Wednesday, September 28, 2022

A timely reality-check for Blair McDougall & co, as new YouGov poll shows that fewer people in Scotland would even CONSIDER voting Labour than in any other part of Britain

I watched a fair bit of the coverage of Keir Starmer's speech yesterday, and of course the subject of Scotland came up a few times.  I always feel that watching the London media's take on Scottish politics is like stepping into a parallel universe where different laws of physics apply. It was repeatedly suggested that the newly enhanced prospect of a Labour government after 2024 will make Scottish voters unite behind Labour at the general election due to an overriding desire to kick the Tories out, which will trump all constitutional considerations.  Well, I can't say for certain that won't happen, but I'm struggling to see any evidence for it as of yet.  Remember, for example, that there was supposed to be a similar opportunity in 2015 for Scottish voters to unite behind Ed Miliband to turf out the Tory-Lib Dem coalition (spoiler alert: there wasn't), but instead they gave a resounding mandate to the SNP and ejected 40 Scottish Labour MPs.  I suspect what these London commentators really mean is: "this is the way it ought to work, this is how Scottish voters should react in these circumstances, they surely must care more about kicking the Tories than about independence".

Nevertheless, Scottish Labour figures do tend to live in an echo chamber and can get totally carried away with the periodic breathless "comeback" narratives even when those are literally based on zero evidence.  So here's a timely reality-check for the likes of Blair McDougall.  The latest Britain-wide YouGov poll asked respondents how likely or unlikely they are to consider voting Labour.  As you can see below, the percentage who said they would "definitely consider voting Labour" is markedly lower in Scotland than in any other part of Great Britain.

Percentage of voters who would definitely consider voting Labour (YouGov, 24th-26th September 2022):

Scotland: 9%
South of England (excluding London): 13%
English Midlands: 14%
Wales: 15%
London: 16%
North of England: 19%

Respondents were asked to give their answers on a scale of 0 to 10, with 10 representing "I would definitely consider voting Labour" and 0 representing "I would never consider voting Labour".  But even if you expand the definition of potential Labour voters to anyone giving an answer of 8 or higher, Scotland is still less enthusiastic about Labour than anywhere else, including even the true blue Tory south.

Percentage of voters who would consider voting Labour (8 or higher on 0-10 scale):

Scotland: 20%
South of England (excluding London): 22%
English Midlands: 22%
Wales: 29%
London: 27%
North of England: 34%

The only crumb of comfort for Labour is that the percentage of voters giving an answer of 0 - ie. "I would never consider voting Labour" - is also lower in Scotland than anywhere else.  So opinions here are less polarised and the party isn't widely loathed.  It may simply be that a lot of Scottish voters have "moved on" from Labour and just don't think about the party much at all, and reflexively vote SNP regardless of circumstances in the same way they used to reflexively vote Labour.  I remember a quote in a newspaper article from a woman a year or two back, which was along the lines of: "Oh, I've always voted SNP.  Well, except that I used to always vote Labour.  But now I always vote SNP."  If that mindset is commonplace (and I suspect it is), it's going to be very hard for Sarwar and Starmer to even get a hearing.  

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The recent incident with The Sun makes the case eloquently for crowdfunded opinion polls commissioned by pro-indy alternative media outlets like Scot Goes Pop.  Not only did The Sun get their pollster to ask truly ridiculous questions (like "did you CRY after the Queen died?") to try to artificially generate a picture of Scotland being at one with the rest of the UK, they also then brazenly lied about the poll's results.  Because the data tables hadn't been published at that point, it took a long time for us to discover we were being lied to about the supposedly "plummeting Yes vote", and by that point some of the damage was already done in terms of public perception.  But with crowdfunded polls for a pro-indy outlet, we get to choose which questions are asked, and we can also make very sure the results are reported accurately right from the start.  I'm continuing to fundraise for a seventh Scot Goes Pop poll, and also more generally to help keep Scot Goes Pop going - it's been slow progress this time (totally understandable given the cost of living crisis) but we're gradually getting there.  If you'd like to donate, here are the various options...

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  1. In reality is there a difference between "would definitely consider voting Labour" and "would consider voting Labour"? If you are considering doing something arent you definitely considering it?

    Seems a strange distinction.

  2. It's likely if the red tories do very well in England that they'll pick up support in Scotland - not enough to do well but enough to stop the SNP getting 51% - yet, maybe not because the last time was the last WM GE and Corbyn was a leftie; Sir Keith is a rightie and the Scots see that.

  3. I suppose I would 'maybe' consider Labour but it would depend on several factors, in decreasing order of likeliness of being true at next election:

    No Alba candidate
    Local SNP candidate a wank
    Widespread SNP incompetence and corruption
    No moves whatsoever towards independence by SNP
    Labour have genuine redistributive policies instead of same old shit
    Labour become small 'n' Scottish nationalist rather than big 'N' British nationalist.