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. “My own best guess of what is going on is that we’re seeing Scottish politics increasingly become something where the main cleavege 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”

    AW: this can explain the shift from Lab to Con but this surely cannot explain the drop in SNP support? The drop in SNP support seems a very new thing, but striking that both polls here show it happening.

  2. Hard to believe the LibDem vote could be down from 2015. The Survation poll therefore rings truer for me

  3. Drop in SNP support partly Brexiteers but perhaps also Scottish Brendas who are just fed up with change and uncertainty. Differential turnout could be a story

  4. Observer:

    What is a Scottish Brenda? Sorry I have not heard that expression before.

  5. The slight advantage this gives the SNP is that there is unlikely to be tactical voting when Labour/LibDem are so weak. So, for example John Nicholson’s East Dunbartonshire seat looked vulnerable to LibDems but now on a large Tory swing it could go Tory, which means Tory’s unlikely to vote LibDem probably giving John a better chance of holding on. Similarly for Stephen Getthins in North East Fife. & And Michele Thomson’s seat in Edinburgh West (Remain Area) & Stuart Donaldson in Aberdeenshire West

    Angus Robertson could be in trouble in Moray but he is likely to be able to rely on a large personal so again likely to keep seat. Similarly Pete Wishart in Perth & North Perthshire.

    Joanna Cherry is probably OK in Edinburgh South West given It’s a large Remain area.

    The 2 border seats – Dumfries and Galloway Richard Arkness & Calum Kerr in Berwick are probably the most vulnerable.

    Calumn McCaig in Aberdeenshire South & Stuart Donaldson in Stirling – not sure if there is enough encumbent effect.

    Also question over whether Ian Murray’s seat will go SNP or Tory but as very Remain area my guess is SNP.

    So my prediction at this early stage I will probably update when campaign gets into full swing

    Tories – 6 seats
    LibDems – 1
    SNP – 53
    Labour – 0

    I think the SNP will to an extent harness the anti-Tory vote during the campaign. The Greens not mentioned in the reported VI but whatever it is they will swing behind SNP in the GE.

    Prediction of %

    Conservative 30%
    SNP 46%
    Labour 14%
    LibDems 7%

  6. @Howard
    Re Brenda

    Look up Bristol Brenda on you tube (no- it’s nothing pornographic!)
    all will become clear..
    You’re welcome!

  7. Sorry that adds up to 60 – revised (already) predictions

    SNP 46
    Con 30
    Lab 14
    LibDem 7

    SNP 52
    Cons 6
    LibDem 1
    Labour 0

    On the dynamics of what’s going on – the party’s are fighting council elections so VI is a bit unreliable at the moment and the GE dynamics haven’t really kicked in.

    I have little doubt Conservative’s will get around 30% as most underlying polling questions have pointed to that for some months i.e. Brexit good, May approval etc

    Voters will understand that by staying in the U.K. the is no realistic chance of
    1. More devolution/federalism
    2. Left wing or even centrist governments
    3. Stay in EU or even single market

    So choice is unite with right-wing Britain/WM out of EU OR independence within EU or EFTA. Realistically for Teresa May’s vision of Brexit to work trade deals etc true devolution is not really possible. Trade deals have to be for whole U.K.

    So SNP will welcome the polarisation even at the loss of some seats because it takes them nicely to the end game of the union which is and was always going to be SNP v Tory. Up till now Labour have provided the devolutionist, home rule option and barrier to full independence – that is now gone and during this GE campaign voters will notice. In a way it’s a dress rehearsal for the next independence referendum.

  8. @AW

    Can you release my post no idea what triggered mode but it is a perfectly polite and I hope informative post.

  9. @AW

    If you’re around

    A guy from YouGov on BBC Scottish Politics show with Gordon Brewer on Wednesday said YouGov had a Scottish poll in the field. Where is it?

  10. Couper2802
    The poll situation is very little different from the Holyrood election when tactical voting (to a greater degree than in more or less the same seats in 2015) delivered Edinburgh W and NE Fife to the Lib Dems.

    With Swinson fighting Dunbartonshire E again the tactical situation is again very clear (unlike in the Holyrood election).

    If the SNP vote is down 7% the Lib Dems just have to hold their vote from 2015 in Edinburgh W and Dunbarton E. In NE Fife they need a bit more like they got last May

    I agree that in the Highland seats and also the NE seats the Lib Dems used to hold (eg. Gordon) the tactical situation is less clear, and that will help the SNP win again in many cases

  11. @Andrew111

    I take your point East Dunbartonshire, N. E Fife, Edinburgh West & even Aberdeenshire West are good LibDem prospects and I would give them a chance of picking up at least two of them if I thought there would be Tory tactical voting.

    But I don’t think Tories are going to vote tactically.
    The Tory’s will be voting:

    1. Endorse Teresa May
    2. For Brexit means Brexit
    3. No to second independence referendum

    Which are such strong motivations that they will feel their vote counts where ever they live.

