The Herald has a new TNS BMRB poll of Scottish voting intentions, I think it’s the first since the general election (the Herald certainly claim it is, and I haven’t seen any others).

Holyrood constituency vote stands at CON 13%(nc), LAB 45%(+8), LDEM 11%(-1), SNP 29%(-6)
Holyrood regional vote stands at CON 12%(nc), LAB 41%(+4), LDEM 12%(nc), SNP 28%(-2)

A solid boost for Labour since the election, especially in the constituency vote. If repeated at the Scottish election next year it would leave Labour on about 60 seats, so not a long way short of an overall majority of 65.


273 Responses to “Latest Scottish voting intentions”

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  1. Sorry everyone, me emoticons didn’t work.

  2. Eoin –

    Labour leadership rules are set out here:

    http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons/lib/research/briefings/snpc-03938.pdf

    Each trade union or affiliated organisation conducts its own ballot, but it is one-man-one-vote: all the votes cast by individual trade union members are tallied up to come to a total vote for the affiliated organisations part of the electoral college.

    There are 15 trade unions affiliated to the Labour party –

    http://www2.labour.org.uk/tulo

    In order to vote in the contest trade unionists have to sign a declaration that they support Labour, and are not a member or supporter of another party.

  3. @ Paul H-J

    Not sure I agree – at the 92 election, for example, I think about 85% of the vote went to two parties. It was also the last – but a fairly recent – election at which the Tories came second in Scotland, at least in terms of the number of seats won.

    To say there is a 2 party system is always something of an approximation – at its peak (say the late 50s) there was always a minuscule Liberal Party (with quite some pofile – Orpington, Grimond, and later Thorpe all got quite a bit of coverage), minor nationalist parties; somewhat separate party structures in Scotland and Ulster and (largely forgotten) the remnant National Liberals (I have a feeling one of their members survived long enough to be a member of a Thatcher cabinet – John Nott I think?). But for most voters the choice seems to have been fairly limited – a coalition of lefists or a coaliation of centre-rightists.

    What is interesting is the observation you’ve made – that in about 1/4 of seats there is no Labour challenge; I suspect Labour have the largest coverage – the Tories (sorry to harp on them but I guess there the “team” I feel closest affinity to) probably the the least, but there doesn’t seem to be the sort of evening out you might expect if the “median voter theorem” held. Given that (again from a distance) the LibDems, Labour and SNP seem (in practice – putting aside the SNP’s independence platform which doesn’t seem to be an issue of “bread and butter” politics) seem to have overlapping/very similar political views, but with somewhat different social/organisatoinal constituencies, it is curious to to see the effect of 3 groups bidding for much the same voter groups.

    @ AmberStar

    Yes, it is Anthony’s blog. But it has changed. AW may have changed the comments policy, but I recall it being enforced in the past in a way that, I at least, felt encouraged a less partisan commentary. As a reader, I find (I may be alone – it seems that way from some of the comments above – but then I might not) that some of the comments sections have become plainly boring. If I wanted to read a Tory version of what I’m seeing now, there plenty of venues – Guido Fawkes, Conservative Home etc – but they have a different focus. I was hoping AW might steer UKPR back in the direction of being a bit more interesting.

    Anyway, enough whining … good night from Oz

    :-)

  4. Shep
    First class questions
    Responses?
    There is no shy Tory factor. They are now so few, they are Tory and Proud. The unmissable feature of their vote is it is very old. Otherwise it lacks coherence. In part this is because in specific areas of the country the snp seeem traditionalist and right-wing, in part it is because of how the Lib-dems shape themselves to constituencies.
    For example, in West Aberdeensire the LD MP is Sir Robert Smith Bart the nephew of the previous Tory Alec Buchanan-Smith.
    It is a fabulously wealthy constituency and had an energetic and well-known tory candidate but to no avail
    In my own council, there are 4 tories but they vote and act in very different indeed contrasting ways.
    As to Labour as a national party, PR gives us a four party system in which Labour is the biggest component usually. However the signs are of a gradual shift towards a two party system based on Labour and SNP so suggesting a possible Canadian style. In the forthcoming Scottish parliament elections this is likely to be reflected in Labour going beyond 20% in several rural areas far from the central belt such as Caithness. The shrinking geographically of the Labour Party was partly because voters felt the snp and lib-dems were cousins of Labour and were willing to give support to oust tories. Partly because the sdp split affected rural Scotlad and then a complicating issue was that rural Labour activists many on the left thought that more radical alternatives should be tried. There is a strong feeling of those activists are coming back.
    Something that was very notable in the last election was the great decline in hostility to the Labour Party which did exist.

