STV has a new poll of Scottish voting intentions in the European elections by Progresssive. Scottish voting intention for the June elections stands at CON 13%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, SNP 30%.

This compares to a YouGov poll which had figures of CON 18% LAB 36% LDEM 11% SNP 29% – so somewhat higher Labour and lower Conservatives. It doesn’t make much difference, both polls would result in Labour returning 3 MEPs in Scotland, the SNP two and the Conservatives one. To change things the Liberal Democrats would need to overtake the Conservatives to take the last seat, or Labour would have to fall below three times the Liberal Democrat share.

74 Responses to “New Scottish poll on the Euro-elections”

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  1. “it would be amazing to see the voluntary sector filling the gaps”

    It would indeed be amazing john-in the sense of revelatory after so much State managed failure in some areas.

    It depends on the areas involved.

    There is no doubt in my mind that certain sectors in the area of social deprivation are brilliantly served by the charitable sector.

    It is most certainly not a question of letting them get on with it & hoping they can raise the funds!

    Where an area of expertise is recognised, the State will inject additional funds & presumably define & monitor outcomes.

    Provided that the right charities are chosen for the job, and the gearing up with Taxpayers’ funds does not upset the ethos & methodology of the operator it can & will be liberating.

    The key will be-give them the money, define the outcomes expected…..and let them get on with it with the absolute minimum of interference by Ministry Jobsworths.

  2. For Ivan the terribly (boring) learn to read and argue logically … You said


    US healthcare worse than that of Cuba?!

    Never fully understood the blind hatred of the USA by those on the left but anyway, replace America with China instead if you wish.’

    I made a specific point; you made it general. Grow up. If I was ill and poor I’d totally prefer to be in Cuba rather than the USA. I could then be well rather than in debt for life. Have you looked at the facts concerning health care in these countries for the poor? I suspect not. I have. I would argue that if you offered the USA health system to the UK public as an alternative then such a party would get zero votes. Ivan, do some reading before you come back with a mindless rant based on no facts… (oh, let me guess you are the mindless ‘Oracle’ under another guise, aren’t you? Sorry if I am wrong, but you must be his twin if not…)

    .I made no general point where I’d like to live (neither). I made no point about China. You did. It’s a total – and wrong presumption. Try and be logical and answer the issues raised. Don’t raise irrelevancies when trying to answer an argument otherwise your argument just shouts illogical.

    This site gets annoying with boring right-wing rants with people who can not read and answer logically issues actually raised.

    Seriously ‘Ivan’ (gosh you must be a communist with a name like that based on your argumentative skills) this place was designed for actual analysis not rants. Go back to reading the Daily Mail…

  3. Wow. So much anger. So personal too. Take a pill Jack It’s only opinion!

    I read the Telegraph by the way. Tells me most in America have health insurance and that Cuba is a crap-hole run by left wing loonies.

    Obviously you know different though I notice you have provided “no facts” as you quite eloquently put it.

  4. John TT – Anthony does want people to identify themselves. I am Tom, I do not need to put any qualifiers in like Cllr or Sir etc etc.

  5. Ivan – “most” people having insurance is, to “most people”, not enough.That’s why the US is contemplating change.
    Tom -thanks for that. I don’t think Cllr Cairns will respond. You may call me Mr tt if you like.

  6. Just for the record,

    I use my full name and title so that everyone who reads a post, knows who I am and what my allegences are and can judge on that, as well as what I have written.

    No one has asked me to do it, I do it because I think people have a right to know.


  7. I was asked the other day for the diference between SNP and BNP.
    My first reaction was immigration policies but I must admit to struggling on the finer points –
    Can anyone set it out for me?

  8. Larry,

    Actually it\s pretty much everything.

    Most importantly the SNP believes in an Independent Scotland for everyone who lives here or wants to come and help build a fairer society.

    People of different races, cultures and religions are positively encourages to come her and help build and grow the country as they bring new energy and ideas.

    The words of the late Bashir Ahmad sum it up;

    “What matters isn’t where we came from, it’s where we are going…. Together”.


  9. Colin said “Does it matter? Turnout in these elections was 30% last time. ie two thirds of Scots think they are pointless.”

    Turnout for alocal election is frequently around 30% as well. So does that mean two thirds of the country think their local authority is pointless as well?

