There are two Scottish polls in the Sunday papers, YouGov in the Scotland on Sunday and Progressive Scottish Opinion in the Mail on Sunday. Both show solid leads for the SNP in the constituency vote, and smaller SNP leads in the regional vote. Both also have the Green party in fourth place in the regional vote.

YouGov’s poll has the SNP lead falling, but that may well be just normal sample variation (as always, I’d advise caution in reading too much into movement of a few percentage points in a single poll until it becomes part of a trend). With just four days to go and the polls during the campaign showing a generally robust SNP lead, it would be surprising now if the SNP didn’t top the poll.

The YouGov topline figures with changes from 10 days ago are:

Holyrood constituency: CON 12%(+2), LAB 34%(+2), LDEM 7%(-1), SNP 42%(-3)
Holyrood regional: CON 12%(nc), LAB 33%(+4), LDEM 6%(-1), SNP 35%(-4), Green 7%(nc)

The Progressive poll’s topline figures with changes from a week ago are:

Holyrood constituency: CON 10%(+1), LAB 35%(-1), LDEM 6%(nc), SNP 45%(-1)
Holyrood regional: CON 8%(-2), LAB 36%(-1), LDEM 5%(-4), SNP 41%(+3), Green 6%(+1)


80 Responses to “YouGov and Progressive Scottish polls”

1 2
  1. Lovely stuff. Nice narrowing of the polls

  2. Still stunning figures for the SNP and Green; who’d have thought it two months ago?

  3. Come on Labour!!!

  4. Should make tonights debate very entertaining.

  5. CMON Labour- huh

    Iain Grays own constituency visits yesterday were a disgrace

    Rent a mob- verbal abuse of SNP activists

    Iain Gray should be ashamed

    Labour Win = 4 years of medicority and talking down Scotland – but thats the Labour way

  6. ‘CMON Labour- huh

    Iain Grays own constituency visits yesterday were a disgrace

    Rent a mob- verbal abuse of SNP activists

    Iain Gray should be ashamed

    Labour Win = 4 years of medicority and talking down Scotland – but thats the Labour way’

    Ah yes nationalism is never petty.

    If that’s what you said happened it must be true.

  7. Last time I checked, this site was for non partisan discussions of polls, their weighting, their accuracy and potential and likely outcomes if the polls are correct.

    With that in mind please take your campaigning and mudslinging elsewhere.

  8. Ignoring the previous mudslinging above (there’s enough elsewhere from both sides and both the Rob and Nat posts were partisan so let’s not do it here), I think the two polls are telling slightly mixed tales. For the YouGov figures, I for one don’t believe that the gap on the list vote is so slight. It’s an outlier compared to other recent polls. On the other hand, I have doubts about the list vote of Progressive showing Cons, LibDems and Greens lower than might be expected.

    Apparently there is another poll out in the Scottish Sun tomorrow.

  9. David Campbell

    It’s much quicker to write a short partisan war-cry than a careful analysis of the figures. So the first few comments can be a bit silly. It’s like the first puff of gas when you open a bottle of pop – the site hasn’t degenerated that much.

    Anyway the YouGov figures are now up on their archive:

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/scot20110501.pdf

  10. Labour have got to have a great week if they want to retrieve what has been an abysmal campaign in an election they should have been winning comfortably.

  11. Four years ago yougov had the SNP 9% ahead on the constituency today it is just 7% using unadjusted figures for both polls. On the List they were 4% ahead 4 years ago, today it is just 2% ahead. yougov overestimated the SNP in 2010, 2007, 2005 and 2003. If the average yougov overestimation of the SNP is the same this year then it is equal in the polls. (The SNP got 0.7% constituency and 2% on the list more in actual votes 4 years ago)

  12. The change in seats from last time won’t be as dramatic as projected. (See my post yesterday.)

    We know they don’t do it the right way to take account of list compensation don’t we?

    There will be “Others” at least one. This poll is about Scotland, and there is a UK Con-led Government. If there isn’t a shy Tories correction there should be.

    I cannot imagine circumstances in which a shy Tories adjustment would be more necessary. They have been down to their core vote (which always turns out on the day) for a decade and only lose their supporters to the crematorium. I’d be surprised if they lost more than one seat.

