Lord Ashcroft has released a new batch of Scottish constituency polling. Full details are here. As regular readers will know, national polls in Scotland suggest an SNP landslide with no sign of the SNP lead narrowing as the election approaches. In fact the most recent Scottish polls from YouGov and TNS showed the SNP lead growing. Lord Ashcroft has previously carried out two waves of Scottish polling, both showing the SNP winning in seats that were previously thought very safe.

Across the two previous waves Ashcroft polled nineteen Labour seats, finding the SNP ahead in all except East Renfrewshire and Glasgow North East. He has also polled four Lib Dem held seats (finding solid SNP leads in three and a narrow SNP lead in Ross, Skye and Lochaber) and the one Tory seat in Scotland where he found a tie.

In this latest wave Ashcroft has returned to the five of the tighter races he polled earlier, and polled three more Lib Dem held Scottish seats for the first time. Most of the close races are no longer close – in Glasgow South West (where Labour have a 46% majority) Ashcroft found the SNP 21% ahead. In Paisley and Renfrewshire South, Douglas Alexander’s seat, he found an SNP lead of 11%. In East Renfewshire he found a 9% SNP lead – this is the seat of Labour’s Scottish leader Jim Murphy and one of the two seats where he previously found a Labour lead.

People commenting on the Scottish election seem to fall into two groups – those who expect an almost complete SNP walkover, and those who expect them to merely do extremely well, to take “only” thirty or forty seats. I think the logic of most people in that second group is simply down to the scale of the SNP landslide looking unrealistic – the belief that they can’t be doing that well. I am often the first to advise caution towards polls showing huge shifts, so it’s fair to be sceptical – with a landslide of this scale perhaps the polls could be overestimating the swing… but they are consistent across national and constituency polling, online and telephone, and if they are correct the SNP are headed for an overwhelming victory and Scottish Labour towards something close to wipeout.

The polling in the sole Tory seat in Scotland remains extremely close. In his last poll Ashcroft found a dead heat between the Conservatives and the SNP, this time he found an SNP lead of two points.

Turning to the Lib Dem held seats, last time round Ashcroft found only a five point SNP lead in Charlie Kennedy’s seat in Ross, Skye and Lochaber, that has now grown to fifteen points. He has now additionally polled North East Fife (Menzies Campbell’s seat) where he found a 13% SNP lead and East Dunbartonshire (Jo Swinson’s seat) where he found an 11% SNP lead. Finally he polled Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk – here he found a 20 point boost for the SNP, which is enough to make it into a three way marginal but not to put the SNP ahead – the poll found the Conservatives ahead on 30%, SNP 29%, LDEM 28%.

Note that the East Dunbartonshire is one of the seat where the Lib Dems have recently released their own private polling (which may or may not be a co-incidence!). Their own polling showed figures of CON 13%, LAB 16%, LDEM 35%, SNP 32%. The SNP are 8 points lower than in Ashcroft’s poll, the Lib Dems 6 points higher. I wrote about the Lib Dem’s own polling at more length here. The primary differences are that the Lib Dems prompt using candidate name, which is fair enough, and ask about how favourably people see their local MP before they ask that voting intention question, a more questionable approach. We shall see which is the better guide. The Lib Dems have not released any of their private polling for the other three Lib Dem seats Lord Ashcroft released polls for today, from which one must draw one’s own conclusions.

164 Responses to “More Ashcroft Scottish polling”

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  1. If the SNP sweep the board Miliband needs to give the SNP what they have said they want – full fiscal autonomy. Then sit back and watch the turmoil in the SNP when they look for £7bn of cuts per year or tax rises or a combination of both, and the turmoil this would do the Scottish economy. To Scottish voters: those that don’t hear must feel!

  2. Shy Scottish Labour? If so to what degree: tiny and inconsequential or large and hidden.

    We will find out after the count whether some more methodological tweaks are required in situations where it appears to have become somewhat impolite to be thought of/ feel like voting for anyone but the SNP (when asked by a pollster/ poll company).

