There were two new polls on the Scottish Parliament elections today – a new TNS face-to-face poll and a new Survation online poll. Note that while they are both newly published the different methodologies mean that the Survation fieldwork is far newer than TNS’s – Survation polled over the weekend, TNS polled over the last three weeks. Topline figures are below:

Survation
Constituency vote: SNP 54%, LAB 21%, CON 16%, LDEM 5%
Regional vote: SNP 43%, LAB 19%, CON 14%, LDEM 7%, GRN 9%, UKIP 6%

TNS:
Constituency vote: SNP 60%, LAB 21%, CON 13%, LDEM 4%
Regional vote: SNP 55%, LAB 21%, CON 13%, LDEM 4%, GRN 6%

Both polls have a huge SNP lead and their victory in May seems a foregone conclusion. Labour are comfortably in second place – the last round of Scottish Parliament polling from TNS showed the gap between Labour and the Conservatives narrowing, but that has faded away again. The Survation poll has UKIP up at 6%, which has provoked some comment – it appears to be something to do with Survation’s methodology rather than a new development, looking back over past Scottish Parliament polling Survation have consistently had UKIP at 5-6% in the Holyrood regional vote while other companies consistently give them between 1-3%. John Curtice has speculated that this may be something to do with the question wording Survation use, which refers to the regional vote as a “second vote” and might lead to some people giving a second preference (this would also explain the big gap they fond between SNP constituency and regional vote). A couple of years ago Roger Scully did an experiment looking at different wordings in Welsh Assembly polling, and found you got really different answers depending on whether the question said “second vote” or “regional vote”, so it is plausible that there’s a similar effect in Scotland.


131 Responses to “New TNS and Survation Scottish polls”

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  1. Forget all that!

    Are Leicester City really going to win the English Premier League ahead of all the high spending “big clubs”?

  2. I thought this site was the UK Polling Report – why is everyone using this site to talk about USA politics – Trump is all wind anyway.
    We should be talking about OUR forthcoming elections in May and June surely.
    Just saying!

  3. @Sine Nomine,

    OK. The SNP are going to smash it, and everyone else will be arguing over irrelevant little crumbs.

    Is there anything much else to say about this thread?

  4. The end of the freeze on council tax may affect the SNP vote.

  5. “Is there anything much else to say about this thread?”

    ————-

    Well there was some stuff about zip wires, and Darth Vader, and drug gangs…

  6. @NEIL A – There are a lot more elections going on in the UK than for the Scottish Parliament – Welsh Assembly, Hundreds of Council Seats up for grabs and at least the London Mayoral Election – probably a few more too.
    I don’t think AW will take too kindly to you almost rubbishing his wonderful UK Polling site.
    Just saying!

  7. For the Senedd elections, Stuart Fox has done an analysis of differences between the 18-30 and 30+ age groups.

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2016/02/29/young-voters-in-wales/

    The notion that Welsh young people are a distinct constituency of voters, therefore, which need to be courted through specific manifestos and unique policy platforms, is largely mythical. Young people are like their elders in reacting to the dominant political issues of the day and supporting parties which they feel are best placed to deal with them. For the majority of young people ahead of the Assembly elections, that means being concerned with immigration, healthcare, and the economy. The one area in which the young do stand out is the all too familiar issue of turnout.

    I doubt that Welsh young folk are much different from those in other nations, in that respect.

  8. For the Senedd elections, Stuart Fox has done an analysis of differences between the 18-30 and 30+ age groups.

    http://blogs.cardiff.ac.uk/electionsinwales/2016/02/29/young-voters-in-wales/

    The notion that Welsh young people are a distinct constituency of voters, therefore, which need to be courted through specific manifestos and unique policy platforms, is largely mythical. Young people are like their elders in reacting to the dominant political issues of the day and supporting parties which they feel are best placed to deal with them. For the majority of young people ahead of the Assembly elections, that means being concerned with immigration, healthcare, and the economy. The one area in which the young do stand out is the all too famil1ar issue of turnout.

    I doubt that Welsh young folk are much different from those in other nations, in that respect.

  9. OK. In response to Sine Nomine’s request for some discussion of the polls at the head of the thread.

    The SNP’s domination of constituency VI is astonishing. It’s a testament to how consistent that high level of support is across the whole of Scotland. If it weren’t for the list members it would make the Scottish parliament look unhealthily like one-party government. Would they enjoy the same level of support if voters were only voting FPTP for constituency members, or would some people decide to support other candidates to produce a more balanced parliament? I guess that would depend on how important Independence is to voting decisions in the SP elections and how all the parties would deal with the vagaries of an FPTP system. But it makes for some interesting speculation if you’re interested in how election results are influence by electoral systems.

  10. The paragraph after the link is a quote from the article.

    I lost the formatting when reposting it due to automod having rejected the post on the basis of the word “famil1ar”.

    There are too many perfectly reasonable words containing the last 4 letters of that word, for that particular automod rule to have any point whatsoever

  11. Returning to the last thread on boundary changes to the UK Parliament constituencies I have been thinking, always a dangerous thing to do my elder brother told me as a teenager.

