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:

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

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. Neilj,

    A 10% difference between current SNP support and the Yes vote doesn’t mean 90% support Independence. As a percentage 45 works out about 80% of 55. Somewhere between 80-90% seems right and I think 86% was quoted above.

    What we can’t tell is if supporters of other Party’s who voted Yes have since been part of the rise of SNP members and vote.

    It may be that some of the 35%+ Labour voters who said they voted Yes when Labour was polling over 30% now see themselves as SNP voters explaining why Labour are on closer to 20%.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if currently 80% of SNP and 20% of Labour supported Independence which between them would be about 47% Yes.


  2. Peter, sorry then, I misunderstood when you said

    Peter [email protected]
    ‘On the question of “How many vote SNP but not for Independence” I’d say 10% right now. The SNP are polling 55% for Holyrood and got 45% in the referendum. As they said on the Apprentice… “It’s hardly Rocket Surgery”

  3. Neilj,

    It’s about 10% of voters, but as to the actual make up of the that 10%, SNP,s 55% and the Yes 45% well that’s just guesswork and it will be subject to change and churn over time!

    If you go back and look at the referendum polling and the Holyrood polls in the archive they both often give both Party and referendum crossbreaks.

    Me, given the difficulty of getting a reliable figure, 10% is a decent rough guide.



    “I guess I didn’t stay up but I did take the evening and afternoon off to watch the results.”


    Interesting reading your perspective on the matter. From this side of the pond, on the one hand it all seems to be lining up for Hilary vs Trump, but it doesn’t seem that convincing, as if events could still play a part and throw a curved ball…

    Don’t worry about Oldnat, it’s just that Scotland doesn’t feature very heavily in your elections, so his interest is naturally quelled…

  5. Trump has practically the whole of the Republican establishment against him, so every time he wins it’s a slap in the face for them .To be fair the fewer endorsements he gets the better for him. Being endorsed by Sarah Palin is a blow for him but I suspect he’ll recover.

  6. I wonder if unionists kick themselves over the Vow. Imagine if they had held their nerve so the independence referendum was Independence v Status Quo. There would have been no Smith Commission, no Scotland Bill, no holding Westminster’s feet to the fire.

    What galvanised the SNP support in the immediate aftermath of the referendum was the promise of more powers: ‘we may have lost the referendum but we were going to gain something from it, and the way to do that was to support the SNP’

    So now Scotland is moving slowly towards independence, once Scots are paying their income tax to Holyrood and benefits are paid by Holyrood the ties will be loosened further. I imagine that the re-negotiation of the fiscal framework in 6 years time after the election of another Tory government is the SNPs planned timing of the second referendum. (although they probably have a few others)

    But unionist must wonder if they’d played things differently Scotland would probably have still voted No & SNP probably wouldn’t have surged to the extent they did, they could have kept usable powers to Holyrood to a minimum and even reduced Holyrood powers and integrated Scotland back into the UK.

    Of course they might have lost the referendum and that was a risk they did not take. So we’ll never know

  7. SoCalLiberal – “There seems to be enough anti-Trump sentiment out there to possibly prevent him from winning enough Delegates”

    According to the following website

    Trump has 293 delegates – but all his opponents (including those who have dropped out) have a total of 296.

    I think the Republicans don’t go winner takes all till March 15th when Florida and Ohio are contested. Rubio will try to take Florida and Kasich ohio. If they can get enough delegates to deny Trump his victory, then I understand it’s a brokered convention.

    Do you know if the brokered convention has to nominate someone who has been in the race, or could an outside white knight scoop all the delegates in a deal?

  8. ” could an outside white knight scoop all the delegates in a deal?”

    I am not sure Darth Vader is available or a born American!

  9. @Peter Cairns (SNP)

    “I am not sure Darth Vader is available or a born American!”

    His voice is, so maybe they could just go with that

  10. @Alec

    “A genocidal fascist” ? You must have been disguising your true nature remarkably well.

    As for EU, I will lurk on this site awaiting your wise words. In the end I guess people will vote on the basis of ‘gut feeling’. My gut feeling is that we are better off getting on with things in as stable a situation as we can manage rather than throwing everything up in the air and probably destabilizing our closest trading partners as well as ourselves.

