Survation have a new Scottish poll in this morning’s Daily Record. Topline voting intentions for the Westminster general election are CON 16%, LAB 24%, LDEM 5%, SNP 48%, UKIP 4%, GRN 1%. The poll was conducted between Monday and Thursday so wholly after Jim Murphy’s election as Scottish leader – it has clearly had no positive effect for the Labour party. Full tabs are here.

If these figures were repeated at the general election they would result in a crushing victory for the SNP. On a uniform national swing the SNP would win 54 of the 59 seats in Scotland. Of course, were these figures to be maintained and were the next election to be a complete sea-change in how people vote in Scotland, I wouldn’t expect uniform national swing to be a useful predictor anyway. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will over-state SNP performance: Labour are down 18 percent since the last election, the Lib Dems down 14 percent. There were eight seats where Labour got less than 18 percent at the last election, thirty-two seats where the Liberal Democrats got less than 14 percent – it is mathematically impossible for Labour and the Lib Dems to lose enough votes uniformly across the country.

We’ll have a better idea of how the surge in SNP support is distributed across individual seats once Lord Ashcroft carries out his long awaited constituency polling in Scotland early next year. In the meantime, the question for Scottish polling is to what extent, if at all, Labour can recover in Scotland in the five months we have left until the election.

89 Responses to “Survation Scottish poll shows SNP 24 points ahead”

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  1. This is actually good news for Labour, while they may lose seats in Scotland, as Anthony and others point out it won’t be the bloodbath others are predicting.

    Also for them to be down in Scotland, means they must be up in Wales or more likely England, so they will actually win more English seats.

    Whoever wins in Scotland it won’t be the tories, but Labour can take lots of Blue tory seats in England, denying them the title of biggest party.

  2. What is really interesting is actually how consistent the Scottish Westminster polls are. There was the Panelbase poll not long after the referendum that had the SNP on 34% (I assume this was unaffected by what Miss Glengis meant by lag – the SNP rise came later) and then the MORI with the SNP on 52%. But in the five since the end of October (two YouGov, two Survation, one Panelbase) we have had the following ranges:

    SNP 43-48%

    Lab 24-28%

    Con 15-17%

    Lib Dem 3-6%

    UKIP 3-7%

    Green 1-4%

    Other 1%

    This stability suggests the SNP carrying all before it in May unless something starts shifting considerably and quite soon.

    I don’t actually think that Murphy’s election will have much effect; leaders make a difference, but not that much of a difference, and that applies even more when it’s only a subsidiary leader, as Labour’s leader in Scotland will always be seem. Such a leader who sets the wrong ‘tone’ may lose some votes, as Murphy’s calls for more drinking at football matches may have done[1]. If nothing else it gave the impression that Labour sees Scots as mainly consisting of drunken Celtic supporters – something else that suggests they spend too much time reading the Daily Mail and not enough in the country. But in the end few votes will be swayed.

    This unimportance may be particularly true in a Westminster election with a non-Scottish UK leader. Labour were always going to fall back from their 2010 position a bit (they actually had a swing to them that year) as their UK leader was not just Scottish but frequently attacked for that very fact.

    We now have the full tables for the Survation polling:

    (Anthony’s link is just to the VI stuff which was the only thing available yesterday)

    when asked (p 43) Which of the following is most important in determining how you plan to vote in the next Westminster election in May 2015?, only 2.6% said “Choosing the party with the best Scottish leader” with another 6.1% for “Best UK leader”. So Murphy may not be impressing, but he probably never could anyway.

    [1] It’s not really been noticed but Murphy’s actual aim seems to have been more about increasing the profits for the clubs through back-stadium sales and corporate entertaining rather than providing a better time for fans.

  3. LabLover

    “as Anthony and others point out it won’t be the bloodbath others are predicting.”

    I haven’t come across any one (other than Murphy) saying it won’t be a “bloodbath” for Labour, if such Scottish polling continues till the GE – just that, at that level of catastrophe for the previous dominant party, UNS is of little practical use in predicting constituency outcomes.

