Thursday, March 19, 2015

SNP surge to 21% lead in super second Survation survey of ce soir - and there is now majority support for independence

Full-scale Scottish polls from Survation are like the proverbial London buses - you wait a whole month for one, and then two come along on the same night.  But who's complaining?  The second one is even better than the first...

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election (Survation, 12th - 17th March) :

SNP 47.1% (n/c)
Labour 26.1% (-1.9)
Conservatives 15.5% (+1.0)
UKIP 4.3% (+0.9)
Liberal Democrats 4.0% (n/c)
Greens 2.2% (-0.1)

The percentage changes listed above are from the first Survation poll of the evening, which is the correct approach because that's the last directly comparable poll.  The Daily Record (and most other sources) are reporting different changes, because they're measuring from the last Survation poll commissioned by the Record itself.  On that basis, the SNP are up 2%, and Labour are down 2%.

I've already had to correct this post, because I originally stated that this was the poll we had the sneak preview of yesterday, but in fact the fieldwork dates don't match up with this one either.  I'm guessing that the SNP's question about keeping the Tories out must have been a bolt-on to part of the fieldwork for both of tonight's polls, which effectively leaves us with a phantom 'composite' voting intention poll, albeit one that isn't filtered for turnout.

The independence question has also been asked...

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 50.9% (+3.2)
No 49.1% (-3.2)

This is the first time ever that a Survation poll has shown majority support for independence - which is pretty extraordinary when you consider that Survation were consistently one of the most Yes-friendly pollsters until the "Great Convergence" at the very end of the referendum campaign.  The highest Yes vote they showed in a pre-referendum poll was 48%, and since September they've produced two narrow No leads and one 50-50 tie.  They were much quicker than YouGov to introduce weighting by recalled referendum vote, which means that this is only the second time that any firm has shown Yes ahead in a poll using the new weighting (the previous example was a Panelbase poll in the autumn).

People who voted Yes in September have been downweighted in tonight's poll from 442 to 414, and people who voted No have been upweighted from 496 to 511.  By definition, that procedure wouldn't have happened in pre-referendum polls.  If Survation had retained their old methodology, Yes would now be ahead by quite a bit, and would certainly be doing much better than the pre-referendum record high of 48%.  There can be no doubt at all that support for independence has increased markedly since polling day - all firms that have asked the question are agreed on that point.

As in previous Survation polls, respondents were asked when there should be a second independence referendum.  Only 20.1% replied that it should never take place.  A total of 40.3% want it at some point within the next five years, and a total of 59.4% want it at some point within the next ten years.  So nothing very different from the consistent picture we've been seeing over recent months.  The people of Scotland seem to have reached a clear judgement that they want a say on independence again before the semi-mythical "generation" is up, and they certainly want it well before David Cameron's breathtakingly arrogant timescale of "a lifetime" has passed.

Last but not least, here are the Scottish Parliament voting intention numbers.  As before, the percentage change figures are from the first poll of the evening.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot :

SNP 49.8% (+0.6)
Labour 26.3% (-0.6)
Conservatives 13.3% (+0.4)
Liberal Democrats 5.0% (n/c)
UKIP 2.5% (+0.3)
Greens 2.0% (-1.1)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot :

SNP 39.4% (-1.9)
Labour 22.8% (+0.3)
Conservatives 14.6% (+2.7)
Greens 11.1% (-1.5)
UKIP 5.5% (+0.5)
Liberal Democrats 5.3% (-0.4)


  1. Tables

  2. There's even better news on the independence question!

    1. Big caveat on that is that it's based on splitting 11% saying "don't know" more or less evenly between yes and no, when in fact most of the people now saying "don't know" voted no in September. The likelihood is most of them are the "shy noes" of last September, who made the difference between what the polls were saying with a week or two to go and the final result. That said, what movement there has been since September has been towards yes.

    2. I'm guessing they are mostly the soft noes. Voted for the default but didn't feel that strongly about it. My calculations suggest that looking at the whole electorate, the figures would be Yes: 39% No: 38% DK/Wouldn't Vote: 23%

  3. Nice surprise - I had expected the gap to have narrowed but it could be like 1997 again. Voters made their minds up well before the official campaign period really started.

    1. There was an interesting throwaway comment by Peter Kellner in a recent blog that the only set of polling numbers that the current Scottish numbers remind him of is 1997.

      Worth noting though that Labour did not win quite as big in 1997 as the polls beforehand suggested they could by. Labour "only" got 44% of the GB vote, but they had been polling up towards 50% for much of the previous 3-4 years. Obviously the SNP would snatch your hand off if you offered them 44% now.

  4. I know it's small crossbreaks, but if the Greens are currently polling 18-20% on the list vote in the Lothians, they must be getting one hell of a vote in Edinburgh, particularly since Linlithgow and Almond Valley have the most minimal of Green presences.

