There is a sorry absence of Scottish voting intention polls these days. Once upon a time the Scottish press used to commission regular polls, often from TNS System Three. More recently they only really crop up in the run up to elections. All we have to go on are the published results from the SNP’s private polls carried out by YouGov.

As ever, polls commissioned by a political party need slight caution – the methodology should be exactly the same and if carried out by a BPC member the tables will be published, allowing you to check for any funny business with the way the questions are worded. If they are from reputably pollsters you can be confident that they are kosher polls (certainly the SNP have been regularly commissioning these polls from YouGov and they appear entirely legitimate). The one thing you should be wary of is that clients do not have to release all the figures from private polls – the SNP are presumably happy to publish these findings at the moment because they are positive. If somewhere down the line the polls stop being rosy for them, you might find them less ready to publish their findings.

Anyway, the lastest voting intentions for the Scottish parliament are, in the constituency section, CON 12%, LAB 29%, LDEM 13%, SNP 40%. In the regional vote support stands at CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 13%, SNP 34%, Green 9%, SSP 3%. The poll was conducted between 28th and 30th of November, so was prior to Wendy Alexander’s recent funding problems.

Compared the most recent YouGov poll in Scotland that asked about Holyrood voting intentioned, conducted back in August for the Sunday Times, this has the SNP up significantly at the expense of Labour in the constituency section and Labour significantly down, presumably to the benefit of “others” in the regional section. However, I think there may well be significant methodological differences in the way voting intention was asked in the two polls, in terms of the blurb explaining the two votes and in terms of which parties were prompted for (the 9% support for the Greens seems quite high, I suspect YouGov prompted

Job approval for the SNP government in Edinburgh still seems to be riding high, with 63% thinking they are doing well and 26% thinking they are doing badly. The next figure of +37 is marginally up from the last poll at the beginning of October, which had the Scottish government on +33.

69 Responses to “Latest Scottish Voting Intention”

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  1. Colin,

    I think central government can and does influence a lot, what it can’t do is micro manage, which is why government initiatives on the NHS or education seem to run in to the sand or have little effect.

    Broad brush initiatives can have an effect, things like setting clear fiscal rules and goals, a broad direction for energy policy, or clear limits on spending and borrowing. What governments aren’t at all good at is running things.

    The can set up schools and hospitals and even devolve power to local levels to deliver things at lower levels but it’s running big thinks like benefits or the NHS where they struggle.

    The Army runs well because it largely runs itself and gets on with it , the MOD is a mess.

    I don’t particularly subscribe to the “Dead Hand of the State” argument, but things like the CAP show that you can’t really centrally run or manage something like European agriculture. You can set out clear rules and agreements for a free trade area.

    Thus I am broadly pro the EU as is the SNP, but would like to see things like the CAP and CFP effectively scrapped, not because I oppose the evil Eurocrats in Brussels, but because that type of micromanagement model doesn’t work.

    it’s not about ideology so much as practicality.


    The Trump thing hasn’t be well handled as it was clear to most people with a knowledge of planning that an application of that size would almost certainly be called in by the Government. Where the SNP made a mistake was in not making it clear that it would be reviewed by ministers regardless of the local decision.

    It also hasn’t help that Alex Salmond is the local MSP. The Scotsman has tried to make a big deal of him meeting Trumps people, but he has also met the objectors and has told them all that as he is FM and it is of national significance he can’t express an opinion one way or the other, and he hasn’t.

    In a way he’s damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

    As to the left wing agenda, as I’ve said, If you look across the SNP’s policies, they are pretty mainstream Scottish though probably slightly to the left of England. However on business and growth the are pretty much orthodox Low tax/High growth.

    If you like, the philosophy is grow public provision by growing the economy and spend more but a lower share of GDP as opposed to spend more regardless of it’s share or effect on GDP.

    You may see that as right wing, but I suspect most Scots just see it as sensible.


  2. Peter
    What governments aren’t at all good at is running things.
    Yes that’s what I meant.

    RE Trump’s proposals-I see this as a test of SNP’s credentials on environmental protection, local democracy, and common sense. I watch with interest-but not much hope.

  3. Peter , The detailed data tabulations for the latest Mori monitor are on the Ipsos Mori website . The Scottish subsamples was Lab 38 SNP 32 LibDem 12 Con 10 for all voters with Lab 39 SNP 33 LibDem 15 Con 7 for those certain to vote . The Plaid figures were 12 and 8 respectively .

  4. Mark,

    10 and 7 for the Tories are unrealistically low.



    On Environment;

    There are a lot of people including Aberdeenshires planning department who think that the habitat can be protected and the scheme go ahead.

    On Local Democracy;

    The Full council, the local area committee and most of the local community councils all back it. one committee went against on the casting vote of the chair a former member of RSPB who’s wife I believe works for the RSPB. He has been removed from his position by his own council who feel that he did not represnt them when he cast his vote.

