Thursday, October 15, 2015

Crucial YouGov poll suggests Corbyn and the Michelle Thomson affair have failed to dent the SNP's lead

The most recent YouGov poll of Scottish Parliament voting intentions was tantalisingly conducted between the 7th and 10th of September, just before the result of the Labour leadership election was announced.  If only it had been delayed for a few days, we'd have had our first indication of whether Scottish Labour had enjoyed a Corbyn bounce.  As it was, we had to wait a long time for the TNS poll last week, which suggested that little had changed.  Today's new YouGov poll shows much the same picture, and crucially the fieldwork is bang up-to-date - it was conducted between last Friday and Tuesday of this week.  That means the results, unlike those from TNS, can be taken as evidence that the Michelle Thomson affair has made no impact either.

Constituency ballot :

SNP 51% (n/c)
Labour 21% (-1)
Conservatives 19% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (+1)

Regional list ballot :

SNP 45% (n/c)
Labour 20% (n/c)
Conservatives 19% (+1)
Greens 6% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 5% (+1)
SSP 3% (n/c)
UKIP 3% (n/c)

(Note : London is a very long way away, so clearly the existence of RISE has yet to be noticed at YouGov HQ!)

Although YouGov and TNS are in agreement on the trend, there is still an important divergence between them on just how strong the SNP's position is.  TNS have the SNP 5% higher on the constituency ballot, and a full 7% higher on the list.  If YouGov are to believed, the SNP's overall majority at Holyrood is at more risk, because it would only take a few points' worth of slippage and/or polling error to take Nicola Sturgeon into the danger zone.  It's also worth noting that both YouGov and TNS agree that the supposed Green renaissance isn't really happening, so any SNP supporters who are still tempted to "lend" their list vote to the Greens ought to be aware of two things : 1) they are doing so at a time when polling does not indicate that the SNP's majority is completely secure, and 2) they are giving their list vote to a party that may well fail to take any seats at all in some or most regions.

Devastatingly for Labour, it appears that 21% of their rump vote from May does not plan to remain loyal to the party next May.  Intriguingly, the lost support appears to be moving disproportionately towards the Tories - 11% of Labour voters say they will vote Tory next year, and only 4% say they will vote SNP.  This lends weight to the theory that if Labour are slipping further, Corbyn could be to blame - "moderate" unionist voters may be deserting Labour for a more natural home, and left-wing voters are failing to offset that effect by "coming home" from the SNP.  In absolute terms, the number of SNP voters that have switched to Labour since the general election looks almost identical to the number of Labour voters who have moved in the opposite direction.

Of course, we know from past experience that voters behave differently in Westminster and Holyrood elections, which might explain some of the direction of travel.  But it's very hard to think of any reason why a "Holyrood effect" would be responsible for voters moving from Labour to Tory.  That said, Jim Murphy appeared to be very popular among some Tory supporters, so it could simply be that some Tories who were prepared to vote tactically for Labour in May are returning to the fold now that Murphy is no longer Scottish Labour leader.  Even in the pre-Corbyn YouGov poll, there were signs that Labour deserters were breaking slightly more for the Tories.

YouGov have also asked the independence question, again finding an unchanged position -

Should Scotland be an independent country?

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

So the Yes vote remains 3% higher than at the referendum, and as before, it appears the reason is that Yes have been slightly more successful in retaining their own voters, and have also been slightly more successful in attracting new support from the other side.  13% of No voters have drifted away from their previous position, and most of them haven't become Don't Knows, but are instead now in the Yes column.  There has been some movement in the opposite direction, though - 6% of Yes voters have moved directly to No, which explains why the net swing to Yes hasn't been considerably bigger.

The sharp divergence between 'real world' pollsters like Ipsos-Mori and volunteer panel pollsters like YouGov remains in place.  Given that there doesn't appear to have been any recent movement in public opinion, there's no reason to suppose that the next independence poll from TNS or Ipsos-Mori will show anything other than a clear Yes lead.

42 comments:

  1. That would leave the SNP with 70 seats, Labour and Conservtive with 25 seats each, Lib Dems with 4 and Green 5. Interesting differences between YouGov and Ipsos MORI as far as the Conservative lead goes.

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  2. Labour collapse and Tories increase. Truly we live in strange times Grasshopper.

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    1. A plague of locusts on both their houses.

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    2. To be honest,it is only Yougov that suggests any sort of Tory increase. All the others have them largely the same as 2011. My average, including Yougov, is 14/14. Excluding Yougov I have 13/13.

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  3. It's a matter of trust.
    Most Scots trust the Scottish NP to put Scotland's interests first and do not trust the British parties to do so.
    No amount of spin is going to cover up the fact that the pretendy Scottish Labour party is controlled from London.
    At least the Tories and Liberals make no pretence otherwise.

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  4. Now that it is apparent that the MT affair has had no impact on the SNP poll lead, will BBC Labour and the Tory press now back off?

