Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Ipsos-Mori telephone survey is the FIFTH poll in a row to show a pro-independence majority

Is this the point at which we can stop mourning the loss of the unbroken sequence of Yes majorities which stretched from last June to this February?  Without wanting to tempt fate, we now appear to have a new little unbroken sequence - the latest in Ipsos-Mori's regular series of telephone polls for STV is the fifth poll in a row, across all firms, to show some kind of Yes lead.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 52% (-)
No 48% (-)

Of course another way of looking at it is that if Ipsos-Mori's methodology is right, Yes never actually lost the lead in the first place.  There was a dip in Yes support earlier in the year and the position has now stabilised - which would explain why the less Yes-friendly firms are flipping back and forth between tiny Yes leads and tiny No leads.

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:

SNP 53% (+1)
Conservatives 20% (-3)
Labour 18% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)
Greens 2% (-1)

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 38% (-9)
Conservatives 21% (-1)
Labour 18% (+4)
Greens 12% (+4)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)
Alba 3% (+3)

That's arguably a pretty encouraging result for Alba.  The danger was always that online polls were overestimating them due to volunteer polling panels containing a disproportionate number of politically engaged people.  If that had been the case, you'd have expected Alba not to trouble the scorer in a telephone poll.  Instead they're registering on 3%. Obviously they'll need to come close to doubling that to win a decent number of seats, although even on 3% nationally they could pick up one or two seats if their vote is distributed unevenly across the country.  Incidentally, telephone polling does make all the difference as far as George Galloway's anti-independence party is concerned - they're languishing on less than 0.5% of the list vote and don't appear to be in contention for any seats at all.

This is a rare occasion when a poll shows the Greens on course for a significant breakthrough and I don't have to put a health warning on it - as far as I know there's no question mark over how Ipsos-Mori pose the list question.  However, it's only one poll, so caution should still be exercised.

More details and analysis to follow.  You can also catch-up with Episode 6 of the Scot Goes Popcast, in which I speak to Alba Party leader Alex Salmond, HERE (with video) or HERE (audio only).


  1. Is 51% Yes and 49% No becoming the default position in the run up to the next referendum campaign.

  2. 3% Alba ties in with 3% from Survation.

    Does look like the 6% in panelbase was a result of very non-standard approach, adding leader name to that party alone.

  3. Would these figures give the SNP a majority on constituencies alone?

  4. The poll seems to show robust SNP constituency voting and more of a willingness to play the list vote. Those numbers should produce a comfortable pro independence majority.

  5. If they bob around on 3-6% I expect Alba to take seat(s). They should be included in debates in my opinion. There's every chance they will take seats and it's considered a talking point in every headline poll.

    Thing is though, I don't really expect the SNP to win every constituency seat in every region. Every chance the SNP will still take or need some list seats. There are always the odd aberration of a constituency.

    Think the Greens are picking up from a larger focus on second vote.

    My gut still tells me the SNP will fall short of a majority themselves, they usually need a list top up.

  6. I was all for SNP 1&2, even after the launch of Alba, but the hostility from SNP towards them is making me reconsider.

    I really despise the attempt to paint them as some lunatic Trumpian outfit. The more I see senior SNP folk run them down, the more Alex Salmond's positive attitude and refusal to mudsling in return makes me seriously consider giving them my vote. I won't be the only one, and am pretty confident that 3% will increase.

    1. On the other hand some of the abuse the Alba supporters linked to a certain website directed at SNP supporters are putting off some from going to Alba. All parties want voters to vote for them.

    2. That certain website is indeed a hindrance to the appeal of Alba beyond their hardcore followers.

      Trying to take a balanced view here - I'm neither in the Salmond or the Sturgeon camp, I admire them both - but definitely see Alba as worthy of consideration.

    3. I feel the leader of Alba siding with unionists in falsely accusing the popular SNP FM of misleading parliament - a resignation offence - just ahead of him kicking off his new party, has caused many Yes voters to be a little hostile to / suspicious of Alba.

      By contrast, I'm not aware Sturgeon as has ever accused Salmond of anything more than he's said sorry for himself.