    Typical statement from an Eurosceptic. I’m not a Euro-lover but at least stick to real fact based arguments. Not spinning figures on turnout.

  10. “So does that mean two thirds of the country think their local authority is pointless as well?”

    Quite possibly-have they ever been asked?

    “stick to real fact based arguments.”

    I rather thought I had?

  11. Dave,

    Colin’s remark has nothing to do with Eurosceptism – in particular since Eurosceptics are more likely to actually vote in the Euro elections, since they tend to feel more passionately about the matter.

    Low turnout may mean either:

    (1) that voters consider the body being elected to be pointless; or
    (2) that voters feel it does not matter who is elected to a given body; or
    (3) it may simply mean that they consider voting to be pointless since it is unlikely to affect the outcome of the election.

    In general elections, (3) may be a factor in many areas where one party or another has long had an impregnable majority. This can lead to localised low turnout without affecting the outcome.

    For local councils many people may feel that (2) or (3) applies in their area. However, they may be mistaken on (3) if turnout falls below a certain level.

    For the European Parliament, I suspect that (1) is a more significant factor, but that all three apply. Due to the PR system used, (3) actually becomes more potent since it can require large shifts of votes cast to achieve even a small change in seats won.

    One respect in which turnout does matter for interpreting polls is that, when fewer than half of respondents expressing an opinion to a pollster are likely to actually vote, the reliability of the poll as an indicator of what the outcome of an election might be is sharply diminished. In such cases one has to look at the factors which may influence the decision whether or not to vote – see my opening para !

  12. ” In such cases one has to look at the factors which may influence the decision whether or not to vote”

    Absolutely spot on.

    My Parish Council leafleted it’s Council Tax payers with a questionnaire ( chargeable to them) in which it asked a series of questions about it’s role & effectiveness in the village and the things which people were most concerned about.

    The response was 10%

    The PC did not ask itself why 90% of the village had no intererest whatsoever in it’s questionnaire-it observed that the response was “disapointing” & promptly published survey results on village life based on the views of 10% of it’s residents.

    These people live in a bubble of self justification, outside which exists the real world from which they are remote & insulated.

  13. Colin,

    The temptation to listen only to a vocal minority which reflects one’s own prejudices is widespread among the “elite” which govern us. (Danial Hannan has a good article on this in his Telegraph Blog). They actual prefer low turnouts, and then have the effrontery to claim that all those who did not vote are obviously content with how they are being governed.

    Turnout matters – and really can change results without any individual voter having changed their view.

    In my town, a number of local residents put up a petition for a new Parish Council. Over 18 months they managed to collect signatures from about 10% of the electorate. Fortunately, we were able to organise a counter-petition which collected a third as many signatures in just 3 weeks.

    Under Govt. legislation the District Council had to formally consult on the petitions and take action accordingly. In all the directives from Whitehall (and among the Council staff) there was a clear presumption in favour of adding a new layer of administration to be paid for by the Council Taxpayers.

    The Council (of which I am member) agreed to hold a local postal referndum on the issue. The initial guidance drafted by Council officers implied that not-voting would have no consequences. Had I not intervened many residents may have been fooled into believing that were true, so would not have been motivated to return their ballot paper. But, when it was made clear to residents that, once a Parish Council were established, all Council-Taxpayers would foot the bill (and they would struggle to get rid of it once created), we had not just a solid turnout (well over 50%) but a thumping majority against.

    The electorate are not stupid, just too trusting of those who pretend to serve them.

  14. to larry henson

    “I was asked the other day for the diference between SNP and BNP.
    My first reaction was immigration policies but I must admit to struggling on the finer points –
    Can anyone set it out for me?”

    The SNP believe in an independent Scotland; the BNP believe in an independent Britain.

  15. to Mark M
    “I hope you both realise that you aren’t going to change the others mind. There’s more chance of the Labour party balancing a budget than there is of John saying “Gee, you’re right. Well, looks like I’m putting an X in the box marked Conservative next time”.”

    I think it’d be an interesting experiment to set up two political units side by side: one lefty; one righty, and see who wins…

    Oh, wait a minute, I think they did that already – it was called “The Cold War”.

    So where’s the “Fourth International”? (probably in some teenager’s bedroom, along with the Fourth Reich no doubt!)


  16. The time may come when the Conservatives are down to 13%, but the core support are not all dead yet, and 18% is much more likely to be where they are now.