  5. Or, more aptly:

    l-(

  6. @ Éoin,

    Unions can recommend a candidate to their eligible members but each member is entitled to vote for whichever candidate they like. Here’s the applicable rule:

    Section 3 shall consist of those members of affiliated
    organisations who have indicated their support for the Labour Party and that they are not members or supporters of any other party or otherwise ineligible to be members of the Labour Party.
    Voting shall take place under the procedures of each affiliated organisation, but on a one-person-one-vote basis recorded by affiliated organisations and aggregated for a national total.
    The ballot paper shall provide for the declaration of support and eligibility required under this rule if no prior declaration has been made.

  7. @ Éoin

    I didn’t see Anthony’s post before I posted mine – sorry for any duplication. :-(

  8. Eion
    Lowlander? I don’t think so. I come from Aberdeen in the isolated and famously introverted north-east. However I have lived and worked in upper Speyside, Shetland(Yell), Orkney(Hoy) and the north Highlands(Bettyhill)
    Planning? I agree

  9. @ Shep

    Why do you mention 1992? There were no Scottish Parliament elections in 1992.

    The 1999 elections for the Scottish Parliament are notable in two ways:
    1. Firstly, it was the first time a Scottish Parliament had been elected since 1707, and
    2. It was the first time a proportional system for elections – the Additional Member System – was used in mainland Britain.

  10. sheps
    One late point. One aspect does understate Tory support in Scotland. If anyone does identify as Tory you can be 100% certain they will vote Tory. No stay at homes

  11. Eoin
    PM flag
    The most sensible snp blog, snp tactical voting, has an attack on those who would criticise the flag flying at Downing st, supported by twitters some of which are from extreme snpers
    The Snp clearly don’t want to be associated with anti-England

  12. Labour will comfortably win the Scottish Parliament elections, now the tories and lib dems are in power and the SNP won’t be as popular as last time out.

  13. I’m sure these figures will change before the next election, but if they didn’t it would be very bad news for the Tories – they get the vast majority of their seats from the regional vote and their share on these figures is significantly down on 2007. The Lib-dems list share is actually up a wee bit, so I’mj guessing these figures would leave the Lib-Dems in 3rd in terms of seats.

    Would be interesting to see whether Labour would want another Lib coalition (which could produce the interesting prospect of Tory-Lib at Westminster in conflict with Lab-lIb in Holyrood) or try to go the minority route with issue by isue support from the Greens.

  14. @ EOIN

    You ask “The TUC has 9 million – are all of those automatically affiliated to Labour?”

    Not all are. My union, Prospect, is affiliated to the TUC but is not affiliated to Labour.

  15. Hi all. I haven’t commented before today, having enjoyed followed the site for the last 12 months. Keep up the good work Anthony.

  16. Shep,

    The last time the combined Con + Lab vote in UK was over 80% was actually as long ago as 1979. However, this fading dominance of the two major parties may not have been as evident when one looks solely at seats won in the HoC, where the Con+Lab share of seats remained over 90% until 1997, when LDs saw a big jump from 20 to 46 MPs. Even then, Con+Lab held more than 88% of seats. This fell to 87.7% in 2001, then 85.7% in 2005, but rose back to 87.5% in 2010.

    Yes, even though we now have a coalition government in a Hung parliament, the two main parties hold more of the seats than they did in 2005. This is because of the way that FPTP operates. It favours parties which can concentrate their support geographically, but penalises those that have widespread support throughout the country, but fall short of critical mass in individual seats. In other words, FPTP disadvantages truly national parties. A clear example of this was in 2001 when Conservatives secured more votes in England than Labour, but only won 2/3 as many seats.

    The heyday of the two-party system was 1931-1970 – during which the combined vote across UK never fell below 87% and was over 90% at 5 elections. Yet in all that time, neither party ever achieved more than half of all votes cast. (While the National Coalition did get 60% in 1931 and 53.5% in 1935, that was a combination of Conservative, National Liberal and National Labour, not a single party.) Accordingly, it is better to consider the two-party period as being 1945-1970.