    It will be interesting to see if Green VI goes up or down as we approach 2016. On the one hand, some nominally SNP voters might find it easy to say they'll vote Green when it's a year away. On the other hand, the Greens may gain off the increased exposure next year.

    Interesting times.

    1. Remember that in 2016 many SNP supporters will vote Green as their number 2 option and hence more list Green MSPs.

    2. But it's not a "number 2 option". Green supporters voting SNP at constituency level makes sense. SNP supporters voting Green on the list doesn't. Not unless SNP expected to win all constituency seats in the region!

    3. SNP won 8/9 constituency seats in Edinburgh / bits of Lothian in 2011. They didn't win any list seats because they "only" got ~40% of the second vote and had already won 8/16 of the region's total seats. That said, a few of their constituency wins were on very low share as there were some 3-way and even 4-way marginals in Edinburgh itself.

      The interesting thing about the second vote in 2016 there is that, regrettably, Margo's votes (~7% in 2011) are now available. I think the Greens will do well on the second vote there, partly because of this, partly because the SNP aren't defending any list seats. Their priority will be to try and hold the constituencies.

    4. Don't call it the second vote. Call it the list vote. There's nothing "second" about it. It determines the overall balance of the parliament!

    5. Not if 'everyone' treats it as a second vote, surely? It's just as legitimate a tactic as ' Alex Salmond for First Minister'. Tactical voting is a well established Scottish electoral sport and once the effectiveness of the tactic is understood by the electorate, there is very little that can be done to stop it. Example :Scottish Tories 1997 17.5 % of vote = 0 representation and the Scots electorate celebrate 'no Tories in Scotland' .

      What's changed Rolfe? I haven't.


    6. With the size of the party now, I would expect the Greens to be standing at Constituency level in all seats next year. In Glasgow Kelvin and Edinburgh Central, they may be hoping to win second place or even make it a 3/4-way marginal.

      I'm surprised they're so low on Constituency VI. I wonder if many are simply expecting them not to stand.

    7. They would be fools if they did though, and throw away most of the goodwill and electoral advantage they gained as a leading pro Indy party during the referendum. They are looking at the possibility of a large windfall on the list vote should the SNP look like dominating the first past the post constituency votes. If the Greens even look like thinking about splitting the constituency Indy vote in that way, they will lose all good will and trust from all those new folk cultivated during the referendum.

      Many now see them as a good safe second Indy vote. Such an idiotic attitude by their leadership would (rightly) shatter that hard won new status of a safe Indy alternative. It would just expose yet more of the usual (and hated) cynical party first manouvering just as the Scots electorate is rejecting it. Pointless too, as they could not hope to gain the number of seats possible via the list and a fair wind.

      Still, when was narrow party political self interest ever placed second to the national good? So, suppose I would not be surprised. Enlightened self interest seems a harder and harder concept to sell these days.


    8. "Alex Salmond for First Minister" was absolutely accurate. List vote determines overall balance of parliament, and overall balance of parliament determines who is the biggest party and therefore who is likely to become FM.

      If you're a Green, vote Green on the list, obviously. If you're SNP, think long and hard before you do anything other than vote SNP on the list. And then vote SNP on the list.

    9. Not my point though Rolfe. Just saying that once the numbers are there, both become self fulfilling prophecies and therefore true in hind sight.

      Second vote Green, from an Indy only (non party) point of view (under circumstances of obvious SNP domination of constituency votes) still seems to me a valid tactic (to be considered much closer to the time).


  5. James, I'd snap your hands off at even 40%.

    Another impressive poll. Things are looking GREAT! Really cheered me up and it's Friday tomorrow too, folks.

    I really do not want to talk too soon, but it certainly looks like folk will not budge much.

    Is there 1 more Survation poll to come? That'll be maybe around 4 weeks from now before the Election?

    1. There are moments when I drift happily off to sleep imagining that this could bandwagon even further by election day.

  6. A bit dull after seeing two different full-scale polls, but the YouGov sub-sample says SNP 40, Lab 27, Con 24, Others <4. SNP / PC (most of which is SNP) is down-weighted from 57 to 44, even though Scotland is upweighted from 183 to 199. Methinks YouGov have done their best to try and produce a "Budget bounce" for the Sun's consumption. Tories are ahead 35-33 having been behind in all three previous YouGov / Sun polls this week.

  7. "The people of Scotland seem to have reached a clear judgement that they want a say on independence again before the semi-mythical "generation" is up, and they certainly want it well before David Cameron's breathtakingly arrogant timescale of "a lifetime" has passed."

    So how arrogant was Alex Salmond when he told Andrew Marr the Sunday before the referendum:

    "My view is this is a once in a generation, perhaps even a once in a lifetime, opportunity for Scotland."

    A referendum now would certainly prompt some interesting debate. For example, with oil currently at $54 per barrel, compared to the $110 predicted in the blueprint for indepndendence?

