12 July 2008

Poll dancing

I'm prefacing my remarks with that old cliché that the only poll that matters is on the 24th of July. Nevertheless, YouGov's Scottish Omnibus poll for the Telegraph makes interesting reading. Now, a set of questions on Holyrood would be nice, but Westminster is the centre of attention right now so I'll just have to deal with my disappointment.

Anyway, the SNP do enjoy a 4 point Westminster lead over Labour (33:29) with the Tories on 20% and the LibDems on 14%. Martin Baxter's Electoral Calculus model puts Labour on 26 seats (down 15), the SNP on 19 (up 13, unseating Scotland Secretary Des Browne), the LibDems on 8 (down 3) and the Tories on 6 (up 5, unseating Europe Minister Jim Murphy).

UNS predicts a 13% swing from Labour to the SNP: Labour end up with 29 on that model (still losing Messrs. Browne and Murphy, though), the SNP on 15, the LibDems on 10 and Tories on 5.

But this doesn't give us extra insight into Glasgow East. This poll suggests the trends have Labour and LibDem support collapsing, and SNP support shooting upwards, with a smaller upward trend towards the Tories. That makes it a good morale-booster for SNP supporters, and uncomfortable reading for Labour backers. So it could affect the By-Election rather than reflect it.

And indeed, the question about whether or not people want to see the Labour or SNP candidate win doesn't tell us much either, as it's not a Glasgow East poll, but a Scotland-wide one. Though it does suggest that given a stright choice between a Labour candidate and an SNP candidate, Tories prefer sticking it to Gordon Brown over holding back the SNP advance by a margin of almost three to one: 58% to 20%. "Not sure" comes two points ahead of Margaret Curran. LibDems are more evenly split: 44% prefer John Mason, while 41% want the MSP for Glasgow Baillieston to win.

Again, this doesn't tell us anything about Glasgow East. But it does suggest what tactical voting patterns to look out for where the SNP and Labour are in direct competition.

A few random findings from the poll:

Tory supporters are less Unionist than Labour supporters: although 73% of both groups would vote No in an independence referendum, 19% of Tory voters would vote Yes, compared to Labour's 13%.

More people oppose Scotland opting out of the BBC 6 O'Clock News than having Scotland set its own immigration policy or fiscal policy.

Respondents appear to want Scottish athletes to play in a British Olympic team, but don't want Scottish football teams to play in a British league.

Basically, apart from the questions on voting intention, the public appears to favour the status quo on just about any subject. I wonder if, when asked, YouGov members would rather it continue raining?


Alwyn ap Huw said...

A poll is to be published in tomorrow's Sunday Telegraph which suggests that Labour is set to hold Glasgow East with a fairly healthy majority:

Will said...

So I see, though interestingly the swing to the SNP projected in the Telegraph poll - 15% - is slightly greater than the 13% swing in the YouGov poll.

Looks like there's a definite trend now in play. It's not yet enough to win in Glasgow East, but there's still a week and a half left to go.

Alwyn ap Huw said...

Ai! As much as I hate to agree with anything Iain Dale says, I did think that this is a pertinent point:

Those who are as long in the tooth as me will remember the last time the SNP won a by election in Glasgow - back in 1988 when Jim Sillars won Glasgow Govan. A poll was taken the Monday before polling showing Labour on 51% and the SNP on 33%. For that reason, the SNP won't be downhearted by the ICM poll tonight, and nor should they be. By election campaigns are all about momentum, and there's no doubt that it is the SNP which has the Big Mo at the moment.

And I'm much longer of tooth than Mr Dale!

Will said...

As things happen, that's precisely the mood in the SNP camp: tails are very much up. The message coming out is that with a 15% swing notched up in a week, that extra 7% is do-able.