Poll Analysis: ComRes 2nd – 7th 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!

After a brief interruption yesterday for the third entry in the Ballot Box Battlegrounds series, we return to Thursday’s double-whammy of polling. Though this ComRes emerged first, it was conducted a day behind the Opinium. It’s the fifth poll we’ve had in the past couple of weeks, following the close of nominations – and of course since the launch of Alba. This poll gives us a further indication that may not have been the campaign watershed that party were hoping for.

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Regional Vote

SNP ~ 40% (nc / -2)
Conservative ~ 21% (-3 / -2)
Labour ~ 18% (nc / -1)
Green ~ 9% (-1 / +2)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7% (+1 / +2)
Alba ~ 3% (+3 / +3)

The big change here versus the last poll is a decline of 3% for the Conservatives. Across recent polls from ComRes, they’d achieved a remarkable bounce back from a record low to polling better than their 2016 result, but have now fallen back from that. That brings Labour closer to second place, though without any increase in their own vote.

For the Greens, a decrease of 1% marks the first time a post-Alba poll has suggested a loss of support, rather than gaining or remaining steady. I’d say by now the evidence suggests the two parties are fishing in different voter ponds, so this will most likely reflect either margin of error or a shift to someone else. Given the SNP remain static, that means of the existing parties only the Lib Dems increase their share, with a boost of a single point.

Turning now to Alba, this makes four of the five polls putting them on 3% or less. As I’ve repeatedly emphasised, 3% is not a value to write off the prospect of Salmond himself winning a seat, but nor is it a level that’d bring anyone else with him, and it certainly wouldn’t deliver the Independence “supermajority” given as the party’s raison d’être.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 49% (+1 / +2)
Conservative ~ 23% (nc / +1)
Labour ~ 18% (-2 / -5)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (-2 / -2)

Absolutely nothing is the same on this vote! Here it’s the Conservatives who are static on the last poll, up very slightly on 2016, whilst Labour and the Lib Dems are left worse off. Given this is the less important vote in terms of final seats won, for the most part, they’ve got the better end of the deal. The sole bit of upwards motion is a gain of 1% for the SNP.

Seat Projection

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

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 65 (+1 / +2)
Conservative ~ 25 (-4 / -6)
Labour ~ 22 (+1 / -2)
Green ~ 10 (nc / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7 (+2 / +2)

That’d be the barest possible SNP majority, versus falling one seat short in the last poll. They were also a seat short in the Scotsman’s projection from this poll, which is another useful reminder that projections are not an exact science. In both cases, we just have to run with whatever the model spits out, in the knowledge this is indicative and not predictive.

Even if the SNP did fall short individually, the constitutional balance at Holyrood would remain in favour of Independence, as the Greens would have a substantially inflated group if their vote share was up. The Lib Dems also do relatively well here by gaining a couple of seats, versus the streak of projected losses from three of the other pollsters.

No Westminster Q in this one.

Standard Question

Yes ~ 45% (nc)
No ~ 45% (-2)
Don't Know ~ 9% (+1)

At this point, regular readers should be able to reel off, word-for-word, what my analysis of this is. It’s on a knife-edge, totally margin of error, who knows which way Scotland would go in an actual referendum right now? This one is genuinely split exactly right down the middle, just for extra indecision!

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes ~ 50% (+1 / +5)
No ~ 50% (-1 / -5)

No maths prizes for guessing that an even split remains an even split when you take out the Don’t Know responses! I’m running out of ways to say “it’s up in the air everyone, nothing to see here”, which is why I’ve just re-used text from the Opinium poll in the paragraph above.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, 17 Councils would lean No, down from 28 in 2014. 15 would fall into the Yes column, up from 4 at the referendum.

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.

As the election approaches and polls are coming out more frequently, I’m jettisoning the actual map for this one for now. I still think it’s a fun and useful exercise, but it’s also time consuming to manually change 129 bubbles! (The AMS projection is only 56 bubbles, because the 73 constituencies are driven from a spreadsheet).

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

SNP ~ 52 (-13 / nc)
Conservative ~ 28 (+3 / -4)
Labour ~ 24 (+2 / nc)
Green ~ 12 (+2 / -1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 9 (+2 / +1)
Alba ~ 4 (+4 / +4)

As you’d expect, more proportional system means fewer SNP seats and more for everyone else. Alba benefit from just being on the threshold here, and would be necessary for a pro-Independence majority in the chamber, with the SNP and Greens alone falling one short and the pro-Union parties totalling 61 seats.

If you find this or other Ballot Box Scotland output useful and/or interesting, and you can afford to do so, please consider donating to support my work. I love doing this, but it’s a one-man project and takes a lot of time and effort. All donations, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated and extremely helpful.
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