Following the intervention of George Osborne into the debate over Scottish independence and what currency an independent Scotland might use there has been an obvious interest in the next Scottish polls and what they might show. Will it have closed or widened the gap, or made no difference? Today there are two new Scottish polls asking about the referendum, sadly neither quite answer the question.

To get the less interesting one out of the way first, TNS BMRB have a “new” Scottish referendum poll, but the fieldwork was actually conducted between the 28th January and 6th February (I can only assume that the long time scale is because the poll was conducted face-to-face… though even then, the fieldwork was completed a fortnight ago). The figures in TNS’s poll are YES 29%, NO 42%, 29% don’t know – entirely unchanged from their previous poll in mid-January. Given the fieldwork was conducted prior to Osborne’s intervention though, this clearly doesn’t answer the question.

More relevant is a new Survation poll in the Daily Mail. This was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, so after Osborne’s intervention and at the time Alex Salmond was actively responding. Topline figures there are YES 38%, NO 47%, Don’t know 16%. Survation’s previous poll was showing YES on 32%, NO on 52%, so prima facie it looks as though there has been a significant shift towards YES. But there’s a caveat – last month Survation weighted their data by recalled 2010 vote, this month they’ve weighted by 2011 Holyrood vote. According to John Curtice Survation’s weighting last month knocked about five points off of Yes, their new weighting has not, raising the possibility that the difference could just be down to weighting. Realistically its not that simple – there is a random element in sampling, one sample will not be the same as the next and, therefore, weighting will have a different effect from one poll to the next, and it seems like a big difference to all be down to weighting to a different election. All we can really be confident in saying is that the two polls are not really comparable, so we should probably hold off on judgement – there are sure to be some more Scottish polls along soon. The tabs should be up on Survation’s site in about half an hour.

Scottish independence referendum polls so far are here.

344 Responses to “New TNS BMRB and Survation Scottish polls”

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  1. 41% is the expected percentage for the Yes vote.

  2. @ Fraser

    The whole debate is skewed by the fact that the media assume that voting Yes equals support for the SNP. It does not. The SNP white paper is only one of several visions for a post Yes-vote Scotland – the Greens, for example, have a rather different approach on some issues, as, of course, do the SSP etc.

    Personally I was never convinced that currency debate was of vital importance. After all, in the pre-Euro days someone living in Luxembourg, was happily dealing with four or five different currencies on a daily basis. Yes it was a bit of a pain sometimes, but dealing with only two of three (Sterling, Scots and Euro) is surely not beyond the wit of any Scot.

    The problem becomes more obvious for those who live close to the border, some of whom may well work in England. But those crossing the border regularly will soon get the hang of it.

  3. ThaSheep

    I don’t have the data for the same electoral year, but there’s not a huge difference in the numbers on the 2 rolls.

    The Scottish electorate for Westminster in 2010 was 3.864,768. For Holyrood in 2011 it was 3,982,102. Part of the 117,334 increase would have been population growth – but how much, I don’t know.

  4. Furthermore, the economics of personal finance are not always the issue. For some of us the sheer fact of being independent would be worth a lot.
    “Is there for honest poverty….?”

  5. @John B

    Between 1832 and 2005 an average of just over seven MPs died each year. (Un)fortunately they’re much healthier these days:

  6. I noted a couple of things looking at reports of the Yes/No battle.

    One is that government is being used to build support for Yes – for example tourist adverts that say “You too can say YES to Scotland” and stuff about contract threats.

    Two, one of the polls asked a series of questions based on

    “Do you think that the English are more……. than the Scots”

    Top was “arrogant” and near bottom was “None of these apply” – which is what I think would be a relevant answer about most peoples of the world, given that we are all individuals.

  7. “I see that in two of the three local by-elections you are watching tonight the conservative died.”

    To make things more equal Tories should be able to stand for election, and vote, for twelve months after they pop their clogs.

    A bit like handicapping for horses.

  8. @RosieandDaisie

    You’re doing the man a disservice. Foreign Secretary? I thought he was the weekend Prime Minister.

