Archive for the 'Scotland' Category

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New Ipsos-MORI Scotland poll suggests SNP gains from LAB and CON north of the border

Friday, November 29th, 2019

This could make Johnson’s majority bid that bit harder

The part of the UK that has seen the most turbulence with many seats changing hands at the past two general elections has been Scotland which is why special attention needs to be paid to Scotland only surveys. Scottish cross-breaks in GB really don’t give a full picture and this is where the seat calculators can slip up.

Ipsos-MORI, most accurate pollsters at the May Euros has just published the above which sees CON down with LAB down even more on what happened in June 2017. Then it will be recalled hat then the Tories jumped from one to 13 MPS, LAB from one to 7 MPs and the LDs up from one to 4 MPs. At the same time the SNP dropped from 56 MPs to 35.

This was something of a reverse compared with the GE2015 Scottish outcome which had the SNP winning 56 MPs north of the border with CON, LAB and the LDs picking up one each.

This polling suggests that big change there could be happening again with Sturgeon’s party the main beneficiary at the expense of LAB and CON.

If the Tories do indeed suffer losses there then Johnson’s party is going to have to make that up with gains in England and Wales something that current GB polling suggests they should do.

Mike Smithson




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If this polling turns out to be accurate then it is great news for the SNP and Boris Johnson

Sunday, November 24th, 2019

I have to admit I wasn’t expecting to see this, after all it was heavily trailed earlier on this year, that the Johnson/Cummings strategy to sacrifice Scottish and Remain inclined seats to win a plethora of Labour held Leave inclined seats.

As the country’s greatest ever psephologist, Professor Sir John Curtice, writes

Just a few weeks ago, the Scottish Conservatives appeared to be at serious risk of losing most of the 12 seats they captured from the SNP two years ago. Now, the picture is much brighter for the party, and it looks as though it might be able to retain most of those gains.

We should not be surprised. Since Panelbase last polled north of the border in the first half of October — before Boris Johnson secured his revised deal with the EU — support for the Tories in Britain-wide polls has increased by as much as 10 points. Leave voters have increasingly switched from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party back to the Conservatives.

My own unscientific hunch for quite some time has been if the Conservatives are doing well in Scotland then that bodes well for the Conservatives in Remain inclined seats in England and Wales.

You can argue that for Conservatives that have doubts about Boris Johnson in Scotland and England & Wales will fall behind the Prime Minister on polling day as you can argue that these voters are disdainful of Scottish Nationalism and Jeremy Corbyn’s Venezuelan tribute act respectively.

As for Scottish Labour, it really is looking like Ajockalypse Now Redux as they hit 2015 levels. I think far too many people in Labour failed to realise their 2017 gains in Scotland were mostly down to the SNP misplacing nearly half a million voters, not because of some great love for Corbyn. 

Only the myopic would say this is a bad result for the SNP because they fail to hit the dizzying heights of 2015, winning nearly 70% of the seats in Scotland is an impressive record, especially after the SNP have been in power for over twelve years at Holyrood.

I’d expect the momentum for another independence referendum in the first half of the next decade will become an irresistible force, on these figures it is the clear will of the people of Scotland. Exciting times for gamblers.

TSE



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Betting on the Scottish battlegrounds

Monday, November 11th, 2019

Goodness knows I try not to offend. Among the more controversial posts that I have ever put up, however, was one that concerned the SNP’s results at the last election. I noted that the SNP had lost more seats than the Conservatives and that they came within a whisker of losing many more. Their strategic position for the next election looked terrible.

This did not go down well with the nationalist fraternity. Yet here we are in 2019, facing that next election. How do things look for the SNP now?

This gets a bit data-heavy, so forgive me for giving you a couple of external links. Here is a link to a table of the Scottish seats organised from an SNP perspective, from safest seat to most challenging target (I’ve included all the best odds at the time of writing as well – be aware that Coral also have seat prices taken from Ladbrokes and Betfair Sportsbook have Paddy Power’s prices).

