Beware of the Polls

Thus far, a mere 13 days since Alba appeared on the scene we have had 5 polls with conflicting results. These polls have been by Survation for the Courier, Panelbase for the Sunday Times,IpsosMori for STV, Savanta ComRes for the Scotsman,Opinium for SKY.

All of them began polling before Alba was even a week old.
The most recent of these to show their results is Opinium which projects that SNP will get a majority with 72 seats, Tories 26,Labour 22, Green 5, Lib Dems 4, and Alba 0, with SNP having 53% of the Constituency vote and 44% of the List vote. Alba according to them would be on 2% and get no seats.

The Scotsmans Survation poll suggests the SNP would fall one short of a majority on 64 seats , the Greens benefiting with 10 seats,giving an Independence majority with 74 seats in the Parliament. The SNP would get 2 List seats. With the Greens standing in direct competition with the SNP in 12 constituencies I am not sure how much of a part that would play?

STVs Ipsos Mori has SNP on 70 seats and the Greens benefiting from the SNP votes on the List at 11 seats and Alba sitting on 3% and no seats, with Labour and the Tories scrapping it out for 2nd place.

However, I headlined this blog with “Beware of the Polls” and by that I mean don’t take them too seriously but be aware of them.
Most of the Big polling companies are standardised and are not meant to have leading or directing questions to influence, however small nuances can make a difference and the early Panelbase poll is an example when it named Alex Salmond leader of the Alba party , that poll indicated a 6% vote for Alba which has not been seen since, with all other polls showing Alba at around 3% , so name recognition may have been partially responsible for that.

We all look at each new poll from our own unique perspective and are either encouraged or discouraged by a polls findings. Likewise those who commission the polls are looking for poll findings which they can use or headline from their own perspective in order to influence people. For instance the Couriers very early poll with Alba barely 3 days old when they ran the survey had Alba at 3% and David Clegg running a headline of “It’s all over for Salmond”
With other polls showing a huge SNP majority we have the danger of those campaigning slackening off thinking it’s all in the bag.
Naturally committed supporters of parties will use social media to quote favourable figures for themselves and negative figures for the opposition in order to support various points and perspectives. If you listen to the likes of John Curtice summing up the latest poll, he never comes out with definitives, it’s always a case of ifs and buts.

I was told by someone who had today done an online survey about Independence. They were asked how they felt about each of the Leaders, how did Scotland compare to the rest of the UK during the pandemic, what their voting intention was for May, but most interesting for them was a host of specific questions on Alex Salmond including , was he in Alba for his own ego?
They had the impression that there was almost an Inference that the questions were framed to produce negative responses. They said that no questions were asked of any other politician in the survey. They don’t know who commissioned this survey, but it shows how these can be used.


The only poll that really matters is the one that happens when we vote on election day, and while these other polls can give a sense of direction of travel when we have multiple polls, and as they change in the coming weeks , we have to remember that the results they give are not evenly spread across the country but change from region to region. A party can appear to nationally be doing really well, but it may do poorly in a region or conversely can appear to be doing poorly nationally and do well in a region.

So by all means, watch the polls, but act as if you had never seen them and work towards the objective you wish to achieve.

About auldacquaintance

I am not a member of any political party. I am however a strong supporter of Scots Independence. Any views which I express in this Blog are purely my own. This Blog intends to be a place where I will be putting my views on Scots Independence. It will primarily concern itself with the upcoming Referendum In Scotland. However It will also be somewhat diverse in the range of day to day issues which are evident to me in modern day Scotland. Not all of it will be political, and indeed may take me off into avenues I am not even aware of yet. Please come and join in on this journey, and any comments are welcome provided they are not abusive! All the best from a new acquaintance! Rod
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1 Response to Beware of the Polls

  1. Alan D says:

    Does that include the poll featured here: https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-cat-and-all-the-pigeons/ ?

    I think that’s why I was so dismayed by the 3% results. The nonstandard 6% one doesn’t come close. Worse, a previous article(Flying with Wings) established a tipping point at 12% – below this and arguably the second party is simply trading seats with the SNP for no net gain.

    The tragedy of the Alba party is that it was seized by anti-Sturgeon and anti-SNP activists. Exactly the wrong type of campaigner to beg, borrow and steal SNP votes with, when you first have to “trade” seats before reaching the tipping point where net gains show up.

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