Sunday, September 10, 2017

Enormous lead for the SNP in first post-June Scottish poll

"The findings are likely to dismay Nicola Sturgeon" says Jason Allardyce of the Sunday Times about a new poll which he must know perfectly well is going to absolutely thrill Nicola Sturgeon, because it shows the SNP have shrugged off the hammering they've been taking in the media since June, and have retained an enormous lead in Scottish Parliament voting intentions.

Holyrood constituency voting intentions (Panelbase) :

SNP 42%
Conservatives 28%
Labour 22%
Liberal Democrats 6%
Greens 2%

No percentage changes are listed because it appears that this is the first Scottish Parliament poll that Panelbase have conducted since the Holyrood election almost eighteen months ago.  They've done Scottish voting intention polls since then, but for obvious reasons the voting intentions being measured were for Westminster or local council elections.  And that brings me to the most important health warning about these numbers.  I rarely disagree with Stuart Campbell of Wings, but he's attempting to use this poll as evidence to support his belief that the pattern shown by the Scottish subsamples of Britain-wide polls (basically a tight three-way contest, with the SNP and Labour battling it out for first place) is completely meaningless.  Much more likely, I'm afraid, is that the reason for the disparity is that those subsamples relate to Westminster voting intention only.  

Nobody disputes that an individual subsample should be regarded as unreliable, but an aggregate of a large number of subsamples is likely to produce figures that are at least within the correct ball-park.  What they've shown is in line with what seems intuitively likely, and indeed what was apparently borne out by the local by-elections on Thursday - ie. that Labour have built upon their mini-recovery at the general election.  It's not clear whether Panelbase even asked for Westminster voting intentions in the new poll (there's no sign of Westminster numbers on Twitter, and I don't pay the Murdoch levy so I haven't been able to read the Sunday Times article in full), but my strong suspicion is that a full-scale Scottish Westminster poll would show the SNP significantly lower than the Holyrood numbers suggest, and Labour significantly higher.  To believe anything else, you would have to believe that there has been a large swing from Labour to SNP since June, which flies in the face of all logic given what happened on Thursday.  

I suspect that the traditional gap between Westminster and Holyrood voting intentions, which has existed for the vast majority of the eighteen years since devolution, has reasserted itself.  If so, the explanation is the usual one - there is a significant minority of voters out there who like both Labour and the SNP, but think Labour is the more natural choice for Westminster and that the SNP is the most natural choice for Holyrood.

In many ways that's not bad news.  The question of whether a second independence referendum is held will ultimately be decided by Holyrood arithmetic, after all.  This is just one poll, but if other firms corroborate Panelbase's findings, it means that the SNP have only lost around 4% or 5% of support since their decisive victory in May 2016.  If another Holyrood election was held now, it looks highly likely that the SNP would be effectively re-elected as a minority government - probably without a pro-independence majority in parliament, but they're not a million miles away from holding on to even that.  With no election due until May 2021, the unionist parties can scarcely look at this poll and think "all we have to do is hold out until the next election, and then the parliamentary majority for an indyref will automatically disappear and we can all get back to normal".

And as far as the prospects for actually dislodging the SNP from government are concerned, this poll is an absolute hammerblow for the unionists.  The Tories seem to have a natural ceiling of around 30% support, so realistically if any party is going to defeat the SNP it'll have to be Labour - and yet even after a very favourable summer, Labour still seemingly find themselves twenty points behind the SNP, and in a dismal third place.  It appears that no matter how good things get for Labour in Westminster terms (or even perhaps in local government terms) there will always be gravity holding them back in Scottish Parliament elections.  Perhaps the only way to overcome that handicap would be to find a truly inspirational leader - but instead they're going to be stuck with either Anas Sarwar or mystery man Richard Leonard (and I suspect it may well be Sarwar, who is the worse of the two).

Panelbase also asked a voting intention question on independence -

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 43% (-1)
No 57% (+1)

For my money, the SNP leadership will be very pleased (or at least monumentally relieved) about those figures.  Although we haven't had a post-election party political voting intention poll until today, there was an independence poll from Survation in mid-June which suggested a substantial drop in support for independence.  There appeared to be a danger that the momentum was running away from Yes, in which case there was a chance that things might have worsened significantly over the course of the summer.  Instead, the situation seems to have stabilised.  The percentage changes listed above are from the Panelbase poll conducted in the days leading up to the general election, so it appears that there hasn't been a statistically significant swing since then.  Yes remains firmly in the game.

47 comments:

  1. A SIXTEEN POINT LEAD! Sake but that's huge. Ruth and Willie are really struggling now that Kez isn't there to take her share of the ridicule. I think they're running on empty. It's only a matter of time now till Ruth turns to voodoo, surely. She's got nothing else in the pipes so a bit of the occult is worth an outing. Keep an eye on her. If her finger nails turn black and she starts hanging round pentangles I'm defo onto something. Call for a priest.

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    1. Yes, sorry - that was a typo. Corrected now.

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  3. This does not reassure me one bit whatsoever. It is not very far off what most Westminster polls showed us in the run-up to June 8th. Problem is, when you have 42% of the electorate suggesting that they want to vote for you, but then only 36% actually goes out and does it - there's something much deeper going on. In fact there was even a poll done for May's local elections that suggested the SNP would get around 46% of the vote, when it ended up getting just 32%. The party's GOTV operation improved by the time the GE came around, but it didn't improve enough to push the tally past 40%.

    Differential turnout is an absolute bitch to the SNP, and will continue to be one. Unionists are being whipped into a reliable voting frenzy for the Conservatives, while the SNP is losing its own coalition of voters to a fatal cocktail of indifference and picked off by the energy of Corbynism. Last week's program for government is good but it needs to be combined with a Gramscian war of position and manoeuvre. At it's core, politics is two things by nature: transactional and confrontational. For the ever-successful ScotTories, the transaction is lower taxes for its voters and the confrontation is facing off against the nationalists. The SNP must climb out of its trenches and fight back with tangible goodies for its own voters and mobilising populist anti-WM sentiment - needless to say, consolidating and expanding the base for Independence is key to this. Managerialism will not cut it, the centre cannot hold.

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    1. Charging people to enter city centres with relatively young cars and raising taxes probably isn't going to win many votes and risks losing plenty.

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    2. Showing some imagination in terms of dealing with the problems other parties won't face, probably will earn more votes, and certainly more lives:

      https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/sep/10/uk-flouting-duty-to-cut-air-pollution-deaths-says-un-human-rights-report

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  4. Is Jason Allardyce another ProudScotBut?

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    1. Aye, but. He won't let a few inconvenient facts get in the way of his lies, just like the other msm propagandists.

      I really wonder about the mental state of these people. Do they know they are writing lies, propaganda and rubbish or do they just do what they're told to earn their pay?

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  5. Percentage of supporters for SNP in Holyrood will be immaterial if May and her cohorts get away with what they are planning through the Repeal bill and the committees bill. Holyrood will be hamstrung. They are setting things up for the devolved govs to fail, and to return Scotland to London rule.

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    1. Stupid statement with no evidense and typical of nat si propoganda...You fascists want to hand Scottish democracy over to the unelected EU beaurocrats.
      We real Scots and Unionists will fight you on the beaches. The only thing worse than a traitor is a Scottish Nat si.

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    2. And you sir sum up perfectly the complete and utter stupidity of the average British Nationalist, who doesn't realize that they themselves are in fact the fascists.

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    3. If May is plotting to scrap devolution then I'm quite happy with that. 18 years in and already it's packed with malcontents. Our shiny new brand of rainbow consensus politics did not last long. So to scrap it now would be a relief to people who, like me, are proud to be British and think a single, democratic government of Britain is all we need. Unfortunately, this isn't going to happen. The UK is a liberal country. Holyrood will stay, with its current remit, as long as the Scottish people want it to.

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    4. Funny how the British Nationalists had no issue with EU until last year.

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    5. Lots of people have long standing issues with the EU and not just 'British Nationalists'. Many yes supporters don't want Scotland in the EU and that includes about a third of SNP supporters.

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  6. Pollsters have overestimated SNP support in the last 3 Scottish elections: Holyrood, local councils and Westminster. You can reliably knock a few percentage points off that at least, unless there has been a significant change in the way these figures are produced.

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    1. The simple answer is that there probably has been a significant change in the way these numbers are produced. We'll see when the datasets are published, but I'll be very surprised if Panelbase haven't introduced weighting by recalled 2017 vote, which in all likelihood would bring the SNP down.

      By the way, the basic premise of your comment (that the present and future must look like the past) is exactly what led people to wrongly assume the Tories were a shoo-in at the general election.

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    2. The Nat sis should be racing away in victory considering the majority of Scots voted remain in the EU gravy train...But we have large divisions! Scots that want iindependence but sell out to the EU, Scots that want independence but out of the EU, Scots that want to remain in the Union and the EU and Scots that want to remain in the Union and out of the EU... Seems the Nat sis have a problem!

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    3. So, assuming these figures are accurate this time - a big assumption - then if an election were held now, there would be an independence seeking contingent of about 60 MSPs, short of the 65 required for an overall majority. It paints a fairly bleak picture. Okay, they might do better in four years time. But how likely is that? By then they'll have been in for 14 years!

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    4. The brexit thing isn't having the desired effect. People don't feel strongly about it. A minority hate it and a minority love it. But I'm willing to bet the haters have the edge over the lovers. As for everyone else, not bothered - unless the wallet / purse takes a severe blow (which may yet happen).

      Until the brexitpocalypse occurs, the SNP represents a minority of the population.