As you can see, from Paisley & Renfrewshire North onwards, there is an abundance of marginals. 15 SNP seats would fall to an adverse swing of 2%. Six seats could be taken with a favourable swing of 2%. For a party that got swings of 30% and more in 2015, these margins are the vibration of a grass stem on the edge of a volcano.

From an SNP perspective, however, recent polls have been broadly encouraging. They are polling ahead of their vote share in the 2017 election – though it should be noted that they underperformed their pre-election polling then. One hopes that the pollsters have made appropriate corrections this time around. Better still, both the Conservatives and Labour have fallen back since then, with the Lib Dems making something of a revival. The Lib Dems pose little threat this time for the SNP, seriously challenging in only one seat (Fife North East). This turn of events suits the SNP well. 

None of this alters the strategic position. In a world of four party politics, Gore Vidal’s dictum applies: it is not enough to succeed, others must fail. The big risk for the SNP is that there is greatly increased tactical voting this time round from unionists. The big opportunity for them is that with the unionists having fallen out over Brexit and over Jeremy Corbyn’s politics, tactical voting may in fact wane.

Let’s turn to the betting. Here are the Scottish seats ranked by odds on the SNP winning them (I’ve stripped out parties with a best price of more than 20/1 to make the table more usable). You will immediately see that the order differs markedly from the order by swing. Labour are seen as ripe for the taking while the Lib Dems are seen as the tough nuts to crack.  

The effects are really quite extreme. The SNP are 1/8 to take Rutherglen & Hamilton East, a Labour seat and Labour are third favourites in East Lothian, a seat they hold.  Meanwhile the Lib Dems are 4/6 to take Fife North East, presumably because they are seen as very transfer-friendly for other unionist parties.

Enough chit chat. What are the betting opportunities? Well, the first thing to note is that the SNP are best priced at 5/6 (the bookies’ evens) in 47 out of 59 seats. That suggests that if you are going to play the under/over markets, you’re probably better going under – you can get 5/6 with William Hill, with the line set at 49.5.  This looks like a clear bet to me.

Next, the prices seem to be based on the assumption that unionists will not get their act together with tactical voting. This seems very questionable to me, given that the number one topic for most Scots remains independence (whether for or against). The 4/6 with Paddy Power on the Lib Dems in Fife North East looks marked to me, but the point applies still more strongly in seats where the incumbent is not from the SNP.  Many of these are first term incumbents and can hope for a bounce: so the 7/2 with Paddy Power on Labour in East Lothian and even the 4/1 on Labour in Glasgow North East look reasonable bets. The 11/4 with Paddy Power on the Conservatives in Ayr, Carrick & Cumnock looks generous, given that the SNP need a 3% swing to take the seat.

Nor are SNP-held seats immune. They are surely far too short in Perth & North Perthshire at 1/6, given they took the seat by just 21 votes. The Conservatives must be worth a punt at 3/1. While it is one of the longest standing SNP seats, that does not mean all that much in the maelstrom of Scottish politics: three of the six seats that the SNP held in the 2010-15 Parliament have already fallen to the Conservatives. There are similar examples.

I would, however, steer clear of those SNP-held seats like Edinburgh North & Leith and Lanark & Hamilton East where both Labour and the Conservatives fancy their chances. In all probability they will both knock each other out, particularly at a time when their vote share looks to have declined. At 2/9 in both of these seats, the SNP are not going to get you rich, so I wouldn’t bother on that side of the fence either.

Bear in mind: it’s not so much that I expect the SNP to underperform – I don’t particularly – but that their ultimate seat count is at least as dependent on how their opponents work together or against each other as on their own performance. That right now seems murky, so the value will tend to be found against the short-priced bets. Trying to keep hold of what is going on is like trying to keep hold of a greased pig. Of course, when you’re trying to keep hold of a greased pig, the chances of ending up in a mess are high, so these are markets where it’s always wise to have an eye to safety. Proceed with care.