    I personally think that’s harsh and unfair, but given that he was removed by his democratically elected fellow councillors, it is local democracy in action.

    Having said that, £1bn developments should be called in as a matter of course because that amount of money can really turn peoples heads and or change a community ( for better or worse) so we need someone to “Guard the Guards”.

    Common sense;

    Common sense is that they let it go ahead but with some strengthened protection and probably redesign. I hope it doesn’t go to a public enquiry, as by and large they take years cost millions and rarely come up with anything that wasn’t originally known.

    To be honest even though I am broadly in favour, I’d rather it was rejected now than we filled the pockets of an army of lawyers and themn rejected it in a year or so. Not what i wnat but it would be common sense.


  5. Peter

    An environmental conservation Forum I inhabit has plenty of very interesting information -mostly from Scotish members-on the habitat,the true nature of the proposal, the realistic economic outcomes & effects, and the local political shenanigins.
    I didn’t intend to debate it here.
    I believe that too many environmental protections-like SSSI & RAMSAR are arbitrarily ignored.
    I hope this one doesn’t suffer a similar fate -it certainly won’t be Donald Trump who insists that it doesn’t.

  6. Peter , yes I agree that 10/7 is too low for Conservatives but it is more evidence that Yougov’s 17 is too high .

  7. Colin,

    It is a hard one, as it touches on an issue which is of huge importance, the balance between development and ecology.

    I looked at the RSPB web site and the figures they give are about 3% of all of these unstable dunes in Scotland. That might not sound like much, especially as like many SSSI’s aren’t much to look at, but these are unique environments.

    On the other side this is a huge amount of investment in an areas of high unemployment depending on things like agriculture and fishing, both low income often seasonal or intermittent employers.

    I probably come down on the opposite side from you in that although I hope the Trump proposals can (and should be improved through conditions) given how important this could be for the whole North East I think some habitat loss may well be a price worth paying.

    Two things are worth baring in mind.

    The first is that compared to things like a new runway at Heathrow, or the huge developments proposed East of London, the damage done with these proposals is pretty limited, although I know that can be used as justification for creeping development and we should all remember that once it’s gone it’s gone.

    The second point is that for all those opposing the proposal are complaining about Ministers calling the application in, if it had been granted they would be the first calling on ministers to do so, and indeed are currently leading the calls for a full public enquiry.

    Oddly enough on Tuesday I was voting on a 35MW 20 turbine wind farm in Strathconon at Loch Meig.


  8. Peter-thanks but as I said I don’t want to debate it here.
    I have followed a detailed and informative debate including information from many locals in Scotland -and suffice to say there is a quite different view from yours of the alleged economic benefits.Indeed the nature & content of the proposal itself is not often described as it should be.
    So I have a very different view of the balance you refer to.
    And I start from the premise that Trump vs a SSSI will always be an uneven contest -so someone has to uphold the designation & the protection it is supposed to provide.

  9. Peter-looks like it’s moved well and truly into the political arena up there now-the “S” word has been used.

  10. Thanks for clearing up re Salmond – suspect it wasn’t a good move on his part. Doesn’t Scotland already have a number of world-class golf courses anyway? I have to say in view of the stories about Tommy Sheridan south of the border there increasingly will be an impression that Scottish politician = sleaze.
    Looking at Trump on Wikipedia it seems to suggest he likes tax breaks from governments and when he doesn’t get them he struggles.Of course Wikipedia is not always accurate.

  11. The Sunday Herald has a new TNS Scotland poll on the front page showing 40% for Independence.

    It’s worth noting that it didn’t include a more powers for the existing parliament question and that Scottish Independence polls are notoriously volatile.


  12. Wolf- Yes it does- The Trump Organisation have stated in their Environmental Impact Assessment that there will be major adverse effects to the area if the development goes ahead. Around a third of the SSSI site which is based in the area is on land owned by Trump, and earmarked for development. This area is to be developed to house 9 holes on the development. The development is destined to contain two 18-hole championship courses, 500 houses, a 450-bed hotel which is 8-storeys high and around a third the length of Union Street, 950 8-storey holiday homes, an accomodation block for workers, a club house, a golf academy and 36 luxury golf villas.

    Many of those opposed have asked Trump repeatedly for a redesign to work around the SSSI site, but he has refused. The SSSI site is a relatively small but special area, given the overall 450-hectare size of the whole development, and given the number of structures destined for the site.

    SNH and RSPB along with other environmental groups are totally opposed to the destruction of the SSSI, and many have fears that other similar sites will be in danger in the future if this precedent is set.

    The proposal breaches the local plan in respect of coastal development etc as well as destroying part of a SSSI. Trump did not appeal the local decision interestingly. Whether with or without his “influence” on SNP politicians-they called it in.
    Since this is a forum on opinion polls it was interesting that the electronic poll which Aberdeen journals was running, was pulled late on the 4th Dec’, early 5th Dec’. At that time, the poll was circa 58.3% against the proposal, compared to a 41.7% vote for.

