Thursday, September 29, 2022

Further polling straw in the wind from YouGov suggests once again that Labour are failing to break through in Scotland

I mentioned Blair McDougall in my last post, and it really is getting quite comical - in tedious tweet after tedious tweet, in tiresome blogpost after tiresome blogpost, he explains to us how Scottish Labour's strategy is sheer electoral brilliance, while the SNP's strategy is cackhanded and self-destructive.  If you were visiting from Mars, you'd think to yourself "compelling stuff from Blair, no wonder the Scottish Labour geniuses are twenty points ahead of those SNP chancers".  Then you'd doublecheck, discover that it's actually the SNP who are 20+ points ahead of Labour, and be left very confused. The trouble with Blair is that it always sounds fine in theory, but never actually materialises in practice.  That's how he famously finished third in a two-horse race in East Renfrewshire.

For a few days, I've been keenly waiting for the first Scottish subsample from YouGov since the mini-budget to see if there was any hint of a change in the air.  As I always point out, an individual subsample should never be regarded as even remotely reliable - however, YouGov's Scottish subsamples seem to differ from most other pollsters in that they are structured and weighted correctly, and thus produce somewhat less volatile results.  So after a big political event, a YouGov subsample is the closest thing we have to an early warning system of a new trend, although it still has to be treated with an extreme dose of caution due to the small sample size.

As it turns out, there's no sign yet of any new trend.  In spite of the fact that the SNP have slipped from 5% to 4% in the headline GB-wide figures of the first post-Budget YouGov poll, the Scottish subsample shows practically no change at all, with the SNP only dropping from 46% to 44%.  And perhaps more importantly, there is once again no trace of that elusive Labour comeback.

Scottish subsample from YouGov poll (23rd-25th September): SNP 44%, Labour 21%, Conservatives 19%, Greens 7%, Liberal Democrats 5%, Reform UK 2%

Now, I suppose you could look at those figures and say they're not too awful for Labour by recent standards.  But the point is that this is a poll that shows Labour with a whopping 45% to 28% lead over the Tories across Britain, which is easily their biggest advantage for many, many years.  For Labour to still be essentially tied with the Tories in Scotland in such a landmark poll suggests once again that Scottish trends are completely unplugged from British trends, and that you can't expect even a hefty pro-Labour swing in England to automatically have any knock-on effect here.

Nevertheless, the Daily Record clearly still live in hope that the good old days can somehow be recaptured, and they've gone into full-blown Pravda mode on behalf of Labour to see if it gains any traction.  Given that a large percentage of their readership are now pro-independence SNP voters, I suspect they're playing with fire.  Their headline of yesterday morning "Power of Scotland", referring of all things to Labour's proposed "Great British Energy" company, taps into one of my pet hates.  If there's one thing that's even worse than the relentless Britishing of Scotland, it's the cringe-inducing attempts to put a kilt on something that is self-evidently and solely British.  Other examples:

"Brexit is the only real independence for Scotland": Even if you buy into the dubious notion that independence is phoney unless Scotland is free of Brussels regulations, you'd then logically have to concede that the job is only half-done until London rule is ended too.  The idea that a "truly independent Scotland" would have London as its capital city pushes credibility beyond breaking-point.

"The Royal Family is Scotland's Royal Family, the Queen was as Scottish as they come": Now you don't need to have been born in Scotland to be Scottish, you don't need to have a Scottish accent to be Scottish, and you don't even necessarily need to have lived here for several consecutive years to be Scottish. But not even one of those things applied to the Queen, and it seems fanciful in the extreme to suggest that just taking extended family holidays in Scotland every year is enough to make you the most Scottish person in the world.

"The UK Parliament is Scotland's other parliament": Why do other countries have 91% of the seats, then?

"The UK Tory Government is Scotland's other government": Why did we vote overwhelmingly against its existence, then?

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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. James when this poll was done, was the Alba Party excluded..

    1. Probably - it's a GB wide poll for Westminster, remember. From memory, I think YouGov have offered Alba as an option in their Holyrood polling, but not in the main menu.

    2. Thanks for explaining.

  2. Puzzled about why Reform UK pops up in Scottish subsample ?

    1. It's a GB-wide poll and the same menu of parties is offered to all respondents. Off the top of my head I can't recall if YouGov have Reform UK in the main menu, or in the second menu that is only shown to respondents who say "some other party".