Alastair Meeks




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New Scotland only poll has the Tories losing most of the gains made at GE2017 and support for independence at 50%

Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Scottish Westminster voting intentions with changes from GE2017 in Scotland
SNP 39% +2.1
CON 21% -7.6
LAB 20% -7.1
LD 13% +6.2
GRN 2% +1.8
BREX 5%

Bad news for both Boris and Jezza but positive news for Jo

At the past two general elections the part of the UK where there has seen the most seat churn has been in Scotland with its 59 seats and the signs are that this will continue next time. The country has its own electoral ecosystem and applying GB projections can be distorting. Just a few shifts in Scotland can see many gains and losses.

This is why Scotland-only polls which are relatively rare are such a big political event.

The projected seat changes are in the Sunday Times panel featured in the Tweet above and as can be seen LAB nearly gets wiped out north of the border. To put this in context Gordon Brown’s LAB at GE2010 won 41 of Scotland’s 59 Westminster seats. This poll would have it down to just one.

The Scottish Tories under Ruth Davidson came out of GE2017 with 12 gains making 13 Scottish seats overall at the last general election thus helping ameliorate the disastrous performance of TMay’s party in England and Wales. This latest poll sees the SNP taking eight of those seats back.

The Lib Dems, who now have a Scottish leader, hold up well in the poll and SNP hopes of taking Swinson’s Dunbartonshire East seat are not supported by these latest numbers which show an SNP to LD swing of 2%.

The other key findings today are support for Scottish independence reaching 50% when don’t knows are taken out and the preference for an independent Scotland to stay in the EU.

Mike Smithson




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The Cummings & Johnson strategy could well be dubbed as the charge of the light in the head brigade

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019

Sacrificing some of your MPs is what Sir Humphrey would call a ‘courageous’ move.

For a while it has been clear that the strategy (sic) of Boris Johnson and his team is to effectively sacrifice Tory MPs in Scotland and to the Lib Dems in Remain areas of Britain and aim for the prize of winning more seats in Labour held seats in Leave areas, last night’s YouGov Scotland polls shows the first part of that strategy is working.

I think approach is mistaken because I think Labour voters are intensely tribal and will struggle to be won over by the likes of Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees-Mogg. If you think I’m wrong ask yourself did you think the Tories would make substantial gains in Labour Leave seats at GE2017?

Like Ed Miliband’s attempt to eat a bacon sandwich this image might be similarly iconic and memetastic.

I think we’ll also see the return of the tactical anti-Tory voting because quite frankly the nasty party is back, for example some want to weaponise the culture war, and engage in what is modern day gay bashing and weaponise things like trans rights.  It took the the Tories nearly a quarter of a century to move on from the vile section 28 which tells how bad this could play out.

One of the ways this strategy might also prove to be sub-optimal is those MPs who are likely to lose their seats with this approach might end up rebelling against the whip if they think they are going to be doomed, they may even vote against an early election.

After yesterday’s performances in the House of Commons it isn’t very hard to see Jeremy Corbyn outperforming Boris Johnson during a general election campaign which leads to Labour increasing its share of the vote. Only the heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Idiots would feel confident that the polls will not change (either way) during a general election campaign.

Back in 2017 if it wasn’t for the the dozen Tory gains in Scotland we would have likely seen Prime Minister Corbyn, perhaps Scotland only delayed the inevitable.

TSE

PS – Probably the most astonishing findings from the YouGov Scotland poll is given all we’ve seen happen since 2016 Scots would still vote to remain part of the Union, albeit very narrowly, I was expecting a decent Independence lead. This fits in the theory that after seeing the difficulty of unpicking the UK’s forty-six year union with the EU, Scots think unpicking the three hundred year old Union will be even more fraught and will avoid that.



