In the immortal words of Brenda from Bristol: “You’re joking? Not another one!” In the very same week we’d already had a poll from Savanta ComRes published, we got another one, meaning we’re now three on the trot from the same agency. Fortunately the fieldwork for this one, as part of the ongoing partnership between that pollster and the Scotsman, took place a couple of weeks later.
Less fortunately the tables took about as long again, which is why this piece is appearing so late. I don’t know why, but ComRes is getting very Panelbase-y in terms of how long it’s taking them to make tables available. I like to wait until they are before publishing analysis pieces, but when it’s over a week after the headline figures came out, it’s a bit silly. In future, I’m considering simply publishing after three working days maximum, and coming back to add in the link to tables and any further data when they finally appear.
Anyway, as good as it is to get a run of polling, it would be preferable to have a spread of polling firms rather than just the one… and on that note it might be worth checking back with BBS on the 5th of April, is all I’m saying. On this poll though, and if I could put this up in flashing neon lights I would: all vote shares here are within margin of error with the previous poll, so don’t read too much into it.
The previous Savanta ComRes poll covered the 24th – 28th of February. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).
Given how close the fieldwork was for these two polls, no surprises this doesn’t look that different. This one is better for Labour, and is in fact their best poll of the term thus far, putting them a couple of points clear of the Conservatives. Statistically all that tells us is that it’s too close to call for second place. Similarly, there’s not much to be taken from the Greens going from their best ever polled share to their second best ever polled share.
Further emphasising that point about it being basically the same, both the SNP and Lib Dems are completely static. For the former that’s on a share they’d find concerningly low, whilst the latter would be overjoyed to do so well at an actual election.
Again, much of a muchness on the constituency vote. The fact the SNP are down marginally makes this their worst poll overall of the term to date, and Labour have a clearer lead on this vote than in the much more important regional ballot.
Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:
Unsurprisingly, if you have two polls that look very similar, you’ll get a very similar seat outcome. This time it’s Labour with a single seat lead – and a projected constituency gain for the first time since the election – for second, and the Greens likewise trade a seat over to the Lib Dems.
In terms of voting intention, the constitutional question has shown the biggest shifts. Support for the Union here is almost at half even when including don’t knows, whilst Independence support has dipped slightly. That gives us the cursed numbers (bearing in mind rounding effects) of 52:48 once we exclude uncertain voters. This is still a level far too close to call if it was the starting gun for an actual referendum campaign, but it’s the most comfortable lead for the Union since a YouGov poll in November.
Timing of a Referendum
Similar to the question on Independence itself, views on timing of a referendum remain narrowly split. This time around there’s a lead of 49% to 44% for the options within the next five years – I’ve noted previously I’d sort of put those within the general timescale of “this parliament”, though strictly the last year of the five now extends into the first year of the next parliament.
Movement this time has been a little bit away from the more middle ground positions, with an increase both for people supporting one within the next two years and for never having another one. Overall however, still only a third of respondents are aligned with the Scottish Government’s intention to have one by the end of 2023.
Beyond these, ComRes always comes with a dizzying array of figures if you want to dive into the tables, which also included questions indicating a general desire for a focus on Ukraine and cost of living rather than Independence.
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.
For the moment, although the maps are useful for illustrative purposes, I’m opting just to show these hypotheticals as charts. It’s very time consuming making maps, and for these pure hypotheticals, it’s possibly a bit overkill.
A more proportional but still AMS model slices the SNP’s advantage but continues to show a lead for their cooperative government with the Greens…
Whereas a much more fully proportional system with no FPTP element again has them coming up short at 62 versus 67, due to further growth for the combined Pro-Union parties’ lead.
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.