Earlier this week people were complaining about the lack of polling for the Scottish Parliamentary elections for next year compared to the monthly Welsh polls by YouGov for ITV Wales. Well, we do now have some – Ipsos MORI have released a poll of Scottish Parliamentary voting intentions here. Topline figures are:

Westminster: CON 14%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, SNP 29%
Constituency vote: CON 13%, LAB 41%, LDEM 11%, SNP 31%
Regional vote: CON 12%, LAB 36%, LDEM 9%, SNP 32%

136 Responses to “New MORI Scotland poll”

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  1. Sue Marsh has written an article for the Guardian which can be found in both the politics & Comment sections of today’s on-line edition.

    Here is the link.

  2. @Amber

    Great article by Sue.

  3. @Amber,

    You wrote “…Sue Marsh has written an article for the Guardian which can be found in both the politics & Comment sections of today’s on-line edition…Here is the link…h ttp://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/nov/26/pain-long-term-drug-addiction…”

    Ow…as always, uncomfortable reading (pun not intended). Long-term pain-management isn’t one of my specialist subjects: the only factoid I know that could help is that in the 90s(?) the lethal dose for morphine-based analgesics was discovered to be higher for people with great pain than for those without (this bald fact hides the rather awkward truth that a lot of people died painful deaths unnecessarily). However, since Sue is allergic to them, this is unfortunately no help: there’s little I can contribute other than sympathy, for which I apologise.

    Regards, Martyn

  4. Thanks for posting Sue’s article, Amber.

  5. I think this is the highest Labour in Scotland has had for a long time from Ipsos Mori. Whilst the lead is substantial (the Scotland Votes calculator would give Labour its highest number of seats ever), SNP will draw comfort from firstly a score that would see them only a little down on present standing but also from the survey on policy which shows strong support for maintaining the freeze on Council Tax. Conservative polsters will be allowed a wry smile at the idea that Scots are all one-nation leftists content to pay more tax. Far from it.
    That being said, one slight surprise is the fall in Conservative support, sliding tactically to the SNP perhaps. I think this is the lowest ever Ipsos Mori score for the Lib Dems. Do the Lib Dems have it in them to fight for their lives?
    Risking controversy, my opinion is that the figures show few in Scotland take the indendence issue seriously which will be a relief to the SNP spin-doctors. Of course for my part I will be encouraging voters to give the issue appropriate concern.

  6. @ Barney

    I think this is the highest Labour in Scotland has had for a long time from Ipsos Mori. Whilst the lead is substantial (the Scotland Votes calculator would give Labour its highest number of seats ever)
    How close to a majority at Holyrood would Labour be?

  7. @Amber Star

    Labour is 7 seats short

  8. @ A Brown

    Thank you :-)

    We (Labour) have some work to do; although it would be interesting to see whether we’d try to go it alone or form a coalition.

    Setting aside independence, Labour & the SNP have a lot in common but I cannot see us forming a coalition. In a lot of ways, an SNP/ Lab coalition could be good but I think 3 things would get in the way:

    1. I think that such a coalition would have too large a majority; it would pretty much mean there was no viable opposition to hold the governing parties to account;

    2. I’m not sure Alex Salmond could thole being deputy to Iain Grey – but perhaps I’m wrong about that; &

    3. I think some of the SNP support includes ABL voters; they might be really upset about a coalition with Labour.

    I’d appreciate the views of other ‘interested’ parties regarding these points.

  9. Further to my point about Alex Salmond not tholing deputy, this would surely add grist to his mill:

    Despite Labour’s lead, Alex Salmond remains the most popular party leader, with a net satisfaction rating (the percentage satisfied minus the percentage dissatisfied) of +17%, compared to +5% for Iain Gray. Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie has a net satisfaction rating of +1% and Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Tavish Scott has a net satisfaction rating of -4%.


  10. @ Amber

    I also live in Edinburgh and am looking forward to possibly getting involved with fellow Labour Students at ed uni.

    Labour’s prospects in edinburgh certainly look good,
    Edinburgh Southern and Pentlands are looking highly winnable.

