Today is exactly a year until the Scottish Independence referendum (it’s also my birthday, nice of Alex Salmond to get me such a good present next year!) so we have a slew of “one year to go” polls.

First up there is a Scottish YouGov poll in the Times, with topline referendum figures of YES 32%, NO 52%. YouGov also asked people to think how they would vote if they were convinced that the Conservatives would win the UK general election in 2015, which narrowed the NO lead a little, but not a lot – YES 36%, NO 51%. Despite support for full fledged independence trailing, YouGov found wide support for more devolution, with majorities supporting the devolution of pensions, taxation, welfare benefits and drugs policy.

A quick methodology note on YouGov: their previous Scottish polls have used party ID for political weighting, this poll switched to using recalled past Holyrood constituency vote for 2011 (but also separated out people who voted Labour at the 2010 general election, but SNP in the 2011 Holyrood election). It didn’t actually make a huge difference to the results – on the old weights it would have shown YES 31%, NO 53%. Full tabs are here.

Secondly there is a poll by Progressive Scottish Opinion in the Daily Mail. They aren’t British Polling Council members, but did do regular polling before the last Scottish elections – their topline referendum figures are YES 27%, NO 59%, Don’t know 14%.

Thirdly the Guardian have a British poll on Scottish independence. Across Britain as a whole 32% of people think Scotland should be an independent country, 52% should not (so actually fairly close to the split in Scotland itself – a little more NO than the Scottish ICM poll, but exactly the same as YouGov’s today).

Fourthly there is a TNS-BMRB poll in the Herald, which asked about the economic effect of independence. 45% thought the Scottish economy would perform worse outside the UK, 23% thought it would improve, 15% thought it would be much the same. As far as I can tell TNS-BMRB did not ask the referendum question itself.

There were also suggestions of an Ipsos MORI/STV poll on the referendum, but as yet one has not appeared. If it does I’ll update this post. If it doesn’t and it was just a rumour, I obviously won’t!

UPDATE: I’ve updated the reference page on Scottish referendum polls so far here. It seems the Ipsos MORI poll is real, and should turn up on the STV evening news later on.


206 Responses to “Scottish Independence polling extravaganza”

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  1. Five-poll prediction:

    Con 33.1%
    Lab 37.9%
    LD 9.5%

    Lead: 4.8%

  2. My first ‘first’ and I forgot to go “First!”.

  3. referendum prediction:

    Yes 38%
    No 45%

  4. The tables for the tns poll above are here

    http://www.tnsglobal.com/sites/default/files/whitepaper/TNSBMRB_PR_2013Sep18_DataTables.pdf

    It does include the referendum question, but not sure if that has been previously published, the fieldwork was done 21st – 27th August 2013

    Looks like the pro independence people need to stop making it a party political issue, Labour, Tory, Lib Dems are overwhelmingly no, SNP, yes. They will have to extend beyond their base if they want to turn this around.

    They are also trailing with women so need to make the case there.

  5. It looks like the economic argument is winning it for the no camp, it’s going to be very difficult to turn around for the yes people

  6. One problem for the YES camp is that there are significant expectations of further devolution (more than half of voters expect more devolution of some kind) and thus they’re not just having to compete against the status quo, but a variety of undefined new constitutional settlements. I don’t know how they can change minds such that expectations of the same/fewer powers are enhanced, but it might be easier to change that than change views on the economy.

    Anyway, it looks like the referendum will be Undefined Union vs. Inscrutable Independence.

  7. And the hypothesis I’ve heard a lot recently, which is that the two voters most opposed to independence are the young and the old, because the Thatcher years touched them least, gets confirmed by the Yougov crossbreaks: the young are the least keen on independence and the old are the most opposed.

  8. Bill

    All they need is a leak from conservative central office that the Tories plan to abolish holyrood in the event that they win the next election, which is probably what will happen if the independence vote is lost.

    I will make 3 predictions

    1 the yes folk will lose

    2 further devolution is put on ice

    3 Westminster will try to eliminate the most obvious inconsistencies between England and Scotland, such as free prescriptions and tuition fees

  9. Happy Birthday

  10. Can we have some polling on Anthony’s age? I’m going to guess 41

  11. Richard,

    1 looks probable.

