Poll Analysis: Panelbase 12th – 15th of June 2023

It’s not unusual for Scottish polls to be a bit like buses, where we wait ages for one then two show up at once, and that’s what happened over the weekend. This effort from Panelbase (link to tables) for the Times/Sunday Times came hot on the heels of the Savanta/Scotsman, and in fact the last poll from each of these partnerships likewise came out nearly at the same time, so they’ve ended up operating on the same schedule lately.

Note that again this actually involves the Sunday Times actually publishing full Holyrood VI at the same time as the other bits, so they haven’t fallen foul of my non-coverage policy! Is it too much to hope that this will be a permanent state of affairs and I don’t have to complain about them just ignoring Holyrood or only partly trying to report on it anymore?

The previous Panelbase covered the 28th – 30th of March 2023. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).

Regional Vote

The SNP continue to struggle on, with a margin of error point loss for them and gain for Labour narrowing the gap further still since the last poll. That keeps the SNP as only having lost a lead here with two pollsters so far, but they won’t be feeling happy to be here, whilst Labour are visibly chuffed with how they are doing in comparison. Speaking of unhappy parties, the Conservatives have the biggest change of any party in this poll, and very much not in their favour.

Both the Greens and Lib Dems have bounced back up a little relative to the last poll. Historically speaking Panelbase was the worst pollster for the Greens, so polling at 12% with them is somewhat remarkable. On the flip side, this tends to be the best polling firm for Alba, hence why even the loss of a point has them above what anyone else has found. As much as it irritates their lot on Twitter when I caveat these things, it remains the case Panelbase clearly overestimated Alba in 2021, so given the lack of impact the party are making with any other pollster, I’m afraid to tell you I still think even 4% is overblown.

Constituency Vote

Things likewise continue to narrow on the constituency ballot, with Labour closing to within 4% of the SNP here. Although it’s the regional vote that’s most important overall, polling is currently in a space where it will add to Labour’s seat tally if they pick up a few more constituencies, so it’s definitely helpful for them to be growing here.

Some of that narrowing from the SNP side of things is the Greens gaining two points to hit by far a record constituency share. I occasionally write about the difficulty in getting the Green constituency share “right”, yet oddly this might be the best attempt at it of any pollster so far. I’ve noted before that where the Greens did stand in 2021, their constituency share was overall about three-quarters their list share across the same seats, and this isn’t far off. I might do a little summer bonus piece with more on this topic so I can just link to that rather than go over this ground each time it’s relevant, but that’s a future task.

Anyway, back to the parties polling is generally more expert at picking up, and this is a really very bad share for the Conservatives – in fact, it’s a joint worst of the term so far. The Lib Dems meanwhile are up a little, but nothing either to complain nor write home about. 

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

Although the Greens make projected gains here, the downward trends for both the SNP and Alba (last poll being the only time they’ve projected to seats this term) mean the already minority total of 63 seats in the last poll’s projection falls further to 59 here, giving the Pro-Union camp a comfortable lead with 70 seats. Unlike some other recent polls, the First Minister would likely be spared the indignity of losing his seat, as Labour and Green gains in Glasgow constituencies create enough space on the list seats for the SNP. 

The highest drama in this poll is the UK Parliament side of things, with a tie between the SNP and Labour the first time since the 2014 referendum that the SNP weren’t out in front. At this point the relative distribution of votes is absolutely guaranteed to give a Labour lead in seats. Note again the downwards motion for the Conservatives, giving a generally pretty poor poll for them overall.

It continues to be very odd indeed that Panelbase aren’t prompting for the Greens for their Westminster question, seeing as they do for the Holyrood constituency. That probably accounts for the weighty “Others” chunk here, which is equal to the Lib Dems, who have recovered from a low point though still find themselves below their 2019 share.

Compared to the Savanta which took place at roughly the same time, this has found the constitutional gap is a little bit wider, as Independence has slipped and the Union gained very slightly since the last poll. It would still come out at a stronger result for Independence than in 2014, which means my standard “the Union is ahead but the question is far from put to bed” spiel applies.


As ever, the last little bit of analysis concerns those hypothetical and more proportional voting systems that BBS likes to play about with. The use of pure FPTP at Westminster 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.

Naturally, a more proportional form of AMS still gives a Pro-Union majority on these figures, though unlike real AMS it retains most of the Alba seats due to them remaining above the 3% threshold.

It’s similar over on the even more proportional model – comfy Pro-Union bloc majority of 69 to 60, and some Alba MSPs thanks to the proportionality.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

This is where Labour probably begin to be pleased at their institutional-level support for FPTP, because whilst that would give them more seats than the SNP on a vote tie, a purely proportional system correctly gives a seat tie too. I reckon we can take it as a given that at least 3% of the 7% “Other” would be Green and thus they’d cross the threshold here, but in the absence of actual figures, can’t make an estimate!

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