By Russell Bruce
Savanta have done a poll of SNP members. Previous polls have been of SNP voters. The number polled is quite small at 515. Interesting the poll is for the Daily Telegraph. Do the Tories want to know on whom to concentrate their attacks? Savanta interviewed 515 SNP members online between 23 Feb – 1 March. Data were weighted to be representative of SNP members by age, gender and socio-economic group.
And the winner is the Don’t Knows on 32%
This is not really surprising at this early stage. We know that not all were thrilled by the choice, thought to be around 15% of SNP supporters. Only members have a vote. Also the sudden departure of Nicola Sturgeon has left many still in shock. I will come back to the numbers on Don’t Knows as the tables provide some interesting information on those making up this high number.
Weighted outcome excluding Dont Knows (32%) and those who Will Not Vote (2%)
Humza 31%, Kate 25%, Ash 11%
The leadership election is conducted by preference voting meaning SNP members list the candidates in order of preference. This means the candidate with the smallest number of votes is eliminated and their next preference is allocated to the two remaining candidates and that is where things get interesting. Humza already has a relatively narrow lead and the distribution of Ash’s second preference are likely to at least close the gap, as will how the Don’t Knows break when they make up their mind on preference order.
There are many debates still to come counting those organised by the SNP NEC and those arranged by the media which means there is still potentially time for decisive shifts. We are inclined to the view that the order of preference is unlikely to produce a material shift.
Men and women
Humza is on 34% with men and has a 2% lead over Kate on 32%. Women break for Humza on 26% over Kate at 17% at present. Significantly more women members have yet to make up their minds than men, with 46% counting as Don’t Knows.
18 to 34s give a clear lead to Humza as do 35 to 44s and 45 to 54s. Kate takes the lead with 55 to 64s and 65+. Humza’s vote declines across all older age groups and Kate’s increases. Ash does quite well with the 65+ sample. Don’t Knows are 30% plus for all 5 age groups.
Again a mixed picture with Humza leading Kate by 17% with ABs, 5% with C1s and Kate leading Humza with C2s by 20% and just 1% with DEs. Don’t Knows account for a low 22% with C2s and 31% to 34% for other socio-economic groups.
It is difficult to draw too much from this poll conducted over 6 days at at the very start of the campaign and covering a period when the SNP changed their rules for the party organised meetings to make them available online. We would be inclined to think the preference order is likely to hold until a new party leader is elected. We suspect, at this stage, the result will be close between Humza and Kate, possibly around 5% or even less.