    2 I can see happening only if the SNP totally go into meltdown.

    3 is improbable, but long-term trends in attitudes in Scotland towards universalism mean that Holyrood may well do it sooner or later.

    Another point that has been made is that “Britishness” has made a bit of a comeback in the lives of us young ‘uns, with Britpop in our earliest years, a Scottish Doctor Who, Andy Murray being so popular in England, and of course the Olympics. In contrast, there was a kind of uncertain period for Britishness between the fall of empire and Oasis, in which Britishness meant the loss of empire, the democratic deficit and the Poll Tax.

    Basically, if the NO camp win it (still uncertain at this point) it will be because of Rule Britannia among the old and Cool Britannia among the young.

  12. Frankly English Tory Politicians (and let’s be honest there aren’t many who are any other nationality) need to keep quiet regarding the Referendum.

    Alistair Darling is massively more popular in Scotland than David Cameron.

    The SNP’s best , possibly only, chance of grasping victory is to have the sight of English Old Etonian MP’s representing a party which has less MP’s in Scotland than there are Giant Pandas, telling the People of Scotland what they should think.

    English Labour Politicians don’t have quite the same problem as they have the legitimacy of being members of a party that has considerable support in Scotland but would probably also be advised to leave it to the Scots to make the case for better together.

  13. Bill

    If the no side win it will be because the Scots are afraid

  14. Anthony is aged 13 and 3/4’s.

  15. Richard,

    “If the no side win it will be because the Scots are afraid.”

    I haven’t met anybody who is worried about independence, except Scots who live in England.

  16. My prediction for Anthony Wells’ average age over the next week: 38.01 years.

  17. Michael Elliot,

    I predict that it will stay within the 36-40 range.

  18. Good call, Bill – barring outliers.

  19. @Steve
    “The SNP’s best , possibly only, chance of grasping victory is to have the sight of English Old Etonian MP’s representing a party which has less MP’s in Scotland than there are Giant Pandas, telling the People of Scotland what they should think.”

    Why do you think Alex Salmond is so desperate to debate with Cameron, despite telling everyone when he signed the agreement that the referendum will be decided by Scots.

  20. To use Red Rag’s normal comment, I can confirm that my age has not fallen below the 36-40 range in the last year! (edit – just realised that wasn’t actually true)

  21. I think this week AW may be 50 years old. However, he is a rogue.

    He may be significantly younger by the time of the next election as he emerges from his “mid-term” blues.

  22. This poll puts pay to that rubbish some spout about if the Tories looked like winning the next GE the scots would flock to the yes camp.

  23. AW

    So missed out on the Free School Meals by a smidgen.

  24. @Richard in Norway

    1. Of course Yes will lose – they are just not making the right moves to convince D/Ks and No voters to switch.

    2. No it wont. There will already be more devolution in 2016, courtesy of the Scotland Act (2012) – including more control over income tax and borrowing powers. Labour has committed to go further.

    3. The only way Westminster can do that is by removing prescription fees and tuition fees south of the border. No one is saying that (at the moment) so I would say thats unlikely.

  25. The polls shows people’s current thinking on the subject, and its clear that No have the lead.

    My gut feel remains that yes will win. As for why, I suppose its a bit like the arguments in favour of leaving the EU. On paper we have to stay in, the economics of leaving could be dodgy at best, they’re our main trading partner etc etc. And yet were there to be a vote tomorrow I can see us voting to leave – because the current system is wasteful and controlling, and anything else would be better.

    My take on Scottish independence is the same. Economically seceding would be a leap in the dark, but staying isn’t exactly fun either, especially in a nation which is far more left wing than the rest of the UK. “It can’t be worse than this, and we’ll be masters of our own destiny” could be the tipping point. Can’t back it up with polls, but just as Tories argue that the polls will swing back in their direction I think yes will gather momentum – ESPECIALLY if the Tories do better in Westminster VI……

  26. As my Mum would say

    Scot’s will vote no not because they are feert of independence but because to futer about with something which isne broken is just being a dobber!