    The lorry driver I was chatting to the other day was going to vote out on the basis that the EU was run by Germany and to stay in would be to betray dead soldiers. Neither his attitude nor mine seems very measured to me and if you are pondering I suspect that you are among the very small number of rational people (and in no way a genocidal fascist)

  11. @ Old Nat

    Might the Greens pick up some of the list votes that previously went to Margo McDonald?

    And given that the head of their list in the Highlands and Islands broke with SNP over NATO membership might that not factor in as well?

    Technically 6% is within or close to the margin of error for 4.37% in 2011, but 9%, if it were true, is double that and above their best result of 6.9% in 2003.

    In that election they took 2 seats in Lothian, I in Highland & Islands, 1 in Glasgow, 1 in Mid Scotland and Fife, 1 in North East Scotland and 1 in South Scotland.

    @ Social Liberal

    Yes, the former Senator from New York and former Secretary of State eked out a narrow victory of 17,240 votes over Sanders in Massachussets (at last count).

    Colorado has been solidly Democrat since 2008, in the Presidential race, and has a significant Latino population.

    So while Clinton is nearly half way towards her required delegate count to take the nomination, I’ll stick to my observation that she is not exciting either the youth or the liberal “left within” the Democratic Party.

    Trump has 316 delegates to every other candidates combined 365, but Rubio and Cruz appear too stupid to figure out that one of them needs to drop out to stop Trump.

    One could be the running mate of the other, and I just do not understand by Carson and Kasich are still in the race.

  12. @ Candy

    I can be corrected on this but I believe the Republican rules require a nominated Presidential candidate to have won at least four states.

    So far only Trump has done that, followed by Cruz with three, Rubio 1 and Kasich 1.

    Cruz is the closest to crossing that line, but I understand the Republican establishment hate Cruz almost as much as the hate Trump.

  13. ” could an outside white knight scoop all the delegates in a deal?”

    Technically not at the moment as on the Republican side at least there is a requirement that in a ‘contested’ or brokered convention the presidential nominee must be drawn from the existing runners and riders.

    But… the rule making committee of the GOP, as Byzantine body as you are ever likely to find, whose members often admit to not understanding their own fantastically complex regulations, meet the week before the convention and could ‘manage’ the situation to achieve an outcome more favourable to the one that might face them at that point.

    There may already by some potential trouble ahead as there is a current regulation that the presidential nominee must have a majority of support in eight states. At present no Republican has managed a majority in any selection contest, all having been won with a plurality.

    Those wondering why no ABTrump candidate seems keen to pull out at this stage possibly underestimate the routes to the nomination that still exist within the GOP.

    In some ways if both Rubio and Cruz can contain Trump in different ways and different places – particularly in the ‘winner takes all states’ – and between them prevent him from gaining a majority in any single state, there is much more to play for should he miss the requisite total number of seats.

    And the prize? The last successful nominee for president selected at a brokered convention? FDR.

  14. @ Andy S

    “I can be corrected on this but I believe the Republican rules require a nominated Presidential candidate to have won at least four states.”

    As per my post above, the GOP rules – specifically a subsection of rule 40 – are much tighter: a majority in 8 states.

    Notwithstanding this, there are 35 states to go and the Republicans can change their convention rules with (relative) ease up to the eve of the event.

  15. @Andy S

    “So while Clinton is nearly half way towards her required delegate count to take the nomination, I’ll stick to my observation that she is not exciting either the youth or the liberal “left within” the Democratic Party.”

    This may well be true, but exactly the same could be said of Senator Sanders and his relationship with black and hispanic voters and other key Democrat constituencies.

  16. OLDNAT
    “Good evening from North Carolina, after enjoying a warm and sunny day.
    First time I’ve been in the USA for Super Tuesday – so I’m celebrating by not watching any TV, other than the Daily show”

    Good evening from central London.

    First time I’ve been in Hampshire (yesterday) for Super Tuesday and I’m talking of the Celtic one showing the SNP’s massive lead in both polls.

    If you see the Donald give him a high five fae me.

  17. @Andy Shadrack

    Cue Von Papen and Schleicher.

  18. WOLF
    “Trump has practically the whole of the Republican establishment against him, so every time he wins it’s a slap in the face for them .To be fair the fewer endorsements he gets the better for him. Being endorsed by Sarah Palin is a blow for him but I suspect he’ll recover”

    Yes being endorsed by Palin must had been a cringe moment for Trump but thankfully my Uncle, Chris Christie, came to his rescue and Trumped Palin’s endorsement.