    Or will they demonstrate insanity once more by making the same mistake over and over again, expecting a different outcome if they just try a little bit harder?

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    1. No, they will continue with SNP bad forever more. They are one trick ponies, so they have no other option. That is what they have built their careers on.

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    2. Whatever we think of the current output of the BBC, pro-independence/SNP supporters should hope for a balanced and critical media. it's incumbent upon the BBC to report news without fear or favour. What the popular opinion is of a political party or any government is completely irrelevant to what should be pursued. As we should expect.

      I was as disappointed as everyone else with some of the apalling coverage during the referendum but i'm noticing an increased incredulity at anything critical or negative reporting of the SNP. They are there to be judged. If we're right, we should win.

      For examply, I'm interested in their policies on fracking, in particular (totally unsure on it either way). The media uncovered they have put decisions off til after the holyrood election. This is good journalism which is needed and not to the detriment of the SNP but holding them to account which we are all richer for.

      PS Seems a high 3% for the SSP and Green 6%...so nearly 10% "hard" left...that's interesting. Never even noticed SSP on these polls before. Maybe there is a position for this in Scotland after all if given prominence in polling and coverage.

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    3. From one anon to another: completely agree. Journalists holding the government to account is exactly what they're there to do. We shouldn't see something as biased just because it's critical of the SNP. This tendency to rally around them as if they're a football team is something I find completely baffling.

      I'm all for uncritically supporting independence as a concept, but doing the same with a party (that like any other party are made up largely of career politicians with a loose grasp of morality at the best of times) isn't healthy. Independence is one of hundreds of policies they have and it would be odd for any one person to agree with them on everything.

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    4. "made up largely of career politicians with a loose grasp of morality"

      Example please.

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    5. Michelle Thomson? That's a bit of an open goal by debating standards.

      But the point here isn't to bash the SNP - that's a pointless discussion. They're no worse than anyone else, but they are a professional political party and as such should be treated with the scepticism afforded to any other political party.

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    6. An equally open goal is to point out that there is no evidence that Michelle Thomson has done anything wrong, and that you'll therefore need to find a better example.

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    7. If they want to slash their wrists then I am all for handing them newly sharpened razors man. It could be that nobody is reading their crap or watching it on the goggle box any more!

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    8. That is indeed the party line, James.

      I'm not arguing about Michelle Thomson, I'm making the exceptionally simple point that you'll tend to get a better service from your government if you scrutinise their behaviour, not defend them to the hilt regardless of what they do. It's hardly a revolutionary perspective.

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    9. "That is indeed the party line, James."

      And more to the point, it's also the truth.

      "I'm not arguing about Michelle Thomson"

      Then why cite her as an example?

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    10. I clearly shouldn't have because it's given you an excuse to completely ignore the point being made and churn out arguments about Michelle Thomson instead.

      Though as it happens, she does offer an excellent example of the militant defensiveness toward the SNP that you and countless others exhibit.

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    11. You were asked for an example to justify your claim that the SNP are "made up largely of career politicians with a loose grasp of morality". You offered Michelle Thomson. You were unable to justify using her as example, or to provide an alternative example.

      Your attempt to change the subject to distract from the fact that you cannot support your argument is, I'm afraid, pathetic.

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    12. So to clarify, you don't think the SNP are made up primarily of career politicians? Are you seriously that gullible?

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    13. I don't think you understand how this works. You were the one that made the claim - can you support it, or can't you?

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    14. So you were talking through a hole in your arse?

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    15. James is right. As to the SNP, it will have careerists, as political parties all seem to attract them. However it has no long history of safe seats. So if its a career you want you had better join Labour or the Conservatives - both of which come with H O L pension plans too.

      There are people with questionable motives in all walks of life. But wishing above all else, that Scotland should be independent is the least questionable motive I can imagine. Even if I was worse off, I would rather be free. And many many Yes voters did so without self gain at the forefront of their minds.

      Wha sae base as be a slave?

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    16. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 15, 2015 at 10:04 PM

      The only thing missing is no one now represents the working class and those walking long distances to food banks while refugees get free bus passes and food cards. An unequal society indeed under the Nat sis.

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    17. Eat your cereal.

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    18. Reply back from Anon to Anon and others; regardless of the morality of the MPs (of which I can make no comment as I know none of them well) that is really beside the point. I'm not particularly enamoured with a few of them who seem to have gone down the estabilished activist/researcher route of without a real job in their puff...but that's just my preference. A few seem to have done nothing more than "campaigns". I'd rather someone that's worked in a non-political environment that's able to represent that. But that's beside the point.

      I support independence and i'm left of centre. But I want accountability on issues that matter around social issues. The automatic response seems to be - "look at the polls" rather than deal with the issues on a practical level. Although, I'm encouraged by Nicola's rhetoric that these issues matter as much as independence.

      I'd like to hear more on workers' rights alongside business rate policies. We seem a bit light on it. "Stronger for Scotland" is good but what about the workers'? I'd like to see more on that.



      The point is there is a militant defending of anything critical at all.