  11. I think it’s virtually certain Labour will regain control of Holyrood.
    I guess they’ll form a minority administration and try to get support for a program that way.
    The extra Labour support looks like it’ll come from the LDs rather than the SNP,
    so the LDs will feel sore about propping Labour up,
    not just because of the situation at Westminster.

    So I guess a minority adminstration, like the SNP has run, will be more likely.

    Salmond will have to play on all his personal appeal to turn this one round.

  12. Personally I think Labour should go all out and try and win 60-62 seats to get a majority with the greens, failing that there should presumably be a C&S deal with the LDs.

  13. @ Barney

    …….the survey on policy which shows strong support for maintaining the freeze on Council Tax. Conservative polsters will be allowed a wry smile at the idea that Scots are all one-nation leftists content to pay more tax. Far from it.
    I am certainly giving a wry smile when I see the question MORI asked:
    Please can you tell me whether you support or oppose the following announcements made by the Scottish Government in its Budget on Wednesday?
    Keeping Council Tax at current levels

    Of course people support a freeze when it is postulated in isolation of any of the consequences.

    In the context of:
    cut-backs in services &/or
    to increasing only the higher band charges,

    you’d get a different respose. I am all in favour of a freeze for those on low incomes but the better off amongst us should (IMO would) pay a bit more to ensure money is available for local services.

  14. Not just “a” poll Anthony, but the latest in a quarterly SERIES of Ipsos Mori’s Scottish Public Opinion Monitors. As you well know, a regular series (whether daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, biannual) of polls is far more valuable than the usual ad hoc fare we have come to depend upon in Scotland.

    Ad hoc polling is atrociously subject to the whims of the clients.

  15. Anthony, one of your figures is incorrect: the Lib Dems are on 8% of the regional vote (not 9%), which is down 4 points on the August Ipsos MORI monitor.

    (By the way, I ought to have mentioned that the last regular series of Scottish polls was ICM in the Scotsman and System Three in the Herald. Both series ended years ago. So, great to see Ipsos MORI filling the gap.)

    [Stuart – don’t know where you get 8% from, but on the MORI computer tables it’s definitely 9%, and that’s the ultimate arbiter – AW]

  16. @Amber

    I know this has got nothing to do with these recent Scottish polls, interesting though they indeed are, but I just wanted to reply to an earlier post of yours in a previous thread when you shared some YG polling data on the voting intentions of the 18 to 24 age group.

    It prompted me to do some digging on how this age group had voted in past general elections and I found some data on the Ipsos website that supports my hunch that this demographic group nearly always breaks for Labour, sometimes by very wide margins, even in elections that they have gone on to lose quite heavily (1987 and 1992). Only in 1979 (by a margin of 1%) and in 1983 did the Conservatives enjoy a larger proportion of the vote in this age group. As we know, 1983 was Labour’s worst ever post war electoral performance. In 2010, their second worst, they still scraped a majority of the 18-24 year olds, Nick Clegg factor et al!l. In the Blair landslides of 1997 and 2001 the leading margins were 22% and 14% respectively. I thought I’d share some of the Ipsos data with you, which is based not on voting intentions expressed before an election but on post election exit polling.

    2010: Lab 31 Con 30 LD 30 – bigger lead amongst males (5%). Ipsos only has this gender breakdown for the 2010 election. Females went for the Conservatives by 2%!

    2005; Lab 38 Con 28 LD 26

    2001: Lab 41 Con 27 LD 24

    1997: Lab 49 Con 27 LD 16

    1992: Lab 38 Con 35 LD 19

    1987; Lab 39 Con 37 Lib/Alliance 23

    1983: Lab 33 Con 42 Lib/All 23

    1979: Lab 41 Con 42 Lib 12

    Oct 1974: Lab 42 Con 24 Lib 27

    Of course this pattern could change, and I was maybe a little hyperbolic when I said that young people were genetically indisposed to vote Conservative, but these figures suggest that they have a natural proclivity and tendency to vote Labour and, when you look at how well the Lib Dems do historically in this age group, then I think you can start to see my point about how Labour could exploit disillusionment with the Lib Dems, particularly on issues like tuition fees that adversely effect this very age group. Whether they will , of course, will depend on how Miliband positions his party over the next four years or so, but he would be a fool to ignore the political possibilities. And I don’t think he’s a fool.

