It's a hat-trick, folks - and in more ways than one. YouGov's new poll is the third full-scale Scottish poll since the general election, and all three have shown that the SNP's support in Westminster voting intentions has gone back up - a genuinely astonishing consensus that defies all of the expectations during the summer, and indeed the propaganda that was being pumped out by commentators as recently as yesterday.
Scottish voting intentions for next Westminster general election (YouGov) :
SNP 40% (+3)
Labour 30% (+3)
Conservatives 23% (-6)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-2)
(This is YouGov's first Scottish voting intention poll since the general election, so percentage changes are measured from the actual election result.)
The equally remarkable thing that the three polls have in common with each other is that the anti-independence media outlet that commissioned them buried all mention of the Westminster results - presumably because they'd rather people didn't know the SNP are doing so well. The Daily Mail didn't report Survation's Westminster numbers at all, the Sunday Times held back Panelbase's Westminster results for a week and then made only passing reference to them, and although I don't pay the Murdoch Levy, I get the distinct impression from those who do that the Times didn't say anything about YouGov's Westminster results in their coverage of the new poll on Saturday. If there was any mention at all, it can't have been very prominent, because the numbers didn't make their way onto social media. I eventually found them in the datasets published on YouGov's own website today.
On all three occasions, the unionist newspaper in question has preferred to focus all of our attention on the Scottish Parliament voting intention figures instead - which are spinnable as being a mild setback for Nicola Sturgeon, because although the SNP have an enormous lead on that measure as well, it's down a little from the extraordinary high recorded at the Holyrood election in May 2016.
For the avoidance of doubt, there is no innocent explanation for this selective reporting of the polls. We've only just been through a Westminster general election, and there is a non-trivial chance of another one being held next year. By contrast, the next Scottish Parliament election is almost four years away. Of course Westminster voting intentions are the more interesting of the two sets of numbers at present - so why on earth are London-based newspapers behaving as if Holyrood is the only game in town, and as if Westminster is just some trivial detail? It makes no sense unless they're in the propaganda business, and are determined that a decrease in the SNP's Holyrood lead should be widely known about, but that a deeply inconvenient increase in the SNP's Westminster lead should be kept a total secret. It's a cynical game, but to some extent it's working - you may have seen Rachael Swindon (a well-known Corbynite on Twitter) express genuine shock and bewilderment yesterday upon being told that all of the Westminster polls since the election have shown the SNP's vote increasing. She was utterly convinced that all of the polls she had seen had shown the polar opposite.
If I could blow my own trumpet for just a moment, the YouGov poll bears out what I've been saying for months about the likelihood that an aggregate of subsamples will at least be vaguely in line with the results of full-scale Scottish polls. Unlike other firms, YouGov's subsamples have been consistently showing the Scottish Tories in third place, so it makes perfect sense that YouGov's full-scale poll has parted company with both Panelbase and Survation by showing Labour in a clear second place and the Tories in a dismal third. Ruth Davidson must be absolutely horrified by these numbers (and on this occasion that's not hyperbole). It's even more startling when you bear in mind that Labour and the Tories are essentially tied in the same poll's Holyrood figures.
The SNP would plainly be well-placed to make several gains from the Tories in any early general election if YouGov are correct. The poll implies a 4.5% swing from Tory to SNP, which in respect of the 'box office' contests means that Alex Salmond would comfortably take back Gordon if he chooses to stand again, and that Angus Robertson would have a 50/50 chance of taking back Moray.
There's another interesting nugget from the YouGov datasets on the Holyrood numbers - the SSP are on 3% of the list vote. That's not enough to win them any seats, but it does mean that support for pro-independence parties on the list is significantly higher than we first thought.