The results of our exclusive poll for the Livingston constituency are in, and they show the SNP are on track to retain the seat on December 12th.
Other key trends we noted were :
- Conservative vote slightly up and perhaps benefitting from a lack of Brexit Party candidate in the constituency.
- Green Party performing better than expected with strong candidate recognition.
- Labour struggling on all fronts. Their vote share was significantly down in this poll and a lack of recognition of their candidate and a weak intention to vote stated by those potential Labour supporters polled could hinder their chances.
- SNP vote holding up well with a strong recognition of Hannah Bardell as their candidate. However, a key worry for the party will be getting their supporters out to vote.
1. Voting Intention (Q. In the General Election to be held on December 12th 2019, which party are you most likely to support as a voter in the constituency of Livingston?
Our polling showed a 4% increase for Hannah Bardell on her 2017 result for the SNP. The Conservatives showed a slight increase on their 2017 vote share, perhaps benefitting from a lack of Brexit candidate. The biggest surprise of our poll was the Labour share which had shrunk from 32.7% in 2017 down to 14.54%. It would be quick to presume that this vote share had gone to the Greens and the Lib Dems, but a caveat and a word of caution. Firstly, national polling has shown a Labour upswing through November at the same time as a decline in Lib Dem vote share, and the timing of our poll may reflect a nadir in Labour support nationally and locally. Secondly, this election is anything but predictable and if a phrase for sums up our experience so far of asking people their voting intention it is, ‘I have voted for (X) all my life but not any more’. Old allegiances have been broken and previously unthinkable switches of allegiance are now commonplace; lifelong Tories are voting SNP, lifelong Labour voters have switched to Lib Dem, and people who have not missed voting at an election in thirty years are refusing to vote. In summary, this election is entirely unpredictable for the majority of parties.
2. Can you name candidate? (Q. Do you know the name of the candidate standing in the Livingston constituency for the party you indicated in question one as the one you would most likely vote for?)
The answers here provided few surprises. We accepted first name, last name or both as answers. Hannah Bardell scored highest on 65% but having been MP since 2015, this relatively high score should be entirely expected. Cameron Glasgow scored very well too; he could have benefited here from some national press coverage on account of his age and being one of the youngest candidates standing. Damian Timson and Charles Dundas were previous candidates so are likely to have some residual voter recognition, Timson even more so as a local councillor. Caitlin Kane for Labour came in last on just 6% but as a first-time candidate and having only recently replaced the previous PPC a couple of weeks ago, this again should not be a surprise.
3. Likelihood to vote? (Q. Do you intend to vote in the General Election to be held on December 12th? By vote we mean by all legal methods such as voting in person on the day at a polling station, by postal vote or by proxy)
Whilst voters may support a particular party or candidate, they may not follow through and actually vote. This last question indicates that those who intend to vote Liberal Democrat, Green and Conservative have a strong intention to follow through and vote, with each party scoring over 70%. The SNP has a slight worry on 65% on getting their vote out. One theory is that the party is doing so well in polling nationally in Scotland that an apathy has set in amongst SNP voters that they do not need to vote. In some constituencies though, this could cost them seats. The party with most to worry about, however, is Labour. Of those stating they would support Labour in our poll, only 44% had an intention to vote in this General Election. Whether this was caused by voters uncertainty about Jeremy Corbyn as Prime Minister or his Brexit stance is uncertain. A concern for Labour has to be though that any bounce in the polls in favour of Labour is cancelled out by those Labour supporters deciding to not cast their votes at this General Election.
Notes 1) Street polling conducted between 19th and 21st November 2019 – random polling sample 2) Polling conducted across three wards (Bathgate 32, Livingston North 38, Broxburn Uphall and Winchburgh 40) 3) The gender and age of those being polled was not asked