The ICM poll we expected last night turns out to be a Glenrothes constituency poll for the Mail on Sunday. The poll shows Labour and the SNP neck and neck on 43% support, and asked how they would vote if the by-election was seen as decisive to Brown’s continued leadership, the poll suggests a further swing to the SNP.

The last constituency polls for Glasgow East actually put Labour a long way ahead, when in the event the SNP won. If this poll is overstating Labour in the same way we can expect a comfortable SNP win, though that won’t necessarily be the case – Glenrothes doesn’t have the same extremes of social deprivation that probably made Glasgow East hard to poll.

26 Responses to “Labour and SNP neck-and-neck in Glenrothes”

  1. Interesting, especially in conjunction with the major poll and what it suggested about Scottish marginals.

  2. Anthony,

    how do the remaining 16% split. in 2005 Labour and the SNP got 75% between them with the LibDems on 13% and the Tories 7% ( others had 5%).

    If the SNP is up 20% (from 23% in 2005) and Labour down 9% (from 52%) then 11% of the SNP increase has to have come from the Libdems, Tories and others, although there will doubtless a degree of churn.


  3. Tactical voting should put the SNP in ahead of Labour – but the same type of voting will not apply in a general election.

  4. Mike,

    The findings from this poll are in line with current general Scottish polls , the new PoliticHome marginal poll and with sub-samples from UK polls.

    If you are happly predicting that the UK electorate are going to vote as the polls suggest and return the Tories with a landslide, why should all the Scottish polls be wrong.


  5. Anthony, Peter et al,

    Two queries were made on the thread regarding this Glenrothes poll over at Mike Smithson’s, one by me and a late contribution by fellow SNP member Frances. Neither query received any response whatsoever, let alone a satisfactory response, so I repost them here in the hope that some enlightenment may result:

    1. (Post 8) from me:
    “Do we know if ICM have tweaked their methodology since getting Glasgow East so dramatically wrong? To their great credit Ipsos MORI conducted an extensive inquiry after getting the London Mayoral election wrong, and subsequently adjusted their methodology (the public-sector employees weighting).

    Please remember that the date for the Glenrothes by election has not even been set yet (although 6 Nov seems highly likely). The equivalent ICM Glasgow East poll showing the 14 point Labour lead was only (from memory) about 3 weeks before polling day… when the SNP gained the seat by a 1.4% margin over Labour.”

    2. (Post 329) by Frances:
    “I haven’t managed to read through the entire thread, so I don’t know if someone else has mentioned this, but my number one question about the ICM Glenrothes poll would be the issue of weighting by past vote, and whether respondents were asked how they voted at the 2007 Holyrood election as well as 2005. The obvious suspicion about why ICM got it so wrong in Glasgow East is that switchers to the SNP in 2007 were incorrectly reporting that they had voted SNP in 2005, leading to a significant overestimate of Labour’s strength in the constituency. When that concern was raised the response seemed to be that there was no problem, as it was made clear to people that it was ‘the general election in 2005? that was being asked about. In my view, that’s nowhere near good enough – many people would simply think back to the ‘last big election’ without being able to distinguish the year, which would lead them to automatically recall their 2007 vote.

    The only way that problem can be solved is for both 2005 and 2007 votes to be requested – perhaps that was done in this case, but I rather suspect it wasn’t.”

    Many thanks in advance.

    PS. Anthony, I just want to extend my very warmest thanks for your wonderful work with that mega PH/YouGov poll: outstanding, seminal contribution in the history of the political research industry in Europe, in my opinion.

    In that context my complaint is very minor indeed, however I just want to say that I thought doing fieldwork in Moray was a complete waste of your time and resources. Moray cannot possibly be considered a key marginal at the next UK GE. Perth & North Perthshire and Angus would have been perfectly satisfactory to test the SNP/Tory waters (both came out as SNP Holds, presumably comfortable Holds?), so instead of just Argyll & Bute (which came out as an SNP Gain) you should have picked one other Lib Dem/SNP marinal to replace Moray, ie. Gordon or Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch & Strathspey. Moan over.

  6. Stuart,

    I have no idea if the methodology was changed but I would doubt it had been and to be honest don’t think it should be.

    As Anthony pointed out Glasgow East had a number of features that made it very hard to poll accurately.

    As these type of seats aren’t the norm altering your methodolgy to fit could well cause more distortions than it solves.