  9. @John B re Devo Max
    Any Scottish resident wanting Devo Max rather than full independence must vote NO. (Unless you believe that a YES vote followed by a currency union would give much the same result – lots of freedom of action to govern Scotland with the UK covering the financial risks. ie Salmond angllng for DevoMax by the back door. )

  10. DAVE

    “Must vote NO”

    I do love the absolute belief that some posters have that they have the absolute and definitive answer to any complex problem.

    If I knew absolutely and definitively that they were right, I would need to follow them all – simultaneously! :-)

  11. @OldNat

    Anyone wanting DevoMax can’t vote for it! Unless you think DevoMax in the medium term is inevitable anyway should Scotland vote No.

  12. @ Dave

    For me the alternatives were Devo-Max or Independence. Status quo is a non starter because there are two many unresolved problems. The bedroom tax is just one of these: post-war Scottish housing policy was to provide family size homes for all. In some areas there just are no alternatives. One size fits all approach from Westminster doesn’t work.

    But equally importantly for me, there remains ‘the problem of England and English ignorance (I do not mean that as an insult but simply as a fact) of so much of life north of the Border (or even where it is, as so many seem to confuse Hadrian’s Wall with the end of England). We simply are not treated as equals.

    I could give you a host of examples, but this isn’t a website dedicated to cultural differences.

    So, voting ”No’ is not an option for anyone who wants to see Devo-max, as it will only take the pressure off the London parties (and bodies such as the BBC) to take Scotland seriously as something which is similar in many ways to England, but also different in many ways.

  13. RAF

    It’ was one of the more interesting bit of tactical positioning by the parties in the run up to the passing of the legislation for the referendum.

    The views of Scots were well known to everyone – around a third wanted Devo Max as their first choice, and most indy supporters would have formed a consensus with them round that option.

    Including that option would have guaranteed the continuation of a UK Union on the international stage. Independence wouldn’t have stood a cat’s chance of winning. Yet, it was Westminster that demanded that option not be on the table.

    There is much talk (but little sign of any action) that it will be offered before the actual vote. Curtice and others have argued that an all-party Westminster guarantee of it would result in a No vote. For what it’s worth, I agree with them.

    Whether Scots Devo-Maxers would now believe that they would actually get what they want, if only the Scottish branches of the UK parties said they would vote for it may be another matter.

  14. The Survation poll also has Holyrood VI (again not comparable with their first Scottish poll, due to their methodological change).

    Figures are (changes from 2011 in brackets)

    Constituency : SNP 44% (-1%) : Lab 31% (+1%) : Con 13% (-1%) : LD 6% (-2%)

    Regional List : SNP 41% (-3%) : Lab 28% (+2%) : Con 13% (+1%) : LD 8% (+3%)

    That’s remarkably little change. Of course, the actual voting will be strongly influenced by the referendum result.

  15. The thing is, the bedroom tax is a problem all over the UK, not just in Scotland. Secession isn’t the way to kill the bedroom tax. Participating in the democracy of the UK and voting the coalition government out would make a difference.

    Before you say that the Scottish MPs don’t make a difference, one of the differences they have made is to ensure that we have a coalition, not a Conservative majority. Things would be a lot worse if the Lib-Dems hadn’t been part of the government, whatever anyone says. I can’t prove it though, because it’s an absence-of-reality type thing.

  16. @ Old Nat

    Following the capitulation of Ed Balls last week I’m no longer holding out any hope for Devo-Max. We’ve been here before – 1979.
    Even if they promised Devo-max and signed it in their own blood I don’t trust the Westminster parties to keep to their word. If they had wanted further devolution they would have offered it.

    And I said in my previous piece that for me the alternatives were Independence or Devo-Max.

  17. Sorry, that last sentence ought to have been removed.

    @ Glenghis

    Yes of course these problems are found throughout the UK. But as an independent nation, or with Devo-Max, we could do something about it.

    There is a rumour going round that Labour might win the next Westminster GE. But if Ed Balls can only act as Osborne’s puppet what’s the point?

  18. WE can do something about the bedroom tax in 2015, the UK elections.

  19. Glenghis

    Are you confusing me with someone else? I didn’t mention the Bedroom Tax.

    I quite agree that it’s a problem for most parts of the UK – outside London.

    Both the private sector version (Labour) and the public sector version (Coalition) were designed to deal with the escalating costs of housing in London. Their effects on other areas, where it was wholly inappropriate, were not considered important enough to matter.