    To quote Anthony directly “I wouldn’t expect uniform national swing to be a useful predictor anyway. That doesn’t necessarily mean it will over-state SNP performance

  4. Is not the real problem with Murphy for Labour is that if he has appeal at all it is to swing Lab/Tory voters, as in his Eastwood constituency.

    There are not all that many of them in Scotland.

    He would seem to have no appeal whatsoever to swing Labour/SNP voters who have deserted Labour since the referendum. Indeed he seems to infuriate them.

    There are a lot of them in Scotland.

    In other words he is aiming at the blue rinse when Labour should be aiming at the red nat.

    Labour therefore would have been better with one of the other candidates – not a Westminster “heavyweight” but probably much better attuned to Scotland.

  5. Do you have any idea what the word “necessarily” means OldNat?

    All he’s saying is that the swing won’t be uniform (as is the case in every election everywhere), and who’s to say whether the SNP do better or worse as a result of that.

    Though I agree with the thrust of your point – even if the SNP were to do dramatically worse in terms of share of the vote than current forecasts, it’s hard to envisage circumstances under which the final result would not be regarded as a bloodbath for the party which currently holds almost 70% of Scottish seats

    Roger: I know I’m treading on very dangerous ground here. But surely if the police have guns and the majority of people feel they are mature enough to judge for themselves when they’ve had enough to drink, then surely the answer is to loosen the laws in general but do it in a way that gives the SFA and local authorities the power to put in stringent conditions for clubs with poor matchday crime records without fear of legal challenge.

    The whole argument against clubs making money, particularly south of the border, is that the new revenue streams persued are inevitably to the detriment of the fans (be that TV dictating a Friday night game between Newcastle and Plymouth, overseas sponsorship of iconic stadia and stand names, shirt sponsors that the fans are ashamed or embarrased to be associated with, shirts being very slightly tinkered with just so that they can be sold more than once every few years, and so on. In Scotland the argument is actually quite different – what is sorely needed is for smaller clubs to actually be in the black so that they can compete with the big boys for positive reasons, and not simply because three or four of the big boys have gone bankrupt spending English Championship money on English Conference TV revenue (or in Rangers’ case Champions League money on Championship revenue and Conference accountants).

  6. COLIN
    LAB – 36% (+2) CON – 32% (-) UKIP – 16% (+1) LDEM – 6% (-) GRN – 5% (-3) Final YouGov poll of 2014.

    There is much talk on here of swing but not much on trend and the poll stats which may suggest a linkage between movement in UKIP VI of Lab/UKIP and CON//UKIP back to theor respective folds (which you previously discussed with me).
    While we have seen UKIP on 12 and Lab and Con both on 35 a couple of months ago, we may now be seeing the CON/UKIP static, and the movement from UKIP primarily that of LAB/UKIP back to Lab. If this is a trend it may be based on recognition of Old Lab swingers to UKIP that a Lab government would in a position to deliver while UKIP won’t.

  7. That’s a reasonable reading of it John, except that everything I’ve seen so far suggests that this is primarily the case in seats where UKIP are not tipped as potential winners.

    If we’re talking about the parliamentary arithmetic, then the question is what 2010 Lab/Con/Other/DNV voters will do in seats where UKIP are perceived as genuine challengers, and in what proportion to one another. It’s entirely possible that UKIP’s VI could drop significantly nationally, not due to a significant drop in their support but because people in contests between other parties conclude that their vote is too important to waste, yet UKIP still take a seat count that they’d be happy with.

  8. Labour therefore would have been better with one of the other candidates – not a Westminster “heavyweight” but probably much better attuned to Scotland.

    I think right now priority number one for Labour is to stop the SNP from having complete control over the narrative, which right now they pretty much do. Which in practise meant the most recognisable, media-savvy character regardless of whether politically he was the optimum choice, which on the left-right scale Murphy probably isn’t.

    And I think symbolically they would have needed good reason not to elect a “Westminster heavyweight”, given that the SNP attack against Labour which is most difficult to defend against is that they’re not taking Scotland seriously enough.

