This morning’s YouGov/Sun poll has topline voting intention figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 12%. It also asked how people across Britain as a whole would vote if they could vote in the Scottish referendum – 22% would vote for Scottish independence, 55% would vote against, so more opposed to independence than Scotland itself (obviously the poll included a Scottish cross-break, but I’d caution against reading too much into that – stick to proper, bespoke Scottish polls for that, I suspect there will be plenty along in the aftermath of the white paper). Full tabs for the YouGov poll are here.

There is also a new Survation poll of Thanet South (tabs here), the first of a series of constituency polls commissioned by Alan Bown, a major UKIP donor, presumably of seats they see at potentially good for UKIP. The rest are likely to come out in December, but this one is out early because of Laura Sandys announcement that she’s too retire (though the poll itself was mostly done before that).

Topline voting intention figures in the seat are CON 28%(-20), LAB 35%(+4), LDEM 5%(-10), UKIP 30%(+24). Thanet, of course, was one of the areas where UKIP did particularly well in the local elections and is seen as a seat where Nigel Farage might stand at the next election. Note that there are some methodological changes from Survation’s past constituency polls. Previously they’ve weighted constituency polls by 2010 past vote and reallocated don’t knows based on past vote, in the same way they do for their national polls (though for practical reasons they do national polls online, but local polls by phone). For the latest polls they’ve changed method – no longer using political weighting, and not reallocating don’t knows. This is apparently part of a general review of how they do constituency polling, rather than something for this poll in particular.

Regular readers will be familiar with the debate over past vote weighting. Most companies (the primary exceptions being MORI and Opinium) weight their samples by both demographics, and by a political variable, normally how people voted at the last election, to ensure the sample is properly politically representative. While straightforward in theory, in practice this is complicated by the fact that poll respondents are not always very good at actually recalling how they voted at the last election (a phenomenon known as “false recall”). Companies that weight by past vote like ICM and ComRes therefore use a formula to estimate the level of “false recall” and account for that in their weighting schemes. Other companies, like MORI, take the view that false recall is so difficult to estimate and so potentially volatile that it renders past vote as unsuitable for weighting and risks cancelling out genuine volatility amongst the electorate, and therefore reject it completely.

In the case of the Survation poll of Thanet South, of the respondents who said they voted in 2010, about 41% said they voted Conservative, 38% Labour, 10% Lib Dem and 11% UKIP – so a three percent Conservative majority, when actually Laura Sandys had a seventeen percent majority. It underlines both the potential risk from not using political weighting, and the difficult choices that companies that do use it face – some of that difference will be false recall, but I suspect much of it is a sample that too Labour. Dividing one from the other is the challenge.


278 Responses to “Wednesday polling round-up”

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  1. Not sure if people have picked up on this, but it seems we have a more or less definitive statement from Spanish PM Rajoy on Scottish membership of the EU. He is reported as saying that he would not permit Scotland to have automatic membership, instead requiring them to start from scratch as new applicants.

    There may be legal arguments either way on the rights and wrongs of this, but these are irrelevant – Spain has a veto, and given their own separatist movements, there seems little doubt they will wield this.

    Some of us have been quietly warning of this for some time, but the nats consistently whistle a happy tune and deny anything bad can happen after a yes vote.

    Time for a bit of realism, I would suggest.

  2. Hmmm…looking deeper at the EU membership issue, this looks to be a real problem for the SNP. First the commission, then most legal experts, and now the Spanish have all said that the SNP’s position on this is simply wrong, and they will not have automatic membership or a right to inherent opt outs, rebates or any other special concessions currently enjoyed by the UK.

    The legals go against the SNP, as do the politics. I have no real doubt they would get EU membership, but it will come at a price, and the price will be that many of the promises made to Scottish voters will be undeliverable. And I think they know this.

  3. Hi Allan Christie:

    ”This could be one genuine seat where UKIP win but I really do think when disgruntled Tory voter realise that a vote for UKIP is nothing more than a free ticket to Number 10 for Ed then they will snub UKIP.”

