YouGov has a new poll of Scottish voting intentions in the Sunday Times. The full voting intentions, with changes from YouGov’s last Scottish poll in September are:

In a Westminster General election CON 20%(+3), LAB 38%(+6), LDEM 11%(-2), SNP 29%(-5)
In the Scottish Parliament constituency vote CON 14%(+1), LAB 31%(+5), LDEM 12%(-3), SNP 39%(-3)
In the Scottish Parliament regional vote CON 16%(+2), LAB 29%(+4), LDEM 11%(-3), SNP 32%(-3)

As in the rest of the country there is a clear increase in Labour support following conference season and the government’s handling of the credit crunch. Here it has come at the expense of the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, who now once again trail Labour in Westminster voting intentions (though they continue to hold a, now much shrunken, lead at Holyrood).

59 Responses to “Labour move back ahead in Scotland”

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  1. Just to add – raising tax on PAYE income alone would surely be regressive, as rich people living on unearned income wouldn’t pay the extra tax. It would be another example of normal people on salaries being shafted in favour of the rich with more exotic forms of income.

  2. Dear Mr Swinney,
    Thank you for your letter on the subject of the possible introduction of a local income tax in Scotland by your administration.
    I would not of course presume to comment on the merits of such a proposal as it might affect Scotland since that is a political matter outside my domain.
    However so far as any role that you might envisage for this department may be concerned I have to tell you that we are not in a position to undertake any additional duties at this time or in the forseeable future due to the present restrictions on staff recruitment imposed by HMG over which we have no control. Indeed we are finding it very difficult to cope with our present heavy workloads in part caused by recent taxation changes with which you are familiar.
    If this situation should change I will of course write to you again. In the meantime I return the two tickets you sent with your letter for the match between Inverness Caledonian Thistle and Partick Thistle since it would not be appropriate for me to accept them but I thankyou anyway.
    Yours Sincerely
    Sid Grabbit
    Lord High Commissioner of Taxes
    hidden carbon copy to

    Chancellor of the Exchequer–Hi Al hope this fits the bill. See you at Stamford Bridge on Saturday and tell Gordon its his turn to bring the gin.

  3. Just coming back to the demographic question, Peter Cairns. You don’t have to be a member of Settler Watch to observe how positive different constituencies were to the devolution referendum in 1997.

    Those council areas least favourable to devolution had the highest numbers of English-born residents e.g. Dumfries and Orkney, which voted no to tax powers, but also places like Argyll and Moray which, despite having strong SNP support, also have a lot of English-born residents. This is not anecdotal, the figures I saw were from the 2001 census.

    The strongest “Yes, Yes” areas were all Labour strongholds. They also had the highest proportion of Scottish-born (and poor) residents living in them, possibly as a result of their weak local economies (lack of inward migration of any kind in recent years.)

    It seems to me that people with English (or indeed Northern Irish) connections are unsurprisingly less inclined to vote for Scotland over the UK. That is a big chunk of the electorate- though I’m not saying that all the 8% English-born all feel themselves to be English or indeed Unionist- I know many who are not.

    But it is a factor that makes me pessimistic about Scotland ever voting for independence.

    It’s even more the case for Wales, where the English-born are at least a fifth of the electorate.

    I’m also surprised at a poll showing Labour doing well among the under-25s in Scotland, and the SNP strong among the over 55s. This feels the wrong way round to me.

  4. Hi Steve. You say “I’m also surprised at a poll showing Labour doing well among the under-25s in Scotland, and the SNP strong among the over 55s. This feels the wrong way round to me.”

    I agree it does seem the wrong way around but I have noticed it in all polls where this data is available.

    I am convinced the explanation is this. In the seventies, particularly in the lead up to the 1979 devolution referendum, the Labour Party in particular (kwowingly) told the most monstrous lies to the electorate about the value of North Sea oil. Facts received via the freedom of information act has made this absolutely clear in recent years.

    Those over 55 remember this deceit (many WERE deceived) and now do not believe what Labour (or other unionists ) say about the economics of independence.

    Those of a younger age have still to learn this-but they will :-)

  5. Steve,

    I doubt with only 8% of the population we can say anything of any real significance about the “English” vote in Scotland.


    LIT is extremely popuar with pensioners in that most pensioners will pay far less and they are a group who tend to feel cost of e council tax more than most.


  6. Well, the latest polls had support for independence at 35% and against at 43%. That appears to be an 8% difference! What would the figures look like if those born outwith Scotland were excluded? Not that this would be desirable or feasible, but I think it’s an interesting angle if we ever do get a referendum. Nobody ever seems to want to raise this question about what constitutes a Scot.

    Does anyone believe that 35% of English-born residents of Scotland would back Scottish independence to only 43% against? Many would find it psychologically difficult to endorse “separatism”, though greater devolution, federalism etc could appeal for other reasons.

  7. A question. What would be the effect of LIT on second homes and holiday homes? At present owners pay, I think, 90% council tax. But if they are paying LIT in another council region already – or, indeed, aren’t domiciled in Scotland – they surely can’t be billed for LIT for their other properties. I know a number of folk who would be interested.

    BTW on: “I’m also surprised at a poll showing Labour doing well among the under-25s in Scotland, and the SNP strong among the over 55s. This feels the wrong way round to me.”

    I’m not surprised. This reflects the strong results the SNP gained in the 70’s on the back of “It’s Scotland’s Oil”. Those voters, then in their 20’s are now in their 50’s. Young people now, I suspect, are better educated and more cosmopolitan is their sympathies. Scottish nationalism simply doesn’t make as much sense to them or seem relevant. My view has always been that independence could only come if events conspired to allow a referendum in the immediate aftermath of an SNP victory at Holyrood when the novelty value was high and the momentum was strong. The financial crisis and the part-nationalisation of the Scottish banks has poured a cold douche of reality over the whole independence project and pricked Salmond’s bubble. I’m not saying that the SNP won’t continue to win elections but I do think independence has been dealt a very significant setback.
    PS – I expect the SNP to win Glenrothes relatively handily.

  8. As I am an Englishman who has been living in Scotland for the last 24 years then my oft expressed views on independence on this site probably come as no surprise. Of all the political issues I know this subject is the most emotive. The feelings of those English people who like me oppose seperation are largely ignored if not ridiculed by the more fervent nationalist supporters. We may constitute only 8% of the electorate but having married into Scottish communities and raised families in this magnificent country our influence outweighs our numbers and come a referendum that influence will be seen to play a vital role. The SNP supporters will as ever sneer at that suggestion as they jeer at anything to do with the English but come a referendum they may come to regret it.

  9. Well Nick, you are not necessarily representative, but I do think that the question of the views of English-born people is one that cannot be ignored. I think most will find it hard to vote for Scottish independence, and my reading of the 97 referendum and 2001 census seems to back that up.

    In theory this could irk “native Scots” in a close-fought referendum. In reality, support for independence is relatively weak- lots of people support it- just not very strongly. I doubt they’ll be going around lighting fires and slashing car tyres if a referendum is lost on the back of English “5th columnists”

    Of course, there is none so Unionist as the Scottish unionist!

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