Over the last couple of week’s we have three Scottish YouGov polls – two small ones based on data from the daily tracker, and one standard full sized one for Scotland on Sunday. All three showed the SNP faring badly compared to the strong levels of support they were enjoying last year.

Today we have a contrasting view from Ipsos MORI’s quarterly poll of Scottish opinion. Their voting intention figures are:

Westminster: CON 17%(+2), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 12%(nc), SNP 32%(-2)
Holyrood constituency: CON 14%(+2), LAB 29%(-3), LDEM 15%(+3), SNP 36%(nc), Grn 3%(nc)

Clearly we have sharply contrasting figures from the two companies. Three YouGov polls in close proximity showing the same figure pretty much rule their figures being a rogue, so the possibilities are that the MORI poll is a rogue or that the contrast is down to methodological differences between the companies.


48 Responses to “Latest Scottish voting intention from MORI”

  1. The Westminster figures represent these changes from 2005:

    Lab: -5.5%
    SNP: +14.3%
    C: +1.2%
    LD: -10.6%

    That’s a swing, for example, from LD to SNP of 12.5%.

  2. Is there an instant number of seats ready reckoner for this situation (say on a Scottish website)? excuse my ignorance on thsi.

  3. With it being so close to the previous Mori figures, it’s surely unlikely to be a rogue – it’s much more likely to be methodological differences from YouGov.

  4. I would hazard that this is a result of methodological differences between MORI and YouGov. The numbers vary too widely across the board for it to be down to a rogue sample.

  5. Ipsos-MORI would only be a rogue if it was different from previous contrasts between them and YouGov polling in Scotland. However, in November 2009 their polls were coincident as well

    November
    Party, YouGov, Mori
    Lab, 39%, 32%
    SNP, 24%, 34%
    Con, 18%, 15%
    LD, 12% , 12%

    February
    Party, YouGov, Mori
    Lab, 38% (-1), 34% (+2)
    SNP, 21% (-3), 32% (-2)
    Con, 20% (+2), 17% (+2)
    LD, 15% (+3) , 12% (nc)

    “Certainty to vote” will clearly play a part in this, but the difference between the SNP support between these 2 pollsters is continually so large (10-11%) that it must be methodological.

    Do YouGov weight “others” differently in GB, and are they aplying this inappropriately in Scotland?

  6. Howard,

    Google “Scotland Votes” and you’ll find the webster Shandwick site which has a seat calculator.

    I am not sure which of these to believe Yougov or Mori. My gut feeling is that over the last few weeks the labour vote has firmed up as we have seen a “Stop the Tories” mood develop.

    But I am still expecting the tories to pull ahead once the phoney war is over and the campaign proper starts and I suspect teh SNP will start to move up as labour falls back.

    Peter.

  7. Oldnat said, “Do YouGov weight “others” differently in GB, and are they aplying this inappropriately in Scotland?”

    This is certainly a possible explanation for the rather bizarre (sorry but that seems to be the only word for it) results that YouGov keeps coming up with in Scotland.

  8. I DO wish someone would do a poll with a regional component in Scotland since knowing what this might all mean for Holyrood is impossible without that (for me anyway).

  9. JR Tomlin

    TNS/System 3 are the only firm (I think) who do a regional breakdown in Scotland.

  10. Thank you Peter. My own ham fisted Google attempt brought Electoral Calculus that gave me (didn’t see it at bottom of screen)
    CON 3 (+2), LAB 42 (+1), LIB 7 (-4), NAT 7 (+1).

    but only since 24th Feb (Yougov).

  11. This presents us with an interesting situation for the Westminster polls. Just about everything I see on the list is a ‘Yougov’ poll, at least in recent days.

    Perhaps the 2 percent difference between Labour and Conservative is all down to the Yougov method? Perhaps the next Mori will give us something different?

  12. According to Scotland Votes this would move Argyll and Bute from LibDem to SNP, and three Labour seats (Dundee West, Kilmarnock and Ochil) to SNP so you’d see 40/10/10/1.

    Not a huge change but not a comforting one for either Labour (losing much needed seats) or Tories (still gaining none in Scotland). There were apparently some independence questions on this poll which I’m anxious to look at in detail.

    The Holyrood voting intentions are hard to figure out but according the SNP website this would mean a gain of 10 constituency seats which is, of course, a biased analysis but take it for what it’s worth.

  13. Howard

    Electoral Calculus (User defined prediction for Scotland) gives seats on the MORI figures as

    LAB 37 (-4), SNP 11 (+5), LD 8 (-3),CON 3 (+2) .