    Somewhat similar to the last weeks before the ‘No’ vote: but enhanced obviously.

  3. AW
    “In his last poll Ashcroft found a dead head between the Conservatives and the SNP”


    Who was it?

  4. A bit of a pinch myself poll bu in truth reflecting what we are getting on the groundinRossshire.

    In 2010 I was part of a group of seven or eight who covered two Wards for our candidate from a membership of just under a hundred.

    This time I am organiser for the same branch but we have a membership of five hundred and sixty and an activist pool of fifty plus.

    I now have a sub team in each of twelve of my fifteen pooling districts each with between five and ten people out leafleting or door knocking.

    In a strong Labour Party of Conon last week we got just over forty people in from about two hundred houses. Of those forty people thirty one said they were voting SNP and the closest thing after that was don’t know!

    They’ll all get a visit in the last three days!

    Having said that I think fifteen percent is high and I am thinking something like 42%/36% will be closer to the mark, unless of course something drastic happens in the polls to an SNP lead that has been stable for months.


  5. Looks more and more like wipeout/clean sweep.

  6. If you step away from today’s party politics, I feel lucky to witnessing such a seismic shift in Scotland.

    Such radical shifts rarely occur, but what is happening will certainly spread waves across the whole political system.

    I do feel sorry for those people giving their heart and soul to fight the SNP. They no doubt feel very strongly they are right, but when historical tidal waves are coming your way there is little that can be done.

    The Scottish people seem to have chosen different path, and it doesn’t look like a blip. They really have ‘set the controls for the sun’.

    Interesting times :-)

  7. Rivers if the Tories are the largest party they wont go quietly and they will hope the Libdems and the Blairites will back them.After a period of confusion and chaos,with the english press in full white flecked froth, DC will offer FFA -he knows Balls and the Blairites will oppose matching that and he will sit back and await developments .

    Obviously this strategy requires the Tories to be the largest party.But these Ashcroft figures seem to suggest they may well be.

  8. DAVID

    The SNP want both.

    The sensible response for Miliband would be to scrap the Barnett formula (with the backing of Conservatives) and grant them autonomy.

    It would not make the Scottish Labour position any worse and would help in England. It would also knock into some Scottish heads just what nonsense the SNP are spouting on the economy.

  9. 07052015

    That would still require the SNP to back the Tories. It would also be political suicide for the Blairites.

  10. I think now that each and every seat in Scotland could fall to the SNP and that they are on course to win more than 50% of the popular vote.

    The SNP are now the mainstream of Scottish political life.

  11. Hawthorn

    Precisely so. It would have been far better for everyone if the SNP had won the referendum first time round. There would be an English rebellion if they got both fiscal autonomy in addition to the existing financial arrangements.

  12. @ David

    Exactly. If fifty odd SNP MPs get elected on a platform that calls for this then it can hardly be undemocratic to give them it.


    I totally agree. The idea that England would let any Government give Scotland full fiscal autonomy with a blank cheque to cover any deficit is laughable. Salmond knows this, it’s the Scottish people that don’t seem to have grasped this. As I said, those that don’t hear must feel!


    “The sensible response for Miliband would be to scrap the Barnett formula (with the backing of Conservatives) and grant them autonomy.”

    This is difficult, because Labour has always stood against that position. It is part of Labours philosophy that the financial sharing and pooling of resources across the different parts of the UK is one of the arguments for the United Kingdom.

  14. The SNP would need to be careful.

    If they do win almost every seat in Scotland, neither Labour nor the Conservatives would have any electoral motive to help them.

    The cost of SNP support would be too high in terms of English support for either party.

  15. We need a poll of Orkney and Shetland. That’s the seat least likely to go SNP…


    It is part of Labours philosophy that the financial sharing and pooling of resources across the different parts of the UK is one of the arguments for the United Kingdom.

    If Scotland votes for a party that does not agree with that, then Labour can simply say they are following the will of the people.

    If and when it goes belly-up for the Scots, then it could be abandoned for a suitable political price. Sometimes you have to show, not tell.