    This calculation has been aired in various ways by a number of commentators, but I wonder if it has traction. The premise underlying it is that there is a large, essentially Conservative, voting block, currently seduced by UKIP, but likely to return to the Conservative fold when the electoral arithmetic becomes clear.

    The problems with this are (a,) as I think Phil Haines pointed out, UKIP have taken from Labour as well; and (b,) this ‘essentially conservative’ voting block may well not be essentially neo-liberal, like the current Conservative party. UKIP may have a little England philosophy, but there is a world of difference between those who support it and T May’s economically ‘nasty party’. I think the UKIP right-wingers are more likely to look for the Conservative voters to bend their way, rather than the other way round.

  4. ALEC

    Saw that. Though I haven’t seen the detail as to whether the Spanish position is “more” or “less”. I presume Cameron told him to do that as part of their constitutional arrangement?

    Alternatively, he’s posturing in response to the Catalunya situation.

    If Spain vetoes, then Scotland enters the EEA, or maybe just tells the Spanish fishermen to piss off?

  5. @Alec

    But Scots are already EU citizens with EU passports. Is there any mechanism to remove a persons citizenship.

    I am not sure given that Scotland is already in the EU Spain could actually have Scotland thrown out and given that successor states are protected in International law would that be legal.

  6. ALEC

    But the Commission has made no ruling. They’ll only do that in response to a request from a member state.

    The UK Government could cut through all that uncertainty, just by asking the question. Why don’t they?

  7. Allan Christie

    This could be one genuine seat where UKIP win but I really do think when disgruntled Tory voter realise that a vote for UKIP is nothing more than a free ticket to Number 10 for Ed then they will snub UKIP.

    Except that’s not what they say. Over half agreed with “I would rather vote UKIP than Conservative, even if that means Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister” and even ex-Conservatives only split 50-50. The UKIP vote is remaining very solid at the moment and most probably see little difference between Miliband and Cameron.

  8. I’m on OldNat’s side on this one. Scotland parting from the UK doesn’t mean they leave Europe. They are not some “junior partner” they are a country voting on the powers of its parliament.

    They will be independent of Westminster but ruled by Brussels (just like us)!

  9. YouGov/Sun poll tonight: Labour with 7 point lead: CON 32%, LAB 39%, LD 10%, UKIP 13%

  10. @Coupar2802 and @Oldnat – I think you are both wrong. The commission believes (as do most legal experts) that once a region or constituent part of a member states secedes, it becomes a new states, without EU membership or rights. there would need to be a treaty agreement, which means a unanimous vote of all remaining members.

    Even the legal opinion that the SNP relies on seems pretty weak, as they claim that there are legal provisions that allow an agreement for automatic membership – but even here, these are based on a unanimous vote, so they end up back at the same starting point.

    So – if Scotland votes yes, it’s citizens would become citizens of a new country, revoking their EU membership. Indeed, the answer to the question of whether there is a mechanism to revoke citizenship, the answer is yes – by voting to leave.

    Can the UK government ask for a ruling? They might be able to, but why would they, and even if they did, at best that ruling would mean the SNP having to get a unanimous vote of all member states – and this is according to their own legal advice.

    Personally, I remain of the view that EU membership won’t be a problem as such, but a price will be extracted. A proportion of the rebate will be lost, as will various opt outs, and Spain for one will ensure the process is awkward almost certainly.

    I posted yesterday about the credibility risk for the SNP if they took an unrelentingly Panglossian view of the future, and this is where I can foresee the big impact.

    We have a really major area of constitutional arrangements where the SNP position is being hopelessly upended by hard facts and political realities. Alex S has consistently promised something he simply can’t deliver, and if this message gets through to Scots, I can see major questions over every other promise made by the yes campaign.

    I always favour the honest approach, even if it looks like hard work at the outset.

  11. @Mr Nameless

    [Labour winning Sheffield Hallam] “Oh I didn’t say I (your italics) thought it was likely – but at the same time it’s probably better odds on losing the seat than you’ll find with the other leaders.”

