Earlier in the week there was apparently a new YouGov poll of Scottish voting intentions in the Scottish Daily Express. The topline voting intention figures, with changes from the last YouGov poll, are – for the constituency vote – CON 14%(+2), LAB 29%(nc), LDEM 14%(+1), SNP 38%(-2) and for the regional vote, CON 13%(nc), LAB 27%(+1), LDEM 12%(-1), SNP 30%(-4).

Not having seen the actual tables yet I assuming that the figures are comparable, though as we’ve seen in the past, YouGov have sometimes asked about Scottish voting intention in different ways depending on whether smaller parties are prompted for the in question, so we can’t be certain. If they are the picture appears to be largely static, with the SNP just beginning to fall slightly.

Other questions in the poll found support for independence stood at 27% in a question that also offered the current Scottish Parliament as an option (chosen by 57%). In the past questions that offer the Scottish Parliament as an alternative normally show a lower level of support for independence than ones which ask a straight yes or no question. Finally 45% of respondents thought Scotland should become a republic were it to become independence, 39% would rather retain the Queen as Head of State.

93 Responses to “Latest Scottish Voting Intention”

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  1. Latest Scottish Voting Intention’,or ‘To Peter, With Love’.
    But where is he?
    Finally, a SCOTTISH poll instead of two hundred English men, 3 Scots men, 1 Welsh man and a Labrador and he is no where to be seen. This post has been up for hours.
    Strange. I do hope he is alright.

  2. Maybe the SNP are in crisis talks over that -4%….

  3. 27% for Independence [despite the alternatives ie a Tory Gov or more of Gordon Brown] is a bit of an ‘OUCH!’.

  4. I’ve already posted on this elsewhere, before Anthony, so there….

    On the actual poll I am not that worried as I thought the previous 40% was way to high, I’ve always had my doubt at anything over about 35%.

    The list shows 18% for others which may mean a recovery for the Greens who seem to be still punching above their weight. I’d doubt it was the SSP or Solidarity.

    As to the Independence question, as I’ve warned before it’s notoriously volatile and it depends if it’s a multi option or all or nothing poll.

    Having said that it’s below 30% which may mean something. We’ve had the Trump thing to deal with and the budget has been getting a bit of a battering with Labour going hard on cuts to vulnerable groups.

    Without being to partisan and for information the situation is like this.

    As part of a deal to freeze council tax for three years while we introduce Local income Tax (LIT) ( just wait to see the backlash from the grey vote in the shires if that goes through), we have offered Councils a lump sum increase and a reduction in ring fencing.

    The ring fencing will be cut from about 25% of the Council grant to about 5%. 20% more of their budgets will be free to be spent as they like, after signing up to an outcome agreement.

    In effect we both want to achieve the same things, so we give you the money and you are free to spend it as you like as long as our shared objectives are met.

    Labours line is that because much of the freed cash is allocated to vulnerable groups they will lose out. The SNP view is the cash is still there and the objectives are the same, so lets trust Councils to deliver as they are best placed to do so.

    In a way we are doing the same for Councils as Westminster does for Holyrood, you get your share of the cash and spend it as you like.

    It’s hard to say who’s winning the debate, but if the SNP is down, it might be having an effect, or maybe the honeymoon which has been long and welcome is finally coming to an end.

    Having said that you could argue that the a fall in support for Independence and a majority for the status quo could indicate that people think they can get the best of both worlds, a nationalist government fighting for Scotland, without the perceived risk of Independence.

    Not really what the SNP want to hear, but it could be what is happening.


  5. They seem to be getting a taster of Tory Government right now -in a deal to vote the SNP Budget through.

    Meanwhile the three “unionist” parties are pressing ahead with their Constitutional Commission-presumably a demand for more devolved powers within UK will emerge.This Poll seems to suggest that is what people want.

  6. What people want is more power, be it local or national, Scotland or UK.

    The Unionists don’t really want to give the parliament more power, Unionist MP’s don’t even want a Scottish parliament.

    But as with the first rise of the SNP in the 70’s when we put Independence on the table and it proved popular the other parties had to respond.

    It’s like the Hegalian Dialectic; Thesis, Antithesis and Synthesis.

    Devolution is the synthesis of two contradictory but forceful positions neither able to win over the other.

    What we have now the next phase where the SNP again pushes for Independence this time against devolution and the response looks like being “Devolution Plus”, (or Independence lite).

    Not Independence, but still better than now and still heading our way.