    I don’t know whether Salmond has done anything illegal-but he has certainly been careless in his pusuit of “The Scottish Cringe”-I hope that this now means it will be difficult for the SE to take a decision without a Public Enquiry.

  13. Peter: you said

    Looking at the Tories we see the opposite with only 61% of those who vote Tory at Holyrood voting Tory for Westminster, with the big winner the SNP picking up 21%. Indeed the SNP seems benefit most at Westminster from tactical voting by all parties.

    There are many once loyal Tory voters in Scotland who are prepared to vote for pragmatic one nation Conservatives in a modern and co-operative parliament who are terrified by free-market fundamentalists and English nationalists in the Westminster parliament whose natural home is UKIP.

    If the Scottish Conservatives became independant and agreed to support a referendum, would that demonstrate “a lot of contrition”?

    Non-tory voters also perceive Annabel Goldie’s team to be more reasonable and lessimage fixated so the problem might not be as great as you imagine. I think that Scottish Conservatives are actually doing quite well, considering the problems they have, and of they broke from the UK party (Bavarian style) they could do themselves a lot of good.

    There are more than a few economic right wingers in the SNP, and I could see a coalition working, but only if the Conservatives were separate.

    Of course the English Conservatives would be better off if they dumped the Scottish party. Who says politicians aren’t driven by principle rather than expediency?

  14. Nick Keene

    I live in Argyll and Bute and I can’t see the Conservatives taking the Westminster seat back.

    The LibDem MP improved his position last time round.

  15. John B Dick,

    “Who says politicians aren’t driven by principle rather than expediency”?,

    Unless it just isn’t expedient to be seen as unprincipled.


  16. Mr Trump has no such concerns it seems-and is able apparently to foresee what the SE will decide about his proposal before they have even done so:-

    From The Scotsman:-

    Trump 101 The Way to Success lists “Aberdeen Golf Club, Scotland” in a section on Trump Organisation golf clubs.

    A spokesman for RSPB Scotland, one of the environmental groups opposing the Menie scheme, claimed: “The fact that Mr Trump can publish a book which states that not only does he own a golf course in Aberdeen but also implies that it is consented, constructed and operational, gives a very clear signal of the regard with which he holds the decision-making process and the decision-makers themselves.”

    Something about supping with the Devil & the length of Spoons comes to mind.

  17. John B Dick,

    I would agree that it would be unlikely for Tories to take Argyll & Bute at next election – but not that the Lib Dem incumbent will retain it. The SNP win in May was pretty conclusive and unless they stumble in Holyrood, I doubt the LD will hold them off on the Westminster seat.

  18. As I work daily with Cllr John Finnie, Leader of the SNP group in Highland Council and SNP candidate For Inverness East, I’d say on current polling he’ll give Danny Alexander a real run for his money.

    You can take this as a partisan post or you might want to risk an early £10 on a pre election bet based on info from the inside.


  19. As Anthony didn’t cover it I thought I’d draw peoples attention to the ICM poll on “The Union” for the Telegraph.

    Some interesting points.

    Firstly on the issue of a UK football team, Women are far keener than men, and where as people in England are two to one in favour, Scots are split fifty fifty.

    On the 300th anniversary of the Act of Union, only a quarter of those in England were aware of it as opposed to half of those in Scotland.

    On English votes for English issues it was again two to one, but this time across the whole UK, with Scotland as in favour as in England.

    On spending per head it’s the picture we are familiar with, only a quarter in England think it’s justified as opposed to half of Scots.

    On whether England would be worse off without Scotland it’s a bit of a mix, close to two thirds in both Scotland and England think it wouldn’t make much of a difference with the rest split fairly evenly between better and worse.

    Fewer in Scotland seem to think it would be better off, and about one in five in England worse of, as opposed to almost half of Scotland. So Scotland thinks the UK needs it more than the rest of the UK does.

    The How long will the Union last question gives a real mixed bag of results although I think that might be because it gives six options.

    As to whether people want Independence the message is a lot clearer, seventy percent North and South want it to continue, although from the point of view of England without the perceived subsidy.

    With regards to the future, the status quo has a third support with all the other options lower, one in five support an English Parliament.

    just over half think Labour and Tory stand up equally for England, but the Tories have a clear lead when people make a choice, I think that highlights the problem for Cameron in anything that looks to weaken the Union.

    So what does this all tell us? Well for what it’s worth my take is that it’s back to our old friend salience. Beyond the media village the whole issue of Independence and the West Lothian Question isn’t a burning issue in England.

    There are irritations about voting and public spending, but nothing that will really be a significant factor in the next election. I suppose I should also admit that disappointingly for the SNP there is still a strong sentiment for the Union to endure and that may well be of real importance if it comes to a referendum.


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