Saturday, October 7, 2017

Stunning rebuke for Ruth Davidson as new YouGov poll gives SNP a mammoth SEVENTEEN point lead - with the Tories set to slip into THIRD place

Kenny "Devo or Death" Farquharson is full of beans this morning about a new full-scale Scottish poll that his publication has commissioned from YouGov, and which he says shows that "Nicola Sturgeon would lose her pro-independence majority".  My first reaction was that if that's the angle he had chosen, the results of the poll must be pretty good for the SNP, because if there was any danger of the SNP actually losing power that would have been the first thing he'd have mentioned.  And so it has proved.  A kind payer of the Murdoch Levy has sent me the full results, and just like the full-scale Scottish polls from Survation and Panelbase in September, they show the SNP with an absolutely enormous double-digit lead in Scottish Parliament voting intentions - something that surely nobody would have predicted during July or August.

Constituency vote:

SNP 42%
Labour 25%
Conservatives 25%
Liberal Democrats 5%

Regional list vote:

SNP 35%
Labour 24%
Conservatives 23%
Greens 6%
Liberal Democrats 6%
UKIP 1%

Remarkably, in spite of Farquharson's triumphalism about the supposed loss of the pro-independence majority, the Times' own seat projection shows that the pro-indy parties between them would win 61 seats on the basis of this poll - just FOUR short of a majority.  Which begs a rather awkward question for the unionist media - if the propaganda they've been feeding us over the last few months is correct, why would there seemingly be a fighting chance of the pro-indy majority being re-elected, even if there was a Scottish Parliament election as soon as tomorrow?

This poll follows in the footsteps of the Panelbase and Survation polls in that at the point of publication there doesn't appear (correct me if I'm wrong) to be any sign of Westminster voting intention numbers, even though it seems hard to believe a Westminster question wasn't asked.  In the case of Panelbase, the Sunday Times withheld the Westminster results for a week and then gave them only a cursory mention.  In the case of Survation, the Daily Mail decided not to report them at all, and the only reason we ever found out about them was because they were quietly revealed on Survation's own website.  In both cases, a unionist newspaper was playing a very cynical game - focussing all the attention on the Holyrood numbers because they showed a decrease in SNP support from an extremely high base in May 2016, and ignoring Westminster numbers which inconveniently (and very unexpectedly) showed the SNP gaining support from a slightly more modest base in June 2017.  Is exactly the same thing being done with the YouGov poll?  I don't know, but I doubt if any of us will faint with amazement if that turns out to be the case.

The use of this blatant propaganda technique is why we've got every right to be angry about the following nonsense on the YouGov poll from Keiran Pedley, a pollster and analyst who I believe I'm right in saying is open about his support for the Labour party -

"SNP poll rating in Scotland continues to fall like a slowly deflating balloon"

Well, of course you can pretend to believe that's what happening when your fellow travellers in the media are intentionally giving the public only one half of the polling story.  If this was anyone else but Pedley, I'd give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was speaking from ignorance, but as a polling expert he presumably knows perfectly well that both post-election Westminster polls have shown an increase in the SNP vote, and an increase in the SNP lead over both Labour and the Tories.  It's really sad to see him giving people such a misleading impression, and I can only conclude that he's probably doing it deliberately.

Let's stay for a moment on the subject of dubious claims that have been made about the YouGov poll on Twitter.  I can't locate the tweet, but I spotted someone suggesting earlier that Nicola Sturgeon was projected to be left with "even fewer" seats than she currently has.  Er, what?  "Even"?!  The SNP currently has 63 seats out of 129 in the Scottish Parliament - that's 49% of the total.  How many other countries in western Europe can you think of that use proportional representation voting systems and have a party with 49% or more of the seats?  Yeah, exactly.  The SNP had an absolutely phenomenal performance last year by any normal standards, and today's poll suggests they stand to suffer only relatively modest seat losses (six, to be exact) from that high.

As a rearguard defence against people who were quite reasonably pointing out that 42% of the constituency vote for the SNP and a 17-point lead is an extremely good performance, Kenny Farquharson tried this line -

"Dear Scottish Twitter peeps, it's the regional vote that determines shape of Holyrood parly, not constituency vote. SNP polling 35% on list."

Well, of course there's some truth in that - under the Additional Member System the overall composition of parliament is supposed to be broadly determined by the list vote.  But it seems an odd point to make in this particular context, when your own newspaper's seat projection is saying that the SNP would win 44% of the seats - a considerably higher number than 35%.  What's happening here is that the SNP are benefitting from the wrinkles that Labour so carefully built into the system in the late 1990s - if a party (expected to be Labour itself) has a big enough lead on the constituency vote, it effectively overwhelms the list vote and gives that party a hefty 'winner's bonus'.  The SNP are hitting a particularly sweet spot because the unionist vote in the constituencies is split down the middle, allowing them to do even better in terms of seats than would normally be possible with 42% of the vote.  It's certainly arguable that the SNP are extremely fortunate that a Labour wheeze is backfiring so comprehensively, but there's no point sticking your head in the sand and pretending it isn't even happening.

