There has been comparatively little Scottish polling since the referendum (partly I expect because newspapers had spent their budgets on pre-referendum polling). I’ve seen some people spending rather too much time collating and looking at Scottish crossbreaks in GB polls. Personally I wouldn’t recommend putting too much weight on crossbreaks – aggregating them up gets round the sample size issue, but GB polls are still weighted at the GB level. If you think back to how het up people got about whether Scottish polls were weighted by Holyrood or Westminster voting intention, factored in place of birth, things like that – the Scottish sub-sample in a GB poll have no such controls, it’s just how the Scottish respondents in a poll weighted to GB targets happen to fall out.

Nevertheless, they are a straw in the wind, and they’d been suggesting a strong showing for the SNP since the referendum. Today we have a proper, bespoke Scottish poll by Ipsos MORI and if anything it shows the SNP doing even better than the crossbreaks suggested. Topline voting intentions in Westminster with changes since the general election are CON 10%(-7), LAB 23%(-19), LDEM 6%(-13), SNP 52%(+32), GRN 6%(+5). Full results are here

This would, to say the least, be rather a radical turnaround from the last general election. I don’t think swingometers offer much guidance in the case of really extreme results (a uniform swing would be mathematically impossible on this results – for example, there are about 9 seats in Scotland where Labour got less than 19% in 2010, so couldn’t lose 19% this time round. The same applies in many seats for the Liberal Democrats) but for the record on a uniform swing these figures would result in the SNP winning all but two seats in Scotland.

208 Responses to “MORI Scottish poll shows 29 point lead for the SNP”

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  1. Och aye.

  2. the record on a uniform swing these figures would result in the SNP winning all but two seats in Scotland.

    What baloney!

  3. Referendum in 2020 anyone???

  4. Peter Crawford

    Well UNS has been baloney for quite some time, don’t you think?

    If you are saying that 52% will not vote SNP in May, you may well be right. Polls don’t predict the future.

    However, under FPTP, if 52% of voters supported 1 party, and those of their opponents that currently had Scottish MPs, were split 3 ways then those opposition parties would need a remarkable concentration of their vote in specific constituencies to have hopes of gaining any MPs – hence why the LDs would hang on to O&S under almost all circumstances.

  5. Maninthemiddle

    “Referendum in 2020 anyone???”

    On this basis, an earlier one on Devo Max would seem to be more likely.

  6. I don’t get why Labour are so obsessed with their Scottish MPs and scared of EV4EL/English parliament when Scotland is pretty much a one-state party and is an independent country in all but name.

    If anything Labour can improve their electoral base in England if they outmanoeuvre the Tories and offer full devolution to England .

  7. Well I would be surprised if the SNP gets 52% in May. But in the mid-40%, with Labour under 30%, why not?

    On the issue of split votes, I would also expect the Green vote to be concentrated in Glasgow and Edinburgh. Especially in Glasgow, where both LDs and Tories are weak, any split is probably more in the yes camp than the no camp, and this may help Labour to defend som seats

  8. ” Today we have a proper, bespoke Scottish poll by Ipsos MORI and if anything it shows the SNP doing even better than the crossbreaks suggested. Topline voting intentions in Westminster with changes since the general election are CON 10%(-7), LAB 23%(-19), LDEM 6%(-13), SNP 52%(+32), GRN 6%(+5)”

    Probably the best cut & paste I’ve ever presented. ;-)

    STV are saying on this poll Labour would be down to just 4 seats and the Lib/Dems 1.

    Jim Murphy would also lose his seat so I’m thinking he is looking at the 2016 Scottish election for employment, even if it means getting in on the list.

  9. The SNP are not going to get 54 Westminster seats in Scotland next year.

  10. What I do wonder about is also why would what remains of staunchly unionist Tory vote collapse even further in Scotland? Who have they defected to after that referendum?

  11. Am I right in thinking that MORI are one of the few pollsters who weight just on demographics, and use no prior political weightings?

  12. MacTavish

    “Who have they defected to after that referendum?”

    MORI poll gives no clue to that (one of the reasons I asked the question above – I was wondering the same thing).

    Labour would be one possibility – indicating an even greater flight from Lab to SNP.

  13. Peter, no one is saying they will…just one opinion poll. But even with ‘just’ say 35 seats it makes labour’s path to victory very much harder. But if I was a Scottish voter wanting devo max a way to secure a great settlement through strong bargaining power would be with a SNP MP so who knows?

  14. How Scotland would supposedly look in 2015 if today’s MORI poll was the real thing:
    SNP 54, LAB 4, LDEM 1.

  15. John B (fpt)

    “You know, if Jim Murphy keeps this Devo Max line going and manages to overcome the Westminster dinosaurs I might even vote for Labour next time round”

    So might I, if I could be brought to believe in more than the rhetoric. A solid plan for Smith Commission might do the trick.