    I’m sure that’s right. Certainly voters would be mad to chuck EM who is taking chunks out of Cons at the moment.

    Probably does not stop us having occasional reveries of our unfavourite politicians disappearing from parliament – but personally I hope they do not invade my dreams as well…

  12. Will the british government veto the membership of catalonia if it should breakaway?

  13. ALEC

    When the UK Government asks the EU Commission for their view on the continuing membership of a part of a member state, and they respond that your interpretation is correct, then I’ll happily concede.

    Until then you are a poster on a political blog giving your opinion.

    Presumably you are urging the UK to ask the question?

  14. Watching the STV debate.

    Alastair Carmichael should really have read the AAPG report.

  15. @Oldnat – I’m wondering why in particular that you think the commission would give a different view if the UK government ask them, to the view that they have already given in public? Does the fact that Dave asks them alter the answer?

    Besides, the SNP’s own legal advice is that under Article 48 of the Lisbon Treaty Scotland could be granted automatic entry, but only subject to the unanimous vote of all members states – that isn’t the commissions view – it’s the SNP’s view.

    Quite why so many nationalist seem to be in denial of the obvious is beyond me I’m afraid.

  16. Billy Bob,

    Quite. One of them (the British Democratic Party) was founded very near my home town.

    I’m relatively perplexed as to why nobody’s asking what’s happened to the BNP. They were quite a big deal back in 2009.

    It’s fairly obvious (riven from top to toe, pretty much nobody likes their leader, supplanted to the right of the Tories by UKIP) but the inside story would be good to hear.

    Maybe Reg should write a book.

  17. ALEC

    The Commission has given no view. They have said that they will give no view until they are asked the question by a member state.

    Didn’t you know that?

    Interestingly, Rujoy’s statement referred specifically to Article 49. Politicians are quite wise in creating areas of flexibility. :-)

  18. I’ve only just dipped into this and the previous thread (a very long one, I see!), so forgive me if I’m going over old ground on the Scottish independence white paper, but here’s my two-penneth. It seems to me that while the issues of currency, EU membership and control of fiscal policy are important, and vote determining for some, I can’t help feeling that the Referendum vote next year will ultimately hinge on emotions and gut instincts. Salmond will pitch his tent on William Wallace territory, appealing to both Scottish nationalism and anti English sentiment, whilst the Union cause will attempt to frighten the horses, appealing essentially to an innate conservatism, with a small c, that is very much a Scottish trait. Giving the vote to 16 and 17 year-olds is good politics by the SNP because, without wanting to patronise and generalise, if there was ever an age group who will vote on a whim and a fancy, then it is this demographic group. I suspect the leap of faith the SNP wants the majority of Scots to take will be rely very much on a whim.

    Salmond, as cute and clever a politician as resides on this shared island of ours, is trying to make his campaign one of optimism over negativity, hope over fear, attempting to paint the Union cause as scaremongers. It may work, but it’s sometimes very difficult for politicians to persuade a majority to vote for radical and revolutionary change, especially if there’s no great groundswell bubbling up against a great national injustice. The SNP could be accused of fomenting, maybe even inventing, perceived grievances and I suspect, when the Scots get to vote, Scottish nationalism will prove to have been more astroturf than grass roots.

  19. Will Spain be willing to lose millions in Scottish tourism revenue, not to mention the lucrative business they do in cigarettes?

    I doubt it.

  20. The SNP are trying to paint a picture of a prosperous future, with the people being better off. They want to keep the UK pound, so will be stuck with having to keep the Bank of England happy with their financial position. The Bank of England may well want to increase the rate of interest for Scotland, as Scotland would have a new rating by the credit ratings agencies. At the moment, we don’t know for sure how the markets would react to Scotland being independent.

    There is a long way to go in regard to debating the economic realities that would face an independent Scotland. At the moment, I don’t think the Scottish people have the definite information they need to make a decision. It would actually not surprise me if there was a large percentage of don’t knows in current polling on independence.

  21. Reading the comments in the Telegraph (not recommended, though) most Ukippers would appear to prefer Miliband in No 10 to Cameron.

