Thursday, April 1, 2021

First opinion poll since Alba Party launch keeps Alex Salmond in contention for a dramatic return to the Scottish Parliament

What seemed like the endless wait for the first opinion poll to include Alba as an option is now over, but what most certainly isn't over - despite what the Courier would like you to believe in their spin on the Survation poll they've commissioned - is Alex Salmond's hopes of winning seats in this election.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions (Survation / Courier):

SNP: 49% (-1)
Conservatives: 21% (-)
Labour 20% (-)
Liberal Democrats 9% (+1)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 37% (-2)
Labour 19% (-1)
Conservatives 18% (-1)
Greens 11% (-)
Liberal Democrats 8% (+1)
Alba 3% (+3)

Scottish Skier and I had an exchange the other day about the sort of level at which Alba might poll if they were below 5%.  I said 3-4% was realistic, but Scottish Skier thought 0-1% was just as likely.  Well, if I may say so, I've been proved right, at least in the first poll.  3% puts the party in contention for seats - although 5-6% is required to win a seat, remember that's in each individual region, so if support varies across the country, a 3% national vote could be enough for one or two seats overall.  It's probably reasonable to assume that Mr Salmond himself is the candidate most likely to be elected.

Nevertheless, the danger of falling between two stools is clearly there, ie. Alba taking votes from other pro-indy parties without winning many seats itself.  It's unlikely that Alba's passionate converts will go back to the SNP, so if Alba votes aren't going to be wasted (thus potentially harming the independence cause), the challenge for the party's supporters is to double the current level of support, and then we could potentially be looking at eight seats, rather than wondering if it'll be zero or one or two.

Although Survation tend to report lower SNP list vote shares than other firms (and higher Green vote shares), 37% is the lowest they've reported for two years.  That would suggest, as you'd expect, that most of Alba's 3% support has come direct from the SNP.

I think I can reasonably claim vindication from this poll in another sense as well - I've been saying for years that Alex Salmond is the one and only person who has a chance of making a list-only pro-indy party work, and these numbers bear witness to that.  If even Mr Salmond can only manage 3% in the first poll, it's highly likely that a Wings party, or ISP, or AFI, wouldn't be troubling the scorer at this stage.

As for the Courier's hysterical spin of "it's all over for Alex Salmond", the last time I checked the paper was edited by David Clegg of "The Vow" fame, who clearly has 'issues' with Mr Salmond dating back many years.  So not only is the reporting clueless from a psephological point of view, there are also many other reasons to take it with a hefty dose of salt.

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You can catch up with Episode 5 of the Scot Goes Popcast, with special guest Len Pennie (Miss PunnyPennie) HERE.

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59 comments:

  1. What do you think of this guys points on this poll?

    https://iamscottpolitics.blogspot.com/2021/04/is-first-alba-polling-disaster.html

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    Replies
    1. I did the poll and it was very standard. No big conspiracy. It was the standard questions about which party you would vote for in the constituency and list votes. I seem to remember Alba being presented as Alba (Alex Salmond's new party) or something similar.

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    2. 3% for Alba is not good at all if the poll actually used a prompt to raise its profile over other parties like you suggest.

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  2. I will completely concede James if the regional prompt named all parties standing, as per the ballot paper! :-)

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  3. I am hearing this poll was done before Alba even existed. Is this true? Dirty tricks by Yoon Press?

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    1. Fieldwork was 29-30 March, so 3 days after the official launch and initial MP defections.

      https://twitter.com/BallotBoxScot/status/1377680333446000643

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    2. I'm not Scottish (Irish) but following with extreme interest. The media spinning a fantastic 3% - after only THREE DAYS of existence - as "it's all over" is the height of bias - the sort of treatment dished out to SF in the Republic of Ireland, for all the good it's done the establishment.

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    3. Scottish skier you are wrong
      This poll was done 18/3/2021

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    4. I'm just quoting ballot box Scotland.