      Suffice to say if Salmond and the unionists had 'won', with Sturgeon being found guilty of breaching the code, Yes parties of all flavours could have taken a hit going into this election.

      As such, it's likely just Alba that are doing worse than they could have as a result of Salmond's actions.

      Anyway, I hope Salmond keeps his attacks for unionists going forward.

    4. Nope. That's not how it went and you lose credibility for saying it. I can easily see how some have with Sturgeon and how some have gone with Salmond over this. But, as Dunino Dave says Sturgeon has referenced Salmond in a negative way on multiple occasions whereas he has largely avoided the ad hominem attack. Now sure....he may just be doing this for his own advantage but he is still doing it. So your claim he is the one on the attack doesn't mesh well with reality.

    5. I have not seen Sturgeon accuse Salmond of anything other than what he apologised for to the court, to some of the women concerned, to the people of Scotland (in come interviews), and, I expect, to his wife as well. 'Not a criminal', but 'sorry', 'made mistakes' and 'could have been a better man'.

      While I can understand the unionist parties saying he acted inappropriately towards parliament female staff for their own advantage, I cannot understand why the Greens and Andy Whightman would join some 'grand SNP plot' to falsely accuse the man of inappropriate behavior too. But watching the committee all seemed to concur that his behaviour fell below the standard expected; hence his open apologies.

      You have both of them on pedestals; one as a demon and one a demi-god. I have neither on a pedestal as it's not rational and clouds judgement.

  7. Interesting that the list voting intention shows the SNP down 9%, whereas combined pro-indy parties Green and Alba only rise by 7%, Labour is the only other gainer. What does it mean in terms of seats?

    1. It doesn't mean that much - the 15/14% Labour achieved in the previous poll by this company might have been an outlier.

      Or it may be the effects of Sarwar's performance being better than Ross'. Most likely, some combination of the two.

    2. Margin of Error could be one simple reason. One poll. Wait and see.

  8. SS's current poll of polls.

    Changes from my average of the 16th of March when the SNP constituency average bottomed out post #committeegate.

    Does seem they've either held or climbed a little since then.

    49.4(+0.9)% SNP
    21.8(-0.9)% Con
    19.0(-0.2)% Lab
    6.8(+0.1)% Lib
    2.8(-0.4)% Grn

    41.1(-1.4)% SNP
    21.4(-0.6)% Con
    17.6(nc)% Lab
    9.2(+1.4)% Grn
    6.0(-0.1)% Lib
    3.0(+3.0)% Alba
    1.8% Others

    *Does not include recent panelbase due to non-standard questioning.

    1. You ever think about starting your own blog Scottish Skier? I would read it.

    2. Maybe if James kicks me oot fir posting too much (or not voting Alba) I might. :-)

      Waste enough time on politics as it is!

    3. The % of SNP constituency voters voting for each party on the list:

      SNP - 72%
      Greens - 18%
      Labour - 4%
      Alba - 4%
      Tories - 1%
      Lib Dems - 1%

    4. Totally agree that I'd read a Scottish Skier blog, but very happy to have him on here instead. That way I can read James' analysis and jump to SS's in one easy leap!

    5. Marcia - Where do you get those figures from re the % of SNP constituency voters voting for each party on the list? (I'm asking as a strongly Green/ strongly pro-Indy voter)

    6. Justin

      From the data tables. Here is the link.

    7. Thanks.

      Am I reading the tables correctly if I say that of list Green voters, their votes at constituency level would break 15% SNP 8% LD 3% Lab 2% Con?

  9. At last people recognizing voting SNP in the List vote, depending on the region of course, needs serious questioning. SNP/Alba in the north east for me.

  10. I wish he would. Might stop him popping up here every 5 mins with his 'Salmond bad Sturgeon good' mantra.

    1. Sturgeon very popular / Salmond pretty unpopular with the general public is the reality of situation, and not my personal opinion.

      I've just voiced my thoughts on how Salmond finds himself in that situation. It's impartial analysis as I'm in no leader's camp. I don't put politicians on pedestals.