    The gap in seats between the big two is at the upper end of credible as are Con Losses and Green gains though clearly all are pointing in the right direction. I’d take one or two off each of these.

    The narrowing of the gap in projected seats is more likely to be a correction of polling error than any change in opinion. I did not believe the high leads for Labour; or that the scale of the swing to SNP was possible, nor do I believe that the SNP could be as high as 10 points ahead in the constituencies.

    There has been no dramatic development during the campaign which would account for such a large swing. I’ve no doubt that the SNP are ahead, and always have been, but not by much. I’m certain they will at least double their lead over Labour.

    On these projections Tavish Scott would be the only constituency LibDem.

    The fall in the Lib Dem vote confirms that they were the anti-Con alternatve to Labour in the North. Some years ago in my constituency (then with a LibDem MP and MSP with comfortable majorities) the SNP disclosed that they found NO LibDem supporters in their canvassing. All LibDem voters were anti-Con; anti-Lab; anti-Lab+Con or anti-SNP.

    In the North, the SNP’s pitch is that they are a better bet for the anti-Cons and Labour are a “wasted vote” in many constituencies. That could explain the higher disparity between the big two on the constituency vote compared with the list. The Northern constituencies are now SNP strongholds and will build constituency majorities that they don’t need.

    The Labour iceberg in the West central belt is definitely thawing, but no large pieces are going to fall off this time round. Many constituencies will come closer to being marginals. Labour votes here will be more efficient next time and may deliver list compensation if needed.

    A small increase in the SNP seat lead over Labour together with a huge loss in LibDem seats transferring from LibDem to SNP the Northern regions with one party constituency dominance and wasted list votes may direct attention away from the fact that the Labour dominance in the West maybe about to end.

    On over 6% The Greens would have one more MSP than they had in 2003 and one in each region. That would be the most they could ever have hoped for standing on the list only. If 7% is rounded up, and 6% rounded down the polls need not be so far apart and if the Green vote is as well distributed as it was in previous elections, anything over 6% should deliver the maximum number of Green MSP’s.

    Only if the Green boost is the result of large numbers of Labour voters in Glasgow voting Green on the list to avoid a “wasted vote” would they get fewer than one MSP in each region. They would have fewer MSP’s overall if at a national 6-7% they got two MSP’s in Glasgow.

    That is an unlikely outcome. Glasgow and West of Scotland Labour voters are not going to vote tactically in this way for reasons I now understand and will explain in a separate post.

    A novel feature of the Green campaign is that they have brought forward not one but two minimal cost imaginative and new initiatives that would be welcomed by supporters in every party and could be part of a coalition deal. Neither Labour nor Conservatives could enact these unless they were “forced to” by coalition partners. It’s easier for the SNP.

  13. John Ruddy (fpt)

    “Interestingly in this YouGov poll, the Westminster VI question was asked after the Holyrood ones.”

    I hadn’t noticed it at the time, but good to see YouGov varying methodology to check if a factor can influence the result.

    Can you remember how they ordered the questions the previous time?

  14. John B Dick

    “Glasgow and West of Scotland Labour voters are not going to vote tactically in this way for reasons I now understand and will explain in a separate post.”

    I look forward to that.

  15. @OldNat
    I believe that in the previous poll they had the Westminster question first.

    I’m not sure whether this shows that it has an effect, given that theprevious poll had a larger SNP lead.

  16. John B Dick,

    – “On these projections Tavish Scott would be the only constituency LibDem.”

    Victor Chandler have just shortened their odds on a shock IND Gain from Lib Dem in Shetland, yet again. Note: Tavish Scott’s name is not on the Lib Dems’ H&I regional list.

    Bookies best prices – Shetland constituency

    Tavish Scott (LD) 1/2 (Victor Chandler)
    Billy Fox (Ind) 2/1 (William Hill)
    Jean Urquhart (SNP) 14/1 (VC, WH)
    Sandy Cross (Con) 100/1 (VC, WH)
    Jamie Kerr (Lab) 100/1 (PP, VC, WH)

    Orkney is starting to look shaky too, although the SNP are looking more likely to take the seat than IND. But IND is shortening fast.

    And in East Lothian, the Iain Gray price is lengthening.