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    5. I've no idea how you're translating this poll into a specific number of pro-independence seats, unless regional list figures have been published somewhere? I haven't seen any so far.

      But I'm bemused as to how anyone can look at the poll and think it "paints a fairly bleak picture". A 14-point lead over the Tories exceeds my expectations. A 20-point lead over Labour is practically dreamland in the current circumstances. It's hugely heartening.

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    6. Oh, and just about every governing party everywhere in the democratic world "represents a minority of the population". The SNP have never broken through the 50% barrier. (They almost did it in 2015 but not quite.)

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    7. James, you nat sis have never explained why you want the EU gravy train to run Scotland...

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    8. It's a fairly bleak picture because it suggests a loss of the pro indy majority before the next 4 years of deterioration has taken place. How will things stand at the end of that?

      The SNP can 'win' as many elections as it likes. Without a pro independence majority, it means nothing. An SNP government without the means to pursue independence is functionally no different from a LibDem government. And who would be scared of such a thing unless they were afraid of being bored to death?

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    9. Sorry, I'm struggling to understand why you've declared that the next four years, which have yet to take place, will be a period of "deterioration". Rather than, for example, a bouncing back after a minor wobble this summer, which is no more or less likely.

      Any explanation?

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    10. Easy. Incumbent, long lived governments eventually become unpopular. Often, deeply unpopular. John Major and Gordon Brown arguably were unfairly blamed for certain things that happened on their watch. But when you've been around for years and years and years, people go off you, then they take a dislike to you, then they absolutely loath you. The SNP will and are suffering the same fate. It's inevitable. Barring a truly catastrophic brexit, this will unfold exactly in the same way it has done previously.

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    11. "Incumbent, long lived governments eventually become unpopular."

      Or, alternatively, they go on and on and on for decade after decade after decade, like the CSU in Bavaria or the LDP in Japan. You're trying to create a sense of inevitability about a future that is actually wholly uncertain.

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    12. The CSU, I'll give you (Not the same person as above, btw) but I think the social attitude towards politics in Japan discourage the degree of public discourse we find acceptable here. The LDPs continued success can't really be extrapolated to explain trends in a liberal western democracy.

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    13. A party could theoretically remain in power forever and in some countries they do. However the SNP is showing signs of decline and not just a short term wobble, as you say. They lost their majority in 2016 then lost 7 council seats as well as 21 MPs in May of this year. Now there is a poll showing a loss of the pro Indy majority if a Holyrood election were to be held now. That is consistent evidence of decline over a lengthy time period. The poster above simply assumes that a trend will continue. They don't always, but they often do. Regards, Tom.

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  7. Anonymous comments are cowardly. The British nationalism we are seeing on the rise is ethnic nationalism. Our civic nationalism is Scotland is the polar opposite.

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    1. Here wis me thinking you Jock nat sis were ethnic Jockos of pure Jock blood, blue eyes and blond hair... Kind of special people ordained by God and season ticket holders at Parkheid!

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    2. Everyone thinks their nationalism is the pure one. A swift glance over wings comments section will dispel the myth of civic Scottish nationalism for any neutral observer.

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    3. Mine is pure, WATP FTP GSTQ, No catholics, blacks or jews need apply. WATP FTP GSTQ

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  8. EU gravy train? What an absolutely immature and stupid thing to say. Almost as stupid as the Nat sis, absolute idiot.

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    1. agree Andrew Wilson, GW is a troll of the nth degree.

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    2. I agree with the idiots that reply tae GWC2...and the Judean Peoples Front.

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    3. Oh nearly forgot WATP FTP GSTQ

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  9. The Judean Peoples Front are scum! Only the Peoples Front for Judea truly fights for us!

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  10. If someone pays the Murdoch levy can they make a habit of emailing James the relevant pollling articles when they come out?

    James Kekky at: icehouse.250@gmail.com

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  11. MSP'S need to be cut back to 59 the same as MP'S... We have far too many politicians on the gravy train...

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    1. On independence day, we'll sack all the MPs by default...

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    2. I doubt that your nat si MP'S would want to give up the loadsamoney they
      receive from the taxpayer...They mouth off about Independence to keep you nat si nutters on board.

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    3. Could you screech that again, dearie?

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  12. I'm not sure this means anything. When it comes to the bit,it will all depend on how many people turn out to vote ???

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    1. Exactly. We know that about 45% of the population, give or take, support independence. But lately we haven't seen 45% support for the nationalist parties. That's because a lot of their supporters stay at home - disenchanted with the political process unless the constitution is directly in play. Even with them all turning out, the SNP would still be up against it, as virtually all the no voters are now backing the 3 unionist parties, with enough votes concentrated behind one of those parties to install a slender pro UK majority.

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  13. An awful lot of ignorant polarised views on here.
    An awful lot of "political projection" going on too (google it)

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