    2. Salmond is viewed exceedingly poorly by the Scottish people. He is trailing Douglas Ross by 32 points in the satisfaction ratings:

      Think about that for a second. Alex Salmond is way less popular than Douglas Ross, a Scottish tory who intends to have four jobs after the election, an MP, an MSP, "Leader" of the Scottish conservatives and also a linesman, who when asked what he would do if he was Prime Minister for the day replied, crack down on the gypsies. Alex Salmond is even less popular than Boris Johnson. Boris. Johnson.

      If Salmond had succeeded in his goal over the last year, he could have set back the independence movement decades if not permanently.

      All he brings to the Independence movement is liability. I am glad the vast majority see that and it only seems like 3% will vote for his party.

    3. Alex Salmond is already having a beneficial effect on the independence fight in that he is making the public aware of the non-beneficial effects of automatically voting SNP/SNP in all regions.

    4. It depends whether you think more Yes MSPs or more Yes voters is more important in the campaign for independence. I think the latter is key.

    5. Hello Scottish Skier. Is it me you're addressing? If it is then surely more Yes MSPs in Holyrood is the most important thing in May. Then more Yes voters in the referendum. And to get that referendum more non-SNP Yes MSPs are surely necessary to keep pressure on a SNP government to deliver that referendum.

    6. More Yes MSPs representing more Yes voters would be lovely. If Alba could draw in Lab/Con/Lib voters like the Greens and SNP have been working on for years, that would be brilliant.

      More Yes MSPs with no more Yes voters doesn't really help, and could be counterproductive, especially if the government / voters are then pressured into a referendum.

      Pressuring the electorate into something is a surefire way of getting them do to the opposite. Gentle cajoling and persuasion is the way forward, not 'holding their feet to the fire'. Scots will look favorably on a referendum they asked for, not one they feel bounced into.

      Also, Salmond seems to be of the opinion we need Westminster's permission, so more MSPs = more pressure? I disagree here. If Scots want indy, they shall have it one way or another. The pressure comes first and foremost from them, not their politicians.

      If it comes to the courts, judges won't care how many excess MSPs Yes parties have, just that they legally have a majority, so can pass a referendum bill. Also that any vote is free and fair, reflecting the will of the electorate.

      I do think some Alba MSPs would be good as it gives a home to a group of Yes voters who seem to need one, and a new voice. I don't see throwing about historically unionist terms like 'supermajority' helps. They are already talking about how Yes parties are trying to 'cheat' and 'game the system'.

    7. "Scots will look favorably on a referendum they asked for, not one they feel bounced into."

      How do Scots achieve that? Who do they ask? Westminster? For many years now Scots have voted decisively in Westminster elections for the SNP. A party which [in theory] still wants independence. How many more times do Scots need to do this? How many more years [decades?] must Scots wait? Is the reason Scots have voted so much for SNP in Westminster elections because they want to be ruled by Westminster? Don't think so. Do you?

      So Scots should then ask Holyrood instead for a referendum? Voting for parties who want independence would seem a reasonable thing to do. But haven't they been doing that for many years as well? How many more years? How many more majorities for pro-indy parties who then decide to focus on anything but independence?

      Isn't the act of voting an act of "bouncing"? If it isn't it should be.

      "...voters are then pressured into a referendum."

      " If Scots want indy, they shall have it one way or another. The pressure comes first and foremost from them..."

      Erm, so we need to put the pressure on without putting any pressure on?

      Sorry Scottish Skier, it is now time for action from pro-indy Scots and their pro-indy representatives. We can't waste any more time cajoling, especially when british nationalists are content to continue bullying. Political pressurization might well be messy but it will be undeniably necessary. To do nothing, again, for many years to come would be a betrayal to Scotland.

    8. I don't understand. Scots had a referendum in 2014. They said no. Only recently have they seemed to have finally switched opinion, and not really because of brexit, but as much due to demographic changes.

      I don't want to lose again. For me timing is everything. 2014 was just too early; scots were bounced into it.

      A campaign will unlikely make any difference to yes as support is more fundamentally existential, and driven by wider events / long term trends.

      Timing is therefore key. Put everything in place then go when the wind is in your sails.

  11. What's the seats projection James?

  12. If, say, Alba, AFU & ChangeUK all get about 4%, does that mean the rest of the parties that got well over 4% get more seats?