    It is still unlikely, but it is possible that both the Scottish Labour AND the Scottish Lib Dem leaders could be kicked out of parliament on Thursday. Gray is not on the Labour regional list either.

  17. Could the question ordering, with the Westminster VI question after the Holyrood VI question, not explain the supposed 4% swing from SNP to LAB on the regional list vote? Or at least explain part of it?

    By the way, for the record, Scottish Westminster VI (+/- change from UK GE 2010):

    Lab 42% (n/c)
    SNP 28% (+8)
    Con 17% (n/c)
    LD 7% (-12)
    Grn 2% (+1)
    BNP 1% (+1)
    UKIP 1% (n/c)
    Respect 0 (n/c)
    oth 1%

  18. By the way, there is a new Arbitrage opportunity in the Most Seats market:

    Ladbrokes have LAB at an extremely long 6
    Both Betfair and Smarkets have the SNP at 1.3

    Do your sums right, and you have a guaranteed profit of 6.85 GBP from an investment of 100 GBP. Not bad APR for a 4 day investment! ;)

  19. But Stuart, How can that follow, when for months now Nationalists have been saying that putting the Westiminster question first exaggerated the support for Labour ? How can it now be exaggerting the support for Labour when it comes after the Hoyrood question?

  20. John Ruddy

    Thanks. So mentioning Westminster first might have no effect – or repels people. :-)

    Probably the first.

  21. John Ruddy

    Don’t misrepresent. We’ve been saying that it might have the effect of focussing minds on Westminster.

    We’ve also been saying that Iain Gray might end up as FM. Doesn’t mean that we believe either of those positions. :-)

  22. @OldNat
    Yes, you have said it might focus minds on Westminster. You have also seperately said that people who view this election through Westminster are more likely to put Labour as Holyrood VI.

    I think putting the two things together to say that you claim that putting the Westminster question first increase the Labour Holyrood Vi is a reasonable conclusion.

  23. John Ruddy

    In your first two sentences, you have accurately reported my views.

    How you subsequently move from “might” to “claim” is a peculiar transition, and somewhat lacking in logic.

    You need to learn the difference between a hypothesis and an assertion. (and that’s an assertion, not a hypothesis :-) )

  24. Of course, there isn’t really an upper limit for the Greens at one per region. It’s just that 6/7% is that nail-biting area for the party.

  25. For what it is worth, For You Gov Scotland Votes gives SNP 54, Lab 47, Tories 14, LD 5, Greens 8, Ind 1. For Progressive its SNP 60, Lab 54, Tories 8, LD 5 and Greens 5.

    In my view the latter looks a bit low for the Tories (although I think it is fair they too can expect losses thanks to the Westminster coalition). And 80% for Labour and SNP together looks a bit high despite the LD collapse.

    I think the Nats would be very disappointed now if they don’t end up strongest party by a at least five seats. And the most interesting question for geeks appears to be whether the Greens will get more votes and seats than the Liberals while the most interesting question for Scotland appears to be whether there will be a majority for independence after the election.

  26. @Christian
    Having said that, the message from the tories (indeed one that David cameron was quite blunt about) was that you should vote Tory on the list.

    Could it be that this will actually backfire, and cause them to lose constituencies?

  27. On the independence question, while all polls (including this you gove one) show a majority against independence, I would not be so sure at all.

    I think what the polls show is that the majority is reasonably comfortable with the current settlement. But in the same way that the Scottish parliament polls shifted when voters started to give more thought to that election, I think we could well see polls on independence move – because voters might comfortable with the current settlement but when actually given the options and thinking about them, they might feel even more comfortable with independence.

    And also, do not underestimate the capability of any NO campaign to make big mistakes (especially if it is Scottish Labour-led {and if it is Tory or Lib Dem-led, that would already be the big mistake already …}).

    For example, how would a NO campaign react to all those false / arrogant statement about Scotland that constantly appear in the UK media already? Oppose, ignore, agree – each of these options opens a can of worms / would be very difficult to explain.

  28. I think we might see a bit of a Conservative rally and there are some hints of it in these polls, but nothing definitive. Meanwhile, the polls suggest that the Lib Dems’ popularity has (to paraphrase from the Alan Patridge Show) “started badly and got worse”.

