Communicate Research’s monthly poll has voting intention figures with changes from last month of CON 35%(-5), LAB 31%(+2), LDEM 20%(+3). The poll was conducted between March 23-25th. The figures appear to show a very sharp drop in Conservative support, but as noted before, the lack of political weighting in Communicate and Ipsos-MORI polls means the results are more volatile and shifts from one month to the next less meaningful. (UPDATE – someone’s pointed out that the Independent’s coverage of the polls that that it was indeed weighted by past vote. I’m trying to find out if Communicate have altered their methodology and will update once I get an answer. UPDATE II – confirmed, Communicate Research polls are now weighted by past vote – I’ll put a proper post up on it when I get the details of their new methodology. What this means is that their future pollls should be less volatile, although it doesn’t mean that we can read much more into the changes this month, as last month’s sample could have just been unusually stuffed full of Tories!).

Meanwhile Populus have released their first poll of Scottish voting intentions ahead of the Parliamentary elections in May. The voting intention figures in the constituency section are CON 14%, LAB 28%, LDEM 15%, SNP 38%, while in the more important regional top-up vote support stands at CON 14%, LAB 30%, SNP 35%, LDEM 14%. On Weber Shandwick’s swingometer this translates into the SNP becoming the largest party with 49 seats to Labour’s 43, with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats both on 18.

UPDATE: MORI’s monthly figures have also been released…sort of. A note on their website says that “as we are still running methodological tests while merging the Ipsos and MORI field operations, we are not publishing a full Political Monitor in March”. However, they have released voting intentions from a separate face-to-face omnibus survey which uses the same sampling and weighting regime as their normal figures. The topline voting intentions, with changes from the last MORI poll in January, are CON 41%(+2), LAB 33%(-2), LDEM 17%(-2). It was carried out between the 9th and the 15th March.

56 Responses to “Communicate on Britain, Populus on Scotland”

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  1. If the Scottish Parliament election turns out as badly as expected for Labour, the problems Gordon Brown will have with the English Nationalists will be worse than those with the SNP because he can at least negotiate with the SNP directly. There won’t be time or energy for the day to day work of government.

    I think things will deteriorate into permanent crisis, and crisis management will result in a bad press and an irreversible decline in support.

  2. Apparently the Welsh Assembly election will be fought on the new Westminster boundaries. While the Scottish Parliamentary election obviously won’t be fought on the new, larger Westminster constituency boundaries, are there any plans for a Holyrood boundary review, and if so when?

  3. This from today’s (16th April) P&J (the Press and journal is the regional newspaper for the north and North east of Scotland).


    08:50 – 16 April 2007

    The SNP has the overwhelming support of voters in the north and north-east two weeks into the election campaign, according to an exclusive Press and Journal poll that puts the party further ahead of the political pack than any previous research.

    The poll put the SNP a staggering 27% ahead of Labour and 22% ahead of the Liberal Democrats in the constituency vote, with a 26% lead over Labour and the Lib Dems in the ballot for the proportional regional seats.

    However, the research also shows about half of all potential north and north-east voters “don’t know”, “won’t vote” or “won’t say” and analysts warn this could be bad news for the Nationalists if Labour’s scare tactics persuade apathetic supporters to turn out for fear of an SNP win.

    One astonishing calculation based on the poll findings suggested SNP leader Alex Salmond might lose out in Gordon to Lib Dem incumbent Nora Radcliffe.

    The findings by independent pollsters mruk Research are not specific to particular constituencies but the result suggests Mr Salmond’s gamble may be in danger of not paying off.

    However, analysts believe his strong overall personal following could upset the calculation but, if it does not, and because the SNP’s positive polling in other north-east seats will reduce its entitlement to regional top-ups, it could give the extraordinary outcome that the party he leads will win without him securing a seat in Holyrood.

    Nonetheless, the poll reveals a remarkably high level of trust in Mr Salmond among voters in the Grampian and Highland regions as a potential first minister.

    It shows that 42% trust or strongly trust the SNP leader, compared with 32% placing their faith in Deputy First Minister Nicol Stephen and just 24% in current First Minister Jack McConnell – only 3% more than in Tory leader Annabel Goldie.

    Last night, SNP campaign manager Angus Robertson said: “This is an excellent poll for the SNP, showing a swing of 10% in the north and north-east from all the other London-based parties to the SNP.

    “On a swing of this scale, the SNP would gain Gordon, Dundee West, Aberdeen Central, the Western Isles and Argyll and Bute and even seats such as Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross would be on a knife edge and Alex Salmond for First Minister is a hugely popular message.”

    North-east Labour candidate Richard Baker said: “There is no doubt these figures, from an area where the SNP traditionally do well, make clear the real choice is between the SNP’s policy of breaking up Britain and Labour’s of Scotland benefiting from membership of the UK.

    “It is a wake-up call to voters in the north and north-east. People tell us they are worried about what independence would mean for family income and taxes and we are confident this will be reflected in the only vote that matters, on May 3.”

    Liberal Democrat election campaign chairman Malcolm Bruce MP said: “This poll confirms that Labour and the Tories are down in third place.

    “People are telling me they feel let down and disappointed by Labour but don’t want independence and in Gordon it is clear that it is between the local Liberal Democrat Nora Radcliffe and the SNP.

    North East Tory candidate Alex Johnstone said: “Conservatives usually do better on the day than polls predict and it is voting on May 3 that matters, when we are confident of being rather more successful than this poll suggests.

    “I am sure that when the people of the north and north-east look at predictions like this and realise the damage the SNP could do to the Union, they will vote for Unionist alternatives.”

    The poll did not reflect the much stronger Labour support that exists in the central belt, but the 44% support recorded for the SNP in the first-past-the-post constituency vote compares with 40% recorded in a recent Scotland-wide poll and an average of 36% in Scotland-wide polls conducted since the beginning of March.

    With 45% of the proportional regional vote, it would give the SNP 66 seats in the Scottish Parliament, an overall majority of two, with Labour trailing at 24, down from the 50 it won last time and one fewer than the Liberal Democrats, again excluding the much higher vote Labour can expect in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

    The Lib Dems are also doing better outside the central belt with 22% and 19% – a potential increase to 25 seats in Holyrood from the 17 they won in 2003 if reflected throughout Scotland.

    Labour scores 17% and 19% in the poll and the Conservatives flounder at 12% in both votes.

    These figures exclude those who answered “don’t know”, “won’t vote” and “won’t tell”.

    Sampling took place throughout the Press and Journal’s circulation area.

    The answers also suggest Deputy Health and Community Care Minister Lewis Macdonald may have difficulty defending Labour’s 2003 majority of 5.9 % in Aberdeen Central against strong SNP and Lib Dem challenges, but the two could cancel each other out.

    Mr Stephen’s personal support and the trust the electorate have in him as a potential first minister should secure Aberdeen South for him and position him to negotiate a coalition administration with the SNP instead of Labour.

    In the north, the poll indicates the SNP’s Fergus Ewing may be able to fend off a strong Lib Dem attempt to unseat him in Inverness East, Nairn and Lochaber, where he had a majority of just over 3% last time.

    The poll returns do indicate that, with nearly three weeks to go, there is still much to play for. On this basis, the parties’ standing is: SNP 22%/23 %, Lib Dem 11%/10%, Labour 9%/10% and Tories 6%/6 %.”

    Not sure what the last paragraph is supposed to mean, unless it is the percentages of those decided as a share of the total.

    We still no very little about MRUK and there methods ( Anthony, any luck with youre-mail), and 50% DK seems like their other poll to date very high. Having said that as it was a sample of just over 1,000 and the only regional one I’ve come across so far I thought it was worth posting.

    Actual figures are.


    SNP: 44% [+15]
    Lib Dem: 22% [-4]
    Lab: 17% [-5]
    Con: 12% [-5]
    SSP: 2 [-2]

    Regional list

    SNP: 45% [+20]
    Lib Dem: 19% [-]
    Lab: 19% [-2]
    Con: 12% [-5]
    Gre: 2% [-5]
    SSP: 2% [-3]

    I’d question the paragraph about 25 seats for the Libdems as it states that they are doing better in the NE and Highlands than elsewhere, but then gives a seats total for them doing that well everywhere.

    It’s also a surprisingly low list figure for the greens who have a strong following in the north.


  4. What a garbled report, maybe someone should organise training sessions on understanding of opinion polls for newspaper editors?

    Anyway, a big SNP lead in the North sounds about right, it is after all an area that has seen big swings (in all directions) in the past and where the SNP has a record of occasional outstanding results (e.g. H&I Euro 94: SNP 58%, Lab 16%, Con 12%, Lib 10%)

  5. SNP will take Western Isles, but Argyll and Bute is a safe ScotLibDem seat, and SNP could even be in third place.

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