    The only way Murphy would not have been in cabinet in 2015 would have been if he had either failed to defend his seat, or the Tories had emerged as the largest party. Even if the SNP took 50 seats Renfrewshire East is one of the ones Labour would likely have kept, so for him to regard leading Scottish Labour as a step up is as good a short term defence as Labour could have to that criticism. And on current polling, the Tories ending up as the largest party looks as likely as anyone in world media floating the possibility that Alex Salmond might occasionally be inconsistent.

  9. @Adge3

    Frank Cousins is a man you should find out about if you,re interested in that period

  10. Got my 15 minutes of fame if anyone’s seen the front page of the Times this morning. Of course the article is inaccurate in a number of ways – it’s only a plot in the same way Labour are plotting to contest 650 seats and there’s very little central party involvement. Still, nice to be noticed.

  11. Chris – re your
    ” It’s entirely possible that UKIP’s VI could drop significantly nationally, not due to a significant drop in their support but because people in contests between other parties conclude that their vote is too important to waste”


    Moreover, the actual final level of the UKIP Vote Share is not that crucial (although beating the LDs in the popular vote might be good for morale etc – 1). It is how their current VI splits in Lab/Con and LD/Con marginals that matters.
    I still think they will be squeezed down to 5%ish in Lab/Con seats and the Greens to 2% or lower (if they stand) with there being a modest net negative for the Tories of 1-2% perhaps in Lab/Con seats offsetting some of the incumbency bonus and lower level of LD vote to squeeze in Labs favour.

    Harder to judge in LD/Con seats with some of the LDs protest vote moving to LD.

    (I accept there may be a few seats where the UKIP may be seen as realistic challengers where the squeeze wont work but the 5% will be true in Lab/Con seats where they have no chance imo).

    1) BTW – I am probably in a minority in thinking the LDs will be in third place with UK vote share by 2% or so.

  12. I hope you’re wrong on that last bit Jim Jam, because if anything can kill off FPTP it would be UKIP coming third with a handful of seats, the Lib Dems collapsing to around 8% but retaining roughly half their seats, and the EW Greens and SNP getting similar levels of the UK vote share to one another and ending up with 1 and 50 seats respectively (all the stronger the argument if the EW Greens were fractionally ahead on UK share).

  13. My bad English Chris.

    My view is that the LDs will scrape 3rd place in the popular vote with a up to a 3% lead over the UKIP.

    Even is this happens the Lds getting 25-35 seats and the UKIP less than 5 (maybe only Carswell) whilst being just behind does seem odd but FPTP is what we have.
    Not sure the Greens/SNP comparison is fair, tbh.
    Any change in Electoral system would have a regional element and a mimimum threshold type mechanism per region like used in Germany or an STV model on multi-member constituencies.

    There is an argument for strong regional (In Scotland and Wales and NI case Nations) parties to have that stregnth recognised within a fedreal system as a kind of offset against the Central Government.
    The danger of course is that teh Regional (National) partiy ((ies) can end up with a disproportionate amountt of power generating resentment elsewhere.

    No system is perfect and balacing these factors would be a tough task for a Royal Commission or whatever.

  14. Re Murphy and football drinking – I read his intervention as being more about asking why there is such a class divide in the treatment of drink at sports events. He actually said that middle class fans at rugby matches can drink before, during and after matches, and wealthy people and their guests can drink before, during and after football matches if they are in the corporate hospitality areas, but working class fans on the terraces aren’t allowed a drop.

    He didn’t seem to be wanting to make a big thing about it, he acknowledged Scots tend to have a difficult relationship with alcohol, and he was suggesting some manner of trial may be beneficial.

    His central point though, seems to have been lost on most – he is questioning the class differential and arguing for a more even handed treatment of working class people.

    The Herald article sounded broadly sympathetic.

  15. @ KeithP

    ‘Yes, it does look like Labour’s lead is creeping slowly up again. Media attention has swung away from EM and towards everything else, and some of that will be unhelpful for the government.’

    But what must be worrying for the Tories is that even when things became the most uncomfortable for EM, with some of his party in open mutiny, the most they could muster was a 2/3 point lead, and that only temporarily.

  16. @ChrisHornet It’s East Renfrewshire not Renfrewshire East.