  7. Anthony re your comment on Political Betiing re Brown v Clegg at PMQs.
    I thought GB would go softly for the same tactical reasons. But the competing theory has to be that he can’t afford to. PMQ have not been a success for him. Even those close concede it is not his bag. Indeed, it has probably contributed to some of his image problems.
    He could be nice to the new Lib leader, but Nick Clegg can not afford to be nice in return; Ming’s percieved friendship with Gordon and his closeness to Labour is thought to have contributed to his problems. If Gordon can’t best the LIB DEM leader and newby he may be portrayed as pathetic. When he couldn’t tell Ed Stourton on Radio 4 Today that he enjoyed his job, an advisor told Nick Robinson that he had difficulty giving a straight answer because he couldn’t get the potential headlines out of his head. The thought of agreeing with an accusing LibDem and potentially conceeding points, as well as being seen as weak and useless at PMQs will have his head spinning [pardon the pun].

  8. Scottish polls seem to under-estimate Tory support. They did in May 2007, when some better results were achieved.

  9. Joe,

    The Tories got 16/14% in 2007. So as they usually score 1 or 2% above that they are probably static or just improving, in line with the national rise but to a far lesser extent.


  10. I was encouraged by the results in East Dunbartonshire.
    It revealed there is still a decent Conservative vote there from Bearsden and, to some extent, Milngavie, although if it increases significantly it would probably mean the seat is gained by Labour.

  11. I am itching to see YouGov’s detailed datasheets from this poll (still not published 3 days after the Daily Express publication – membership rules of BPC?).

    That 18% “Others” number at the regional vote is astounding. If it is nearly all Greens (and it must be as SSP + Solidarity are stone dead and the BNP have never measured over 1-2% in Scotland), then that would push the LDs and Cons into 4th and 4th place respectively on seat numbers, and have pro-independence MSPs desperately close to the magical 65 seats marker (roughly 42 SNP + 19 Greens + Margo).

    Also fascinated to see if there was a Westminster voting intention question too.

    Roll on the Euros!! The Lib Dems are in deep trouble in that poll. Could quite conceivable lose their sole Scottish MEP to the Greesns. I understand Attwool is standing down and the LD candidate may be Lyons who lost Argyll and Bute to the SNP in May 2007. Two high-profile election defeats would surely kill his career?

  12. typo: should be “push Cons to 5th place”

  13. Stuart , don’t get overexcited with the Greens figure in Yougov’s poll , they were way out with their Greens forecast with their polls last May compared to other pollsters and the actual result . We have discussed this on here before and as Anthony mentions in his intro , it seems to be to do with the way the voting questions are presented . Green support has been falling in England since the local elections last May and I don’t see a reason why Scotland should be any different .

  14. Mark, I am afraid that you have a profound “wishful-thinking” syndrome. The truth is that in terms of voting behaviour, as in so many other aspects of culture and society, Scotland IS often different from England, Ireland, Wales, Germany, USA … and other countries. That is why Scotland is a nation: the whole package of cultural behaviour makes us distinctive.

    The Lib Dems are in trouble in Scotland, and probably in England and Wales too. Do not stick your head in the sand

  15. Mark is right – it depends on how YouGov asked about Green support. At the Scottish elections they included them in the main prompt and it over-estimated their support, so if they were included in the main prompt for this survey I’d be a bit cautious. On the other hand, if they weren’t included with in the main prompt and were in with all the others, then it would be a real rise – we’ll have to wait for the tables.

  16. WRT Green support, I think that the Greens just don’t “do” by-elections. Their support has held up well in areas of strength, like Brighton and Stroud, while falling back elsewhere, but they seem to do better in all-out local elections. I’d expect to see the Greens win a few extra seats in the local elections.

  17. I got asked to do this survey. Sadly I forgot to record how they asked the voting questions (re: green points above). But for the Westminster intention it was 4 parties and a “Some other party”. So the 18% might not be discernable. I think the suggestion that the Greens would win 19 seats is rather fanciful. They lost 5 out of 7 in May despite YouGov polls showing them about to make gains.

    P.S. When I saw the question along the lines of “Should Alex Salmond be President of Scotland” I thought it might be an SNP survey of extraordinary vanity.

  18. Thanks Malcolm. In that case we have a Westminster voting intention poll to look forward to to!!

    Anthony: yes and no. Even if the Grn figure is always a bit dodgy (ie. too high) in YouGov polls a doubling of their support must mean some sort of Grn rise in the real world, although 19 seats is admittedly a bit daft. I would say they would be extremely hard-pushed to get over 10-11 seats except in extraordinary circumstances (eg. that Euro vote about 20 years ago when they got about 15%).