    1. Anyone that tries to argue a case for the long term future governance of a country based on the current spot price of a commodity needs their head examined. We are talking about decades to hundreds of years, not next month.

      Likely be up to $80 a barrel by the end of the year. $100 at some point in 2016/17. The shale oil bubble, like the gas one, is now well and truly bursting in the states. Production drop is now catching up with rig counts as the repo man looms for the heavily leveraged shale drillers.

      Good summary here, much of which I'd agree with as someone's who's worked in the industry for 15 years and is on their 3rd big spot price collapse.

      We are running out slowly but surely. $100 a barrel was a reflection of this. Nobody would have gone near shale if we were not past easy oil.

    2. What we do know is that Norway has a USD850 billion oil fund which shelters it from oil price volatility while its government pursues expansionist economic policies. 'Pooling and sharing' leaves us entirely exposed. The gleeful response of unionism to the oil price drop demonstrates why they are so unfit to govern this country and why so many have abandoned their narrow, nasty, sectarianism. Scotland's exposure to oil price volatility is an outcome of unionist mismanagement not an argument for it continuing.

    3. Keep in mind that, oil is a bonus and not the be all of Scotland's economy.
      Years of Westminster mismanagement and wasted opportunities, are the real problems in the oil sector.

    4. Yes, all the recent whining about oil prices from arrogant out of touch twit unionists has clearly been a fucking disaster for the SNP.

      Hence the polls.


  8. Who knows what the price of oil will be at the upcoming GE never mind the next referendum?

  9. Populus sub-sample: SNP 46, Lab 28, Con 11, Others <7.

  10. Just popped the figures into Weber Shandwick predictor for the make-up of the Scottish Parliament

    SNP = 69 (=)
    Labour = 26 (-11)
    Tories = 15 (=)
    Lib Dems = 5 (=)
    Greens = 11 (+9)
    and we have a few UsKIPers

  11. If Murphy's chums hadn't so recently stabbed Lamont in the back causing the change of leadership, and if Murphy wasn't little Ed's choice and placeman, then Murphy would almost certainly have been out the fucking door after continuous polling like this.

    These polls are a devastating hammerblow to Murphy, McTernan and little Ed's election 'strategy' in scotland. They have no excuses left now. This is long, long after all the whining about 'letting the tories in' started and all the recent lies about the NHS from Murphy and little Ed.

    It simply has not worked. What more proof do they need?

    It's not just that the SNP are doing so well, it's that the right-wing ultra-Blairite Murphy embodies all that has gone so very wrong in the westminster establishment Labour party.

    Murphy is also a public relations disaster area (though credit has of course got to go too "no-brainer" McTernan for that hilarity too) with blunder after blunder as his own personal ratings with the scottish electorate crash to new depths with Murphy somehow managing to make Lamont look like a safe pair of hands in retrospect.

    It just shows how right we all were when we looked forward to the Eggman being made leader. :-D

    Murphy is just as big a liability as we predicted while the out of touch westminster bubble twits and tories who gushed praise over Murphy now look incredibly stupid.

    There's going to come a time, fairly soon now, when all those Labour MPs who thought they had a job for life will finally realise the game is up. When the penny does drop they will start to settle scores before they are booted out on their arse by the voters. I suspect it will make all the feuds and infighting in SLAB and Labour that have come before look like a friendly chat since this is the party that still has corruption running very deep as Falkirk recently showed us.

    We will be in for quite a 'show' before election day as the blind panic takes hold in 'scottish' Labour MPs.

    You would need a heart of stone not to laugh. ;-D

    1. Some of my diehard Labour friends would like a change of leader. They said Murphy comes across to them as 'fake', their words. The more they see of him they dislike him and more. If your own supporters don't like you then you have a problem.

    2. There is some polling evidence to back that up.

      YouGov have polled views of the party leaders (are they doing well / badly).

      In their early February poll, Murphy had an overall rating of -10 (33 positive, 43 negative). The negative rating was mainly driven by SNP supporters, who viewed him negatively by 71 to 17, while Labour supporters viewed him positively by 67 to 12. Tory and Lib Dem supporters were more evenly split.

      By their poll in early March, Murphy's overall rating had decreased to -25 (26 positive, 51 negative). SNP supporters were slightly more negative than before (12-76 rather than 17-71), but the change was more driven by Labour and Tory supporters. His Labour rating declined from +55 (67-12) to +26 (55-29). Meanwhile Tories had gone from being slightly positive about Murphy to clearly negative (-21, 30-51).

  12. I thought the bus thing was Glaswegian and it was 3 that came along at once.

    1. I must have fallen victim to colonialism of the mind. Even our proverbs are Anglicised.

    2. It's probably wherever you happen to be - I lived in London for a while and it was definitely London buses there. The number was 3, though.