  27. Happy birthday Anthony.

    You don’t look a day over……mmmm

  28. ” just realised that wasn’t actually true”

    Breaking news: years of UK polling figures called into question as leading YouGov expert fails correctly to determine his own age. :D

  29. The TNS poll, as Richard implies, is the one that had a very low Yes (25%) due to a lack of political weighting in a sample so that it had more 2011 Labour voters than SNP ones. It’s not really a new poll just another example of the Scottish media’s determination to live up to their national stereotype by eking out any poll they’ve paid for over as many days coverage as possible. (I seem to remember the Scotsman releasing one MORI over seven tranches). So any opinions expressed in it will presumably be similarly skewed.

    Scotland’s Only Psephologist who has presumably been sent Progressive Scottish Opinion’s tables under some compulsory clause of Scotland’s ancient constitution reckons that:

    Their poll has been weighted to be ‘representative of all adults’. This would seemingly mean that while it has been weighted to be representative demographically it has not, in line with the company’s past practice, been weighted on the basis of how people say they voted at a previous election, whether Holyrood or Westminster.

    Innocuous though such demographic weighting might appear to be, it has had a considerable effect on the reported results of this poll. It reduces the Yes vote from 32% to 27%, and has turned a SNP lead in Holyrood vote intentions into a lead for Labour. That latter finding is at variance with every previous poll conducted since 2011. Do not be surprised if as a result the poll is greeted with a degree of scepticism.

    So as with TNS we ought to be careful with it.

  30. With a remit to “sharpen Labour’s attack stories, improve message discipline and ensure the party delivers a 24-hour news cycle.”

    Sorely needed.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2013/09/labour-appoints-patrick-hennessy-deputy-director-communications

  31. That’s Just Ageist Anthony has strict guidelines against partisan Ageist comments and you are not allowed to mention actual ages unless you are pretending to be a Giant Tortoise.

  32. AW,

    I was pleased too when it was announced the referendum was going to be same day as my birthday but as a Scot in exile I just have to watch from the sidelines along with the other 800,000 Scots resident elsewhere in the UK…..

    (used to regard 18th Sept as a good day to be born until I discovered I share the same date, and year, as that flagrant cheat Lance Armstrong!)

  33. I don’t think the Yes campaign have got going yet. Better Together seem to have had all the airtime. I would think there wil be a very differential turn out as it will be a bit embarrassing to vote against independence. I don’t think I could.

  34. lan Bailey
    l think you are wrong,based on my own polling of Scots whenever l get the chance( 3 taxi drivers in Edinbugh and numerous call centre workers!).
    The figures are coming out as 80% plus ‘ No’.
    One curious thing is that ‘Wee Eck ‘ is not as well liked North of the border as the Southern Commentariat seem to believe,which is probably why La Sturgeon is fronting up most of the media campaign, cos Salmond is canny.

  35. My prediction for the September 2014 independence vote is:
    Yes for full independence = 36%
    No – stay part of the UK = 54%

    I wonder how many Conservatives ‘secretly’ hope for a YES vote to make it easier for them to win Westminster (which generally speaking it would be)
    Its been said before that if Labour win the 2015 GE but with a small majority of say 1 – 40 it will be Scotland that has enabled them to attain the required number of seats. – Controversial point of view perhaps but partly true!

  36. Well I can’t say anything other than this isn’t where I wanted to be at this stage.

    Sitting at the mid thirties with your opponent in the fifties means that the gap is closet to or even over the undecided total.

    I do think it will narrow and a fair bit but it is a big gap.

    The good thing about it is the increased overall coverage will help to focus minds as so far the issue still languishes near the bottom in term of people’s priorities.

    As to the quality of the coverage well if anyone had the misfortune to see the Newsnight Special last night it was cringe worthy.

    I don’t know what was worse the normal habit of Scottish politicians shouting each other down and not letting anyone finish a sentence, the terrible tartan and shortbread segments by Kirsty Wark or the awfull back pipe music. I know the pipes aren’t everyone cup of tea, but these were both particularly bad and unnecessary.

    It had the gravitas of the White Heather Club and the production values of Crossroads.

    If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d think it was a deliberate ploy by the BBC to show that Scots couldn’t plug in a TV let alone make programmes.

    As for me I have the launch of Yes Black Isle tonight so if we get less than ten I’ll be disappointed and delighted with more than twenty.

