Easter Sunday polling

As far as I can see there were no standard GB polls in the Sunday papers last night, but there were two Scottish voting intention polls. Turning first to YouGov in Scotland on Sunday, topline figures there were, with changes from last week, are:

Holyrood constituency: CON 10%(-1), LAB 32%(-5), LDEM 8%(nc), SNP 45%(+5)
Holyrood regional: CON 12%(nc), LAB 29%(-4), LDEM 7%(nc), SNP 39%(+4), Grn 7%(+1)

When MORI showed a ten point lead for the SNP earlier this week I half expected it to turn out to be a bit of an outlier, but we’ve now got a very similar lead from YouGov. On the Scotland Votes predictor this translates into 40 seats for Labour, 61 for the SNP, 6 for the Lib Dems, 13 for the Conservatives, 8 for the Greens and Margo.

Meanwhile a second Scottish poll, this time for Progressive Scottish Opinion in the Sunday Mail, has topline figures showing a similar SNP lead in the constituency vote, but a tighter race in the regional vote. Topline figures are:

Holyrood constituency: CON 9%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, SNP 46%
Holyrood regional: CON 10%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, SNP 38%, Grn 5%

Using the Scotlandvotes predictor again, this translates into 51 seats for Labour, 56 for the SNP, 9 Lib Dems, 10 Conservatives, 2 Greens and Margo.

Finally, not really a poll, but I know many here will be interested – Rallings and Thrasher have their lastest local election projections based on their local government by-election model. They predict national equivalent shares of the vote in the local elections of CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 17%, which would translate into the Conservatives losing almost 1000 seats, Labour gaining around 1300 and the Lib Dems losing 400. Essentially this would be a case of Labour reversing the Conservative gains in the 2003 and 2007 local elections.


283 Responses to “Easter Sunday polling”

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  1. @ Old Nat

    “Hopefully I’ll get someone in tomorrow to fix my PC!

    I get the picture of that ad. Sounds dreadful.

    Here the potential for the two Eds to make things even worse is the context.

    Grey has decided to start attacking the idea of Independence (any Scot who didn’t know already that that is the ultimate aim of the SNP would have to b incredibly dim!)

    That’s the worst possible time to bring up a couple of guys from the South of England to tell us that it’s a bad idea. Even those in Scotland who don’t want independence, but would like more autonomy (like Mrs Nat) bristle at the idea of “outsiders” telling us what’s best for us.

    As politics, it’s crass.”

    Better be careful not to let Mrs. Nat fill out your absentee ballot for you. :)

    I think the problem here is that the SNP’s rise in the polls is not because of sudden increases in support for Scottish independence. It’s because Gray’s campaign has been disjointed and unrelated to issues affecting voters. I suppose that if Gray can make independence an issue, he ould gain some traction but I don’t think it helps him.

    @ Amber Star

    “You’re getting carried away with your own poetic licence. London is only 500 hundred miles away from Edinburgh, we all speak English & the majority favour social democracy. At least 43% would vote Labour for Westminster & Scottish turnout is always higher for a GE than for Holyrood.”

    You’re probably right on the first sentence (I get that way). However, my point still stands. This election is much more akin to a local election. In a local election, you have a different set of issues before you and issues that you care about. They’re generally going to be smaller, lesser issues (this is why local elections always have lower turnout than general elections) but they’re important nevertheless.

    So yes, the majority in Scotland may speak English, oppose independence, and dependably vote Labour in Westminster elections. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll vote Labour in Holyrood elections. Keep two things in mind:

    1. Local issues are different from national ones. No matter how far you are away from the center of power, the things you care about when it comes to local politics are different. Ask yourself this, if Ed Miliband starts hosting live townhall meetings in the next GE and you attend, are you going to ask him the same questions you’d ask Iain Gray in an event to be Scottish FM?

    2. Scots vote Labour in Westminster elections not because they’re all Labour loyalists but because Labour gives them good reasons to vote for them and works hard for their votes. There are any number of policy choices where Scots who vote Labour say “Labour has it right, I’m voting for them.” When it comes to local elections, Labour has to give reasons to vote for them beyond “I’m Labour.” Because that’s not going to be enough.

    Think about the political ads I posted. Even back during the days of the Silk Socking District (which if you can believe it was a Republican stronghold), Manhattanites voted consistently Democratic for federal and state offices. But that wasn’t just because they were Democratic loyalists, it was because the platform and candidates of the Democrats appealled to them. Thus for Abe Beame (who overwhelmingly lost Manhattan), it wasn’t enough of a reason to vote for him simply because he said “I’m a Democrat.”

