Sunday, March 15, 2015

Swing low, sweet Poll of Polls, coming for to carry an enormous SNP contingent to the Palace of Westminster

Be afraid, haggis-phobes of the London press, be very afraid.  Incest, country dancing and an incomprehensible dialect are coming to a parliament building near you.  Even more scarily, there are suggestions that unnatural practices such as social democracy and constitutional reform may soon be on open display in the House of Commons.

Today's update of the Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls is based on the recent full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov, plus nine Scottish subsamples from GB-wide polls - five from YouGov, one from Populus, one from ComRes, one from Opinium and one from Ipsos-Mori.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 45.3% (+3.2)
Labour 25.5% (-1.4)
Conservatives 17.7% (-1.0)
Liberal Democrats 4.9% (-0.5)
Greens 3.2% (-0.4)
UKIP 2.9% (-0.1)

(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.)

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I've been thinking - given that the London establishment have started talking about the prospect of a strong, democratically-elected Scottish contingent at Westminster in much the same way as they used to talk about IRA terrorism, surely some IRA-style broadcasting restrictions are now in order?  "In order to prevent harm being done to our glorious United Kingdom, Nicola Sturgeon's words are spoken by an actress."

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Today's GB-wide YouGov poll in the Sunday Times contains a barrel-load of questions about the filthy tartan hordes (I keep having to remind myself that's us), and the responses of the Scottish subsample are rather fascinating -

Do you think it would be a good or bad thing if the SNP held the balance of power in a hung Parliament?

Good thing : 50%
Bad thing : 42%

Do you think it would be a good or bad thing if the SNP was part of a coalition government at Westminster after the next election?

Good thing : 51%
Bad thing : 39%

Do you think the Labour party should be prepared to do a deal with the SNP in the event of a hung Parliament, or should it rule out a deal?

Should be prepared to do a deal with the SNP : 51%
Should rule out doing a deal with the SNP : 36%

If there was a hung Parliament and the following were the only options available which would you prefer? A minority Labour government without any secure majority, or a Labour/SNP coalition with an overall majority?

A minority Labour government with no secure majority : 30%
A Labour/SNP coalition with an overall majority : 51%

A Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition or a Labour/SNP coalition?

A Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition : 33%
A Labour/SNP coalition : 52%

Thinking about some of the things the SNP could possibly ask for in exchange for supporting a minority government in Westminster, would you support or oppose the following?

Getting rid of Trident, Britain's nuclear weapons system?

Support : 51%
Oppose : 36%

Keeping Trident, but moving Britain's nuclear submarine base out of Scotland?

Support : 40%
Oppose : 44%

Holding a new referendum on Scottish independence?

Support : 44%
Oppose : 44%

Giving Scotland greater devolved powers, such as control of welfare and oil revenues?

Support : 65%
Oppose : 24%

The question about the SNP negotiating a second independence referendum as part of the deal implies that it would be held within the next five years. The results are therefore broadly in line with other polls we've seen on whether and when a second referendum should be held - an overwhelming majority do think it should happen, but views are more evenly split over whether it should be in the immediate future.

As always, the pressure on the Westminster parties to reverse their cynical betrayal of "The Vow" on Home Rule remains intense.


  1. Unless I am misunderstanding things,Westminster has around 2 weeks to implement their vowlet before closing shop for the GE.
    That would suggest to me that it ain't going to happen and will be something else for the SNP to beat the unionists over the head with during the campaign.

  2. interesting that GB wide there isn't the same opposition to a Lab/SNP deal than the MSM and politicians make out... Progressive English support may yet save the Union if a reform-minded government featuring the SNP in a strong position can be the outcome. Ironic, counter-intuitive, but there you have it.

    1. Those aren't GB-wide figures - as stated in the post, they're the Scottish subsample figures. The GB-wide figures display all the haggis-phobia you'd expect after recent coverage in the London media.

    2. Yes and no. The Tories are almost unanimously opposed to it, as you would expect. After all, the SNP being 'involved' in Government means by definition that the Tories would not be involved. The Labour voters are much more evenly split.

      And even some of the Labour voters who say they don't want the SNP involved will be saying that because they want Labour to win outright, rather than any principled objection to the SNP. If it comes to the crunch of needing SNP votes to a) get the Tories out and b) govern, they won't object.

    3. It's very much a now and then issue. Now Labour are fighting an election campaign. For Labour/SNP talks to come, the Tories (as incumbents) have to fail to form a government first. Once they do come, their failure leads to another election. Labour were reported to be £12 million in the hole in 2013. Their activist base is in long-term decline. I don't know they will have the money, or the activists to fight a second election this year. Conversely, it may well be in the interests of the SNP's Green/Plaid Cymru allies to fight a second election with Labour and the Lib Dems running out of money and activists.
      After all, by then we'll have had two elections in a row where voting Tory/Labour did not result in a majority government for either. At some point those voting for the big (but shrinking) parties because "no-one else can win" will realise that those parties aren't winning either, so what's the point in restricting one's vote to merely those two?


    Still, just in case anyone is under the misapprehension that the apparent prospect of a SNP landslide in May means that the country is now set on voting Yes in another referendum, we should note that today’s poll actually puts the No side slightly ahead in referendum vote intentions (by 51% to 49% once Don’t Knows are excluded). That actually represents a reversal of the position in previous YouGov polls, perhaps because in this poll unlike YouGov’s previous exercises, the proportion who said they voted Yes and No in September does more or less match the actual result.

    The SNP may well be on course for a landslide in seats. But if that is the case it is thanks to the relentless logic of first-past-the-post, not because Scotland has significantly changed its mind since last Septemper

    "Oh dear, how sad, never mind"

    1. If you weight the poll to correctly represent country of birth demographics according to the census, then Yes is in majority.

    2. Let's take the 49-51 no vote at face value.

      It's fine. It's perfectly fine to be scoring that at present (as a Yes supporter) because there is no referendum planned in the next months nor year.

      The worry now for Unionists is how do you long-term keep your Union together? I don't think there is an answer to that.

    3. " But if that is the case it is thanks to the relentless logic of first-past-the-post, not because Scotland has significantly changed its mind since last Septemper"


      And just how is it you get to a position where FPTP advantages the SNP you hilarously out out touch anonymous twit?

      Let's see, is it because support for the SNP is falling?

      Nope! Quite the opposite. :-D

      You know, like having close to 100,000 members would somehow be "not significant" if we took any of your desperate whining seriously.

  4. Thanks for the link, Mr Bravely Anonymous Labour Troll. Anyone who follows it can scroll down to read the comment I left there a couple of days ago, explaining why Professor Curtice's summary is grossly misleading. The Yes vote is up 4% to 49%, and the No vote is down 4% to 51%. By any standards those are "significant" changes.

  5. @Anonymous.

    It makes little difference what referendum voting intentions would be atm.

    The installation of SNP MP's in constitutencies where they have only really known Labour will be a highly persuasive new element in our aims towards independence.

    Vast numbers of voters will realise what good governance actually looks and feels like. This will persuade many No voters that self governance is a better option in fact.

    This may be a more important aspect of gaining more SNP MP's than any leverage in Westminster.

  6. Hey Anonymous,

    You do know that the Yes campaign STARTED with something like a 23% vote, at the beginning of the Independence referendum?

    Have you forgot the dismissive sneers of 'less than a quarter of Scots support separation'?

    By your own admission, the Yes campaigners have doubled their support over the past couple of years, and the nature of this General Election campaign with it's unashamedly anti - Scottish racism, will be adding a lot of 'determination' to people's opinions, who may otherwise have been neutral, as far as Scottish politics is concerned.

    If you are Scottish, then you are held in contempt by the very people who you are so determined to allow to rule and ruin your country, if you are under 65 years old you are even more unusual, in that you are able to access the on-line media and know the truth about how dishonest the better together campaign and the vow was, and yet still want the people who took you for a fool, to rule you.

    Quite pathetic really.

  7. Populus Scotland crossbreak:
    47% SNP
    19% Lab
    17% Con
    10% Lib
    5% UKIP
    2% green

  8. Populus sub-sample:

    SNP 47, Lab 19, Con 17, LD 10, Others <5.

  9. are you two competing?

    1. LOL I'm no competition for the speed of James in getting these posted. However, once in a while he's maybe at the loo or something and I take advantage of the opening :-)

    2. You might want to rephrase your last sentence.

    3. I have absolutely no idea on earth what you mean. Could you please elaborate?

  10. Hmm, could be just wobble, but I'm seeing a point or two possible drift from Lab to Con in Scotland? Solid unionists moving to the most unionist party? No change in SNP so I'd be quite happy if the Tories get a slight boost as the expense of Labour; helps SNP in all but a few seats.

  11. Is this the lowest Labour have sunk to in these sub-samples?

    1. No, they scored 13% a couple of weeks ago.

      Populus changed their methodology ~ 2 months ago.

      Since early February, the SNP and Labour sub-sample scores have been:

      Today: SNP 47, Lab 19
      13th March: SNP 45, Lab 26
      9th March: SNP 49, Lab 23
      6th March: SNP 58, Lab 13
      2nd March: SNP 50, Lab 23
      27th February: SNP 43, Lab 20
      23rd February: SNP 37, Lab 28
      20th February: SNP 47, Lab 21
      16th February: SNP 44, Lab 25
      13th February: SNP 43, Lab 24
      9th February: SNP 46, Lab 28
      6th February: SNP 40, Lab 31
      2nd February: SNP 45, Lab 22
      30th January: SNP 29, Lab 30 (last poll before the change)

      Maybe there is a very slight SNP increase / Lab decrease since the change was made, but nothing outwith the high theoretical margin of error in a sub-sample.

  12. Hi James - know if there is any truth to the rumours that there will be more Ashcroft polls today at 4pm, or that Ashcroft has had a private meeting with Dougie Alexander?

    1. Ashcroft National Polls come out on Mondays. Constituencies tend to Wednesdays if he does any.

    2. Further to Marcia's reply, there are Ashcroft constituency polls being published later this week. When he announced this he said that it would cover Tory / Labour marginals, so I doubt very much that there will be any further Scottish seats in this release.

      The story about Ashcroft meeting Dougie Alexander is a re-heat of a real story from March 2013, long before the threat from the SNP to Labour seats (including Alexander's) became apparent.

    3. Thanks James. The only Lab/Con marginals I can think of in Scotland are Argyll & Bute, Galloway, and East Renfrewshire (which Ashcroft has already done.)

  13. I think it's mostly English (Tory/Labour) close constituencies that are due out this week. Not sure if today, or Wed. Haven't seen him or anyone mention any further Scots ones, but still could be fairly interesting to see how things are shaping up down there.

    Still think come the election, we'll see the Tories with most seats. I honestly do not give a hoot who governs the UK, but if and last I checked, it was 90% chance of a minority/no overall control for a party plus the SNP potentially holding the balance of power will be a very nice wee runner's up prize for the Indyref.

    The media will be going daft. The likes of Alan Roden, Cochrane, and all our Unionist chums in overdrive at the thought of that for a few days.

    Ohhh, never mind. There's lots and lots of work to be done before there's anything like 30/40 or even 50 SNP MPs. We're in a strong position, but if you fancy helping out, please give your local branch a call/email - even if you don't fancy chapping doors or being in the public eye, there is something for everyone.

    1. "I honestly do not give a hoot who governs the UK"

      Are you joking?

      So your "team" doing well is more important than the way in which your country is governed?

      I honestly can't get my head round this level of partisanship.

    2. But it's not partisanship - I would give more of a hoot if I could really discern a substantial difference between Labour and the Tories. The SNP have nailed their colours to the mast, and will prefer a Miliband government to a Cameron government on the basis that it will be at least marginally better. I find it hard to muster much excitement about a change of government - what I'm really interested in is constitutional progress for Scotland. If a Labour/SNP deal can bring that about, great. But the thought of Ed Balls as Chancellor makes me feel almost as ill as the thought of Osborne staying in office.

    3. It is partisanship.

      As you say, even the SNP leadership (rightly) identify differences between the Tories and Labour significant enough to determine their (potential) choice of Government.

      I understand your desire for constitutional progress. But the prospects for that are hugely different depending on who forms the UK Govt.

      And I personally think a (eg) Lab/SNP UK Govt would be a million times better for the everyday lives of Scots and countrymen in the rest of the UK than, say, a Tory / UKIP one. I'm surprised you disagree.

    4. "But the prospects for that are hugely different depending on who forms the UK Govt"

      Well, we know that Labour are the only party to have set their face against the devolution of abortion law - that's not a great sign.

      "And I personally think a (eg) Lab/SNP UK Govt would be a million times better for the everyday lives of Scots and countrymen in the rest of the UK than, say, a Tory / UKIP one. I'm surprised you disagree."

      What gave you the impression that I disagree? But it's the involvement of the SNP that would make it a million times better, not the involvement of Labour.

    5. In which case, why can't the SNP countenance forming a Government with the Tories?

      Sorry, but your positions on this are hopelessly inconsistent. On the one hand, your Party could happily support a Lab govt after the next election, but never even entertain the idea supporting a Tory one.

      I accept they are just political positions, and will not do you any harm. But they're genuinely inconsistent. Which is infuriating for us, whose voters you KEEP BLOODY STEALING!!! ;-) and :-(

    6. Meant to add: on the other hand, you claim Lab and Tory are "just the same".

    7. Hugh - do you think the SNP could 'drag' the Tories to left towards the centre a bit? How about Labour? Both Lab and Con are on the right, but which one do you think might be pulled a bit left?

    8. Clearly I strongly disagree that Labour are "on the right".

      Leaving that aside, obviously Labour are more likely to be "dragged" towards a position more in tune with the SNP agenda, an impossibility with the Tories. (though it would be help if the SNP could agree to our progressive policies like higher taxes for the rich, but HEY!)

      Which in turn means that there is a BIG difference between Labour and the Tories, and it really, *really* does matter which of those two parties are in Government in the UK, for many reasons.

    9. Labour are not on the right?

      What was the new Labour thing? You can argue they are more left than the Tories reasonably well, but they are right of centre since Blair. Thatcher said it was her proudest achievement (New Labour).

      For the UK 'centre' maybe they are leftish, but they are not a left party. Not even moderate (global) centre. It's why they've lost support in Scotland and are struggling against the Tories in the UK. They don't offer an obvious alternative to the latter.

      Come on, no serious political scientist argues otherwise.

    10. "But they're genuinely inconsistent."

      Nope. Saying that a million times won't make it true. If Labour is marginally preferable to the Tories, you prop up a Labour minority government out of principle. If a 0.8% rate of interest is marginally better than 0.7%, you take 0.8%. Simples.

  14. ICM sub-sample has SNP on 56%.

  15. Ashcroft sub-sample:

    SNP 54, Lab 21, Con 16.

    1. Yer slipping James - that's last weeks. 44 SNP / 25 Lab this week. No obvious change in subsets coming in...