    Sounds a minor quibble but to people living there very significant as East Renfrewshire is a well to do commuter belt suburb which forms it’s own distinct Local Authority whereas Renfrewshire East would imply there was some sort of connection to Paisley which would be anathema to the locals!

    Which comes to @Scotslass’ point that Murphy’s political background is that of someone tailoring his appeal to a Tory/Lab marginal. Also a very large proportion of Scotland’s Jewish community live in the seat hence Murphy’s positioning on Israel being slightly different.

    In terms of Scottish seats where the primary contest is Lab vs Tory in 2010 there were 8 seats like that:
    Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
    Dumfries and Galloway
    East Renfrewshire
    East Lothian
    Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock
    Central Ayrshire
    Edinburgh South West

    I’d expect in 2015 that the first 4 or 5 of these would still be primarily Lab vs Con fights but they’ll be about the only seats in Scotland (Berwickshire, Orkney & Shetland and Skye being the 3 others) where SNP won’t be favourites to win on current polling numbers.

    These seats are all either middle class suburbia, semi rural or a combination of the two. The political positioning here is very different from the mainstream Scottish central belt seats.

    The question is does Jim Murphy’s political positioning reflect that he tailored his outlook to the local circumstances, in which case he’ll swing to the left now he’s appealing to the whole country for votes or did the constituency suit him because he’s a naturally centre right person?

    I suspect the truth is somewhere in the middle and he’s a smart enough operator to know he needs to change his political positioning to suit the wider Scottish electorate.

  17. Chris Hornet

    Yes. I do understand the meaning of “necessarily”.

    I also understand that “doesn’t necessarily” means the precise opposite – which is the point I was making in my post.

  18. @ Mr. Nameless,

    What are you talking about, Labour’s cunning plan to put up a candidate in Sheffield Hallam was very underhanded and sinister. Clegg would never have seen that one coming! This could be the biggest exposé since the Snowden leaks.

    But what are you going to do now that Pressman’s noble comrades have exposed your dastardly plot and you’ve lost the element of surprise?

  19. I’ll throw in Kirkcaldy & Cowdenbeath and Edinburgh South to give my list of 10 seats the SNP won’t win in 2015 from least likely at the top:
    Orkney and Shetland
    Ross, Skye and Lochaber
    Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale
    Dumfries and Galloway
    Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk
    Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath
    East Renfrewshire
    East Lothian
    Edinburgh South
    Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

    Even then there’s a few towards the bottom where you wouldn’t rule out the SNP completely if polling stayed as it is now.

  20. @LabLover. Labour definitely not up in Wales; latest poll has them down to 36% which would probably translate to 2 gains where the Lib Dem vote has nosedived and the Tory majority is tiny. I do wonder if in its previous heartlands of Scotland and Wales, Labour is suffering from being seen as the establishment? This does suggest though that as you imply Labour is doing relatively well in England – perhaps they should be more relaxed about EVEL – if anyone can sensibly define what an EL is of course

  21. Northumbrian Scot

    Among the many complexities in translating non-constituency specific polls to predictions is the extent to which 2010 or 2011 is the best baseline comparator.

    Normally, there would be no question, but the closeness of Westminster to Holyrood polling may indicate that the former pattern of voting differently in these GEs is in abeyance, if not abandoned.

  22. So indeed the Labour upswing is a fact. Looking at the YG graph, this is unlikely to be just random fluctuations.

    An interesting question as to where it is coming from. Nothing obvious on the graph.

  23. @OldNat

    I agree you need to look at both 2010 and 2011 for a baseline in making predictions.

    I’ll stand by my list of 10 unlikely SNP gains being based on a combination of both the 2010 and 2011 elections as well as referendum results in those areas.

    I think the area where 2011 results may deceive us is in suggesting some of the Glasgow/Lanarkshire/Inverclyde seats which Labour held in 2011 but which had strong Yes support in 2014 will be less likely gains than other seats SNP gained in 2011 in Edinburgh/Fife where the Yes support was lower.

    There is also talk of “Unionist tactical voting” and if such a thing is a reality it could have more effect in 3/4 way marginals like Edinburgh West, South and South West where Lib Dem and Con voters could switch to Lab to keep SNP out.