    I do agree that Inverness would have been a better seat to look at than Moray particularly as if you look at the pre 2005 results and the 2007 Holyrood result 2005 seems to be a bit of an aberation.

    Labours Dave Stewart suffered both from being a strong advocate of teh Iraq war and in the eyes of to many not a very good MP. Take those particular circumstances out and it has the makings of a marginal.

    Having said that it would be unfair to expect Anthony or anyone else to have that level of detail in ever seat and indeed to try to select seats in that way risks bringing in too much subjectivity making the exercise less effective.


  7. Thanks Peter.

    So, you do not think there is a possibility of false recall of ‘last vote’ being significantly higher in Scotland and Wales than in England, due to Scots and the Welsh having TWO recent general elections: a UK one in 2005 and a (much fresher-in-the-mind) Scottish and Welsh one in 2007?

    I just think that this false recall is a far more feasible explanation for the appallingly inaccurate ICM poll in Glasgow East than the ‘3-weeks-early/late swing’ argument, or the ‘number-of-features-that-made-it-very-hard-to-poll-accurately’ argument.

    The (non-BPC) Progressive Scottish Opinion poll in Glasgow East was even more inaccurate (Labour 17% lead) than ICM’s poll, despite being much closer to Polling Day, which tends to undermine the ‘3-weeks-early/late swing’ excuse even more.

    (Note: I do not know where that funny face came from in my post above. It should be the number eight. Bloomin html markup… )

    Anthony, there was an absolute classic of voodoo polling in yesterday’s Scottish Sunday Express:

    Did you not used to do a feature on voodoo polls?

    Anthony will slap my wrist for this, but here is the Scottish sub-sample from the latest ComRes/Independent on Sunday Westminster voting intention poll. Usual caveats regarding sub-samples of GB-wide polls apply.

    (% change from UK GE 2005)
    SNP 38% (+20%), Lab 23% (-16%), Lib Dem 16% (-7%), Con 15% (-1%).

  8. Anthony, is my reply stuck in moderation? Usually I get a little courtesy notice when a comment is in a moderation queue, but there is no notification. Though WordPress does tell me that I am trying to submit a “duplicate” post if I press Submit again.

  9. test

  10. test

  11. If Labour manages to hold this it could be quite a boost for them, in Scotland, at least.
    But I guess if the polls are showing it level even before the campaign, the SNP are almost certainly going to win.

  12. The ICM tables are up and the LibDems are 8% (-5%) and the tories 5% (-2%), Others are down at 2% (-3%).

    So both are being squeezed and the Libdems most of all. I wonder if Tavish Scott will follow Nicol Stevens and say that they can win this one.


  13. I haven’t seen a candidate list yet but Labour absolutely must get their candidate right to even stand a chance of winning. They had an excellent candidate in Glasgow East I believe and would have done even worse with an imposed candidate.

  14. Stephen,

    The “excellent” candidate in Glasgow East spent the whole campaign saying ” Everything is the SNP’s fault but we’ll put it all right” without ever really saying what they would do.

    She attacked LIT more than a year after Jack McConnell got caught out because he couldn’t explain his alternativeand she still couldn’t say what changes Labour would make.

    Equally while the campaign was largely about the SNP government cutting back or not spending enough, she singularly failed to say where any new money would come from or what Labour would cut to meet it’s spending targets.

    If a good candidate is someone who bellows the party line, then Labour had a good candidate, but where the SNP did well was in the better off parts of the constituency where bellowing isn’t going to work.

    Glasgow East and probably Glenrothes will be about which of the two governments people think is doing best at the moment.

    If Labours campaign is again based around attacking the more popular government and demanding that it spends money it doesn’t have or raises public sector wages when the UK government controls the money and isn’t raising public sector wages it will lose.

    I’d be looking for something better and different from Labours new Scottish leader, but that assumes that he is in a position to set the campaign agenda. So far it looks like labour will just repeat the mistakes of Glasgow East.


  15. I would imagine that the result here – a comfortable SNP gain – is largely discounted by the party heirarchies. But that does not mean it will not make for quite a splash among the media given it’s embarrassing (to Labour) proximity to GB’s own constituency.

    It will be interesting to see how Labour play this publicly. Will they claim to be confident of winning – which will make the loss seem all the worse. Or will they describe themselves as “underdogs” which might make the actual result worse and feed into the SNP narrative about them being in the ascendancy across Scotland and making a good result in the GE all the more inevitable.