    Lab-SLD and now SNP are keeping them going with free personal care, and active with free bus and ferry travel, but the grim reaper will get them all in the end.

  17. Quincel

    “Why do the Scots hate the Tories so much? I know Thatcher was hardly their friend, but that was 20 years ago now. Why is it they have failed to rebuild?”

    Tha party was taken over by free market fundamentalists and English nationalists.Scots tories of the past were of the one nation variety.

    The reason for that lies in the more democratic nature of the Reformation, the course of the Enlightenment, the colonial missions of the CoS and the three cholera epidemics in the 19thC.

    For a concise history of Scotland there is none better than Henry Buckle’s Introduction to the history of England Vol 2. It is available in PDF and will not only tell you about the then recent cholera (in the last few pages) but it has an astonishingly fresh perspective on Adam Smith’s works which seems to have been overlooked in the last 150 years.

  18. Even at the Yougov figure of 18%, for the would-be and former party of government to be barely above the level of the re-named East German Communist Party in the first polls after reunification is a measure of how unpopular the Conservatives have become in Scotland.

    That considered, maybe 100 years isn’t such a gross exaggeration after all.

    No act of the Labour government (which taught us to think of good days to bury bad news) has been more inept than the disclosure in the middle of a bye-election – in Glasgow of all places – that a state funeral was planned for Margaret Thatcher.

    News that preparations would involve a stake, cross and garlic might have helped.

  19. John,

    If your three are the three souternmost seats, then I agree that this is the most realistic outcome. My hopeful five include these three plus two more from E Renfrew (Eastwood), Edinburgh S and SW.

    I do not envisage Tories taking any seats from SNP at the next election (unless Salmond manages some catastrophe).

    In Argyll (and Gordon) I share your view that either the SNP will build on their Holyrood success to take these from LDs, or LDs will just hold on. Tories may well remain in second place in both, or may even get pipped into third if the SNP/LD race is close, but still remain within 10% of the winner.

    In these, and several other seats I would see the Tories building a credible second place which would keep them in contention at a future election (including for Holyrood in 2011). In the longer term, I would expect many of the rural seats in Scotland to develop into Tory / SNP marginals as the LDs fade away.

  20. Paul

    Before I would believe a dramatic rise or fall in any party’s support, I would need to be shown some reason why it should be so.

    Wherever there are more sheep than people, the LibDems do well. Perhaps some of the sheep vote in real elections, but the pollsters ignore them.

    I don’t think there is any obvious reason why the LibDems should be doing so badly except that all the focus is on Labour losses and Conservative gains (in England only) and SNP advance.

    Maybe the LibDems are just marginalised and out of the picture for the moment, but when it comes down to a decision on whether or not to continue to support your local LibDem MP or not, national polls may be poor guide.

    It is easy to see why Labour are losing support; that Conservatives are the obvious beneficiaries in England; that the Greens were damaged by “Alex Salmond for First Minister”; that socialists of both sorts are spending more time with their lawyers; that the Scottish Conservatives are at the beginning a long period of convalescence but in a very fragile state at the mercy of events in Westminster which could help them recover or finish them off completely; that very few ex-Labour votes will go to the LibDems and none to the Conservatives.

    Some committed Labour party members from the left whose loyalty has been streched to breaking point may find it difficult to vote for the SNP but most will manage to make the transition even though they oppose independence.

    I just don’t see a convincing reason why the LibDems should suffer a dramatic and sudden decline and I suspect that they wont because of incumbency and regional factors. If they do lose a significant share of the real poll it is a fact that needs some hindsight for an explanation.

    The one credible explanation (which I don’t think is enough by itself) is that the SNP is now seen in at least some constituencies as the “best buy” for the negative voter. They have shown that they can win in the SP and are not necessarily the “wasted vote” they used to be.

    The SNP in LibDem held Argyll disclosed the fact from their canvassing that they found many who voted LibDem were voting against Labour; against Conservative; against Labour and Conservative or against the SNP and they claimed to find none who were voting FOR the LibDem MP who has a majority many MP’s would envy.

    In other constituencies, a fourth placed SNP candidate is of no use to these voters, but a second placed one, (or even as in Argyll where the SNP are in a close third place behind the static or declining Conservatives) will squeeze the LibDem vote, usually without making any difference to seats.