  19. I would be very shocked if the greens got that level of support, as in recent times their vote has collapsed. It seems from the last election more like the SNP sucked up support from all the parties which weren’t labour, tory or libdem.. with some dissaffected labour voters. I think that one shouldn’t underestimate the desire to give labour a kicking in much of Scotland, even if those voting don’t support partition (As I am now choosing to call it :) )

  20. Stuart – alas, not necessarily. YouGov only have to release the data for questions that are published, beyond that its up to the client what enters the public domain.

    In YouGov’s polls for the Sunday Times and the Telegraph they always release all the data (except very occassionally when it’s not a time sensitive story and they want to hold it over to publish the following week), but that’s only because the Telegraph and Sunday Times are kind enough to allow it. Just because a Westminster question was asked doesn’t guarantee it will ever be published.

  21. Stuart , the wishful thinking is in your seeing the demise and annihilation of the LibDems everywhere to satisfy your personal hatred of them .

  22. Unfortunately – from my own narrow party political perspective :) – there is no evidence whatsoever that the Scottish Green vote has “collapsed”. Indeed it is quite the contrary: their core support of about 5% looks very solid indeed, and will almost certainly be boosted by a significant wee chunk of SNP, Lab and LD floaters (especially LDs). I strongly suspect that the Greens are going to do rather well in the elections coming up in the next 4 years: Euros, then Westminster, then Holyrood, then councils.

  23. Stuart , if what you say is true re the Greens , why did they do so poorly in May losing 5 of their 7 seats although Yougov were showing they would gain 2 or 3 with 9% as opposed to the 4% they actually polled .

  24. Mark, I most certainly do not “hate” the Lib Dems, nor any other mainstream political opponents. I simply disagree with them, strongly, on various key policies.

    The difference is that I view Labour, Conservatives and Greens are being largely honourable opponents (perhaps naively?), who on-the-whole act largely in good faith, even though I consider them to be on the wrong track most of the time. However, it is unfortunately my experience, over many years, that the Lib Dems lack the same level of honour, and I thus tend to be a bit sceptical of how much good faith can be granted to them. You lot simply play far too dirty, far too often, for your own good. It is however your loss, not ours.

  25. Stuart , a very sweeping gerneralisation re LibDems not backed uo with a single fact . It is Labour who have had a councillor found guilty of telling lies about her LibDem opponent , Labour who issued a policy document on fighting local elections saying that their opponents should be smeared at every opportunity , LibDems who have been subjected to criminal acts in Watford leading the police to offer a reward for finding the culprits and LibDem councillors in Bristol who were subject to arson attacks on their family home 2 years ago .

  26. Vis a vis the independence question it was worded incredibly negatively as “as a completely separate state outside the United Kingdom” so im surprised it scored as high as 27%. Questions simply need to asked as Scottish Indepndence Yes or No?

  27. The Greens in Scotland like all parties can suffer from the nature of the voting system.

    As they only put forward list candidates and each region has approximately 15 MSP’s they need to get about 6-7% of the vote in each region to get an MSP. That means that if they poll 6% across the country the could get non, but if they poll 7% they could get 8.

    What happened at Holyrood wasn’t so much a collapse as a dip below a threshold created by the split Constituency/list system.

    The real breakthrough for the Greens would beto get beyond 15% and get a dozen or more seats, but I don’t see that happening, although they are capable of 8 or 9% and therefore about 8 MSP’s , one in every electoral region.

    Given that these are all list seats it may well be The Tories who suffer most although anyone could be hit, though it’s unlikely to be Labour who dominate FPTP.

    Still the tables will be interesting.


  28. I think one reason the LibDems can get away with very aggressive tactics at by-elections is because they have the reputation of being a “nice” party and so the electorate take them at face value. If the Tories or Labour tried the same tactics it would almost certainly backfire. David Cameron, of course, is astute enough to realise that it is by being “nice” to the LibDems that he can draw support away from them longer term.

  29. That is probably very true NorthBriton. I will never, ever forget the filthy antics of the Lib dems at the Moray by election in 2006. It took me about 3 weeks to stop laughing at their pathetic 3rd place after all the bar-charts of impending LabDim victory.

    They got their comeuppance however, from the electorate. In May 2007 the LapDogs slumped to 4th spot in Moray, on just 11% of the vote; and they are dead and gone in that constituency for a generation. It is their own silly fault. The electorate are not as stupid as Nicol Stephen thinks they are.