    Some of course would disagree with my last comment!!

  17. A Brown
    I follow your predictions on the constituency part of this site with interest. Very balanced. My daughter is in the Labour Society at Edin U. I hope you meet up. On targets, both Labour and SNP will take a careful look at polls in January and decide priorities and both will be cautious IMO. But local marale in labour is strong in most places so there will be some surprise.

    Yes I did notice the wording throughout and was going to comment but thought given earlier storms that it might lead to thoughts of partisanship! But I think the SNP will focus on council tax. On A Salmond, again I was going to comment. To be honest he will be incandescent that he is so little ahead of I Gray. From a Labour point of view I hope the SNP do concentrate on A Salmond.
    It would take too long to discuss Labour and the SNP but I agree that the very numbers now make it difficult but also I think that the indepencence issue means that the SNP have to mine every event for an excuse to fall out with the UK making it hard for anyone to work with them. I have to go out but will respond on possible outcomes.

  18. Amber

    Thanks for the head-up about Sue’s CiF piece. Like her blog it’s not just full of ideas in itself, but good at giving rise to other ideas when you read it: about the NHS; about how we deal with pain – of ourselves and others; about the way scientific priorities are decided; about how moral prejudice can over-ride practical help (there was a lot of that in the comments). And of course, as ever, she was completely without self-pity.

    And thank you for a new word “thole”.

    The Mori poll also continues to illustrate Scotland as a country where they do things differently. Not only do the coalition partners fail to muster a quarter of the votes between them, Conservatives are less certain to vote than supporters of some other Parties.

    What is interesting about the Lib Dem support is that it seems difficult to push it below the same sort of level as Britain as a whole (around 10%) even though they started off 5% lower in Scotland in May than Britain as a whole. How much agony from the Coalition the Lib Dem core can thole before they peel away is an interesting subject for another time.

    One fact that nobody has mentioned yet is that although Labour has gained at the expense of the SNP in the constituency vote (SNP -3%; Labour +4-5%) in the Regional List vote Labour if anything has gone down (-2% on ‘certain to vote’) and the SNP up(+3% also on ‘certain to vote’). As Labour relies on the first for its MSPs and SNP on the second, that might count as honours even.

  19. Stuart Dickson

    Actually I think the 8% in the MORI Scotland summary sheet is a typo. The figure for Lib Dem List for certain to vote is 9%, both in the (numerous) tables:

    ht tp://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Scotland/scotland-public-opinion-monitor-november-2010-tables.pdf
    (eg pdf page 25)

    and in the presentation:

    ht tp://www.ipsos-mori.com/Assets/Docs/Scotland/scotland-public-opinion-monitor-november-2010-slides.pdf
    (pdf page 4)

  20. Anthony, I have just had a look at your article on the latest YouGov/ITV Welsh poll. I note that you provide changes on the latest poll. why therefore do you omit these bracketed changes when you present this Scottish poll?

    For example, here are the changes in Westminster voting intention compared to the August Ipsos MORI monitor:

    Lab 41% (+1)
    SNP 29% (n/c)
    Con 14% (n/c)
    LD 10% (-3)

    … and compared with the UK general election in May:

    Lab 41% (-1)
    SNP 29% (+9)
    Con 14% (-3)
    LD 10% (-9)

    Also note the net satisfaction ratings of the various leaders:

    Alex Salmond (SNP) +17
    Ed Miliband (Lab) +6
    Iain Gray (Lab) +5
    Annabel Goldie (Con) +1
    Tavish Scott (LD) -4
    David Cameron (Con) -17
    Nick Clegg (LD) -26

    Fairly horrific findings for Cameron and Clegg in what ought to be their “honeymoon”. What on earth will their Net Satisfaction ratings look like when the traditional “mid-term dip” starts, eg. May 2011?