    Personally I can’t see many Scottish Tories are likely to switch to Labour to keep out SNP when that would actually make life harder for the Tories on a UK level.

  24. @Northumbrianscot

    “my list of 10 seats the SNP won’t win in 2015 from least likely at the top”

    I would have this seat above the Borders seats:

    Coatbridge, Chryston & Bellshill – Labour – Tom Clarke – Majority – 20,714

    I think it’s the 3rd strongest Labour seat, after Kirkcaldy and Glasgow East respectively. Not sure if Orkney and Shetland is stronger than all the Labour seats. It just seems to look that way on UNS calculators.

    A point of interest. If the 2010 votes and vote share for Orkney & Shetland were adjusted for the Scottish changes in VI to the present day, UKIP would win the seat.

    I suppose it’s not likely, but if it did happen, we would all re-evaluate UNS calculators. With thirty odd thousand people, Orkney & Shetland is more open to odd results than other constituencies.

  25. @OLD NAT
    Glad to see you back and by the way, I agree with your understanding of AW’s comment. To bandy words with Labour supporters in Scotland, it means it maybe not quite a massacre at the GE, but then again, it very well could be a total wipeout. Anyway enjoy your forthcoming Anglo-Saxon inspired religious festival, but leave some room for the real Gael celebration to follow.

  26. @Northumbrian Scot

    “There is also talk of “Unionist tactical voting” ”

    I have come across that phrase twice online prior to your post. Both on Twitter, and both by ardent Rangers supporters. In other words, the ‘talk’ is probably noise. Conservative and Labour voters won’t vote for their opposite and risk a General Election calamity. The Lib Dems won’t be able to rouse the support, except in their already strong seats (2-3 likely).

    UTV is one of those things that is a pretty good SNP vote winner.

    “Labour are siding with the Tories again” etc.

  27. CHRIS in Cardiff
    Yes, I agree. I personally believe the English support of Labour is largely due to their overwhelming support from immigrants in the main conurbations. Further, I have always believed this was their purpose in the first instance regarding large scale immigration.
    Certainly, the Scots have been on their road to Damascus and I would like to see the Western Celts do the same.

  28. Statgeek

    A point of interest. If the 2010 votes and vote share for Orkney & Shetland were adjusted for the Scottish changes in VI to the present day, UKIP would win the seat.

    They also had the second and third highest Green votes in the Euros (after Edinburgh), so if the Lib Dem vote collapses enough[1] we could be looking at a six-way marginal.

    [1] It won’t judging by the Euros, but this is fun.

  29. Roland

    I’m sure all Celts would agree with you. Repatriate those Normans NOW!

  30. @OldNat @NorthumbrianScot

    Why did people vote Labour in 2010 and then SNP in 2011?

    I am not in that group so I am not sure. I don’t think there is any polling on it either.

    The UTV is not a goer – although it does add a little more girst to the Labour being a different colour Tory mill. It has even less chance of working than the Yes Alliance idea – which in itself was a bad idea.

    Labour partisans may vote Tory to keep out the SNP but that is a tiny number and easily offset by the Labour voters that vote SNP because Labour are too close to Tories.

    The anti-Tory tactical votes worked because Labour/SNP/LibDems were all seen as left of centre socialist/social democratic parties. Now LibDems are doomed as they have lost there left wing credentials. And Labour and SNP are on the same left of centre ground.

    No-one who sees themself as social democratic is going to vote for a right-wing party in order to keep a social democratic party out.

  31. Oh and I should add….

    No-one that sees themself as right-wing is going to vote for Ed Miliband as PM.

  32. Does anyone know what this is referring to?

    I think I can guess, but it would be good to know.

  33. ChrisHornet

    “the SNP attack against Labour which is most difficult to defend against is that they’re not taking Scotland seriously enough. ”

    I rather think they do, both because on social and economic grounds on which they take all the regions of the UK seriously, and on electoral grounds, for reasons being explored ad nauseum on this site.
    But that is not the point: neither Labour nor any other party supports the agenda that is the basis of SNP’s support, that is, independence from the UK, and therefore cannot fight on that terrain, only on the promise of good policies and good government.
    Moving SNP supporters off the high ground of independence, as they see it, and onto devo max territory is an unequal battle, until politics and general opinion readhes the point that the latter has been acceptably spelled out and is the basis of specific policies and resource allocations – including overcoming defects in the SNP position, such as dependence on oil revenue -, and is thus accepted as a preferred position of backing a left of centre Government of the UK under Labour, and participating in its resources and standing.

