Thursday, March 11, 2021

Anti-independence parties in disarray as YouGov poll suggests SNP are on course for huuuuuge overall majority

Thanks to Scottish Skier for pointing out to me that there's a second Scottish poll out today, this time from YouGov - and it's much, much better than the one from ComRes.  Not only does it suggest that the SNP are still on course to get their overall majority back, it also suggests that majority could be extremely large.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions (YouGov, 4th-8th March 2021):

SNP 52% (-4)
Conservatives 22% (+3)
Labour 17% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)
Greens 2% (-)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 45% (-2)
Conservatives 21% (+1)
Labour 16% (+3)
Greens 6% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1)
SSP 3% (-)

Seats projection (with changes from 2016): SNP 71 (+8), Conservatives 29 (-2), Labour 20 (-4), Liberal Democrats 5 (-), Greens 4 (-2)

SNP: 71 seats (55.0%)
All others: 58 seats (45.0%)


Pro-independence parties: 75 seats (58.1%)
Anti-independence parties: 54 seats (41.9%)


For the most part, YouGov are actually showing much the same trends as ComRes - it's just that the SNP were starting from a higher base, meaning the drop doesn't matter so much.  The one really big difference is that ComRes suggested the Greens would make substantial gains whereas YouGov are saying they're on course to lose seats - and I think that can be explained mostly by methodology.  Both ComRes and Survation use a question about the list ballot that I suspect leads some respondents to wrongly think they're being asked for a second preference vote, so for my money the YouGov list numbers are more likely to be accurate.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49% (-2)
No 51% (+2)

As far as the indyref figures are concerned, ComRes and YouGov are as one - and strange though it may seem, that's extremely reassuring.  A few months ago, ComRes were at the Yes-friendly end of the spectrum and YouGov were at the No-friendly end, with a huge 7% gap between them.  That means if YouGov had replicated the ComRes trend, Yes could now be sitting on a lowly 42%.  Instead there's been a convergence, which suggests that the swing back to No may not have been as substantial as we feared.  49% is only four points below YouGov's all-time high for Yes.

Scottish voting intentions for Westminster:

SNP 50% (-3)
Conservatives 23% (+4)
Labour 17% (-)
Liberal Democrats 5% (+1)
Greens 3% (-)
Reform UK 1% (-2)

Seats projection (with changes from 2019): SNP 55 (+7), Conservatives 3 (-3), Labour 1(-), Liberal Democrats 0 (-4)

For some unknown reason, YouGov tend to show much lower support for a second independence referendum than other polling firms, but nevertheless, there's a narrow majority in this poll (42% to 39%) in favour of holding a referendum within the next five years.

*  *  *

I've written today's online-only National Extra piece about the current polling situation (and I did it before I was aware of the indy numbers in the YouGov poll) - you can read it HERE.  


  1. I’ve just completed a Yougov poll about Scottish Government performance on handling of Covid crisis.

    1. My wife answered a phone poll on that last night; wonder if its the same poll

    2. I only ever get asked what my employment status's like they don't believe me!

  2. James, do the seat projections give constituency and list results separately?

  3. This snippet from the poll which was sampled after the FM's appearance at the Holyrood enquiry gives an idea on how it was perceived by the general public.

    Do you think Nicola Sturgeon is doing well or badly as First Minister?
    61% Well
    34% Badly
    =+27% NET Well

    Do you think Douglas Ross is doing well or badly as leader of the Scottish Conservative Party?
    20% Well
    41% Badly
    =-21% NET Badly

    Do you think that Boris Johnson is doing well or badly as Prime Minister?
    26% Well
    68% Badly
    =-42% NET Badly

    Do you have a favourable or unfavourable opinion of the following?
    Nicola Sturgeon
    57% Favourable
    38% Unfavourable
    =+19% NET favourable

  4. This is worth repeating (from the end of the previous comments thread).

    It is about the best indicator of what may start to happen to polls after peak committee ended with Sturgeon saying her bit.

    From what you have seen or heard about the Alex Salmond inquiry and how it relates to Nicola Sturgeon, do you think each of the following has or has not generally told the truth?

    Nicola Sturgeon
    44(+14)% Has generally told the truth
    36(nc)% Has not generally told the truth
    10(-13)% Don't know

    Changes on late January.

    These things take at least a few weeks to filter into the public, so we have probably been over the worse of it and are now emerging from the other side, hence the indication of poll stabilisation and Sturgeon's trust on the increase.

    1. To add, the 36% are the largely unionist core who won't be persuaded of indy. The always say they don't like / trust the SNP, even if they do (on all matters bar indy).

    2. This is real 'finger on the pulse of Scottish people' stuff from an Southern Englishman of 30 years.

      English right wingers: Sturgeon 'lying, dishonest, evasive defensive'

      Scots: 'Now that we've heard her side, we trust her a lot more. She seemed very honest'.

  5. Prof JWR seems to have the full YouGov data -

    He's posting it because he has a fairly basic question, to which I'm sure you have the answer.

