Poll Analysis: Panelbase 9th – 12th 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 busy week of polls at the start of April, we’ve had a mercifully quiet few days where I got to relax a bit. That’s now over, as Panelbase have become the first pollster to have a second crack at things since Alba launched. Their last outing was rather explosive, so in that sense it’s quite good to hear from them again so soon.

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Regional Vote

SNP ~ 36% (-3 / -6)
Conservative ~ 22% (+1 / -1)
Labour ~ 17% (nc / -2)
Green ~ 9% (+1 / +2)
Alba ~ 6% (+6 / +6)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (+1 / +1)
All for Unity ~ 2% (-2 / +2)

Having dropped 3%, the SNP are at their lowest share on this vote with any pollster since March 2019. Given how AMS works this wouldn’t necessarily impact their total seat share all that much, but it is somewhat remarkable. For the three major pro-Union parties this is all roughly in the middle of their polling, whilst the frankly odd 4% for All for Unity last time is halved to a still odd but not outrageous level.

For the more widely covered new kid on the block, Panelbase continue to be the outlier, finding the same 6% as they did in the previous poll. That’s twice the level seen with any of the four other polling firms that have asked so far. As ever that doesn’t mean it’s certain to be wrong, as the others could be underestimating their support, just that it’d be slightly surprising.

Finally, the Greens are up modestly on the last poll to put them roughly in the middle of their range as well, but 9% is the highest Panelbase has had them this entire term. I’ve remarked previously how Panelbase tend to be on the lower end of Green (and Lib Dem) polling, so that may indicate a solidifying of the Green vote. Or it could be margin of error wiggling! That’s the fun of polls.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 47% (-2 / nc)
Conservative ~ 23% (+1 / +1)
Labour ~ 20% (nc / -3)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (nc / -2)
Green ~ 4% (+2 / +3)

A bit of an oddity here, as Panelbase have also found a relatively high Green share for the constituency. Given they are only standing in 12 constituencies, 4% seems… something of a stretch, to say the least. The Opinium option of not prompting for them on this vote may have been a sensible one to adopt.

Anyway, that may partly explain the decrease for the SNP, which gives them one of their lower constituency vote shares in recent months. The only other movement is a little boost for the Conservatives, which is the kind of thing that we’re likely to see have an impact in the next section…

Seat Projection

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

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 63 (-3 / nc)
Conservative ~ 26 (+1 / -5)
Labour ~ 19 (nc / -5)
Green ~ 10 (+1 / +4)
Alba ~ 6 (+1 / +6)
Liberal Democrat ~ 5 (+1 / nc)
All for Unity ~ 0 (nc / -1)

Those decreases in the SNP vote has them projected to the same number of seats they won in 2016 – so just short of a majority, but too far ahead of everyone else to envision anything but continued SNP government. There’d still be a substantial pro-Independence majority between the SNP and Greens of 73 seats, even without the 6 seats projected for Alba. This also does away with that shock seat for George Galloway the previous poll was hinting at.

No Westminster Q in this one.

Standard Question

Yes ~ 48% (nc)
No ~ 46% (-1)
Don't Know ~ 6% (+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? There’s a very slight increase in the lead for Yes, but not enough to take us out of the margin of error.

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes ~ 51% (+1 / +6)
No ~ 49% (-1 / -6)

A wider gap than the last poll makes this one an actual lead for Independence once we exclude Don’t Knows, but again, we’re just bouncing around that half-and-half mark and the only thing we can be certain of is that there is no certainty.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, this is the evenly split point where 15 councils apiece lean one direct, and 2 sit awkwardly bang on the 50-50 mark. 

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 ~ 48 (-15 / -1)
Conservative ~ 30 (+4 / +3)
Labour ~ 23 (+4 / +1)
Green ~ 12 (+2 / +1)
Alba ~ 8 (+2 / nc)
Liberal Democrat ~ 8 (+3 / +1)
All for Unity ~ 0 (nc / -5)

Making things more fully proportional would take Alba from surplus to Independence requirements to definitely necessary, as the SNP and Greens fall short on just 60 seats in this model. It’s probably worth noting that there’d be a question of whether Alba would even exist in this reality where their stated “supermajority” rationale doesn’t exist – but as ever, for this alternate reality I can only use what the polls actually have in them right now!

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