  13. Posting here for the first time (am a Scot currently living abroad). I would like to have seen Alba a bit higher but I'm guessing there are still people who don't know much about it or would like to see some policies first. The extremely hostile media coverage is also almost certainly taking a toll and once the establishment is out to destroy someone (as we saw with Jeremy Corbyn) they are utterly relentless and will stop at nothing to smear them and destroy their reputation.

    They clearly see Alba as a threat, possibly because of some of Alex Salmond's courageous foreign policy positions (standing up to the anti-Russia hysteria and long opposing military interventions abroad) and because it hopefully represents a challenge to the woke neo-liberal agenda of endless posturing over identity politics to appear progressive while pursuing the exact same anti-working class economic policies and pro-imperialist foreign policy.

    Alba will need to work hard to establish a popular and distinctive policy agenda and try to get it across to the Scottish people despite the relentless hostility of the mainstream media. Real independence (through a sovereign currency and EFTA as opposed to EU membership), more left-wing economic policies, a pro-peace & anti-NATO foreign policy and distancing itself from excesses/insanity of wokeism are some of the things that I think would appeal to many people and present Alba as something new and distinctive.

    1. The fundamental problem Alba have is 1. Pro union parties are unlikely to vote for them. 2. Greens won’t vote for them. 3. Most SNP voters will not vote for them.
      The media has nothing to do with it.,Salmond is toxic in Scotland.

    2. Hello,StuartM. I think Alex Salmond and Alba know their short-term objective is to give the complacent SNP the fleg it so richly deserves.

      The 9% drop in support for the SNP in the list vote already shows the public knows it too.

      Independence is more important than the SNP.

    3. The problems you point out are real and do severely limit Alba's ability to become a mass party, but I agree with the author of this blog that Alex Salmond is the only person with a big enough profile to give a new pro-independence party the ability to enter parliament. Once Alba gets into Holyrood then, looking towards the next election in 2025, it might make sense to eventually get a different leader if Alex's popularity doesn't improve - I'm sure there are plenty of other capable people in Alba (Kenny MacAskill being one of them). As for media coverage it is undeniable that if the media is relentlessly hostile to one individual - constantly focusing on their flaws, real or otherwise - while ignoring or downplaying the flaws of their opponents, that it will play a significant role in influencing public perceptions and affecting the popularity and approval ratings of that person.

    4. @ Rov Laine

      True, the important thing is providing a voice and an option at the ballot box to anyone disillusioned by the SNP and its centrist, neo-liberal managerialism and obsession with fringe, woke issues. The SNP has to be held to account as it has become far too comfortable in its role within the very institutions that it once sought to challenge.

    5. I think Salmond should have stood as a candidate, but not the leader. That was a mistake and has probably limited Alba's broader appeal.

      Alba is now 'Salmond's party' rather than 'A party Salmond is standing for' and there's a huge difference. With the latter, you get the high profile endorsement without the baggage, or the appearance of the party being a vehicle for Salmond rather than the nation.

  14. Personally, over the next few weeks I will, as usual be attempting, within covid rules, to gently persuade some previous No/unionist voters into voting for Yes parties this time. Brexit has had quite a few of these asking questions of late.

    I think this is a better way of securing independence than campaigning for Yes voters to vote for, erm, other Yes parties.

    1. Hi, Scottish skier,
      If you're looking for a good way to engage with the undecided, the soft nos and the politically disengaged, try the stories here...


  16. There's every possibility Alba may not win seats but change history.
    The SNP are already speaking more about indy, even the Greens are.

    PS I think Alba will win at least one seat.

    1. I don't understand this "even the Greens are". We (Greens) have been doign a huge amount of work pushing the pro-independence argument in a way that can win over soft No voters

  17. SS. You sound like one of the Sturgeon cult. Salmond has never smeared Sturgeon and talks about independence. Sturgeon by contrast smears Salmond at every opportunity and never tals about independence.

    Who is the friend of the unionists?