    It’s now looking like a Trump Clinton race for president and my money and hope is for a Trump victory.

  19. @Assiduosity


    Just checked, Trump narrowly missed a majority in Massachusetts – he got 49.27% of the vote. His next best was Nevada – 45.91%

    So the strategy you mention of splitting the vote is working…

  20. “my money and hope is for a Trump victory.”

    Then smoothly on to Armageddon!


  21. Evening from Royal Deeside, where I’m in a cabin in the woods dogsitting for a week.

    Got a leaflet through the door from the Scottish Tories, not that you’d know it at first glance. It’s very much focused on Ruth Davidson and in a pleasant light blue – not that I blame them, really.

    Content was mainly focused on Unionist voters rather than policy terms, and seemed to be pitching to be seen as the opposition to the SNP rather than a viable option for government. Again, realistic on their part.

    I’ve been more focused on running my friend’s SU Presidential campaign, which seems to be going well. If only real politics involved homemade signs and T-shirts.

  22. @Peter Cairns

    Re: Armageddon…

    Oh, so did I guess right then? Last time we talked of the Apocalypse on the board I think it might have involved tell-tale signs involving the LibDems. It’s all a bit of a blur… There are many apocalypses…

  23. @MrNameless

    “If only real politics involved homemade signs and T-shirts…”


    That’s clearly far too professional and highbrow. Real politics involves being stuck on zip wires, bacon sandwiches, and other porcine adventures…

  24. They are still showing me those tobacco ads. But in the Times today, they are talking about the EU treating vapes like tobacco for tax purposes.

    Which, you know, is just effing crazy…

    Apparently vapes have helped 20,000 people give up tobacco. I was one of them. One despairs. They should be subsidising nicotine replacements frankly, it’s absurd that boxes of nicotine chuddy typically cost around a tenner.

    “my money and hope is for a Trump victory.”
    “Then smoothly on to Armageddon!”

    Not from where I’m looking…Clinton wants to continue to antagonize the Russian’s and Chinese with Obama’s aggressive expansionism policy.

    Trump on the other hand wants the USA to have less interference in the World so when you talk of “Armageddon” , well in Clinton’s case it comes in a frock.

    Sorry Pete but the tide is turning on the Hawks.

  26. Allan,

    Yeah Clinton will antagonise the Chinese, with her lack of support for action against Chinese currency manipulation, while Bejing will be jumping for joy at Trumps plan for a 45% tariff on Chinese goods.

    And just how exactly is “bombing the hell out of Isis” and getting the Chinese to remove the leader of North Korea, less interference in the World.

    Still we can’t have someone antagonising the Russians just because they annexed the Crimea!


  27. Is there a good reason why either of them might not herald the Apocalypse?…

  28. @Candy

    That’s right. No majorities on the Republican side. Plenty for ‘Secretary Clinton’, though there is no such requirement on the Democratic recipient to receive such an endorsement.

    Apparently the rule was passed as part of a ‘pacification strategy’ by the GOP high command to reduce the chances of errant candidates clinching the nomination or even causing trouble at the coronation, sorry, convention.

    The best laid plans….


    “And just how exactly is “bombing the hell out of Isis” and getting the Chinese to remove the leader of North Korea, less interference in the World.
    Still we can’t have someone antagonising the Russians just because they annexed the Crimea”

    Most people including Trump are up for kicking Isis but removing the Dear Leader? Why should the Chinese remove the hermit cult personality in North Korea? What comes next?

    You see this regime removal policy does not work and only causes wider conflicts. Assad was correct when he said many years ago that if Syria falls then it will open up a right ole can of worms, well Syria hasn’t quite fallen yet but thankfully the Russian’s are there in Syria to help keep the integrity of the “state” together and unfortunately that means Assad remaining in some shape or form.

    As far as Crimea is concerned, I don’t remember seeing riots on the streets when they voted to rejoin Russia and in fact it was quite the opposite.

    Join in..

    “Is there a good reason why either of them might not herald the Apocalypse?”

    Who knows but certainly of all the candidates standing Trump is the less aggressive when it comes to American foreign policy which has an impact on all of us.

    Domestically Trump is Americas problem.

  31. For some of you I guess it is ok to have former Klu Klux Klan leader, David Duke, endorse Trump and the have Trump say he knew nothing about it.