  34. Ben – I think it was the last MORI poll, before they filtered by likelihood to vote.

  35. Anthony, yes, that was my guess, but I don’t like working on guesses…

    BTW, now we don’t expect any polls for a while, could you update the “The UKPollingReport Polling Average”, please?

  36. @John Pilgrim

    “……including overcoming defects in the SNP position, such as dependence on oil revenue….”

    In 2011, following the latest tax increases on the industry, the representative body for the industry, Oil and Gas UK, commissioned a study by Price Waterhouse Cooper into the total tax take for the industry. PWC produced a figure of just over £30 billion for the year 2011, roughly the amount of the Scottish budget for the year.

    When looking at the UK’s oil and gas industry and using it to extrapolate oil revenues for an independent Scotland, one should also look at Norwegian management of it’s own industry. The success of Statoil, the Norwegian national oil explorer, points up the scale of the mismanagement of the industry by the UK government. There is no guarantee that the government of an independent Scotland, by whatever party, would not be as profligate with valuable resources and as use less at managing it as Westminster governments. I think it unlikely, though.

    There is a better model than DECC management of oil/gas. It is Statoil. This is an excerpt from the third quarter report of Statoil.

    “The last few weeks have been a reminder on the volatility and the cyclical nature of our industry. Short-term oil prices have dropped by $30 from its peak in June.

    But interestingly, prices in the future markets for oil, three to four years down the road, are actually higher today than one year ago.

    Volatility is nothing new in our industry. The recent developments are well within the outcomes we prepare for when we do our business planning. For us, this is all about resilience and being ahead of the game.

    We have secured a strong position, and taken measures well before the most recent volatility started. We are taking action when we can, and not waiting until we haveto, so we are well positioned to handle different scenarios.

    First of all, running with a solid balance sheet is an absolute. We have an AA- rating, a net debt of 19%, and $18 billion in cash.

    Second, investing in the most robust and profitable project is key. Portfolio management is an integrated part of this, where we have a strong track record. We also maintain flexibility in our projects, as on the NCS, where we operate most of our investment and exploration ourselves.

    Third, our improvement program is making us even more resilient. We have already reduced our staff costs, after reducing by more than 1,000 positions within HR, finance, communications, IT, and facility management.

    We see improved production efficiency and drilling performance. And going forward, this will lead to even lower break-even cost in our projects.

    So in short, we are taking the steps necessary to steer through short-term volatility. At the same time, we maintain focus on the long term by maintaining our exploration activity and maturing our strong resource base.

    So let me return to the outlook.

    Even though we reduced our gas production in the last quarters, we maintain our 2014 guiding. This is due to a strong operational performance and regularity so far this year. New fields will also contribute to the growth, like in Gudrun, CLOV, and the fast tracks.
    Our guidance of around $20 billion in investments for the years remains. Year to date our organic CapEx is around $15 billion.
    Finally, exploration activity will come in around $3.5 billion, as guided. …”

    Meanwhile, in the UK nothing has been done to implement the Wood recommendations. As Wood revealed, DECC is now incapable of anything but managing day-to-day activities of the industry.

    It is the management of the resource that is important – not the revenues in an industry where volatility is inevitable. Oil revenues will be higher in four years. So says Statoil – having looked at the futures market.

    Happy Christmas – good wishes

  37. Sam

    The Scots have been extraordinarily bad at managing industry as a hole since 1945.

  38. With regard to Nationalism since when has Nationalism been about the economy? Nationalism is about a separate culture, language, history and so on. All of which Scotland has.

    The economic question is the unionist argument. Consider- surely half the world countries don’t pay their way? Ireland began in massive debt in 1920 whatever … and so on.

    I always said, like with devolution that there would be two polls. And I am sure there will be another some time after the next Westminster election…

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