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. @Barney Crokett – LDs don’t seem to have much influence over present day Royals… reportedly a bit disgruntled that the double-bank holiday beano will divert attention from any last minute AV/Yes momentum.

  2. @Amber Star – “The young people want to see Clegg & Co. vote this bill down.”

    The suggestion from students (in The Guardian’s coverage), that the rusty old police transit van was left unattended on purpose, in the middle of Parliament Sq on Wednesday.

    Though it was trashed somewhat, they had the good sense not to fall into the trap of setting it alight. ;)

  3. Note that what Barney is saying about SNP tactics and what OldNat says about support for independence among labour voters are not mutually exclusive.

    The SNP are daft if they try to win an election on the independence issue. If they focus on the strength of the ministerial team and the CFP (where that counts) then they will maximise the result.


    “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.”

    It won’t happen for a combination of many reasons, but it’s the only way Cons could make a comeback.

    Either your logic or your metaphor doesn’t work for the chameleon reacts to the environment in which it finds itself. If the Conservatives change to what they used to be and claim their own, then the chameleon would change too, maybe to attract the ethical part rather than the class warriors of Old Labour.

    The Socialists are sitting this round out, having given up politics to spend more time (and all their money) with their lawyers, so there is an opening there for the SNP and the Greens, but the big flow within the churn is the LibDem losses. How does it split? Even if it is significant, depending on where it s, it may not make much difference in seats. Retiring incumbent’s seats and places where they depend on the list alone are the most likely to involve change.

    Even so, my guess is that once the Greens take off their share, what’s left may be shared fairly equally between SNP and Lab and not necessarily make a big difference.

    SNP or Lab will be the larger, but maybe not by more than 3. LibDems and Con won’t gain but even though they are in terminal decline you can’t even be certain that the Cons will lose any seats this time.

    Kenny MacAskill will increase his majority even if the SNP lose votes overall.

  4. OldNat:

    I’m a chartered accountant who retired 20 years ago as Treasurer of a health board and am greatly encouraged by the air of finality with which Nicola Sturgeon says:

    “PFI. It’s wrong. We’re not doing it.”

    Notice the novelty of the reasoning there: the reason we’re not doing it is that “it’s wrong”. This must be what Tony Blair would call an “easy decision” compared with the “tough decisions” he enjoyed so much because he could exercise the skills for which he was professionally trained, and in which he excelled.

  5. @ Old Nat

    I can post lots of links to Ian Gray still advocating funding public services through PFI!
    Well PFI is never the best solution, IMO….

    …but if Labour & SNP between them aren’t willing to do anything about increasing income tax; & the SNP have made popular cause of freezing council tax, where is the money to come from, if not PFI?

    And if Alex Salmond thinks it is ‘clever’ to close off all routes to raising tax funds, to bolster the case for economic independence when cuts must be made, well is he not playing people for fools? Scottish citizens, for the most part, aren’t fools.

  6. Scottish citizens, for the most part, aren’t fools.

    And as evidence I post again the leader ratings:
    David Cameron -17
    Nick Clegg -26

  7. John B Dick

    Actually I can understand the use of PFI when Labour still believed that “post modern neo-classical endogenous growth theory” (also known as tax the banker bubble) had ended boom and bust and that every succeeding year would produce more free cash.

    It’s Labour’s continuing determination that using PFI should continue after the bubble burst, that is inexplicable. (Well, I could have a go at explaining it, but it might be considered partisan.)

  8. Amber

    Unless you believe that a majority of citizens of some countries ARE fools, then you statement that most Scots citizens (what a happy thought :-) ) aren’t fools is simply tautology.

    It’s interesting, however, that you think that those people who do approve of Cameron/Clegg are fools. A somewhat sweeping categorisation of those who take a different position from you (and me) on the left/right spectrum.

    Most people in most countries are, however, exposed to only such information that their governments and/or media give them access to.

  9. @ Old Nat

    Stunts such as cycling to work with your briefcase in a car behind you, having your wife wear a bespoke – ‘designer’ – version of a M&S frock… is that not taking people for fools?

