I’m out this evening so won’t be around to write about the new ComRes/Independent on Sunday poll we are due or the regular YouGov/Sunday Times poll, but in meantime just to note the latest YouGov Scottish poll in this morning’s Sun. The topline figures don’t suggest the surge in SNP support is fading at all, quite the opposite – topline figures for Westminster voting intention with changes from the previous YouGov Scottish poll at the end of October are CON 16%(+1), LAB 27%(nc), LDEM 3%(-1), SNP 47%(+4), GRN 3%(-1), UKIP 3%(-3).

Needless to say, the poll was conducted before Jim Murphy was announced as Scottish Labour’s new leader. He would appear to have quite a job on his hands.

125 Responses to “YouGov/Sun Scottish poll gives SNP twenty point lead”

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  1. @RogerMexico

    Opportunities for the SNP

    The sight movement to Yes appears to be the No votes who awswered that Smith doesn’t go far enough. This could increase if Smith gets bogged down in Westminster squabbles.

    Only 77% of SNP voters would vote Yes to independence, there must be some opportunities there for SNP to grow that vote.

    Incredibly 55% of people have more confidence in the Scottish Parliament to make decisions for them and their family, against only 17% that chose Westminster. Which really begs the question ‘Why aren’t they voting Yes?’. Nicola Sturgeon wins hands down at 43% as best leader. Her competition is only Cameron, Farage, Ed M, and Nick C so maybe that is not a surprise.

    Peter Kelner’s RedNats are now just Nats as it looks like the people that voted 2010 Labour, 2011 SNP are now in the SNP camp.

    The Yes campaign’s guidance of SNP for Westminster and Holyrood constituency and a pro-independence list choice is being followed to an extent with Greens and Scottish Socialists 10% and 3% in the Holyrood list vote. Which should give the SSP a seat and if the vote is concentrated which is will be possibly 2 seats at Holyrood.

    At the moment the poll bears out that Yes voters will be block voting at the 2015 GE and 2016 Holyrood elections

  2. The other point about the poll is Ed Miliband scores only 8% as best leader behind Sturgeon (43) Cameron(19) and Farage(10).

    IMO this is a big problem for Labour with their ‘Vote Labour to kick the Tories out’ line. If the voters actually prefer Cameron to Miliband.

  3. Tabs for the Scottish Poll:


    Sample of 1081 with 192 at DK / WNV (net sample of 889 and MoE of about 3.25%)

  4. So the speculation has already started about what this poll could mean in terms of Westminster seats. As Anthony has said already, given the size of the swing (21% from LAB to SNP), uniformity isn’t just unlikely, it’s mathematically impossible, since it implies that Labour would have negative vote share in 4 seats (and, incidentally, 9 lost deposits) and the Lib Dems below zero in 36 (and below 5% in 43). So here are some alternatives, with UNS for comparison:


    SNP 52
    LAB 6
    LIB 1

    PNS (constant ratio of 2015 votes:2010 votes for main parties in each seat):

    SNP 46
    LAB 10
    CON 3

    STM (Electoral Calculus):

    SNP 48
    LAB 11

    So while all three give different results, all three have the SNP and Labour within a five-seat range.

    UNS also suggests that Jim Murphy would lose his seat, after a recount or two, but the other models suggests he would hold on, by varying majorities. But with the BBC reporting that he is to stand down and seek a Holyrood seat before 2016, his Renfrewshire E. constituency could become a very interesting three-way fight – it was blue (in fact, the bluest Scottish seat, I believe) until 1997 on the same 1983 boundaries that are in use today, albeit under a different name for most of that time.


  5. Incredibly 55% of people have more confidence in the Scottish Parliament to make decisions for them and their family, against only 17% that chose Westminster. Which really begs the question ‘Why aren’t they voting Yes?’.
    Because up until now, that view hasn’t been reflected by the turnout at elections.

    The turnout in 2011 barely scraped over the 50% line. Had it not been for the referendum, we’d be having a conversation about whether there was any point having a parliament in Scotland at all. And this assumes that the referendum will lead to an increased turnout in 2016, which seems likely but may not actually be the case.

  6. Regarding the correlation of the parties in 2014, the YG data for 2014 has been calculated and graphed below.


    The data is just You Gov, due to the very large sample size available based on a similar methodology. This really assists the analysis.

    Of course, correlation isn’t causation, and as some of the coefficients demonstrate, it is not as simple as x is up so everyone else is down. There are clearly multiple and overlapping forces driving the changes.

    This is highlighted by the strongest two positive correlations, UKIP to Green and Labour to Lib Dem. UKIP and the Greens have benefited from the loss of faith with the major parties. Therefore, this correlation in my view simply underlines this trend. Similarly, Labour and the Lib Dems are more supportive of the EU and socially more liberal, so perhaps their vote ebbs and flows with the public mood in these areas.

