Friday, April 10, 2015

Extraordinary from the YouGov poll - the SNP would have led by 24% even WITHOUT the new turnout filter

A number of us wondered last night if the sharp increase in the SNP's lead was a sign that YouGov had introduced a turnout filter in their full-scale Scottish polls, just as they did earlier this week in their Britain-wide polls.  It turns out that they have indeed introduced a filter, but the SNP surge was not a sign of it - because the voting intention numbers for both the SNP and Labour would have been exactly the same without it.  I can't spot any other methodological change that has been made - there's no sign of the "weighting by voting intention in January/February" that's been brought in for Britain-wide polls.

What that means is that it's possible to make a reasonably meaningful comparison between the headline numbers in this poll and previous YouGov polls - albeit with one important caveat, namely that weighting by recalled referendum vote was brought in earlier this year.  In this poll, that's helping the SNP slightly, because people who recall voting Yes have been weighted up from 432 to 458, and people who recall voting No have been weighted down from 584 to 560.  Paradoxically, though, in the early post-referendum polls, there were too many Yes voters in the sample - so if weighting by recalled referendum vote had been applied consistently throughout, the reported increase in the SNP lead since October would almost certainly have been even bigger.

My namesake James has made a reasonable point on the previous thread about an error of logic that YouGov seem to be making - they've sharply upweighted respondents who were born outside the UK to count as a full 9% of the sample.  It seems highly unlikely that as many as 9% of those eligible to vote in Scotland in this election were born overseas, because the rules are not the same as the ones that applied for the referendum, in which all EU citizens resident here were permitted to vote.  To be eligible to vote in a general election, you need to be a UK, Commonwealth or Irish citizen (which excludes 24 of the 28 EU countries, and most importantly Poland).  If YouGov are indeed getting it wrong on that point, it may be leading to a very slight overestimation of the SNP lead, because the small subsample of voters from overseas has the SNP ahead of Labour by a bigger margin of 49% to 10%.  The Tories are in second place on 21%.

I must stress, though, that country of birth weighting is vitally important, because without it there would be far too many English-born people in the sample, which would of course lead to the SNP lead being underestimated.  Among Scottish-born respondents, the SNP are ahead by 50% to 25%, but among respondents born elsewhere in the UK, Labour are actually narrowly in the lead by 30% to 28% (and the Tories aren't far behind on 25%).

Has Nicola Sturgeon succeeded in eradicating the gender gap?  There isn't really one in this poll - the SNP lead by 50% to 24% among men, and by 49% to 25% among women.  And there's also terrible news for London journalists who love to write headlines about how young people are "too cool for separatism" - a mind-boggling 61% of respondents aged 18-24 are planning to vote SNP, which is a much bigger share than the party is scoring among any other age group.  But even among over-60s (by far the most problematical group for the Yes campaign), the SNP enjoy a commanding lead over Labour of 21%.

Possibly the funniest detail in the datasets is that Willie Rennie was regarded as by far the worst performer in the STV leaders' debate by even the tiny number of respondents who are planning to vote Liberal Democrat in May!  Among that group, 28% thought Nicola Sturgeon was best, compared to just 6% for Rennie.  Among the much bigger group of respondents who actually voted Lib Dem back in 2010, the gap is unsurprisingly much bigger - with Sturgeon favoured by 42%, and Rennie by 3%.

