Sunday, August 20, 2017

Dark day for Dugdale as Opinium subsample puts SNP first, and Labour third

Right on cue, here's the perfect antidote to the BMG subsample a few days ago that some people lost all sense of perspective over.  Far from having Scottish Labour in the lead, the new Opinium subsample puts Kezia Dugdale's party in a distant third place: SNP 37%, Conservatives 36%, Labour 23%, Liberal Democrats 2%, Greens 1%.

Given that the threat to the SNP since the election seems to be coming much more from Labour than from the Tories, I'd suggest the SNP's razor-thin lead over the Tories in this subsample is less important than their bigger cushion over Labour.  It ought to cool fears that Labour have quietly opened up a significant lead during a second half of summer that has been frustratingly light on polls.  The balance of evidence in the first few weeks after the election suggested that the SNP were probably maintaining a small lead, and it's perfectly possible that's still the case, although obviously we'll need a lot more information before we can say that with any confidence.

There have now been sixteen Scottish subsamples from various firms since the election, and nine of them have put the SNP in front.  A tenth had the SNP ahead of Labour.

Very unusually for a GB-wide poll, Opinium asked about approval/disapproval of Nicola Sturgeon as a leader.  Jockophobia is so rampant south of the border at the moment that the English results are utterly predictable and thankfully not at all relevant, but among the Scottish subsample the position is almost exactly evenly balanced - 43% approve of Sturgeon and 44% disapprove.   If that's a representative finding (admittedly a big 'if' given the small sample size) it would suggest that Sturgeon hasn't suffered a further loss of popularity since election day.

The Britain-wide figures from Opinium paradoxically suggest that Labour have slightly increased their narrow lead over the Tories in spite of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn's advantage over Theresa May in the personal ratings has been significantly eroded.  The latter finding very much supports YouGov's results from the other day.