      Tables will be out soon enough.

      https://twitter.com/BallotBoxScot/status/1377680333446000643

      Ballot Box Scotland
      @BallotBoxScot
      New Scottish Parliament poll, Survation 29 - 30 Mar (changes vs 11 - 18 Mar):

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  4. Nice to have a poll at last! And I have just completed another Opinium poll. It asked the independence question and voting intention as well as asking for opinions regarding possible outcomes of the election with regard to whether a referendum should be held. Quite a few questions on Alba and Salmond too. Alba was listed in the regional vote along with Alliance for Unity and Reform Party UK (no mention of SSP or UKIP this time but I must admit I've lost track of these smaller parties. How many ARE left standing?)

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  5. Courier article. Is jumping the gun a bit I think.

    https://archive.is/76a0n

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    1. Make that:

      https://web.archive.org/web/20210401180140/https://www.thecourier.co.uk/fp/news/politics/scottish-politics/2094895/its-all-over-for-salmond-exclusive-polling-puts-alba-party-on-3/

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  6. I suspected Alba would be around 3-5% - so not a huge surprise, and considering their profile is likely to rise over the course of the campaign I don’t think it is a bad staging post at all.

    At this level they will likely have a shot at North East Scotland and maybe Central Scotland at a push. Everywhere else far out of reach. Anything below this and they won’t have a chance however.

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  7. Not terrible numbers, but maybe now they'll drop all the "we can be the main opposition" stuff

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  8. I remain of the opinion that Salmond made a huge mistake turning his guns on Sturgeon as the committee heated up. He'd always attacked Evans and the Whitehall civil service, but I guess he saw the pressure on Sturgeon from the biased committee and gambled on Hamilton finding against her. Then he could re-enter stage right like a phoenix from the SNP flames. This totally backfired.

    As the courier poll shows, far from making the public more favorable to him again as he laid forth the dastardly plot, the committee has had the exact opposite effect. If he'd been accusing Sturgeon of breaking the code for years, ok, but this was opportunistic and the public have not taken well to it.

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    1. That's a great story, skier, but it's still just a story. You have knowledge of Salmonds thought processes? You THINK he gambled on "Hamilton finding against her". Alex Salmond IS a self-avowed gambler, but he doesn't make many political mistakes. He is extremely well-versed in the intricacies of Holyrood (and Westminster) rules and procedures, and the idea that he "gambled" on Hamilton finding against her, just doesn't sit well with the knowledge that we have about Salmond's wilyness.

      So no, nothing "backfired". I have growing respect for Sturgeon's political acumen, but I have never doubted Salmond's acumen.

      Your "story" is a typical "inverted pyramid". It sounds impressive, but a wee shove at the basic assumption and it turns out to be just another wild speculation. (IMO).

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    2. So he was just plain wrong then?

      Made baseless accusations because he didn't know the rules and, well, the public didn't appreciate it...

      Even if was just ignorant of the rules and genuinely thought she'd breached them, why wait years to raise it? Why hide such things from the public? It's dishonest to not report a breach if you are sure one has happened.

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  9. This poll was done 18/3/2021
    Alex Salmond joined ALBA 26/3/2021
    3% on 18/3/2021 is good
    It will have increased after Alex Salmond joined

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    1. Fieldwork was 29-30 March

      https://twitter.com/BallotBoxScot/status/1377680333446000643

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    2. According to Wikipedia and others

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    3. Terence, if it was done on 18/3 ISP and AFI would have been mentioned.
      This could be the worst possible poll for all sides.
      SNP list vote dropping.
      SNP constituency vote at a record high but still looking like it could drop below overall majority level.
      Alba possibly gaining no seats at all but depriving the SNP of an overall majority.
      Blame game to start in earnest after May election. as "tactical voting" knocks independence into the long grass for another five years.

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  10. Alexander, please read the previous post. If you start playing the game of reposting comments I've already deleted, then you'll leave me with no option but to blanket-delete all of your comments regardless of their content.

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    1. OK how about this.

      Boris and Douglas Ross have higher ratings than Alex Salmond. Is it a surprise that a party fronted by Salmond is polling very badly?

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    2. Alexander, who are you and what's your game? You've appeared out of nowhere, your Google account wasn't set up until March, and yet you now seem to be camped on this blog posting relentless anti-Salmond, anti-Alba propaganda. Forgive me if I'm more than a tad suspicious.

