Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


Ipsos-MORI Scotland phone poll has SNP a staggering 34% ahead

Wednesday, April 29th, 2015

This could be down to “shy unionists”

With the ongoing debate about phone polls versus online ones there’s a new Ipsos Scotland survey for STV which has extraordinary figures with the SNP on its biggest level yet.

The firm is the only one that regularly carries out phone polls in Scotland and its findings this morning are remarkable.

There’s been a lot of talk about “shy responders” to phone polling with supporters of less popular positions said to be reluctant to volunteer that information in a live conversation with a pollster. Could that be happening here?

The answer is that we don’t know but this poll will become a reference point on the shy factor

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Tonight’s Scottish debate was superb – the question now is whether it will change votes

Tuesday, April 7th, 2015

With what happens in Scotland likely to play a big part in the May 7th outcome the big event tonight was the STV Scottish leaders’ debate. It was powerful and passionate and on a totally different level from the sterile event last Thursday.

The clip above is one of the better bits.

For Jim Murphy this was a massive night and I thought he did well -though at times might have been too aggressive. Nicola Sturgeon found the going much harder than last week’s session and was hit by both Murphy and Ruth Davidson – the Scottish Tory leader.

Whether it will move the polls much I don’t know.

Tonight’s YouGov

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


Labour’s London progress could be masking a bigger trend: the party’s putting on most support where it doesn’t need it

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

The latest spate of London polls has been very positive for Labour with vote shares in the capital up 9% or more on 2010. It really does look as though the party is going to do very well there.

The only problem is that there aren’t that many CON targets apart from Hendon, Brentford & Isleworth,Enfield North, Ealing Central Acton, Croydon Central. Obviously the party’s got hopes in two or three Lib Dem seats but these are nothing like as important as gains from CON.

    In terms of being top party on seats each CON seat that LAB takes has the same impact as two gains from the LDs

As we’ve discussed here before FPTP elections are as much about where your vote is rather than how many. So if LAB is putting on a disproportionate increase of votes in one group of seats, London for instance, then that will be reflected in smaller elsewhere.

London has 73 constituencies out of a total English contingent of 533.

New ComRes Scottish phone poll points to 28 lost LAB seats


This poll is the first of its kind and is restricted to just the Scottish seats that Labour currently holds. The picture is what we’ve seen with other forms of polling and confirms the difficulties that exist north of the border. It’s estimated that this polling points to Labour losing 28 seats to the SNP.

Mike Smithson

For 11 years viewing politics from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


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