The stubborn refusal of voters in the real world to do the bidding of unionist journalists by recognising the "obvious truth" that Jim Murphy won the debate is also reflected in the net approval ratings for various leaders -

Nicola Sturgeon:  +48
Jim Murphy:  -18
David Cameron:  -25
Ed Miliband:  -46
Nick Clegg:  -54

Last but not least, there are voting intention figures for next year's Scottish Parliament election - and because that contest is still a fair distance away, no turnout filter has been applied.  In line with the Westminster numbers, the SNP's lead has increased on the constituency ballot, although that's only because Labour have slipped.  It's pretty much steady-as-she-goes on the regional list ballot, apart from the fact that the Greens have dropped back even further, and are now only barely ahead of the Lib Dems.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot :

SNP 49% (n/c)
Labour 24% (-3)
Conservatives 16% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)
Greens 3% (n/c)
UKIP 2% (n/c)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot :

SNP 42% (-1)
Labour 24% (-1)
Conservatives 16% (+1)
Greens 6% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)
SSP 3% (+1)
UKIP 2% (n/c)


  1. Just read something on Wings comments that genuinely shocked me for a moment, simply because it true...

    Just another 3% swing in the next polls would put the Tory Party in fron of Labour in Scotland!

    Just let that one sink in for a moment :-0

    1. Well, it doesn't surprise me. Labour became so dominant in Scotland because they were seen as the main anti-Tory party, but now that role has been taken over by the SNP (due to Labour's indyref collaboration with the Tories), so the only Labour voters left are the ones that aren't anti-Tory, and they might as well vote Tory. I'm kind of expecting Labour and the Conservatives eventually to merge in Scotland.

    2. Now, there's a thought, Thomas. After watching the video of Messiah Murphy, it strikes me that the new, combined party could be known as the "Faecal Factory Socialists" - ffs for short ...

  2. What's Ruth Davidson's approval rating?
    I could never bring myself to vote Conservative, but she impresses me a lot more than the rest of her party.

    1. That question wasn't asked in this poll (or if it was, it's not in the datasets).

  3. Any chance of a Poll of Polls including this? Thanks.

  4. It's often said of Ruth Davidson:" An intelligent politicion in the wrong party".

    I disagree. She is in the wrong party by choice ,and because she cannot see beyond her sychophancy and party loyalty. She is a right wing snob who only cares for the wealthy and allows harm to be done to Scotland.

    That's not a very intelligent person to me. That's someone who cares little for the population of Scotland.

    I am not a fan!

    1. Neither am I. I can sort of see why other people regard her as a good debater, but I really don't warm to her at all. I remember seeing her and Jenny Marra being interviewed together as new MSPs in 2011, and it was Marra that leapt out at me as being the more charismatic of the two. (Not that I'm a fan of Marra either, but everything's relative!)

    2. I agree she's very superficial at FMQs, and very self-satisfied in general.

  5. I think she puffs her cheeks out, and talks a good game. However there is an undercurrent of extreme right wing beliefs. To me she really couldn't care less about poverty or those less fortunate than herself.

    We all know people like that in our lives. Their views usually come out in casual conversation, and you change your feelings towards these people. There are too many selfish people in this world like Ruth and her Eton boys in charge. I have no time for selfish greedy i'm alright jack types.

    1. No undercurrent at all; it's right out there in front of us all.

      I remember flicking channels and catching a bit of the Big Debate in the Hydro, with Nicola, Patrick, Galloway and her. The MC decided to change topic and asked about a more equal society and Ruth Davidson's reply staggered me; something like, It won't surprise you that we aren't in favour of a more equal society.

      A child of Thatcher.

  6. Channel 4 have piggy-backed onto the YouGov poll to ask some questions about tactical voting and some other stuff (how "Scottish" a party is, what should the SNP demand, preferred election outcome, is Scotland divided)

    I'm not convinced by Gary Gibbon's analysis in the link above. The recent ComRes poll of Labour seats showed Tory support at more or less the same level in Labour seats as it was in 2010.

    Yes, there is some potential for tactical voting, but the problem is that in the places where it may be effective, it is least likely to happen. This is because if you have a close three-way race involving (say) the Tories, Labour and SNP (e.g. Dumfries and Galloway), then both unionist parties will be reluctant to 'go easy' in favour of the other, because they will both believe that they can win. Where it may be more effective is some of the Edinburgh seats, where there is some residual Tory vote and they have no real chance of winning.

    1. And being confronted with a question that assumes only Labour and the SNP have a chance in the constituency is very different from being faced with a ballot paper with several candidates. It's very likely that a good number of people are saying they would vote tactically when in fact they wouldn't.

    2. Perhaps then this poll should be considered the maximum potential of tactical voting?

      I see there is also a Survation poll for the Guardian asking this hypothetical "what if the SNP and Plaid stood in England" question. Got a fairly similar result to the YouGov poll on the same basis.

    3. If there was a hung parliament and the SNP hold the balance of power, do you think they should or should not request each of the following in exchange for supporting a Westminster Government?.....

      .....Greatly explained devolution to Scotland, including all powers except foreign affairs and defence?

      Should ask for this: 61%
      Should not ask for this: 29%
      Don't Know: 10%

      Excluding DK:
      Should: 68% Should Not: 32%

    4. According to Ashcroft, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale is now too close to call with the Tories and the SNP neck and neck. Labour is nowhere.

      This morning my postie delivered a Labour leaflet to me which insisted that the only party with any chance of getting rid of Scotland's only Tory MP was Labour.

      Bloody liars.

      In my opinion (and I'm campaigning in the constituency) vote Labour if you don't mind Mundell retaining his seat, vote SNP if getting rid of Mundell is more important than dissing the SNP. Which it could be for quite a lot of Labour voters if they only knew how the parties stand now. The equivalent goes for the LibDems, come to that.) I am endeavouring to explain this to anyone I meet!

  7. Calum excluding don't knows 68% want Devo Max or Full Fiscal. Doesn't it make a mockery of the so called representative audience, in both the BBC and STV debates.

    When Nicola suggested Full Fiscal it was widely booed. Yet the poll says a large majority want it. Funny that!

  8. Q1- If the SSP do get 3% in the Scottish Parliament regional list next year, will that be enough to get someone elected for them?

    Q2- Is there a minimum %age threshold that a party has to achieve on the regional list, in order to have a MSP selected?

    Q3- How about UKIP, are they likely to elect anyone?

    Thanks in advance, teecher!

    1. Don't know, but I'd imagine their vote will be concentrated in Glasgow and West of Scotland which might help. I doubt they'll make it though, which is a shame I like Colin Fox. The Greens have a good chance to overtake the LibDems though.

  9. Are SNP targeting some labour seats more than others? I live in Glasgow north and have had mail from labour four times within the last month, but none from SNP, seems strange with there membership numbers that I have yet to have contact or mail from them.

  10. The snp gives the impression that they are gods gift to the people of Scotland and that anyone working within local authorities would be safe in their hands.
    So far there definition of safe has meant pay offs in every local authority in Scotland who have millions of shortfall this is due to their vote pinching through the freezing of the council tax.
    They talk about helping Labour get in to power, the last time Labour was dependant on there votes what did they do, vote with the tories to bring down a Labour government.
    They were the vehicle that transported thatcher to no 10, you do remember her don't you or is it just convenient to forget about that fact. Through there disastrous folly in voting with the tories they brought in the worst years in recent history, which destroyed the miners and shipyards, not to mention the poll tax.
    Trust snp, not unless you are you are certified insane, would or should you vote for them only if you want to give Cameron another 5 year lease.
    if we voted yes in the referendum the snp would have turned Scotland into a banana republic due to there white paper finances being based on there assumption of the cost of a barrel of oil.

    1. "They were the vehicle that transported thatcher to no 10"

      Utter tripe. The SNP helped to prop up the Callaghan government for years and years, and in the end only brought a general election forward by a few weeks. At the absolute latest, there would have had to be an election by October 1979 - and Labour would have lost whenever it had came. They were miles behind the Tories after the winter of discontent.

      It's you guys - not us - who think that the south of England should choose Scotland's government for us. So it's your own consciences you should be examining when you complain about what happened in 1979. It wasn't the SNP who voted in Thatcher, and nor was it the people of Scotland.