Tuesday, November 25, 2014

15% of British voters would prefer the SNP as a coalition partner at Westminster

I overlooked a fascinating supplementary question in one of the two Britain-wide YouGov polls on Sunday. Respondents were asked which one of six possible coalitions they would prefer in the event of a hung parliament. Although that sort of question has been asked many times before, this is the first time I can remember permutations involving the SNP being offered among the list of options. It seems that the London media/polling establishment is beginning to wake up to the pivotal role the SNP could play if, as the current polls predict, they become the third-largest party in the new House of Commons.

Unsurprisingly, Nicola Sturgeon's party is by far the most popular of the three possible junior coalition partners among respondents in Scotland. Indeed, I suspect this number would be higher still if it wasn't for some SNP voters recoiling against the idea of their party being directly involved in government at Westminster.

Preferred junior coalition partner (respondents in Scotland) :

SNP 47%
Liberal Democrats 27%

But even among respondents across Britain, the SNP attracts 15% support as the preferred junior coalition partner. When you consider that the party is largely ignored in the London media, and that when it isn't ignored it's demonised in a cartoonish way, that's a pretty impressive finding.

Preferred junior coalition partner (respondents across Britain) :

Liberal Democrats 35%
UKIP 30%
SNP 15%

Presumably the explanation is that some voters south of the border (perhaps grudgingly, perhaps enthusiastically) have recognised that the SNP represent the only realistic hope for progressive governance.

* * *


For the first time in several weeks, the new Poll of Polls update includes one subsample that has Labour ahead of the SNP. However, as with all of the other post-referendum subsamples that have shown the same thing, it comes from a Populus poll, and the result can therefore probably be explained by that firm's illogical party ID weighting procedure. None of the other subsamples in this update (including another one from Populus) have Labour even close to the SNP.

Eight subsamples are taken into account - five from YouGov, two from Populus and one from Ashcroft. I've had to exclude the recent Opinium poll, because details of the Scottish subsample were not published.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 42.6% (-1.5)
Labour 26.8% (+2.0)
Conservatives 18.0% (+1.3)
Liberal Democrats 5.5% (-0.8)
Greens 3.6%
UKIP 3.0%

(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)


  1. What were the other party options? I would've actually expected the SNP to be higher in both polls, given that competition.

    1. Higher than 15%? When the media ignores them?

    2. Most UK polls are to varying extents 2010 weighting which hurts SNP VI markedly.

      MORI don't so they are a better bet right now (SNP 8% in the last MORI UK poll). That and Scottish-only polls, notably MORI Scottish-only where they are now, seemingly, capturing the less previously politically active; something online panel polls have trouble with as they are more non self-selecting.

      UK crossbreaks will just give us trends. If we have enough of them anyway.

    3. Well, I thought the Scottish figure seemed particularly low. I mean, it's only 5 points higher than the SNP figure in your poll of polls. You'd think there'd be a bigger margin between people who intend to vote SNP, and people who at least consider them preferable to UKIP and the Lib Dems.

    4. Keaton : The most likely explanation is that some SNP voters don't think the party should be part of a Westminster coalition.

    5. There's also the fact that the coalition question doesn't exclude Don't Knows, whereas the voting intention question does.

    6. I think it's unlikely the SNP will enter a formal coalition with anyone. Confidence and supply is far more likely.

  2. wee jock poo-pong mcplopNovember 25, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    I tend to think, rightly or wrongly, that it's better that the Westminster mediocracy continue to be blindsided, by their own parochialism, to the potential influence of the Scottish vote. At the moment, most of them are obvious...

  3. I would be happier if I hadn't read a poll result that showed that many English (the deep south kind) think SNP is the Scottish version of UKIP.

  4. You would think they would be up for it then lol

  5. Aside from Income Tax, I'll be curious to see what other taxes (if any) are recommended. Air Passenger Duty will probably be recycled from Calman but I doubt anything else will make it.