    1. I have neither on a pedestal, although it sounds like you have.

      The situation is that Salmond joined unionists in falsely accusing Sturgeon of breaking the ministerial code, including misleading parliament. If found guilty, Sturgeon would have had to resign and potentially not stand again as FM, right at a crucial junction in the indy movement.

      He did not do this at the time of the alleged offences - when he should have done if he truly believed the code had been breached - but much later when she was under serious pressure from unionists, and he was planning his own new party.

      The electorate rightly are asking why, and it hasn't made him popular. This isn't my fault. This was his choice. He could have just waited and seen what Hamilton found. I don't recall Sturgeon claiming salmond had 'clearly broken the law in her opinion' ahead of his trial, but he did that to her while Hamilton judged.

      If he'd not done it, I might have been voting Alba. Up until he did, I was saying on here I'd listen to his case. But I read what was in the public domain and on here said many times I could not see any breaches. Therefore, I expected Hamilton to conclude the same (unless he could see info I could not). I was disappointed therefore when Salmond turned on Sturgeon and puzzled as to why when there was no obvious evidence. I now fear that he saw an opportunity to throw the SNP into turmoil ahead of Alba appearing stage right. I hope Salmond works to convince me that wasn't his motivation.

      I will be voting for Christine Grahame and Joan McAlpine in particular come May, whom I have respect for.

  18. The 3% may indeed be encouraging, but more concerning for Alba is that of the 30ish percent of those who suggested they might change their list vote, only 5% of them would switch it to Alba. If we were to take the poll at face value, then, you'd be looking at a maximum of 4.5% of the regional vote going to Alba, IF they were to convince all of those persuadable voters.

    This seems like very borderline seats/no seats territory to me and the problems for Alba are further compounded by the indication that one of their effects has been to remind SNP voters that they already had a pro indy list party they could vote for and judging by the poll they seem more willing to jump ship to the Greens than they are to Alba.

    It's hard to read much from the regional data, given the tiny sample sizes, but, again taken at face value, they don't suggest the picture is much better at the regional level. Highlands and Islands has the biggest return for Alba, at 4%.

    If the election were to be held tomorrow I suspect they would be quite lucky to get a seat. There is still a way to go, of course, but I'm doubtful that the persuadable voters are actually out there to really swing it and have yet to be convinced that the idea of Alba assisting the production of a "supermajority" is anything but fantasy.

    1. Alba comes across as the Alex Salmond Party. He's the most unpopular politician in the UK. Marketing strategies don't get much worse. If they get one MSP, he/she/it (I very much doubt it would be Salmond), would have exactly as much import as the Reform UK MSP (yes - there is one).

    2. Salmond's obviously an issue for them, but I think more broadly (though related) their problem is that their real "base" are the WoS internet extremists and it's hard to form a party around them while also trying to generate essential appeal amongst, what some might call, "more reasonable" SNP supporters. The party itself has obviously made some real effort at it by being studiously polite about Sturgeon and the SNP, but it doesn't seem to be doing the job so far (probably not helped by the fact that so few of their more vocal supporters seem to have got the memo about the studiously polite thing).

  19. Just listening to James & Salmond.

    Very well interviewed James. TBH, he seemed more nervous of you than of unionist journalists. You gave him quite a hard time!

    But och dear, he squirmed and tied himself in knots a bit about why 'both votes SNP' / 'vote SNP on the list to re-elect Salmond / Sturgeon' was fine before but isn't now.

    Come on Alex; just say you want SNP votes and it will cost them seats and maybe a majority. Might come off, might not. :-)

    I think he did sound good, but maybe a bit wandering. I can see the appeal; after all, I liked him as FM.

    I am glad no daggers were sent in Sturgeon's direction and I'd like to think he knows he screwed up with his accusations re the ministerial code. That was a mistake that I think has hurt him worse than the court case.

    If he continues the debate in the tone of the interview instead of the attack mode, he'll draw more support.

    The more Salmond / Alba supporters accept Sturgeon was cleared (by Hamilton, the police, the CPS and the committee by default), the better for the movement.

    Anyway, you both get a brownie point for that James from me. I need a few more and to live in a different region to change my vote though.

    1. Fair enough but Sturgeon supporters and Greens also have to accept that Salmond was also cleared in a court of law (on three occasions). Sauce for the goose eh Skier?

