Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Kalamity Kez in crisis after unsparing YouGov poll confirms Scottish Labour's existence is now pointless

Today's new YouGov poll will come as something of a relief for the SNP, because the fieldwork is bang-up-to-date (it concluded yesterday), and there is no sign at all of the slippage on the list vote reported by TNS last week.  Quite the reverse, in fact.

Constituency ballot :

SNP 50% (+1)
Labour 21% (+2)
Conservatives 18% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1)
Greens 3% (-1)
UKIP 2% (-1)

Regional list ballot :

SNP 45% (+2)
Labour 19% (+2)
Conservatives 18% (-1)
Greens 8% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 5% (n/c)
UKIP 3% (-1)
SSP 1% (n/c)

All the same, today's findings are another reminder of the folly of 'tactical voting' advocates who insist there is some sort of polling consensus that the SNP are running light-years ahead of their showing five years ago.  In fact, YouGov are putting them just 5% ahead of their constituency result from 2011, and just 1% ahead of their 2011 result on the list.

Clearly the Greens' 3% support in the constituencies is up for grabs, because they won't have a candidate in most constituency seats.  Their vote seems to split roughly evenly between Yes and No voters, so the SNP certainly won't be getting all of it, but presumably we'd be safe enough to add on another 1% to the SNP's share.

On the list vote, the Greens will probably have mixed feelings - 8% is healthy enough, but we know that polls have overestimated their strength in previous elections, and there's no sign at all that Patrick Harvie's inclusion in the TV debates has led to any boost (on that point YouGov are in agreement with last week's Survation poll).  They're probably quite unlucky that this is the least competitive Holyrood election to date, because there wasn't the usual sense of excitement over the debates.  People are obviously less likely to have their minds changed by a debate if they're not really paying attention.

This poll is very bad news for RISE, and not just because YouGov are still referring to them as the SSP.  They were offered a rare glimmer of hope last week when TNS became the first firm other than YouGov to put them above 1%.  But if they had really been making progress, you'd have expected their most favourable pollster to put them on at least 2% today, and that hasn't happened.  Having said that, we'll wait and see what the next TNS or Ipsos-Mori poll says - it's not totally impossible that RISE are making modest gains on the ground that only 'real world' polls (telephone or face-to-face) will be able to pick up.

Labour's apparent mini-recovery may not be meaningful, as the the last YouGov poll was particularly bad for them, and the changes are comfortably within the margin of error.  Nevertheless, YouGov have consistently been the most favourable pollster for the Scottish Tories over the last few months, so if the Tories find themselves behind Labour in even this poll, it clearly remains unlikely that Ruth Davidson will replace Kezia Dugdale as leader of the opposition in May (although Dugdale may well be replaced by someone from her own party's ranks).

I don't subscribe to the view that the personal ratings of party leaders are a better guide to the outcome of elections than voting intention figures.  Nevertheless, it's fair to say that Alex Salmond's personal lead over Iain "the Snarl" Gray was a necessary prerequisite for the SNP's dramatic late comeback in 2011.  The fact that Nicola Sturgeon's net rating in today's poll is 50 points better than Kezia Dugdale's, and 28 points better than Ruth Davidson's (amusingly, Willie Rennie wasn't even asked about) doesn't leave the opposition parties with much grounds for hope that the SNP's support could prove soft.  In any case, as late as the turnaround was in 2011, it was already well underway by this stage of the campaign.

There's an absurdly long string of supplementary questions asking whether Kezia Dugdale or Ruth Davidson is better on a range of leadership skills and policy areas.  The results are mixed, but what I find more interesting is why the questions were asked at all.  The poll was commissioned by the Times, so it could be that they're trying to frame this election as primarily a battle for second place, and as a personal duel between Davidson and Dugdale rather than one between the Tories and Labour.  (Presumably they're banking on the Ruth Davidson brand being marginally less despised in Scotland than the Tory brand.)

Someone has asked in the comments section whether the YouGov sample still has far too many people who were born outside Scotland.  The answer is yes, but only in the unweighted sample - YouGov introduced weighting by country of birth during the referendum campaign.  They're also having to downweight Yes voters from the referendum quite sharply, and the same was true of Survation last week.  If by any chance the SNP outperform their standing in online polls, it might be a clue that weighting by recalled referendum vote has its limitations.  OK, there's probably not much danger of people falsely recalling that they voted Yes, but it's not hard to see why a few people might be embarrassed to admit they voted No.  The reason why this point is of interest is that downweighting of Yes voters makes a contribution to the slight No lead that we typically see in online polls at the moment.

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UPDATE : Since I wrote this post, YouGov have quietly revised today's datasets and replaced references to the SSP with "RISE - Scotland's Left Alliance".  It's therefore unclear whether respondents were actually asked about RISE by name.

UPDATE II : Anthony Wells of YouGov has sent me a tweet clarifying that they did ask respondents about RISE by name, but initially forgot to update the template for the datasets, which previously referred to the SSP.

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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

I didn't have time to update the Poll of Polls last Thursday, so the percentage changes listed below take into account both the YouGov and Survation polls.