  30. Okay, can people stop posting attacks and partisan jibes about the Lib Dems please. Non-partisan discussion remember?

  31. Fine Anthony, but good luck with Mark Senior about. Remember, it was him accusing me of “personal hatred” which kicked that all off. What is that if not a personal attack?

  32. I viewed being accusing of hating the Liberal Democrats as a complement to your good sense ;) – no, more seriously, I’m not singling anyone out or saying who is right or wrong, just drawing a line under it.

  33. Sorry Anthony. You know that I hold your blog here in very high regard. Upon further consideration it may have been wiser not to admit to profound Schadenfreude at the fate of the Liberal Democrats in Moray…

    I just wish that it was not so bloomin easy to tamper with that “LibDem” name. It is just so tempting to play with variations on the theme…

  34. The full data is on the Yougov website and include Westminster voting intentions . Figures with change from their last Nov poll are :-
    Lab 36 +4
    SNP 30 -2
    Con 18 -1
    LD. 12 N/C
    Oth 5 +1

    Note Novembers figures added up to 99 and this poll’s to 101 hence the changes do not match .

  35. Compared to 2005 that has the SNP up 12% and the LibDems down 10%.

    That is a very good figure for the SNP, although I have to say I would still expect an election result of around 25%.


  36. Peter,
    What do you think would happen in Scotland in a General Election at present?

    % votes seats


  37. Anthony it is very difficult to be non partisan about the LD’s given your obvious political bias in their favour. They do successfully fight dirty and this is a key reason they do extremely well at by-elections and have done reasonably well at GE’s. It is a major factor which influences the polls and should be subject to debate irrespective of your personal views.

    Given your earlier objectivity and your skills at interpreting the polls I am sorry to say I feel much less comfortable with your responses to postings and will now look elsewhere hoping to find someone less prejudiced.

  38. Electoral Calculus suggests that even were Labour to just get 36% of the vote, they would still win 40 Scotland seats (-1) while the SNP would win just 10 (+4), the Tories on 18% would get just 2 MPs while the Lib-Dems on just 12% would still keep 7!

  39. Slam,

    If you think Anthony is bias, I suggest you get your paranoia checked…


    I’d hate to make a prediction right now but if I had to I think of the 59 seats I think Labour will fall below forty and the Tories do better than 2. Also I don’t think the LibDems will do as badly as 7.

    So under pressure at this stage I’d project;

    Labour 36, SNP 10, LibDem 9, Tory 4.

    +/- 2 seats for everyone either way, although I wouldn’t be surprised if the LibDems come ahead of us even if we get twice their vote, that’s FPTP for you.

    But that’s a projection based on the situation now continuing, not a prediction of what will actually happen.


  40. Thanks Peter, I appreciate those figures/estimates.

  41. Peter,

    Any guesses as to which constituencies would change hands to make those figures?

  42. Anthony,

    I though YouGov stratifies by past voting behaviour, and as this is on record the overestimating of the Scottish Green prior to the 2007 election should be out of the system now. (unless … Greens are not giving as option for past voting behaviour and/or stratification even of Scottish elections is by past Westminster vote?)

    More generally, I am still amazed by the inability of UK polls to produce decent figures for smaller parties compared to, say, polls for German Landtagswahlen. Yes with FPTP its both impossible and academic as smaller parties have few candidates, but surely there can be no excuse for UK PR elections?

    Also, in 2007 the Greens did not stand in lists only, they also had a candidate in Glasgow Kelvin where they came third with 12% (beating the Liberals and the Tories). At the next Scottish election expect at least 10-20 Green constituency candidates as at this level they can be reasonably certain to retain many of their deposits – the key determinating factor in the number of Green constituency candidates is available finance (for Westminster too).

    Oh, and should responsibility for running the Scottish elections be devolved to Holyrood, I guess the chances are that the deposit would be abolished anyway, in which case the Greens are likely to field a near full field of constituency candidates.


  43. Mark
    I for one certainly do not hate any political party save perhaps the BNP. The Whigs/Liberals/Lib Dems represent a fine political tradition that goes back into the mists of time and I would be sad to see that thread disappear from British political life.We would all be the poorer had the likes of Gladstone and Lloyd George failed to reach 10 Downing Street and I have enormous respect for Paddy Ashdown’s recent efforts in Bosnia etc. Nevertheless many people in other parties who have been involved in politics over the last 40 years have consistantly come across examples of dirty tactics by your party.One of the worst cases of character assassination I can recall goes back thirty odd years and involved the then Tory MP for the Isle of Wight one Peter Woodnutt who was hounded out of his seat and whose health suffered so terribly as a result. His family have never forgiven the then Liberal party for the lies they circulated about him.You mention some alleged-minor- Labour misdemeanours in your post but that party like the Tories the SNP and Plaid Cymru has never stooped to personal attacks and innuendo in the same way. Not remotely.