  21. One of Ed M’s main targets must be Labour overall majorities in both the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly – looking at these poll figures and taking on board Stuart Dickson’s comments above this should be eminently achievable.

  22. Barney

    That the Con vote should decline, but not by much, is no surprise. It’s normal. This is a long term movement which, unless arrested, will see the party disappear as the few unshakeably loyal older members die off, one by one. This weeks news, next weeks news, has nothing to do with it. Margaret Thatcher exacerbated the trend but she did not initiate it.

    Todays Scotsman blog has many (non-Con) posters offering them the same advice: Bavarianisation (or independence), a handful of distinctive policies and re-branding (not Tory, Conservative or Unionist in the name).

    There is a place in Scottish politcs for the type of centre-right party that once had a majority of the popular vote n the only part of the UK where that has ever happened. Because they were presbyterian and Scottish, they were not recognised as essentially a protestant Christian Democrat. The UK party, taken over by irrelevant English nationalists and crazed free marketeers became increasingly an embarassment and all but thelast 10,000 have drifted away.

    They were easily mistaken as being of the One Nation stream, but their appeal was to much older values in the wider community. “Big Society” would have offended only by its modern PR froth, not its aims and values. Socialists they were not. Though never spoken about, at the root of their values was Matthew 40 which manifested itself in a duty to contribute unostentatiously to the public good, perhaps through service to the party. It was more Moral Sentments than Wealth of Nations.

    The Conservative party vote in Scotland is going nowhere except the crematorium.

  23. Anthony

    One question that both the Scottish and Welsh polls raise is what you ask when you assess voting intentions. MORI at least are still asking it as an “election tomorrow” question as you would in a normal opinion poll and I notice YouGov are asking the AV referendum as a “tomorrow” as well.

    I know that with General Elections, pollsters switch the question to the specific date when the election is declared. But in the case of these elections we already know the date. Has anyone done any work to see if people would answer differently about a definite date in the future rather than a hypothetical tomorrow? I was thinking there might be some evidence, if nowhere else, from the US, where most elections are fixed date.

  24. DavidB
    Not quite, in Scotland at any rate. The syetem makes majorities stupendously difficult and party strategists (any party) play down such hopes. In Wales it may come very close but on these figures in Scotland they will be 5 or 7 short each one exponentially more difficult to get. On a personal note I am a candidate in a seat currently held by SNP but winnable on these terms.
    Honours even? Not quite. On these figures Labour go well ahead but mainly at expense of Lib Dems or to be more precise, SNP will lose some to Labour but win some from Lib Dems. Interesting point about the Lib Dems. Is the remaining support mainly in remote areas? On these figures, they just retain a couple but still lose the Highland ones where C Kennedy and Alexander are based

  25. Amber and John B Dick
    I will get back to you!

  26. A Brown & Amber Star @ Barney

    “How close to a majority at Holyrood would Labour be?”

    No party is ever likely to gain a majority. What you lse on constituencies,you may gain on the list.

    Amber Star @ Barney

    “I think some of the SNP support includes ABL voters;
    they might be really upset about a coalition with Labour.”

    Upsetting the ABL is as risky and numerically as significant as what the UK Libdems are doing to students. Except in the safe LibDem constituencies ABL’s are in the excess of the SNP vote over the pro-independence vote. ABL’s don’t vote Conservsative because Cons arn’t going to win constituencies in Scotland.

  27. The Green vote may be key.

    AS for FM is the only thing that can account for Green losses last time. They should get back at least some of these list seats. It would seem that the SNP gained last time so they should lose at least three, some of which may be offset by gains from LibDems.

    That could leave Labour the largest party, and they would claim that they had won, even though they were not part of the transaction.

