Poll Analysis: Survation 29th of March – 3rd of April 2023

Fourth and finally for the flurry of polls that have emerged in the opening weeks of Humza Yousaf’s government, Survation (link to tables) appear to have conducted this one entirely self-funded. We’re now only waiting for YouGov and Ipsos to give their take, out of our batch of regular Scottish pollsters. I’m torn between wanting them to be in the process of doing so as we speak, to get the earliest glimpse possible, and my hope to get the next week genuinely on a break from Ballot Box Scotland!

The previous Survation covered the 8th – 10th of March. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).

Regional Vote

Although Survation are by no means the only pollster to have found a seemingly counterintuitive gain for the SNP and slip for Labour, they are unique in how relatively strong the SNP are. This is the only poll since Humza Yousaf took office as First Minister to give his party a double-digit lead over Labour. That might come as a relief for him, and a disappointment for Anas Sarwar, though it’s definitely an outlier against the other three polls we’ve had in the past week or so. Overall though, there’s actually very little change here. All the shifts we have are within usual margins of error, though a gain of a point for the Greens lifts them out of what had been a run of 8% figures, the lowest they’ve been with Survation this term.

I also feel like this bit of the poll exemplifies the degree to which Survation have been a bit… bouncy recently. Late last year, they came out with what was then a term-record low for the SNP of 31%. Giving the highest share of recent polling therefore stands out a bit, though it’s within margin of error of Savanta’s 33%. That obviously has impacts on other parties.

I’ve previously noted that they’ve swung from being a higher end pollster for the Greens to a lower end, but that also now appears to be the case for Labour too, giving them the second lowest share of this batch of polls. Historically Survation were the most favourable pollster for Labour, which led to one newspaper ahead of 2021 really bigging up the idea of a “battle for second place” that didn’t exist according to anyone else. None of this is as out there as the wild Lib Dem result in the Redfield & Wilton, but it’s worth noting.

Constituency Vote

It’s basically the same story over on the constituency vote, with a stronger SNP share than anyone else in the recent pack of polls. Their Labour figure is however more in line with what others have found, though still the widest.

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

As you should expect from the SNP doing better in this poll, they get off very lightly in this projection and would only lose a handful of seats. The existing SNP-Green government would be able to continue on pretty comfortably with 69 seats to the combined 60 for the opposition. If it wasn’t for Redfield & Wilton losing the run of themselves envisioning a stunning Lib Dem sweep to success, this would clearly have been the worst of the bunch for Labour. As it stands it’s about on a par with that, though it still speaks to how dramatic the other two polls were that this would subjectively look disappointing for Labour at the moment despite being an objectively good recovery for them.

It’s important to bear in mind though that this is very much the outlier in the bunch. It’s not that any of the figures are themselves individually particularly unbelievable, generally comparing reasonably or within margin of error of everyone else, but instead that the wider SNP-Labour gap helps solidify the former’s position. I know I keep saying this, but we’re going to need a few months before we can draw any firm conclusions, especially with this week opening up an additional chapter of SNP drama from Peter Murrell’s arrest (and release without charge).

In contrast to the Holyrood figures, Westminster is completely indistinguishable from Savanta and Panelbase. This is the only one of the three party VI questions where the SNP’s lead isn’t in double-digits, though at 8% it’s not too far into the point of danger for the SNP. If replicated at an actual election, this would probably still see the SNP holding a clear majority of seats, though with many of those in the Central Belt by the skin of their teeth.

As with the rest of the poll the constitutional side of things is within margin of error, but nonetheless represents a slight uplift for Independence. Whereas the last poll had snapped back to the 55-45 split from 2014, this ticks up a smidge above that. After Don’t Knows are removed, Independence support is still running slightly ahead of the combined SNP-Green share, so the same thing I’ve been saying as for other pollsters applies – we need to wait a bit longer to see if that’s a trend or a level those parties will bounce back to.


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.

Although faring better than with other pollsters, the SNP are still weak enough here that a more proportional version of AMS would see them and the Greens narrowly short of a majority, winning 72 seats to 73 for the Pro-Union bloc.

Naturally that means this (almost) maximally proportional model gives a wider split, at 61 for the SNP and Greens to 68 for Labour, the Conservatives and Lib Dems.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

It’s an obvious story for a proportional Westminster result on these figures – clear SNP lead but not a majority of seats, allowing Labour and the Conservatives more fair and accurate representation.

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