    If however one looks at a breakdown by individual country within the UK, you may be surprised to hear that only England and Scotland could be described as having a two-party system during this period. Wales and Ulster were each quasi one-party states, though their relative size masked this when aggregated at UK level.
    At all elections from 1945-1970, the Labour vote was above 50% in Wales, and often over 60%, while the Con vote never rose above one-third, and was often below 30% (but, other than 1945, not below 25%). Since 1970, while Labour still dominates in Wales, it has only secured over 50% once (1997).
    In Ulster on the other hand the Conservative & Unionist party was consistently well over 50%, even reaching 77% in 1959, while Labour struggled to stay in double figures. From 1972 the Conservative link with Unionists was broken and Ulster has since gone its own divergent way with increasing shares of votes / seats for sectarian / extremist parties.

    In England and Scotland the Conservative and Labour parties were much closer both in terms of votes and seats. This can be seen from the fact that despite the combined score being over 90% in both England and Scotland at almost every election from 1945-1970 (see below for exceptions) Conservatives only managed to scrape 50% in both England and Scotland in 1955 and England only in 1959, while Labour fell short of 50% in Scotland by less than 2500 votes in 1966, and never exceeded 49% in England.

    Since 1974, there has been a clear downward trend in the combined Con+Lab vote in all parts of the UK. While there was a recovery in 1987 ( 73.0% ) and 1992 (76.2%) as compared to 1983 (70.0%), this had more to do with the sharp drop in Lab vote in 1983 – which benefitted the SDP-Lib Alliance – and the downward path was resumed steadily thereafter with Con + Lab declining from 76.2% in 1992 through 73.9% (1997), 72.4% (2001) 67.6% (2005) and just 65.5% this year – below 2/3 for first time since 1918.

    Coming back to Scotland, Labour has dominated in terms of MPs since the mid 1960s, but this is very much a function of FPTP with split opposition rather than a majority of votes. While Lab did see its vote in Scotland rise back above 40% this year compared to 2005 (mainly at expense of LDs and fringe parties) this was still lower than either 2001 or 1997.

    In summary, it is evident that the UK has been moving away from a two-party system since the 1970s. This was fairly obvious in local council elections where “NOC” became a regular outcome from mid 80s onwards.

    With regard to your original comment about “National” parties, it is arguable that, notwithstanding their poor performance in Scotland, Conservatives remain a truly national party. Labour cannot really claim this description. Under Tony Blair, Labour managed to capture a large number of English seats, many of which were lost last month. It is unlikely that those seats will be easily regained. Local elections clearly show the steady decline of Labour in southern England and its retreat to its northern / urban “heartlands”. Moreover, Labour has seen a serious decline in its Welsh dominance. The lab-Con lead in Wales peaked at 35.1% in 1997. Since then it has fallen to just 10% (foreshadowed by Con overtaking Lab in the Euro-elections last year). This is in sharp contrast to the Lab resilience in Scotland where they still enjoy a 25% lead over Cons. Despite having far fewer seats, the LDs now have a better claim to being a “National” party than Labour, since their share of the vote is more consistent across all regions of Great Britain..

    [Con+Lab fell short of 90% in England in 1964 (87.5%) when Liberals had their post-Orpington revival.
    Con+Lab fell short of 90% in Scotland in 1945 (88.2%) due to “others”; then from 1964 (89.3%); 1966 (87.5%); 1970 (82.5%) as Liberals and SNP votes increased.]

  17. Anthony,

    Still in moderation after 3 1/2 hours ???

    Paul

  18. Hi Zeph,

    Welcome :)

  19. Shep,

    The last time the combined Con + Lab vote in UK was over 80% was actually as long ago as 1979. However, this fading dominance of the two major parties may not have been as evident when one looks solely at seats won in the HoC, where the Con+Lab share of seats remained over 90% until 1997, when LDs saw a big jump from 20 to 46 MPs. Even then, Con+Lab held more than 88% of seats. This fell to 87.7% in 2001, then 85.7% in 2005, but rose back to 87.5% in 2010.

    Yes, even though we now have a coalition government in a Hung parliament, the two main parties hold more of the seats than they did in 2005. This is because of the way that FPTP operates. It favours parties which can concentrate their support geographically, but penalises those that have widespread support throughout the country, but fall short of critical mass in individual seats. In other words, FPTP disadvantages truly national parties. A clear example of this was in 2001 when Conservatives secured more votes in England than Labour, but only won 2/3 as many seats.

    The heyday of the two-party system was 1931-1970 – during which the combined vote across UK never fell below 87% and was over 90% at 5 elections. Yet in all that time, neither party ever achieved more than half of all votes cast. (While the National Coalition did get 60% in 1931 and 53.5% in 1935, that was a combination of Conservative, National Liberal and National Labour, not a single party.) Accordingly, it is better to consider the two-party period as being 1945-1970.