  2. @ Amber Star

    “Salmond’s appeal to business leaders was underlined when he confirmed that if re-elected he would press for Scotland to have the same rights being considered for Northern Ireland to set its own corporation tax rates, as low as 15% compared to UK rates of 26%.”

    Question for you. Are Corporations and Limited Liability Companies a favored business entity form for small businesses in Scotland?

    Also, do you guys have capital gains taxes?

  3. @Pete B – “Some of what you’re saying about the bill is cause for concern, but can we put a stop to this nonsense about free health care?

    Also, let’s not forget that GP practices are small private businesses. In most cases their main contract is with the NHS, but that is not the same thing as being employed by the NHS.

    So it is not the case that we are moving from a state-owned system to a private one. It’s more complicated than that.”

    Currently the Sec of state alone decides on what services are chargeable and the rates that can be paid, as well as what treatments must be provided free of charge (exercised through the PCTs). This will be swept away with a total free for all on what treatments are given free and what level of charges apply. [Not too sure about dentistry though].
    The second huge issue is that there are currently limits on the proportion of private income NHS units can accept. This limits private work and ensures capacity for NHS patients. This limit will go. GPs and trusts will be able to decide to no longer accept NHS work and go entirely private. They will have no legal oblligation to treat NHS patients. No patient will have an absolute right to free NHS care if their GPs refuse to register them, and the obligation on the Sec of State to ensure access to treatment is being removed. In this case their local authority becomes the provider of last resort (? – WTF!) and they can charge for this.

    It’s really not very complicated – this bill means the end of the NHS and the institution of a fully privatised health service where the efficiency gains and profits are made by GPs selecting patients, treatments and charging levels.

  4. @ Mick Park 12.31am

    Wise words indeed, from you – and Yeats.

  5. @Socalliberal – limited companies the normal route for small businesses. Yes we do have CGT.

  6. Apparently there is a Metro / Harris poll on AV today, Yes 32% No 31% DK 37%. DK still have it and it could go either way. This one will run right up to the wire I think.

  7. @ Amber Star

    “Salmond’s appeal to business leaders was underlined when he confirmed that if re-elected he would press for Scotland to have the same rights being considered for Northern Ireland to set its own corporation tax rates, as low as 15% compared to UK rates of 26%.”

    I think this is more likely another “The UK is holding us back” stunt than a serious desire. Salmond is not a tax-cutter and even the business rates cut he implemented was only to keep Scotland in line with dropping English rates.

  8. @ ALEC

    “Currently the Sec of state alone decides on what services are chargeable and the rates that can be paid, as well as what treatments must be provided free of charge (exercised through the PCTs). This will be swept away with a total free for all on what treatments are given free and what level of charges apply”

    THe Guardian did a piece on the main Labour concerns -& the above issue was one of them.

    This was the official government response quoted in the Guardian :-

    “….. the clauses cited by Labour cannot overrride section 1 of the NHS Act of 1946, which is now incorporated in section 1 of the NHS Act of 2006. This says that NHS services “must be free of charge except in so far as the making and recovery of charges is expressly provided for by or under any enactment, whenever passed”. This still takes priority, and it means parliament would have to approve any decision to introduce new charges, “.

    In general, I find it difficult to separate genuine concerns based on analysis of the Bill, ideological positioning ( on both sides), and naked vested interest .

    Technological change, ageing population, high internal inflation rate-This is a service which will eat as much money as we are willing to throw at it.

    It must be right to cut out remote admin & get spending decisions closer to clinical analysis of need & priorities-and to utilise private sector providers where cost is saved & quality not compromised. And as has been said , private sector invovement is not new-indeed Labour managed to introduce payment for services never provided :-)

    I don’t believe that the core committmentis under threat & indeed Ed Miliband has said that he accepted that Cameron “has no intention of undermining the principle of providing healthcare free at the point of delivery”.

    I hope the current review achieves credibility, and manages to sort the genuine areas of concern from the purely political & self-interested ones.

  9. @SoCalLiberal @Alex

    By numbers the biggest category of small business is the Sole Trader – essentially someone who is self employed where there is no difference between their personal and business affairs for tax or liability purposes.

    After that comes the Company Limited by Guarantee, essentially a legal entity in it’s own right, taxed as an organisation, but where the liability of the directors is limited.

    At the top of the tree are the Public Limited Companies and LLPs, with far stricter overview etc…

    There are other variants, but these are the main ones. Most of the UK’s economy is in the SOHO and SME arena , with sole traders, CLGs and unlimited liability partnerships making up the bulk of these…

  10. @TheSheep

    You’ve omitted companies limited by shares. I don’t know many limited by guarantee. Mail order or subscription based companies perhaps.