    LibDem and Labour will be squeezed between Tories & SNP. I will update my prediction in a couple of weeks once I see how the campaign unfolds.

    The biggest danger for SNP is undoubtedly Moray, SNP can afford to lose 10 or so seats but it would be very difficult for them if they lose their deputy & Westminster leader. Moray has conservatives in second and was the most Leave area so SNP must be worried. (I am)

  12. I now know what a Brenda is and have joined up :)

  13. Brenda is a woman in TV vox pop who said – ‘no not another election noooo too much politics’

  14. I am not sure that Brexit is such a dominant effect in Scotland (but of course I don’t live there, so I fully accept I may be wrong!). The rise in the Tory vote at the expense of Labour and to a lesser extent the Lib Dems (who were already so low!) was in full swing long before the referendum and mostly can be credited to Ruth Davidson, I would have thought? In May 2016 and in Scottish local by-elections Unionist voters showed an enthusiasm for tactical voting and for transfers in STV, so why not now? Most people think Brexit is happening anyway so surely Scottish Independence is the big game still in play N of the border?

    I know the Lib Dems have been hammering Edinburgh Western with leaflets ever since May 2015 and presumably also NE Fife. I imagine the same has been happening in those seats in the locaI elections going into the current campaign.. I do not see much evidence they have been doing that anywhere else, and that may hold them back in Dunbarton E and anywhere N of the Great Glen Fault..

  15. I think Jo Swinson is quite high profile so the E Dumbartonshire seat may be quite hard to call.

  16. The interesting thing is Scotland is win win for the conservatives, they have one seat so if they gain. Otha go there the worst that can happen is the y lose one, if they gain 7 seats it is a bonus to what will probably be modest to significant gains in England.

    Wales is the area I would really liked polled I don’t believe the talk of the conservatives becoming the biggest party there just seems far fetched

  17. @Andrew111

    I take your points it’s just my initial predictions I may revise. LibDems certainly have a good chance in 4-5 seats and it’s very possible they might win a few to add to O&S. At the moment I think the Tory strength depresses LibDem chances.

    The Scottish Election was a very different dynamic – there was SNP voter complacency combined with anti-SNP tactical voting giving Ruth D & Willie Rennie seats but this GE will be very different

  18. @Panther

    There’s a Wales poll due soon

  19. Aberdeenshire West is surely no hope for the Lib Dems, with the Tories already in second. Gordon and the Highland seats are the only places they could possibly mobilise Unionist tactical voting other than the three Midland Valley seats already mentioned. The Borders seats that were once so strong for them do look to have gone for the foreseeable future

  20. There are people whose overriding political priority is to maintain the UK union.
    There are people whose overriding political priority is to leave the EU
    These people in Scotland will vote Conservative.

    There are people whose overriding political priority is independence
    These people in Scotland will vote SNP

    The people whose overriding priority is to stay in the EU are up for grabs. That’s why Willie Rennie LibDem leader tries to undermine SNP EU credentials. I doubt he’ll succeed but that is the LibDems hope they can get the pro-remainers

    There are people whose overriding political priority is anti-Tory these are the people the SNP want.


    I can imagine there could be a bit of buyer’s remorse in the Highlands where the Liberal Democrats are very much the traditional Party of choice… 3 Highland seats plus Orkney and Shetland in 1964 with a national vote share of 11.4%, for example..

  22. @Andrew111

    Sorry I have that completely wrong yes Aberdeenshire West I have as a likely Tory gain.

  23. Surely the local elections due in 10 days time will be something of a guide to the state of the parties in Scotland and I for one would not hazard a prediction until then.
    If the tectonic plates are indeed shifting in favour of the Tories and the local elections bear that out then the momentum behind the Tories may became unstoppable. The reverse is also true. Failure to make many gains could blunt the whole Tory campaign. Bizarrely the Tories may even secretly want the SNP to wreck Labour in its strongholds like Glasgow to reinforce their message that only they can stand up for the Union. Its a funny old world.

    The manner in which the SNP overturned hitherto rock solid Labour majorities with such consummate ease in 2015 should be a lesson to all that predictions based on past performance or results can no longer be trusted. We live in an age where people can switch their vote right across the political spectrum without blinking. Left and Right not withstanding.

    Fascinating times!

  24. Couper2802
    Surely the Scottish Lib Dems are just as pro-Union as the Scottish Tories.

    I think being so pro-Unionist in the Scottish referendum was a huge mistake for the Lib Dems but they have stuck relentlessly to that position ever since. So i don’t see why people in category 1 should not vote Lib Dem. I agree regarding category 2, but the tiny UKIP vote in Scotland shows that there just are not very many of those people N of the Border. Of course Rennie will try to edge out pro-EU SNP voters and the Tories are collecting some pro-Leave SNP supporters..But as I say that battle is in reality over in Scotland with a much bigger battle still being fought.