    UK Parliamentary constituencies consist of registered UK citizens and Commonwealth and Irish Nationals who are resident in the UK.

    European and Local Government elections consist of UK citizens and European Union residents in the UK.

    So which election is likely to have the largest number of voters, an issue that may be settled if the UK votes to exit the EU on June 23rd?

    I still favour census population as the basis of constituency population size, because an MP represents all the people living in a geographical area regardless of citizenship.

    That said we also have a very simply registration process, that I have just completed. Right on the front page of the income tax form are two questions posed for Elections Canada:

    One asks if you are a Canadian citizen
    The second asks if the Canada Revenue Agency can give your name, address, birthdate and citizenship to Elections Canada to update the National Register of Electors.

    This information is then shared with provincial/territorial governments, members of Parliament, registered political parties and candidates for federal elections at election time.

    The provincial/terrritorial governments in turn share the information with local governments for their elections. So any citizen 18 years or older who files an income tax return in Canada is automatically registered as a voter, if they want to be.

    It is all pretty straight forward, but then we have a written constitution that guarantees every citizen 18 years or older the right to vote and run as a candidate in an election:

    “Every citizen of Canada has the right to vote in an election of members of the House of Commons or of a legislative assembly and to be qualified for membership therein.”

    Periodically some youth comes along and argues in the courts that the 18 year old restriction on voting violates their citizenship rights – and one of these days they are going to win that fight to extend the franchise.

  12. @Andy

    It’s a good plan, but in practice most of the UK residents who submit tax returns are probably already on the Voter’s Register.

    Low registration is most acute amongst groups who are likely to be receiving benefits, or who are in low-paid and/or cash-in-hand work.

    Alongside a referral process for taxpayers, we would need a referral process for benefits claims. I would suggest also a referral process for driving license applicants, passport applicants, student loan applicants, prisoners on release from prison, persons registering with the Probation Service after a conviction and anyone else filling out an “official form”.

    This is essentially what I was saying in the previous thread about the sharing of information within government.

    I bet almost every single “missing” voter is known to the authorities in one way or another. Some department somewhere will have their name, date of birth and address and will know that they are entitled to vote.

    It would be worth spending the money to actively put all of this together and thereby effectively widen the franchise. Even if many of those subsequently made eligible to vote then declined to do so, it would provide a more accurate basis for boundary reviews and help to even out the power of an individual’s vote, without being unfair to those parties who tend to represent the areas that are currently under-registered.

    I expect the principle objection would be civil liberties/privacy issues which is a curious fascination in this country.

  13. These polls are showing that Scots are getting clued in on how to manipulate the stupid 2 vote voting system that applies for Scottish elections.

    If you’re a SNP voter and you vote SNP for the constitutency seat (elected by first past the post) and you know that it is likely that SNP will win ALL of the constituency seats in the region, then it makes much more sense to vote for a similar, but different, party for the regional list in order to bring in allies for the SNP. This is why the Greens are at 9% in the regional list polls.

    Putting these figures into thte Scotland Votes website gives:

    SNP: 70 (up 1)
    Labour: 37 (down 16)
    Conservatives: 16 (up 1)
    LibDem 6 (up 1)
    Green: 9 (up 7)
    UKIP: 7 (up 7)

    That’s 79 MSPs who are pro-independence and 66 MSPs who are anti-independence.

  14. Rob

    “If you’re a SNP voter and you vote SNP for the constitutency seat (elected by first past the post) and you know that it is likely that SNP will win ALL of the constituency seats in the region, then it makes much more sense to vote for a similar, but different, party for the regional list in order to bring in allies for the SNP.”

    It’s actually a bit more complicated than that though, understandably, it’s the argument that Greens & RISE supporters deploy.

    In 2011, the SNP won all the constituencies in the North East, but still picked up a List MSP, due to getting 53% of the List vote.

    You also say “Scots are getting clued in”, whereas the evidence suggests that Scots already are clued in (as much as any electorate ever is on any system!).

    For many smaller party supporters they can (and apparently do) vote tactically with their constituency vote, and then make a judgment (or guess) as to whether voting for their preferred party on the List will produce a specific outcome in their region.

    However, the trend over the last few elections has been for supporters of the big party, and its two much smaller opponents, has been to avoid split-ticket voting.

  15. Realizing I have often been berated for cross-comparing elections on this site and noting that we are still two months out from E-Day I am wondering if these polls hold true if the Conservatives will be able to hold onto either Ayr or Galloway and West Dumfries given the tightness of the race in the 2015 UK election for the Conservatives in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale of only 798 votes over the SNP.

    Further when I compare the Liberal Democrat results in Orkney and Shetland in 2011 and look at the Orkney and Shetland results in the UK election in 2015 that only gave the Liberal Democrats 817 votes more than the SNP, I again wonder if the LD can hang onto these seats in 2016.

    As for the Greens their strongest support in the 2015 UK election was in Glasgow and Edinburgh, so I am wondering whether they could take a second seat on the Lothian list.

    Elsewhere I have already indicated that they might obtain single seats on the Highlands and Islands list and Mid-Scotland and Fife.

    I am also wondering if the Greens will make further gains in the local elections in 2017.