  28. John B Dick
    I think you beat me to it! I was going to say that re-branding the Conservatives won’t work in Scotland because of the chameleon nature of the SNP who fit the right of centre category in much of Scotland as long as no one takes the independence threat seriously. I think for Scotland this is very dangerous. The Scottish Conservative’s problems have IMO been made worse by the close collusion with the SNP in the Scottish Pariament done behind closed doors. But who am I to say? It is interesting to compare with Wales where Plaid are clearly left-of-centre and this, one poster has pointed out, leaves opportunities for the Conservatives in rural Wales (see some of the constituency blogs).
    I think John B Dick has helped to answer your question. But yes you are right in other ways. A Salmond couldn’t thole being deputy to Nelson Mandela or Robert the Bruce. I am genuinely mystified at events in the Scottish Parliament this week. I can only think John Swinney’s memoirs will be interesting if we ever see them.

  29. @ A Brown

    We are hoping that Edin N&L remains Labour; early canvassing looks good but there will be no complacency in our ranks. I’m glad that your constituency seems promising too.

    I agree that it would be great to have a Labour majority but that’s a difficult thing to achieve, the way the electoral system works.

    It is certainly ‘interesting times’ for students. It is good to see that more young people are becoming involved in politics. Ian Murray MP & Councillor Cammy Day are our local Labour young ‘uns (to name but two).

  30. At last another Scottish poll, and I’m busy elsewhere! :-(

    I have no reason to doubt a significant Labour lead, but there may well be an effect about polling on two different elections – one of which is over 4 years away – simultaneously. That may be especially true when the poll focusses minds on the UK political situation by asking about that first.

    Possibly more accurate to poll specifically on the Scottish elections (and perhaps AV).

  31. John B Dick
    On these figures, Labour will be well ahead with a couple more than they have ever had, which would have seemed a remarkable performance only recently. The Greens barely move. 3 on this poll

  32. Barney C
    You wrote:
    Risking controversy, my opinion is that the figures show few in Scotland take the indendence issue seriously which will be a relief to the SNP spin-doctors.

    Well you risked my puzzlement and succeeded B. What on earth do you mean by the last clause.?

  33. @ Nick Hadley

    Thanks for your response; & for all the supporting effort you put into it.

    That’s why I find it strange that, in recent polls where the Cons are ahead, their lead has come from the 18-24 years old group. It seems counter-intuitive to me, that support for the Cons would have increased since the GE amongst this age group.

    I’d really like to see a full poll of this age group’s VI. I’m hoping that such a poll may be done, given the amount of media coverage they are generating with their protests etc.

  34. One little landmark that seems to have gone unnoticed is in the small print of the voting intentions in today’s YouGov poll.

    Support for the government among existing Lib Dem voters has fallen below the 50% mark for the first time (46%). Support among those who voted for them in May has of course been long below 50% and now stands at 29%.

    Like most such landmarks it’s probably a false one like the 9% for the Lib Dems in the previous poll; the similar 9% a few weeks before; or the first time since YouGov started the tracker [of the AV referendum] back in June that the NO campaign have been ahead by more than 10 points.

    ht tp://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2861

    Some of us did point out that this looked like a rogue sample { ht tp://ukpollingreport.co.uk/blog/archives/2861?cp=2#comment-684971 } and a fortnight later the lead was back to +7. (Anthony forgive me – it’s not often we get the chance to have a little dig back at you :) )

    So it may mean nothing (sample size is tiny and it looks way out of line with the normal approval figure around the mid to high fifties). However if a majority of existing Lib Dems are alienated from their leadership this could mean real trouble for Clegg in a party where the grassroots have a lot of influence.

  35. Howard
    The spin doctors know that any talk of independence is anathema to the electorate. On the other hand it is what motivates the activists

  36. Howard

    You will, of course, recognise that Barney’s use of terms like “anathema” is a teensy bit partisan – as one would expect from a Labour candidate who advocates a Greater UK! :-)

    In Scotland, many voters are highly supportive of fiscal autonomy, and are happy to vote SNP to further that agenda. Also many Labour supporters would support independence, and more want fiscal autonomy. They don’t see that as the main fault line in politics at the moment, so vote Labour.

    Things are a little more complex than Barney suggests, and views on the constitutional issue don’t fall neatly along party lines.

