Poll Analysis: YouGov 25th of March – 2nd of April 2024

Despite the fact there’s a UK General Election due at some point this year (or, if the Prime Minister opts for complete cowardice, in January next  year), there’s been a real dearth of Scottish polling. We hadn’t had anything in the BBS “Standard Series” for two months until, finally, we got this YouGov (link to tables) for the Times (link to original writeup). As ever, I have to admit I find it intensely frustrating to see so little attention given to Scotland’s unique sphere of politics, that the only pollster doing regular polling is the completely unreliable one I’ve long since excluded from my coverage. Still, at least we’ve finally got something!

The previous non-Scoop YouGov covered the 2nd – 6th of October 2023, except that it did not include Independence figures which instead were last seen in the 8th – 13th of September 2023 poll. Changes are shown as (vs that poll / vs last election).

Regional Vote

Very little change versus the last poll for the top two parties here, as the SNP and Labour remain tied, both having gained a single point. The Conservatives by contrast have a much more notable decrease in support, which is perhaps to be expected given a recent run of shockingly bad figures in GB-level polling for them. Those results have been driven in part by support for Reform UK, and that appears to be the case here too, with a joint-best share of the term rooted in an equal-but-opposite swing. In all honesty I highly doubt Reform UK will do anywhere near this well come the next election – remember, UKIP peaked at 2% in 2016, just a month before their great Brexit success.

This is a relatively weak figure for the Greens by YouGov standards, as they are typically one of their more favourable pollsters. It’s not unprecedented for them thus far this term however, but it does put the slightly improved Lib Dems only a hair behind them. Alba continue to not really register, despite the seeming opportunity of a massive decrease in the SNP share compared to 2021.

Constituency Vote

Uniquely for this poll, the SNP manage to maintain a narrow lead over Labour for this vote, but with balancing 3% swings for each party it’s a pretty big shift from last time where the SNP had a much more comfortable 8% lead. It’s also their worst polled constituency share since the referendum. Similar to the list vote, the Conservatives are down quite significantly, though this appears to be mostly a shift to Labour rather than Reform UK, who are only up a single point since the last poll. Despite their decrease on the list, the Greens are also up a single digit here.

(Note that I’ve inferred the Reform UK figure from the YouGov tables, as they did not report it in their headline figures themselves. Given 40% of people who said “Other” clarified that was for the Greens and that was reported as 4%, it’s a reasonable assumption the 31% for Reform UK therefore equates to 3%.)

Seat Projection

Projecting that into seats might give us something like this:

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

The vote shares for this poll have created some mild oddities in the projection. Labour winning (barely) more constituency seats than the SNP despite slightly fewer votes isn’t terribly surprising given the relative distribution of each party’s vote shares, with Labour very strongly concentrated in the urban Central Belt. Yet despite a tie on the list vote, the SNP are able to overcome their slight constituency seat deficit to take a two-seat lead overall, as on the regional side of things a well-spread vote share helps more than a concentrated one.

In common with many other recent polls, this would see the current SNP-Green government well short of power at 54 seats to 75 for everyone else. Yet Labour would be reliant on the Conservatives to take up government, which I remain of the view isn’t necessarily the most comfortable position to be in. With a single Reform UK seat, this projection would actually give the slightly cursed potential of a bare minimum 65 seat voting majority for Labour, the Conservatives and Reform UK, though I highly doubt Labour would work with the latter in preference to the Lib Dems.

This is only the second poll this term where I’ve projected a seat for Reform UK, the other being a Survation last August. As I touched upon above, I would be pretty astonished if they did actually win a seat come 2026. Reform UK, and before them UKIP, have simply never been able to break through in Scottish politics beyond European Elections. It hasn’t been uncommon for them to poll at seat winning levels in the middle of the term, but they’ve so far failed to translate that to support at the actual election. Given they appear to completely lack any real infrastructure in Scotland – remember, they didn’t stand a single candidate in the 2022 local elections – I just can’t see this as anything other than disgruntled Conservatives claiming they’ll vote Reform UK to pollsters without any real intention of doing so when it counts.

The difficulties for the SNP continue into the Westminster figures, with Labour taking a clear lead over them for only the second poll in the BBS Standard Series. It’s still pretty close, but given the point I keep making about vote distributions, that would likely give them a pretty substantial lead in seats. This is a really bruising poll for the Conservatives too, as this is their worst share in a YouGov poll since December 2022, immediately after the Liz Truss catastrophe. Just like on the Holyrood list, this appears to be largely driven by a Reform UK surge, which sees them overtake the Greens and draw level with the Lib Dems.

Despite all the other changes in this poll, almost nothing has changed on the constitutional question. A very slight increase for Yes on the headline figures compared to the last poll, but that still comes out at the same lead for No after removing 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.

RAMS patter.

Scandi patter.

Scandinavian Style Westminster

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