    I am not inspired by either campaign so far, even the one Iam in but I am still of the opinion that it is a choice between;

    “We can do better than this” and “This is as good as it gets”

    I am not sure we can do better but I am absolutely determined to try and that goes for both Independence and the next year of campaigning.

    Wish me Lucy, I’ll need it!

    Peter.

  37. Ewen

    If wee eck is not well liked north of the border, then how do you explain his sky high approval ratings

  38. Peter

    “If I was a conspiracy theorist I’d think it was a deliberate ploy by the BBC to show that Scots couldn’t plug in a TV let alone make programmes”

    Which is ironic considering that it was a Scot that invented tv(and just about everything else)

    And yes I wish you Lucy, she must be a bonny lass for you to mention her here

  39. Amongst those 10/10 certain to vote (74% of the respondents), the YouGov “No” lead is greater: Yes 35% No 57% DK 7%.

    @Peter Cairns

    Lucy has restorative talents, then?

  40. Which is ironic considering that it was a Scot that invented tv(and just about everything else)

    -Indeed yes where would the World be without the Deep Fried Mars Bar and the excessive consumption of Buckie!

  41. Hennessey is joining the Labour team?

    I may need some medical intervention to get my eyebrowns down.

  42. Well I never, another cosy assumption of mine goes out of the window. Patrick Hennessey, the newly appointed Deputy Head of Communications for Labour is the former political editor of, wait for it,…….The Sunday Telegraph!! He joins Team Milliband’s communication team alongside Bob Roberts who used to be the political editor of the Daily Mirror. Two former newspaper men from completely different stables. And there was I thinking that the Telegraph group of papers was an entirely Labour-free zone!

    Hennessy said: “I am sad to be leaving the Sunday Telegraph after nine great years but this is an exciting new challenge. After nearly 30 years working in newspapers, it’s a big move but a simple task: to help Labour win the general election. I’m delighted to be joining.”

    Sounds an interesting appointment and he’ll certainly have a clear insider’s view of what the “enemy” are thinking. My only thought is what influence, or lack of, did he have over the editorial line of the rabidly anti-Labour Sunday Telegraph???

    A rum story indeed, but I wish him well.

  43. Happy 60th Birthday Anthony Wells!!!

    **** Awaits AutoMod for all Red Rag posts from now until Jan 2075 *****

  44. Crossbat

    Presumably Ed felt the need for His very own Old Etonian Spin Doctor

  45. Happy 60th Birthday Anthony Wells!!!
    **** Awaits AutoMod for all Red Rag posts from now until Jan 2075 *****

    Beat you to it perhaps you should pretend to be a pet Hamster?

    Anthony is living proof that the Shaolin Monk diet really can make you look 13 and 3/4’s

  46. Crossbat –

    I wouldn’t assume that lobby journalists necessarily share the political views of their newspaper! They are professionals doing a job, they aren’t there to spout their own views.

  47. @ Crossbat

    And for all you know he has been bigging up UKIP in the DT to ensure a Lab victory!

  48. There is a further change in the YouGov questioning.

    Their former lead in read “If there was a referendum tomorrow on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an Independent Country and this was the question, how would you vote?”

    Now it reads “If there was a referendum tomorrow on Scotland’s future and this was the question, how would you vote?”

    More neutral wording should help to gauge public opinion.

    If this is the final version of YG’s changes, then this poll becomes the base from which we can start measuring trends with this pollster.

    Though YG are using a weighting method more like ICM and Panelbase (and we wait to see whether TNS will fall in line with that too), It still seems that methodological differences will still require us to remember the ever young Anthony’s dictum (IIRC) to compare polls from the same pollster using the same methodology, if we want to measure changes.

  49. @Anthony W

    “I wouldn’t assume that lobby journalists necessarily share the political views of their newspaper! They are professionals doing a job, they aren’t there to spout their own views.”

    Good point and, in fairness I know little if anything about him as a journalist, but I was assuming from his title of “Political Editor” that he was more than a lobby correspondent and was involved in some day-to-day editing of the paper’s political content.

    By the way, many happy returns, and I hope you enjoy your free TV licence and winter fuel payments while the rest of us young ‘uns have to scrimp to make ends meet! lol

  50. Anthony

    “Why still ask “If this was the question”?

    We know what the question is, and tnow would have been the ideal time to drop that suggestion of uncertainty.

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