  20. Ed Balls is very different to George Osborne. The fact that he agrees with GO over this matter of currency union should give those who are looking for sober assessments of the various risks cause to think.

    Painting Ed Balls as just another GO is ridiculous. It’s a campaign tactic. It isn’t actually giving out true information.

  21. Alec,

    Based on your logic that Scots are in part responsible for the banking crisis because their were Scots MP’s in Westminster can we take it that;

    The LibDems are responsible for the War in Iraq because even though they weren’t in Government and opposed it they had MP’s.

    Labour were responsible for the miners strike because even though they weren’t in Government they had MP’s

    The Tories were responsible for the minimum wage because even though they weren’t in Government they had MP’s.

    Well at least Sinn Fein by staying away even if elected can’t be blamed for the death of Bobby Sands….or can they!

    It’s an odd system where even those who oppose something are held culpable just by representing the people democratically?


  22. @John B

    Not all of us down South think that way about Scotland.

    And it’s not just Scotland that gets that treatment. There are large parts if England that feel completely ignored or marginalised by a Home Counties elite.

    And despite what I said above about the inevitability of DevoMax, a No vote could push it back a bit. However, it won’t be pushed back for long. I can’t think there are that many people in Scotland who don’t want greater powers within the Union. And I can’t think that any party other than the Tories would see a No vote as legitimacy to maintain the status quo.

  23. @TheSheep

    “On a related issue, a number of Scots commentators have mentioned the desire to vote Yes to strengthen the move towards DevoMax, whilst actually expecting/hoping for a No vote.

    Is there any polling on this?”

    Yes. Statgeek’s poll of statgeek. To be honest, with all the propaganda on either side, when one comes down to it on the day and is still in DK territory, that exact scenario might push one into the ‘Yes’ side.

    I’m fairly for devo-max or even federalism (for all parts of the UK as it happens).

  24. @ Glenghis

    But if Ed Balls were really different he would have used this opportunity to put clear blue (or red) water between himself and the Tories. He could have offered something else. But he didn’t. He just went along with GO.
    Personally I was astounded when I heard that he had done this. I had hoped…….
    But no. ‘

  25. RAF

    “There are large parts if England that feel completely ignored or marginalised by a Home Counties elite.”

    I think that’s true. However, as long as people in such areas vote for parties that are led by “a Home Counties elite”, then they shouldn’t be surprised at the consequences!

  26. @Statgeek
    I thought I was the only UK federalist in this message board.

  27. He could have used this opportunity to put clear blue water between himself and GO, sure.

    There are plenty of other places – on the bedroom tax, for example, where the Labour Party strongly differentiates itself from the Conservative Party.

    To disagree with GO on this one matter simply for the sake of appearing to be different would be bad politics and bad economics.

    Again, I put it to you that the fact that Balls _didn’t_ disagree with GO over the issue of a currency union with Scotland being a very very bad thing for rUK should give you cause to think.

    I, for one, am glad to see that Balls is responding on the issues rather than responding to the person making the policy. That makes me trust him more when he does differ from GO, as he does on many, many things.

  28. I’m uncomfortable with pursuing this discussion any further. Obviously the secessionists disagree with me, but I’m not going to change their minds by arguing on a talkboard, albeit a reputable talkboard (although this is, shall we say, a colourful backstreet on the board).

    However, I did feel that I wanted to challenge the clearly wrong and with-an-agenda group think that was being put about.

  29. @RAF

    Yes, I agree about other parts of the UK also feeling ignored. I’ve lived in Manchester and Liverpool, so I’m not unaware of their problems. But they at least get regional radio from the BBC. We get Radio Scotland as our ‘regional’ radio (Scotland is a nation, not a region), and Radio 4 continues to be Radio England, instead of a truly UK-wide station.
    And organisations in England assume that Scotland has the same school holidays and bank holidays as England etc, when our system is different.
    And Scotland has a different history from England, different kings and queens, different religious and legal set ups, and so on: but to listen to most folk in the South you’d think that UK = England, that British history = English history. If the English were really serious about the UK they would make sure that Scottish history was taught in English schools, just as English history (e.g. 1066) is taught in Scottish schools.
    It’s not the Scots who have refused to make the Union work: it’s the English!

  30. Sun Politics [email protected]_Politics 3 mins
    YouGov/Sun poll tonight – Labour now five points ahead: CON 34%, LAB 39%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%

  31. And I don’t like being labeled as someone with an agenda or as being in any ‘group’. I’m simply trying to explain why I think the Union has failed.

  32. RAF

    I joined the Scottish Liberal Party at the age of 15, after hearing John Bannerman explaining the need for a federal solution for the UK.

    In discussions with Yes activists, I was surprised to find so many agreeing that, had Westminster adopted a new federal constitution for the UK, when the role of Westminster government expanded so radically into the “domestic” affairs of Scotland, it could have been made to work.

    Sometimes, however, ideas (no matter how good) get past their sell-by date.

    Regardless of the referendum result (since it looks increasingly unlikely that either side will gain an overwhelming victory), this could be an opportunity to recast the structures and relationships between the different parts of these islands.

    I doubt that any of the Westminster parties will even see the possibility.

  33. @Johnkay

    “Is it just a case of leaving the EU seeming attractive until you start to think about what it would really mean?”

    It’s similar to leaving the UK. When one starts considering it as a serious and real concept, one starts really weighing up the pros and cons of it. The matters of the head and the heart conflict from time to time, and personally I can make lists of reasons for both arguments.

    It might be different for EU (Scotland) than for EU (UK), but I haven’t done much thinking on the EU matter, beyond the never-ending (unfulfilled) promises of Westminster politicians to give the people of the UK a referendum (pretty much what Neil said).


    “If I were a Scot with a vote on this-this would all be sounding a bit iffy.”

    Not any more iffy than listening to issue after issue being put up as a good reason to vote no, then seeing it being debunked (seriously). There’s plenty of ‘iffy’ on both sides.

  34. We have such a daft attitude [well, the others, not me obviously] that regional governance was voted down with a pitifully small number bothering to vote at all when it was offered.

    I don’t think many of the regions have much understanding of the others.

    I remember when I “turned pro” I did summer seasons in Bognor and when Geordie the chippy suggested Sunderland and South Shields as great places for club work I looked at the motorist’s map and thought

    “Bugger that – they’re in Scotland.”

    [Just the weather that concerned me you understand.]

  35. Glenghis

    I’m not sure that the Secessionists would have disagreed with you, although they would have disagreed with the state having much role in anything.

    Fortunately, after the First Secession in 1732, they eventually joined with others in 1847 to abandon the Secessionist label, and formed a greater union as the United Presbyterian Church, which, in turn, formed a wider union with the Free Kirk in 1900 until it, in due course, formed an even greater union with the Kirk of Scotland.

    Quite what the Secessionists have to do with 21st century Scotland is rather beyond me, but I’m sure that you have your reasons for bringing them into the conversation.

  36. Anyone interested in the Sun’s latest offering?

    When will the Tories really start to get worried? Or is everything on hold now until after September 18?

  37. John B

    “Anyone interested in the Sun’s latest offering? ”

    Who is she?

  38. @ Old Nat

    Your forgot to mention the Auld LIcht/New LIcht and Burger/Anti-Burger complications – possibly too much for those furth o’ the bounds to understand. Come to think of it, most of us have no idea what all that was about.

  39. John B

    Even though I studied those controversies at Uni, I found it almost as difficult to engage with the core issues as I do with the esoteric differences between the Westminster parties today.

    Lots of sound and fury, but a common belief in the same philosophy. Always hard to understand these things unless you are a participant.

    I think the critical issue between the Burghers and the Anti-Burghers was whether the addition of gherkin slices was allowable in the sight of God.

  40. @Old Nat

    See NickP at 9.50 p.m.

    But that may be for tomorrow.

  41. “Quite what the Secessionists have to do with 21st century Scotland is rather beyond me, but I’m sure that you have your reasons for bringing them into the conversation.”

    Well, he didn’t use a capital s but I suppose it would have been too much to ask that you understand what he meant, when that would have meant passing up on the opportunity to be patronising.

    It is amazingly tiresome and I don’t know why you do it.

    Amber said something on these habits which I totally agree with.

  42. @Tom V

    “It is conceivable that a Scottish Tory party fully liberated from London could challenge for power in a post independent Scotland.”

