Survation, 2nd-7th of September 2020

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We really are being treated wonderfully in Scottish polling at the moment. This is the fourth poll in a row by a different agency. My regular prayers for more diversity amongst what was a slew of polls from one pollster have been well and truly answered. Having been quiet since January, it was Survation’s turn to pop up for this poll, which gives us the whole suite of Holyrood, Westminster and Independence figures.

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Regional Vote

SNP - 42% (+4 / nc)
Conservative - 18% (-3 / -5)
Labour - 18% (-1 / -1)
Green - 10% (+1 / +3)
Liberal Democrat - 8% (-1 / +3)
Brexit - 2% (nc / +2)
UKIP - 2% (+1 / nc)

Compared to the January poll, this is a reasonably large jump for the SNP. It is however the lowest that has been found in this run of four polls by different agencies. There’s an almost correspondingly large dip for the Conservatives, to put them on their joint worst figure since the 2016 election, tied with the Panelbase in July.

That means despite a slight slip since both the last poll and 2016, Labour end up tied with the Conservatives on this vote. At this point however, remember that Survation have typically been the most Labour-favourable pollster. Apart from one stray YouGov, every poll since 2016 that has shown a Lab-Con tie or lead has come from Survation. That doesn’t mean this is wrong, it just means be cautious about extrapolating anything from it.

There’s also an equal-but-opposite change versus the last poll for the Greens (up) and Lib Dems (down), though both are comfortably above what they managed in 2016. As with Labour, Survation is generally quite positive about the prospects for both of these parties.

UKIP put in an appearance here which is rather uniquely Survation, as they haven’t appeared or have polled 0% with everyone else. Similarly, this is a better showing for Brexit than they’ve seen for a while, though YouGov at least found they still existed.

Constituency Vote

SNP - 53% (+2 / +6)
Conservative - 20% (-3 / -2)
Labour - 18% (+1 / -5)
Liberal Democrat - 7% (nc / -1)

As has been their tendency in the past, Survation find a much bigger gap between the SNP’s vote on each ballot than YouGov and Panelbase do. They have now however been joined by ComRes in doing so. In any case, this is very similar to the Regional findings for the four constituency parties.

However, although Labour are actually up very slightly versus the last poll, they place a bit further behind the Conservatives here. Overall, everyone but the SNP are losing vote share compared to the election. Much to my annoyance, Survation still don’t like specifically asking about smaller parties for the Constituency vote. They’d almost certainly find very few votes for them here, but it’s a very small bit of missing data that’d be nice to have.

Seat Projection

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

SNP - 70 (+6 / +7)
Labour - 21 (-3 / -3)
Conservative - 20 (-4 / -11)
Green - 10 (+1 / +4)
Liberal Democrat - 8 (nc / +3)

This continues a trend of projected SNP majorities since the end of January – the last poll not to suggest that would be the case was in fact the previous Survation poll. That also means the balance of parliament remains substantially towards the pro-Independence parties on 80 seats versus 49 for their pro-Union counterparts.

Since that’s par for the course at the moment, what’s really interesting here is Labour edging very narrowly ahead of the Conservatives. That previous poll had them even, but you have to go back to October 2018 to find another Survation that had Labour with a lead in seats. It’s a matter of “who loses less” rather than determined overtaking, but it’s worth remarking on nonetheless.

SNP - 51% (+6)
Labour - 21% (+2)
Conservative- 20% (-5)
Liberal Democrat- 6% (-4)

The January poll didn’t include Westminster intention, so this is the first time Survation have asked this since December’s snap General Election. As you’d probably expect based on the Holyrood figures, the SNP are up and Conservatives down. The Lib Dems are also substantially down, their Brexit Bounce having entirely dissipated.

Again though there’s a notable Labour figure – this time they are actually narrowly head of the Conservatives, and actually a little bit up on the historic low of their GE defeat. Given the excruciatingly unrepresentative and utterly undemocratic nature of First Past the Post this may not do much for them, but it is a rare lead indeed.

Standard Question

Yes - 46% (+1)
No - 40% (-5)
Don't Know - 13% (+3)

January’s Survation poll had this as a tie, which presaged the shift towards a lead for Yes. This time although the gap is much wider, most of the movement has been from No to Don’t Know rather than to Yes. Voters are getting more behind Independence for the time being, but they are also getting more uncertain. 

Excluding Don't Knows

Yes - 53% (+6)
No - 47% (+2)

Excluding the Don’t Knows obviously then shows more of a lead for Yes. For the moment, looking at the polling average, support for Independence appears to be levelling off at around the 54% mark, rather than continuing to grow. Whether that’s going to become the new normal or a temporary plateau before it starts moving again in either direction, we’ll have to wait and see.

Council Area Projection

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

On a simple Uniform Swing versus 2014, this might put a total of 19 Councils in the Yes column, an increase on the 4 in 2014. That’d leave 13 for No, down from 28 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.

Changes here are vs AMS / vs same projection for the last poll.

SNP - 56 (-14 / +5)
Conservative - 24 (+4 / -4)
Labour - 24 (+3 / -2)
Green - 14 (+4 / +2)
Liberal Democrat - 11 (+3 / -1)

As ever, the SNP could be expected to be a good bit worse off in a purely proportional setup, when not benefiting from the inflationary effects of FPTP. The Conservatives are spared that slip behind Labour since a tie in vote share would naturally mean a tie in seats. Meanwhile both the Greens and Lib Dems would also substantially grow their number of seats. The pro-Independence balance would be preserved however, though at a narrower 70-59 margin.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

No changes here, since Survation haven’t polled this since the GE and I don’t do pure FPTP projections.

SNP - 30
Labour - 13
Conservative - 12
Liberal Democrat - 4

Since Westminster is pure FPTP voting at the moment, the SNP’s majority on that poll would translate to a majority of seats, though much smaller than what FPTP would give. Similarly, Labour would have a small lead over the Conservatives in seats in this scenario, rather than the current reality which is fewer seats than the Lib Dems.

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