  10. @ Anthony

    Before you kick my last couple of posts into the long grass – they were made in a light-hearted way on a quiet thread & not intended to cause offence or a car crash.

  11. @PamF
    “I realise why I and so many left this blog to discuss elsewhere.”

    Where is ‘elsewhere’?

  12. The real one.

    Thanks to Scottish colleagues for explanations. It seems to me to be the ‘yearn that dare not speak its name’. I get a lesser impression of ‘independence yearn’ from the Welsh who seem to work the system very well.

  13. @ PamF

    You have to agree Labour (cynically IMO) wouldn’t give a spending review b4 the election so the opposition couldn’t see the state of the economy. When LD & Cons got together, it was suddenly apparent how bad the national finances really were. Pragmatism became the order of the day. The LD’s made a mistake with university fees but they’ve done the right thing in stepping back. I seem to remember Labour promising not to introduce tuition fees and then reneging on this.

  14. @ Mike N

    Pastures green.

  15. Steve,

    One questions:

    If the finances were worse than the LD and Cons had thought, why has the PSBR in the months following the Election have been less than predicted by the Treasury?

    I think the clear answer is that the Economy was in better shape than was predicted (not perfect, but better).

  16. @ Garry K

    I think you’ll find that the government deficit is pretty much exactly in line with forecasts actually. i.e. catastrophically high. You seem to be in a state of denial about the need to cut public spending. Or do you think borrowing 11% plus of GDP each year indefinitely is perfectly sustainable.

    Don’t try and create some alternative reality to fit your preconceived ideas.

  17. The very fact that the economy IS proving more robust than thought but the deficit position IS as catastrophic as predicted is all the more reason to seek to put the public finances right as soon as possible.

    The danger of derailing a recovering economy, if it is as robust as you maintain, is correspondingly smaller

  18. @ Garry K

    “There’s no money left”, now who said that?

    You mentioned Worth Valley the other night and you thought Labour might either win or get a big swing, I haven’t heard the result. What happened in the end?

  19. @PamF

    “Your truth is not mine. do not patronise me, I could couter your argument with a similar repaone but I amnot that patheitc. I realise why I and so many left this blog to discuss elsewhere.”

    I can understand your frustrations with nakedly partisan posters like The Other Howard and I think you’re right to point out the decline in the diversity and quantity of people now contributing to these pages. In my view we really miss the likes of Eoin Clarke, Sue Marsh, Rob Sheffield, Julian Gilbert and one or two others who appear to have left us (SocialLiberal, Colin etc). If we’re not careful we’re going to be left with people, like the Other Howard, who just trade inane party political insults, reducing what was once a vibrant and intellectually stimulating debating forum into an empty yah-boo echo chamber. That would be a great shame.

    Differing political views, witty rejoinders and obvious party affiliations are all absolutely fine by me, and we can all be biased at times, but silly name calling and one eyed partisanship reduces things to a moronic, tabloid level of debate. Anthony polices these pages very well but if he lets a piece of blatant partisanship slip through, then sadly it tends to be all downhill thereafter. My strong advice is to resist the temptation to reply in kind.

  20. Alistair Darling is writing a book about the banking crash / global financial meltdown.

    It will be a riveting read for us finance geeks & may also throw some light on what really happened.

  21. @ Amber Star

    These sorts of books have always to be taken with a pinch of salt as the defence of personal integrity is usually one of the key elements. “What? Me Gov?”

  22. @ Howard

    I get a lesser impression of ‘independence yearn’ from the Welsh who seem to work the system very well.
    I hope somebody from Wales arrives to give their view but from a Scottish point of view:

    Scotland has its own legal, NHS, education, university, banking system, stock exchange, companies house, boundary commission –
    I could go on & on.

    Wales & England are more integrated/ entwined than Scotland & England, so independence would be a bigger challenge for Wales than Scotland, IMO.

  23. @ Steve

    Alistair Darling is writing it to be a case study & hoping that it will be a reference work for those in finance & banking for years to come.

    I expect that there will be several books written on this subject by different authors, so there should be plenty of other material to cross-reference it against.

