Regular readers will recall that I became more than a little concerned last week after a third YouGov subsample in a row put the SNP's support at an unusually low level. The results of YouGov's Scottish subsamples tend to be much more stable than those from other firms, because YouGov appear to structure and weight their subsample figures correctly. Three low results in a row could still have happened by random chance, but the worry was that if a fourth and fifth in a row showed the same thing, it would start to look very much like something had genuinely changed.
I'm pleased to be able to report that normal service has been resumed in the newest YouGov subsample out today.
SNP 43%, Conservatives 20%, Brexit Party 10%, Labour 10%, Liberal Democrats 8%, Greens 6%
In conjunction with the results from other pollsters that don't show any obvious recent dip in support for the SNP, I'm inclined to think this probably means that the run of bad results was just caused by freakish sampling variation and that SNP support has actually been holding reasonably steady. But obviously we'll keep an eye on it.
What's particularly encouraging is the poor showing for the Liberal Democrats in the latest subsample - in the earlier results it had looked like it was the Lib Dems that were doing some of the apparent damage to the SNP.
Given the small number of respondents interviewed for each subsample, the best way of getting a meaningful sense of the state of play is to average several subsamples over time. Here is the average of the last five from YouGov -
Liberal Democrats 14.0%
Brexit Party 6.6%
For what it's worth, the Electoral Calculus model suggests that would give the SNP a net gain of 13 seats and leave them with 48. The Tories would lose 8 seats, although annoyingly that would still leave them with 5, and the rump group would include the likes of David Mundell and Ross Thomson. (Perhaps we should be a tad sceptical about the latter given that his nickname at Westminster has long been "SNP gain".) Inevitably it's Labour that would take the absolute hammering, with Ian Murray the last man standing once again. The only SNP loss would be to the Liberal Democrats in the ultra-marginal seat of North-East Fife.
Of course what we could really do with now is a full-scale Scottish poll just to confirm that the above numbers are in the right ball-park. Given that a general election is probably only a few weeks away (a few months at the absolute most) and that we're in the midst of the biggest national crisis since the Second World War, it's extraordinary that we haven't had a full-scale poll for over a month.