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Archive for the ‘psephology’

The enemies of democracy 316

Posted on August 15, 2019 by

This poll from Opinium came out a few days ago, but didn’t get as much attention as people might normally have expected, possibly because it was presented in a very difficult-to-follow graphical form. So we’ve sorted it out, and also added in the missing Lib Dem voters.

The takeaway is that a clear majority of voters both in Scotland and the UK now believe that the UK government should accept the Scottish Government’s request for a second independence referendum.

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Fearing your own voice 161

Posted on January 07, 2018 by

So this one was interesting.

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The not-so-nearly man 62

Posted on December 27, 2017 by

We were having an idle browse on Google Play Books this morning for some bargain holiday reading when we happened upon a startling new cover for Chris Mullin’s 1982 classic A Very British Coup.

We found ourselves thinking “rise to what, exactly?”

And as it happened, we had some new Panelbase polling data on that.

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Polling projected properly 337

Posted on April 24, 2016 by

Considering we’re only eleven days from a general election, there’s remarkably little politics coverage in the Sunday papers today. Most of what there is is in the Sunday Herald, which has a substantial (and quite entertaining) interview with Kezia Dugdale and another two pages devoted to what’s essentially spluttering attempted justification of its shambolic front-page lead from last week.


We’re not going to go into it in depth, as James Kelly on Scot Goes Pop! has already had a close look and made a pretty fair assessment. But for want of anything more interesting to talk about, and in the wake of some depressing Twitter conversations with people who apparently STILL don’t understand either the Holyrood electoral system or basic arithmetic, we’re going to have one more wade in the list-vote debate.

You might want to see if there’s football on or something.

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The limits of science 306

Posted on April 14, 2016 by

Last weekend’s edition of the Sunday Times gave an article to a Green activist and party worker – not billed as such, even though until last month he was on the party’s regional candidate list for Lothian – to predict that the Greens would get 10 seats at next month’s election.

Much campaigning by the various fringe parties for the Holyrood contest has been based on “seat predictors” like the one deployed to produce the figures in the piece, purporting to show that a tactical-voting strategy on the list can deliver a large gain in numbers of pro-independence MSPs compared to using both votes for the SNP.


We’ve examined that argument in considerable depth already, both theoretical and practical. But its also worth noting that so-called “seat predictors” are a rather shaky basis for making such bold forecasts.

Let’s illustrate that assertion.

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The Eye Of Reality 200

Posted on January 16, 2016 by

With little in the way of news to chew on, the Scottish political blogosphere has begun to eat itself of late, with an exhausting number of articles on popular sites about how an SNP list vote is a wasted vote and anyone thinking of voting for the Nats in both constituency and region is a deluded cultist/simple-witted idiot (mostly written by candidates/supporters of other parties who are often not identified as such), and now some angry pieces from disgruntled SNP supporters making the opposite point.


All are based, from one perspective or another, on opinion polls and seat predictions based on those polls, some of which appear to be based on very shaky premises.

We’ve already broken down the mechanics of the Scottish electoral system at very considerable length, so readers will be relieved that we’re not going to get into that again. Instead, we thought we’d take a very specific region-by-region look at the scale of the task facing the fringe parties.

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The sweet spot 168

Posted on August 25, 2015 by

Stat-pummelled readers will be glad to know that this is the last article we plan to write about the vagaries of the AMS electoral system, and how it might apply to next year’s Scottish Parliament election, for some time. This one also shouldn’t be full of tables and figures, so strap yourself in and let’s get this job finished.


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The narcissism of small differences 196

Posted on August 24, 2015 by

We’ve only ourselves to blame, we’d be the first to admit. When we titled yesterday’s piece “AMS for lazy people” it was pretty much an invitation for people to get us to do their research for them, and so it proved.

Even as we slumped exhausted over a red-hot calculator, several readers wasted no time demanding a breakdown of how the mechanisms of the electoral system had affected last year’s European elections, in which UKIP defied some expectations (and delighted the Unionist parties and media) by taking a seat in Scotland.


So we suppose we might as well.

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AMS for lazy people 297

Posted on August 23, 2015 by

The email we’ve had more than any other since the 8th of May is this one:

“Please can you explain how the Scottish election system works, and whether it’s a good idea for me as an SNP voter to give my list vote to someone else so as to ensure the maximum number of pro-Yes MSPs in Holyrood?”

We’d planned to leave that question until much nearer the relevant time, but to be honest we’re getting fed up of reading them, so let’s see if we can sort it out now.

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You’re gonna need someone on your side 179

Posted on February 03, 2015 by

From the latest YouGov polling. Ooft.


Remarkably, 26% of people planning to vote Labour in May, and an astounding 54% of likely Tory voters, say the SNP are the best guarantors of more powers, while 21% of Labour voters and 37% of Tories also answer “SNP” to the second question.

We wouldn’t want to be in Scottish Labour’s shoes if they were made of diamonds.

Choosing a side 195

Posted on January 27, 2015 by

Ed Balls today gave an interview to Sky News in which the would-be Chancellor appeared to explicitly rule out a Labour/SNP coalition for the first time, maintaining that the party is only interested in a majority. Yet the more strenuously Labour insist on a majority, the further from their grasp it slips.

Just over a year ago we ran an article suggesting that the opinion polls masked a much stronger position for the Conservatives than they seemed to show. We noted that when the election came round, it was likely that when UKIP supporters faced the reality of First Past The Post in seats where they had no sensible hope of winning, a significant proportion of them would reluctantly vote Tory instead to secure the EU referendum that is their defining goal.


Now we have some numbers on that.

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Dividing lines 107

Posted on January 16, 2015 by

So far in our twin social-attitudes polls of Scotland and the rUK we’ve found that while there can be very sizeable gaps between Scottish public opinion and that elsewhere, it mostly tends to be within the same side of the debate – for example, rUK citizens are much keener on retaining the monarchy and nuclear weapons than Scots are, but Scots do still favour both.


Our final round-up off the poll findings, though, focuses on the three questions we asked where the differences DID cross the divide.

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