Panelbase, 14th-17th May 2019

With just days to go until the EU Elections, Panelbase have stirred themselves into a second poll in pretty quick succession. Funnily enough, this time last year we hadn’t had a single Panelbase poll since the 2016 election – we’ve now seen 8 such polls, a whole third of the total Holyrood polling since that election. Whilst it’s very welcome to be getting some regular polling, it’d be lovely if the papers could commission more from other agencies, since we know each has their own quirks. Still, we’ve got data for all three parliaments here, so can’t complain!

Display format;

Holyrood Voting Intention and Projection (Tracker)

Regional;

  • SNP – 37% (nc / -5)
  • Conservative – 19% (-3 / -4)
  • Labour – 18% (-1 / -1)
  • Liberal Democrat – 8% (+1 / +3)
  • Green – 7% (nc / nc)
  • Brexit – 6% (+2 / +6)
  • UKIP – 2% (nc / nc)
  • Change UK – 2% (nc / +2)

The Conservatives in particular take another big hit on their polling here to take them to their joint lowest figure this term, with Labour the only other party to witness slippage on last month. Those are balanced out by modest increases for the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party, which in the latter’s case takes them into seat winning territory. Everyone else is as they were last month.

Constituency;

  • SNP – 41% (+1 / -6)
  • Conservative – 20% (-2 / -2)
  • Labour – 18% (-2 / -5)
  • Liberal Democrat – 8% (+2 / nc)
  • Brexit – 7% (+2 / +7)
  • Green – 3% (nc / +2)
  • Change UK – 1% (-1 / +1)
  • UKIP – 1% (nc / +1)

It’s a largely similar story on the constituency vote, with the Conservatives again on their joint lowest figure since 2016. Labour too are on one of their lowest scores, though still a bit above their record lows back in late 16/early 17. Again, most of those losses have fed into the Lib Dems and Brexit, though the SNP are also up a smidge. For the Lib Dems that figure just returns them to their 2016 level, but a 7% showing for Brexit (party) in the non-PR vote perhaps shows how frustrated Brexit (event) voters are at the moment.

Projected into seats it might look like;

  • SNP – 63 (+3 / nc)
  • Conservative – 24 (-7 / -7)
  • Labour – 22 (-3 / -2)
  • Lib Dem – 8 (+1 / +3)
  • Green – 6 (nc / nc)
  • Brexit – 6 (+6 / +6)

Alongside the YouGov last month, this is the second poll to suggest the SNP might win as many seats as they did in 2016, and only the third since the snap GE in 2017 to show them outside of the 50’s. Combined with a similar status quo result for the Greens, that’d see the exact same pro-Independence majority as established 3 years ago. Meanwhile this is a second poll that projects to a Labour constituency wipeout, even if their total number of seats is down only marginally.

For the Conservatives those “joint lowest figures” on both votes unsurprisingly translates into “joint fewest seats” since 2016, though you can imagine most of the losses as being made up by the 6 Brexit MSPs expected in this projection. As an aside, if you saw the Sunday Times piece about this poll, you will have seen seat figures as 4 Green and 8 Brexit. I explained this on Twitter for the nerds, but it basically comes down to my calculator differing slightly from standard Universal Swing by accounting for the relative spread of party votes in 2016.

As is now my habit, let’s also look at that translated to an imagined more proportional system a la Scandinavian countries (vs AMS projection);

  • SNP – 54 (-9)
  • Conservative – 25 (+1)
  • Labour – 23 (+1)
  • Liberal Democrat – 10 (+2)
  • Green – 9 (+3)
  • Brexit – 8 (+2)

As would be expected from the SNP’s heavy overhang under AMS, they’d be down a fair bit whilst everyone else creeps up somewhat.

Westminster Voting Intention (Tracker)

  • SNP – 38% (nc / +1)
  • Labour – 19% (-2 / -8)
  • Conservative – 18% (-4 / -11)
  • Liberal Democrat – 10% (+4 / +3)
  • Brexit – 9% (+4 / +9)
  • Green – 3 (+1 / +3)
  • Change UK – 2% (-1 / +2)
  • UKIP – 1% (-1 / +1)

For the UK Parliament, the SNP retain their substantial lead over everyone else, with the Conservatives being so badly bruised by the current Brexit-fever that this poll has them losing almost all the support they gained between 2015 and 2017. Labour too are on a very poor result, but would end up 2nd in terms of votes, whilst the Lib Dems poll double figures for the first time since the last election.

