Poll Analysis: Panelbase 28th – 30th 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!

It’s really all go with just days left until election day, and we’ve once again had a double release of polling – one from Panelbase, and one from BMG. The fieldwork for these mostly overlaps, with BMG beginning one day earlier. I’d typically aim to post that one first, but tables are available for the Panelbase, so we’re starting there – and this is their fourth poll to finish up in April!

This one covers the 28th to 30th, and there was a previous Panelbase covering the 21st to 26th, so there’s really not been much time between them. As I noted when the most recent ComRes came within days of the previous poll by the same agency, changes are even more likely to be simply reflective of bouncing around the margin of error rather than showing clear voting intention changes amongst voters in such a short space of time.

Display format for this post:

Regional Vote

SNP ~ 39% (+3 / -3)
Conservative ~ 22% (+1 / -1)
Labour ~ 16% (-2 / -3)
Green ~ 8% (-2 / +1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7% (+1 / +2)
Alba ~ 4% (-2 / +4)
All for Unity ~ 2% (nc / +2)

This comes out on the higher end of recent SNP polling, which looks quite sharply different to the previous poll where they were on the lower end. The Conservatives and Lib Dems are also slightly higher for this one.

To balance that, all of Labour, the Greens and Alba are 2% lower than on the preceding poll. That puts the first two parties on the lower end of their recent polling, and though it’s at the upper end for Alba, it is notably down on the 6% Panelbase have otherwise consistently found for them.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 48% (+3 / +1)
Conservative ~ 21% (+1 / -1)
Labour ~ 20% (-2 / -3)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7% (-1 / -1)
Green ~ 3% (-1 / +2)

Broadly similar over on the constituency vote with a more optimistic poll for the SNP and Conservatives, but more pessimistic for Labour and the Greens, as well as the Lib Dems.

Seat Projection

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

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

SNP ~ 66 (+6 / +3)
Conservative ~ 28 (+2 / -3)
Labour ~ 18 (-3 / -6)
Green ~ 10 (-1 / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7 (+2 / +2)
Alba ~ 0 (-6 / nc)

Thanks in particular to the constituency vote this gives a substantially different result to the other recent Panelbase. Whereas that one found the SNP substantially short of a majority, here they are one over the line. There are also no Labour constituencies here, versus projecting to holding all three they currently hold in the other poll. As noted above, rather than take this as a sign of parties strengthening or weakening ahead of the day, this mostly illustrates how fine the margins are for them all, and how even small differences in vote share could give us quite different parliaments.

It’s also worth noting that I actually reckon Alba would be more likely than not to win at least one seat if they were on 4% – it’s just that the finger in the wind that is my model doesn’t quite see them over the line. Ironically enough for a party which advocates a tactical approach to voting, with an SNP constituency vote, the fact the SNP gain Aberdeenshire West in this model that induces an overhang that blocks Salmond’s seat. We’ve only got a few days until the election and I’ve got so much to do, both in BBS terms and in terms of having a normal life, so I don’t really have time to try and revise the model – and even if I did, it would still be very speculative!

No Westminster Q in this one.

Standard Question

Yes ~ 48% (+1)
No ~ 45% (-3)
Don't Know ~ 6% (nc)

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? These back-to-back Panelbase polls really emphasise that, as the one just a few days before had No squeaking ahead.

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes ~ 52% (+3 / +7)
No ~ 48% (-3 / -7)

This gives us the classic cursed numbers of 52:48, in favour of Independence this time around. As I keep saying though, it’s all up in the air!

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, we’d possibly see 17 council areas leaning towards Yes, and 15 leaning towards No, versus 4 and 28 respectively 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.

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 ~ 52 (-14 / +4)
Conservative ~ 29 (+2 / +1)
Labour ~ 21 (+3 / -3)
Green ~ 12 (+2 / -1)
Liberal Democrat ~ 9 (+2 / +1)
Alba ~ 6 (+6 / -2)

Take away the SNP’s advantage under FPTP and this gives a much more evenly balanced parliament. The SNP and Greens would fall just one seat short of a majority here, requiring Alba to make up the numbers for a pro-Independence majority.

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)