    The Greens have benefited a lot from the opinion polls, since the fact that they are polling well and yet have no basis in the present political position to be included in debates/balance/etc. means that they get a kind of “cool outsider” effect: there have been plenty of stories about how the Greens have been “marginalised” despite their “popularity”. That’s the kind of press that can only be good for a radical alternative party.

    It’s worth noting that these gains from Labour in the Yougov poll are from an appalling performance in the previous poll. I suspect that the truth is somewhere in the middle: Labour are on their way to polling something like 31/32, while the SNP are on their way to polling something like 44/37.

    It looks like a significant proportion of the SNP’s constituency is an “anti-Labour” vote, particular coming from the Greens. The more I think about it, the more I think that a Labour-Green coalition would be toxic (if you’ll excuse the metaphor) for the Greens. Probably not Con-Dem toxic; but perhaps something similar to the effect of the Lib-Lab pact on the Liberals back in the 1970s- it would alienate those on the far left in Scotland who view the Greens as the radical alternative to centrist politics and see Labour as the party of Iraq, ID cards, pollution, neo-liberalism and the privatisation of the NHS.

    In a situation where Labour are the largest party in a hung parliament, the Greens would be much better off going for a very arms-length issue-by-issue support, rather than a formal coalition or even a pact.

    That leaves a Lib-Lab coalition as the only possibility for a coalition in Scotland, which would be amusing and would create some funny moments of confusion for Tavish Scott, but probably isn’t politically practical.

    Anyway, the polls suggest a continuation of the status quo: an SNP minority government, with the Tories (and maybe the Greens) providing conditional support on budgets and supporting occasional policies. A Holyrood with a strong Green presence would make Lib Dem support pretty unnecessary for the SNP, which would strengthen their position because they would have two left-wing parties to support and oppositionism on the part of either would be less effective.

  29. John Ruddy

    Tories in Cunninghame North started their campaign by saying “Vote for our constituency candidate on the list ballot”. While they never stood a chance in this two horse race, it was a remarkably defeatist line to start a campaign with.

    Scotland Votes shows the Tories with Etterick etc, Ayr and Eastwood as their 3 constituencies under both of today’s polling scenarios.

  30. Oldnat,

    The Tories’ campaign is a remarkable experiment. It’s the first time a major party has really tried to game the Scottish system. Whether their strategy succeeds or fails (insofar as these can be defined) it will be an interesting lesson to the other parties, one way or another.

    I suspect it’s largely been inertia that has dissuaded the Tories and Lib Dems from taking advantage of the way that the list undermines the Labour/SNP “it’s us or them” advantage.

  31. @Bill
    The Greens are really old hands at the strategy, though. The “2nd vote Green” slogan is one they’ve used for some time now.

    The problem with the tory strategy is who exactly are they hoping will split their vote? Labour? I doubt they will get many from there. SNP? Again unlikely given the effective SNP list strategy. Lib Dem? Maybe – although any hemmoraging of the already vulnerable Lib Dem list vote is because of association with the tories, so its not going to go there.

    The tories in Scotland need to de-toxify themselves. They really need to portray themselves a a positive centr-right alternative, whcih is something they have been unable to do against the background of the 1980s. If anything, the SNP has taken on some of those arguments (low business taxes etc).

  32. OLDNAT

    You’ll recall that on last week’s TNS show narrow NO lead in AV race thread, just before AW started his thread on last week’s SoS YouGov poll, I suggested regarding Labour Party ID that it would be entirely consistent with the known facts for this week-end’s poll to have struck a “pure” seam of “Holyrood disloyal” whilst last week-end’s happened to strike a similar seam of “Holyrood loyal”. Impure seams may have given rise to some of the anomalies we have seen in plurality vs regional leads.

    Now we have three April YouGovs to compare, with field finishing on the 15th, 21st and 29th, perhaps that theory does explain many of the differences between them. Does anyone have an alternative theory, I wonder.

    All three polls YouGov show SNP leading Labour in both plurality and list seats, but it’s certainly a roller coaster:

        Plurality lead: 15th 3%, 21st 13%, 29th 8%

        List lead: 15th 2%, 21st 10%, 29th 2%

    As neither of us are Labour fans, I suspect we can suggest no valid reasons for the Labour “come back”, but maybe others can.

