Poll latest: whose voters are coming out of the closet?

Even an ardent poll anorak like me is on the verge of giving up.  They are all over the place and have made a mockery of the burdz most recent prediction.  Ho hum.

Certainly, there are big discrepancies amongst the various polling agencies, particularly on how and when they are sampling, which may account for some of the variance in findings.  Or there again, maybe not.

The only way to determine what is going on is by tracking the same pollster’s findings over a period of time.  This – hint – would be a lot easier to do if the media would commission the same company to ask the same questions in the same way of similar sized samples at the same time of the week.  

Meanwhile, let’s make the most of what we’ve got:  let’s look at the latest YouGov poll findings, commissioned by the Scottish Green Party, against the poll the Scotsman commissioned in October 2010.   

  Constituency vote     

  Regional vote     

 
  Oct 10 (Jan 11)     

  Oct 10 (Jan 11)     

 
Labour     

40 (41)     

+1     

36 (40)     

+4     

SNP     

34 (32)     

-2     

31 (26)     

-5     

Conservative     

14 (15)     

+1     

15 (15)     

0     

Lib Dem     

8 (7)     

-1     

8 (7)     

-1     

Don’t Know     

13 (11)     

-2     

13 (12)     

-1     

Green     

    6 (6)     

0     

The headline findings suggests a hardening of support for Labour: the biggest shifts are on the regional vote and it suggests the list strategy being deployed by them might well be paying off.

Otherwise, it’s much of a muchness, especially for the Greens who, despite garnering considerable air time for strong stances on the Parliament’s tax varying powers and the budget, are showing little sign of momentum.  Their 6% share won’t be enough for them to leap beyond their current two seats. 

As usual, the interesting stuff is in the demographic breakdown, especially in Scotland’s squeezed middle, which the burd has wittered on about in previous poll analyses

Folks, brace yourselves, for there’s movement here that few of us will believe and even fewer are going to like.

Women?  Well, no comfort here for the SNP and the First Minister.  The trend is downwards:  4% fewer women intend to vote SNP on the constituency vote now than in the autumn.  On the regional vote, it’s 6%. 

The shift in voting intentions amongst 40 – 59 year olds is well within the margin of error, with a point gained or lost there for nearly all the parties.  But there appears to have been considerable shuffling by the over 60s – the age group most likely to actually turn out and vote:

  Constituency vote     

  Regional vote     

 
  Oct 10 (Jan 11)     

  Oct 10 (Jan 11)     

 
Labour     

28 (23)     

-5     

24 (24)     

0     

SNP     

44 (41)     

-3     

40 (32)     

-8     

Conservative     

16 (20)     

+4     

16 (22)     

+6     

Lib Dem     

9 (12)     

+3     

9 (9)     

0     

Don’t Know     

9 (10)     

+1     

6 (11)     

+5     

Green     

    6 (6)     

0     

Some comfort here for the SNP, for they are still well ahead of Labour but it appears to be a pretty soft vote. 

Looking across the headline figures and the various demographic shifts, only one party stands out as being on the rise. 

The Conservatives.  Yep, you read it right.

They appear to be flatlining, but underneath the headlines, there is a bit of a swing on: 

  Conservatives  

 

   
Constituency vote  

 

14  

15  

+1  

Male  

 

12  

13  

+1  

Female  

 

15  

17  

+2  

40 – 59  

 

11  

13  

+2  

60+  

 

16  

20  

+4  

C2DE  

 

9  

12  

+3  

       
Regional Vote  

 

15  

15  

0  

Male  

 

13  

13  

0  

Female  

 

16  

18  

+2  

40 – 59  

 

11  

14  

+3  

60+  

 

16  

22  

+6  

C2DE  

 

9  

12  

+3  

Bizarrely, Scotland’s squeezed middle appears to be veering rightwards, even though they are the “squeezed middle” because they are most likely to be affected by the ConDem government cuts and reforms.  The shift appears to be at the SNP’s expense, especially on the regional vote, which is precisely where the Conservatives need to do well to increase their tally of seats.

What’s going on?  Who knows.  It might just be down to the weighting which reflects the generality of the UK population’s political inclinations, rather than the peculiarity of Scotland’s.  Hopefully, in a few weeks’ time, YouGov will move to more appropriate weighting and we will be able to see how accurate these findings have been. 

Or it could be that Conservative voters, notoriously reticent with pollsters, have decided that now is a safe time to come out of the closet.  

Whatever, poll movement in Scotland in the direction of the Tories is noteworthy.  Whisper it, but this poll suggest the Conservatives are making a comeback.

10 thoughts on “Poll latest: whose voters are coming out of the closet?

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  5. I was just thinking about the last UK election and how the Libdems were going to win over 100 seats according to polls.

    As we progress towards May I’d like to think that Iain Gray and Eck Salmond will be on telly as much as possible, so that people can compare and contrast.
    Have a wee look at this for example, http://bigrab.wordpress.com/2011/02/22/hapless/

    The twin problem for the Nats is how the voters here seem to regard the Labour party as a security blanket no matter how stained and tawdry it is, and the media have some inexplicable visceral hatred of a party who have actually made a difference.

    • Yep I’ve just read the stream on Newsnet Scotland (link posted in a comment on this thread) and it would appear that all YouGov polls for Scottish election must be considered as highly suspect. So that knocks the one out done for the Scotsman in October as well then….

      Still, one good thing, we can all sleep easy in our beds tonight, the suggestion of a Tory revival exists only in You Gov’s wildest dreams and skewed weighting! Phew.

  6. There will be major losses for all, the people of Scotland have had enough of SGP, I predict they’ll vanish. SNP will remain. Liberal Democrats and Conservatives will be wiped out. Labour will do same as last election.

    As an SSP supporter, the party hasn’t been part of the last four years of SNP/SGP, LibLabCon failures.

    I believe Scotland is tired of being failed by rich MSPs.

    But SGP write far too much nonsense, other than that; what have they actually delievered over past 4 years?

    As an ex-member of both SGP and SNP, from experience both have done little in reality.

  7. There are serious issues about the weighting though. As Joan McAlpine points out they assume that 38% of voters identify with Labour and only 16% with the SNP

    That may be the case in some seats but makes no sense in a Scotland-wide setting.

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