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    3. Right, you're at it again. As you know, I laid out some simple ground rules for commenting in the previous post. As you clearly feel unable to abide by those rules, my suggestion is that you find another site to post on. All the best.

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    4. The petty reply from you was not required - people can see with their own eyes that anti-Alba comments are being allowed. Not everyone is playing games in the way that you are. If you have nothing constructive to contribute, please go elsewhere.

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    5. Alexander, what part of the memo did you not get? I set out a series of simple ground rules for commenting in the earlier post. One of them was: do not post variants of "I demand to know why my comment was deleted". Not only have you posted exactly that sort of comment several times, you have also attempted to re-post comments that had already been deleted. Your stroppy line about "I used to post your articles on Reddit, now I won't" was pathetic. What is this - some sort of protection racket where I'm supposed to allow you to astroturf and troll this blog into the ground in return for some Reddit traffic?

      Grow up and stop wasting my time. No response from you is required.

      Delete
  11. I'm getting increasingly confident about my bet that the Scottish Tories' brief stint in second place is about to end.

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    1. Remember that Survation have tended to show better figures for Labour than other firms, though (relative to the Tories, at any rate).

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    2. It's going to be an interesting point though. Ross is nothing like Davidson, lacking profile, wit and strategy. He also had the millstone of Johnson in Downing Street rather than the relatively professional and intelligent Cameron. Sarwar isn't brilliant, but his performance in the debate was pretty strong, and he's likely to get more and more attention as the constituency fight with Sturgeon heats up. I think if the official Unionist Party declines at this election, it will actually say quite a lot about the relative strengths of the Yes and No camps.

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    3. Ross performance the other night won't have done them any favours

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    4. If Ross loses out to Sarwar in the 2nd place race, then he will surely be forced to resign as Scottish Tory leader?

      Being responsible for what looks like a Labour revival, of sorts, undoing all of Ruth Davidson's work, and being forced to take the Fall for the real culprits - Johnson and Co. in London - will surely result in a humiliating exit for Douglas Ross.

      Which would beg the question - who's next?

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  12. If I'm up a wrong tree, no doubt I'll be told but isn't the % of the overall pro-indy party support more interesting than the % of the whole sample?

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    1. Not really. 51% of votes for Yes parties is 51% no matter which way you divide it up between them. More votes for Alba does not clearly equal more votes for indy, even if their website says that! :-)

      Ties in with 50/50 Y/N on that question I understand.

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    2. Scottish independence voting intention:

      Yes: 45% (+2)
      No: 44% (-1)

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  13. 3% is not a bad start at all given the Alba is only six days old, Sure time is short but at this point there is no manifesto and no policy, This I believe will be resolved by the membership over the next 2-3 days, If they get a fair crack of the whip from the media the profile will increase and the membership are really passionate about carrying out what campaigning they are able to do, The biggest enemy for Alba at the moment is time.. But there is certainly a huge potential to get that 3% up to the 7/8 % and that means seats, The next poll will show the direction of travel.

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  14. To be honest I'm sure a few ALBA supporters will be deflated at a return of just 3% in the first Scotland wide poll.
    To have an impact beyond reducing the SNPs list %, Alex Salmond will need to pull a rabbit out the hat if he's to double his party's polling figures.
    If he can't he risks letting down so many decent well-meaning people who have put their faith in him and burnt their boats with the SNP.
    I blame Alex Salmond for not controlling the unrealistic expectations of some of his followers.
    Talk of 20 seats was commonplace just last weekend.
    Tactically, putting resources into the North East would seem the best bet IMO.

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  15. James, does the margin of error still apply for smaller parties, so that 3% could be anywhere between 0% and 6% (obviously with the greater probability that it is likely to be around 3%)?

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    1. Yes, if treated like other comparable parties. However, reports are that Alba were unfairly highlighted in the prompt. We'll see in tables whether this was the case.

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  16. I think this means they are in the game but it's by no means a good start.

    If you have their ear theyre online main proponents need to cut out the pet projects around GRA and Sturgeon sniping and wholeheartedly get behind a positive message.

