2, 2015

SNP's lead in the Poll of Polls increases to 16%

Calum Findlay mentioned in a comment on the previous thread that Populus have finally stopped downweighting SNP supporters by such an extreme amount in their GB-wide polls.  I can't find any sort of official announcement, but if today's poll is anything to go by, they do suddenly seem to be weighting respondents who identify with the SNP to a more realistic target figure (although those people are still being downweighted slightly).  That's resulted in the SNP opening up a huge lead in the Scottish subsample, breaking a sequence of Populus subsamples that had Labour and the SNP more or less level-pegging.

If this methodological change is a lasting one, it should lead to a modest boost in the SNP's showing in any future Poll of Polls updates that are wholly reliant on subsamples.  Today's update is one such example - it's based on four subsamples from YouGov, two from Populus and one from Ashcroft.  As ever, the Opinium poll from the weekend has had to be excluded because the Scottish figures weren't published.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 42.0% (+0.7)
Labour 26.1% (-2.1)
Conservatives 18.3% (+1.4)
Liberal Democrats 5.7% (+0.8)
UKIP 3.9% (-0.7)
Greens 3.3% (-0.5)

(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.)

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Alongside the release of his grandiosely titled "ANP", Ashcroft usually summarises the findings of his focus groups.  Today he reveals that asking voters in England about the Tory poster of Miliband and Salmond unleashed a torrent of unpleasant comments about Scots, with this example being given : "The amount of time and effort they’ve all gone to because they’re so desperate to get their additional powers. Why is Scotland so bloody special? Their kids get university for free, they get free prescriptions, and they’re still moaning."  This attitude is as irrational as it is offensive, because poll after poll in the run-up to the referendum showed that people in England overwhelmingly wanted Scotland to "stay" (to use our opponents' idiotic jargon).  Nor can it be claimed that those polls were only of academic interest - there's no way that the London party leaders would have been able to issue The Vow if they had been faced with an electorate in England that preferred to see the back of Scotland.

At some point, people in England are going to have to resolve this schizophrenic attitude to Scotland.  And if they do want us to "stay", that will mean taking us as we actually are - which at the moment is as an SNP-voting country that wants the proper Home Rule that we were solemnly promised.



    The weasel words are "At the same time we have taken the opportunity to make minor changes to the party ID weightings we give those who identify with minor parties and with no party to make the difference between the unweighted and weighted totals for these slightly less pronounced".

    1. Thanks - I overlooked that bit.

    2. Certainly should bring populus more into line with other polls. The SS correction is vindicated - looks very close new populus results!

  2. If those attitudes quoted in Ashcroft's site are true they can only increase as a panicking Labour party seems [to some non-Scottish eyes] to offer Scotland more and more devolution. If may even put off a significant number of voters in England who normally vote Labour. If so the Labour party would begin to consistently lag behind the Tories in the polls - thus voting Labour in Scotland would seem to be even more pointless as it is now.


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  4. I'm not sure the free education theme will work well. Few people understand English student finance and its long term effects. David Willets in the Commons estimated that 45% of english student loans will not be repaid. The funding is originally borrowed by the government and lent to students thus transferring state debt to personal debt. IFS reckoned the subsidy to each student is in the region of £27k. Scotland not only pays for its own students from its current account (part of higher public expenditure in scotland) but also pays a portion of the subsidy to english students through its contribution to national debt. The real kicker will be in 2 stages. Firstly, the student will be burdened with growing debt which is likely to reduce their economic activity for years to come through reduction on free cash available for goods and mortgages. Secondly, the unpaid student loans will reappear on government debt sometime in the next 40 years as the student stops being responsible for the debt. Scotland I'll pick up its share of these debts too through its contributions to the national debt. The sums are significant with £bns being paid out annually. Scotland pays for its own students AND contributes to England students too. Pooling and sharing.