    At least I now have 3 YouGovs on which to compare my own model with Scotland Votes:

    15th
        SV: SNP 55, Lab 48, Con 14, L-D 6, Grn 5, Ind 1
        BZ: SNP 51, Lab 49, Con 17, L-D 5, Grn 5, Ind 2

    21st
        SV: SNP 61, Lab 40, Con 13, L-D 6, Grn 8, Ind 1
        BZ: SNP 61, Lab 39, Con 17, L-D 3, Grn 7, Ind 2

    29th
        SV: SNP 54, Lab 47, Con 14, L-D 5, Grn 8, Ind 1
        BZ: SNP 51, Lab 49, Con 18, L-D 3, Grn 6, Ind 2

    We’ll have to see how it performs with the actual votes this time next week, but for now it does seem to deal more consistently with the points JOHN B DICK raises regarding list compensation.

    PS: My model does assume that both Margo and Galloway get a list seat. Margo polled 19,000+ last time and probably needs 16,500+ this time to take the last Lothian list seat, probably from Labour. Galloway probably probably needs to poll 11,5000+ to take the last Glasgow list seat, again probably from Labour. As pro independence and unionist “characters” respectively, they would largely cancel each other out in Holyrood – if he attends Holyrood much, that is. I suppose Labour might try nominating Galloway as PO!

  33. @John B Dick

    ‘On these projections Tavish Scott would be the only constituency LibDem.’

    NE Fife?

  34. FRANKG
    NE Fife?

    On this week’s YouGov, my model shows them coming 3rd, just behind the Cons.

  35. Bill Patrick

    Interesting point.

    I think that the LDs are partially trying to do the same thing, but may be so demoralised that their efforts appear to be concentrated on trying to save what they can from the constituencies.

    Arguably, however, the SNP were in first with gaming the system with their “Alex Salmond for FM” on the list.

    Every single Holyrood election has been experimental, as parties try to game the system (and voters game the parties?)

    In 5 years time, it may well be that in 60 or so constituencies, we will see little other than SNP/Lab fights, with the winner having a strong chance of forming the Government.

    Meanwhile, neither Lab nor SNP can then allow the smaller parties to just run on the list. Possible outcomes might be for them to create false flag parties for the list – SNP 2016 and Labour 2016 – or for one or both to form a pre-election alliance with a smaller party, with their wee pal running on the list as a surrogate as well as in their own right.

    Whatever happens, those who don’t game the system are going to suffer badly.

  36. Stuart,

    My parents live in Shetland, the company I work for is based there, and I was up there a couple of weeks ago.

    The Independent, so they tell me, is explicitly running on a ‘No Windfarm’ ticket in opposition to the Viking Energy Project which has been an extremely polizaring issue up there now for several years. My Mother, who is a dyed in the wool Old Labour, of a pro-windfarm disposition (‘They got to put them somewhere, you can’t say we haven’t got lots of wind, oil & gas won’t last forever, and not everybody can work for the Council, c’mon people!’) who wouldn’t normally ever consider voting for anyone unprepared to give Tony Blair a good kicking in the unmentionables from a hard left direction, was pretty much resigned to voting for Tavish this time, just in order to keep the anti-windfarmer out, although it stuck in her craw.

    Since my family live over the hill from the Sullom Voe oil terminal, and the anti-windfarm people have dubbed themselves ‘Sustainable Shetland’ and yet, so I’m informed, didn’t make a peep about the massive very non-sustainable Total gas processing plant currently in the process of starting construction — not that my family are against that either — their opinion of the anti-windfarm side is even lower than you might expect.

    There was also more than a wee bit of head-shaking at one of the other candidates (SNP? Labour? Not sure) who apparently lives in Inverness rather than on the island. Also five years of Council Tax freeze was considered to be a policy of utter lunatic pandering that would lead to ruination.

    My father would probably vote for anyone who firmly promised to build some nuclear power plants, incuding possibly, maybe (to my mother’s horror) the Tories. But the direction of his vote is very unclear, as is customary.