  17. Lab are current!y on 256 MPs. If they lose 40 MPs in Scotland that drops them to 216. Say they pick up a dozen seats from the Lib Dems that moves them up to 228.
    Con are currently on 302 seats. They may lose say 3 to UKIP but pick up 15 from the Lib Dems. That moves them to 314. So in reality Lab need to pick up something like 44 seats from Con to have more seats.
    Apart from London and the North West where they may pick up 20 Con seats I just don’t see that they will pick up as many as 24 elsewhere.

    Unless Lab hold onto about ten seats in Scotland I cannot see how they will end up having the most seats.

  18. This Scottish economy issue after some future referendum remains a red herring – nationalism is a sense of identity / history / language / emotion. Nationalism is not a rational thing. How many countries in the world are bankrupt? Many. Eire started out totally bankrupt. But that doesn’t matter. The door on SCottish nationalism is wide open and cant be shut – Blair will be known as the person who broke up the UK (for good or bad)…

  19. What would it mean to Labour nationally if they are left with one or two seats in Scotland?

  20. You have to assume a near clean sweep now.

    Canada’s the obvious place to look for precedent, where there was a big BQ shift, followed by a big NDP shift. Both of those elections created a lot of MPs who didn’t expect to win and weren’t necessarily well-prepared for the job, and the swing away from BQ to NDP in 2011 reflected the reaction of voters who liked the social/economic policies for the Bloc, were largely indifferent to the nationalist issue, but didn’t like how their votes perpetuate a Conservative government.

    Sturgeon and Salmond will be well aware of this, and you can see it in Sturgeon’s campaign: a chunk of SNP support has to be considered on loan from Labour and it comes with certain assumptions about the outcome.

  21. MIKEY
    You answered my question, thanks.

  22. @ MIKEY

    labour may also lose a couple of seats to UKIP Dagenham and Grimsby.

  23. MIKEY

    You need to look at the swing in England. On the current swing + Ashcroft, the following are all likely Labour outside NW and London:

    N Warks
    Cardiff N
    Stockton South
    Amber Valley
    Wolves SW
    Plymouth Sutton
    Brighton Kemptown

    That is 17 for starters, without those which are leaning Labour or are toss-ups.

  24. Tim N

    Possibly but I think Cruddas will hold on in Dagenham. My figures are purely speculative but clearly Labour are going to have an exceptional night in predominantly English marginals to land the most seats and that needs to be across the country and not just in London and the North West.

  25. I agree with your maths Mikey. Lab picking up that volume of seats for the Tories seems challenging to me, though I’m not sure how anyone can realistically know what the national polls mean at an individual constituency level

  26. MIKEY

    “So in reality Lab need to pick up something like 44 seats from Con to have more seats.”

    Ashcroft’s England/Wales constituency polls list precisely 44 Lab gains from Con.


    There are plenty of seats to be gained outside the area you’re focused on.

  27. Hawthorn

    Yep that’s 17 if they win all of them! That still leaves them something like 12 seats light of Con! They would need another 6 beyond that to draw level and I doubt very much all 17 you mentioned will turn red.

  28. @ Ominshambles

    I totally agree!

  29. It will be a very interesting election night.

  30. Holgate

    Haha. That would be extraordinary if they picked up the 44 needed based upon my speculative figures. OK its perhaps not as unlikely as I had thought.

  31. Mikey
    I seem to be making a post somewhat to this effect every other day but I’ve said before that due to an abundance of potential allies for Labour and a distinct lack of Tory allies Labour can probably afford to be about ten seats behind the Tories and still form the next government.

  32. Mikey

    Okay, 6 more:

    Hastings & Rye
    Norwich North
    Milton Keynes South
    Norwich North

    Personally, I think that if Labour are completely wiped out in Scotland, then the seat total will be pretty much tied.

  33. Rivers 10.

    Sure. That’s not in dispute. I am just pointing out that Labour are really going to have to hit the sweet spot in English marginals to land most seats.