  16. I also think the SNP should say to the voters who out of the Tories and Labour are the more apathetic towards Devo MAX or substantial new powers for Edinburgh.

    It might just counterbalance the aged old squawk that a vote for the SNP will let the Tories in….Maybe this time the voters in Scotland would prefer that if it means such areas as Welfare etc being devolved to Scotland and ultimately getting rid of monsters such as the bedroom tax.

  17. MacTavish

    It doesn’t look that much different from the 2011 constituency map I have on my wall!

  18. Well I think we can all agree that this proves that the No campaign may have won the battle, but at a very heavy price.

    I blame the campaign, it was far too negative. It was also interesting reading this article from a year ago

    “Napoleon is widely reported with cautioning his troops a variation on, “let us wait a little; when your enemy is executing a false movement, never interrupt him”. Complacency as a campaigning technique may be the latest in a series of false moves by the No campaign”

    We all know that lead to having to fatten the pig on market day, which meant “you can’t share our pound’, ‘your credit rating will sink’, ‘we’ll get all your companies to relocate over the border’, basically we will destroy your economy. And look at the vote share of the 3 parties who sent that message.

    A lesson for the General election which looks like it is heading the same way.
    1. Negative campaigns prove very costly in the long run. (Us immigrants are growing in numbers and many can also vote, and we are listening to the debate you are all having as an example)
    2. Start being more positive. Define a future for the UK that we can all unite around. That is what the SNP did and look at the result.

  19. OLDNAT

    “It doesn’t look that much different from the 2011 constituency map I have on my wall”

    Have you taken down Dolly Parton?

  20. I’ve noticed that Oddschecker have taken down the individual constituency odds for every Scottish seat. Bookmakers in a panic!

  21. Allan Christie

    My cave has TWO walls (it’s very modern).

  22. Wow. 29 points! 52%! And the non-SNP vote is seriously split, too—it’s not like America with just two parties. The interesting question is going to be whether the non-SNP voters are going to vote tactically and try and mount the best opposition they can, but my impression (from many miles away) is that anybody-but-SNPs are a much smaller bloc than ABTs, ABLDs or ABLabs. A tactical Lab voter is probably going to prefer SNP to the LDs and Cons; I don’t know how the Con and rump LD voters are likely to break as far as picking between Lab and SNP goes.

  23. Jim Murphy: “I want to end that period of losing Labour here in Scotland, starting with the UK general election in 2015, where I’m confident we can hold all the seats we currently have but pick up one or two on top and also win that election in 2016 for the Scottish Parliament.”

    I think I know where he comes from, with the SNP 20 percentage points behind the SNP in all but one constituency where they are second, and a couple of LD seats in reaching distance of Labour, the scenario would be quite believable if we weren’t currently witnessing a major tectonic shift (see membership number as an example other than this poll).

    I mean, even if assuming this poll overstates the SNP lead given the UK focus of the campaign Labour will pull something back, it is plainly obvious that Labour, at the very best, has a real fight on their hands (and not many soldiers…). So what’s the point of saying things like that?


    The campaign from BT was the final straw for many Labour supporters.

    I never really knew how bad it would be for them but when North Lanarkshire and Glasgow voted Yes, who between them have 11 Labour MP’s then I think the writing was on the wall for many Labour MP’S.

    BT won the battle with a little help from big businesses and the sight of them rejoicing at a No vote might have upset a huge part of the left in Scotland.

  25. Richard

    Interesting point re negative campaigning.

    I think it would take something like focus groups rather than polling to dig deeply enough to discover the effects.

    However, one factor in the Scottish case is that so many of the scares about what might happen after a Yes vote have actually happened just after a NO vote – Lloyd’s closing branches : NAG selling off Clydesdale Bank : Prices rising in supermarkets : UKIP surge in England raising fears about being out of EU anyway ……

    One of the useful things about scare stories is that you don’t ever know if they would have happened, or not. In this case, we know they have (and actually would have anyway – regardless of indyref result).

  26. I refuse to believe that Jim Murphy has committed himself to running for the Labour leadership in Scotland unless he is pretty sure that either:

    1. the situation is nothing like as dire as it seems


    2. it is every bit as dire as it seems and that he is the only one who stands any chance of rescuing the situation over the next five years or so.

    Which one is it?


  27. Richard, I think you are right, negative campaigning helps win an election, but in the long run has lead to distrust of politicians and the v low poll ratings of the main parties. That won’t stop it of course.

