When we commissioned our latest opinion poll from Panelbase, we were aware that there’d been a lot of polls recently about independence and Brexit/the EU and even Westminster voting intentions, but surprisingly few on the next thing that Scots will actually go to polling stations for – the council elections in May.
That’s odd because it’s a pretty significant vote, and could lead to some fairly seismic changes in how the country is governed. Despite losing the popular vote for the first time in 2012, Labour are still the dominant force in Scotland’s town/city halls, running almost twice as many of the country’s 32 local authorities (either in sole control or in coalition/minority administrations) as the SNP – 16 to nine.
Depending on the outcome in May, the Nats could either secure a grip on all levels of Scottish elected politics for the first time ever, or a Tory alliance with Labour as junior partners could keep most councils Unionist – something which could have all sorts of wider ramifications beyond local services. (That’s an article for another day.)
So the results below are pretty interesting.
Just before we get to them, a quick note on the stats. 83% of our respondents said they were “likely to vote” in the council elections – defined as rating your probability of doing so at either eight, nine or 10 out of 10.
It’s fairly stupendously unlikely that turnout will actually be anywhere near 83% – the figure in 2012 was 39.6%, and it only got to 52.8% even in 2007, when voters were at the polls anyway to vote in the Holyrood general election. So we’ve used the figures for “likely voters excluding Don’t Knows” in this post, because the chances are that in reality, people who don’t know who they’re voting for by now won’t vote at all.
(Full tables will of course be published on the Panelbase website shortly.)
These are the headline figures:
Lib Dems: 5%
Click the images below to enlarge and see various demographic breakdowns.
The bullet points are:
- there are no significant differences between genders
- older age groups swing away from the SNP to the Tories
- but the SNP are still the most popular party even among the elderly
- people born in Scotland, or anywhere outside the UK, love the SNP
- Scottish residents born elsewhere in the EU really hate the Tories
- but Scottish residents born in England are overwhelmingly Tory
- almost 80% of 2014 Yes voters will vote SNP
- 55% of Remain voters and 35% of Leave voters will vote SNP
- the Tories are now more than twice as popular among 2014 No voters as Labour
- 46% of Holyrood 2016 Labour voters now intend to vote for someone else
Make of all that what you will.