  22. R HUCKLE

    ” It would actually not surprise me if there was a large percentage of don’t knows in current polling on independence.”

    You can check that by looking at the polls.

  23. @Crossbath

    We get the grievance from Spain and others saying if we vote for independence we will be thrown out of the EU. Politicians saying that Scotland has no share of the currency, BBC etc these are all threats.

    It would make more sense if BetterTogether played nice and just said ‘we don’t want Scotland to leave’. and had English NI and Welsh MPs involved.

    Unfortunately BetterTogether seem more interested in scoring points against the SNP than putting forward a positive case to stay in the UK

  24. That because there is no positive case

  25. COUPER2802

    I understand what you are saying, but the critical question still remains.

    If a large majority of Scots say that they don’t want independence, why the hell should they get a better deal than Wales or the North of England does?

    Federalism, Devo Max etc might provide an equitable solution within the UK, but the current structure makes no sense at all in either moral or equitable structures.

    Without guaranteed and indissoluble arrangements (which require an end to UK Parliamentary Sovereignty) then none of these provide the guarantees, and certainty for the next 50 years that the No campaign seem to want, that would be required.

  26. RiN

    I reckon I could write a “positive case for the Union”, but sadly I have neither the time nor the inclination. :-)

  27. UKIP are also soaking up a lot of the ‘anti-politics’ protest vote. They see farage as ‘one of us’ – an outsider, uncorrupted by the dirt of party politics. A straight talking ‘common sense’ man of the people in the clarkson mode.

    Farage plays up to this very well.

    My brother is a UKIP member and I would say fairly typical. Hes a self employed tradesman He despises the tories as the rich mans party, he despises labour as politically correct, interfering economic incompetents. He is also virulently homophobic and racist.

    UKIP can count on his vote.

  28. PHIL HAINS

    ” But that overlooks the question of whether people switching from Con to UKIP might have gone to Lab in the absence of UKIP. By asking the question directly, the Thanet poll suggests to me that some would have”
    _______

    Absolutely agree with that and if come 2015 UKIP are still polling around the 12-15% mark then yes they will do some damage to Labour and some ex Tories might may well switch to UKIP rather than Labour but in the context of a FPTP system Labour wont actually lose anything where as the Tories might.

  29. OLDNAT

    Twitter, Facebook, Bebo, My Space, blogs, pundits and even messages in migrating pigeons are all saying Sturgeon won tonight’s debate hands down.

  30. Billy Bob

    @Allan Christie

    Reg disavowed the BNP a few months ago. There have been four or five new far-right parties breaking away from the BNP in the last few years… I sort of got the impression he was quiting that whole scene though (joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth), but who knows
    _______

    Thanks for that lol I was concerned for his wellbeing.

  31. REGGIESIDE

    Interesting. That sounds like the Poujadiste party that the SNP was back in the 50s/early 60s!

    If UKIP changes to become an electable party, I suspect your brother will move elsewhere. :-)

  32. COLIN DAVIS

    “The problems with this are (a,) as I think Phil Haines pointed out, UKIP have taken from Labour as well; and (b,) this ‘essentially conservative’ voting block may well not be essentially neo-liberal, like the current Conservative party. UKIP may have a little England philosophy, but there is a world of difference between those who support it and T May’s economically ‘nasty party’. I think the UKIP right-wingers are more likely to look for the Conservative voters to bend their way, rather than the other way round.”
    ________

    Okay another good point but it will also be interesting to see how the UKIP VI holds up after todays announcements from the PM on new rules for Romanians and Bulgarians claiming benefits, lets be clear about this, UKIP are essentially a one policy party and its focused around immigration.

  33. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    I turned to a different channel. I thought the debate was dire!

    Had I been an undecided, neither Sturgeon nor Carmichaelmoore (Love that naming created by one of the spoof accounts – though it’s probably libellous to the former SoS) would have convinced me.