    My mother was No on AV the last time I spoke to her, but I did point out that if she had been voting AV for the constituency vote this time, that would have let her vote for the whoever was most socialist, put Tavish as her last preference and not give a preference for the Sustainable Shetland guy at all. I don’t know whether that swung her to the losing side of the referendum or not :)

    Also don’t mention BBC Alba, especially their showing of Scottish Premier League football. It’s a very sore point.

    So, as far as I can tell Shetland isn’t going to come down to the popularity or unpopularity of the coalition, or the doings of the SNP government, or whether anyone can identify Iain Gray in a line-up, it’s going to come down to a fight over whether attempting — with a risk that the attempt might fail — to become a major centre of wind generated electricity supply would be a boon for the population and economy or spell the death knell of the pristine Shetland wilderness.

    Disclaimer: my opinion of the pristine Shetland wilderness is basically ‘But look at it, it’s been sheeped to death for the last umpty hundreds of years!! Also dirty great flare stack over yonder! *gestures over yonder* *trips over sheep*’; so yeah, I’d probably be holding my nose and voting for Tavish too, if I still lived up there.

  37. Barbazenzero

    Thanks for that.

    STV’s ScotPulse survey in Week 4 suggested that 88% of panel members had decided who they were going to vote for.

    If that is the case, then there is either huge volatility among the remaining 12%, or the shifts in YouGov figures may, indeed, reflect unreliable panel selection.

  38. SKapusniak

    Enjoyed that! :-)

  39. @Barbazenzero

    NE Fife Notional Figures for 2007

    LD 42.26%
    Con 26.74%
    SNP 20.97%

    So SNP are 21.29% behind LD

    YouGov Poll shows LD vote has dropped by 9.2%
    and SNP vote has increased by 9.1%

    Overall +/- difference is therefore 18.3%

    Not enough by 3%. Yes SNP overtake Con into 2nd place but still on the poll figures it is not enough to overtake LDs. IMO of course. But if SNP lead in NE Fife is greater than poll or LD smaller than poll, then yes they could do. But not on these poll figures.

  40. @ Barbazenzero

    Think you may also need to check out Edinburgh Southern.

    2007 Notional

    LD 36.39%
    Lab 24.12%
    Con 22.32%
    SNP 17.17%

    Again on the poll figures the order would be LD, SNP, Lab, Con.

  41. Cons are right to talk up the list potential and it shows that they have worked out the right strategy for the election as well as for minority government.

    The Greens contribution to the next parliament will be as the effective opposition contrasted with the ineffective opposition.

    Christian:

    I must be a geek then. All large parties are broad constituencies but in Scotland they include anti-parties which are like celestial forces we can’t see, but we know they are there. It seems that the anti-Cons within the LibDems have just exited en mass, and in the Northern regions (which is where they are) mostly they break in favour of the SNP,

    Nor should this be surprising. An anti-party has no loiyalty to the host party.

    The Greens have a committed vote of about 6%. So too do the LibDems it would appear. The core Conservative vote is maybe not much more, and we know that the SNP are going to get twice as many votes as there are people who are in favour of independence. There are people in all parties who are pro independence and it is party policy for the Greens and Socialists.

    Maybe core SNP support is not dramatically above the level of Greens and LibDems and the majority are either anti-Cons (Northern regions) or anti-Lab in the central belt.

    The SNP’s sales pitch is less about any particular left / right and authoritarian / libertarian position but rather competence, pragmatism, and bespoke for Scotland policies. Anti-voters could find that appealing considering their contempt for the believers in the parties of Government.

    So what are SLAB’s core values, and do they have committed supporters who account for a bigger tranche of their vote than other parties?

    Isn’t it possible that there are very few NewLabour adherents and most of their vote is anti-Con? If so, it could be very soft after five more years of negativity, and an effective performance from the SNP.

  42. FRANKG
    NE Fife Notional Figures for 2007
    LD 42.26%
    Con 26.74%
    SNP 20.97%
    ….
    YouGov Poll shows LD vote has dropped by 9.2%
    and SNP vote has increased by 9.1%

    My model doesn’t apply swings in that way, but calculates a multiplier for each party to represent the factor by which each party’s vote share has increased or decreased compared to the 2007 national shares. It then normalises each of the 73 plurality seats back so that between them they total the notional 2007 vote for the seat – in this case 28,785.

