Poll Analysis: Panelbase 9th – 12th of November 2021

For the post-election period of an election year, we’re getting a bit of a treat in terms of how often polling is coming along. We’re already on the third poll from the usual combo of Panelbase and the Sunday Times, again suggesting there might be an increasing habit towards semi-frequent Scottish polling. However, Panelbase continue to have a deeply frustrating tendency to take forever to make their tables available, which is why this piece took so long to appear.

I’m therefore going to slightly modify my “wait until the tables are available to publish the analysis piece” policy. If tables aren’t available from a poll within two days, I’ll just charge ahead with these pieces anyway, and anything of interest emerging from the tables will be edited in later.

The previous Panelbase covered the 6th – 10th of September. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).

Regional Vote

Though polling continues not to stray very far from May’s results, there are nonetheless a few notable bits in here. A gain of 3% for the SNP actually brings them above what they managed at the election for the first time this term, whilst the Conservative dip of 2% gives them their joint-worst polling since. Labour are completely static, whilst both the Greens and Lib Dems continue to poll above their performance earlier in the year.

Constituency Vote

On the constituency ballot the SNP’s mild oscillation upwards still has them a touch below their election result, and the Conservatives are again on a joint-worst poll figure since then. Labour and the Lib Dems are up on the last poll, though that’s still notably worse than in May for the former. Panelbase also continue to find that relatively high Green constituency figure.

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

Given the margins in some of the list contests and their dip on that vote, it’s naturally the Conservatives who’d end up giving way for Labour, the Greens and Lib Dems compared to the current seat distribution. It’s otherwise still much of a muchness, with the SNP just shy of a majority, but a clear majority for their cooperative government with the Greens.

Some confusion on this one as it appears there was another Panelbase at the end of October, thought it didn’t seem to receive much if any promotion until a couple of weeks later – it seems to have been released in dribs and drabs. For consistency, I’m therefore showing change versus the same September poll as in the rest of the piece.

As with the Holyrood side of things this is a pretty poor poll for the Conservatives, whilst it’s more positive for both the SNP and Labour – albeit these figures are unlikely to see Labour pick up any more actual seats, given how nonsensical FPTP is. Though the Lib Dems are polling at about the same level for both parliaments, at Westminster this would be a substantially worse result than in 2019.

No real movement? At this time of year? In this poll? Localised entirely within the constitutional question? It turns out you may see it. Although the gap appears to have narrowed once we exclude Don’t Knows, that’s only because No seemingly lost some ground to the uncertain camp. In reality this is probably just margin of error stuff, so I wouldn’t read too much into anything into this, the status quo effectively remains “nothing is really moving, but the Union maintains a narrow edge.”

Timing of a Referendum

It’s a similar tale of oscillating around the margin of error in terms of preferred timing for a future Independence referendum. Although not having one in this term of parliament was the most popular individual option of the three given, the two options that would like to see such a vote are still a combined majority. There appears to be a small growth in the number of people who’d like a referendum in the next year, though that’s still the least preferred option.

Likely Timing of Independence

In terms of the question of if and when Scotland will become Independent, it remains the case that most people think it will happen at some point in the foreseeable future. However, there has been a notable decrease in the number who think it will happen in this term of the Scottish Parliament, and a net decrease for the period between now and the mid 2030’s. 


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.

For the moment, although the maps are useful for illustrative purposes, I’m opting just to show these hypotheticals as charts. It’s very time consuming making maps, and for these pure hypotheticals, it’s possibly a bit overkill.

Given this is an improved version of AMS, you would generally expect it to mirror the current system’s projection, and that’s indeed what happens – marginal gains versus the last poll for all of the SNP, Labour and Greens, all coming at the Conservatives’ expense.

Whereas the last poll had this fully proportional model swinging towards a pro-Union majority, this time around it would reassert the 66:63 split in favour of Independence that May’s election would notionally have given. However, it’s a bit heavier on the Green end here.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

Note that there’s no comparator to a normal projection here, as I don’t do pure FPTP projections. The differences with FPTP however would be extremely stark, this giving the SNP a reduced and far more accurate (and democratic) share of seats. They’d still be miles out in front however, though just shy a majority of Scotland’s seats. Compared to the last poll, there’d be a very slight shift of a single seat from the Conservatives to the SNP.

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