    2. Absolutely. He is only guilty of the inappropriate behaviour he's openly apologised for. That's it. Nothing more, as I've always said myself.

      And he was only accused / cleared in one court case. In the first case, the civil service were the accused.

  20. I know the personalities involved but it is time for a rapprochment between Sturgeon and Salmond and their respective allies. To acheive this, I would ask the FM to be the bigger person and make the first step. Nicola should make it very clear to all media that she will not attend any debate if the leaders of the 3 independence supporting parties are not invited to match the 3 unionist parties. Salmond should reciprocate that he admits he has made some mistakes and that he will learn from them. We need an SNP, Alba and Green Alliance to bring us independence. Just imagine the media when faced the option of adding 3 independence leaders or having a debate no one watches.

  21. I'm still not seeing a valid reason (from the view of indy) of why people should not vote for ALBA if they want to.
    Every poll is showing a pro independnce majority at that is all that is needed for the draft bill to be put before parliament; wether or not the SNP gets a majority or not is immaterial in that regard.

    1. Yes, if people like Alba and want to vote for them / feel closest to them politically, of course they should.

      I personally just think talk of 'wasted votes' is misleading and wrong. As the SNP have consistently hit the 5% PR threshold, every single SNP vote made in previous elections has counted toward the total number of seats they received. Every single vote counted towards the make up of government fairly. Alex Salmond is talking porkies here, and he kens it :-).

      The only SNP votes that did not count towards the make up of government - i.e. were 'wasted' - were those for losing candidates in British style FPTP constituencies. A good few here in the borders went to the Tories on a minority of the vote (as is generally the case with FPTP), but list SNP votes made sure voters didn't lose out. The total seat distribution matched the list shares.

      You might argue that votes for parties that didn't make the 5% PR Threshold are 'wasted'. I'd say Yes if you thought / were misled into thinking it was a free / spare vote and 'threw it away' as result, but no if you voted with your heart for the party you most wanted in government. I would not tell greens down here to give up on green even though they are not making the threshold. It might yet happen, and it won't ever if you give up.

      I would suggest however if you want to be sure of electing a pro-Yes MSP and don't mind too much which type, then SNP-SNP is the most sure way of doing that.

  22. I'm not buying it!

    Far too early in the game and I do not believe Women will vote Green in these numbers

  23. There is a poll in tomorrow's Scotsman by Com Res. From what can be gleamed from the front page. The SNP forecast to be one seat short of majority. Greens and SNP would have a comfortable majority for pro-independence parties. Alba polling 3% on the list and Yes and No at 50% (excluding don't knows)


      The front page is poorly written. If you read the headline, you get the impression that Alba is taking seats from the SNP then it says Alba not to win any seats.

    2. Fairly consistent numbers now.

      The 6% does look pretty clearly a result of dodgy non standard questioning.

    3. If Alba do remain on 3%, and the idea is simply to get more Yes MSPs to achieve a 'decent majority', then folks reverting to SNP should be the strategy Salmond recommends.

      Analysis of the poll projects that if all Alba voters reverted back to the SNP, the party would have a majority of three MSPs.

      Alba's website is all about maximising Yes MSPs on the list after all to pressure for iref2.

      This is the danger of such an approach; if it doesn't pan out for Alba you must advise people to vote SNP/Green or sound like a hypocrite who was leading voters along previously.

      If, by contrast, from the start you just said 'vote for us because you want us in government', you don't need to do any backtracking.

    4. Some numbers from the Com Res poll.

      SNP ~ 40% (nc)
      Con ~ 21% (-3)
      Lab ~ 18% (nc)
      Grn ~ 9% (-1)
      LD ~ 7% (+1)
      Alba ~ 3% (+3)

      SNP ~ 49% (+1)
      Con ~ 23% (nc)
      Lab ~ 18% (-2)
      LD ~ 6% (-2)

    5. The front page of the Scotsman -archived.

  24. I am against the alba party since they have put forward members in the Scottish borders where they will split the independence vote,if more Unionists get in and stop independence, Alex will receive a Knighthood.