Saturday, 12 January 2008

Polling data...

Reading around blogland, I came across Kezia Dugdale's blog - which, like mine, mixes entries on Scottish and American politics. Her most recent post gives details of a Progressive Scottish Opinion poll conducted between the 3rd and the 8th of January, which sees Labour a single percentage point ahead of the SNP on the constituency vote (37-36) and 4 ahead on the regional vote (38-34). According to Bill Miller (a brainiac at Glasgow Uni) the SNP's seat total would remain the same, but Labour would improve from 46 to 53.

Taking aside the fact that, when the fieldwork was done for this poll most of Scotland was either still drunk or hungover from Hogmanay celebrations, there is one thing which is glaringly obvious about the numbers. Despite Kezia's claims that the esteemed Cabinet Secretaries for Health & Justice would lose their constituency seats (but would still be returned under PR on regional ballots) for "breaking promises", the SNP remain on 47 seats.

For me, that doesn't make much sense. The suggestion is that Labour would pick up 7 seats, the Tories would drop 1, the Lib Dems 4 and the others 2. Granted the Lib Dems are not doing much to keep the public's faith in them but to lose 4 seats to a party currently in the midst of a scandal? Even Nicol Stephen isn't so bad that you'd vote for someone who (allegedly) broke the law.

What I'm trying to say, and what I think is wrong with the figures, is that if Labour are truly having some sort of comeback in Scotland - and I think that is doubtful in itself - wouldn't they cement that by taking seats FROM the SNP? And this poll suggests that that is not the case. Sure they're up in it - by a good distance - but judging by this poll, people seem to generally feel that the Nats are up to the job of governing Scotland.


Sam 12 January 2008 at 21:24  

Ok so I am no expert on politics north of the border. But that is actually at the root of my question to you Malc. To me it seems as though much of the political news coming out of Holyrood since the SNP was elected has been, if not negative, at least pretty chaotic. I'm talking about Salmond's impropriety in courting a billionnaire to build a golf course and then overriding the local planning decision against it (incidentally isn't that a tad hypocritical given the SNP's supposed support for subsidiarity?); the inability to propose a budget without conceding half of it to get it through; the U-turn on the manifesto pledge to scrap sportscotland.

Are these simply inevitable teething problems for a new govt which has never been in this position before? Or do they represent an inability to govern, or at least an inability to present an image of good governance? Or is this just an image we get down here?

I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts, and don't forget we know who you work for!

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