Poll Analysis: Ipsos MORI 29th of March – 4th of April 2021

Keep tabs on all the latest polling, articles and information ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election in the Ballot Box Scotland Holyrood Hub!

Polls are continuing to roll out at frightening (if you have to cover them in detail) pace, with today’s Ipsos MORI release giving us our third poll in the post-Alba phase of the campaign. I’m led to believe we have another poll due out tomorrow, so I wanted to whizz through this one as fast as possible. I’m therefore pretty thankful Ipsos MORI are one of the faster pollsters at releasing full tables!

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Regional Vote

SNP ~ 38% (-9 / -4)
Conservative ~ 21% (-1 / -2)
Labour ~ 18% (+4 / -1)
Green ~ 12% (+4 / +5)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (nc / +1)
Alba ~ 3% (+3 / +3)

Starting with what people are probably most interested to see, the figure for Alba. After the drama of 6% with Panelbase, this replicates the 3% that Survation found. I’d say it’s still too early to tell whether that means the Panelbase was an outlier, but we might be able to make that judgement tomorrow. We can probably more confidently say the Panelbase All for Unity figure was a bit rogue, given that when prompted for in this poll less than 0.5% plumped for them.

Beyond that, the big story here is that massive 9% drop for the SNP. Ipsos MORI have typically been one of the pollsters finding a relatively narrow gap between the party’s two votes, so for it to have opened up into a yawning chasm here is quite remarkable.

The winners from that slump are the Greens and Labour, who are both up a weighty 4% versus the previous poll. That lifts Labour up from one of their worst results into something more like their average, whereas for the Greens this is their joint-best figure since the 2016 election. Rounding things out, the Conservatives also show a very slight dip.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 53% (+1 / +5)
Conservative ~ 20% (-3 / +3)
Labour ~ 18% (+3 / -5)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (+1 / -2)
Green ~ 2% (-1 / +1)

Some reasonably big shifts over on the constituency vote too, Labour gaining 3% versus a similarly sized drop for the Conservatives. Again, that helps Labour grow from one of their poorest showings in recent months. The Lib Dems and SNP are both up by a single point, lifting the former from their joint-worst figure on this vote and putting the latter on their highest figure since early February, and the Greens are down one.

Seat Projection

Please see this page for how projections work and important caveats.

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 71 (-1 / +8)
Conservative ~ 24 (-2 / -7)
Labour ~ 19 (+2 / -5)
Green ~ 11 (+2 / +5)
Liberal Democrat ~ 4 (-1 / -1)

That’s a pretty big SNP majority, and the largest one for the past few polls. The combined total with the Greens of 82 seats for the pro-Independence parties is also on the higher end by recent standards. That’s partly an artefact of the SNP’s massive vote gap, which contributes to this being one of the most disproportionate projections as well.

As noted in the Survation analysis, 3% is the point of Alba support I reckon comes with greatest uncertainty. As I’ve modelled it I don’t think that it’d be enough to squeak Salmond into the North East, but equally I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it was just enough to manage that.

No Westminster Q in this one.

Standard Question

Yes ~ 49% (+1)
No ~ 45% (+1)
Don't Know ~ 6% (-1)

As is their tendency, Ipsos MORI have found a slightly larger lead for Yes on the constitutional question than others have recently. It’s still very much within the margin of error however, which as we all now know is what I have to say every post at the moment.

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes ~ 52% (nc / +7)
No ~ 48% (nc / -7)

Equally sized gains for Yes and No on the overall question means that once we take Don’t Knows out, it’s the same 52-48 as the last poll. It’s also, of course, the same 52-48 split as Brexit, and everyone loves it when those numbers come up. This on the higher end of the current polling range, but again, we really can’t say anything more than that we’re in a very indecisive period.

Council Area Projection

Please see this page for how projections work and important caveats.

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, we might see 17 councils leaning towards Yes, up from 4 at the referendum. No would be on 15, down from 28.

Hypotheticals

As ever, the last little bit of analysis concerns those hypothetical and more proportional voting systems that I have a bee in my bonnet about here at BBS. The fact Westminster uses pure FPTP is an affront to democracy, and though Holyrood fares far better, AMS is still deeply imperfect. The examples here simply transpose the poll findings onto more proportional voting systems – the reality is that different systems would of course result in different voter behaviour.

Changes here are vs AMS / vs same projection for the last poll.

SNP ~ 50 (-21 / -12)
Conservative ~ 27 (+3 / -2)
Labour ~ 24 (+5 / +6)
Green ~ 16 (+5 / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 8 (+4 / nc)
Alba ~ 4 (+4 / +4)

If we make it more properly proportional, naturally we eliminate that massive disproportionality AMS would give. Although that would substantially reduce the SNP cohort, they’d still have a combined majority with the Greens, without needing the 4 seats Alba would have. Obviously, that then means there’d be a much improved situation facing the pro-Union parties, who’d be on 59 seats in total rather than 47.

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4 Comments

  1. Many thanks BBS for all your on-going analysis across the board. I know you are very keen on the Scandinavian PR system but in real terms we are not going to get any wholesale change anytime soon. The Electoral Commission state that no change can be made to the electoral system that favours any one Party.
    Well that is very fair, but what isn’t fair is the overbearing weighting against the popular vote in order to achieve PR. In fact it sits at the core of everyone’s discontent with the current system and has spawned all the spurious “game-the-system” rubbish that comes up every Holyrood election. This has got to be addressed.
    I have outlined to to the SNP a proposal that I’m pleased to say has been accepted in principle in making a tweak to our current version of PR that no opposition should be able to object to sensibly. I’ve no doubt though, that they will try. It does not contravene the EC Rules and merely rebalances the popular vote versus PR but retains the spirit of PR overall.
    I have been asked to set out my proposal in detail which I will do after the May Election. You’re more than welcome to get involved if you should so wish.
    When you have time, simply try this through your excellent software system. …. At the point of calculation of the first Regional Adoption let all votes stand. No handicap at all. Thus the first MSP co-opted is in fact voted in Constituency style as FPTP. …… Then you apply the vote weighting at the 2nd adoption as now and so on. Thus in every case the most popular Party returns the first Regional List MSP in any given Region. …… This does not favour any one Party, it only favours the most popular one. It will be down to all Parties to make themselves the most popular, thus an equal playing field.
    Where I go from here is to set all this out in greater detail showing the effect across Scotland. I will do this against this year’s result with actual returns against projected by the “tweak” … I have been promised an electoral expert from within the SNP to help me once that outline is completed and submitted.

    • Your proposal is what is known as “parallel voting”, which exists elsewhere in the world, and it would be a complete and utter democratic travesty if it were to be adopted as a replacement for AMS. AMS has its problems, but replacing it with a system which over-represents the most popular party (regardless of which party that may be at any election) is utterly unacceptable, I’m very sorry to say.

  2. A better representation of the popular vote is an “utter travesty”??? … I find your comment rather bizarre. On the balance I like our D’Hondt PR system and I’m not suggesting a replacement merely an adjustment. Seems a shame that your reaction is destructive rather than constructive as I’m open to suggestions. But please don’t say simply the Scandinavian System wholesale as a complete change won’t happen, but gradual change may. So the poser is …. How can the popular vote be better represented within the current system that makes it more meaningful to the electorate when casting their 2nd vote?

  3. Wow, what a wonderfully comprehensive analysis. Cannot believe I have just found your site after a long time suffering on Scot Goes Pop. Look forward to checking out the site daily in the run up to the election.

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