You would never guess it from the media but Lord Ashcroft’s latest major polling effort strips bare the entire lie about a Tory and Unionist bandwagon rolling in Scotland.
You would never guess it from Lord Ashcroft’s Tory agenda-driven report of the findings either. This tendentious nonsense ignores Scotland completely – indeed I do not think he even mentions the nation’s existence. No paid media journalist would ever dream of reading more than the executive summary of the report, and certainly would never comb through the data tables, which contain the actual information on which the report is just a gloss.
But the data tables break down the sample by “region”, of which Scotland is one, and thus give us a very great deal of information. The Ashcroft polls have a 10,000 sample and the Scottish sub-samples of over 900 are more than used for many standard Scotland only polls.
So here are the highlights:
It is indeed true that Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is more popular than Nicola Sturgeon – but only in England.
Contrary to constant media propaganda, Nicola Sturgeon rates over 12% higher than Ruth Davidson. Invited to rate their performance from 0 to 100, Scottish voters gave Nicola Sturgeon a mean rating of 52.91% (Table 47) and Ruth Davidson 40.52% (Table 48). Despite Davidson being proclaimed by the media as the new Jim Murphy/Jesus Christ, including constant lying claims that she is the more popular.
But Ruth Davidson is very much more popular than Nicola Sturgeon – with the English. In every region of England, Davidson is widely preferred to Sturgeon.
There is no Tory Revival in Scotland.
Asked whether they would consider voting Conservative at the next Westminster election, on a scale of likelihood from 0 to 100, 65% of Scots voters answered 0-10 “there is no chance I would vote Conservative” compared to only 10% who answered 91 to 100 “I will definitely vote Conservative”. (Table 8)
The mean Tory score in Scotland on this scale was 23.84. This was narrowly behind Labour. (Table 9) Typically Ashcroft’s poll does not even ask about the SNP. But note this methodology gives a mean result that is higher than a party’s actual percentage vote: totaling the party mean scores for England gives you more than 100%. So Tory support in Scotland is running below 23.8% and below Labour.
Again this is completely contrary to the media propaganda that has been blasted constantly across Scotland.
Tory Britain is Totally Alien to Scots.
In answer to the question “Do you think Britain is on the right track, or heading in the wrong direction” Scots stated by a resounding 67% to 33% (excluding don’t knows) that Britain is heading in the wrong direction.
This compares to a clear majority in England that Britain is heading in the right direction. (Table 15).
Again contrary to constant media propaganda, Scots are much less obsessed than the English with controlling immigration. Only 28% of Scots named controlling immigration as one of the top three political issues, significantly lower than any region of England. (Table 19) A tiny 4% of Scots think immigration is the most important issue (Table 20).
But more revealing still is the ability to discern continued Scottish support for more left wing approaches to the economy. Here Ashcroft accidentally does us a favour by his exclusion of the SNP from the question.
Asked who would “have the best approach to growing the economy and creating jobs”, and not given a chance to answer SNP, Scots favour Labour over the Tories by a conclusive 46% to 36%. This compares to an equally strong preference for the Tories across England. (Table 25). Interestingly an extraordinary 15% of Scots plumped for the Lib Dems, presumably in reaction to no SNP choice being offered.
Again this is a devastating disproof of the media narrative that Scots have swallowed Torynomics. The Scottish preference for Labour over the Tories shows up in later tables on schools, the NHS, the environment etc.
Tory Scotland is a Myth the Media are Trying to Propagandise into Reality
As we gear up for the next referendum, I am cheered that the poll clears up the difference between empirical observation of the Scottish public and the picture portrayed by the media.
The media are lying.
The Blairite leadership of Scottish Labour betrayed their party by close collaboration with the Tories in Indyref1. As a result the party is in meltdown – but there is still a strong public sympathy for what might be described as real Labour values. This mantle has been taken up by the SNP.
But because the Scottish Labour Party as an organisation is a laughing stock, and because the Tories are highly hubristic and have convinced themselves of their own propaganda about their popularity, in Indyref2 we will face an open clash between Independence and Toryism. The Tories will no longer be lightly disguised behind Gordon Brown. Hard-faced anti-devolution unionism and City of London economics will be shoved down voters’ throats.
I have no doubt at all we will win this battle and finally achieve national independence again. If Ashcroft has the honesty to look at the message hidden in the unused data of his own poll results, the Tories realise it too. Which may explain their aversion to a referendum.