  14. Ipsos Mori poll April 2005

    Lab 47 Con 18 SNP 15 LD 15

    Totally inaccurate and useless forecast of the 2005 GE . I doubt whether they have changed their methodology to make them any more accurate today .

  15. Now I am becoming expert on this :-) I was astonished to see that Tories lose at least one seat under YouGov than on MORI even though they score 3% more on YouGov – until I twigged it – FPTP. If I were Scots I would be taking up the Claymore or whatever they use up there!

  16. Unfortunately my Firefox browser refuses to load the User Defined Electoral Calculus page properly so that I can use it. (No idea why and not enough of a geek to even consider trying to figure it out lol)

    Thanks for posting that Oldnat. :-)

  17. Howard – if you do the Advanced Swingometer map on the sidebar here (if you use Internet Explorer it needs a plug in) you can do a projection for just Scotland if you want.

    Mark – I think MORI have changed. Certainly they are using phone polling now when their old Scottish voting intention polling didn’t. Their GB polling now also weights by public/private sector, but looking at the Scottish tables I’m not sure if they have extended this to Scotland.

    Oldnat – in GB polling YouGov lump the SNP and PC in with others. However, in Scottish polling they are weighted seperately from others. I hadn’t checked that November contrast – with that in mind it I agree with you that its more likely something methodological.

  18. The differences between the Mori and YG polls are:

    Lab -4 SNP +11 Con -3 LD -3

    it looks a little bit rogueish to me.

    Times headline for this poll however is interestingly:

    “Salmond’s ratings slump as Brown stages revival”…!

    Further snippets

    “The SNP would win ten seats at the General Election, three more than they have at present and better than predicted in other recent polls — but still far short of Mr Salmond’s boast of winning 20 seats. Labour would win 37 seats — four fewer than in 2005. ”

    “But if the evidence from the poll is rather sobering for Mr Salmond, it is positively gloomy for the Scottish Conservatives with still no sign of a “Cameron bounce” north of the Border which would result in a significant increase in the number of Tory MPs from Scotland in the Commons. ”

    “David McLetchie, the Scottish Tory election campaign chief, tried to downplay the poll. “In 11 seats … the Conservatives are well placed to win.”

    It also says something that I was told by my now infamous Scottish (and Scotland based) brother-in-law:

    “However, Mr Brown, who has appeared beleaguered in recent months in the face of a string of negative media stories, appears to have found a groundswell of sympathy and support in his native country. ”

    Seems that he was giving me accurate reports on the picture up there….

  19. Can anyone tell me what questions these pollsters use to get their weighted sample? If they asked who the person voted for previously, they may have answered who they voted for in 2007 instead of 2005. This would mean a higher weighted support for the SNP, and therefore a lower poll result for them.

    I think.

    Can anyone clarify?

  20. As a complete ignoramus about the situation as it relates to Scotland I have a question which some of you may be able to help me with: are the Conservatives counting on Scottish seats to form a majority government at Westminster?

    I imagine not, as I imagine they are aiming for gains in the English midlands and north-west – as well as Wales – but would only 3 seats in Scotland be a major setback for them?

  21. Rob Sheffield

    It’s not really surprising that all the attacks on Brown (many of which refer to his being “Scottish”) didn’t cause an adverse reaction here.

    The latest MORI poll confirms consistency since the November Monitor –

    “Consistent with our data from November, the majority (61%) of people in Scotland believe that a Labour Government in Westminster would be the best outcome for Scotland. Significantly, this view is also held by non-Labour supporters, with 63% of SNP and 65% of Liberal Democrat supporters saying that a Labour Government would be the best outcome.

    However, while people in Scotland believe that the Labour party would be best for Scotland, they are less convinced about Gordon Brown. Just over half (51%) believe that he would make a more capable leader than David Cameron, while 31% believe David Cameron would make a more capable leader. Interestingly, 13% of people who believe a Labour Government would be best for Scotland also believe David Cameron would make the more capable leader. People’s views would suggest that Cameron is more popular in Scotland than his party (31% compared to 25%). Conversely, Brown is less popular than his party (51% compared to 61%). “

  22. If the Mori poll isn’t a rogue, it projects an entirely different universe to that of Yougov. If Labour only get 34% in Scotland, they won’t hit 30% in Britain as a whole.

    That said, I’m suspicious of the theory that Labour are doing better than ever in Scotland and that this is concealing the 30 point leads the Tories have in every marginal ever.

  23. A new ICM/BBC Wales poll this morning. It doesn’t cover voting intention, but I think ‘who do you trust on the economy?’ is a reasonable proxy.

