There are two Scottish polls in Sunday’s newspapers – Panelbase for the Sunday Times and Survation for the Sunday Post. Voting intention figures, with changes since the general election in 2015, are below:

Panelbase/S Times – SNP 44%(-6), CON 33%(+18), LAB 13%(-11), LDEM 5%(-3)
Survation/S Post – SNP 43%(-7), CON 28%(+13), LAB 18%(-6), LDEM 9%(+1)

The two polls have very similar shares for the SNP – still showing a large lead, but not at the heights they enjoyed in the 2015 election. Both polls show a major increase in Conservative support, putting them in clear second place (though the scale of that increase differs). Both show Labour sharply down, though against the scale differs – Survation have Labour losing a quarter of their support since 2015, Panelbase almost half of it.

The polls appear to be continuing a trend we saw at the Scottish Parliament election last year – the Conservatives gradually taking over the mantle of being the main opposition party to the SNP. My own best guess of what is going on is that we’re seeing Scottish politics increasingly become something where the main cleavage is Independence vs Unionism (rather than the normal economic and class cleavages that have dominated British politics), with the SNP and the Conservatives the main flagbearers of the two sides.

Anyway, that aside, what would these sorts of figures mean in terms of seats at the general election? The Survation poll would represent a 10 point swing from SNP to Conservative, the Panelbase poll a 12 point swing. Looking down the SNP defence list, these would see the Conservatives take 7 to 9 seats from the SNP: Berwickshire, Renfrewshire East, Dumfries & Galloway, Aberdeenshire West, Aberdeen South, Perth & Perthshire North, Moray – perhaps East Lothian & Edinburgh South West. On the Panelbase poll the Tories would also take Edinburgh South from Labour.

Of course that’s just a uniform swing. In reality the vote won’t be so evenly spread – for example, in his write up for the Sunday Times John Curtice notes how the Conservative increase in support is almost static amongst Scottish Remain voters, it’s concentrated almost entirely among those who voted for Brexit, so we may see a larger swing in more Brexity areas (all of Scotland voted Remain of course, but there are larger Brexit minorities in places like the Borders and the North East than in highly Remain places like Edinburgh). It will also be interesting to see if there is an across the board increase for the Tories, or if in practice Unionist voters are willing to vote tactically for the most viable Unionist candidate in their area.

74 Responses to “Panelbase and Survation Scottish polls”

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  1. There is something odd about the GE15 election weighting in Survation
    If I remove the 26 can’t remember or refused its 788 with 350 voting SNP that’s 44.4 % as opposed to actual GE vote of almost 50%.

    Is there something I am missing?

  2. The independence question in Survation is their normal 47% Yes 53% No

  3. Couper2802 – I don’t think it’s weighted by 2015 general election vote, it’s weighted by 2016 Holyrood vote.

  4. @AW

    Thanks. I suppose it is always better to weigh according to most recent election.

  5. @Richard – Thanks for the Hanretty link. He puts out good analysis. That post confirms the thoughts I raised on another post with Farron’s stated strategy and the likely consequences. 1983 on steroids.

    @ProfHoward – you’re right my disdainful comment on his speech was not in the spirit of the policy.

  6. Couper2802 – I think it’s much of a muchness to be honest. One can equally argue that it’s better to weight to the last election to the same body (especially back when people voted very differently in Holyrood and Westminster electons). The actual impact on topline results though probably isn’t massive.

    The mythical perfectly representative sample would, of course, have the correct-ish recall for both elections. And the Indyref. And the EU ref.

  7. This election risks being the most monumentally boring one in history.

  8. @clouseau
    same as gerry adams is more relevant in NI whereas in the republic the main two parties ignore him, and there are other examples in europe, like the german speaking party in northern Italy near the border with Austria,which basically rules everything in that territory.
    So nationalist parties might benefit more from devolved powers rather than independence, including the SNP.

  9. FYI: I am posting Scottish material on the Scots thread and not here.

  10. Sorry about my last post. Ignore it.

    Any views on Perth and North Perthshire, the constituency of the central Scotland town of Blairgowrie.

    Would I be right to suspect that the Scottish Tories seem still too far behind to be serious here?


    I cannot see the SNP member Pete Wishart losing this seat.

    He was a personality in his own right as a member of the well known (in Scotland) band Runrig before his very narrow election with 30% of the vote in 2001.

