Poll Analysis: ComRes 30th of April – 4th of May 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!

Second in our trio of final polls from today is ComRes, whose partnership with the Scotsman has made them one of the most prolific pollsters of this campaign. Fieldwork for this one began just days after the previous one concluded. Of all the final polls, this is by far the most dramatic, and most at odds with all of the other agencies. The question now will be whether ComRes are vindicated or mortified at the end of Saturday.

Display format for this post:

Regional Vote

SNP ~ 34% (-2 / -8)
Conservative ~ 22% (nc / -1)
Labour ~ 19% (nc / nc)
Green ~ 9% (-1 / +2)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (+1 / nc)
Alba ~ 2% (nc / +2)

Although the 30’s haven’t been foreign to the SNP on this ballot of late, a drop of 2% puts them at the lowest any pollster has found during the campaign, and you have to go back to March 2019 to find worse. The Greens are also down a point compared to the preceding poll, whilst the Lib Dems are up a point. All of the Conservatives, Labour and Alba are static, though shifts with other pollsters mean that no improvement on 2016 for Labour ends up their joint-best amongst the final batch of polls.

ComRes also continue to find a substantially higher share for “Other” parties. That may be rooted in the record number of ballot options this time, but it is another place they differ from most other pollsters. As a related note, folk who were being oddly inquisitive about Britain Elects not having included Alba and theorising about grand conspiracies of deliberate exclusion to hide success as a result should note the 2% listed beside that party above.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 42% (-3 / -5)
Conservative ~ 25% (+2 / +3)
Labour ~ 22% (-1 / -1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 8% (+1 / nc)

If the SNP found that list number worrying, then 42% of the constituency vote will be even more concerning. To find a share that low on this side of things you need to go back to June 2019. It’s still a clear lead but it’d put them at risk of losing seats – especially when you consider that the Conservatives are on easily their best figure of the campaign, and Labour at the upper end of their recent polling despite a dip of a single point.

Seat Projection

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

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 59 (-2 / -4)
Conservative ~ 29 (+1 / -2)
Labour ~ 26 (+2 / +2)
Green ~ 10 (-1 / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 5 (nc / nc)

Short a significant amount of their 2016 support in this poll, the SNP naturally lose a number of seats, with three constituencies projected to go Conservative here, though the latter would still be down seats overall after list MSPs were allocated. That’s quite starkly at odds with what everyone else in the final average has found, as are the projected gains for Labour. Though there’d be no SNP majority, there would nonetheless be a pro-Independence majority with the Greens.

As out of kilter as this one may be (though that may yet be proven correct), I think there’s a kernel of a useful reminder within it too. The SNP’s majority is by this point clearly riding on winning a majority of the constituency seats, and losing even a small number of them closes that door. Seats like Moray and Perthshire South are in contention even if the SNP’s constituency share isn’t as low as it is here, because you can bet the Conservatives will have been concentrating resources there.

No Westminster Q in this one.

Standard Question

No ~ 50% (+1)
Yes ~ 42% (nc)
Don't Know ~ 8% (nc)

There isn’t much movement versus the previous poll, but the gap between No and Yes has widened slightly. ComRes are currently the most Union-favourable pollster, though a couple of others aren’t far behind, and are evidencing what now appears to be a clear trend back away from Independence.

Excluding Don't Knows

No ~ 54% (nc / -1)
Yes ~ 46% (nc / +1)

Take those Don’t Knows out and we’re almost back to the 2014 status quo, emphasising how strong a turn ComRes are finding at the moment, though it’s not any different to last month by this measure.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, a total of 26 council areas might be leaning No, down only slightly from 28. Meanwhile, 6 would lean Yes, up marginally from 4 in 2014.


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 ~ 49 (-10 / -1)
Conservative ~ 31 (+2 / nc)
Labour ~ 27 (+1 / nc)
Green ~ 13 (+3 / nc)
Liberal Democrat ~ 9 (+4 / -2)

Though the SNP have far less distance to fall in this hypothetical when they aren’t quite as dominant in the constituency vote, they’d still see a bunch of their seats pass to other parties. In contrast to AMS, the constitutional advantage here would lie with the pro-Union parties, who’d have 67 seats to the pro-Independence bloc’s 62.

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.
(About Donations)