    At the other end of the scale (negative correlations), Labour to UKIP and Labour to Green are very strong. This underlines the slippage Labour have suffered in 2014 to other parties.

    Lib Dem to Green and Con to UKIP also show a very strong negative correlation for probably very similar reasons.

    Conservative to Lib Dem, Conservative to Labour and Conservative to Green do look weak. I think analysis around these weak correlations is very limited.

    I’m sure every has a slightly different view on the causes of shift, and there is probably no fixed right answer.

  7. @Couper2802

    “IMO this is a big problem for Labour with their ‘Vote Labour to kick the Tories out’ line. If the voters actually prefer Cameron to Miliband.”

    Be careful with that one, if I was you. Both Cameron and Miliband fare abysmally and I’m not sure either score equates to how Scots feel about a Labour or Tory Westminster Government. If you were right, and these party leader ratings are indeed significant, then I’d expect the Tories to be ahead of Labour in the Scottish polls. They’re 11 points behind on 16% and there is no sign that Cameron is helping their overall popularity at all. I think the Cameron v Miliband thing in Scotland is a sideshow.

  8. @Statgeek – I can’t really get your last post.

    Scotland could raise income tax, raise council tax, borrow around 5% of annual government revenues, and amend other taxes like alcohol duty. It can also spend and save on quite a degree of other aspects. Yes, there are other things the Scottish administration may wish not to spend on, but again your answer smacks of pointing to Westminster and saying how bad they all are, instead of looking at what you can do in Holyrood and simply getting on and doing it.

    Regarding oil, no, I don’t get your point. My figures were based on total Scottish government revenue include oil (geographic share) – the same figures that the SNP use.

    The ‘already working Scottish economy’ wasn’t, in terms of tax revenues versus spending, unless oil revenues were included. This is what I have done.

    Oil isn’t some additional extra that Scotland doesn’t really need – it was an essential part of the SNP calculations, which is why Salmond took the best recent year in terms of output as his base year and assume $100 barrel as the starting point.

    Falling oil prices are absolutely essential in calculating how much money a future iScotland would have, and to try to claim otherwise is an example of the continued dreaming of the 45.

    Personally, I’m quite staggered that someone as normally sane as you cannot admit that a crashing oil price wouldn’t cause serious deficit problems for an independent Scotland. For me, it shows just how far removed from reality this debate has moved.

  9. @Number Cruncher

    All those look very, very black for Labour.

    A good word would be disaster.

  10. Its good that Mr Wells points out the obvious falacies in the story about campaign funding.
    What is worrying is that comentators cannot work them out for themselves. All too often of course people do not want to know the truth.

  11. @ Number Cruncher

    But with the BBC reporting that he is to stand down and seek a Holyrood seat before 2016, his Renfrewshire E. constituency could become a very interesting three-way fight
    That’s not what Jim Murphy’s team were saying during the leadership. My expectation, from what was said, is that he’ll stand in his Westminster seat at the 2015 election, then be a candidate in 2016.

    This will, of course, be subject to change if a suitable Scottish Parliament seat becomes available. That will be down to circumstances because, as far as I’m aware, nobody is being asked to stand down from Holyrood to open up a seat for him right now.

  12. Re the WIKI graphical poll summary:
    1. The poll VCIs add to 100% even though turnout is <65%.
    There is an inherent assumption that if one party's VI goes down, VIs for other parties go up. If a party gains from the 35% or so of the electorate who did not vote, or one or more parties lose voters to 'not voting this time' such assumptions are invalid.
    If all parties lose say 5% of their voters to 'not voting' the poll results are unchanged. If one party loses support to 'not voting' then the others appear to gain support, but in fact do not.

    It is interesting that UKIP, for whatever reason (I suggest increased publicity) since Jan 2012 have gained support at the time of national elections, to the extent of rises from 10 to 12% to 15%. The latest 3% rise in VI may be due to high profile by-elections. But it has been a rise of 1/5 to 1/3 of previous VI, which if repeated on the basis of present polled VI levels of around 16%, their May VI 2015 level would be around 20%. If a party gained 20% of the votes and got <1% of the seats, would it not be time for questions to be asked about our voting system?

  13. @ Amber Star: So he would lead them during the campaign without already having a Holyrood seat? In that case his incumbency and the fact that he is Scottish leader will make his seat easier to hold (but could still be something of a distraction)

  14. @Alec

    If you don’t get it after months of debate, I suggest you research the difference between the oil as part of the UK’s GDP and as part of Scotland’s GDP. What Salmond said was based on decades of investment, and not on a short-term fluctuation of prices.

    Once again, the argument is that Scotland’s oil is a curse to Scotland and not a blessing. It’s not something of value, and yet something had the WM top politicians scrambling for meetings in Aberdeen at Shell and/or BP.

