Good news, everyone! YouGov has published a whole bunch of new Scottish polling data, after long months of nothing. It’s not surprising that a non-election year in the middle of the Holyrood term would have comparatively little polling, but that’s been no fun for us nerds. There’s nothing terribly dramatic in here compared to polls at the start of the year, but they should keep us all going for now.
- Party – Vote% (Change vs last poll by agency / Change vs last election)
Holyrood Voting Intention and Projection
- SNP – 41% (+3 / -5)
- Conservative – 27% (+1 / +5)
- Labour – 22% (-1 / -1)
- Lib Dem – 6% (-1 / -2)
- Green – 2% (-1 / +1)
- SNP – 32% (nc / -10)
- Conservative – 26% (+1 / +3)
- Labour – 21% (-1 / +2)
- Green – 9% (-1 / +2)
- Lib Dem – 7% (nc / +2)
- SSP – 3% (+2 / +2)
- UKIP 1% (-2 / -1)
There’s still a very clear lead for the SNP in the constituency vote, up on the last YouGov poll but down a fair bit on the 2016 result. However, their regional vote remains way down on 2016. The Conservatives look pretty secure in second place again, with a solid vote uptick since 2016, whilst Labour sit in a middle ground of being marginally down on the last poll but marginally up on the election result. The Greens and Lib Dems both hold reasonably steady at their current polling norm of being up slightly on 2016.
That 3% SSP vote looks quite remarkable in the context of a party that sunk practically without trace in 2007 – their time in RISE only winning 0.5% of the vote in 2016. Given they still register at 0 in a few recent polls, I’d need to see that sustained before any vague talk of an SSP revival holds water, especially given they saw figures like this a couple of years out from 2016.
If we project that into seats it might look like;
- SNP – 54 (+1 / -9)
- Conservative – 33 (+1 / +2)
- Labour – 26 (-1 / +2)
- Green – 9 (-1 / +3)
- Lib Dem – 7 (nc / +2)
All projected constituency seat changes are from the SNP to the Tories – it should be no surprise after last year’s snap general election that the seats most likely to flip that way stretch up from Perthshire, through Angus and Aberdeenshire, up to Moray. The overall effect is to tip the constitutional balance of the chamber 66-63 in the pro-Union parties favour.
Bearing in mind that projections are not an exact science, it’s worth showing the projected winning margin in each constituency to show how close some competitions are. After one go at a colourised version of this, I’m afraid I’ve opted for monochrome as it’s quicker and easier to do – just refer to the map above to see expected winner.
I also want to quickly introduce people to the concept of “Overhang”. This is an odd quirk of mixed member systems like ours where a party wins so many constituency seats it throws off the proportionality of the list. That can come about either because of a large difference in that party’s constituency and list vote, or simply by winning every constituency on a comparatively low vote share – or a combination of the two. Countries like New Zealand and Germany compensate for overhang.
Scotland does not. On this projection, the SNP have an overhang of 6 seats – that’s 6 seats more than they “should” have, which means 6 fewer seats for other parties. They overhang in Central at the expense of Labour and the Tories, in Glasgow at the expense of Labour and the Greens, and in West at the expense of the Lib Dems and Tories.
Westminster Voting Intention
- SNP – 40% (+4 / +3)
- Conservative – 27% (+4 / -2)
- Labour – 23% (-5 / -4)
- Lib Dem – 7% (+1 / nc)
- Green – 2% (-1 / +2)
- UKIP – 1% (-2 / +1)
The stand out result from this poll is that it’s rather bleak for Scottish Labour. In the last YouGov poll, they had at least managed to reclaim second place. Not only do they slip back into third here, a seat projection reckons they’d lose 6 seats and be left with (presumably) Ian Murray as their only MP again. Six months and a whole budget process into the job and it isn’t looking like Richard Leonard is turning his party’s fortunes around, especially with Holyrood stagnant too.
A small dip for the Conservatives would see them lose 2 of their 13 seats to the SNP, who would come away with 43. The Lib Dems would be completely static, holding what they have. Overall, a reassuring poll for SNP just now, halfway through their third term. It’s easy to forget looking at the headline figures how regionalised the Labour and Tory vote is compared to the SNP. They need a buoyant national vote to ensure they stay ahead of both the Conservatives in rural areas and Labour in urban centres.
Independence Voting Intention
- Yes – 45% (+2.5 / nc)
- No – 55% (-2.5 / nc)
A slight uptick for Yes compared to the last YouGov poll, but no actual change on the national question compared to the 2014 referendum. Brexit isn’t looking like the automatic pass to independence some people thought – though they may well note the actual disaster hasn’t struck yet.
- Should be a referendum in the next 5 years – 40% (+4)
- Should not be a referendum in the next 5 years – 52% (-2)
- Don’t Know – 8% (-2)
Voters also aren’t keen to go vote again on the issue, with a majority against a second referendum in the next 5 years. Unsurprisingly though this is split along constitutional lines too – the overwhelming majority of prospective Yes voters believe there should be, whilst an even larger majority of No voters believe there shouldn’t be. It’s the same story if you pitch a referendum post-negotiations but pre-Brexit…
- Support holding a referendum – 37% (+2)
- Oppose holding a referendum – 49% (-2)
- Don’t Know – 14% (-1)
Or a referendum post-Brexit…
- Support holding a referendum – 37% (+1)
- Oppose holding a referendum – 48% (+1)
- Don’t Know – 16% (-1)
Remember, you can keep tabs on polling on this website, including the (finally) added Independence Polling tracker page.