    Every election since then he has increased his % vote 34%, 40%, 50.5% in 2015.

    He is also a master at maximising the anti-Tory vote and that should see him through another election no matter the general swing to the Tories.

    This seat will only be a serious prospect for the Tories when Wishart retires, or perhaps after independence :-)

  12. @ProfHoward

    Perth & North Perthshire is down to move from SNP to Con but Pete Wishart had 50% of the vote and probably has enough of the personal vote to come through. Although the Tories are standing an MEP.

    The Labour and LibDem vote is squeezed so there would have to be enough direct Conservative to SNP switchers to matter, with only 6% of SNP switching to Tory in Survation it seems unlikely. And Perth was 61% Remain so in short I think Pete will hang on

  13. As always, John Curtice is worth reading on Scottish polling.

    “At the same time, however, the new Conservative/SNP duopoly that may be emerging looks as though it could also reflect to some degree the different perspectives in Scotland about what its future relationship with the EU should be. And then, of course, there is also the long-standing difference the parties that one is on the centre-left, the other on the centre-right. Whoever thought that devolution would usher in an era of ‘consensus politics’?”

    That’s consensus in the sense that, as people leap over fault lines, each of the two dominant parties are clustered around a common core of attitudes –

    SNP – left of centre : pro independence : pro EU/Single Market

    SCon – right wing : pro UK Union : anti European Union.

  14. couper2802

    Yes, that seems to make sense. I don’t think its going to be possible to see many switches where SNP had over say 45% of the vote in 2015 and surely none where that figure was 50%.

  15. SNP – left right (2): UK (2) : EU (2)
    Con – left right (4): UK (1) : EU (4).
    Lab – left right (1): UK (1): EU (3)
    Lib – left right (3): UK (1): EU (1)

    SNP – the party of 2s.

  16. Survations Scottish voting intentions for Westminster Glasgow sample of the poll SNP 45% Tories 24.1% Labour 19.1% LibDems 7.7% Other 4.1%

    When were the Tories last second potentially in Glasgow?

  17. “When were the Tories last second potentially in Glasgow?”

    I think you would have to back to the 1990s or even 1980s.

  18. BobinNorfolk (from other thread)

    “Survations Scottish voting intentions for Westminster Glasgow sample of the poll SNP 45% Tories 24.1% Labour 19.1% LibDems 7.7% Other 4.1%

    Surely not!!”

    Why are you surprised? That’s only a couple of points higher than the Scottish average VI for the SNP.

  19. “When were the Tories last second potentially in Glasgow?”

    I looked it up: they were second in 1984 council election in terms of vote share, and never regained that.

  20. @couper2802

    ‘re Moray it’s interesting that the Tories have selected Ross as their candidate, not a choice which will make it easier for the Tories to win the seat you would think.

  21. BobinNorfolk

    Ah! It was the Tory VI that surprised you.

    It really shouldn’t.

    There may be less of them now, but that element of Unionism (strongly influenced by Northern Ireland) still exists. For many years, as the SNP rose to prominence, the Orange Lodge urged its members and supporters to vote tactically against the SNP – and in most cases that meant voting Labour. It didn’t, however, mean “being” Labour, and, obligingly SLab largely picked very conservative candidates for them to vote for.

    For that element (I think the numbers are unknowable) voting for a party that declaims Unionism as its core value, is a much more natural position.

    Richard also pointed us to the BES study that suggests that a proportion of pro-indy voters are also pro-Brexit and likely to vote to see that brought about.

    SLab was also the preferred choice for many middle class public sector workers – SLab protected their interests.

    As Slab becomes increasingly irrelevant (without power it can do nothing for anybody) then other motivations will push people to SNP or SCon.

    It was always a mistake to assume that (even in the late 20th century) that “voting Labour” necessarily meant the same thing in Glasgow and Goole.

  22. What I ask myself is whether the rise of the Scottish Tories is due to Hard Brexit v Soft Brexit or Unionism v Nationalism.

    Which is it?

  23. I am inclined to think that Labour is stronger in the long run than some of these analyses suggest. In a world of capitalist forces there is always a role for a party that tries to lessen their adverse impacts.

  24. Can’t help wondering what happens if Conservatives make manifesto promise to hold a Scottish independence referendum after UK departure from the EU has been agreed and ratified? Could have sworn I saw a report speculating on this, but I haven’t been able to find it again

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