    Neville Chamberlain also thought he had made a deal at Munich in 1938, turned out he was wrong to.

  32. To be honest I wonder if Trump isn’t really a bit of a blank page on foreign policy (like much else).

    I imagine he’s the sort of person who shouts abuse at the TV screen from time to time, but doesn’t really grasp the complexities of pretty much any foreign policy issue.

    That means that as a president he would probably be extremely pliable and dependent on his advisors. In that sense a bit like George W Bush, elected on a moderate, isolationist and fairly blatantly ignorant foreign policy platform. Bush then threw his lot in with Neo-Conservatives, who seized on 9/11 to realize a long held ambition towards international activism. What Trump would do largely depends on who he listens to.

    I very much doubt that he will be president though. I think it’s Clinton #2 on the cards. I’m OK with that, although not a fan. At least she’s intelligent, and experienced. She is more likely to choose sensible advisors, and more likely to overrule any stupid schemes they hatch. US domestic policy will be gridlocked of course, but that’s nothing new.

  33. I am very much of the Left re-most policy issues and would normally be inclined to Vote Remain in the EU referendum. I have to say, however, that I am so repelled at the Project Fear campaign being peddled by the Government – so reminiscent of the 2015 Tory election campaign – that I am now leaning to voting for Brexit. The dishonesty of the Remain campaign is so blatant and shows such contempt fot the intelligence of the electorate that I have no wish to see Cameron’s tactics rewarded. It was so good to see Andrew Tyrie bring Stuart Rose down a few pegs today when the latter appeared before Select Committee!

  34. @ Neil A

    So was John Kennedy an intelligent man, but it did not stop him from approving the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba – that probably later cost him his life.

  35. I see that Pedro Sanchez’s attempt to become Prime Minister was defeated 130 votes to 219 with one abstention. There will be a second vote that does not require an absolute majority on March 4th, and then I guess it is back to an election in Spain sometime in June.

  36. How intelligent was Kennedy really? His books and speeches were written for him. He owed his position very largely to the great advantages of an elitist background.

  37. Was it just a couple of rogue polls a fortnight ago that showed the Tories ahead of Labour in Scotland then?

  38. @NeilA

    “What Trump would do largely depends on who he listens to.”

    And what happens in the wider world.

    For all that the title ‘The Leader of the Free World’ is a misnomer, America, for good or bad, still has the ability to project power in a way that no other country can compare with – when it is inclined to do so.

    Ultimately, it may be perceptions of Trump’s unpredictability were an existential crisis to arise that may be his undoing. Shooting from the hip at the hustings is one thing, doing the same from the deck of Air Force One quite another.

    If the race comes down to Trump v Clinton, for all her own chequered history, and perceived hawkishness, ‘security in an unstable world’ and persona befitting ‘the chief of staff’ are sure to feature prominently in Hilary’s messaging.

    Not sure the extent to which others here have been following the US polling around Super Tuesday, but I find fascinating the amount of weight given to the secondary questions and the profiling of voters.

    Obviously this is in part a function of ‘market researching the product’, determining which candidate is likely to fare best amongst the wider electorate. But the level of focus on income, educational background, health and employment of the supporters is striking.

    Likewise the contrast between the vast majority of Democrat primary voters who say they favour experience in a candidate, as opposed to the equally overwhelming majority of Republicans primary voters who want ‘an outsider to shake things up’ is startling to say the least.

    In part this would seem to be a reflection of GOP party loyalists wanting change after 8 years of a Democratic presidency, but is there also a disjuncture here between what active Republican primary and caucus participants want and what the bulk of mainstream Republican voters would actually vote for?

    Do mainstream, small ‘c’ conservative (in the British sense) Republicans really want to vote for an unpredictable candidate with little or no experience? Or will they be indifferent to a Trump in part elected by a groundswell plurality of the newly registered…?

    One can see – in psephological terms – why the Democrats might set so much store by a candidate who can reach across not only their own interest groups, but also to moderate Republicans, who are clearly not voting for Trump in their droves.

  39. @Graham

    Are we talking Jack or Bobby (or indeed Ted).

    Three rather different characters and intellects.

  40. I was referring to JFK.

  41. Andy Shadrack – “So was John Kennedy an intelligent man, but it did not stop him from approving the Bay of Pigs fiasco in Cuba – that probably later cost him his life.”