    Staggered or not, you still haven’t mentioned the validity of Jim Murphy’s statements (which was the crux of the beginning of all this).

    He says he will aim top end poverty, and the SNP will not gain a single seat in 2015. I disagree. You?

  15. @CMJ I almost daren’t mention this, but on the PNS model, Labour would lose another two of their 10 holds to the Conservatives, if the latter outperform this poll by the amount they outperformed the polls in 2011 and at the Euros this year. I’m not saying they will, or that PNS is right, but LAB 8 CON 5 would probably hurt more than LAB 6 CON 0, especially if (as widely expected) the Tories don’t even win a majority across GB…

    To be clear, this is not my prediction, but does shows how different PNS and UNS can be.

    Incidentally, before people start slagging off PNS on the basis of Nate Silver’s 2010 forecasting performance, I did a bit of analysis and it turns out that the PNS underperformance was entirely due to the polls being wrong on the Lib Dems. If you use it on the actual popular vote, PNS is almost spot on, and far better than UNS.

  16. Sorry, “across GB” should be “across the UK”

  17. @ Number Cruncher

    So he [Jim Murphy] would lead them [LiS] during the [2016] campaign without already having a Holyrood seat? In that case his incumbency and the fact that he is Scottish leader will make his [Westminster] seat easier to hold (but could still be something of a distraction)
    It’s still a better scenario than him having no seat at all during the period from now until 2016, or forcing somebody out of their Holyrood seat thereby risking a by-election that he might not win.

    One possibility which hasn’t been mooted (as far as I’m aware) is a Labour regional list MSP offering to stand down. I might be mistaken, but I think in that scenario the Labour Party would then be able to simply replace the outgoing Labour regional list MSP with Jim Murphy. Not very edifying, perhaps but it could be one way to get the job done.

  18. Statgeek

    The problem is that oil IS a blessing and a curse!

    The other thing I would say is that Scotland wasn’t going to become independent until 2016. Who knows what the price will be by then? $50 per barrel? $200 per barrel? Either way it’ll will probably be still rumbling on during the Holyrood election – who will have the last laugh though?!

  19. Have taken the 2010 voter shifts from the latest Scottish poll and applied them to a what if 2015 (caveats etc.) prediction:


  20. @Interested

    Is doesn’t really matter, because the person / people with the last laugh will be those running the UK (PLC). My point is that this low oil price being used as some argument against indy is a false one. The oil prices will always move up and down.

    The way some go on about it, Scotland is worse off with low oil prices than a nation with no oil at all !

  21. @Statgeek

    Unless the current polls and predictions are massively wrong, then Scotland could well be the single biggest shock/event at the GE.

    UKIP’s performance in England might be just a side note.

  22. @Statgeek – think Jim is being optimistic on both counts.

    I’m well aware of the oil situation. What you forget is that, including current oil, Scotland’s is marginal as regards it’s current UK balance. If oil falls, Scotland goes heavily into deficit.

    There’s no secret to this, and oil as a curse is a typical straw man that you of all people really shouldn’t fall for, but the much higher spending per head in Scotland makes the volatility of oil an issue.

    Yes of course, decades of better management would have better, but that was yesterday’s debate. It didn’t happen, so there is no oil fund to smooth out the bad years. That’s what the UK does for Scotland, for better or worse.

    This is one area where the SNP failed to address the issues, and you can’t debate something on the basis of starting from somewhere else.

  23. @Amber Star

    Are they actually allowed to do that? In the council elections which are also PR if a councillor resigns then there is a byelection.

    I actually have no idea how they can do that under a PR system (because if Tories top the vote but the councillor(LibDem) that stands down has got a seat under PR, then the likelyhood is the Tory will win and it is no longer PR)

  24. Amber/Couper – I don’t *think* it is possible. Under the Scotland land is appears as if in the case of a regional list vacancy the returning officer contacts the next person on that party list and that person’s party asking for both of their consent for that person to fill the vacancy. If that’s not forthcoming they contact the next person on the party list and so on until the list is exhausted.

    After that point the law appears to be silent – I can’t see any provision for a party to nominate someone else if they don’t want any of their candidates on the previous regional list to fill the vacancy.

  25. Anthony:

    My view is that it is not permissible for anyone not on the list for a party at the preceding Holyrood General Election to be subsequently addedon to a list.

    Perhaps relevant is the late Margo MacDonald, who was a one-woman party on the list. When she died, no-one was eligible to take her place and there was no by-election. This does seem a bit ridiculous, but I think that is how it actually works.

    If Scotland had control of its own elections, I guess such strange anomalies would be looked at. Obviously we are heading in that direction with Cameron reported today as passing the right to reduce the voting age for Holyrood to the Scottish Government.

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