Constituency ballot :

SNP 52.2% (-0.2)
Labour 20.4% (+0.6)
Conservatives 16.4% (-0.2)
Liberal Democrats 5.8% (-0.4)

Regional list ballot : 

SNP 46.6% (+0.8)
Labour 19.4% (+0.6)
Conservatives 16.2% (-0.6)
Greens 7.4% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 6.6% (+0.2)

(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each of the firms that have reported Scottish Parliament voting intention numbers over the previous three months, and that adhere to British Polling Council rules. At present, there are five - Panelbase, Survation, YouGov, TNS and Ipsos-Mori. Whenever a new poll is published, it replaces the last poll from the same company in the sample.)

Explanatory note : As a fond tribute to the mainstream media's restrained take on the GERS report, Scot Goes Pop headlines will contain 50% bonus hysteria for an indefinite period.

31 comments:

  1. Nicola Sturgeon's personal approval rating of 60% must be the envy of politicians worldwide. A net rating of +30 is some achievement.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 12, 2016 at 9:20 PM

      And yet she is an erse. Just shows what propoganda does. The working class are no better off since the Nat sis came to power.

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    2. Aren't we cranky. Did you skip your nap?

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    3. I suppose Glasgow working class voluntarily pays for his prescriptions and all the other charges the SNP have abolished in order to keep in step with his southern bros.

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  2. Have they still got usually high numbers of RUK citizens included?

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    1. YouGov now weight to reduce the effect of too many being born in rUK.
      Born in Sco - weighted up from 758 to 820
      Born outside UK - weighted up from 56 to 91
      Born in r UK - weighted down from 198 to 101

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    2. What's the percentage changes?

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    3. Are people born in rUK more or less likely to turn out and vote than people born in Scotland? Any data on the differential voting behaviour of these two groups?

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    4. Born in ruk is all encompassing, it can include those born outside Scotland, but went to primary and secondary school here.

      Similar with born outside the UK, children of Scottish servicemen would fall into both of these categories.


      And they are as likely or not as likely to vote as those born in Scotland.
      Where you live, e.g. Scotland and what your beliefs and sense of fairness are is far more relevant to how you will vote or whether you'll vote.

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    5. That's not actually true. Yes, "born outside Scotland" is a very broad category, but we know that they vote somewhat differently from Scottish-born people, so if there are too many of them in the sample it distorts the headline results. But it's not an issue in YouGov poll anymore, because there's weighting by country of birth.

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    6. Are there any subsamples that look at those born outside of Scotland, but lived majority of life here, eg attended primary and secondary school here and do they differ from those born in Scotland in how they vote?

      I ask this as to all intents people in that category would have went through similar experiences to those born in Scotland.

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    7. No, there aren't any subsamples like that. Basically for a voting intention poll, you want to keep the weighting categories simple - everyone knows where they were born.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Replies
    1. I very, very nearly did that, but then I decided it would be silly.

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    2. I would have thrown caution to the wind and gone for it.But that's just the kind of me.Where can we find the tables? I'd like to see the voting intentions by age.

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  5. Don't know if you have used the new Seat Predictor from Cutbot:
    http://vote.cutbot.net/forecast/bd4a7792
    Gives quite a different result (for labour and tory anyway) compared to Scotland Votes, and also gives UKIP one.
    Breaks down their prediction seat by seat.

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  6. They also put the greens in second place to SNP in two constituencies, on quite large swings. I wonder if the model is putting all their national constituency vote into only the places that they're standing?

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    1. Cutbot do say that they are using "the best finger-in-the-air methodology" to estimate Green support in constituencies! It's an interesting approach, but there just isn't the data to know which way the wind is blowing. :-)

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  7. If Labour is hammered, who is the next likely leader? And would they take a different approach on the constitution?

    I just can't see their perception as a branch office party changing in the future.

    Proposing federalism might change their luck, but again that is out of the hands of the Scottish branch.

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    Replies
    1. Anas Sarwar will be the next branch manager. Did you miss the parachute?

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  8. Plaid Cymru have edged the Tories into third place in the latest Welsh poll (Google Click on Wales).

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  9. Plaid Cymru have edged the Tories into third place in the latest Welsh poll (Google Click on Wales).

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  10. Steady as she goes.

    SNP x 2

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  11. Good to see Porridge Head GWC2 not derailing the thread and the Unionists facing a fair old gubbing come Holyrood.

    Splendid stuff.

    Adieu La Dug and bring on Sarwar as Murphy Mk2 in the final seppuku head-chop assisted?

    La Tankie de-treaded and off to constituency nomination carpet-bagging in her beloved Angleterre (rump Britannia)?

    Oor Wullie limp and even more flaccidly irrelevant and possibly oot on his erse?

    Intriguing times and stuff.

    "Bring it on" to quote another unlamented Yoonionista wannabe colonial governor since vanquished in the footsteps of Pontius Pilate.

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    1. I try not to give too much credence to seat predictors - especially not for the list - but it's not looking good for Wullie in Mid Scotland and Fife.

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  12. I believe the Scots as a nation can hold their heads high. Which is more than can be said for most of the others in the world. Their intelligence, moral integrity and social awareness, must be the envy of the rest of the world, ( I am sure their are other nations, but they do not spring to mind).

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 15, 2016 at 7:02 PM

      The Scots are clearly intelligent as they voted against Nat si ism. To say we have moral integrity more than others is rather patronising. And what do you mean by moral?

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  13. Crayonista strikes again...

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 15, 2016 at 10:06 PM

      Nat si Idiot without crayon dribbles verbal shoite. Yawn.

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