By Russell Bruce
Returning to Lord Ashcroft Polls recent analysis carried out for the Conservative party conference, I have uncovered more information of relevance to the coming general election in Scotland.
Of the 66% of people who chose to rank one of the 5 parties in the Newsnet diagram, the SNP came out well above the other four parties. The percentages shown are percentages of the total who gave a united rating for one of the 5 parties included in the survey. The SNP was only included in rankings by voters polled in Scotland. Previous Newsnet analysis of Ashcroft’s September poll can be found here and here.
Political parties consider unity to be a key attribute they value going into an election. This data does not auger well for Britain’s party of government (just about in power) or Labour as the main opposition party. The incredibly low scores for both main UK parties is hardly a surprise but the extent is seriously bad news for Messrs Johnson and Corbyn.
It is always said divided parties do not win and that certainly looks to be the case with Labour under Corbyn. So how can the lead for the Tories in national polls be explained? Sunday’s Opinium poll for the Observer put the Tories on 38% with a 15% lead over Labour. The LibDems drop by 25% from 20% to 15% compared to last week’s Opinium poll. It also shows the SNP holding steady.
Other opinion polls from the end of September, particularly YouGov, paint a different picture and indicate a lower Tory lead and vote share, show more consistent Labour and Lib Dem support levels and a weakening of SNP support.
James Kelly on Scot goes Pop is getting concerned about the lower vote shares for the SNP in YouGov Scottish sub samples. Sub samples are sub samples, to be taken with the amount of salt in a Siberian salt mine, but they can sometimes pick up trend changes. There is a bit of a YouGov trend so the SNP needs to take a closer look at its current messaging strategy and improve communication and connection with the wider YES movement that is becoming increasingly critical.
Activists will always seek out the good news. Strategists need to look at the weaker trends and reach out to those concerned at the the way the SNP is playing the Westminster game or not playing, in the minds of many, the Indy game. At this stage in the Brexit shambles a really good result for the SNP at the coming general election is the one thing in the immediate time frame that will advance the independence cause and demonstrate national determination for real self government and Scotland taking back actual control.
Electors cast their vote for a multitude of reasons and may often just pick a single factor as their key motivation. Understanding motivations and how they work alongside messaging is a core activity and challenge for all parties. Cambridge Analytica and more recently the Brexit Party are fully aware of this and develop their messaging accordingly.
Ashcroft spends a lot of time and money drilling down into attitudes giving his party a major advantage in calculating the strength of particular messages to render areas of weakness of less import. Ashcroft also conducts polls of Conservative party membership which can provide party well being analysis down to constituency level. The Conservatives have the resources for endless data crunching and the means to address areas where they need to win but are underperforming.
The LibDems have got in on the act too. As Sky News has revealed in an exclusive story: “The Liberal Democrats are profiling every voter in the country by rating their political preferences”
As things seem to stand, Boris could create the biggest f**k up in the history of the lost empire and enough voters in England will still go out and vote him in as a new minority government.
NOTE: This article was updated just after midnight on 6th October to include the information on LibDem voter profiling.