Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


Will Jim Murphy arrest Labour’s slide in the Scottish polls or will it get worse? Enter the competition

Sunday, December 14th, 2014

What’s the December Record/Survation poll going to show?

There’s little doubt that the biggest uncertainty about next May’s general election is what’s going to happen in the 41 seats that Labour currently holds in Scotland. If recent polling turns out to be right they could be left with barely half a dozen of them – an outcome that could have a catastrophic impact on the party’s hope to return to power.

It is in this context that the new leader of Scottish Labour, Jim Murphy, takes on his new role watched by an ever attentive Scottish media. How will the new man impact on the polls?

My understanding is that fieldwork for the December Daily Record Scotland poll by Survation will start this week and its findings will be eagerly awaited.

    What is your guess of what the poll will show? Last month it was SNP 46, LAB 24, CON 17, LD 6. What will be the change in in terms of number of percentage points to the SNP lead to two decimal points?

The precise figure will be calculated from the pollster’s detailed data. If you think that Labour will be in the lead then enter a minus number for the SNP margin.

The three closest entrants will receive the new excellent new e-books by PBer Andy Cooke, the Fourth Lectern and the Fifth Lectern. These are a fascinating counter-factual about what could have happened if UKIP had had a lectern in the 2010 TV debates.

Thanks to Nojam for once again producing a competition widget. My rulings on all matters associated with the competition are final

The competition closes at 2200 tomorrow.


Jim Murphy wins Scottish Labour leadership election with 56% of votes on first round

Saturday, December 13th, 2014

I like the way in his first Tweet Murphy has shaped the battle with the SNP – is the prize a fairer Scotland or Independence. It’s a powerful message but he and his party are a long way behind.

Given the polling there’s a huge burden on his shoulders and Labour must be hoping that he can turn the situation round. Every seat that Scottish LAB can claw back reduces the target for the party in England and Wales.

Let’s hope there is some new post-Murphy election Scottish polling.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


LAB running just 3% behind SNP in Scotland according to the Populus November aggregate

Monday, December 8th, 2014

But Sturgeon’s party would be one short on seats

Following my post yesterday about the woeful lack of polling data from what could be the most critical area of all at GE15, Scotland, a PBer contacted me to point out that Populus has resumed its excellent practice of issuing a full monthly data analysis from the eight or nine online surveys carried out in the previous month.

What’s great about this is that you have a very large sample which gives us sub samples based on enough responses so that you can have some confidence in the output. This is not, however, a proper poll and all the reservations about sub samples remain. It is the best that’s available at the moment.

The aggregated GE15 responses for Scotland alone are shown in the chart and as can be seen the SNP is ahead. But the margin, 3%, is miniscule compared with what other forms were reporting a few weeks ago.

Unfortunately there is no comparative Populus data available for October to allow us to make comparisons.

You should note that Populus does tend to have the highest aggregate CON-LAB shares of all the pollsters and, consequentially, smaller shares for other parties which could impact on the SNP.

Whatever the red team will be delighted by this data and the Scottish seat calculations that put them on 28 MPs – 13 fewer than their current contingent from north of the border.

If this Populus data is on the right lines then the Labour chances of becoming top party nationally are a bit higher.

I’m told that we should see the December Scottish poll from Survation before Christmas which should allow us to track trends.

  • The updated SNP target list: Thanks to AndyJS for this excellent resource.
  • UPDATE: SNP lead in Scotland 4% in sub-sample in today’s Populus poll

    The latest GB figures with changes on last Friday are: Lab 36 (+1), Con 33 (=), LD 8 (-1), UKIP 15 (+1) GRN 4=. So very little movement.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Survation finds dramatic LAB collapse in Scotland but not on the scale of Ipsos-MORI in October

    Tuesday, November 18th, 2014

    What we need now are Scottish constituency polls

    The second part of the Daily Record Survation poll of Scottish voters was published overnight and finds a big increase in SNP support since the IndyRef with an even bigger drop in the Labour share.

    It doesn’t really need to be said that the prospect of losing a significant part of its current base of 41 seats North of the border is going to make Labour’s challenge at the General Election that much harder.

      On some computations these latest numbers would leave Scottish LAB with just five seats out of the 41 it currently has.

    That might sound an awful lot but it is far better than the same calculations that were being made three weeks age when the Ipsos-MORI quarterly Scottish poll had the SNP on 52% with LAB on 23%. Then the talk was of just one Scottish LAB MP remaining.

    So in one sense today’s Survation poll could have been worse for LAB. It wasn’t as bad as Ipsos-MORI.

    The best way of working out the impact in terms of seats is through single constituency polling which Lord Ashcroft had said he had in the pipeline. He asks a two stage voting question with the second requesting those sampled to focus on the specifics of their own seats. And as we have seen this can make a big difference.