  44. Nick , you are a card , being found guilty of making false statements about your political opponent , arson attacks on someones home , criminal damage in Watford resulting in the police offering a substantial reward for information on finding the perpretators may be minor misdemeanours in your book but that is I think a reflection on you not on me .

  45. Anthony. Any news of a ComRes poll? Seems overdue.

  46. The LDs do fight dirty – much more than the other parties who are normally well intended.

    It affects and changes results.

    Therefore it is a valid point to raise in discussing elections.

  47. Sheesh – second warning. I should have though Nick and Mark’s exchange illustrates why I tried to shut it down earlier, it just descends into people throwing examples at each other and claiming your lot are more wicked than my lot. If one party does fight dirtier than others, there is no possible way of accurately quantifying it or judging it (even if you added up convictions for electoral naughtiness, it would only show who got caught the most).

    There is broad consensus that the Lib Dems are often the party that is best at campaigning on the ground and turning a local issue to their advantage, but I don’t think there is much to be gained by an argument about whether their methods are dirty or not. (Or am I just saying that because of my obvious bias towards the Lib Dems? LOL!)

    Christian – YouGov weights by party ID at the time of the last election, not by past vote (though that actually makes little or no difference in practical terms), but I think it’s too the last Westminster election, not Scottish Parliament (though I could easily be wrong, I’d have to check). The problem – for YouGov at least – has been been whether or not to include minor parties in the prompting by party name, normally YouGov don’t include them – you only get offered smaller parties if you say you aren’t going to vote for the main three (or main four in Scotland and Wales).

    Doing that prior to the last Scottish elections was producing a very low level of support for the Greens. Peter Kellner decided it was too low, YouGov was doing it wrong, and switched to including the Greens in the prompt. It resulted in overestimating true Green support. How it should be done to get accurate levels is still open to question.

  48. RDL,

    No it’s just an assessment based on taking uniform swing and then adding my “feelings” about how long standing MP’s or tactical voting might have an effect.

    As I’ve said elsewhere, with 40% of their vote in the seats they hold ( about a dozen) the Libdems can take a big drop and still hold a lot of seats, and that’s the kind of thing uniform swing isn’t good at picking up. Labour have very few small majorities so they also can survive a big swing.

    What I will do is have a look and see what I can come up with and get back to you.

    On the LibDems, I work with there councillors on a daily basis and they are a decent bunch of men and women, Indeed as highland councils spokesperson on Post offices I am working with two or three in making the case to keep theirs open.

    I may be in the SNP but when it comes to services communities need that gets put to one side.

    Having said that when it comes to elections, in more than ten years the only people who have ever removed our street posters are you know who, and I Know they have also done it to Labour and the Tories.

    In addition in all but one of the last five elections on the Tuesday before the election when the biggest local paper ( which is in any case anything but pro SNP) comes out there has been an alegation on SNP dirty tricks or even intimidation. This includes police statement saying they will investigate (as they rightly must).

    Then the story to be reported as untrue on the Friday when we get the next addition…. the day after the election.

    I remember having a conference meeting with the electoral commission when someone from the audience asked when they were going to do something about the libdems. I was amazed by the answer when the EC listed the things they think happen but can’t prove and asked for any information we could give that they could use.

    The list included; Mobile printing units that let them exceed the local spending allowance, telling people the polling station has been moved, calls pretending to be from other parties.

    Nothing they can prove but all suspected.


  49. Peter,

    The reason I asked was mainly your total for the Tories. I just cannot see four seats that could realistically go to them. With the exception of Dumfries & Galloway, the only marginals featuring the Conservatives are held by the SNP and I would expect the SNP vote to increase at the next Westminster elections, keeping these seats out of the grasp of the Tories.

    This means that, to come near your total, the Tory vote would need to rise by more than the Nationalist vote plus any majority, or the Tories would need to win seats like East Renfrewshire from Labour or Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk from the LDs. While not impossible individually, I cannot see all these things happening.

  50. As I have no wish to test Anthony’s patience any further I will not pursue the subject of dirty tactics and the Lib Dems.

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