With what I assume are all Sunday’s Scottish polls in, where do we stand? Looking across the board at all six companies polling, two of them using two different modes, we actually have a broadly consistent picture. Excluding don’t knows, the Yes shares in the 8 different companies/methods are:

ICM (online) 54%
Panelbase (online) 49%
ICM (phone) 49%
TNS (face to face) 49%
YouGov (online) 48%
Opinium (online) 47%
Survation (online) 47%
Survation (phone) 46%

Seven of the polls are clearly clustered around a small lead for the NO campaign, with the one exception that rather odd looking ICM online poll with a smaller sample size than their usual online efforts. A lead of just a couple of points in a single poll is within the margin of error, but in this case all but one poll is showing NO ahead, so I think we can reasonably say that the polls are giving NO a genuine but small lead.

If the polls are broadly correct, and if nothing changes in the last five days, then NO look like they’ll have a narrow win… but of course those are two very significant ifs. It’s certainly possible for a race this tight to change within a few days and there have certainly been occassions in the past when the polls have had a systemic error of a couple of points in one direction or the other.


It’s the last Sunday before the referendum so we can expect several polls tonight (in fact, the chances are we’ll get lots today, and then comparatively few until Wednesday when there will be a glut of eve-of-referendum polls). I am expecting at least three today – Survation, Panelbase and Opinium – and I’ll update as they appear.

First out is Survation, conducted for the Better Together campaign. Their topline figures are YES 41%, NO 47%, Don’t know or refused 12%. Excluding the don’t knows and won’t says that works out at YES 46%, NO 54%. Full tables are here. I haven’t included any changes since last time as unlike all Survation’s previous Scottish referendum polls this one was conducted by telephone rather than online. It means we couldn’t confidently conclude anything from any change, though for what it’s worth it wouldn’t be showing any significant change anyway, Survation’s last online poll had YES 47%, NO 53%.

Later on we have an Opinium Scottish poll for the Observer, due at 8 o’clock, and a Panelbase for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE: The second Scottish poll of the evening is one we weren’t expecting – an ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph here. The fieldwork was done at pretty much the same time as the telephone ICM poll for the Guardian yesterday, but this one was conducted online and has significantly different figures. Topline figures with changes from ICM’s last online poll are YES 49%(+11), NO 42%(-5), Don’t know 9%. Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 54%(+9), NO 46%(-9). This echoes the large shift towards YES over the last month that YouGov and TNS have shown, but the significant lead for the YES campaign is in contrast to other polls, which are showing a small lead for the NO campaign.

Note that the sample size for the poll was only 705, smaller than usual but not obscenely so (a sample size of 705 increases the margin of error to 3.7%, so less precise than 1000, but not by a vast amount). Update with the Opinium poll coming up very soon….

UPDATE 2: The Opinium poll for the Observer is also out and has figures that are very much in line with the main pack – YES is on 45%, NO is on 49%, 6% say don’t know. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 47%, NO 53%. This is Opinium’s first outing in the Scottish referendum campaign, so no trend data. Full results are here, and Opinium have a note on methodology here – in Opinium’s usual GB polls they do not use any political weighting, but in their Scottish polling they are weighting by both 2011 recalled Holyrood vote AND recalled 2010 Westminster vote.

Still to come tonight we have at least a Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE 3: What is presumably the final Scottish poll of the night is Panelbase for the Sunday Times, and has a wafer thin NO lead. Topline figures appear to be YES 49%(+1), NO 51%(-1) (they are being widely quoted at 49.4% to 50.6%, but quoting decimal places when you’ve a margin of error of plus or minus 3 whole percentage points always seems downright silly to me!). I’ll update again shortly with a roundup of where we stand.


This week will obviously be dominated by Scottish polling – we have Opinium’s first Scottish referendum poll tonight, and possibly a Panelbase poll, and then final call polls from at least YouGov, MORI, Opinium and Survation next week. In the meantime though a quick detour to update the latest GB voting intention polls; we had three of them on Friday:

Populus – CON 33%, LAB 37%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13% (tabs)
Ipsos MORI – CON 34%, LAB 33%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 15% (tabs)
YouGov – CON 31%, LAB 35%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 16% (tabs)


I was expecting the ICM/Guardian Scottish poll this evening, but in fact it’s popped out already here. Headline figures are YES 49%, NO 51% – joining all the other polls in showing NO ahead, but only by the tiniest of margins.

Worth noting that this was a telephone poll, whereas ICM’s previous Scottish referendum polls were done online – so there’s no point drawing any changes from ICM’s previous Scottish polling, it could just be methodological difference.


YouGov’s penultimate Scottish poll before the referendum is out tonight (the last one being the eve-of-poll one next week). Topline figures, with changes from the weekend, are YES 48%(-3), NO 52%(+3) – the No campaign are once again ahead, but it remains within the margin of error.

One can look at this two ways. One is that Yes moved briefly ahead, but there has been a move back – perhaps the Scottish people recoiled a bit from the risk when it began looking like it would really happen, perhaps the stories over the last few days of pension companies and banks redomiciling to the UK had a impact (fieldwork was between Tuesday and today, so later fieldwork would have picked some of it up). An alternative is that it’s just margin of error – the last poll was a little “yes-ey” or this poll is a little “no-ey”. It’s a natural human instinct to look for narrative, to weave data into a coherent story, when sometimes they are just random noise. As we enter the final week of the referendum campaign what we can be certain of is that the polls are now all showing it extremely close – YouGov and Panelbase have YES at 48%, Survation 47%, TNS 49%. No appears to be slightly ahead, but it’s close…