  11. FRANKG
    I don’t understand why you are using these calculations as you basis for the Regional List votes. I did check my figures and have since tweaked them to completely agree with those of the boundary commission’s estimate of the party regional list notional votes.

    Mea culpa. I was using Prof. Denver’s The New Scottish Parliament Constituencies 2011 for a the constituency seats but realise that I hadn’t amended my model for the regions, and there’s more change in MS&F than many. Yours are the correct notional regional list percentages for 2007.

    Normalising them to the latest YouGov we get:

    MS&F   2007   YouGov
    SNP   32.47%   38.74%
    Lab   27.16%   25.64%
    Con   15.63%   12.80%
    L-D   13.51%    7.95%
    Grn    3.77%    6.19%
    Others    7.46%    8.69%

    If your predictions on the plurality seats are correct, that gives the same regional seat allocation as you posted:

    Party   P   R   T
      SNP   7   0   7
      Lab   1   4   5
      Con   0   2   2
      L-D   1   0   1
      Grn   0   1   1

    On oldnat’s plurality seat projection (SNP 5 Lab 3 LD 1) my calculations suggest that the L-Ds miss out on a regional seat, with Lab the final one:

    Party   P   R   T
      SNP   5   2   7
      Lab   3   2   5
      Con   0   2   2
      L-D   1   0   1
      Grn   0   1   1

    As you can see, both scenarios end up with the same party contingents for MS&F, but as Dewar might well have said, that’s the point of the AMS system.

    Another demonstration that the size of the lead on the list vote is potentially more critical than in the plurality seats.

  12. Amber

    Sorry to disappear last night in the middle of a good argument.

    Honest, I just closed my eyes for a minute to compose my next riposte. Ehen I woke up …….. :-)

  13. @BBZZ

    “Another demonstration that the size of the lead on the list vote is potentially more critical than in the plurality seats.”

    Absolutely. Constituency votes only affect the final result if a party manages to get more seats than would be justified on the basis of the list vote. The higher your list vote, the lower the impact of winning consituencies. Conversely, the closer you get to 0% on the list, the greater the impact of winning individual seats.

  14. A few interesting articles on Political Betting.

    One is about AV and whether…rejecting AV will inevitably lead to full PR.

    Anothr article is about the mayoral election in Bedford and whether the outcome here could be a pointer to DC calling a GE this year.

  15. After looking again at Prof. Denver’s ‘notionals’, I’m reminded that although the MSM often publish the 2007 ‘notional’ in tabular form (such as the BBC’s Scotland elections, they haven’t made much of it in their narrative. The Prof’s Table 5 (Actual and ‘Notional’ Outcome of the 2007 Scottish Parliament Election) demonstrates two “facts” that the MSM could have woven into their narrative but have not chosen to.

    First: Lab are not just fighting for a net gain of 2 seats to remove the SNP from the top of the pile, but “plucky” (??) Iain Gray actually needs a net gain of 3 seats to achieve that feat.

    Second: If Scotland votes in the same way it did in 2007, an agreement on a two-question referendum (Calman+ or FFA vs Independence) with the L-Ds would give (just) an SNP + Green + Margo + L-D overall majority for a referendum, if nothing else.

    The 2007 ‘notional’ totals are: SNP 46, Lab 46, Con 17, L-D 16, Grn 2, Margo 1

    Today’s BBC’s Daily Politics was introduced with a mention of the 1 seat plurality but no mention of the boundary changes.

  16. ROBIN
    Constituency votes only affect the final result if a party manages to get more seats than would be justified on the basis of the list vote. The higher your list vote, the lower the impact of winning consituencies. Conversely, the closer you get to 0% on the list, the greater the impact of winning individual seats.

    Spot on. With the difference between the SNP & Lab shares of the votes in 2007 having been only 0.8% on the plurality seats vs 1.9% on the regional ones, that could well have made the difference last time, quite possibly as a result of the “AS for FM” tactic. Whether that will work in 2011 remains to be seen. With most polls so far we’re seeing the obverse of that, which tends to suggest that Lab will be well compensated with regional seats for SNP victories in the plurality ones.

  17. Oh for an edit function!

    The 2007 notional totals were, of course: SNP 46, Lab 44, Con 20, L-D 17, Grn 1, Margo 1

  18. At every election for Holyrood, parties have been experimenting with different ways to gain advantage from the AMS system.

    In the West region, Tories and LDs are campaigning on the list seats mainly.