  28. OLDNAT
    Allan Christie
    My cave has TWO walls (it’s very modern)

    Ah one wall for Dolly and the other for the 2011 Scottish tsunami. :-)

  29. @Old Nat – yours of October 21, 9.22 p.m.

    ‘Experience has shown, that the initiative for devolution has come in response to an increase in SNP support. Electing MPs from Scotland’s largest party makes sense in these circumstances.
    If Scots see May 2015 through a Scottish prism, then a higher number of SNP MPs should be expected. If they are persuaded that either Con or Lab have any likelihood of improving the UK economy, then things may be different.’

    With the economy now flatlining, and Labour not yet convincing people that they could do any better, will the Scots see GE 2015 in terms of which party will bring more powers to Holyrood? I think Allan Christie 3.29 above may have an excellent point: if we can’t do anything about the overall economy then at least we’ll do everything we can to make sure that the available resources are used in the best way possible. And unfortunately, Ms Boyak isn’t going to be leading Labour in the UK, only (perhaps) in Scotland.

  30. @Old Nat

    That’s the one that’s going to be hosted by Johann Lamont, is it not?

    I think I’ll eat at home, if it’s all the same to you……

  31. How does it reflect in the national seat projection?
    With SNP sweeping Scotland, a national Labour majority looks unlikely…

  32. Peter Crawford

    The SNP are not going to get 54 Westminster seats in Scotland next year.

    True, on these figures it’s looking more like 58 – as Anthony implies the swing against Labour may be even greater in their heartlands. One interesting additional thing in the tables[1] is that VI is based on an effective sample size of 700 (from an initial 1026).

    This is in contrast to the last all-GB MORI which was based on 542 from 1002[2]:

    and suggests a greater enthusiasm to vote and willingness to choose than in the rest of GB. This rather overturns a (plausible enough) theory, put forward by, I think, Amber, that non-SNP, non-Yes voters might feel less like replying to pollsters at the moment, which explained the high ratings in the cross-breaks. Though it’s possible that such voters are refusing to answers polls at all and MORI’s non-use of political weighting wouldn’t correct this. But with these sort of numbers such factors couldn’t change the SNP’s huge lead and in any case wasn’t Labour supposed to have ‘won’ the referendum.

    This poll also shows the Scottish Greens on 6%, though the expected SSP revival hasn’t happened. Given that SG votes tend to collapse to the SNP come polling day in FPTP elections, and even high SNP VI is possible on the day. Maybe even Carmichael should start worrying.

    This is all very smug-making for those of us who have been warning for all of this year that such a thing might well occur in the event of a No vote. Yes voters consolidate behind the SNP; past SNP voters who chose No can back them again because the immediate threat of independence is gone. Come May it’s very unlikely to be quite as dramatic of course, but it’s still a surprise that anyone is surprised at this, given what happened in 2011.

    [1] If this is the usual Scottish Monitor they’re presumably not really the ‘full results’, just the ones for Westminster VI. Holyrood VI, leadership ratings and so on should come out in the next few days, though it will be too soon to have any opinion on the SLab leadership race.

    [2] MORI only included those who say they are ‘certain to vote’. In this case it wouldn’t make a great difference in Scotland as among the 894 (87%! – in a telephone poll) who gave a preference, the SNP were at 52% as well.

  33. @Peter Crawford

    “The SNP are not going to get 54 Westminster seats in Scotland next year.”

    You prefer the 57 seat prediction? Me too.

    (Take a joke!)

  34. I see that this poll is being reported through the usual monomaniac Labour is doomed spin.

    If 52% of Scots vote SNP at the next election, it is the UK that is doomed.


    A very well thought out and erudite post.

    I commend it to the masses.

  36. Not related to the thread but I just voted in the South Yorkshire PCC by election. Asked the staff at the polling station how the turnout was and they said “very low”.

  37. Lurker

    Why should a Federal/Devo Max UK be doomed?

  38. LURCH

    100% of the people can vote the SNP and it wouldn’t spell the end of the UK. It’s a referendum which would decide that and I’m not sure anyone is willing to push the indy ref button just yet. We have to let the VOWS nurture and come to fruit. Only if the VOWS can’t be harvested and it’s a bad crop then we could see another vote quite soon.

  39. Interesting poll from Scotland. If the voting is anything like this in 2015 Labour chances of an overall majority or even plurality will be very slim.

  40. @ Oldnat

    Not a question I might have expected from you of all people!

    If the SNP get a majority of Scottish votes and a near clear sweep of seats, then it is pretty obvious mandate for independence (or at least another referendum they would likely win).

    It is not as though voters don’t understand their raison d’être.

  41. Is it conceivable that if this actually happened, the Tories could squeak into a position to govern as a minority, assuming that mass of SNP MPs stick to their “don’t vote on English matters”?