    Lab 47
    Con 24
    Lib 9
    PC 14

    And on devolution

    independence 11
    full law and tax 40
    law but no tax 13
    as is 18
    abolish Assembly 13

    This represents a continuing and significant swing to ‘full law and tax’. (For those of you ignorant of Welsh affairs, the Assembly has recently voted to hold another referendum.)

  24. “the 30 point leads the Tories have in every marginal ever.”

    there has been no eveidence in the data of this assertion whatsoever.

  25. “the 30 point leads the Tories have in every marginal ever.”

    there has been no evidence in the data of this assertion whatsoever.

  26. “are the Conservatives counting on Scottish seats to form a majority government at Westminster?”

    Not if they have any sense……

    Peter.

  27. Rob – I think Edward was deliberately exaggerating . As I understand it, he is a Labour supporter who is trying to ridicule the perception that Labour are piling up useless votes in Scotland while the Tories carry all before them in England, and he was merely using hyperbole to make some of the Tory supporters look silly.

  28. ROB

    All that The Times report shows is the extraordinary bias of the “journalists” in that paper. I would take no other lessons from it than that.

    It seems that the poll was paid for jointly by The Times and the Daily Malice. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall when the results came through showing the NATS performing so well!

    The MORI survey is exceptionally strong for the SNP and no amount of misreporting can conceal it.

  29. @ David in France: ‘are the Conservatives counting on Scottish seats to form a majority government at Westminster?’

    They haven’t counted on anything from Scotland – apart from exiled Scots Tories occupying English seats – since Thatcher destroyed her party in Scotland, practically by bestowing the poll tax on the Scots before the rest of the UK, and spiritually by hectoring the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

    ‘would only 3 seats in Scotland be a major setback for them?’

    Paradoxically, yes. Annabel Goldie has been an able leader, and by last Autumn she and DC became hopeful of winning half-a-dozen seats. Nothing like that now looks possible. The Scots Tories have a severe case of the English LD problem – votes spread too evenly across too many constituencies.

    A far cry from the days of Macmillan/Home (1959-64), when they were the dominant party in Scotland. A DC-led government would be unlikely to make things that good again.

  30. Some interesting data from the Ipsos-MORI on the differences between Scotland and “GB” as to which issues matter most to the voters.

    Issues solely or largely reserved to Westminster

    Issue, Sco, GB, Diff
    Unemployment, 42%, 20%, 22%
    Economy, 34%, 48%, -14%
    Constitution, 13%, 1%, 12%
    Immigration, 7%, 29%, -22%
    Drug abuse, 5%, 4%, 1%

    Issues solely or largely reserved to Holyrood in Scotland

    Issue, Sco, GB, Diff
    Education, 28%, 14%, 14%
    NHS, 22%, 17%, 5%
    Crime, 18%, 25%, -7%
    Environment, 11%, 7%, 4%
    Housing, 8%, 5%, 3%
    Transport, 7%, 2%, 5%

  31. Hmm…. so… as I said, I have very little understanding of Scotland or Scottish politics, so you’ll have to bear with me, but one thing I’ve never really understood is this:-

    It seems the Scots don’t vote Conservative (any more) but are, nevertheless, prepared to run the very real “risk” of having them (the Conservatives) as the party of government. To be run, in effect, by an English party.

    Why does Scotland continue to accept this situation?

    As an independent nation, they would then be governed by one of two Scottish centre-left parties. And not by an English centre-right party.

    Why don’t they move towards independence?

    What is the basic reason for not wanting it? Or is that something of a can of worms?

  32. Matthew – for these polls, it doesn’t matter. Neither MORI nor YouGov weight by past vote. MORI do not use any political weighting, just demographics. YouGov weight using party ID (which party people identify with)

  33. The tables for the YouGov surveys on Scotland are now up.

    Two points to note on the scotsman figures.

    Firstly the SNP trails as the best party on most major issues, but it doesn’t differentiate between what is and isn’t the responsibility of the Scottish Parliament so I don’t think it can be taken as fully indicative.

    I don’t have a problem not getting a high figure on taxation as it will be either the Tories or Labour who have a Chancellor. But I’d have like the NHS question to have “in Scotland” on it.

    The second interesting question was would a tory government make you more likely to vote for Independence.

    The start independence question had Yes; 27% No; 55%

    But 30% said a tory government would make them more likely to vote Yes.
    That includes 4% of Tories , 41% of Labour supporters and 39% of LibDems.

    The second survey for Scotland on Sunday now has the regional figures;

    Westminster;
    Con- 20%, Lab- 38%, LibDem- 15%, SNP- 21%, Others- 6%.

    Holyrood const;
    Con- 16%, Lab- 33%, LibDem 16%, SNP- 28%, Others- 6%.