  24. Steve,

    It was Conservative hold:

    Bradford MBC, Worth Valley

    Thursday 25 November 2010 12:00

    Con 1020 (47.8; +2.4)
    Lab 697 (32.7; +2.2)
    Green 235 (11.0; +11.0)
    LD Sharon Catherine Purvis 180 (8.4; -9.7)
    [Ind (0.0; -5.9)]
    Majority 323
    Turnout 19.46%
    Con hold
    Percentage change is since May 2010.

    The only bit I got right was the loss of 10% from the LDs!

    This 10% loss on share of the vote has been quite consistent outside the south and south east. It would suggest that Northern and provincial LDs are looking vulnerable.

    It looks like the Green party may have profited from the drop in LD support. Depending on the local situation, both Con and Lab are improving their positions too.

    This ward gave a Conservative Councillor 60% in 2008.

    Lucky I didn’t bet my mortgage on my prediction!

  25. In Nick Hadleys post to Pam F, he bemoans the drop in standards on this board. Hadley then goes on to list four card carrying socialists who no longer participate for a variety of reasons. This board whatever else it is, does not provide a talking shop for left wingers. I am sure such a place exists, but this is not it. It is worth saying that my “mate” Sue left regular blogging for health reasons and the others all fell out with each other despite being on the same side?
    I do not believe Colin has left , just busy or on holiday in the Alps, wherever we stinking rich Tories go.

  26. Even the SNP don’t envisage moving the border south of Bradford, but the flow here is interesting.

    It’s easy to explain the lost votes, but look at where the are going. Two thirds don’t go to the big two and those that do are split fairly evenly. The big flow is to the none-of-the-above new entrant with no chance of winning.

    In Scotland, the Greens offer a viable choice on the list, but in the constituency vote the SNP is the leading choice for ABT now that the LibDems are too close to the Cons and strongly competing with the LibDems for the ABL vote.

    Local considerations will weigh heavily in the cosnstituencies and can only be evaluated with local knowledge, but it would notbe surprising if split voting again increased to the advantage of SNP and Greens.

  27. Hi Roland

    I’m not on holiday-if only!

    Still look in now & then.

    I get a bit fed up of the constant battles though-so less inclined to rerun them over & over.

    All the best.

  28. @COLIN
    Good to know you are not unwell, there is a lot of it about.

  29. @AMBER
    I think you might be wrong about the public reaction to a long term marriage between Tory and Liberal. I have been going on about it for months (you may have noticed.) It rather depends on the economy, dont you think, things go good – popular marriage, things go bad, Liberals die, Tories have to start again. If things are better but not great, thats the interesting one.

  30. The ratio of 2010 GE Con to Lab voters in Thursday night’s YouGov poll – 42/39/10 – turns out to be only 1.152, well down on the past few polls. So it was an exceptionally good poll for the Cons.

    Reasons? Perhaps a bit of it’s down to UKIP’s plonker in the EU “parliament” – as Con GE switchers to UKIP evaporated.

    Prediction for tonight: C 43, L 39, LD 9.

  31. Howard

    “I get a lesser impression of ‘independence yearn’ from the Welsh …”

    There isn’t much here either if you look at the polls.

    The key fact in Scottish politics is that very few vote positively in favour of any party and so long as independence is no more han a distant dream for a handful of romantics, the SNP is perfectly positioned to be used by the ABT’s.

    If there were no SNP, the grand coalition of ABT/ABL voters would have to make do with the Greens or the Socialists, but Barney’s chameleon suits them just fine.

    The SNP don’t mind being used, and their hope is that by providing competent government, a grateful electorate will reward them by supporting their flagship policy.

    Even if the three Westminster parties continue to ignore the consequences for their party in Scotland that decisions based on party advantage in England may have, and the SNP continue to do well in government, it does not necessarily follow that the electorate will vote for independence.

    The SNP do not need to rely on that alone, for the ignorance that UK government parties display regarding Scottish values and sentiment and even the mechanics of devolution is a steady source of insult and offence for Scots.

    The analysis I gave above of how the Conservatives allowed their party in Scotland to decline shows the extent to which the Scottish dimension can be misunderstood and neglected. New Labour seemed at times desparate to compete.