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  5. Oh dear big fail for Brit Nat Brainwashing Corpmedia and Corp Press

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  6. Anon -Michelle Thomson is irrelevent to SNP party scrutiny. She is a side show created by MSM to try and demonise an individual, and sully the party. The defensiveness you allude to is to stand up to intimidation, innuendo,falsehoods and bullying. What MSM have done is deplorable gutter journalism.

    You must understand the difference between legitimate scrutiny and outright skull duggery. If you can't see it then I can't make you see it.

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    1. It is not. We only know about her activities due to the MSM. It's up to the public then (all of the public, not just SNP supporters) to judge if it is appropriate behaviour. Public figures are there to be scrutinised.

      You can make your own call on whether the activities become someone who's interested in representing people or not. But we only have that choice if we know about it.

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  7. Help me out, someone: what exactly is the relationship between the SSP and RISE???

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    1. That's like trying to understand the 'three-as-one' nature of the Holy Trinity - it's beyond the ken of mere mortals.

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    2. The SSP are only one part of RISE, it is a coalition of left wing parties/groups. I don't know much about it to be honest.

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  8. Is it an electoral pact or a more formal arrangement? What's the leadership structure of RISE? I might be tempted to give them a vote but I'm fucked if I vote for the ex-militant dickheads in the SSP.

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  9. As a Lib Dem I have been finding the polls interesting to be honest and will be more interesting once the Carmichael issue is resolved one way or the other. Now I am also one of the Lib Dems who is a YES voter and also one arguing that the party in Scotland needs to put Scotland first and learn the lessons from putting party and union first. The party can't fall much further to be honest but the Scottish Lib Dems aligning itself with the Tories and Labour this week in the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign will I suspect backfire in the elections next year and will remind many voters of the referendum campaign and Cleggs huge mistake in going into coalition with the Tories in the first place. This might see the party falling further behind in the polls.

    What I also think will be interesting in future polls is any complacency within the SNP and any perception that they are being sucked into the Westminster system. I watched a bit of the conference today and was not impressed with SNP MPs interviewing themselves about being SNP MPs, these type of things have a tendency to backfire in my opinion, this is not an anti SNP rant as I was a member of the party but left to join the party where my heart lays no matter how difficult that will be, esp. being a YES voter in a party that has some but not many. However any perception that the SNP are becoming a part of the system might see some soft voters shifting to other parties and the shift of some from Labour to Tory is surprising in some ways and funny in others.

    Interesting times.

    Grumpy Scottish Man

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 15, 2015 at 10:16 PM

      You are a Lib Dem! Aye Right.

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    2. Eat your cereal.

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  10. James, any idea why the Tories show so much higher in YouGov?

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  11. The weird thing was the Yes/No split in the youngest age group, though again YouGov are not aware that 16yo persons can vote in Holyrood elections as the lower bound is 18. But they have No in the lead for this group.

    I suspect this reflects the low number of young persons on YouGov's panel.

    So since other real world pollsters have Yes solidly in the lead in this age group we should probably move the Yes/No figures much closer to 50/50, at least.

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    1. The fact that 40,000 young people aged 16-25 leave Scotland every year, and are replaced by incomers in the 25-40 age group taking up high paid jobs in Scotland because they have more experience and therefore appear better qualified on paper, may account for why the Yes figures are higher in the youngest group but then fall significantly in the next youngest group. The 25-40 age group also contains a large number of Eastern Europeans and other immigrants from beyond Britain, and I think that this group, being attracted to the UK rather than Scotland for its perceived strength and global position, may instinctively feel safer on the No side as maybe they see a British passport as more useful than a potentially Scottish one.

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  12. Still can't believe that there are still so many people who plan to vote for the Conservatives even when we see what they are doing to the UK and how it's affecting poorer people disproportionately and assisting the wealthy!

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  13. Do you suppose the Labour vote move to Tory is anti-Corbyn, or anti-SNP? Maybe it's coming from the 75% of English-born No voters? They might be more concerned to stop the SNP than anything else. Despite the English Scots for Yes group. and a good number of non-Scots born folk I know who voted Yes, there was a sizeable and vocal number of English-born folk I knew living in Scotland who were absolutely furious we ever got to even hold our referendum, never mind get to 45%. And these folk, like Adam Tomkins, English-born and living in Scotland with Scottish jobs paid for by our taxes and our institutions which we built, see Scotland as England's fiefdom and are oblivious to the fact that this amounts to colonialism.

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  14. Several comments have been made about the need to hold the SNP to account. Surely the problem, and the reason why people complain, is the difference between the SNP and the unionist parties. If all got the same level of critical scrutiny, perhaps we wouldn't have anything to complain about. Until that happens, we do and we should.

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  15. Is there any evidence that those who think the SNP are "not left wing enough" or "aren't really committed to independence" are contributing significantly to the drift away? It would be ironic (to say the least) if left-wing, pro-independence voters caused the SNP to lose their majority and denied Scots a second referendum.

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