  34. Hawthorn

    Great work! Keep ’em’ coming.

  35. Hawthorn
    You listed Norwich North twice?

  36. Hawthorn, Mikey
    It doesn’t really matter about Norwich though cos I think Hawthorn you have missed some pretty obvious ones such as
    Northampton North
    Cannock Chase
    Halesowen and Rowley Regis
    Colne Valley
    High Peak

  37. So the SNP look set to win 50+ seats in Scotland. That’s quite remarkable.


    Back to the polls, it seems that Ashcroft may have been polling in other areas over and above the ones that he’s published (notably in Edinburgh). In my opinion, this is where Labour will do best and where the SNP will struggle to gain the sort of swings that are being seen elsewhere. For the Lib Dems, it’s looking increasingly like 2 seats might be the limit. People talk about Labour in Scotland being damaged by the referendum but the Lib Dems are being wiped out on account of the coalition.

  38. (fpt)

    @ 07052015

    “Reckon Cameron will make NS an offer she cant refuse.”

    If they need to on May 8th then Osborne and him will certainly try something as a desperate last roll of the dice. It will take us all by surprise. I don’t think there is anything they wouldn’t sacrifice to remain in No10.

  39. The 44th most marginal Con to Lab seat is Harrow East requiring a swing of 3.5%. The latest Ashcroft gives it quite comfortably to Labour. Ashcroft projects a further 8 seats that are harder than Harrow East as Labour gains. Though obviously not every seat up to Harrow East will be won.

    Looked at another way, a swing of 3.5% which is below what is currently being projected in both GB polls and even more in England and Wales polls.

    So not mission impossible.

  40. Rivers10

    I meant to type Northampton North. Others are toss-ups.

    Labour could also gain Arfon and Bradford West.

    Worst case for Labour on current polling is Cameron lame duck PM.

  41. @ mikey. 5.27pm

    I think this is going to be the most surprising election. Labour are going to retain at least 8-10 seats

    Conservatives are not going to loose as many seats as everyone is imagining to labour Apprx 10 max.

    UKIP. Max 1 seat from conservatives.

    Lib dem. can’t make out.

  42. I agree Labour need to do well in England to offset Scottish losses, on another subject did anyone else notice Christine Leagarde (former French Conservative) riding to Osborne’s rescue today as she did before the last election…..

  43. Can anyone help me please?

    I can’t view this page from Yougov correctly:


    I get the side bars but no content.

    Pages 1,3,4 etc work fine.

    I wonder if it’s my set up (old Athlon 2600 pc, 80g, 1.5g RAM, Lubuntu 14.10, Firefox 37.0.1, Flash 10.3) or a YG issue.

    All my logic says a YG issue. Can some else check to see what they get please?

    Thanks in advance :)

  44. With all this talk about ukip gains you would think the good Lord would be hotfooting it to Dagenham etc

  45. @Catmanjeff

    I get the same as you, Windows 8 in both IE and Chrome. I had the same problem a few days ago on a different Yougov page when going to the next page.


    “But I don’t think it justifies the snidey, partisan comments (on both sides) starting from the very first post. A little bit of respect wouldn’t go amiss.”

    I was respectful towards them. I even stated that the SNP are now the main stream of Scottish political life.

  47. The SNP’s getting 40-50 seats has been priced into the market (not literally) for a while.

    It doesn’t change the fact that the GE will be determined in England and Wales as neither Lab, Con or LD will have much presence in Scotland.

  48. @Martin, 07052015

    The offer to the SNP would surely be “we’ll vote for FFA if you vote for EVEL”. The SNP couldn’t refuse.

  49. Thanks Richard.

    It must be AW’s fault then ;-)


    I think 44 is at the outer limits of what Labour can gain. Labour probably has to win most or all of Cannock Chase, Ilford North, Finchley, Rossendale, Harrow East, Norwich North and I don’t think they will.

    But remain to be convinced despite polling that Labour will lose all Scottish seats to SNP.

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