As is tradition in Scottish polling, we wait absolutely ages for something to pop up (or, these days, something in the BBS Standard Series), and then of course two things come along at once. With fieldwork dates almost exactly the same as the recent Norstat, just with one day later starting, we got another entry in the partnership between Survation (link to tables) and True North. It’s possible that given the Times seems to have been given first sight of this, the reason it came out a few days after the concurrent Norstat was because their colleagues at the Sunday Times had commissioned that one and didn’t want to spike their own coverage with a different poll.
Either way, it’s very faintly annoying whenever we get polls with identical fieldwork dates as my simple five-poll average works based on date, so it ends up with a “missing point” in the average because both polls are accounted for on that date rather than having space between them. Ah well!
The previous Survation covered the 15th – 18th of August 2023. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).
Although movement here is all within margin of error, it is remarkable how closely this aligns with the Norstat poll. There’s exactly the same plus one vs minus one swing for the SNP and Labour, as well as plus one for the Conservatives. The biggest difference is that the Greens remain on rather than drop to 9%, whilst the Conservatives are a couple of points weaker and the Lib Dems correspondingly a couple of points stronger, even if the latter haven’t moved either. If we compare this to other recent polls, this is on the lower end for the Greens and upper end for the Lib Dems.
Just like the concurrent Norstat, Survation did a little bit of rejigging as to what they prompted for and separated out from “Others” here. In the last poll they’d had a rather anomalous 5% for Reform UK, enough for my model to give them a single seat, but had no Alba figure. This time around Alba have been included, polling at their now-usual unremarkable figure, but no sign of Reform UK.
Much bigger shifts over on the constituency side of things, which brings the SNP to a joint low this term (and since the referendum) on this vote. Labour’s figure in the last poll was their record for the same period, so although dropping 3 points is a fair chunk, they are still on what is a very good share for them by recent standards. The other two constituency parties remain completely unchanged since the last poll all those months ago, though that represents a significant decrease versus the election for the Conservatives.
The big dip in the SNP vote, and possibly a portion of Labour’s, clearly comes from the fact that Survation decided to prompt for the Greens and Alba on this vote. I think asking about the Greens is useful as they stood in the most constituencies they ever had in 2021, and may very well stand in even more in 2026. I’m less convinced there’s any point doing so for Alba; as much as they are pretty embittered towards the SNP, they also did pitch their 2021 campaign very much towards maximising Pro-Independence representation, and they may feel constituency contests detract from that.
Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:
Seat shifts here are very marginal compared to the last poll, but importantly they put Labour on their best-ever BBS seat projection. This is despite the fact it’s not their best-yet vote share on either vote – effectively, the SNP’s further weakening in constituency stakes plus relatively poor results for the Conservatives and Greens leaves enough flex for them to grow. This would give a clear 74 to 55 seat majority to the Pro-Union bloc, without the alternative of a traffic light arrangement which falls short on 63 to 66. There is a non-Conservative majority available on a bare 65 to 64 for the SNP, Greens and Lib Dems, but I highly doubt the Lib Dems would prefer that over likely entering government with Labour.
For the SNP and Labour this is near enough a mirror image of Norstat, giving the SNP the slender advantage. As always though we need to bear in mind that under FPTP the distribution of that vote really matters, and this is probably at the point where Labour begin to take a seat lead over the SNP.
Again partly echoing Norstat, Survation have a different set of prompts and/or breakdowns for Westminster versus the Holyrood constituency vote, this time with neither Green nor Reform UK figures. Especially given there’s quite a chunky 7% going “Other” here it is a somewhat annoying degree of opacity. As I said in my analysis of the other poll, I think there should be consistency between the two FPTP questions, but that’s especially true if you are getting such a big bloc of Others!
The constitution ends up the most utterly boring part of the entire poll, as nothing here shows any change versus the last Survation. That means it’s frozen on the dreaded 52:48, with the Union out in front. This is still narrower than the 2014 result though, but in one of the clear differences with Norstat, it means the headline Independence figure is equal to the total support for Pro-Independence parties on the regional vote, rather than running a bit behind. Some of that difference may be down to the much larger pool of Don’t Knows.
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.
Scandinavian Style Westminster
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.