Panelbase, 18th-24th April 2019

Two Scottish polls along at once? Who would have thought it! Ah, right, everyone, because it keeps happening. It was a busy weekend for polling with a YouGov out on Saturday, and this Panelbase on Sunday. Although the data from this one was published second, the fieldwork completed just before and I’m actually able to post them the right way round this time.

Compared to the last time there were overlapping polls, these two are somewhat more closely aligned despite their differences. Further, these are the first Scottish polls since The Independent Group became Change UK, and since the Brexit Party siphoned off most of UKIPs MEPs and support. That makes them a little bit more interesting than normal.

Display format;

Holyrood Voting Intention and Projection (Tracker)

Regional;

  • SNP – 37% (-1 / -5)
  • Conservative – 22% (-4 / -1)
  • Labour – 19% (-3 / nc)
  • Lib Dem – 7% (-2 / +2)
  • Green – 7% (+1 / nc)
  • Brexit – 4% (+4 / +4)
  • Change UK – 2% (+2 / +2)
  • UKIP – 2% (+1 / nc)

Constituency;

  • SNP – 40% (-1 / -7)
  • Conservative – 22% (-3 / nc)
  • Labour – 20% (-3 / -3)
  • Lib Dem – 6% (nc / -2)
  • Brexit – 5% (+5 / +5)
  • Green – 3% (nc / +2)
  • Change UK – 2% (+2 / +2)
  • UKIP – 1% (nc / +1)

Compared to last month, there’s a neat stepped -1 to -4 on the regional vote for the SNP, Lib Dems, Labour and Conservatives, with the latter two also down substantially on the constituency vote. Apart from a small uptick for the Greens, these declines are channelled almost entirely to those new on the scene parties.

Brexit show up as about twice as strong as Change UK, but on the all-important regional vote both come substantially below the existing Holyrood parties. When compared with the overlapping YouGov poll, this one is a bit less favourable to the SNP and the smaller parties and more to the Conservatives and Labour.

If we project that into seats it might look like;

  • SNP – 60 (+3 / -3)
  • Conservative – 31 (-4 / nc)
  • Labour – 25 (+1 / +1)
  • Lib Dem – 7 (-3 / +2)
  • Green – 6 (+3 / nc)

The SNP alone are projected to win as many seats as they and the Greens combined did in last month’s Panelbase, giving both a narrow pro-Independence majority and the first time since the snap GE in 2017 where the SNP have been outside the 50’s. With Brexit being assumed to roughly mirror UKIP’s vote spread, that 4% is too widely spread for them to pick up any MSPs. The fact the Greens are projected with twice as many seats as last month for only 1% difference in their vote share is a reminder of how sensitive AMS can be depending on where your vote lies.

Comparatively low constituency figures for the Conservatives suggest that, against Panelbase trend, they’d flip just one additional constituency rather than their normal sweep of Perthshire, the rural North East and Moray.

As I now like to do, let’s do a brief comparison with a hypothetical more proportional system in line with Scandinavian countries (vs AMS projection);

  • SNP – 51 (-9)
  • Conservative – 30 (-1)
  • Labour – 25 (nc)
  • Lib Dem – 9 (+2)
  • Green – 9 (+3)
  • Brexit – 5 (+5)

Unlike AMS, the Brexit Party would find themselves with a handful of MSPs as they’re dead-on that 4% threshold for representation.

Westminster Voting Intention (Tracker)

  • SNP – 38% (+1 / +1)
  • Conservative – 22% (-5 / -7)
  • Labour – 21% (-1 / -6)
  • Lib Dem – 6% (-1 / -1)
  • Brexit – 5% (+5 / +5)
  • Change UK – 3% (+1 / +1)
  • Green – 2% (nc / +2)
  • UKIP – 2% (nc / +2)

For the UK Parliament the main story in this poll is that big Conservative decline. There’s a corresponding 5% showing for the Brexit Party here though which is likely to explain that entire shift. Change UK fare a little better here than in the Holyrood portion, coming ahead of both the Greens and UKIP, though still on the lower end of things. With Labour also down substantially on their 2017 results, the SNP would likely pick up most of the seats they lost then despite a relatively static vote share themselves.

Constitutional (Independence Tracker)

Once again combining Independence and Brexit into one section due to interlinked nature of their questions. On a pure re-run of the Brexit referendum;

  • Remain – 65% (+1)
  • Leave – 33% (-1)
  • Don’t Know – 3% (nc)

Excluding Don’t Knows;

  • Remain – 66% (nc / +4)
  • Leave – 34% (nc / -4)

As ever, a very strong Remain majority in Scottish polling, and higher than what actually happened in 2016.

Changes for the Independence question are vs the poll ending 5th of December, the last time this Q was seemingly asked.

  • Yes – 44% (-1)
  • No – 49% (-2)
  • Don’t Know – 7% (+3)

Excluding Don’t Knows;

  • Yes – 47% (nc / +2)
  • No – 53% (nc / -2)

Compared to December’s poll, voters seem slightly more unsure about their positions on Independence, but there’s no change to the straight Yes-No figures. In keeping with my desire to map all the things, here’s what it would look like if this translated universally across Scotland compared to 2014. Yes would win in 6 Councils and No in 26.

As with last month’s Panelbase voters were also asked how they’d vote in a hypothetical No Deal Brexit scenario;

  • Yes – 45%
  • No – 42%
  • Don’t Know – 13%

Excluding Don’t Knows;

  • Yes – 52%
  • No – 48%

Although it’s tempting to look at the Yes lead once Don’t Knows are excluded, Yes is up only 1% when they are included. Again, it’s likely that the main effect of Brexit is making people more unsure about their constitutional position rather than more pro-Independence. Remember as well that “if X happens, then Y happens, how will you vote?” questions are typically rather dubious as well.

On 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%
  • When the UK has finished negotiating to leave the EU – 30%
  • While the UK is negotiating to leave the EU – 19%

Comparing Brexit scenarios, whether the UK with a Brexit deal or Independence would be better for Scotland;

  • Independence – 43%
  • UK with deal – 42%
  • Don’t Know – 15%

Excluding Don’t Knows;

  • Independence – 51%
  • UK with deal – 49%

And finally on whether no deal or Independence would be better for Scotland;

  • Independence – 46%
  • UK with no deal – 32%
  • Don’t Know – 22%

Excluding Don’t Knows;

  • Independence – 59%
  • UK with no deal – 41%

It’s the same refrain for these questions too – yes, Independence has a plurality when Don’t Knows are included and a majority when they aren’t, but there are a lot of Don’t Knows. There are a lot of very cautious voters waiting to see how things turn out rather than falling on either side of the debate at this point. As ever, you can expect both sides of that debate to publicly present that as a positive for them rather than acknowledge it could just as easily swing against them once Brexit has actually happened.

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