    One thing of course to bear in mind is that the loss by Labour of Scottish seats to the SNP has no impact on the Tory ambition of winning an overall majority. That requires the blues to win seats not LAB to lose them to another party.

    As I wrote yesterday full Scottish polls have been something of a rarity since the IndyRef. This is just the third so we have not got too much data to base things on. But all three surveys have pointed to catastrophic LAB losses the only differences between on the scale of what might happen.

    And to reiterate Lord Ashcroft’s regular caveat – polls are a snapshot not a prediction.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    New Survation Scottish poll finds No would have a 6% lead if there was another IndyRef

    Monday, November 17th, 2014

    Survation’s NO lead could be good news for LAB

    Polls focused solely on Scotland have been very rare since the country voted to remain in the UK on September 18t. So a new one is special particularly because of the apparent impact that the referendum has had on opinion north of the border.

    Thankfully the Daily Record has commissioned the joint top most accurate IndyRef pollster, Survation, to carry out regular surveys the first one of which appears in the paper this morning.

    The data appears to be being released in two parts the first of which relates to views now about the IndyRef and how people would vote if given another opportunity. The result is in the Tweet above – after excluding don’t knows the split was 53-47 to NO which was exactly the same as Survation’s final poll on September 17th. The view of independence appears not to have changed.

      This contrasts sharply with the Ipsos-MORI finding three weeks ago that YES has more support than NO. Has there been a real change or is it just different polling approaches?

    We don’t know but it was that Ipsos-MORI poll that alerted us to a massive surge in SNP support.

    Those sampled by Survation were asked when if ever there should be another IndyRef. This was the outcome.

    So getting on for three in ten of Scots don’t want another vote ever which is twice as many who want another referendum immediately.

    Hopefully we’ll see the latest Scottish GE2015 voting intention data later on this evening if indeed that question was asked. A huge issue is whether it will show the splits that Ipsos-MORI recorded three weeks ago suggesting that LAB could lose to the SNP almost all the 41 Scottish seats it currently holds.

    The impact of that polling was to throw into doubt Labour’s ability to secure an overall majority on May 7th.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    It could be that front-runner, Jim Murphy, is too divisive a figure to be Scottish LAB leader

    Sunday, November 2nd, 2014

    Unfortunately YouGov didn’t test out other possible contenders apart from Gordon Brown.

    The issue for Murphy is that he played such a high profile and sometimes controversial role in the NO IndyRef campaign. Maybe he’s a victim of the apparent mood-shift north of the border to the indpendence question.

    My view is that many Scottish voters will generally support Scottish independence until the moment that they are asked to vote on it.

    There’s little doubt that the referendum has polarised attitudes and you’ve got to admire the SNP’s chutzpah on the way it has gone forward from what was a clear defeat.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    More gloom for Scottish LAB from YouGov – but not quite as bad as Ipsos-MORI

    Thursday, October 30th, 2014

    Whilst the SNP lead and share of the vote isn’t as impressive as the Ipsos-Mori figures, they will still be delighted with these figures and Labour should continue to be worried.

    All of this confirms that predicting the 2015 General Election will be the most difficult for a generation.

    What we really need to see is the Lord Ashcroft polling on Lab held seats in Scotland.

    If they confirm what Ipsos-Mori and YouGov are showing then I’m not sure what Labour can do stop the tide, especially given Ed’s poor ratings in Scotland, but the fieldwork dates were unfavourable for Labour due to the aftermath of Johann Lamont’s resignation.

    But as Lord Ashcroft keeps on reminding us, opinion polls are snapshots.



    The news from the rest of the country isn’t good for Ed and Labour either this evening


    Alex Salmond fighting a Westminster seat that voted overwhelmingly NO would be a huge gamble

    Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

    You could see this as an attack line?
    You voted NO – now tell him you mean it”?

    Salmond in debate (1)

    It’s been reported widely that the outgoing SNP leader and Scottish First Minister, Alex Salmond, is thinking about seeking a Westminster seat to fight at GE15. This would mean a return to the Commons.

    The one he’s said to have his eye is Gordon in Aberdeenshire where the sitting Lib Dem MP, Malcolm Bruce, is standing down. Generally the Lib Dems are most vulnerable in such situations.

    But would this be the shoo-in for Salmond that it appears. Surprisingly Ladbrokes only rate the SNP’s chances there at 8/13 with the LDs on 5/2.

      The relevant fact about the Gordon constituency is that in the IndyRef Gordon it voted by nearly two to one against independence – hardly good territory, you would think, for the NATs

    Life is almost always hard for ex-leaders. They don’t have the pulling power that they enjoyed while in the top job and in his case Salmond is vulnerable because on his watch the referendum went the wrong way. He failed in the biggest project of his political career.

    On the face of it Salmond would be better deployed fighting a current LAB seat where the vote was for YES on September 18th.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble