Sunday, May 1, 2016

Mayday! Mayday! She cannae take anymore, cap'n! Pitiless Panelbase poll puts Dugdale on course for crushing defeat on Thursday

May Day is of course International Workers' Day, and it shows you just how catastrophically Scotland's very own "workers' party" (ahem) has fallen that a new poll putting Labour TWENTY-SIX points behind the SNP with just four days to go until the election is being painted in some quarters as "good news for Kezia Dugdale".

Constituency ballot :

SNP 49% (-2)
Labour 23% (+4)
Conservatives 17% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (n/c)

Regional list ballot :

SNP 44% (-3)
Labour 22% (+4)
Conservatives 19% (n/c)
Greens 6% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 4% (n/c)
UKIP 3% (n/c)

As you know, I've felt all along that the likelihood is that Labour will cling on to second place - that's mostly because I think there's a pretty firm ceiling on potential Tory support in Scotland, meaning that Labour would have to lose a hell of a lot of core voters to parties of the left before it can be overtaken.  But I also think that certain parts of the mainstream media are monumentally jumping the gun in heralding this single poll as proof that the danger to Dugdale has passed.  When we have a very recent telephone poll showing a swing in the opposite direction, and reporting essentially a tied race for second place, we need to consider the very real possibility that the apparent boost for Labour in the Panelbase poll is just a mirage caused by sampling variation.

The other slightly odd thing about this poll is the apparent drop in support for the Greens, which flatly contradicts Ipsos-Mori's suggestion that they've surged to a heady (if not quite record-breaking) 10%.  Even TNS had them steady at 8%, which is towards the upper end of their normal range with that firm.  If by any chance Panelbase are right and the others are wrong, the predicted Green breakthrough may simply fail to materialise.  6% is actually a little lower than the average support the Greens were enjoying in the late polls in 2011 - when of course they won just two list seats across the whole country, and failed to trouble the scorer in six out of eight regions.

Indeed, the Panelbase numbers pose a huge problem for the whole "tactical voting" lobby, because not only is there now a chance that the Greens will struggle, but we also have evidence that the SNP are at risk of failing to reach the magic number of 65 out of 73 constituency seats that they'll need for an overall majority if voters abandon them on the list ballot.  49% support in the constituencies is only 4% better than the SNP achieved in 2011, when of course they won just 53 constituency seats - a whopping TWELVE short of the target.  It wasn't a problem back then, but only because the vast majority of SNP constituency voters stuck with the party on the list.  It's really not hard at all to think of countless examples from Scotland, the UK and around the world of parties being overestimated by a few percentage points in the late polls, so the claims (which some people are still valiantly trotting out) that the SNP are guaranteed to win a majority on constituency seats alone now look utterly fatuous.  They may well manage it, but we won't know that until several hours AFTER we cast our votes, which will be a bit too late in the day to make "tactical voting" remotely feasible.

*  *  *


The latest update of the Poll of Polls takes account of three new polls - Panelbase, Ipsos-Mori and TNS.

Constituency ballot :

SNP 51.3% (-1.4)
Labour 20.7% (+1.0)
Conservatives 17.3% (+0.5)
Liberal Democrats 6.2% (+0.4)

Regional list ballot : 

SNP 44.7% (-1.5)
Labour 19.5% (+0.5)
Conservatives 18.0% (+1.2)
Greens 8.3% (+0.3)
Liberal Democrats 5.7% (-0.3)

(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each of the firms that have reported Scottish Parliament voting intention numbers over the previous three months, and that adhere to British Polling Council rules. At present, there are six - Panelbase, Survation, BMG, YouGov, TNS and Ipsos-Mori. Whenever a new poll is published, it replaces the last poll from the same company in the sample.)

Explanatory note : As a fond tribute to the mainstream media's restrained take on the GERS report, Scot Goes Pop headlines will feature 50% bonus hysteria for an indefinite period.


  1. Sunshine on CrieffMay 1, 2016 at 7:19 PM

    There does seem to be a late swing away from the SNP in all the late polls. Very worrying.

    1. I think that was always to be expected give the unionist media bias, but 49% still leaves them on track for victory.

      The risk is in not achieving a majority.
      For YES supporters, its just not worth taking a risk voting anything other than SNP twice.

      The unionists have a problem with their vote split.
      The indy side needs to avoiding falling into that same trap before independence is achieved. It would be a massive own goal.

      Indy supporters need to remember that voting SNP twice worked last time. We need a repeat performance this week.

  2. According to the Scotsman and Britain Elects the Panelbase figures are:


    SNP 49 (-2)
    LAB 23 (+4)
    CON 17 (-1)
    LIB 6 (+1)
    GREEN 3 (-1)


    SNP 44 (-3)
    LAB 22 (+4)
    CON 19 (-)
    GRN 6 (-2)
    LIB 4 (-)
    UKIP 3 (-)
    RISE 2 (+1)

    Changes are from the previous Panelbase poll (f/w 6-15 Apr), thoughthe latest tables aren't up yet.

    Their last poll showed 4% Green and 3% UKIP on the constituency vote, so the 5% total here is plausible. Of course most of these Green and all the UKIP voters won't have a candidate when they get to the polling station. Greens will presumably mostly go to the SNP (based on 2015 voting), UKIP may split pretty evenly to Con, Lab and SNP. Some (especially UKIP) may choose not to use the constituency vote at all.

    The 'drop' in SNP support may be due to more non-SNP voters making a decision. In the previous Panelbase only 5% of those who voted SNP last May were unsure versus Con 13%, Lab 14%, Lib Dem 16%. Some of these may not vote at all of course, but others will have decided.

    Scotland Votes gives a Holyrood consisting of: SNP 70, Lab 27, Con 24, Lib Dem 3, Green 5, UKIP 0

    Incidentally a 4 point SNP to Green 'tactical' vote give the Greens 4 extra MSPs - two from Lab, two from Con. So 'Both votes SNP' can indeed risk losing Indy MSPs.

    1. Jeez. It takes some inventiveness to attempt to turn this poll of all polls into an argument for taking a risk on a smaller party on the list.

      I don't think you answered my question the other day, Roger - what is your own political affiliation?

    2. Actually I did reply, but what difference does my political affiliation (or lack of one) make? I am reporting on the numbers and considering their possible implications and variations. Those won't change whether I support a particular Party or not. You may wish to correct them or dispute their implications, but such debate shouldn't rely on which flag you wave - the maths is still the same.

      And as it happens polling at this sort of level is exactly when the argument for tactical list voting is strongest. If you're in a situation where the SNP is in a strong enough position to win nearly all the constituencies but not doing well enough to pick up extra seats in the regions (except probably in South Scotland and possibly H&I), then that is when most SNP list votes will be 'wasted' and some SNP voters may wish to place their votes elsewhere.

    3. Oh come off it, Roger. You know perfectly well this isn't about pure maths - you've been banging the drum for playing silly buggers on the list at every possible opportunity. I apologise for wrongly saying you hadn't responded to my question - you hadn't the last time I checked, although in all honesty it's a bit of a non-answer. It's hard to believe that someone who spends as much time as you do posting on political websites has no political views whatever!

  3. There's no doubt the SNP will win the election, but there does seem to have been a recent small swing away from them in the last couple of polls.

    Sturgeon posing with The Sun today is a fox-pass alright. I don't see why she needed to do it especially considering the flack -quite rightly too- they are receiving for the lack of reporting on the Hillsborough case last week.

    Although, there is a debate tonight. So hopefully she puts in a strong performance, and we see a good return on Thursday at the ballot box.

    Is it just me, or does anyone else think both The Tories and Greens will flatter to deceive? The Tories maybe slightly up but I can't see them coming second, and many polls pointed towards a Green surge last time, but lost out. It means zilch in the grand of it all, but two SNP voters I know who were both strongly hinting/considering voting Green on the list have confirmed they'll be voting SNP x2.

    Looking forward to seeing the results, and hoping for a strong SNP showing.

    If there is a small swing away from SNP as polls seem to suggest. It'll be interesting to see what has triggered this? The thought of an Indyref2? I can't see us having another referendum in the next 5 years though, and I believe the UK will vote roughly 60-65 to 30-35 to stay in the EU.

    1. Kevin

      She didn't. The Sun put a fake photo on it. The original can be found here.

    2. Sunshine on CrieffMay 1, 2016 at 8:01 PM

      A fox-pass?

      Is that a reference to Leicester City's success this year? :)

    3. Edna: you're not being serious, right?

    4. Nobody outside of the tedious whiners of scouseland cares about how the sun did or didn't publicise that appaling travesty of justice last week.
      Also the reason why The Sun was despised by the scouse celtic was due to their claim that liverpuddle fans were picking the pockets of the dead and dying. Not for reporting the absolute truth that liverpool thugs were responsible for killing their own supporters.

    5. 1) You didn't hear the Hillsborough verdict, then?

      2) Scouse Celtic? As a native of Liverpool, on moving to Glasgow I always found it...creepy that folk from Glasgow would insist that our teams were also divided along religious lines. We never saw it that way. Have a nice sectarian day.

    6. The Scottish Sun has different editorial control than the English Sun. They had nothing to do with that Hillsborough headline 28 years ago.

      Alex Salmond had no problem taking an endorsement from the Scottish Sun, and Nicola isn't too snobby to do so either.

      At the end of the day, it has half a million readers in Scotland, many of them working class. It's all about reaching out to a huge audience.

      Anyone who is uncomfortable with that needs to get their priorities straight. What is more important?
      Yet another apology from the English Sun, or a chance to move towards Scottish independence ?

      I will put independence first any day of the week.

  4. The Greens are only contesting three constituencies, aren't they? Which means most of that three per cent is going to have to go somewhere else on the day.

  5. I have a feeling the Greens are about to become the new LibDems.
    Whatever the LibDems thought they were going to achieve 6 years ago turned out to be a disaster for them and more importantly a disaster for the country.
    The Greens and all the articles in SH and, what should be a warning to them, in the Times, Scotsman, Herald, are taking them in the same direction as the LibDems.