    1. He does seem to have a point. A quick look at 2016 data in terms of electorate size vs Yes and No in the yougov poll, shows No regions are apparently being favoured for sampling. That is assuming turnouts in regions are similar to 2016.

      It could be just random sampling, but it may well have given No a few %.

  6. American dumb question. What stops Scotland from just declaring Harry King and MM queen. ? USA would recognize Scotland in an hour. So would EU .

    1. Technically, we’re subjects not citizens and so have no right whatsoever to any opinion at all on who lords over us. That’s what makes monarchies so outdated: it’s a one way relationship.

      Practically speaking, it would just make the Scottish Government look daft, I suspect. They need our neighbours to take us seriously, not shrug off Scottish independence as some novelty campaign; as they more or less did in 2014.

    2. The people of Scotland are sovereign in Scotland. The people of Scotland are not "subjects" of any monarchy.

      When we regain our independence I hope we become a republic.

    3. After Indy: absolutely. But make no mistake about the current situation. We are subjected to the British monarchy just as we are the British government. When the current monarch pops her royal clogs, neither nor your I nor any Scot will have any say in her replacement. We’ll just have to put up with the next guy on our coins and stamps and all the rest of it. That’s the nature of our lousy “union”. Simple subjugation.

      Independence is our means to change all that. As Ireland did before us, and so many more nations too.

  7. How are you projecting the seats?

    I live in Edinburgh West, which is one of the hardest remaining seats for the SNP to win. Keen to see if they’re projected to nab it! Also very interested to see how Lothians list is working out with these numbers.

    I know: no counting chickens before they’ve hatched! But my list vote is definitely up for grabs this election so I’d like as much information as I can get.

  8. Democracy Index 2020:
    1 Norway
    2 Iceland
    3 Sweden
    4 New Zealand
    5 Canada
    6 Finland
    7 Denmark
    9 Ireland
    9 Australia
    10 Netherlands
    15 Uruguay
    16 UK
    17 Chile

  9. If a law is passed by 72% of parliamentarians from at least 4 out of 5 different / opposing parties (I'm estimating from 82 MSPs in favour with 32 opposed) in a chamber, can it be described as 'controversial'?

    Controversial stuff should, rather obviously due to the nature of it, pass very narrowly, if at all.

    This must be why the UK scores so low in press trust.

    1. And I note an article in the national (by someone called Martin Hannan) is doing the same, showing it is not inherently pro-SNP.

      'Formerly a bit controversial' surely?

      TBH, I've not had a single person mention it to me. It's as uncontroversial as discussions around GRA reform for the general public.

      Given this legislation will offer a means to counter anti-Scottish racism*, e.g. by unionists, it's definitely a good thing.


      *Race is a protected characteristic, which under the equality act, is defined by both skin colour, national or ethnic origins.

    2. PeeJay: For pity's sake, could you not have posted the comment I've just deleted without using the P word? You make it hard for me sometimes.

    3. We are not in Pakistan. White scots are not a minority in Scotland. They do have full ECHR rights.

      May I asked what you feel is a threat to white men in some way?

  10. If it was up to the Tories wee boys would still be climbing up lums and bairns would be working in factories.
    They opposed votes for women and before that for the working classes.
    They opposed land reform and the return of the Scottish Parliament.
    They swear undying commitment to Scotland but they're off to the hoose o Lords at the first opportunity.
    Incredibly 20% of Scots say they'll vote for them.
    They're everywhere!
    You could be walking past them in the street and not know it.
    Some of them look just like us.
    Keep yersel safe. Wear a mask.

  11. Do you think the Tories are getting a UK-wide boost from the vaccine rollot? They're up in Wales as well.

    1. Comres for the Scotsman.

      To what extent do each of the following make you more or less likely to support Scottish Independence?

      Vaccine rollout in Scotland
      42% More likely
      37% No more or less likely
      16% less likely

      =+26% More likely NET

      Given the Scottish government sourced vaccines for Scotland, paid for them with Scots taxes / Scottish share of UK borrowing (#GERS), and is now organising rollout, this isn't a surprise.

  12. I see Britain is going to celebrate a century of the berlin wall, the division, deaths and sorrow it has caused.

    Sorry, Belfast wall.

    How is it ever right to celebrate the violent, forced imperial partitioning of little country by a big butchering empire?

  13. Effects of brexit starting to really show up now.

    Of course you won't read about this sort of stuff on '#wheeshtfortheunion' English blogs. They'll just tell you Scots don't trust Sturgeon due to the Salmond enquiry when polls show trust in her has soared in the past couple of months.

    Brexit: New figures reveal 'grim' damage to Scotland's food and drink sector

    NEW data from the Office for National Statistics reveals the true extent of Brexit’s devastating impact on the Scottish food and drink sector.

    EU-bound consignments for January 2021 were down 63% on the previous year, while Scotland’s largest food export category, fish and shellfish, was down a crippling 83%.

    Meat and dairy also suffered with exports plunging 59% and 50% respectively, the ONS found.

    James Withers (below), the chief executive of Scotland Food and Drink, said the “grim” figures could not be sugar coated – and rejected claims that the fall in exports was a result of Covid-19.