By Dave Taylor
At the end of March, YouGov conducted a poll for “The Sun” on Lib-Dem prospects in the Westminster 2015 election. The poll was based on the new constituencies that will be created for the Westminster Parliament in 2015.
While many independence supporters will be hopeful that Scots will be watching that election as interested outsiders, rather than participants, it’s still worth keeping an eye on Westminster voting intention as a general guide to political attitudes.
The number of Scots, in these new constituencies, who were actually asked was even smaller than usual. Only 81 Scots were part of the YG panel, and these had to be weighted up to 152 to match the geographic distribution. Not too much reliance can be placed on this data.
On the basis of the 2010 vote, the LDs would be expected to have 3 seats less due to the new constituency boundaries. The eight new seats that they would be expected to have won, had the 2010 election been fought on the new boundaries are Orkney and Shetland (or in Economist language – Orkward and Shutland) : Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Cromarty : Inverness and Skye : Argyll, Bute and Lochaber : Deeside and Gordon : Cupar and St Andrews : Edinburgh West : Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk.
The results merit a passing glance, because of the questions that YG asked.
YG first asked their standard voting intention question, but then also asked how panel members would vote in their own constituency. LD constituencies should have a higher level of LD support than elsewhere, and tactical voting should produce a higher LD vote still, than if these people were voting elsewhere. That is exactly what happens. While, in general, 17% would vote LD; in their own particular constituencies 26% would vote LD.
26% of the vote, however, is unlikely to produce many election victories – nor would the Con 14%, or the Lab 23%. It seems likely that the SNP’s support level of 34% would result in victories.