Liam McArthur

Projection: SNP majority of 21, some relief for Labour, Tories stall

BMG 18 April-01

BMG 18 April 2016

This week we see a new entrant to Scottish Parliament polling, BMG Research. With two weeks still to go, BMG show the SNP on 51% of constituency voting intention, to Labour’s 21% and the Tories’ 16%. On the regional lists, the SNP slip to 45%, Labour to 20%, and the Tories stick on 16%.

On BMG’s’ figures, the SNP look set to win 70 out of 73 constituency seats. While the Tories lose Galloway and West Dumfries, and Ayr, hang onto Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, and gain Eastwood from Labour. The Lib Dems lose Liam McArthur in Orkney, but retain Tavish Scott in Shetland.

The regional list throws up a few results that look somewhat anomalous: it seems inconceivable that Labour wins three seats in the Highlands and only two in Central Scotland. Labour likely wouldn’t regard a tally of 23 seats as being too bad, though certainly on the lower end of that party’s hopes. The Tories’ hopes of becoming the Scottish Parliament’s main opposition would be dashed according to BMG, modestly padding their seat total by three. On BMG’s numbers, the 6th of May will be a disappointing one for Labour’s Ken Macintosh, Elaine Smith, and Cara Hilton.
The Greens pick up two in Glasgow, as well as one each in a further five regions, bringing their total to seven. The Lib Dems lose their seat in the North East and gain one in Lothians, bringing their total to four. In common with most other pollsters, BMG shows UKIP picking up a seat in the Highlands and Islands, as well as a seat in Central Scotland. It’s difficult to gauge RISE support on the back of BMG’s polling, as they’re not included in the prompt – however support for “others” appears to be negligible.

On these numbers, Labour only loses Dumfriesshire by a whisker (0.14%) – with their next most promising hopes being Cowdenbeath, East Lothian, and Dunfermline.

Projection: SNP majority of 13; Labour on 26

April 6 TNS Scottish ParliamentSNP: 71 (+2)
Labour: 26 (-11)
Conservative: 19 (+4)
Lib Dem: 5 (-)
Green: 7 (+5)
UKIP: 1 (+1)

TNS 6 April 2016

Last week’s TNS poll will bring some relief to Scottish Labour. Cutbot’s UNS based projector forecasts a respectable (relative to expectations) seat tally of 28 for Labour, my own projection based on regional breakdowns forecasts 26 seats for Labour.

On TNS’ figures, the SNP look set to win 67 out of 73 constituency seats, with Labour retaining only Dumfriesshire. While the Tories lose Galloway and West Dumfries, and Ayr, they make a surprising gain by unseating Roseanna Cunningham in Perthshire South and Kinross-shire. Perhaps even more surprisingly, however – despite losing Liam McArthur in Orkney, the Lib Dems re-take both North East Fife AND Dunfermline! If that actually happens, I’ll eat Paddy Ashdown’s hat.

The regional list picture is a little bit more muddled, with Labour polling abysmally in the Highlands and Islands, and North East, but actually outpolling the SNP, 43% to 41%, in Glasgow. If these numbers are reflect in votes cast next month, then the Highlands and Islands will become the first ever region to have no Labour MSPs whatsoever. In Glasgow, Labour picks up an impressive six regional list seats, with a further five in Central and West – all very much at the very top-end of expectations. Labour drops to two seats in Mid Scotland and Fife, North East, and Lothians –  making Sarah Boyack Labour’s highest profile casualty.
Having dominated the constituencies in most regions, and with less impressive vote shares in the two regions where their constituency hegemony is fettered, the SNP only picks up four regional list seats, bringing their total seat tally to 71.

While the Tories could expect no fewer than eleven new faces among their group, on these numbers, Adam Tomkins won’t be one of them. UKIP picks up a single seat in the North East, with their Scottish Leader David Coburn missing out on a seat in the Highlands and Islands.

The Greens are polling strongly in the Lothians, as you would expect, easily picking up two seats in the region. On TNS’ numbers the Greens could also expect two seats in the Highlands and Mid Scotland and Fife. Though instinctively unlikely in reality, strong numbers in Mid Scotland and Fife have featured very frequently in the polls in the run up to this election – I’m starting to think there might be something in it.

There are some close contests. On the basis of these numbers, Labour’s best chances of retaining seats (other than Dumfriesshire) are Glasgow Provan, Rutherglen, and East Lothian. The Tories only take Perthshire South by a whisker, while losing Ayr and Galloway by even smaller margins. The Lib Dems, only scrape through in each of the three seats they’re forecast to win.

Perhaps the most interesting figures are in the SNP’s vote shares, which I’ll go into in some more detail next time.

Projection: SNP majority of 13, big gains for Greens and UKIP

MAR 1 survation

SNP: 71 (+2)
Labour: 22 (-15)
Conservative: 16 (+1)
Lib Dem: 5 (-)
Green: 9 (+7)
UKIP: 6 (+4)

Survation 1 March 2016

Apologies for the delay in crunching the numbers on this – I was on holiday!

Last week’s Survation poll stands in some contrast to the TNS poll published on the same day, reporting a modest seat-gain for the SNP, although another disaster for Scottish Labour.

On Survation’s figures, the SNP look set to win 67 out of 73 constituency seats, leaving Labour with all but one of their constituencies – Dumfriesshire. The SNP also poach Liam McArthur’s seat in Orkney. By contrast, the Tories retain their current crop of constituencies, and snatch Eastwood from Labour’s Ken MacIntosh too.

Central Scotland sees the seven regional list seats divided up between Labour and the SNP, with the SNP taking the final two seats in the region, although Conservatives, UKIP, and the Liberal Democrats are all competitive for the final seat here.

The Conservatives poll strongly in the South of Scotland, though their strong performance in constituencies here leaves them with no regional seats. The Tories lose a regional seat each in Central Scotland, and Mid Scotland and Fife, while gaining a seat in both Highlands and Islands and North East Scotland.

The Greens chalk up impressive gains, gaining an extra seat in Glasgow, as well as wining two in both Mid Scotland and Fife and South of Scotland. Similarly, the Lib Dems win not one but two seats in the Lothians, a reflection, perhaps, of the party’s former strength in Edinburgh. UKIP are the other big gainers, winning six seats, and in the case of South of Scotland and Highlands and Islands winning them comfortably.

The SNP’s failure to make significant gains in South of Scotland would see Justice Minister Paul Wheelhouse, Environment Minister Aileen McLeod, and high-profile MSP Joan McAlpine out of a job. North East MSP Christian Allard would also fail to be returned in the North East, while former MSP Shirley-Anne Somerville is once again left-out of the Scottish Parliament.*

While a near-clean sweep of constituencies appears to be on the cards, the data appear to show some competitive three-way races in Edinburgh Central, Southern, and Western, as well as Eastwood. Tactical voting may well produce surprise results in these seats. Labour also remains competitive in East Lothian.

 *Correction: it has subsequently been drawn to my attention that SAS is standing in Dunfermline, which would mean that she would, in fact, return to Holyrood.