    Holyrood List;
    Con- 17%, Lab- 31%, LibDem- 14%, SNP- 26%, Other- 12%.

    Put through Scotland votes this would give;

    Con 20 (+3), Lab 50 (+2), LibDem 18 (+2), SNP 36 (-11), SSP 1 (+1), Green 2 (0) Ind 2 (+1).

    I have little doubt that as the focus grows on Westminster over the next few months the Scottish polls will be more and more influenced by the exposure that the UK parties get in the same way that the vote for others rose and remained high for a few months after the Euro vote.

    Peter.

  34. @DAVID IN FRANCE

    A collective lack of confidence I’m afraid :(

    Just about everyone else in the world probably wonders, as you do, why we would put up with a situation like this…

    Having said that I believe support for independence has been growing very steadily for the past 100 years, from basically 0% to around 30%. I’ve hunted the web for historical poll results on this but have found nothing.

  35. Is there any reason why my contribution re ICM/BBC Wales poll is still being moderated after 16hours? I know I’m a new boy, but…. (actually I’m probably older than the rest of you added together and I’ve been in this game since 1970…)

    Hwyl

  36. Anthony,

    You seem to suggest that YouGov polls are not rogue. Why have you placed faith in them with such a small sample?

  37. Not sure how you can assert that it’s 3 YG polls versus 1 from MORI when 2 of the YG polls will have tiny Scottish sample sizes and therefore not be worth the paper they are written on in a Scottish sense. so in fact the only valid comparison is between the 2 large scale polls doen, one by each company.

    Both show falling SNP support but by different margins. I suspect that there are 2 factors in this – one os that MORI’s figures are based on those certain to vote and the other is the representativeness of YG’s Scottish panel which I’m not sure about.

    I notice that you work with and write for YG so is aper of the reason why you seem sure that the MORI poll is the ‘rogue?’

  38. Cut and paste from yesterday, as it got lost half way up the thread –

    A new ICM/BBC Wales poll this morning. It doesn’t cover voting intention, but I think ‘who do you trust on the economy?’ is a reasonable proxy.

    Lab 47
    Con 24
    Lib 9
    PC 14

    And on devolution

    independence 11
    full law and tax 40
    law but no tax 13
    as is 18
    abolish Assembly 13

    This represents a continuing and significant swing to ‘full law and tax’. (For those of you ignorant of Welsh affairs, the Assembly has recently voted to hold another referendum.)

  39. Beans – sample size was about 600-700 or so. That gives a margin of error of about 4% or so, as opposed to 3% for a full size sample of 1000.

    Since all three YouGov polls showed roughly the same picture (within that margin of error) we can be confident that this is not a rogue. If there was no methodological difference between the companies, and the SNP were actually at 34%, then the chances of 3 polls (even if two of them have small samples sizes) showing the SNP down at 20-21% is infintestimally small.

    Hell, the chance of a poll of 650 people showing the SNP at 21% when they are really at 34% is about 1 in 200,000,000,000. The chance of three of them doing it is something like 1 in 8,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.

    That said, it is also extremely unlikely that sample error in the MORI poll can explain the difference alone (the odds of them showing 34% when the real figure is 21% are just as remote). Having crunched the figures, I think we can be as good as certain that it is down to methodological difference between the polls.

  40. The problem is with the YouGov weighting.

    They assume that nearly 3 times as many people in Scotland identify with Labour compared to the SNP.

    Anyone who know the first thing about Scottish Politics knows that that hasn’t been a valid assertion since the early 1960s.

    Remove this weighting from Yougov’s calculations and you get something pretty close to the Mori result.

  41. Oscar,

    I am not sure about that but there is a potential issue that could be a factor.

    Unlike Tory v Labour in the rest of the UK where each parties supporters are all but loathed to vote for the others in Scotland a lot of SNP voters have Labour as their second choice and vica versa.

    We seem very much to be targetiing the same pool of people and that in part explains the anomosity between so many of the parties elected representatives and activists if not the voters.

    Both parties do have a core support that doesn’t like the other but it probably represents less than half of the total that votes for both parties.

    that may well make it difficult for polsters as a lot of people who identify with ‘A’ could as easily vote for ‘B’

    to be honest i’d say that the YouGov figures are probably closer to the truth but as i have said before the gap will close and the tories pull ahead as the election gets closer.

    Anthony,

    any thoughts on the above…

    Peter.

  42. Thanks Anthony.

    But what do they weight against? Say 200 of their sample say they identfy with the SNP – how many would YouGov expect to say this? If it’s less than 200, wouldn’t that mean they down-weight the SNP vote?