    LDs are making an explicit “Labour have never won a list seat here -a Labour list vote is a wasted vote” statement

  19. Re AV, from the other thread:

    “It’s not PR as such but it is more proportionate and we all know how well UKIP have done under the PR system in European elections”

    On the contrary, AV has no resemblance to PR in any shape or form, it is not more proportionate than FPTP and, whilst they might get higher losing percentages (which gets them precisely nothing), I really believe that UKIP (and some other parties) will have an even harder job actually winning seats under AV than if they raised their profile and kept plugging away at a few seats under FPTP.

    Furthermore, the argument of the’YES’ camp that AV will make our governments more leftwing (they think thisis progressive apparently) is hardly a principled reason to vote for it, whatever side of the spectrum you come from!

    AV does actually hold a certain fascination for me that I would enjoy at elections but I do genuinely think it will ultimately lead to weaker government with more indecision in key policy areas when needed (and possibly more corrupt government as politicians keep swapping favours to get each others’ backing).

  20. BZ

    You are right that there is more change in MS&F than many regions, and what little net change that is!

    It takes significant movement from one election to the next to create net seat changes in any region more than than single seats, and NS&F in 2007 is an example I have often quoted to show that a movement against Labour resulted in no net change in their seats though they lost three constituencies.

    As you say, that’s the point of AMS.

    This time, as your projections show, the movement against Lab continues with total seats changing from SNP 7/6 Lab 5/5 Con 3/2 LD 2/1 Grn 0/1. That’s net SNP+1 Con-1 LD-1 Grn +1 but Lab n/c.

    That could be achieved by two MP changes in FPTP and there are 17 MSP’s in MS&F and as you say 2/17 may be one of the biggest changes. There will be none at all in Glasgow, and little in the surrounding areas.

    I would guess the change in MS&F might be even less (shy Tories) but change on that scale, if typical of other regions, would take decades to build an overall majority in the unlikely event that it continued.

    Who is going to win this election? Nobody. Who are the losers? It should be the numpties who decided Labour strategy in opposition and in the campaign, but they have fall-guy: Iain Gray, and I doubt if he has much responsibility for the campaign which he has fronted.

    The biggest losers will be, sadly, Prof. Curtice and others who predicted large leads in seats, first for Labour, and then for SNP. Their predictions werre never supportable if you take account of list compensation, and they should have seen that.

    The 2007 SNP lead over Labour was one seat (and an SNP MSP got sworn in (which she had to do to get paid) and immediately went on maternity leave. It might not be as close as that this time and I am sure the SNP will at least double their lead. If they increase it by 5, then Labour have done very badly.

    There were bigger changes last time, but that was because the Greens were squeezed by AS for FM and 2nd vote Green and because the Socialists have given up politics to spend more time with their lawyers.

    Now the Greens are back in the game despite the BBC bias against them.

    I have a gut feeling (and I havn’t got the data or time to prove it) but, in a system in which it is recognised that an overall majority is nearly impossible, it may get progressively more difficult to increase your porportion of the total seats the closer you approach an overall majority.

    If so, as you say, it works the way it is supposed to work.

    Given that Donald Dewar was thinking about it and arguing about the details against all comers for 40 years it’s hardly surprising that AMS does what it was supposed to do.

    Is there evidence from other AMS systems that it is progressively more difficult to increase you seats as you approach an overal majority? Intuitively that would seem quite likely.

  21. I must take up this point…

    “Furthermore, the argument of the’YES’ camp that AV will make our governments more leftwing (they think thisis progressive apparently) is hardly a principled reason to vote for it, whatever side of the spectrum you come from!”

    The majority (about 60%) of the electorate support centre-left parties – Labour, Liberal, SNP, PC, Green. Therefore, if parliament under the Alternative Vote becomes more centre-left to reflect this majority preference, then I can’t see the problem. Isn’t that what democracy is meant to be about – representation of the people?

    The real issue is that the right-wing vote is focused almost exclusively on the Tories, wheras the centre-left majority vote is split, which gives the Conservatives a a significant advantage under FPTP. This is why they are fighting dirty and peddling outright lies about AV: their winning the next election depends on FPTP to give them a majority in parliament on c.35% of the vote.

    Anyone who supports centre-left parties, as most of the population do, really should support AV to neuter the right-wing minority.

  22. JOHN B DICK

    Quite so, and LOL at your “because the Socialists have given up politics to spend more time with their lawyers“.

    Re your “Is there evidence from other AMS systems that it is progressively more difficult to increase you seats as you approach an overal majority?“, we may get better evidence from Wales, where Lab look to be nudging near to an overall majority. How well they do will be extremely interesting to analyse after the event, if not necessarily so much fun for the people of Wales.