Both for Westminster and Holyrood it’s worth at this point bearing in mind that relatively good showings for the Brexit party in polls may reflect the current situation more than genuine, long term voting intention. Of course, given how volatile politics is in the UK right now, Brexit could be here to stay and prove very disruptive to the established norms. Or they could dissolve into nothing when/if Brexit itself happens. We won’t know for some time yet which it will be.

European Voting Intention

  • SNP – 38% (-1 / +9)
  • Labour – 16% (-4 / -10)
  • Brexit – 16% (+6 / +16)
  • Conservative – 11% (-5 / -6)
  • Liberal Democrat – 10% (+4 / +3)
  • Green – 4% (+1 / -4)
  • Change UK – 2% (-2 / +2)
  • UKIP – 2% (nc / -9)

As with the (very few) other polls we’ve had for Scotland this election, a very solid result for the SNP and the Brexit Party, whilst almost everyone else suffers quite badly – only the Lib Dems are up notably, nipping at the Conservatives heels.

I have to admit to being dubious about the Green portion of this poll in particular, despite everything else being pretty on-trend. Folks who’ve paid attention to me being incredibly transparent about my own partisan leanings may be quick to shout “BIAS!” at this point, but it sticks out like a sore thumb versus both the Scottish Green Party’s history of having their highest vote shares at European elections, and with the finding of 7% for the Holyrood regional vote in the same poll.

We also know from GB-wide polling that EU results have been highly variable between agencies, with Greens themselves ranging from 4-11%, and similarly volatile ranges of 15-24% for Labour, 12-17% for Lib Dems and 9-14% for the Conservatives. That doesn’t mean Panelbase are in the wrong, but my general sense is that pollsters are struggling to parse the present situation, seeing as it’s all so wild. Unless we get at least Survation and YouGov breaking some polling out tomorrow to give us some averaging out, we’re just going to have to wait for the count on Sunday to see how spot on or far off these figures are.

That big caveat aside, translating those figures into seats;

  • SNP – 3 (+1)
  • Labour – 1 (-1)
  • Brexit – 1 (+1)
  • Conservative – 1 (nc)

Constitutional (Independence Tracker)

On another EU Referendum;

  • Remain – 63%
  • Leave – 34%
  • Don’t Know – 2%

Excluding Don’t Know;

  • Remain – 65% (-1 / +3)
  • Leave – 35% (+1 / -3)

This time there’s very small movement towards Leave, but Remain still coming out with a more commanding majority than it won in 2016.

Standard Independence question;

  • No – 49% (nc)
  • Yes – 45% (+1)
  • Don’t Know – 6% (-1)

Excluding Don’t Know;

  • No – 52% (-1 / -3)
  • Yes – 48% (+1 / +3)

Although as ever there’s not much movement on the big Independence question, this is the highest Yes figure Panelbase have found since the immediate aftermath of the Brexit referendum, which was when there was a brief spate of Yes leads in reaction. On purely universal swing versus 2014, that’d see 9 Yes voting areas versus 23 No.

They also again asked when an Independence referendum should be held;

  • Shouldn’t be one (end of Q not visible on tables, assuming “in the next few years”?) – 50% (nc)
  • When the UK has finished negotiating to leave the EU – 28% (-2)
  • While the UK is negotiating to leave the EU – 22% (+3)

Half of respondents still don’t want there to be one anytime soon, but of the half that would like a Brexit-prompted referendum, there’s been a little bit of a shift towards having one before Brexit is completed, though most of that half do still favour waiting til negotiations are over.

Finally, they asked people to set aside their views on Independence and whether they believed it would become independent;

  • Likely within the next 5 to 10 years – 35% (+1)
  • Likely but not for at least 10 or 15 years – 18% (+1)
  • Likely but not for at least 20 or 30 years – 9% (+1)
  • Not likely at any point in the next few years – 27% (-2)
  • Don’t know – 11% (-1)

So just over a third of voters view Independence as relatively imminent, whilst another 27% think it’ll happen to some foreseeable timescale. That’s a total of 62% of voters who believe it’s likely that Scotland will become independent at some point. By contrast, only 27% of voters don’t think it’s likely at any point.

As you’d expect Yes voters tend towards the view that Independence is imminent whilst No voters are less likely to think so, but even then only 46% of respondents who say they’d vote No think it’s not likely at any point, versus 42% who plumped for one of the likely options.

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