5 September 2010

Poll: the Gray albatross

Its a cruel stiletto to the bladder, one that has clearly been tucked concealed in the Maximum Eck's garter for some considerable time. Today the SNP revealed some details from an internal poll, conducted by YouGov, particularly on "Which one, if any of the following Scottish Political leaders do you think is best qualified to be First Minister?" Predictably enough, the results seem to bear out my suspicion - that even if Labour were leading the SNP, a significant gap yawned between the party's  general fortunes and those of its leader in Holyrood. So it has proved. One curiosity about the figures are that they were collected during the past summer between 29th of June and the 1st July and involved 1316 respondent adults. Given this late publication, I suspect we will only see this topline and not the breakdown, unfortunately, but hope springs eternal in the human breast! Interestingly enough, we can track these results against the last poll showing any substantive Labour lead. With a day or two at either end, the fieldwork in both studies was conducted more or less contemporaneously.

  1. Alex Salmond ~ 31%
  2. Annabel Goldie ~ 9%
  3. Iain Gray ~ 9%
  4. Tavish Scott ~ 4%
  5. Patrick Harvie ~ 1%
  6. None of these ~ 25%
  7. Don't know ~ 21%

Without a detailed breakdown it is possible to tell, however, I do wonder why Goldie is listed before Gray. They both seem to boast 9%, however, it seems likely that there will be differences of less than 1% between them. The SNP ranking may well have been made in a spirit of mischief. However, it might also indicate that the leader of the Scottish Labour contingent in the Scottish Parliament is actually mildly less popular than the leader of the Scottish Tories. That they should be even is astonishing enough, even given Matron's douce charms. To put this in a little context, consider the results of this Populus poll, taken at the very end of April 2007 before the Holyrood election of that year. They asked 1000 people Which of the following do you think would make the best First Minister of Scotland? Their respondents said:

  1. Jack McConnell ~ 27%
  2. Alex Salmond ~ 27%
  3. Annabel Goldie ~ 10%
  4. Nicol Stephen ~ 8%
  5. None of these ~ 9%


  1. A startling difference and a reason for Team SNP to be cheerful. Ruling parties tend to close gaps as election dates draw nearer. This suggests 'Alex Salmond for First Minister' will pay off, albeit only in the public's minds and not directly on the ballot slip as per 2007.

    You've got to wonder at the sizeable 25% who put 'none of these' as an answer to a 'which is best...' question.

  2. I wonder about that myself, Jeff. One wonders what the exposure of the election campaign might do to these figures, in particular that one apparently rejecting every opinion. Bella and Eck must be comparatively well-kent faces by now with most folk minded to know having some view of them. Perhaps the 21% of don't knowers will find out as the moment of decision approaches more urgently and some of the none of the above crew might be converted to some preference.

  3. I think the clue may be in the words SNP's internal poll:-). Just a suggestion!

    Seriously, congrats on breaking into the Wikio top 100.

  4. You suspicious soul you, Caron! In fairness, I was potentially a little misleading above. The poll alluded to - whose release James amusingly and probably fairly styles "desperate counter-polling" appears to have been conducted by YouGov rather than being an entirely in house affair.

    On Wikio, I had absolutely no notion I'd gone anywhere (and no real sense of how the devil they generate their curious hierarchies). I wonder what catapulted me upwards? Yon post on the Bible and Scots Law last month, perhaps. No doubt I'll retreat to my proper place in the doldrums hereafter.

  5. I suspect even Jack McConnell would have done considerably better than 9%.

    The combined 46% Don't Know's and None of the Above's, I suspect are parched at the quality of candidates on display.

    Water, water, everywhere,
    And all the boards did shrink;
    Water, water, everywhere,
    Nor any drop to drink.

  6. I suspect that you have become possessed by a Spirit of Poetry, Mr MacLachlan!

  7. If you can shoehorn the Ancient Mariner in...

  8. Ha! It is doubtlessly a spirit to be encouraged. There is never any harm in enlivening a potentially soggy bit of prose with a spicy pinch of poetry. And everyone already thinks I'm a pretentious sod anyway, so I might as well live up to expectations!