    Wasn’t he on drugs a lot of the time which impaired his judgement, I think Lord David Owen did a book about it.

    We already know what a Clinton administration would be like because the world has already experienced one. Mrs C was Bill’s biggest adviser and he will be her biggest adviser.

    They were very reluctant to get involved in any foreign escapade. Blair had to practically drag them into Kosovo and they only agreed to aerial bombardment, no ground troops.

    As far as I can tell Mrs C only started sounding hawkish to counter the “is a woman tough enough” thing. Remember that picture that was released of Obama, Hillary and other senior people in the Oval Office when they were watching Osama bin Laden being killed? Obama was looking stony but Hillary had her hand to her mouth, and she got a lot of flak for that, such a female reaction.

    I think if she is president on her own with Bill by her side, they’ll revert back to how they were – calculating whether war hurts them or hinders them (in the first Clinton presidency they calculated that it would hurt them with their base and stayed well clear, and the calculation will likely be the same again).

  42. @Allan Christie

    I suppose, to be fair to Peter, he might mean an economic Armageddon. Which might then lead to summat more. Personally, just think it’s best to assume the worst regardless of who gets elected…

  43. CANDY

    I hope you’re right and ole Bill keeps her on the leash should she win


    Yes when it comes to American politics it is best to assume the worst regardless who wins. The last couple of presidents have made a heck of a mess around the World so I don’t envy the job of the next one trying to repair the damage.

    If Clinton wins then lets hope she finds the funds to buy another reset button for Sergey Lavrov.

  44. @Allan Christie

    I expect she was the one who kept Bill on a leash back in the day… The only time she’s had genuine influence was in Bill’s presidency. In Obama’s presidency she was just a staff appointee who carried out the president’s wishes (much like Colin Powell carried out Dubya’s).

  45. Polltroll

    “Was it just a couple of rogue polls a fortnight ago that showed the Tories ahead of Labour in Scotland then?”

    The only Scottish poll showing Tories (marginally) ahead of Lab was YouGov on 1/2 Feb.

    The others were Westminster VI crossbreaks from GB polls conducted on a weighting methodology which seem to increase Con VI at the expense of Lab – suitable for a GB wide poll, trying to find elusive Tories in the English shires.

  46. Well it looks as if the SNP are 6-10% more support than they did in 2011. This seems to have come mainly from Labour, with a little squeezed out of the Conservatives and LD’s. Not that the latter had that much to take: most of that went in 2011. The SNP lead has not been less than 29% in the last 6 months. If they don’t win an increased majority, well I’ll buy a hat and eat it.

    As for the situation in Ireland: I believe there’s only one seat left to win in Longford-Westmeath, but apparently there’s only 2 votes between 2 candidates… hence the difficulties. Already lawyers are being called upon. None of this will make any difference to the result (complicated, to put it mildly) but the lawyers won’t be sad.

  47. @Allan Christie

    I tend to assume the worst of all of ’em. I mean, what with storage taxes, oil price comedies, and the latest news from the EU about taxing vapes… There’s no shortage of reasons to assume Armageddon everywhere you look.

    Said in the papers peeps are gonna have to work into their mid-seventies, maybe longer if they do a degree??!!! ** On the bright side, just got back in from a club which was a pleasant enough time…

    ** obviously boomers are exempt, so no need to panic…

  48. If it is Trump against Clinton I expect a comfortable Clinton win. Trump will get little support in the Hispanic community and Clinton has much of the Black vote locked in.
    Also while Trump has a loyal following he is very much a marmite politician, I think people will vote for Clinton, even if they have to hold their noses, just to stop Trump

  49. Beneath Hillary Clinton’s Super Tuesday Wins, Signs of Turnout Trouble:

    “Democratic turnout has fallen drastically since 2008, the last time the party had a contested primary, with roughly three million fewer Democrats voting in the 15 states that have held caucuses or primaries through Tuesday, according to unofficial election results tallied through Wednesday afternoon.

    It declined in almost every state, dropping by roughly 50 percent in Texas and 40 percent in Tennessee. In Arkansas, Alabama and Georgia, the number of Democrats voting decreased by between a quarter and a third.”

  50. @ Keith P

    In 2011 all the pollsters underestimated SNP support by 2%-4% in the constituencies and 6%-8% in the list vote.

    Have the pollsters adjusted for that error this time?

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