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.