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Scottish voters turn away from Scottish Labour, not British Labour

Labour looks to be heading for a good election result on Thursday in England, an excellent result in Wales, but defeat in Scotland. Obviously we hope that Labour’s fate will improve in Scotland by Thursday — at least the SNP lead has dipped significantly in the latest polls — but, in any event, the Scottish result should be read not as a rejection of Ed Miliband or British Labour, but as a rejection only of Scottish Labour. And it’s got nothing to do with seperatism versus unionism. Analysis of the latest YouGov poll for the Scotsman shows that, at a Westminster election, Scottish voters would give Labour a 14% lead over the SNP (42% to 28%) whilst for Holyrood, SNP leads by 2% (down 8% from 10 days earlier) which would still be enough to just give an SNP-Green coalition a majority (and others give the SNP a greater lead).

Comparing these latest poll results with the general election, Labour and Tory shares of the poll are identical. However, the collapse in the LibDem vote (possibly to 5th place behind the Greens) has benefitted the SNP rather than Labour. The detailed results are as follows:

YouGov polling:

26-29 April

2007 Holyrood election 2010 General election 2011 YouGov

West-minster

2011 YouGov

Holy-rood

Constituency
Con 17% 17% 17% 12%
Lab 32% 42% 42% 34%
LDem 16% 19% 7% 7%
SNP 33% 20% 28% 42%
Regional
Con 14% 12%
Lab 29% 33%
LDem 11% 6%
SNP 31% 35%
Green 4% 7%

Looking at the cross-tabulations of voting intention in different contests, we can see that there is significant switching of voters from Labour in Westminster elections to the SNP in Holyrood elections, whereas the SNP loses few votes apart from those of Greens and SSP voters which are far more than offset by switches from all the main parties.

Westminster Constituency Vote

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

SNP

Holyrood Regional Vote Con

67%

1%

4%

0%

Lab

3%

77%

7%

1%

Lib Dem

4%

1%

73%

1%

SNP

19%

15%

4%

84%

Green

0%

3%

11%

7%

SSP

2%

1%

0%

5%

Holyrood Constituency Vote

Con

Lab

Lib Dem

SNP

Holyrood Regional Vote Con

89%

1%

7%

2%

Lab

2%

91%

6%

2%

Lib Dem

1%

2%

73%

2%

SNP

3%

2%

6%

79%

Green

0%

2%

9%

8%

SSP

0%

1%

0%

5%

Those voters switching from Labour at Westminster to SNP at Holyrood appear less opposed to Scottish independence than other Labour voters but it is difficult to see how Alex Salmond could possibly win a referendum anyway with opponents of independence outnumbering supporters by about 2-to-1. Forty percent of SNP votes are unconvinced too. All the more misconceived, then, was Iain Gray’s decision, when finally moved to confront the SNP directly, to focus on challenging independence. It is how the SNP is perceived to govern Scotland that is attracting Labour voters, tactical voters to the left of Labour and defectors from the Lib Dems. That is where Scottish Labour has failed.

One Comment

  1. Chris says:

    One reason that Labour is failing in Scotland has been overlooked by the press and the BBC; Scottish Labour is not like the party in the rest of Britain. For 50 years it has been a source of patronage on a huge scale which has lead to endemic corruption so heavly institutionalised that is not seen as a problme, just ‘how things are’. None of the MSPs would stand a chance of being selected for a constituency in England or Wales – they are just too toxic for words.
    Another aspect is the obsession with the union. The question of quality of government is really what is uppermost in people’s minds – and like it or not, the Gnats have made a fairly good fist of their first term in office and all our MSPs have dobne is to obstruct for the sake of being obstructive – mostly they’ve voted with the tories — so that’s BOUND to go down well in Scotland – or maybe not.. It did n’t help to focus on the tories – they are meaningless in Scotland anyway….and which bright spark thought it would be a good idea to have Ed Balls attack Salmond on the economy? Has he tried telling the Pope what it’s like to be head of a big religious organisation? It’s a symptom of our reliance on scaremongering that neither Ed nor anyone else will answer the really big Scottish economc question, which is this…..
    Denmark has bacon, lager, butter and…bacon….and butter. Scotland has engineering, whisky, life sciences, tourism, great universites and colleges which attract people from all over the world, excellent agricultural exports, surprisingly strong manufacturing, huge arts exports, massive insurance sector, gas, electricity exports, fishing and of course oil. If the union is so good, how come the Scots are poor and the Danes are rich?

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