  34. ROGER MEXICO

    “Except that’s not what they say. Over half agreed with “I would rather vote UKIP than Conservative, even if that means Ed Miliband becomes Prime Minister” and even ex-Conservatives only split 50-50. The UKIP vote is remaining very solid at the moment and most probably see little difference between Miliband and Cameron.
    ________

    Yes I was aware of this but IMO I doubt UKIP will win over 10% at the next election. Tories are disgruntled over immigration and Europe and I think Cameron will roll out a few sweeteners before 2015.

  35. OLDNAT

    I never saw the whole debate but yes I agree I doubt it would had changed many don’t knows but must fill the YES side with confidence.

    Carmichaelmoore lol only on the SOS forums.

  36. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Never go near SoS forums!

    Came across Carmichaelmoore on BBC Sotlandshire site and A_Darling MP twitter account,

  37. ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Just saw a tweet about the debate. “new name – Alistair Crymichaelmoore”

    Unfair? Yes. Unconvincing to opponents? Yes. But such things can gather momentum and have marginal influence – or disappear totally.

    Has there been any academic study of the role of jokes in political opinion making?

  38. Here’s what should’ve been in the white paper to get folks to vote for independence.
    1. We’re not having any royals. Everybody will get a lottery ticket on Christmas day; the lucky winner gets to be Queen for a year;
    2. We don’t care whether we’re in or out of the EU; there’s advantages & disadvantages to either scenario;
    3. We’re keeping Trident to use as we see fit: Does anybody want to tell us we can’t use the pound now?
    LOL! ;-)

  39. Amber

    That’s hugely undemocratic!

    I’m voting for you as Queen.

  40. Amber

    Of course, only because you won’t be able to make any political comments as Queen! :-)

  41. Amber

    love your point 3! :-)

  42. oldnat

    ALLAN CHRISTIE

    Just saw a tweet about the debate. “new name – Alistair Crymichaelmoore”

    Unfair? Yes. Unconvincing to opponents? Yes. But such things can gather momentum and have marginal influence – or disappear totally.
    ___
    LOL that will stick around for a long time.

    “Has there been any academic study of the role of jokes in political opinion making?”
    ..

    Only two big fish in town, Salmond and Sturgeon..Boom..

  43. Alistair Crymichaelmoore I’m still laughing at that.

    Hehehehe

  44. @ Old Nat

    Point 3 is my cunning plan so I get to be Queen forever, just to stop me coming up with more ideas like that. ;-)

  45. Didn’t manage to catch the STV debate tonight but I did watch the session in the Scottish Parliament yesterday and I was really impressed at what a canny politician Nicola Sturgeon is turning out to be.[1] She fielded all the questions with grace and humour, not an ad hominum in sight, with facts and figures tumbling out. PMQ’s only make me want to throw my shoe at the TV (and throttle all the Westminster politicians of every hue), but I actually enjoyed the Scottish Parliamentary debate yesterday. If Salmond does retire from active politics after the referendum as he says he will the SNP has a worthy leader-in-waiting in Nicola Sturgeon.

    [1] My good friend and long time SNP activist says she’s come a long way from the “gum chewing gawk” he knew years ago. :)

  46. Post in pre-mod…why?

  47. Amber

    I remain your Grace’s loyal servant. :-)

  48. @BILL PATRICK
    “…“I’ll take a stab at Buckingham” Treason!…”

    Was I the only one who thought of this?

  49. ALEC
    Not as debating points but for clarification, can you say whether the Commission can do other than give a legal opinion and provide a policy, economic, constitutional or fiscal analysis, and put the apparatus in place for any decision on Scotland’s separate entry to the EU, while this is a decision only for the Council of Ministers?
    And in terms of rights under UK membership of the EU, would there not be a fundamental issue of human rights, requiring the EC to require those rights to be maintained, regardless of EU membership, after secession?

  50. ALEC
    I suppose I don’t mean “human rights” but rather residual rights, including working rights embedded in contracts and regulations, but also those covering trading and investment, which are derived from UK/EU treaty and executive instruments and arrangements, or for “structural funds” used for regeneration of the Highlands and Islands or of the Aryshire coal.mining communities.

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