  23. @John B Dick
    “Is there evidence from other AMS systems that it is progressively more difficult to increase you seats as you approach an overal majority?”
    __________________________________
    The pattern in Wales seems to bear this out, once you allow for the fact that it’s easier to get a majority because there are proportionately fewer list seats. Labour can’t easily get beyond a narrow majority in Wales because to do so means picking up list seats in regions where the party has never yet secured one due to its dominance of the constituency seats.

  24. PHIL
    The pattern in Wales seems to bear this out, once you allow for the fact that it’s easier to get a majority because there are proportionately fewer list seats.

    A fair point. The 40/20 plurality/list split in Wales clearly makes it easier than the 73/56 split in Scotland. I suspect a party needs of the order of 55-60% of both votes in Scotland compared to somewhere around 50% in Wales.

  25. Re above.
    Incidentally, because of this effect, the fact that you can get odds of 11/8 on Labour securing between 30 and 32 Welsh Assembly seats seems quite good value.

    Start with effectively 27 seats (post Trish Laws in B Gwent) despite only 29% of the list vote in 2007. 30 seems easily in reach through picking up a 3rd seat in Mid/West Wales, plus Clwyd West plus either Cardiff N or otherwise a list seat in South Wales Central. But getting another 3 to get to 33 seems a tall order. It would need a 4th seat in Mid/West Wales (possible provided the LDs lose Montgomeryshire), a huge swing in Cardiff Central and a list seat in South Wales East.

    And conversely only 11/10 on between 27 and 29 seats seems very poor value. I think the bookies are pricing this one wrongly and underestimating the Labour seats.

  26. I agree with Phil

    The most likely path to a labour majority in Wales is probably gaining Cardiff North, Blaenau Gwent, Camarthen, W, Preseli and Clwyd West, it could narrowly happen but three of these seats might be ultra close.

  27. Jamie

    “Anyone who supports centre-left parties, as most of the population do, really should support AV to neuter the right-wing minority.”

    Herein exactly sums up the whingey, unsporting character of a lot (not all) of the ‘YES to AV’ campaign, who are tinkering with the system to produce results they want rather than results that are fair.

    Even if one agrees with your over-simplified analysis that 60% of the electorate is centre-left (wrong anyway, as it includes some centre-right Labour voters and some harder-left voters):
    the point is that this 60% comes from lots of different parties – if their ‘progressive’ agendas are really so similar (rather than merely a hatred of all things Conservative, who they think, rightly or wrongly, will be unable to get a majority under AV) then they should merge or make a formalm, legal pact.

    Otherwise they should stop whingeing and accept that the likely ‘winner’ of an election who will form a government will be the party who gets more votes/seats (rarely are the 2 different) than any other party. This is called ‘First Past The Post’, like all democracies it is not perfect but it is the best on offer.

  28. @ Oldnat
    The council tax freeze is clearly regressive, Council tax is or could be made a brpadly progressive tax. Widen the number of bands and the differentials between them. ( Actually the greens land value tax is the only truly progressive tax on offer). Labour missed a trick on Council tax reform – freezing lowest three bands, band D increase by 2% per annum and Councils free to raise additional funding as necessary via bands E-H – would have been a vote winner and still protect expenditure – good bit of class warfare never hurt labour and they could then portray correctly that the true beneficiaries of the council tax freeze were the wealthy.

    One of the catstrophic consequences of the EU is the ability of nation States to poach businesses by setting ridiculously low rates of corporation tax – this simply adds burdens on to citizens acroos Europe. I think the single market needs a single rate of corporation tax -say 35% – to bolster finances of these countries and ease tax burdens. It is better than the present chase to the bottom where big business takes all of the advantages of a stable western democracy and pays virtually nothing for the privilege – but I digress.

    Lib-dems would look ridiculous and petty leaving the coalition half way through – thought this was a national crisis demanding stable government for goddness sake. Would be spectacularly difficult for them to argue with any credibility. they can vote down the NHS reforms if they are not in the agreement without it being a confidence matter at all.

  29. @Iceman

    I agree wholeheartedly, I did bring this up with BC.

  30. Iceman

    I too am very much in favour of the Land Value Tax. It has the benefit of being a property tax, while it also can be constructed in such a way as to recognise the “ability to pay”.

  31. Oldnat,

    It also has the advantage of being hard to avoid. While I think that consumption is the best thing to tax, I fear that taxes like a land tax are necessary given the human proclivity to avoid taxes.

  32. So that’s agreement for Land Value Tax, across the political spectrum.

    What’s the next intransigent problem for us to solve on UKPR? :-)

  33. How is it hard to avoid?

    If true, maybe it could have unexpected benefits.

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