    If as is said elsewhere on this site YouGov’s weighting figures are from 2005, then they could be badly out of date.

  43. oldnat
    Do YouGov weight “others” differently in GB, and are they aplying this inappropriately in Scotland?
    They seem to be using Scottish weightings here, so perhaps the difference is on their oddball Newspaper weightings, particularly since the Record seems to be heavy losers to the “Scottish” Sun in the circulation war.

    Anthony Wells
    YouGov … Scottish polling they are weighted seperately from others
    Would you know how long they have been doing this? They have only published the separation in their 24-Feb mini-poll and the 26-Feb full polls, with 14% SNP and 2% “other” Other making up the 16% Other used for all except the very late published 562 mini-poll said by Curtice to have been old but claimed by YouGov to have been sampled between 15 & 17-Feb. The non-standard weightings for None and Don’t Know used in that mini-poll do seem to have been a one-off, though, as the two most recent Scottish YouGov polls are back to the Political ID weightings used in all their Scottish polls up to January.

    Oscar
    Remove this weighting from Yougov’s calculations and you get something pretty close to the Mori result.
    I’m sure that’s the case, but less so that it would make sense to do so, particularly as both pollsters were producing broadly comparable results a year ago. It could have more to do with the sharp decline of the staunchly anti-SNP dead tree press in Scotland making newspaper weightings more questionable than ever.

    Matthew
    But what do they weight against?
    By having a quota for each Political ID. In the full week-end poll, 152 SNP identified were weighted down to 140 to meet the 14% quota and in last week’s Sun mini-poll 136 were weighted down to 93.

  44. Apart from the four main parties, the Greens and various socialists there are three other groups. It is quite possible that the largest of them has the largest number of strongly committed voters.

    I refer to the Anybody But The Tory party who are fast losing support to the Anybody But The Tory/Labour party, and the much smaller Anybody but Labour party.

    In any election the SNP vote is far in excess of those who favour their flagship policy, and that’s because these shadow anti-parties see the SNP (in some places the LibDems) as the best option available.

  45. ‘Brownedov’, leaving aside that your post clearly identifies you as another SNP supporter attempting to undermine polls which showed the SNP on low figures, your critique of the YouGov methodology is flawed, particularly your repeated reference to newspaper weightings.

    I do not have time to go into detail but maybe one of the more regular posters can illuminate you.

  46. Steve

    leaving aside that your post clearly identifies you as another SNP supporter
    Fellow traveller would be more accurate. I’m an old, unmerged Liberal home ruler, still shell-shocked by the L-D’s final apostasy in abandoning federalism and, at least re Calman, embracing Jo Chamberlain’s “Liberal Unionism“.

    your critique of the YouGov methodology is flawed, particularly your repeated reference to newspaper weightings
    Maybe so, but some evidence would be more useful than bald assertion. allmediascotland.com has been reporting the Scottish Sun’s victory over the Record for about a year now, with latest figures as follows:
      Dec, Jan, Paper
      340237, 351869, Scottish Sun
      300892, 309846, Record

    However, YouGov weightings have been static over the same period, with their three recent Scottish polls showing:
      Fieldwork: 24th – 26th February 2010   Sample Size: 1002 Scottish Adults
      112 Sun/Star readers weighted up to 150 vs 132 Mirror/Record weighted up to 200

      Fieldwork: 17th – 24th February 2010   Sample Size: 667 Scottish Adults
      106 Sun/Star readers weighted down to 100 vs 107 Mirror/Record weighted up to 133

      Fieldwork: 15th – 17th February 2010   Sample Size: 562 Scottish Adults
      70 Sun/Star readers weighted up to 84 vs 69 Mirror/Record weighted up to 112

    I can appreciate Political ID weightings remaining fairly constant between general elections but with ABC figures widely available monthly, I would have thought at least an annual renewal of Newspaper Type and a re-appraisal of weightings would be both simple and worthwhile.

  47. So it is your assertion that an inherent bias against the Sun/Star pairing is a significant contributor to any SNP low polling?

    What would be the results if the newspaper weighting was corrected along your lines?

  48. Steve
    So it is your assertion that an inherent bias against the Sun/Star pairing is a significant contributor to any SNP low polling?

    No it is not!

    My assertion is simply that if weighting by newspaper readership is done, the weightings ought to represent the facts, readily verifiable from the ABC monthly data. There is also a long term question mark over the grouping of non-tabloid Scottish newspapers as “other” rather than linking them in some way with the “quality” London press.

    The Sun/Record issue is purely a question of fact. The other is more conjectural. Nether are in any way partisan.