  37. Ipsos Mori – as well as yougov – always overestimate the SNP and underestimate the Tories. for instance in April Ipsos said the SNP would get 26% at the election – they got 20%. The Scottish Tories will get more than it says in this Poll or any yougov poll.

  38. @ Howard

    To be honest, Howard (& this will make neither you nor Old Nat happy) but independence in Europe has taken a wee bit of a blow from the ROI situation. Following on the heels of Iceland’s problems, there’s not much enthusiasm at the moment for the whole arc of prosperity or the euro/ Europe thing.

  39. This points firmly at a Labour-led adminstration next time. And I doubt the Conservatives will ever get a look in at power, underestimated or not, while they are in government in westminister (and highly unlikely otherwise, too).

  40. Doug Stanhope
    Good man. That is my feeling particularly if people think seriously about the wider context described by Amber. I will certainly be trying to put the isssue in voters’ minds. The General Election was a stinker from the SNP point of view. They will believe that nothing similar can happen this time round. Press comment has it that the slogan “More Nats, Less Cuts” was unilaterally imposed by the Leader against opposition. They also didn’t spend any money but do they have it this time? We don’t know.
    My feeling is that this is not biting as much as it might but it may grow in the run up to the election- and thats without my campaign for Eire to be offered entry talks!

  41. Amber

    I’d be surprised if the idea of independence/EU hadn’t taken a bit of a hit at the moment – especially given the UK media’s rather offensive crowing over Ireland’s situation.

    What was Niemollers theme?

    “They came first for the Communists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me
    and by that time no one was left to speak up.”

    “They” in this case are the raptors in the financial sector and the incompetent politicians who allowed them to bankrupt the people.

  42. @Roger Mexico – “… trouble for Clegg in a party where the grassroots have a lot of influence.”

    Perhaps this is why, while saying that more LDs are becoming “comfortable” with the tuition fees proposal (which is “fairer” than the current arrangement), he is saying that they are looking at their response “as a party”. There are suggestions that he and Vince Cable may have to abstain from supporting the government on this.

    John Major is now adding his voice to the call for making the coalition a “long-term arrangement”.

    If AV (the “first step” towards a more proportional electoral system) does not pass, the disappointment among LDs will become quite intense.

  43. Billy Bob
    I read that when Parliament voted to execute Charles I, Cromwell went round with the warrant and all MPs signed. One hesitated. Cromwell took his hand and dragged it across the paper, leaving a scrawl. Cromwell wasn’t having abstensions and neither will Cameron.
    More widely, it is worth considering what it is the Lib Dem grassroots now have influence over.

  44. @ Billy Bob

    John Major is now adding his voice to the call for making the coalition a “long-term arrangement”.
    Good man, that John Major. He knows Labour could do with the extra 7% – 8% of voters that would likely give us.

    I hope he keeps on working hard to get Labour into power. ;-)

  45. There is an interesting chasm in gender terms. I think men are equally likely to support Labour or SNP but women 50% more likely to support Labour

  46. @ Old Nat

    “They” in this case are the raptors in the financial sector and the incompetent politicians who allowed them to bankrupt the people.
    I wouldn’t mind reading Alex Salmond’s thoughts on this subject – What would be his approach to banks, banking & bankers, were Scotland to become independent?

    Is there a link you can post?

    Thanks 8-)

  47. BTW
    All those who signed Charles’ death warrant were executed years later, even those long dead. I am sure that won’t happen to Vince!

  48. Barney

    Correct for the constituency vote. On the List SNP lead Labour by 5% among men, while the Labour lead over SNP reduces to 4:3 over SNP.

  49. @ Billy Bob

    There are suggestions that he and Vince Cable may have to abstain from supporting the government on this.
    IMO, it has gone past the point where an abstention would do it. The young people want to see Clegg & Co. vote this bill down.

  50. Amber

    I can post lots of links to Ian Gray still advocating funding public services through PFI!

    Was the SNP just as wrong as Labour over the banks. Yes.

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