Poll Analysis: Opinium 28th of April – 3rd of May 2021

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Although I was prepared for a busy few days, I’m really getting swept off my feet today. Following on from the Survation analysis earlier tonight, we’ve got a final poll from Opinium. This one actually has fieldwork coming into May, so is much more recent and hasn’t caused any pain to my averages.

If I thought I’d have any time at all tonight to rest, the fact that a YouGov poll then emerged whilst I was writing the Survation piece reminded me that was foolish. That one will come tomorrow lunchtime tomorrow, assuming I get it written and scheduled before bed. I also know there’s a ComRes in the wings, and I’d be surprised if Ipsos MORI didn’t have one final poll too.

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Regional Vote

SNP ~ 41% (-3 / -1)
Conservative ~ 23% (+1 / nc)
Labour ~ 17% (nc / -2)
Green ~ 8% (+1 / +1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (+1 / +1)
Alba ~ 3% (+1 / +3)

The SNP’s trend of downwards motion on the list ballot continues here, though Opinium are now the only pollster in the average to still have them in the 40’s, as everyone else varies in the high 30’s. They’ve also got the sunniest prospects for the Conservatives of any pollster, though only just, whilst Labour’s figure is very middling, as is the Lib Dems’.

The Greens are on the lower end of their recent polling here, but this is the highest they’ve been with Opinium so continuing their general upwards movement, whilst Alba also haul themselves up to bang on their recent average. 

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 51% (-2 / +4)
Conservative ~ 23% (+2 / +1)
Labour ~ 19% (+1 / -4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7% (+1 / -1)

Opinium are also on the more optimistic end of SNP constituency polling, though there are a couple of other figures in the current average just above this. Conservatives too on the top end of their recent showings, Labour below, and Lib Dems absolutely spot on their average.

Seat Projection

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

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 67 (-5 / +4)
Conservative ~ 29 (+3 / -2)
Labour ~ 19 (-3 / -5)
Green ~ 9 (+4 / +3)
Liberal Democrat ~ 5 (+1 / nc)

That SNP constituency vote dominance narrowly hands them a majority on those seats alone, though bolstered slightly by a projection of two list seats on top. Gains versus the last poll for the Greens and Lib Dems too, who had been down on their 2016 seat shares, though only the former exceed them this time.

As I’ve noted a few times, 3% is the point at which I reckon it’s about 50/50 as to whether Alba get Salmond into the North East, and my model thinking “no” could well be falling on the wrong side of that.

SNP ~ 47% (-3 / +2)
Conservative ~ 25% (+1 / nc)
Labour ~ 20% (+1 / +1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (+2 / -4)
Green ~ 1% (nc / nc)

As at Holyrood, the SNP are losing ground in the Westminster voting intention, but still clearly out in front. Gains for the three other Westminster parties put the Conservatives roughly level with their 2019 result, and rescue the Lib Dems from a low of 4%.

Standard Question

Yes ~ 45% (-3)
No ~ 45% (-1)
Don't Know ~ 8% (+2)

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 poll says it’s a completely even split – and it isn’t the only recent poll to do so, following in the footsteps of BMG.

Excluding Don't Knows

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

It shouldn’t shock anyone that’s a 50:50 result once we take the Don’t Knows out. The polling balance now lies narrowly with the Union, but it’s not by much, as polls like this emphasise how tight things remain.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, 17 councils might favour No, down from 28 last time, and 15 might lean towards Yes, up from 4.

Other Independence Questions

As is quite common at the moment, there were questions on the circumstances and timing of a possible Independence referendum. Starting with “if the SNP win a majority”:

  • In the next two years ~ 28% (-5)
  • In the next five years ~ 14% (-2)
  • Further in the future ~ 18% (+5)
  • Shouldn’t be one ~ 32% (-1)
  • Don’t Know ~  8% (+3)

Though a majority of voters (60%) do think this should lead to a referendum, only 42% think that should be in this term, with those favouring further in the future or not at all on 50%. That’s a reversal from the last poll, where a this-term referendum was favoured by a slender plurality.

Then they were asked about a general Pro-Independence majority of MSPs rather than purely SNP:

  • In the next two years ~ 27% (-5)
  • In the next five years ~ 16% (-1)
  • Further in the future ~ 16% (+4)
  • Shouldn’t be one ~ 33% (-1)
  • Don’t Know ~  8% (+6)

Figures here are almost identical, replicating that shift from supporting a referendum this term, to preferring later or not at all.

Finally, if it was a pro-Union majority:

  • In the next two years ~ 24% (-2)
  • In the next five years ~ 15% (-2)
  • Further in the future ~ 16% (+2)
  • Shouldn’t be one ~ 36% (-1)
  • Don’t Know ~  9% (+3)

No surprises that people would broadly prefer not to have a referendum if there’s a pro-Union majority at Holyrood. Note again that there is clearly a large core that just wants to get to vote regardless, though it’s a bit smaller than the last poll.


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 ~ 54 (-13 / -5)
Conservative ~ 30 (+1 / nc)
Labour ~ 22 (+3 / -1)
Green ~ 11 (+2 / +1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 8 (+3 / +1)
Alba ~ 4 (+4 / +4)

Without their FPTP advantage the SNP would “clearly” rather than “overwhelmingly” ahead of everyone else, but would still be able to count on a pro-Independence majority of 65 seats with the Greens, without having to rely on Alba’s 4. 

Scandinavian Style Westminster

Changes here are only versus the same projection on the last poll, given my aversion to doing projections on pure FPTP.

SNP - 28 (-2)
Conservative - 15 (nc)
Labour - 12 (nc)
Liberal Democrat - 4 (+2)

Doesn’t need much explanation here – bring in a proportional system for Westminster, and things are far less weirdly skewed, and voters for the pro-Union parties would be fairly represented.

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