Poll Analysis: Survation 27th of April – 3rd of May 2023

As we settle down into a relatively more chill period for polling, if not necessarily for politics, we’ve got another poll out from Survation (link to tables), their second on behalf of lobbying firm True North (link to STV report – don’t seem to have their own writeup). Most of the polls BBS covers are funded by the pollsters themselves or the media, so this is an interesting alternative commissioner to be sure.

Fieldwork for this one largely overlapped with the Redfield & Wilton published last week. In fact this is the second time in a row that Survation have fully enveloped an R&W poll with fieldwork stretching to either side of the latter’s. That’s actually quite useful as it gives a reminder that polling isn’t an exact science, and a bit of variance is common even amongst polls conducted at the same time.

The previous Survation covered the 29th of March – 3rd of April. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).

Regional Vote

Survation had given the closest thing to a rosy picture for the SNP in their first post-leadership election poll, but they fall back to align more with the rest of the pack here. As in the R&W however, we can assume a chunk of the SNP’s negative swing comes from Alba being prompted for this time when they weren’t last time. Survation are a bit spotty in terms of whether they prompt for Alba or not; perhaps it’s varying by who is commissioning the poll and what they’ve asked for? 

The three parties in the middle are all up by a single point, well within margin of error and so not particularly remarkable. For the Greens though that pulls them back into double digits, having languished at 8-9% for a few polls after a fall back from a pretty consistent 12%ish. Labour’s second place is also much narrower than it had been previously, but it does stand in stark contrast to R&W giving their first lead since the referendum.

Constituency Vote

The swing away from the SNP is a bit clearer cut in the constituency vote, given Survation only prompt for the four parties that hold constituency seats. With Labour unchanged however, it’s the Conservatives and Lib Dems benefitting. With the SNP suffering in the list vote, busting proportionality via the constituency vote matters more than ever, and a wider gap here tends to benefit them in my seat calculator.

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

After having been one of the two sort of “dissenting” pollsters whose last poll came out with an SNP-Green majority, Survation have joined the bulk of the pack with the current government falling short with just 61 seats to the combined total of 68 for the opposition. I remain of the general view that Labour practically automatically get the First Minister in that scenario, given it would go against their past decade of messaging for the Conservatives just to let the SNP cling on.

For the UK Parliament everything is firmly within margin of error, but the SNP likewise continue to trend downwards on this vote. So too do Labour however, which would help the SNP fend them off in a seat or two at an actual election. There are corresponding slight gains for the Conservatives, Lib Dems and Greens. The Lib Dems are particularly notable in that, even accounting for R&W having an oddly favourable house effect for the party, they have generally been polling a couple of points better for Westminster across a number of pollsters than they were for months.

Survation appear to be settling into a trend of showing the constitutional question run relatively close, with a slight (and within error) uptick for Yes giving everyone’s favourite 52-48 figures in the Union’s advantage. I think we can pretty firmly say that although support for the SNP has plummeted in recent months, Independence support is proving much less soft. That may or may not have consequences in the longer term – time will tell!


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.

As you’d expect, if the real AMS gives a majority for the Pro-Union bloc, a version tweaked to be more proportional will further strengthen that.

Ditto for an almost maximally proportional alternative – and this one at least puts the Labour-Lib Dem total of 44 just ahead of the SNP’s 43, which would help ease the formation of a Labour-led government in such a scenario.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

Anyone who regularly reads these knows that “making Westminster proportional means making it more representative”, and there are only so many ways I can write that! That point about the Lib Dems being on a bit of a Westminster bump I mentioned earlier though is clearly visible here with their tally of a half-dozen seats.

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