Survation, 24-28th of January 2018

Last night, Survation released a pretty comprehensive batch of Scottish polling for the Daily Record. That gives me the opportunity for the first polling and projections post in this project! Before we get into that though, let’s look at some of the other data.

Firstly, there’s some Westminster voting intention. Most notable was that although there’s a slight narrowing according to these figures, Labour remain ahead of the Tories for 2nd place. That’s been a pretty constant trend since round about when Kezia Dugdale stood down as Scottish Labour leader. The figures overall are (changes on last poll);

  • SNP – 39% (+2)
  • Labour – 27% (-2)
  • Conservative – 24% (nc)
  • Lib Dem – 7% (nc)

Additionally, there was polling on both of the big constitutional questions, though not showing any movement from the status quo. On independence;

  • No – 54% (nc)
  • Yes – 46% (nc)

Brexit;

  • Remain – 66% (-3)
  • Leave – 34% (+3)

Now, on to the Scottish Parliament voting intention. With fieldwork conducted from the 24th to the 28th of January, when pre-budget speculation and positioning was really taking off, is there much sign of a budget bounce for anyone? Eh… Not so much. We may have to wait and see what happens once the final deal has taken root amongst voters. There are small increases in the SNP and Tory vote compared to last time, and a little decrease for Labour, Greens and Lib Dems, but nothing earth shattering. Unlike Westminster however, Labour and the Tories are neck and neck.

Constituency;

  • SNP – 42% (+2)
  • Labour – 25% (-2)
  • Conservative – 25% (+1)
  • Lib Dem – 6% (-1)

Regional;

  • SNP – 33% (+1)
  • Labour – 23% (-1)
  • Conservative – 23% (+2)
  • Green – 9% (-1)
  • Lib Dem – 8% (-2)
  • UKIP – 3% (+1)

That 3% for UKIP keeps striking me as strange. They’ve had a spate of 3% polls recently, and indeed only one poll since the election shows them on anything less than the 2% they won in 2016. I can’t help but feel that this is nothing more than some stubbornly high treks into the margin of error. UKIP have never been strong in Scotland, and given their total collapse UK wide since the EU Referendum, it’s hard to imagine them doing as well as 2016, never mind pulling half as many votes again on top.

Anyway, what would this poll look like in terms of seats? Some caveats, since this is the first such projection on here.

  • Projecting the result of individual seats from national polling is naturally imprecise. A 2% increase for one party nationwide does not guarantee a 2% increase in Glasgow Cathcart and Aberdeenshire East, for example. Such projections are indicative, not predictive.
  • This projection differs slightly from universal swing; instead of assuming (as suggested above) a 2% increase is a 2% increase everywhere, I’m weighting things a bit in each region and constituency. Basically, if 10% of a party’s overall vote came from the Highlands and Islands in 2016, and within the region 13% of that vote was in Inverness and Nairn, this calculation assumes the same but with their newly boosted by 2% national figure. Is that any better? Probably not. Does it make things interesting? Maybe. Is this just for fun and not gospel? Definitely.

Right, those aside, here’s what it might look like if all assumptions made were spot on;

With the SNP dropping 9 seats to 54, they’d likely find themselves with a more complex minority government to handle. With only 10 (up 4) Green seats and 8 (up 3) Lib Dem seats, they’d no longer be in a position of “pick your opposition partner” on each issue. Labour’s 29 seats (up 5) would narrowly edge out the Tories 28 (down 3) for second place. It’d also put the constitutional balance of the parliament in favour of the pro-Union parties, but on a knife edge 65:64 split.

The nice clean constituency map above is all well and good, but it doesn’t show just how tight some of these projections are. Colouring constituencies by projected margin of victory can make some of those contests clearer.

Even then, there are some real skin of your teeth projections under the surface there; 0.1% for Aberdeen South and North Kincardine, and 0.14% in Perthshire North, for example. If, as the accompanying Daily Record piece suggests, this is the “Tory revival hitting the buffers” they may yet find the Holyrood North East more elusive than they did at Westminster.

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  1. Survation, 5th-10th of July 2018 – Ballot Box Scotland

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