Sunday, May 1, 2011

YouGov poll : SNP retain clear lead - but a timely reminder for party supporters not to muck about on the list vote

The last of the weekly campaign polls for Scotland on Sunday continues to show a very healthy lead for the SNP on the constituency ballot, but the race appears to have significantly tightened on the all-important list ballot.  Here are the full figures -

Constituency vote : 

SNP 42% (-3)
Labour 34% (+2)
Conservatives 12% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1) 

Regional list vote : 

SNP 35% (-4)
Labour 33% (+4)
Conservatives 12% (-)
Greens 7% (-)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-1)

If I was going to put a maximally pessimistic spin on these figures I would say two things.  Firstly, the bulk of the fieldwork for the poll will have been carried out before the Royal Wedding ceremony - which may have had no effect on voting intention whatsoever, but if by any chance there was one, it's unlikely to be favourable for the SNP.  Secondly, YouGov's eve-of-election poll in 2007 overstated the SNP's lead by five points on the constituency vote, and by two points on the list.  The latter point in particular is an important reminder of just how close this election might yet prove to be - and in similar circumstances last time round the SNP were reliant on votes on the regional list in all eight regions to secure a one-seat victory.  I hope that will give any party supporters pondering the dangerous game of 'tactical voting' on the list ballot serious pause for thought.

There is also a positive spin available, of course - compared to where we were just a few short weeks ago, this is an impossibly wonderful poll for the SNP!

UPDATE : I've finally tracked down the full figures from last night's other poll by Progressive Scottish Opinion, which unlike YouGov shows a positive direction of travel for the SNP on the list vote...

Constituency vote :

SNP 45% (-1)
Labour 35% (-1)
Conservatives 10% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)

Regional list vote :

SNP 41% (+3)
Labour 36% (-1)
Conservatives 8% (-2)
Greens 6% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-4)

The same two snags that I mentioned last week apply again, though - a) PSO don't have that great a track record, and b) the fieldwork is unlikely to have been as recent as the YouGov poll.  I don't have the dates, although a regular poster on Political Betting suggested it finished on the 27th, which if true would at least make it a bit more up-to-date than last week's.


  1. The Lib Dems are in 5th place behind the Greens in both the YouGov and the Progressive Scottish Opinion polls today.

    With "safe" Lib Dem seats like Shetland, Orkney, Aberdeenshire West, Edinburgh West, Aberdeen South, SkyeLochaber&Badenoch, and CaithnessSutherland%Ross all on the edge of tumbling, could we be looking at a Lib Dem Group as small as 5 MSPs, nearly all from the lists?

  2. Probably not, but it's an enticing thought! It's been interesting to read on your blog about the outside possibility of Shetland falling - I wonder if the independent candidate would be more likely to back Gray or Salmond for FM? (I know as unfair questions go that's up there with 'is he a Catholic Buddhist or a Protestant Buddhist?', but given the circumstances...)

  3. James: I see that here in the North East region the SNP are favourite to win all 10 constituencies. If that happens will a list vote for the SNP not be wasted? As their total list vote will be divided by 11according to the D’hondt ratio meaning their chances of getting any list seats at all will be as low as the Labour Party in the West of Scotland list in 1999 when they took all 9 constituencies and got no list seats, and in Glasgow in 1999 and 2003 when they took all 10 constituencies and got no list seats. Surely it would make more sense for SNP supporters in the North East to cast their list vote for the Greens in the hope of maximising the number of independence minded MSPs.

  4. Sorry I forgot to ask you what you think of that possibility?

  5. Munguin, if I was in the north-east I would definitely vote SNP on the list, for two reasons -

    a) The SNP position in the constituencies may be being overstated or may slip before polling day, in which case a vote for any other party on the list could easily cost the SNP a vital seat (or two).

    b) By electing a Green MSP you may well be electing someone who will consider voting for Iain Gray as First Minister in two weeks' time. I don't doubt that the Greens are genuinely in favour of an independence referendum, but it's scarcely a priority for them, and if they decide to assist Labour into office that will take the prospect of a referendum much further away rather than closer.

  6. - "It's been interesting to read on your blog about the outside possibility of Shetland falling... "

    Another price movement today:

    No idea if he's a LAB-IND, an SNP-IND, a GRN-IND or a TORY-IND. But surely fairly safe to say that he is not an LD-IND! ;)

  7. Thanks for that insight james. I was toying with the idea of a tactical vote on the list, but have thought better of it in light of your post.