Friday, January 21, 2022

First independence poll of 2022 sees Yes draw level in a Savanta ComRes survey for first time since April: does #Partygate mean #PartyOver for #OurPreciousUnion?

The final independence poll of last year - which was also the first since the ongoing story of the Downing Street parties broke - presented us with an enigma. It showed Yes on 50%, which was higher than in any online poll for months, but it was also conducted by a firm (Opinium) that had been tending to show markedly better results for Yes than other firms.  So was 50% just an Opinium house effect, or was it the first indication that #Partygate was having an impact on the constitutional state of play?  Today's first poll of 2022 gives some support to the latter interpretation, because it shows Yes on 50% - and this time it was conducted by a firm that has been particularly favourable for No over the last year or so.

Savanta ComRes poll, 14th-18th January 2021:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 50% (+2)
No 50% (-2)

The last time a Savanta ComRes poll showed Yes in the 50s was way back in April, just before the Holyrood election, and the poll in question also showed a 50-50 tie.  There have been six polls from the firm in the interim, all showing a No lead, and all but one showing No on 52% or higher.  Today's poll, therefore, does have the appearance of a breakthrough for Yes.

Also important psychologically is that, across all polling firms, we've now had three polls in a row showing Yes on 50% or higher.  So, at least for the time being, it's very hard for the mainstream media to maintain the narrative that No is generally in the lead.  Or very hard for them to do that honestly, at any rate.

There are also Holyrood voting intention numbers from the poll - 

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions:

SNP 47% (-1)
Labour 22% (-)
Conservatives 19% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 8% (+1)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 38% (-)
Labour 20% (-)
Conservatives 18% (-4)
Greens 12% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 9% (+2)
Alba 2% (+1)

Given the trajectory of recent GB-wide polls, it might have seemed inevitable that Labour would have built upon their second place in the last ComRes poll, but in fact their own vote share has remained static and the Tories have only dropped one point.  The Tory decline is much more pronounced on the list ballot, but again Labour have not picked up any support.

The Greens' vote of 12% looks very healthy, although actually that's very much within their normal range in Savanta ComRes polls - they climbed to as high as 13% in September.  The Lib Dem vote is unusually high, though - time will tell whether that's just a freakish result caused by sampling variation, or whether it's a genuine boost caused by their recent by-election success in England.  (For what it's worth, my guess is the latter.)

Also noteworthy is that Alba's list support has doubled from 1% to 2% - dealing a crushing blow to those harbouring misplaced hopes that the new party was somehow on its way out.

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