    Looking at the opinion polls in 2011 list support for the SNP was severely underestimated, while that for Labour, the LD and Greens was overestimated.

    Given that the SNP now has a majority in the Scottish Parliament, the question might become in voters minds who do we want as opposition.

  16. @Rob

    I don’t think it’s a stupid system at all. The FPTP vote allows you to have a “local” representative and the list vote allows people like my in laws (Tory voters in a Lab/SNP battleground) to get some representation that reflects their political position. Best of both worlds IMO.

  17. @Rob

    I wish England has the same voting system as Scotland.

    There’s nowt as daft as FPTP thi knows….

  18. Well,storage taDes are pretty daft. And as for these new taxes on vapes…

  19. Storage taxes. (TaDes are perfectly sensible…)

  20. (Having just googled tades, it might be that some interpretations are questionable on the sensible front…)

  21. Good evening all from rural Hampshire.

    ANDY SHADRACK

    Orkney and Shetland are probably the two hardest constituencies in Scotland to try and predict what way they will go for Holyrood.

    At Westminster both islands groups are represented by one seat where at Holyrood they form two separate seats.
    In 2011 the Orkney result was very close between the SNP and Libs and on Shetland the Lib/Dems went vote went down quite a bit but both seats had strong independent candidates who took a lot of the Lib/Dems vote.

    Despite the SNP (according to polls) snapping up everything from St Kilda to Tasmania I still think both islands seats will remain Lib/Dem because as I said before the 2011 result was partly skewed by independents standing and taking a lot of the Lib vote.

  22. Until the SNP is no longer seen as batting for Scotland (whether they actually are or not) then I can’t see anyone else seriously challenging them. Perhaps a new party could do it, they would be aided by the PR system there. But I wouldn’t bet on that.

    Whilst all the other possible contenders have roots in Westminister, they’re not really going to get far.

  23. ROB

    The Scottish PR system allows smaller parties such as Scottish Labour to be properly represented as a proportion of the electorate who voted for them otherwise they would be currently sitting with 16 seats instead of 37.

    Mind you Labour did complain about the list system in 2007 when the SNP won by 1 seat and most of it’s members were from the list despite Labour taking the vast majority of FPTP seats.

    Labour went through the entire 2007-2011 parliament feeling aggrieved that under PR they would had a majority.

  24. If the UK adopted Scotland’ s electoral system we’d need far larger constituencies.

    Alternatively, if the Scottish model was applied across the UK we could have about 1,600 MPs.

  25. Britain Elects [email protected] 3h3 hours ago
    Scottish Parliament, February projection:
    SNP: 72 (+3)
    LAB: 25 (-12)
    CON: 18 (+3)
    GRN: 8 (+6)
    LDEM: 6 (+1)
    SNP majority.
    (Feb. VI averages)

  26. @ Allan Christie

    Thanks for the explanation of Orkney and Shetland, I had noticed the size of the “Independent” candidate vote.

    With regard Britain Elects, if these numbers hold up through March some voters may indeed use there list vote to ensure there is a sizable opposition in the Parliament.

    In effect Labour are going to be reduced to holding about 19% of the seats which is pretty close to their FPTP support.

  27. @Sine

    “I don’t think AW will take too kindly to you almost rubbishing his wonderful UK Polling site.
    Just saying!”

    ————-

    Now, now Sine, don’t be stirring!! (Btw, studying the polling of other countries is perfectly legitimate and is a way of illuminating What’s going on with our systems by comparing with others.)

  28. ANDY SHADRACK

    The beauty about PR is that it ensures there will always be a sizable opposition but unlike in England (Westminster) the opposition in Scotland has fragmented into two and a bit parties.

  29. CARFREW

    “Now, now Sine, don’t be stirring!! (Btw, studying the polling of other countries is perfectly legitimate and is a way of illuminating What’s going on with our systems by comparing with others.)”
    ________

    Absolutely and I often comment on the polls in North Korea. :-)

  30. @ Andy Shadrack at 7.33

    Galloway and West Dumfries is entirely (I think; if not, it’s almost so) within the Westminster constituency of Dumfries and Galloway, where Richard Arkless (SNP) has a majority of 6,514.

    The neighbouring constituency (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) where David Mundell scraped in is split between several Holyrood constituencies, of which the most vulnerable theoretically is Dumfriesshire, currently held by Labour.

    I shall be surprised if the Tories lose all 3 of the constituencies they hold now in South of Scotland, and not very surprised if they hold them all.

    I think you are right that they might hold Ayr, where John Scott may have a personal vote; I also expect them to hang on in Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire – their MSP there stood for Westminster and lost by a mere 328 votes in a seat that had been held by the LDs. The most likely SNP gain is, in my opinion, G & WD, where Alex Fergusson is retiring and the SNP candidate is Aileen McLeod, a minister in the SG.

    Whether the Tories can beat both Labour and the SNP in Dumfriesshire, where the SNP candidate is Joan McAlpine, a list MSP with a high profile, and the Tory is Mundell Junior, remains to be seen. Elaine Murray may have personal support and incumbency in her favour.

  31. How odd – exactly 24 hours between my post and the previous one here!

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