The weekly Monday Populus poll is out, and has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 12%, UKIP 8%. It was conducted over the weekend, and unlike the YouGov/Sunday Times poll obviously shows no impact on voting intention from the Syria defeat.

There is also a new ICM poll for the BBC. This doesn’t have any voting intention figures (the BBC doesn’t like commissioning them!), but has some more general questions on Syria. 71% think MPs were right to vote against military action (20% think they were wrong). Asked if they approve of how David Cameron has handled the situation in Syria 40% approve, 42% disapprove. The figures for Ed Miliband are 33% approve, 39% disapprove. Full tabs are here.

Finally today we have a Panelbase poll commissioned by the SNP that claims to show a Yes lead in the Scottish independence referendum, 44% to 43%. Now, I always advise extreme caution in dealing with polls commissioned by political parties – reputable pollsters should ensure the questions themselves are fair, but they don’t decide what parties ask about, or how they spin the results.

On the Scottish referendum there are some big differences between the polling by Panelbase and the polling by other companies, but the trend data from each company is itself pretty steady. The regular polls from Ipsos MORI have bounced about a bit with NO leads between 20 and 28 points, but there is no obvious up or down trend. YouGov have only done a couple of polls, but have show consistent NO leads in the mid-twenties. There have only been two recent TNS BMRB polls (they are starting up a more regular series later this week) but they showed NO leads of 19 and 21 points. In contrast Panelbase has been tending to show leads of between 8 and 10 points. A much smaller lead, but again a very consistent one with no obviously trend towards yes or no – even by Panelbase’s standards a Yes lead looks odd.

The results for the Panelbase/SNP survey are here. The referendum question itself is completely fair. However, it was not the first question asked. Typically polls always put voting intention questions (Parliamentary and referendum) questions right at the start in order to remove the risk that other questions in the survey could influence or skew voting intention results. Panelbase, for example, normally ask Holyrood VI, immediately followed by referendum VI. In the case of this poll the referendum voting intention question was asked at the end of the survey, after asking people if they thought Scotland could be “a successful, independent country” and whether people trusted the Scottish government or Westminster government more to take the right decisions for Scotland. Both questions had the potential to skew responses to the referendum question. We can’t know for certain, but given the contrast with Panelbase’s previous polls, my guess is that this is what has happened and Panelbase’s next normal survey will be back to a NO lead.

112 Responses to “New Populus, ICM and Panelbase surveys”

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  1. Fair enough only jocking.


    @”Are you implying that to be less than enamoured in the Western Intelligence Services morally equates me to Putin?”

    No-I was just stating a fact.




    It`s quite bizarre how the Blairite wing keep this issue burning.The other MP I recall is Ben Bradshaw spouting on Sky seemingly wanting a second vote.The HOC Has voted and it would be crazy to have another vote shortly wiithout seeing what happens in the U.S and France.

  5. New comres poll

    Lab 37% (-)

    Con 31% (-3)

    LD 12% (+2)

    UKIP 10% (-2)

    Others 10% (+2)

  6. Has anyone noticed two things that may or may not be related

    1) Russia has restructured its loans to Cyprus making it much cheaper for them

    2) Cyprus has said that it will not allow any military action on Syria from its territory(but I bet the British base isn’t Cypriot territory)

  7. new poll, new thread…

  8. RiN,

    No the bases are not Cyprus territory. They are part of the UK.

  9. I really don’t understand why the SNP consistently pedal the line that in Scotland, “sovereignty lies with the people not the UK Parliament”.

    The doctrine of Westminster’s sovereignty lies only within its relationship with other law-making bodies, not with the electorate.

    The UK is a democracy and therefore the people have the final say in Parliament’s authority.

    Other than some preamble in a written constitution (again to point out the obvious: the UK does have a constitution – otherwise our political system would quickly collapse – it’s just not codified within a single document), how would an independent Scotland’s government be any different?

  10. The order of the Panelbase survey is interesting in showing how soft the no lead is and what it says about the SNP campaign.

    The answers to the questions of whether Scotland could be a successful country and whether Westminster or Holyrood are more trusted are not really a surprise – I’m sure I have seen similar results before.

    So, while the default position of the majority of Scottish voters when they don’t give much thought to the question appears to be no, what the Panelbase survey shows that if Scottish voters are reminded of these issues, they are prepared to vote for independence – in other words the consistent lead for no is soft.

    This poll really strengthens my suspicion that when the independence question will be much more in the news, when Scottish voters will give more thought to it, then the numbers will tighten – and the yes campaign will have some momentum.

    And clearly this is the way the SNP plans to win the campaign. On the contrast it is still difficult to see how the no campaign wants to campaign. The rsults of this poll also show how dangerous it would be to go negative – how can you say independence is too dangerous / will have negative consequences if as shown the majority of voters do not believe it. You’d only drive all those who believe Scotland could be successful on its own but still currently support the union into the other camp. (Or does the no campaign really believe they can scare a majority of voters in believing that Scotland cannot succeed on its own?)

    Yet if the no campaign does not go negative, what do you do if numbers tighten and the yes campaign gets some enthusiasm? ‘Yes we can, but…’ isn’t a good slogan for the no campaign either.

    It is of course this dilemma at the heart of the no campaign that makes the Nats think they have a chance.


  11. Steve2 wrote: “I really don’t understand why the SNP consistently pedal the line that in Scotland, “sovereignty lies with the people not the UK Parliament”.
    The doctrine of Westminster’s sovereignty lies only within its relationship with other law-making bodies, not with the electorate.”

    This is another good example to illustrate my point. No matter what you believe personally, or what constitutional lawyers say, I’m pretty sure the overwhelming majority of Scots would agree with the SNP on this one. Given that the aim is to win a referendum, there seems little point to go negative on this one.

    Yet if you don’t, you’ve conceded another point. And if you continue to concede such points then you enable the SNP to argue that everyone agrees with them in Scotlands potential but only they can be trusted.

  12. Oldnat wrote: “It was the same population that voted massively Labour in 2010 and SNP in 2011.
    People do tend to vote in different scenarios for what will benefit them in these different aspects.”

    And in this willingness to split the vote lies the SNP’s biggest problem. Because in an independent Scotland this is no longer possible. So an interesting angle for the no campaign would be to tell Scots to vote so that they can vote Labour in Westminster elections and SNP in Scottish ones etc. But will the no campaign be able to be that nice to the Nats, their opponent?

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