    In England the Lib Dems can mobilise angry Remainers in places like Cambridge, and I think if they make the argument right there is still a chance to stay in the Single market via an indefinitely extended “transitional arrangement”. I bet May is under a lot of pressure from Tory donors to go for that. But in most places people think the battle is over in England too, and Theresa May has not yet been found out, so will win by default…

  25. “I think the number of postings of cougar 2802 is in direct proportion to the difficulty that NS and the SNP are experiencing. Panic would not be too strong a word.”

    While the context is a little different, the polling for Scotland is a mirror of the polling in England. Except with SCUP around where Labour is in the UK, and SNP where the tories are. And absolutely no one in England is talking about the tories panicking about Labour’s chances!

    The tories are certainly doing very much better than they have in quite some time, but they are hardly looking like a serious contender to taking the SNP’s crown. Indeed (and again with Labour and tory positions swapped) the polling looks very similar for the SNP as it did at the start of the campaign in 2015.

    What we are seeing in Scotland is the hard Unionist (and/or Brexit) base finally consolidating behind one Party. However, Labour and LibDems are always going to be there, and I cant see their vote dropping much further than where it is now. Although, to be fair, I couldn’t see Labour dropping to low teens and they appear to have, so who knows, could they drop lower than 10%?

    However, I don’t think that aspect of the poll is too surprising. I do think the small, but significant, drop in SNP support is much more interesting. Where is it going, and why? I would guess it is the SNP pro-Brexit hardcore that is perhaps switching to the tories, preferring British “independence” to the SNP’s pro-EU position. And I would suggest this is about as far as that transfer can go in terms of vote swing.

    Still, got to be said, it’s first time in many years that SNP supporters will have looked at a poll and felt a wee bit of anxiety.

  26. Post victory reshuffle

    Micheal Gove has been wandering the wilderness for nigh on 2 years. He will have to swear a personal oath of fealty to the Conquereress but should he do so he is surely too talented not to use.

  27. A Happy St George’s Day to *All!

    How will *we be celebrating today ?


    * excluding those in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Isle of Man and the Channel Islands

  28. Britain Elects? @britainelects 9m
    9 minutes ago

    Westminster voting intention:

    CON: 48% (+2)
    LAB: 26% (+1)
    LDEM: 10% (-1)
    UKIP: 8% (-)
    GRN: 3% (-1)

    (via ICM)

  29. that really would be bad to start a sectarian vote in scotland too, not based on economic policies , as if the NI situation is not enough.

  30. I was hoping for a Labour comeback in Scotland on a platform that is both unionist and for soft Brexit (the two most popular positions now in Sootland). However, it seems that the Conservatives are attracting most of the unionist vote north of the border.

  31. Nick Keene,

    the Tories will surely make gains from Labour, and some from SNP in the locals, but STV will dampen the headline results compared to the same situation in England, especially where all the councillors are up at once like London. SNP will also make gains from Labour, and the headline is more likely to be “terrible for Labour” than “Fantastic for Tories”. Looking at the Coucils in Scotland the most likely result is that the handful that currently have majority control (Glasgow, N Lanarkshire) will go NOC

  32. S. Thomas,

    Does Gove have any children or near relatives that he could send to be fostered in the May household?

    (possibly known as Theon Greyjoy for those who like TV rather than true historical analogues!)

  33. If the Tories do very well, could we see the back of Boris Johnson? I get the impression that the only reason Theresa May gave him a job was because she can’t afford alienating his supporters, but a large influx of new Tory MPs might change that.

  34. It’s not “sectarian” really to be either pro-union or pro-independence in Scotland, these are political positions.

  35. trying to read behind lines, as ukip is losing votes because ‘job is done’ , probably the SNP would too in case of independene, so Sturgeon doesn’t really want a new referendum but is trying to keep the SNP the largest party against the conservatives in this new scenario.

  36. Anyone watch the Marr interview with Corbyn?

    The man has no ability to dissemble whatsoever.

    When he was asked what he would write in the letters to the Nuclear Submarine Commanders on how they should respond if the UK was attacked he replied:

    “What I’ll be saying is that I want us to achieve a nuclear-free world, what I want us to do is to adhere to the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and take part in negotiations surrounding that and crucially immediately promote the 6-party talks on the Korean peninsula as a way of de-escalating nuclear tensions around the world.”

    Absolutely hilarious!

    The Tories have already put out a response from Amber Rudd,

    “This morning we learnt that Jeremy Corbyn would refuse to strike against terrorists, dismantle our nuclear defences and fail to control our borders.

    “Unless people turn out and vote Conservative, this man could be our Prime Minister in less than 7 weeks’ time – propped up by the SNP and Lib Dems in a coalition of chaos.

    “For strong and stable leadership as we approach Brexit and beyond it is critical to vote for Theresa May and her Conservative team on 8 June. Every vote in this election counts.”

    This is going to turn into a bloody massacre.

  37. I would imagine that Labour has a reasonable chance to come back in Scotland at some point – when people are fed up with SNP and won’t vote Tory. Maybe that won’t happen but seems possible longer term. SNP have been very good at keeping this threat at bay mind you.

  38. Sea Change:

    I think your post may violate the spirit of the Comments Policy.

  39. Sorry to invade one of the infrequent Scotland threads, but this is very interesting – Chris Hanretty has looked at wave 10 of the BES and looks at WHERE the Tory vote is increasing…

    And it looks bad for Labour, they are not piling up voters in Tory held seats as I assumed earlier…

  40. Survation Scottish tables are up

    Current VI by 2015 recalled vote (those LTV : DKs removed)

    Con – Con 95% : Lab 0% : LD 1% : SNP 4%
    Lab – Con 15% : Lab 62% : LD 14% : SNP 8%
    LD – Con 25% : Lab 7% : LD 59% : SNP 9%
    SNP – Con 7% : Lab 6% : LD 2% : SNP 84%

    So a lot of churn going on!

  41. Of those LTV, voted in 2015, but undecided now – by 2015 vote

    Con 7.9% : Lab 16.2% : LD 7.9% : SNP 10.9%

  42. Britain Elects? @britainelects 40m
    40 minutes ago

    Scottish independence voting intention:

    Yes: 43% (+1)
    No: 52% (-1)

  43. Interested in Albert’s idea that independence would be a disaster for the SNP since it would remove the main reason for voting for them… But on the other hand not getting independence didn’t do a lot for Alex Salmond??

  44. A very busy time in the allotments so I have only just caught up with the latest polls.

    AW you have been very busy, I join others in thanking you for your analysis and hard work.

    Generally very favourable to the Tories except the Survation poll, although even that shows the Tories improving on the last Survation poll. Survation seem out of kilter with all the other polls now. Who is right? I guess we won’t know until June 8th.
    Looking at the detail the latest YouGov shows the May in the lead V Corbyn on the NHS by 3%, cannot remember that happening before! May’s rating is +19%, Corbyn’s is -52%. The Tories lead by 29% on the economy.

    The same poll also shows the electorate prefering leaving the EU in the fullest sense by 44% to 37%.

    The two Scottish polls also show a strong Tory rise in Scotland. Are the SNP past their peak now? Again we will have to wait for the locals to get any inkling.

    Thanks OLDNAT for good wishes to us English on St George’s day.

  45. Survation – LTV by region (usual caveats plus a lot of “undecideds” probably won’t vote at all)

    SNP 36.4% : Con 18.2% : Lab 15.2% : LD 5.6% : Undecided 21.4% – Glasgow

    SNP 36.2% : Con 20.6% : Lab 22.4% : LD 6.1% : Undecided 12.1% – West

    SNP 32.8% : Con 20.5% : Lab 14.0% : LD 11.7% : Undecided 19.4% – Lothian

    SNP 38.5% : Con 19.3% : Lab 17.0% : LD 3.5% : Undecided 19.5% – Central

    SNP 29.4% : Con 30.8% : Lab 4.3% : LD 11.2% : Undecided 22.8% – South

    SNP 38.8% : Con 20.7% : Lab 16.2% : LD 5.2% : Undecided 15.7% – Mid & Fife

    SNP 44.4% : Con 20.1% : Lab 12.5% : LD 2.2% : Undecided 17.4% – North East

    SNP 27.3% : Con 35.2% : Lab 6.9% : LD 10.5% : Undecided 17.9% – Highlands & Islands

  46. TOH

    Or, as David Schneider joked, “Bloody immigrants. Coming over here from the Middle East, slaying our dragons, making themselves into our patron saint.” :-)

  47. OLDNAT



    Interesting times for us all it appears. I have to admit I enjoy elections even though the media coverage is often appalling, and i always vote.

  48. Andrew111
    ‘I can imagine there could be a bit of buyer’s remorse in the Highlands where the Liberal Democrats are very much the traditional Party of choice… 3 Highland seats plus Orkney and Shetland in 1964 with a national vote share of 11.4%, for example..’

    In 1964 the Liberals contested fewer than 60% of the 630 seats. Had all seats been fought they would probably have managed circa 17% nationally.

  49. I would expect Scotland to end up closer to

    SNP 40-42
    Con 33-35

    And a lot of the larger seats to change hands if they do

  50. @ TOH

    Agree about enjoying elections, though I too get terribly frustrated with the print and televised media.

    The allotment is also taking much of my time, sadly the clutch has just gone on my Howard 350 rotavator, at 50 years old though it has not done bad.

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