Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


Yesterday’s interviews could prove to have been Alex Salmond’s Sheffield rally moment

Monday, March 23rd, 2015


Presumption , as Neil Kinnock will tell you, doesn’t go down well

Those of us who are old enough remember the great Labour Sheffield rally before the 1992 General Election which came over in the media as a celebration of the victory that the party presumed was going to happen the following Thursday. It got widespread coverage and on the day John Major’s Tories totally defied all polling and were returned with a 7%+ more of the national votes and an overall majority.

The performance by the then Labour leader, Neil Kinnock, revealed a side of his character that resonated in the wrong way with voters who a few days later turned out in record numbers. A huge mistake.

I got a sense of the same thing with yesterday’s big interviews with Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader who is hoping to return to the Commons in Gordon. Presuming the outcome in the manner that Salmond did before people actually vote can send a very negative message to voters. At the very least it could put fire in the belly of those opposed to him.

The SNP’s great strength in Scotland is its opponents are split between three other parties. Anti-SNP tactical voting might just make their task a bit harder.

Foolish. You should never appear to be taking people’s votes for granted.

UPDATE ICM Scotland poll

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


It’s inevitable under FPTP that many will vote AGAINST a party not FOR a likely loser

Saturday, March 14th, 2015

Voting smart might be the new clarion call

Charts like the one above, that’s going the rounds on social media, looks set to play a big part at GE15.

Scotland clearly is a special situation and you can understand why those that voted NO should be worried about the SNP picking up 40+ of the 59 Scottish seats and being able to lever their position in a hung parliament.

What’s interesting is that many Conservatives north of the border are taking a very different view from those who aren’t. The latter clearly welcome the weakening in Labour’s position while many in the former regard the SNP as the bigger threat.

In England we can expect other guides given wide circulation via Twitter and Facebook. Some will be aimed at UKIP voters suggesting they return to the blue side to stop EdM. Others will be what we’ve got used to – moves to back whichever party has the best chance of impeding the Tories in their seat.

Quite what impact this will all have it is hard to say at this stage. In 1997 it was reckoned that the Tories failed to win up to 30 sears because of anti-CON tactical voting.

Tonight’s polling I’ll be doing a round up piece when we’ve got them all in. As well as the usual Opinium and YouGov there’s also the monthly ComRes online poll.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


YouGov Scotland poll see Labour fail to improve

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

Labour are still on course for a shellacking in Scotland come May.

Jim Murphy isn’t turning to be the great hope that Labour were hoping he would be.

Turning this poll into a seat projection the Times says




TNS poll sees the SNP extend their lead from 10% to 16%

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

Time appears to be running out for SLAB and Jim Murphy to avoid a shellacking in May.

TNS’ second poll this year, brings them into line with all the others bar Panelbase who have substantial leads for the SNP.

For those expecting differential turnout in Scotland to have an effect in May, “A majority of voters (61%) say they are certain to vote in the election, including 74% of both those intending to vote Labour and those backing the SNP.”

Health and education top General Election issues in Scotland

Which are two issues already devolved to Scotland.

“68% said healthcare/the NHS was “very important” in their voting decision, while 50% cited education/schools. Both SNP and Labour voters regarded health as being very important issues, mentioned by 72% and 75% respectively. However, SNP voters were more likely to cite education as an important issue than Labour voters – 57% compared to 46%.

Other major issues for voters are employment/jobs (47%), pensions (43%), taxes (38%), housing (35%), economic management (32%) and energy costs (32%). Immigration and benefits, which are often cited as key issues in UK-wide polls, appear to be less significant in Scotland, both mentioned by 28%.”

The fieldwork saw 1,001 adults aged 18+ interviewed from the 30thJanuary to 22nd February 2015.


UPDATE – Survation poll naming candidates has Farage winning South Thanet


Why relatively small movements amongst just 1% of likely voters on May 7th can mean so much in terms of the GE15 outcome

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

The extraordinary impact of Scotland

Looking at the GB electorate as a whole the total of voters who have moved from LAB to the SNP in Scotland amount to fewer than 1% yet the impact in terms of seats can be enormous which is why Scottish polls are so significant.

I am sure we are all aware of the numbers by now. There are 59 Scottish seats and in 2010 41 of them went LAB. Even more important for the SNP is that what is now Sturgeon’s party were only within 20% of LAB in three of the seats and none were closer than 10%.

The way the system has worked in Scotland suggests that even if LAB is 5% down on the SNP then Miliband’s party would still beat the SNP on the number of Scottish MPs.

In such a context the polling as a whole is far from helpful. In surveys this year the SNP lead has varied from the 28% of Ipsos to 10% from TNS and Panelbase. The latest from Survation is broadly in the the middle of that.

The John Curtice chart above shows the enormous impact of different SNP leads in terms of Scottish seats.

Quite simply if the SNP nearly wipe out LAB north of the border on May 7tn we will have a very different outcome from a situation where the red team is down just 10 losses.

Almost none of this has an impact on Tory seat numbers.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Survation finds its smallest SNP lead over LAB in Scotland since the IndyRef

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

But party still on course for big seat losses

The monthly Survation Scottish poll for the Daily Record is out and the figures are in the Tweets above.

Although Labour’s deficit is still very large it will take some comfort from the trend -seen in the chart. It does appear to be getting just a tad better.

Every little movement here could have a huge impact in general elections terms. One seat projection from tonight’s figures has it that LAB would still be hold about half of the 41 seats it won at GE10 in Scotland. That would be a drop of 20 MPs which is a lot but not the wipe-out that some had predicted from other polling.

Two other Scottish polls this year, from Panelbase and TNS, have the gap at 10%. Ipsos a month ago made it 28%.

Next PB post – tomorrow’s new Ashcroft single seat polling due 11am

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Details of all 14 seats from the first round of the Lord Ashcroft Scottish polling

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

The only conclusion: Labour is set to get hammered


Let’s hope that the seats chosen for the Lord Ashcroft Scottish polling are varied enough to draw broad conclusions

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

UPDATE – the Ashcroft Scottish polling published early

At 11am Lord Ashcroft’s Scottish polls are due to be published and, hopefully, they’ll give us a clearer idea about what is going to happen in the 59 seats north of the border on May 7th.

Scottish seats vary so much on a whole range of measures and it would be really good if Lord A has chosen a group that will enable us to make broader statements about what’s going to happen on May 7th.

    As a starting point my wish is that there’s a reasonable spread based on the IndyRef outcome. Hopefully there will be both seats that voted strongly for NO on September 18th, those that voted for YES and those in-between..

A geographical spread right across Scotland would also be great because the politics of, say, the Highlands and Islands are totally different from elsewhere. Glasgow has a totally different political culture than Edinburgh as do Dundee and Aberdeen.

It really is great that Lord A is investing his money is these surveys which are enabling us to look at the coming battle in a way that has nor been possibly previously.

Roll on 11am for the official publication.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble