25 August 2010

Analysis: latest Holyrood polls...

I'm toddling along at a tortoise's pace here. Those with an interest in such things will no doubt already have outpaced me with their leporine fleetness and seen the topline results of YouGov and Ipsos-MORI's respective polls on Scottish voting intentions. Notably, these figures seem promising for the Nationalists. Moreover, in the detailed YouGov sheet, you can also see how that 72% supporting the Scottish Government's refusal to testify before the American Senate on Megrahi's release broke down. Just to refresh your memory, here were the voting intention keynotes. From YouGov:

  1. Labour ~ 36%
  2. SNP ~ 35%
  3. Conservative ~ 14%
  4. Liberal Democrat ~ 12%
  5. Others ~ 3%

And from Ipsos-MORI, the responses for Holyrood constituency voting among those certain to vote:

  1. Labour ~ 37%
  2. SNP ~ 34%
  3. Liberal Democrat ~ 13%
  4. Conservative ~ 11%
  5. Greens ~ 2%
  6. Others ~ 2%

And the list votes, again amongst those certain to vote:

  1. Labour ~ 38%
  2. SNP ~ 29%
  3. Conservatives ~ 12%
  4. Liberal Democrats ~ 12%
  5. Greens ~ 5%
  6. Others ~ 4%

So much, so well covered. However, unlike the more general Ipsos-MORI results, I notice that more detailed results from the YouGov poll, commissioned by the SNP, have now been published. I just wanted to pluck out a few of those demographic details and bring them to your attention. 


Firstly, there is little sign of the gender gap in SNP support which we've been discussing. Indeed, while leading Labour is supported by 39% of men and 33% of women, the SNP is polling at 36% and 35% respectively. Namely, despite their overall lead, this poll suggests that the SNP are now (just) leading Labour among women voters. 


Turning to age, the SNP is leading among the youngest cohort (aged 18 - 29), with 33% support compared to Labour's 31%. Interestingly, it is among these young things that the Liberal Democrat support sits at its most healthy heights, with 19% of them being keen Libs. The next oldest cohort (30 - 39 year olds) are clearly the staunchest, pro-Labour category. A very large 45% of them declare for Labour, compared to only 23% for the Nationalists, some 10% lower than our overall average, with the remaining 12% preferring Conservatives, 18% Liberal democrat. Amongst 40 - 59 year olds, the Nationalist support blossoms, albeit the tallest shoots don't quite match the height of the red flowering in support in the previous age category, with the SNP on 42%, Labour on 35%, Conservative 12%, Liberal Democrats shrinking to a cheeky wee 7%. Curiously, the voting preferences of those aged over 60 most resembles the overall average, albeit with a slight but noticeable increase in the Conservative vote and a switch in first and second positions. Here the SNP have a tiny 1% margin over Labour, 36% and 35% respectively, with the Tories taking 17%, the Liberals on 9%. 

Social Grades...

YouGov use the NRS social grade scale, from A - E. In this poll, results are analysed in two groups, the A-C1s and the C2s-Es. The first consists of the upper, middle and lower middle classes. Amongst this group, YouGov found as follows, ordered by bigness of their support:

  1. SNP ~ 35%
  2. Labour ~ 32%
  3. Conservative ~ 18%
  4. Liberal ~ 13%
  5. Other ~ 3%

The second category, C2 - E, consists of the skilled working class, the working class and those categorised as living at the lowest levels of subsistence.Here were their views, ordered on the same principle:

  1. Labour ~ 40%
  2. SNP ~ 36%
  3. Conservative ~ 9%
  4. Liberal Democrat ~ 9%
  5. Other ~ 4%

Interestingly, I've been hearing unconfirmed rumours about the results of the party's polling on what the lieges make of Alex Salmond. Apparently to the Maximum Eck's mild distress, this exercise discovered that he was particularly popular amongst the "lower" social grade categories, while the bourgeois responded rather less certainly and less warmly to the man. Make of that what you will. 


  1. "this exercise discovered that he was particularly popular amongst the "lower" social grade categories, while the bourgeois responded rather less certainly and less warmly to the man"

    Good God, the aspiring classes wouldn't want to be associated with something as parochial as nationalism or (dry boaking) Scottishness!
    They spend a deal of their time social climbing and signs of (boak) Scottishness (cultural / political) would leave them stranded on the foothills of the social landscape.
    There must be devices to show , at a glance or a listen, that one is superior to the hoi polloi.
    Being bourgeios is all about conforming to 'what one should do and be - one can't go about challenging notions of propriety.

  2. Actually, voiceofourown, there is plenty of evidence that you are wrong there, not least the figures above. On this poll, the SNP actually attract the most middle class support of any of the parties.

    There are undoubtedly parts of the bourgeoisie who no doubt feel like you suggest (to whit, see Mr Douglas Murray...) I've certainly met a number. However, in his Understanding Scotland: the sociology of a nation, which I mentioned just the other day, David McCrone specifically explores the relationship between social class and Scottish identification. Both pieces of data strongly suggest that the identity of the Scots bourgeois and their relationship with nationalism is much less black and white than you imply.

  3. But I thought all was lost and that Iain Gray was to stride bare-chested into the chamber in an Alban Heathcliff fashion dispensing with the Gnats like so much inconsequential NB dolts? Confound you I say Worrier who's making up these so called polls???

  4. Crivens, Bella, bosom in! Bosom in! As I've noted before, we've not reached the stage where the plausibility of this would-be protagonist is really assessed. I'd be astonished if that exercise redounded to his credit and notoriety. Just another reason for the partisan to be cheerful.

  5. I don't recognise that description of the aspiring classes - it certainly does not ring true in Glasgow. Indeed it makes a lot of sense to me that the A-C1s are more likely to vote SNP than the C2 - Es. They are also more likely to read the Herald than the Record or Sun!

  6. There are certainly instances of the sort of attitude VoiceOurOwn refers to - but like you I don't think they are terribly generalisable, Indy.

    Part of this, perhaps, is an understandable perception that such characters attain an unrepresentative prominence in the broadcasting media, being all too willingly pressed into British service and condescending to Scottish institutions and politics on an adjustment of the find a dog to eat a dog principle.