    One for the spinmeisters!

  16. Peter:

    There is no doubt that the party which claims to be “listening” does not listen to its own members in Scotland, many of whom know better than to repeat again and again the negativity and spin that has characterised their campaigns for years.

    There are plenty of forlorn Labour supporters with sales training on the net – even on YouGov – bemoaning the crass error of rubbishing the competition.

    So if anyone with a week or perhaps two weeks sales training knows not to do that, what life experience gives these people the excess of self confidence that makes them think they are fit to run the country?

    Maybe they could manage a whelk stall. Some will soon have the opportunity.

    Donald Dewar’s vision was that a few terms of minority government, (alternating with coalition) where today’s opponent may be tomorrows partner should sort that problem, but it will have to be in an independent Scotland because the Unionist parties are still controlled from Westminster where do not have the imagination to look beyond the familiar mock battles two swords’ length apart.

    I won’t be voting for independence because I want Scotland to be a separate country. I don’t, but I want my grandchildren to grow up in a country with a fit-for-purpose parliament.

  17. Brown’s speech cam across better than I expected it to. Don’t know whether that will make any difference though.

  18. Clear support from Miliband, little descent during the conference,decent speech from Brown and a good picture of him kissing his wife in most newspaper.

    But this will be sandwiched between quite a lot of descent running up to their conference and the conservative conference.

    On the AOL homepage an opportunity is given to vote on the question, ‘were you convinced by GB’s speech?’

    75% (4303) said NO
    22% (1255) said YES
    3% (216) said DON’T KNOW

    I suspect those with strong views are more likely to respond to this vote. But as a first response it cannot be seen as encouraging. It will take more than a reasonably good conference to change people’s minds.

  19. Sorry for being off topic but does anyone know where the voting intention graph has gone? It might be my computer or just my stupidity but I can’t find it, or any link to it.

  20. It would be churlish not to concede that Brown gave a good speech yesterday albeit I am a little confused over his barely concealed criticism of Cameron for using his children as ‘props’ when he( Brown) had just used his wife for exactly that….
    I would expect the Sunday polls to give Labour a similar bounce to that enjoyed by the Lib Dems last week but by coming last the Tories have an obvious advantage which like last year they will almost certainly exploit to the full.
    As Michael Heseltine said on Question Time last summer nobody in the cabinet has the guts to stand up to Brown. All the side of the mouth utterances to journalists are just so much hot air. They are now stuck with him so they might as well rally round and fight the good fight but will they? Will they heck. Just wait until the Glenrothes result comes in…

  21. THe difference is that his wife is an experienced PR person who was introduced to Brown by Charlie Whelan. No exploitation there.

    I thought it was more of a swipe against all politicians who use their kids, but if the cap fits…

    To get momentum back in the polls will take more than just one good speech.

  22. “a good speech”

    Good by what yardstick?

    Unison is very happy with it-“clear red water” at last they say.

    The delegates seemed happy with it.

    Did Ruth Kelly think it “good” before announcing her resignation from Cabinet, at 3 the following morning?

    The papers seem full of stuff about Gordon’s little porkies-why does he do that?

    I think the speech was only “good” for the Conservatives.That GB has started to attack them in the only way he knows how provides ample scope for forensic rebuttal.

    The focus -and pressure-is now on Cameron & his team.

    The post Conference Polls will tell the real story about how “good” all these speeches were.

  23. The papers gave the impression Sarah Brown would do a better job than her husband.

  24. It was widely regarde as a “good” speech, including Ruth Kelly- if you missed the good bits, you should read it or look it up where you can hear it.

    My point was that it will take more than a good speech to change the momentum. Non-partisan.

  25. I watched it live.
    I read the press comment on-line.
    I watched the Adam Bolton Interview.

    I was responding to Nick’s post-not yours john.

    I agree that it will take more than one speech to change the momentum.

  26. “I’d be looking for something better and different from Labours new Scottish leader, but that assumes that he is in a position to set the campaign agenda.”

    Why make that assumption? we would know if there had been any change in the organisational structure.

    Without such a change there can be no hope of progress. The position can only attract an authoritarian who NEEDS to follow a leader. Loyalty is more highly valued than winning. Google “Bob Altemeyer: The Authoritarians” to find out why.

    “So far it looks like labour will just repeat the mistakes of Glasgow East.”

    So what’s fresh?