    If however one looks at a breakdown by individual country within the UK, you may be surprised to hear that only England and Scotland could be described as having a two-party system during this period. Wales and Ulster were each quasi one-party states, though their relative size masked this when aggregated at UK level.
    At all elections from 1945-1970, the Labour vote was above 50% in Wales, and often over 60%, while the Con vote never rose above one-third, and was often below 30% (but, other than 1945, not below 25%). Since 1970, while Labour still dominates in Wales, it has only secured over 50% once (1997).
    In Ulster on the other hand the Conservative & Unionist party was consistently well over 50%, even reaching 77% in 1959, while Labour struggled to stay in double figures. From 1972 the Conservative link with Unionists was broken and Ulster has since gone its own divergent way with increasing shares of votes / seats for sectarian / extremist parties.

    In England and Scotland the Conservative and Labour parties were much closer both in terms of votes and seats. This can be seen from the fact that despite the combined score being over 90% in both England and Scotland at almost every election from 1945-1970 (see below for exceptions) Conservatives only managed to scrape 50% in both England and Scotland in 1955 and England only in 1959, while Labour fell short of 50% in Scotland by less than 2500 votes in 1966, and never exceeded 49% in England.

    Since 1974, there has been a clear downward trend in the combined Con+Lab vote in all parts of the UK. While there was a recovery in 1987 ( 73.0% ) and 1992 (76.2%) as compared to 1983 (70.0%), this had more to do with the sharp drop in Lab vote in 1983 – which benefitted the SDP-Lib Alliance – and the downward path was resumed steadily thereafter with Con + Lab declining from 76.2% in 1992 through 73.9% (1997), 72.4% (2001) 67.6% (2005) and just 65.5% this year – below 2/3 for first time since 1918.

    Coming back to Scotland, Labour has dominated in terms of MPs since the mid 1960s, but this is very much a function of FPTP with split opposition rather than a majority of votes. While Lab did see its vote in Scotland rise back above 40% this year compared to 2005 (mainly at expense of LDs and fringe parties) this was still lower than either 2001 or 1997.

    In summary, it is evident that the UK has been moving away from a two-party system since the 1970s. This was fairly obvious in local council elections where “NOC” became a regular outcome from mid 80s onwards.

    With regard to your original comment about “National” parties, it is arguable that, notwithstanding their poor performance in Scotland, Conservatives remain a truly national party. Labour cannot really claim this description. Under Tony Blair, Labour managed to capture a large number of English seats, many of which were lost last month. It is unlikely that those seats will be easily regained. Local elections clearly show the steady decline of Labour in southern England and its retreat to its northern / urban “heartlands”. Moreover, Labour has seen a serious decline in its Welsh dominance. The lab-Con lead in Wales peaked at 35.1% in 1997. Since then it has fallen to just 10% (foreshadowed by Con overtaking Lab in the Euro-elections last year). This is in sharp contrast to the Lab resilience in Scotland where they still enjoy a 25% lead over Cons. Despite having far fewer seats, the LDs now have a better claim to being a “National” party than Labour, since their share of the vote is more consistent across all regions of Great Britain..

    [Con+Lab fell short of 90% in England in 1964 (87.5%) when Liberals had their post-Orpington revival.
    Con+Lab fell short of 90% in Scotland in 1945 (88.2%) due to “others”; then from 1964 (89.3%); 1966 (87.5%); 1970 (82.5%) as Liberals and SNP votes increased.]

    Anthony – reposted as yesterday’s post is still in moderation – not sure why. PHJ

  20. @ EOIN

    I am a member of a trade union that is affiliated to the TUC but not the Labour party.

  21. Zeph,

    Cryptic….

    RMT? ;)

  22. @ EOIN

    Sorry, but it looks like a previous post of mine was awaiting moderation. As you can now see, I am in Prospect.

  23. Paul

    Thanks for a detailed and thoughtful comment, and in particular for correcting my over-estimate of the combined 2P vote since 1980.

    While it is (gulp) off thread, it occurs to me that there is probably as much “going on” in the tories gaining such dominance in the South, especially South East, as there is in Labour holding so tightly in Scotland and northern England. While there have been significant social divisions, and the south has generally been considerably more prosperous, I’d rather thought the tendency of the last decade was to even some of them out – lower unemployment and all.

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