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Before we can make judgements about the outcome of an early general election we need new Scotland only polling

Tuesday, August 27th, 2019

The last one was in June

There’s been a lot of GB voting intention polling since Mr Johnson became the new Tory leader and Prime Minister but none of it has been Scotland specific. One thing we do know is that is can be highly misleading keying the latest GB poll shares into Baxter and getting anything that is relevant to Scotland.

North of the border, as we all know, is the part of the UK which has seen the most turbulence in recent general elections. In 2010 Scots LAB won 41 of the 59 seats only to lose all but one of them in the SNP landslide 5 years later.

Then 2017 the Tories made something of a recovery and picked up 12 gains to add to the single seat making them the second party in Scotland .

What is hugely interesting for election watchers is that the largest majority that the SNP secured in any of its 36 Scottish seats at the last election was 47%. A large proportion of what they hold is vulnerable something that applies to almost all the parties there.

As the Wikipedia panel above shows the Tories were in something of a mess in the most recent surveys. The numbers suggest that Ruth Davidson’s party could be on the point of losing all but one of the hard won gains from 2 years ago. But is that really going to happen?

So much has happened politically since the last Scottish poll and we have no real sense yet of how the new PM is going down for of the border. Will having Johnson in charge help or hinder the blue team?

Hopefully we should be seeing some new Scotland polling in September. There is tendency for these to come out just before the SNP conference.

Mike Smithson


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Ruth Davidson’s hard won Scots Tory gains at GE2017 look set to evaporate at an early general election

Tuesday, August 6th, 2019

Gloomy numbers for Boris as he considers going to the country

One thing that is looking increasingly likely at the next election is that a lot more seats are going to change hands than usual. BJohnson’s party will be looking to make gains in Leave areas to offset likely losses to the resurgent LDs and in Scotland the SNP.

This has been reinforced from more data from Lord Ashcroft’s Scottish poll featured in the chart above. There was no conventional voting intention question but one which asked:

If there were to be a general election tomorrow, how likely would you be to vote for each of the following parties – where 0 means there is no chance you would vote for that party, and 100 means you would be certain to vote for that party?”

In Scotland at GE2017 the Tories picked up 28.6% of the vote and based on this latest data the party will get nowhere near that total at the next election which could have a profound impact on the Tories.

The strongly pro-Remain LDs and Scottish Greens come out of this particularly well suggesting a basis for deal between the two in key seats. The “old” two major parties – CON and LAB – come out poorly with only Farage’s BRX behind.

Mike Smithson


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Lord Ashcroft poll has Swinson beating Johnson, Corbyn and Farage in Scotland

Monday, August 5th, 2019

While all the focus on today’s Ashcroft Scotland poll has been on growing support for independence the numbers that could have most impact on an early UK general election are in the chart above. How the national party leaders are rated according to the Ashcroft question asking respondents to give a rating from 0 to 100.

One of the remarkable things about the GE2010 outcome was that Gordon Brown’s LAB did substantially better in Scotland than in the rest of GB. The party increased its vote share and picked up 41 of the 59 Scottish seat while getting hit back elsewhere.

This was put down to the fact that Brown is Scottish, sat for a Scottish constituency and that Scottish voters have a tendency to favour their own – a tendency shown this latest poll.

For in choosing Dumbarton E MP, Jo Swinson, the LDs have become the first national UK party since 2010 to be led by someone who is Scottish and this is the first Scotland only poll since the leadership change.

It is not often appreciated that until the post-IndyRef 2015 General Election the LDs were, in terms of Westminster seats, the second biggest party north of the border being particularly strong in the borders and Highland regions. The GE2010 Scottish seat split was LAB 41,LD 11,SNP 6 and CON 1.

So more positive numbers now for their leader might be boost LD hopes of what might happen at an early general election.

As PBers will know I am a Lib Dem member and the reason I voted for Swinson in the leadership election was because I hoped that she could just have an edge with Scottish voters that could have an impact in terms of seats.

Mike Smithson