Survation, 25th – 26th of February 2021

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We barely had time to digest last week’s Ipsos MORI poll before Survation dropped their second poll of the year on us. We got this poll into two sections – the first in the Sunday Mail which had the Independence stuff, and then the rest in the Daily Record. Odd to split the tables like that, but there we are!

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Regional Vote

SNP ~ 38% (-2 / -4)
Conservative ~ 21% (+4 / -2)
Labour ~ 20% (+1 / +1)
Green - 11% (nc / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 8% (nc / +3)
Reform UK ~ 1% (-1 / +1)
UKIP ~ 1% (nc / -1)

A few particularly notable bits here – starting with a relatively low share for the SNP here. I’ve remarked in the past about how Survation tend to find the widest gap between the SNP’s votes and that they are likely underestimating this one, but nonetheless it’s a shock figure that has them on their lowest share since January 2020.

By contrast, although Labour do have a little bit of growth as well, this ends a recent streak of Survation polls putting them ahead of the Conservatives, who have a very weighty 4% increase here. Again, a particular Survation house-effect note here that they tend to be the most favourable pollster for Labour, and this paints a rather stark contrast with Ipsos MORI’s 14%. As ever, we can’t say for sure right now who is closer to reality.

Constituency Vote

SNP ~ 50% (-1 / +3)
Conservative ~ 21% (+2 / -1)
Labour ~ 20% (+1 / -3)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7% (-2 / -1)

Not as dramatic but somewhat similar tales being told by the Constituency vote, with Conservatives moving into second. The Lib Dems also go backwards from what was their best figure since December 2019, though still higher than with any other agency recently.

Seat Projection

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

SNP ~ 67 (-1 / +4)
Labour ~ 24 (+1 / nc)
Conservative ~ 21 (+2 / -10)
Green ~ 10 (-1 / +4)
Liberal Democrat ~ 7 (-1 / +2)

Although this poll has Survation re-joining the norm by having the Conservatives ahead of Labour in vote terms, this still manages to project to Labour second in terms of seats. This can happen when your proportionality is regional rather than national, and in this case it’s Labour narrowly beating the Conservatives for the final seat in a few regions because they have a slightly more concentrated vote in them.

Though still on recent trends with an SNP majority, it is a rather narrow one, and that low list share means zero seats coming from that element. As the second map shows, there are plenty of narrow constituency wins for the SNP in this projection. If a few of those failed to materialise, they’d remain in minority territory. 

SNP ~ 48% (nc / +3)
Conservative ~ 23% (+4 / -3)
Labour ~ 21% (-2 / +2)
Liberal Democrat ~ 6% (-1 / -4)

Hurray! It’s some Westminster VI! We’ve had polls from four different firms lately, and only Survation have asked this question. Similar dynamic here to what we have for Holyrood, as the Conservatives and Labour trade places and Lib Dems dip slightly.

Standard Question

No ~ 44% (+1)
Yes ~ 43% (-2)
Don't Know ~ 12% (nc)

After the most sustained lead for Independence in the polls, lasting a year, this is the first poll to put the Union ahead once again. It’s important for folk on both sides not to read too much into this, as we’re very much in Margin of Error territory – the difference here, if you investigate the tables, was just 2 responses. Nonetheless, this is a milestone moment.

Excluding Don't Knows

No ~ 50% (+1 / -5)
Yes ~ 50% (-1 / +5)

That really tiny difference means this one ends up on a knife-edge (a phrase I’ve used for numerous BBS purposes lately!) It’s an even split here, and this also brings that polling average which has been hovering at 54% for the past while down to 51.6%. That means we’ll need a few more polls before we can say with any real certainty as to whether things have indeed flipped.

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 15 Councils in the Yes column, an increase on the 4 in 2014. No would be on 17, 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 ~ 50 (-17 / -4)
Conservative ~ 27 (+6 / +4)
Labour ~ 26 (+2 / c)
Green ~ 15 (+5 / nc)
Liberal Democrat ~ 11 (+4 / nc)

Caveat about Survation probably under-egging the SNP’s list vote in mind, this gives the usual redistribution away from the SNP to every other party’s benefit, and it also corrects for the “wrong placing” between Conservatives and Labour on the AMS projection. Whereas the pro-Independence camp has a huge lead under AMS, here it would be the narrowest majority possible at 65:64.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

Changes here are only versus the same projection on the last poll, given my aversion to doing projections on pure FPTP.

SNP - 29 (nc)
Conservative - 14 (+2)
Labour - 12 (-2)
Liberal Democrat - 4 (nc)

Whereas we’d expect the SNP to almost sweep the board under FPTP with these figures, there’s a narrow majority in the pro-Union party’s favour for the Westminster delegation if that parliament would care to become a modern democracy at any point and actually ensure everyone’s vote counts.

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