    For neither is the situation yet irretreivable, though the Conservatives, while in government, arn’t likely to deal with the challenges because of competing issues.

    The SNP cannot deliver independence. Free market fundamentalists and English nationalists within the Conservative government, and all that was new about NewLabour will do that.

    As I told Alex Salmond recently, the SNP is missing out on the best reason for independence. With it, you get bundled a functioning modern parliament fit for the 21st Century.

    I don’t think independence is the only way, and maybe not the best way to get that, and if Donald Dewar’s project had come to full fruition the Home Rule parliament would have been used as a model for the reform of Westminster.

    That isn’t going to happen in my lifetime. I’ll vote for independence if I get the chance.

  32. Interesting to see how class based, the LDs and Tories are in Scotland, compared with SNP and Labour.

    In the following table of support from the MORI poll on the list vote – 1 is the most deprived 20% of Scottish areas, and 5 is the 20% least deprived.

    Party, 1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5
    Lab , 48%, 37%, 43%, 26%, 28%
    SNP , 35%, 42%, 33%, 32%, 21%
    Con , 7% , 6%, 10%, 14%, 20%
    L-D , 4% , 9%, 5%, 15%, 14%

  33. @Old Nat
    Very interesting analysis. The inverse relationship between the Lab and LD sources of support doesn’t IMO suggest that they are natural partners.

  34. John,

    I live in Kirklees, which borders Bradford. Worth Valley will be similar to many Kirklees seats.

    In Kirklees, we have 4 Green Councillors. In a typical seat they get from 3% to 5% of the vote. Therefore, the 11% in the by election will probably be the about 4% of Green voters, and the remaining ones (7%) transfers from the LDs.

    Your 2/3 rds theory sounds feasible to me. The other significant minority party in these parts are the BNP, but I can’t see many LDs going there.

    Of course, in GEs, I think support for the minor parties will reduce, but what happens? Hopefully we may get some Parliamentary by-elections and see!

  35. @PHILL
    I agree regarding Old Nats figures. It makes the Tories and LD, such as they are in Scotland, much more likely partners. It would be interesting to see the figures for England on the same class/deprevation basis.

  36. @Old Nat
    Very interesting analysis. The inverse relationship between the Lab and LD sources of support doesn’t IMO suggest that they are natural partners.

    You could look at it this way: Labour are the most popular party in the 1st, 2nd and 5th quintile (if that word is correct??) and the SNP in the 2nd and 4th.

    That would a really powerful group.

    However, I suspect you couldn’t get that much ego in the same room. Just a crazy thought…

  37. Roland,

    I agree regarding Old Nats figures. It makes the Tories and LD, such as they are in Scotland, much more likely partners. It would be interesting to see the figures for England on the same class/deprivation basis..

    Only one problem with that Roland, that would be a Coalition that would amount to 32 out of 129 seats. Surely too small to effective.

    Any Coalition has be SNP or Labour plus others. There are two Greens at present, but I suspect the Liberals might be the preferred partner of choice.

  38. You can look at the LD support in the 4th & 5th quintiles (yes, that’s the right word!) in another way, of course.

    They could be Brits who come from a Labour background, but don’t think they can vote that way any longer because they have now bought their house (I know such people!) but can’t bring themselves to vote Tory. :-)

  39. I suspect the urban/rural split in Scotland may also differ from England. Again from the list figures –

    Party, Urban, Rural
    Lab, 38%, 30%
    SNP, 32%, 31%
    Con, 11%, 13%
    L_D, 9%, 13%
    Green, 4%, 10%

  40. The decline of the Conservative party is part of the general malaise and decay in Scottish politics, which has led to a point where three out of the four parties are all within a narrow centre-left band. It takes a lot of effort to work out the actual policy differences between the Scottish Lib Dems, the SNP and Scottish Labour.

    Meanwhile, far from prospering under PR, both the Scottish right (the Tories) and the Scottish far left (the Greens, the SSP) are at best treading water and at worst in decline. The homogeneity of Scottish politics is set to get worse, not better, over the next ten years.

