Poll Analysis: Survation 23rd – 27th of May 2024

It’s only been just over a week since I last wrote a poll analysis piece for the website, and everything has changed since then. This time last week, the Prime Minister surprised everyone by declaring that we would have a summer election after all. Catching everyone off guard, including seemingly most of his own party, we’ve now only got just over 5 weeks until polling day, and a lot of plans slowly being laid for around October are being desperately spun up to full speed, mine included.

That brings us to our first full poll of Scotland since the election was called. If you’ve been waiting for Survation, then your wait is over. The now-usual pairing of the True North consultancy (link to original writeup) and Survation (link to tables) came out with another in their regular series of polls, perfectly timed to give us a snapshot of the early campaign.

I have to admit to a slight error on my reporting of this poll on Twitter: because I’d broken with BBS tradition to focus on the Westminster side of it first, I’d taken that as my point of comparison and claimed the whole poll compared to one in February. In fact, the February poll was a Westminster-only one, and therefore Holyrood and Independence compare to the full January poll instead. Not a huge deal, as it’s just a date issue rather than data problem, but apologies nonetheless!

The previous full Survation covered the 23rd – 25th of January 2024. The previous Westminster Survation was the 14th – 20th of February. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).


Against my usual Holyrood-first policy, I’m moving Westminster coverage to the top of these analysis pieces for the duration of the campaign. Compared to the February poll, which was already in a danger zone for the SNP given Labour’s vote spread, this takes their position from uncomfortable to calamitous. Labour are up by a three points, but the SNP are down double that, giving a decent Labour lead.

The rest of that loss appears to be to the Conservatives and Lib Dems’ benefit, though remember the concept of churn – it’s not necessarily the case those are SNP votes going straight to those parties. Note again though that, slightly frustratingly, no Green (or Reform UK) figure on this question; I think especially given they are being asked for at GB-level polling, they should be at Scottish-level polling too.


As outlined in a (now very, very, yeesh, look at the lack of quality) old post, I’ve generally avoided providing Westminster projections here on BBS. First Past the Post is really difficult to get right, and even small errors can give huge differences in seats. At Holyrood, that’s moderated by a proportional element that means you can’t be that far off, but pure FPTP at Westminster is a different beast. In addition, plenty of others do those projections much better than I ever could, so why bother?

That said, I have pulled together a simple projection model for this campaign. Unlike Holyrood, I won’t be providing seat-by-seat projections, and I’ll provide the Electoral Calculus estimate on the votes too for comparison, but this just helps provide a little bit more context to the vote figures.

This would be expected to see the SNP lose two-thirds of their seats, the Conservatives holding steady (on my model, up one according to Electoral Calculus), and the Lib Dems making their locked-in Mid Dunbartonshire gain. That means a massive flood of seats to Labour, giving them almost total control of seats across the Central Belt.

Regional Vote

It’s a similarly cheerful story for Labour on the Holyrood list vote, picking up a comfortably outside margin of error pile of votes that puts them on a record share in the BBS tracker, whilst the SNP deflate a little bit, giving them another sub-30% poll. In the mid-table though there’s a mix of single point shifts which tell us very little; the Conservatives and Greens down, Lib Dems up. It’s the latter two that are often most interesting at the moment, as it’s still quite rare for the Lib Dems to overtake and regain fourth party status.

I’ve been a bit unsure about the Lib Dems hitting 10%, and it could be noise, but we do now have three different polling firms who found that over the past couple of months, so perhaps it is sticking. The Green figure meanwhile is notable in that Survation have become a lowball pollster for the party, and that trend has continued here, and the opposite held for Savanta, a highball remaining highball. YouGov though have follow the Survation path of going from highball to lowball, and they had 11% too, so an unsettled picture which basically averages out at a smidge better for them than 2021.

Constituency Vote

By contrast to both Westminster and regional figures, the Holyrood constituency section is exceedingly boring. Nobody has shifted outside the margin of error, and only the SNP see movement beyond a single point. That’s enough in this case that it narrows their lead over Labour to just 1%, but the fact Labour are a bit lower here than at Westminster does add further credence to the idea some voters are happy to split-ticket between parliaments.

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

An actually slightly surprisingly narrow lead for Labour despite the size of their list vote advantage, down in part to the Lib Dems doing so well. Nonetheless, first place is first place, and like some other recent polls Labour would have governing options: a bare majority with the Conservatives, or a slightly more comfortable one if they could cobble together even an informal traffic light arrangement with the Lib Dems and Greens.

As I note whenever this comes up, I’m extremely dubious of any suggestion the Lib Dems will regain seats in Glasgow and especially Central, but it’s very hard for any model not to think that once they start hitting double digits. That’s part of why I feel a bit like 10% is slightly too much for them, as I’m just not sure where on the ground they are getting that from, but the polls say what the polls say!

The theme of the constitutional debate at the moment is being very much in the background and not really shifting, and that largely continues here. It does see some shift in the balance towards the Union, though after Don’t Knows it’s not any different to 2014. Whether that disconnect with SNP support continues after the Westminster election is hard to say, and the worry for them will be that Independence support may catch up with their (and the Greens’) own in the longer term.


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

Remember that the “Previous Poll” here is the February Westminster-only poll, which therefore does not have a matching analysis piece on the website, rather than the January complete poll which does.

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