    1. Weird comparison!

      Because newspapers report us (Sun support SNP, Sunday Heralnd supports SNP 1st, Green 2nd) means nothing. It is our policies any of us should be judged on - and on those the Greens policies are - I'd suggest - where the majority of the post-IndyRef SNP grassroots want to be.

  6. James, what's your basis for thinking there's a Tory "ceiling"? I don't share your confidence!

    1. The last 2 decades of elections, coupled with a decline beginning in the mid 1950's I'd venture.

    2. Why do the Tories hate Scotland? What did we do to them???

    3. I think voting Yes to partial home rule in 1979 was the initial trigger. They wanted the oil for themselves for a start.

    4. Where do you think we would be today if that had carried through to create a Scottish Parliament?

    5. I think James is right.Theres a limit to the number of people in Scotland who will vote for a party led by an old Etonian Bullingdon boy.

    6. Glasgow Working Class 2May 1, 2016 at 11:18 PM

      Skier, who wanted the oil for themselves?

    7. Don't feed the troll, folks.

    8. "The last 2 decades of elections, coupled with a decline beginning in the mid 1950's I'd venture."

      Previous performance not a guarantee of future results.

      Just ask Labour.

  7. Its in your hands. The SNP have been canvassing for months. We have identified tens of thousands of SNP voters. Take matters into your own hands. There are 116 thousand of us in the party. Volunteer to get the vote out on Thursday.

    The weather will deter voters. Go help your branch get the voters to and from the polling stations.

    Your country really does need you.

    Don't just sit here. Do something about it.

    1. Well said.Theres too many shirkers who aren't pulling their weight.

  8. I will be very surprised if the SNP don't get over 50% on the first vote. That Green first vote is overstated.

  9. Labour would bite your hand off if you offered them 22% right now. It's a definite improvement (and supported by another recent poll).

    SNP also looking relatively low - sub 50% in both ballots (second time in a month).

    The SNP will win but they could actually lose seats - and the total pro indy vote may well come to less than 50%. That would be a hammerblow to any pretense of legitimacy regarding a second referendum.

    1. Glasgow Working Class 2May 1, 2016 at 10:46 PM

      The more that is lost to the two Tory parties is good news for Labour. And has anyone seen those billboard posters of Wee Nicola Jimmy Crankie fan dabbie dozzzie. What former Blue Tory supporter is paying for them!
      Those snachi and snatchi mob are trying to turn her into some sort of goddess. We are getting like the f,n Ya nks.


    3. And there's a sad unionist OO supporting neo-nazi giving the game away.

      The entire focus of the foreign owned media has been to deny the people of Scotland another vote on our freedom.

      People who really will make Scotland a wasteland rather than let us be a real country.

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2May 1, 2016 at 11:22 PM

      Scumbag bigot you should be exposed or have the courage to publicly declare who you are. Are you an anti semite also?

    5. teeth in the glassMay 1, 2016 at 11:34 PM

      I see the Glaikit Wee Clown is oot again.Can the Priory no sort him? Aw nicht Glaikit.

    6. Don't feed the troll, folks.

    7. Glasgow Working Class 2May 2, 2016 at 12:05 PM

      Average cost for ingredients in NHS dinner, Cost=79p. Scottish school dinner=59p. Holyrood=£12. Fat cat bastards.

    8. Don't feed the troll, folks.

  10. The way I see it,you've got 45% who voted Yes despite a massive campaign of fear and terror.Theyll stick with pro Indy parties now.Then you've got another 8 to 10% who quite fancied Indy but didn't quite have the confidence to vote for it on the day.Theyll vote for a pro Indy party because,well,why the hell not? There's nothing too big and scary for them about an SNP majority government.Take off a tranche of unionists who voted SNP in 2011 because they thought they were the most competent etc,but post referendum will now only vote for a unionist party.
    I think the result of Thursday's vote will be a fair reflection of support for Indy and support for union.Thats not to say it's how a referendum would turn out if it were to be held next week.Supporting Indy and voting for it aren't quite the same thing.
    Any suggestions as to what would happen if the SNP doesn't get a majority?

    1. A big drunken party at Pacific Quay?

    2. Glasgow Working Class 2May 2, 2016 at 6:04 PM

      A small party at my hoose you Nat si bigot scumbag.

    3. Don't feed the troll, folks.

    4. Glasgow Working Class 2May 2, 2016 at 7:53 PM

      Nat si Bigot Scumbag.

    5. Don't feed the troll, folks.

    6. A cobbled together arrangement with the Greens I suspect. Or maybe the limp lumps will offer their services hoping some SNP stardust rubs off on them.

      As for indy, it'll be completely fecked.

  11. So will this be the last poll or can we expect another one? I am also curious as to which pollster got closest to the GE Result in Scotland last year and have they radically altered their methodology.

    Greens on 3% for constituency vote when they are only contesting three constituencies is laughable. Panelbase immediately discredits itself with that one. Down 1 from 4 as well. Were they taking their samples from Celtic Park?

    1. "So will this be the last poll or can we expect another one?"

      Far more than one, I expect - the greatest concentration of polls tends to be at the very end of the campaign.

    2. Will there be an exit poll?