    If one could sum up Scottish politics today in three words, they would be “conservative social democracy”. The state’s accepted role is to run a cradle-to-grave welfare state and a cradle-to-grave nannying service, which is why the left wing culture of state services is combined with a conservative attitude to issues like euthanasia, drugs, gay rights, culture and so on.

    Though perhaps unconnected, this decline in the variety of Scottish politics has paralleled Scotland’s long, slow, painful economic and moral decline. Of course, political cultures can change very quickly, but it’s hard to find ways in which Scotland’s political culture has developed over the last thirty years.

    Therefore, I would be surprised if the Scottish Tories become anything more than a fringe political party, like the far left. The Lib Dems are also on the road to the margins now, because their Westminister party has deviated from the consensus. So we might end up with a return to the dominance of Scottish Labour, punctuated by occasional periods of SNP government whose main point of difference is the constitutional question.

  41. @GARRY K
    Oh God for-fend that I should consider such a thing in Scotland Garry. I was really thinking out loud about the rest of the mainland, if the class preferences were similar. As far as I can see the Tories up there need a total re-branding as the Christian Democratic Party of Scotland. They could support the Tories in parliament but appear to be a separate Scottish centre right party.
    Tory – Scotland = Buggered.

  42. Amber Star,

    If Swinney had agreed to spending £7 million on administrating a tax power than no-one even dreamed of using back in 2007, he would have be crucified for such waste.

    Damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t. The mess of devolution, which was a mix of a bad compromise and a Bevanite attempt at weakening the Tories over the long-term, has paid off for its creators.

    The only hope for the Nats is to reverse this into a case for more fiscal powers, or as I prefer to regard it, more fiscal responsibility. It’s quite clear to everyone now that the 1998 settlement has been a failure; the only question is who gets to design the new devolved settlement.

  43. Roland Haines,

    It is possible that one route that the politicians in the Tory party could get back into a position of influence in Scotland is by appealing to the social conservativism of the Scottish people and forming a Christian Democratic Party. Combined with a more social democratic, universalist position, it could be quite effective.

    Since state intervention in personal conduct is part of the modern Scottish consensus, there is ample space for a party that emphasises it. The SNP, while socially conservative like the other parties, do not make much of it, and Scottish Labour, while also socially conservative, have to moderate their rhetoric due to the demands of the liberal left.

    God would be more profitable than Mammon in Scotland for a Christian Democratic Party of Scotland.

    To clarify my idea of support for the Tories in Westminster, this need only be for the very big things, such a party could treat Scottish issues entirely on its own account. Who they might find to lead such a party, I have no idea, Who is not tainted with Toryism?

  45. I must say against my own grain, I think that Scottish Independence has taken a very major hit recently. What currency would they use? The Euro, ask the fellow Scots and Celts just over yonder.

  46. Bill Patrick

    “the only question is who gets to design the new devolved settlement.”

    That’s always the question. In the Scottish Centre for Social Research Survey in 2009, a majority of Scots were pretty clear on the big items of a new settlement.

    “which do you think ought to make most of the important decisions for Scotland about… ”

    “levels of welfare benefits” : Holyrood 60% : Westminster 19%

    “level of taxes” : Holyrood 59% : Westminster 33%

    “defence and foreign affairs” : Holyrood 31% : Westminster 61%

  47. I disagree with John B Dick, Labour lost last time because they ran a negative campaign. This will not be repeated. The labour vote is more likely to come out now the con/ld coalition is in power.

  48. @ A Brown

    Sounds like deficit denial again.

  49. A Brown

    “The labour vote is more likely to come out now the con/ld coalition is in power.”

    But the next election is at Holyrood – where Con/LD aren’t in power – nor will they be.

    The “Labour vote” isn’t actually monolithic – lots of ordinary people quite happily switch between Lab & SNP, depending on the election.

  50. @ A BROWN
    The Tories did not win outright at the GE, but Labour away from its heartlands, Scotland, Northern English rust belt, inner London, got mullahed. No getting away from it, they did. That was not just a negative campaign. Steve is right, a little matter of economics will do it everytime.

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