    In a LibDem held seat, negative voters may not be willing to risk the seat falling to the hands of a challenger from Labour or Conservative by shifting to the SNP. Probably this depends on the incumbent more than whether the negative voter is anti-Labour or anti-Conservative.

    I wouldn’t bet on the SNP taking Argyll from third place though I’m sure the Conservative vote is stable and going neither up nor down much in Argyll or most of Scotland for that matter. The Conservative will still be in second place whoever wins.

    Please note that I do not use the term “Tactical voter.” That was a useful description in the thinking of the 1950’s class based monolithic two-party politics when there was some justification for thinking that the two large parties “owned” the vote of a social class and all that mattered was getting supporters out to vote.

    Negative voting has been growing for half a century spreading from the NE of Scotland. FPTP works upside down, like a gyroscope.

    The GROT vote is against Labour just now. The Conservatives and the SNP will win nothing. Labour will lose many seats and some other party has to benefit.

  21. Anthony

    On the Yougov site there is a description of the method by which a poll showing e.g. a 10% swing in the national vote in favour of the Conservative party and a 10% swing against Labour would be reflected in an estimate of the balance of parties at Westminster.

    I don’t think this is good enough in four party Scotland where the possible number of different party rankings is less than the maximum possible only because of the shortage of Conservative held seats.

    Surely there is a better way than postulating that the Conservatives will gain e.g. 10% of the total vote when that may mean doubling their existing vote? In a Glasgow constituency where Labour have a huge majority a 10% loss of the total poll might make little difference to anything.

    A average %age rise or fall in a party’s poll rating if applied to the previous vote or share of the poll in each constituency would be better.

    In Scotland there is four-party churn, negative voting and habitual loyalties are weakened by SP split votes. There are many constituencies where one or even both of the two large parties are not credible as potential winners whatever the national poll headline figures may show.

    The swingometer served well enough in its day, but like a television set or a telephone from the same period, it doesn’t work any more.

  22. John – uniform swing is imperfect, but is sadly the best there is. Proportional swings like you suggest sound good in theory, but actually bear less resemblance to what has happened in previous elections than uniform swing does.

  23. John, (or should that be St Thomas the Apostle ?)

    “Before I would believe a dramatic rise or fall in any party’s support, I would need to be shown some reason why it should be so.”

    Curious stance for a psephologist commenting on this site, where we try to interpret the data from opinion polls in order to understand – if not necessarily predict – what may happen at the next election, rather than what did happen at the last one.

    Here then is my evidence for what is likely to happen at the next election in Scotland in general, and Argyll in particular (barring any local by-elections).

    As I have argued many times on this site, the outcome of any election is not primarily determined by how many individuals change their vote from party A to party B, or C, or vice versa, but by differential turnout – i.e. which party can most motivate its putative supporters to actually vote.

    Only where turnout is regularly above 80% of those eligible, or where one party has an overwhelming lead, is a change of victor dependent on large numbers of people changing the way they vote.

    If, however, turnout falls below 50%, then, unless one party holds the loyalty of an overwhelming majority, differential turn-out can lead to a counter-intuitive result.

    Consider a four party system where the “natural” tendency of the electorate in a given seat is distributed:
    A – 40%; B – 30%; C – 20%; D 10%.
    If turnout is even among all sections, then Party A will always win by a margin of 10%. If however there are circumstances which increase the motivation of Party B supporters – to say 80%, while reducing that of Party A supporters – to say 60%; then you have a dead heat. A little more differential in turnout and the seat changes hands.

    Consider then an election where the overall turnout is only 30%. What if this were distributed as follows:

    Party A – 15% turnout = 6% of electorate
    Party B – 25% turnout = 7.5% of electorate
    Party C – 50% turnout = 10% of electorate
    Party D – 65% turnout = 6.5% of electorate

    The election results would thus show:
    C = 33.33% (elected)
    B = 25%
    D = 21.66%
    A = 20%

    Unbelievable ? No, because this is precisely what has happened in many seats at the Euro elections.

    If you look back at the Euro results for 2004 and 1999 you will see that the Conservatives “won” Argyll – along with many other Scottish seats, including all those then held by LD MPs.

    Can you give any reason why that should not also be the case in June 2009 ?

  24. Corrigendum

    I believe that there were some Scottish seats which were “won” by LDs at the Euros, but don’t have access to my data file at the moment in order to confirm which ones.

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