ComRes, 9th of October 2020

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New kid on the Scottish Polling block, Savanta ComRes, are back with a second poll. The previous one was a bit of a bolt from the blue, given we’d settled into a pattern of just three agencies providing Scottish polling. The fact it seems we now have a fourth is welcome news indeed.

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Regional Vote

SNP - 41% (-2 / -1)
Conservative - 21% (nc / -2)
Labour - 18% (+2 / -1)
Green - 11% (+1 / +4)
Liberal Democrat - 7% (-1 / +2)

Though the SNP retain their commanding lead here, it’s notable that in addition to dropping 2%, this is the first poll since January to show them below their 2016 result for this vote. With the Greens up at 11%, their highest polled figure since March last year, it does seem that ComRes are settling into being one of the agencies that finds a substantial gap in SNP vote between each ballot.

For the Conservatives this is another poll below their 2016 result, but it is at least holding steady at a time other polls have had them ticking downwards. Labour seem to be on something of an upward trend after hitting rock-bottom in June, and to round things out neatly the Lib Dems are down slightly versus the last poll but up compared to 2016.

Constituency Vote

SNP - 50% (-1 / +3)
Conservative - 23% (-1 / +1)
Labour - 18% (+1 / -5)
Liberal Democrat - 6% (nc / -2)

For the constituency vote, the SNP’s lead over the Conservatives is even more comfortable and despite a small decrease still has them on half of the vote and ahead of 2016. The Conservatives themselves have dipped marginally since last poll, but gone up marginally since the election, Labour are again showing a small recovery from recent lows here, and the Lib Dems are static in polling terms but down versus the last vote.

Seat Projection

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

SNP - 66 (-1 / +3)
Conservative - 25 (-1 / -6)
Labour - 22 (+4 / -2)
Green - 11 (+1 / +5)
Liberal Democrat - 5 (-3 / nc)

This is yet another projection with an SNP majority, but only just. It’s also the lowest seat share my calculator has indicated since the Survation poll in January found them one short of a majority. Since the Greens come out with an additional seat, the overall constitutional balance would be identical to the previous ComRes poll at 77 pro-Independence versus 52 pro-Union.

This projection does somewhat emphasise the not entirely proportional nature of AMS, as the loss of just 1% of the vote takes the Lib Dems from growth at 8 seats down to no change at 5 seats, as SNP overhangs in both West and South block them, and they come up narrowly short in Highlands and Islands. By contrast, a gain of 2% tips 4 seats into Labour’s column. Toggling my calculator to Universal Swing does show 7 Lib Dem MSPs, which also speaks to how fine the margins are here.

As with the previous ComRes, this one unfortunately lacks Westminster VI.

Standard Question

Yes - 47% (-2)
No - 42% (nc)
Don't Know - 11% (+2)

Independence retains the polling lead it’s had over Union for most of this year, but there is a slight shift in this poll from Yes to Don’t Know.

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes - 53% (-1 / +8)
No - 47% (+1 / -8)

That marginal shift from Yes to Don’t Know results in a very slight narrowing between the two options once Don’t Knows are taken out. Although this is mostly shuffling about the margin of error for the moment, it does seem as if we’re settling into 53% as roughly the current level of Independence support suggested by this measure.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, this might put a total of 19 Councils in the Yes column, an increase on the 4 in 2014. That’d leave 13 for No, down from 28 at the referendum.


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.

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

SNP - 53 (-13 / -3)
Conservative - 28 (+3 / nc)
Labour - 24 (+2 / +3)
Green - 15 (+4 / +2)
Liberal Democrat - 9 (+4 / -2)

As ever, the SNP could be expected to be a good bit worse off in a purely proportional setup, when not benefiting from unfairly the inflationary effects of FPTP. Everyone else would be much better off, particularly the Lib Dems who would nearly double their seat share. Though the SNP lack a majority, there is still a pro-Independence lead of 68 seats overall, down one from the equivalent projection on the last poll.

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