So profuse apologies once again for the dog's breakfast of the last two posts. I spent last night in a Highland hotel with a large Union Jack on the outside and a very dodgy wifi on the inside, and when you're dealing with a non-user-friendly website like Survation's, things are a bit tricky at the best of times. But thankfully Calum Findlay rode to the rescue and explained everything. Basically there was not one new Survation poll, but two. They were published more or less simultaneously, hence the confusion. One was a telephone poll commissioned by the SNP, and the other was an online poll commissioned by the Sunday Post. The fieldwork dates were close but not identical - the online poll was conducted between 28th September and 2nd October, and the telephone poll was conducted between the 3rd and 5th of October.
All of this puts a rather different (and for the most part more positive) complexion on things. It means we can use the online poll to make a direct comparison with the previous online Survation poll in July, rather than comparing apples and oranges by looking at the difference between a July online poll and an October phone poll. And the direct comparison suggests that nothing much has changed at all - not in respect of Westminster voting intentions, or of Holyrood voting intentions, or of independence referendum voting intentions.
SNP 41% (-1)
Conservatives 26% (+2)
Labour 24% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)
In contrast to the telephone poll, then, the online numbers suggest that the SNP's lead over both the Tories and Labour is still significantly more handsome than it was in last year's general election. If that's replicated on polling day, it would lead to dramatic seat gains. (Although as I pointed out last night, even on the telephone numbers the SNP would be in line to make modest gains.)
Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:
SNP 43% (-1)
Conservatives 24% (n/c)
Labour 23% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 9% (n/c)
Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:
SNP 32% (-1)
Labour 23% (+2)
Conservatives 21% (+2)
Greens 10% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 8% (-2)
In respect of Holyrood, the big difference from the telephone poll is on the list, where Survation's online methodology is continuing to produce (in my opinion) an unrealistically low vote for SNP. It's not clear whether that's simply because online respondents are more Green-friendly, or whether Survation's inexplicable decision to describe the list vote to online (but not telephone) respondents as a "second" vote is the major factor. It may well be a combination of both.
One thing is for sure, though. This is the first Scotland-only polling since the Alex Salmond story broke a few weeks ago, and there is no sign whatever that the SNP have suffered any lasting damage from that particular lightning bolt. Unionist hopes dashed again.
Strangely, the Sunday Post tweeted independence figures at the weekend from the SNP's telephone poll, rather than the online poll they commissioned themselves. (No wonder I was getting confused.) On the Post's figures, Yes are on 47% rather than 46%, which means that support for independence has remained unchanged, rather than slipping by one point as I wrongly suggested in a previous post.
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 47% (n/c)
No 53% (n/c)
And as Calum pointed out, although the telephone poll has Yes a touch lower on 46%, that actually represents a whopping increase of 7% since the Survation telephone poll of June 2017, which is technically the last directly comparable poll.
Should Scotland be an independent country? (telephone fieldwork)
Yes 46% (+7)
No 54% (-7)
I struggle in vain to see much bad news in that little lot.