Saturday, July 1, 2017

Davidson seeks solace in titillating photos as Opinium subsample puts SNP 10% ahead

Opinium have today become only the third pollster to produce a GB-wide poll of voting intentions since the general election.  Given the hammering the SNP have taken in the media over the last few weeks, and given that the SNP probably haven't been strong enough in defending the comfortable victory they won on June 8th, the poll's Scottish subsample is hugely reassuring : SNP 38%, Labour 28%, Conservatives 27%, Liberal Democrats 3%, UKIP 2%, Greens 2%.

Yes, individual subsamples are not reliable, and these figures do not necessarily mean the SNP are actually 10% ahead.  However, we've now had four post-election subsamples, of which three have put the SNP ahead.  The other one put Labour ahead, but looked (on the basis of past vote recall) like an obviously skewed sample.  You'd have to say on the balance of the available evidence that the SNP are probably still ahead on Westminster voting intentions - and if that's true, they're weathering the storm much better than many commentators would have expected.

The headline Britain-wide figures put Labour ahead of the Tories by 45% to 39%.  Perhaps most significantly, they suggest the Tories are not only suffering from a direct swing to Labour, but also from a mini-recovery by UKIP (presumably because a hard-core of Leave voters fear the Tories may be about to sell them down the river).  The standard response to this sort of finding is "this is why there won't be an election any time soon", but in truth the Tories would probably be extremely wary of another snap election even if they had a small lead themselves - after all, they've only just managed to blow a lead of more than 20 points.  If an early election happens, it'll likely be for one of two reasons -

1) Discipline breaks down on the Tory backbenches, making the parliamentary arithmetic unmanageable.

2) Theresa May is replaced, and the new leader decides to cash in on his/her honeymoon with the voters (if such a thing occurs).

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UPDATE : Survation have just muddied the waters with a poll that has the Conservatives moving back into the lead (albeit only just) across Britain, with no sign of a UKIP recovery, and with a Scottish subsample that has the Tories ahead of the SNP by 42% to 29%.  Does this change what I said earlier about the SNP weathering the storm?  Probably not.  As with the previous Survation subsample that had Labour ahead, you can tell that the sample is somewhat skewed by looking at past vote recall - more respondents recall voting Tory on June 8th than recall voting SNP.  The situation now is that three out of five post-election subsamples have had the SNP ahead, with the other two unable to agree on whether the SNP have been overtaken by the Tories or Labour.  Additionally, by far the largest subsample had the SNP ahead of the Tories by 4 points, and ahead of Labour by 5.  It does still look like the SNP are probably in the lead, albeit perhaps not by a huge margin.


  1. SNP voters are 90 minute patriots#alex-salmond

    1. I think somebody's been on the sauce.

    2. πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒAlex Salmond 90 min. ..feck I know time can seem to stand still, but longest 90 min ever he's been on go with SNP!

    3. I think you'll find it was Jim's Sillars who coined the phrase. Alex would never be so crass.

  2. Would the Tories let May do her Weird and Wibbly thing again?

    I think it is more likely that they would have a palace coup before even contemplating a round 2. That doesn't look immediately on the cards.

    After a poor election campaign and an even poorer response to the tragedy in Grenfell I am only surprised that they are not further behind Labour UK wide. Labour falling in on itself once again over the EU vote might partly explain that. The notion that somehow the Tories in Scotland are divorced from all that seems fanciful. I think the pollsters are demonstrating what they did in bucket loads prior to the election, practising their incompetence.