    For the latest YouGov, the multipliers are:
        SNP = 42% / 33.02% = 1.27183
        Lab = 34% / 32.39% = 1.04965
        Con = 12% / 16.36% = 0.73358
        L-D = 7% / 16.13% = 0.43406

    Taking the notional votes for each, I get:
        L-D = 12,435 x 0.43406 = 5,398 which normalises to 7,246 votes
        Con = 7,869 x 0.73358 = 5,773 which normalises to 7,749 votes
        SNP = 6,169 x 1.27183 = 7,846 which normalises to 10,532 votes

    Try it yourself for Edinburgh Southern, where the 2007 notionals were: L-D 11,731 Lab 7,776 Con 7,194 SNP 5,533. I make it a Lab gain on this YouGov.

    The model works analagously for the list vote, based on the poll numbers vs 2007 notional regional votes, normalising for that region and performing the 7 d’Hondt calculations assuming the plurality results calculated for the region.

  43. John Ruddy,

    <>

    Yes, I limited my award of the innovation to major parties, but then again the Greens may yet become one of the “major parties” in Scotland.

    <>

    I think it’s largely pre-emptive. I don’t think the Tories can stop the melting away of their constituency vote to the SNP in the medium-term, as the SNP become more and more the party of the “sensible” centre in Scotland. However, they can at the very least mitigate the damage by keeping the list votes of those who are right-wing but are willing to be pragmatic in their anti-Labour voting.

    <>

    True. Oddly enough, there are some positive centre-right groups in Scotland (“Scottish Voice” was an interesting experiment and they were centre-right, though they tried their best to seem neither left nor right) and the vote is definitely there.

    However, as you point out, the SNP has effectively managed to split the traditional Unionist vote between moderates (who now vote SNP) and the old Powell/Thorneycroft unionists (who are still voting Tory). One can analyse the reasons, but there can be no doubt that many people who were once natural Tory voters are now very happy with the SNP (and this has nothing to do with that “Tartan Tory” nonsense).

    I think Annabel Goldie has done a lot to de-toxify the Scottish Tories and she’s largely held back by her party’s association with the London Tories. It’s stunning to imagine how low the Tory vote would be here were it not for Annabel Goldie, assuming (as is universally agreed) that she is the main factor behind any popularity they still have left. Her problem, however, is that a lot of people whose attitudes to the Scottish Tories have softened have simply said “Thanks!” and kept voting SNP.

  44. Oldnat,

    Good point on the “Alex Salmond for FM” ploy. I don’t think it’s gaming on quite the same scale as what the Greens and Tories are doing, but it was certainly clever and it (fairly in my view) took advantage of the presidentialist aspects of PR.

  45. Oldnat @ BZ

    I recall in a previous election having made my mind up and changing it three times on the way to the polling station. It’s only 100m and I don’t travel by zimmer yet.

  46. I’m actually looking forward to the debates tonight now, if only to see how each party leader reacts. My bets are-

    Alex Salmond: trying desperately hard to not look like the cat that licked up all the cream.

    Iain Gray: I would be very impressed if he resists the temptation to become even more aggressive and negative.

    Annabel Goldie: I think she’ll take some risks, though I don’t know what they are. The Tories are currently in a position in the polls where they aren’t doing badly and they aren’t doing well, so she can afford to take a risk or two and she probably needs to do so in order to keep her party loyal.

    Tavish Scott: at this point, he might as well keep playing the sympathy card. It will be interesting to see the extent to which he tries to go for some clear orange juice between his party and the Tories.

  47. Bill Patrick

    The reports I have seen after the recording suggest that none of the leaders screwed up.

  48. John B Dick.

    Yes there are elections like that – and more of them in Argyll & Bute than in most other places I suspect.

  49. @ Old Nat

    Apparently the “applause count” at the debate was : 17 for Alex, 7 for the guy with the Gray hair who’s name slips my mind, 5 for Annabel and 5 for Tavish – that’s a pretty comprehensive lead.

  50. Ian MacWhirter http://www.heraldscotland.com/comment/iain-macwhirter/it-s-time-for-labour-to-walk-on-the-wild-side-1.1098888 is now suggesting that Labour “borrows” one of the few SNP policies that they didn’t from day 1. Not sure I would see this as helpful advice…

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