Like Survation, YouGov have found an increase in support for independence, but unlike Survation that increase does not look particularly significant: Yes 44% (+1), No 56% (-1).  Amusingly, the Times use percentage changes from the referendum result itself in an attempt to make it look as if support for independence has dropped slightly!

Respondents were asked three different ways about the principle of whether an early independence referendum should be held.  The most favourable results are on the question of whether a referendum should be held after Britain leaves the EU, where there is almost (not quite) a statistical tie - 38% say yes, 45% say no.  Those results are markedly better than when the same question was asked in April.  Certainly no evidence there for the media's belief that interest in independence and a referendum has fallen away since the election.

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28 comments:

  1. This was presumably commissioned before the fracking announcement and before the car crash that was the Tory Party conference.

    I think the SNP will have a spring in their step as they go into their conference tomorrow (and the technicians will have checked that their signs are built properly :) )

    Farquharson and Martin are outrageous of cheer leaders for the Tories but even they are scrapping the bottom of the barrel if they think these numbers are good news for Mad Col Ruth McMad. I heard on the radio that in the same poll Nicola's stock is still good whilst May's has nose dived and that Brexit is consisdered to be a disaster in the wings waiting.

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  2. So the SNP after a decade in Government and facing a hostile media has a huge lead. I'm happy with that.

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  3. So this is even before Brexit has fully kicked in and even with 100% of the media in the UK anti SNP. People are wising up, seeing what is going on in WM, what an absolute disaster the 'precious' union is heading for and seeing that the SNP are actually doing a good days work for the people of Scotland even with all the omnishambles going on around them.

    Keep your head while all about are losing theirs.

    The Britnats seem to very irrational and that is no way to conduct a government in charge at all. Their opposition the Labour party seem no more rational, so are in effect useless as a choclate teapot.

    Well done Nicola Sturgeon for being so level headed, quite frankly.

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  4. Well done Nicola , your star is on the rise once more for being the only politician to look a things through plain glasses not rose tinted ones like the Brexiteers of the UK , with Brexit is Brexit May , and no clue Corbyn , your steadfastness is paying off !

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  5. I note that people appear to be switching from SNP to Green for the list vote.

    I don't think a lot of people get the significance of the list vote on the final result.

    Having said that a mass tactical vote on the list for the Greens would guarantee an indy majority.

    But I am very sceptical about tactical voting ever really working to any great extent.

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    1. Anybody voting Green needs shooting. They've bankrupted Edinburgh and managed to destroy the environment thanks to their comedy tram set. Thanks to them there won't be any green belt left in a few years. Or any open space in the city that isn't in private hands. Death By Baillie's too good for them.

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Labour and the libdems brought the trams in. Not the greens.

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    4. Trams should be extended throughout the country. You can get a tram from Cologne to Bonn and onwards to Konigswinter. If the former Nazis can do it then why not us?

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    5. Because your Unionist overlords have poisoned trams for most people due to overruns and overspending?

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    6. My comment to you was deleted. So try again. You nat sis have been in power over 11 years so expand the trams and do a better job than the last lot of incompetants. It is no excuse to blame others just start again.

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    7. It's "incompetents".

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    8. My point precisely. Incompetence, practised by Unionist incompetents, created the tram mess. The sockpuppet is well aware of this.

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  6. Which polling company did the poll? Anyone know?

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    1. YouGov - it's stated several times in the blogpost.

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    2. Obviously I wasn't very awake when I read it.

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  7. How many years to the Scottish election?

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  8. I marvel at the British press. Although a newspaper might hold certain values and convictions, I had - until a few years ago - assumed that they would still be attempting to present the basic truth, even with an angle. But most of the British press is made up of down-right propaganda vehicles.

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  9. I completed a poll recently which had a Westminster intention question. I assume it was this one.

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  10. Boycott all British nationalist media. Don't pay the bbc tax

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  11. I am Catalan and Spanish. I am a Jock and British up yer kilts Nat sis. All Unionist areas in Scotland should defy the Nat sis and declare their intention to stay in the Union. A seperate referendum should be called if required in all Unionists supporting regions.
    The Nat sis support the Catalans in splitting up Spain so we Unionists demand the right to split up Scotland and remain in the Union.

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    1. Seek professional help. Immediately.

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    2. Do you fascists seriously think you can remove our British nationality?

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    3. Didn't you read the white paper, halfwit? Dual nationality for anyone that wanted it. God, you're dense..

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    4. I do not recognise the nat sis or any paper whatever the colour they produce. They are divisive and pretending Scottish Brits will keep their staus is not believable.. And save yer god for yerself fash bhoy.

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    5. Ooh. The Tories' little helper didn't like that...
      You can almost detect the smell of it soiling itself with impotent rage.

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  12. Does it surprise anyone else how the SNP seem to be taking back right wing voters from the Tories despite having tacked hard left, but Labour continues to rise nonetheless? I'd have hoped for more Lab-Nat movement in the wake of the chaos engulfing the leadership contest and the more radical program for government. I honestly can't think of anything the SNP has done to win back the voters it lost to SCon - Theresa dragging the UK-wide brand down would be one thing, but Tory polling is remarkably resilient in the rest of the country.

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