    My assumption recently has been Tories most votes, Labour most seats. But these figures change their relative strengths dramatically.

    Of course, UK-wide legislation would be all but impossible to implement, but if the UK was unable to do anything diplomatically or militarily for 5 years I’m not sure anyone would really notice these days.

  42. Ipsos MORI……….Gold standard in polling, the Scots are magnificent…….what an inspirational poll. Labour down to a rump of 2, Jim Murphy, with his cadaver-like image and matching personality, totally fits the role of leader of the zombie party, if Ipsos Mori have got it right, of course. :-) Please excuse the delight, I simply can’t help it.
    OLDNAT………..We, who are about to win, salute you. :-)

  43. Well just as well johann fell on her sword, she would be under intolerable pressure after the publication of this poll.

    Need big gordie,darling ,reid and the new leader out on the stump thru to next may .

    Very shrewd move by sturgeon to seek a veto on leaving EU as well .

  44. john b

    I refuse to believe that Jim Murphy has committed himself to running for the Labour leadership in Scotland unless he is pretty sure that either:

    1. the situation is nothing like as dire as it seems


    2. it is every bit as dire as it seems and that he is the only one who stands any chance of rescuing the situation over the next five years or so.

    Of course it could be:

    3. The only safe seat for a Scottish Labour politician will be at the top of a regional Holyrood list ;)

    I do find Murphy standing a real puzzle. I suppose if he wins an obliging retiring Labour MSP in a ‘safe’ constituency seat might stand down early for Murphy to be elected in a by-election, but on these figures no seat is safe (remember they even lost Glasgow East in 2008) and an artificially created vacancy isn’t the best circumstances to win such a contest. Otherwise the whole thing just reinforces the ‘branch office’ narrative that Labour’s opponents are keen to push.

    Murphy’s interview with the Record:

    is headed Jim Murphy launches bid to become next Scottish Labour leader with simple message: I’m applying for the job of First Minister, but he has to get there first and the polls for Holyrood have shown the SNP consistently ahead for a long while; assuming you will just roll up and take the top job may be taking the electorate a little too much for granted. He doesn’t seem lacking in self-belief, but you would have thought that after 2011 a little humility might become in useful.

  45. Silly scenario for May 2015:

    The SNP have 57 MPs. Lib Dems 1, Labour 1.

    Labour fall short of an overall majority, but with London, Wales and the Midlands opting for change from the Conservatives, they come in short of about 20 seats.

    The Lib Dems secure 30 or so seats, and with Labour form another coalition. Sadly, Nick Clegg is not there to enjoy it as he lost Sheffield Hallam to Labour. UKIP came a close second. The Lib Dems are led instead by Simon Hughes.

    Alistair Carmichael, being only one of two Scottish coalition MPs elected (the other being Gordon Brown) is appointed Scottish Minister and has the dubious honour of being Scottish Minister with both Conservative and Labour coalitions.

    With no MPs in Scotland and losing to Labour without ever gaining an overall majority, Cameron resigns, taking Osborne, Hague and IDS with him. Theresa May beats Michael Gove to the leadership, and appoints her opponent to the post of Shadow Home Secretary (cunning!). Hammond moves up to shadow Chancellor and Hunt moves to shadow foreign secretary.

    However!!! Miliband is undermined by his opponents and the media from the start and by 2017…

    …but that’s another story.

    You read it here first! :)) Since we’re having silly polls (SNP on 57 seats?), we might as well have silly predictions.

  46. Were Lab to lose so many Scottish seats, what will the consequences? Surely, the idea of federal and national parliaments gains ground? And is there a chance it will lead to Lab embracing PR?

  47. Lurker

    People vote for parties for all kinds of reasons. It may be that all those with an SNP or SGP are ardent independistas – or not.

    It seems a reasonable conclusion that the constitutional issue is driving current opinion, but we’ve known for decades that around two thirds prefer / would settle for Devo Max.

    If voting SNP is the way to drive Westminster to deliver that, then that is what people will do.

    If Westminster doesn’t, and Milliband’s office continues to insist that “the Vow” was just a Daily Record mock-up, and behave accordingly, then Westminster will have doomed itself.

  48. @ Neil A

    That is another season why the UK would be unstable (and therefore doomed).

    It is in the electoral interest of both the SNP and the Tories to have an Scottish Independence and in both their interests to squeeze Labour, which is the the only party to have large support in both England and Scotland. This is how Balkanisation happens in democratic systems.

  49. “Sadly, Nick Clegg is not there to enjoy it as he lost Sheffield Hallam to Labour. UKIP came a close second.”

    Don’t get my hopes up. Although you’ve clearly never been to Sheffield Hallam by that UKIP part!

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