Monday, November 7, 2022

For the time being, the SNP still seem to be holding off the Labour challenge

I notice there's been a weird flurry of excitement on Twitter about the recent Scottish subsample from Redfield & Wilton showing Labour ahead of the SNP.  I don't know if I was indirectly responsible for that, because I did mention those figures in a blogpost.  However, I certainly can't take any blame for the ill-informed nature of the discussion about them, because I put in a very strong disclaimer pointing out that only 77 respondents were interviewed for the Scottish subsample, that the numbers were almost certainly not correctly weighted, and that there was therefore no cause for alarm from a pro-independence point of view.  

To put things in slightly fuller perspective, here are two other sets of Scottish subsample figures that have been published since that poll...

Opinium (2nd-4th November): SNP 42%, Labour 33%, Conservatives 13%, Greens 6%, Liberal Democrats 4%

Redfield & Wilton Strategies (6th November): SNP 37%, Labour 36%, Conservatives 20%, Reform UK 3%, Liberal Democrats 3%, Greens 2%

What these figures remind me of is the period immediately after the 2017 general election, when the SNP were briefly being seriously challenged for primacy in Scottish politics, but were for the most part just about holding on to their advantage.  The difference, of course, is that in 2017 there was a pincer movement from both the Tories and Labour, whereas this time the sole challenge comes from Labour - and indeed the Tories have lost a lot of ground since the last general election.  What might make the challenge go away would be a return to 'normality' at GB-wide level, because Scottish Labour seem to be mostly riding on the momentum generated by the pro-Labour swing down south.

With that in mind, it's interesting to note that there is evidence that the Labour surge at GB level has eased off just a touch.  Labour have been below 50% in five of the last six published polls, whereas in the previous six they had been below 50% in only one.

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