    It's like watching too different sides. The competency of Salmond and mcaskill and the reductive negativity of their prominant supporters online. Not you by the way.

    They're competent politicians need to get more active online.

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    1. GRA isn't a "pet project", it is a serious set of proposals that need to be debated more fully than either the SNP and Greens seem to be willing to entertain.

      There is a constituency of people out there who want representation in that debate.

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    2. Agree on both points but if they allow it to be a major focus of their campaigning, this is doomed.

      It's an issue but but don't make it a main issue.

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    3. GRA reform is irrelevant to independence, obviously. I mean it's even largely a devolved issue, so will be debated in or out of the UK. It couldn't be less to do with indy. Indy is about stuff we don't have control over.

      I'd say beware those that link it to indy and try to say the well-established, and often distressing condition that is medical sex dysphoria isn't 'science'. It is them that are anti-science. The same people are those that say 'But they don't look disabled!' about folks with a blue badge.

      #dogwhistle

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    4. If it wasn't GRA, they'd find something else to moan about. Such as the HCA, which was supported by ALL the Holyrood parties except the Tories. Spot on about your comments about the disabled and blue badges. There's a lot of ignoramuses out there.

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  17. Just checked back to 2007, and the Greens polled 3% in regional opinion polls in late March and April (three times, they also polled 5% and 6%). They ended up on 4% with 2 seats.

    They weren't, of course, a new party.

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  18. Very interesting results but SNP still probably set to take 65+ seats on constituencies alone on 49% so no need for them to have a regional vote share.

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  19. Your analysis is more pessimistic than ours. On these figures, if Alba's 3percent all comes from SNP defectors, Alba will get 1 list seat and SNP 23. Without the defection, Alba would get no list seats and SNP 24. No difference. AMS doesn't split the list vote.

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  20. It looks like the message for your 2nd vote to go to another Independence supporting party, is so far benefitting the Greens more than Alba.

    Either or will increase the chances on an Independence supporting majority.

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  21. To those Yoons and trolls who think or claim Salmond is hindering Scots Indy. Sturgeon has had years to deliver an Indy Referendum and fails. Just who is hindering Scots Indy exactly? Not Alex Salmond.

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    1. NS has not had a consistent Indy majority in the polls until last year.
      That is why
      Ally

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    2. TBH, I think Sturgeon has done a lot more to promote indy than Salmond in the last few years.

      If we are making comparisons.

      Also a shit load more than Wings I might add too. Can't remember the last time that site had a pro-indy article.

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  22. The Survation poll, carried out exclusively for DC Thomson. The company that owns the courier. The Poll carries no weight whatsoever and here is why.

    25th March 2021 – Survation conducted an online poll of 2,047 people aged 16+ living in Scotland on behalf of DC Thomson. Fieldwork was 11th-18th March 2021. https://www.survation.com/archive/2021-2/
    Alba were only officially launched on the 26th March. Meaning the poll has no basis and was done before Alba were even in the public domain. In fact, neither AS nor Alba are even mentioned in the poll.

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  23. The failure to move to say 55% is obviously because the SNP have not called a campaign of informing voters of the benefits of independence.
    Only 30% of taxes raised in Scotland are under the control of Holyrood.
    The UK treasury spends Scotland's money on its own priorities, yet there's no attempt by the SG to inform or weaponise this.
    Who spends Scotland's money?
    Should it be under Scotland's democratic control? Is anybody asking, because once the SG is re-elected there will have to be a rethink on the pace of campaigning for independence.

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  24. James, do you know the wording of the question about SP voting intentions? Presumably respondents were asked separately about their constituency and list votes? If not, the results would be meaningless re. Alba share.

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  25. Despite Douglas Ross's best efforts, one thing the electorate in Scotland isn't obsessed with, or even particularly interested in is another independence referendum. For the sake of honesty, they are not particularly interested in Holyrood elections, either. From what I have heard of the last TV debate, I wouldn't blame them.

    I get the feeling that a vote for the SNP is a vote for a Scottish Office civil service with a better PR department, and there is not much more point to voting than rubber-stamp civic duty.

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  26. It's called the Scotland Office, tovarisch.

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