For the reasons outlined in the introduction to this piece, Ballot Box Scotland was supposed to be on a break from Twitter, focussing primarily on the website and even then running shorter form analysis than usual of polls. Then the First Minister announced she was standing down. As much as I may wish otherwise, it’s not really possible just to disengage entirely when probably the biggest political event in Scotland since the referendum has just taken place. So I’m back-ish, earlier than I’d have liked.
With three polls having dropped on Friday last week then this on the Saturday, that would have been a polling overload at the best of times, never mind when I’m a bit knackered, have a day job, and other social plans. I know I always complain about the relative dearth of Scottish polling but c’mon, a little breathing room would help! Given both my previously stated intention to keep these pieces short and how many polls there are to get through anyway, I’ve been rushing pretty quickly through them.
This is the second in that flurry of four to come from Survation (link to tables), and was seemingly just self-funded. The fieldwork here covered the exact same period as the Savanta, in the immediate aftermath of Sturgeon’s shock resignation.
The previous Survation covered the 1st – 7th of February 2023. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).
As the Savanta was published and this written up first, let’s compare with that. First, points of agreement. Labour are on the same joint best share of the term, and the Lib Dems also have a healthy increase versus their 2021 result. The Conservatives are slightly higher, but not out of kilter with Survation’s own other recent polls.
Now, the differences. The SNP have actually gained support with Survation, putting them at the best they’ve polled with that firm since the election. By contrast, the Greens plummet down to their 2021 vote share. That is notably odd – not just in comparison to Savanta finding a joint best ever poll share, but because Savanta have sat at 11-12% for all five of their previous polls this term. As ever, that certainly doesn’t mean this is wrong – note YouGov have also seen Green dips too. It’s just curious, and we’ll need to see if it’s noise or the start of a trend.
The constituency vote on the other hand is not only nearly identical to the last Survation, but also to the Savanta – the only difference with either is the Lib Dems are one point up. That gives the SNP a comfortable but still constituency-dropping lead over Labour.
Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:
This gives a slightly narrowed majority for the SNP-Green government, and the first time a Survation poll has projected into single-digit seats for the Greens, though the Conservatives’ ongoing woes would easily hand the Greens the second list seat overhang deprived them of in 2021. Labour’s constituency gains are somewhat milder in other recent polls, but still include a seat in each of Glasgow and Central regions.
Again, looking for points of convergence with Savanta, this at first glance looks like much of a muchness in terms of vote shares – however, Survation’s 1% higher for the SNP and 2% lower for Labour put this in comparatively safe territory for the SNP in terms of seat losses. A 13% lead is still enough to probably keep Labour in single figures, and it’s once they hit the 10% gap or narrower that Labour begin to really benefit.
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.
In a real rarity, the combined SNP and Green tally under a more proportional AMS model falls below a majority – unsurprising, given the weak Green figure. I expect this will be relatively common for the next while, even in polls that are less poor for the Greens, as the SNP’s constituency vote has eroded enough to start seeing Labour wins in more seats.
By contrast, it’s been much more common for this fully proportional Scandinavian-style alternative to show Pro-Union leads, as here. That fully corrects for the undue advantage FPTP gives the SNP and by proxy the Pro-Independence parties, and generally means when there’s a vote lead for the Pro-Union bloc they win a majority of seats – as a proportional system should deliver!
Scandinavian Style Westminster
The score is pretty much always the same with these ones – proportionality is good, look, it brings the SNP down to where they should be. They do gain a little bit versus the last poll for this model, thanks to that squeak upwards, but still would be short a majority of Scotland’s MPs.
If you find this or other Ballot Box Scotland output useful and/or interesting, and you can afford to do so, please consider donating to support my work. I love doing this, but it’s a one-man project and takes a lot of time and effort. All donations, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated and extremely helpful.