    I doubt it. Lab and SNP (or its successor) would bray ‘Tory’ ‘Thatcher’ ‘Poll Tax’ regardless of the separation, and people would still vote against the party that everyone loves to hate. I didn’t mind that in ’92 or even ’97, but it got a little boring into the 21st century, given that the incumbents were, how shall we put it, ‘less than their voters believed them to be’.

    For Lab to maintain 41 MPs (no change) in 2010 was for me a complete and utter embarrassment to the electorate of Scotland. I didn’t expect Con gains, as I didn’t feel that the Conservatives had done anything to win Scottish votes, but I did expect Lab losses to Lib, SNP or Independent candidates. It highlighted to me that the party political battle in Scotland was won sometime back in 1984/85 and the Conservatives never recovered, and as a result, Labour dominated thereafter. After the ’92 election (where Con did surprisingly well on votes, but not seats) it was downhill for them big-time.

    It would take a major, major financial collapse by a left-wing party to make any Conservative-esc party in Scotland remotely electable. Even then, whichever of the two ‘left-wing’ parties made the mistakes, the other would take the advantage.

    It’s one of the biggest obstacles for someone with a non-Labour outlook in Scotland, when looking at Independence, as there’s every chance of a Lab-heavy government thereafter. That would scare the hell out of non-Lab voters if they looked at the late 70s and late noughties from their perspective, and applied said thinking to an Independent Scotland.

    I’m slightly more pragmatic, in that there ought to be less scope for financial mismanagement in a smaller economy with a population who has prior experience of mismanagement. Voters might not be all that clued up on the details, but they generally know when they’re getting shafted, and with precedents and modern media and social media, politicians have to dance more sincerely.

    My own big worry are hegemony scenarios, such as Labour with a large majority in Holyrood, and controlling Glasgow Council, and other large public sector areas. In essence where one party controls so many facets of the public sector that scrutiny is non-existent as they all cover each others’ backsides.

    N.B. – I’m not having a pop at Labour, but Labour in Scotland / Glasgow / Public Sector is a fair reality. We have seen it in the past, and I’m sure there have been parallels of Conservative control in the South of England (which probably doesn’t always benefit the voters).

    So to come back to the start, I think that in the event of Independence, and given that half the reason was to avoid being ruled by a government that most didn’t vote for (welcome to FPTP), Scotland should opt for AV, PR or whatever there is that gives all the voters a stronger voice.

    The real cause of the SNP rise in 2011 (and UKIP if you like) is the lack of convincing politicians who actually are honest and able. Is an honest politician unobtainable? If they say they will do something, and get elected on it, they should go through with it.

    Turnout figures reflect the disenchantment. When they rise back up to above 70% we will probably be getting closer to having better politicians (in my humble opinion). Massive post from me. Sorry about that.

  43. @glenghis
    I’d leave them to it.

  44. @ Oldnat and John B

    There seems to be some misunderstanding of my post. I was assuming that a voter wanted DevoMax as the only satisfactory option.
    There was at first some suggestion that DevoMax would be an option on the referendum, but this was not agreed.
    So, if you really want it, you clearly can’t ensure it by voting YES, for if YES wins, there is no UK government to ‘Devo’ from.
    DevoMax can only be put back on the table if the NO vote wins, Scotland remains part of the UK, and a future Westminster government puts a Devo option on the table.
    (It is of course possible to vote YES and the YES vote to lose, when DevoMax might reappear. However, that means voting for the one option that. if it wins, rules out the DevoMax you wanted. To vote YES with the objective of getting the NO vote to win by such a small majority that the resulting UK government will offer DevoMax in consolation looks to me like an uncertain result of extreme tactical voting. You might do this if either DevoMax or independence would satisfy you.)
    But the only logical action for someone wanting DevoMax as their first and only choice is to vote NO and campaign for it if/when NO wins.

    Simple enough.

  45. Statgeek

    The Labour heartlands in Scotland are gradually disintegrating, but the Tory brand is unable to make headway for the time being because it simply does not address the issues that matter to Scots.
    Dear old Annabel Goldie was/is seen as a sort of slightly dotty old aunt (probably from Cathcart or possibly Newton Mearns): quite lovely in many ways but not the sort of person who understands anything that happened after about 1957.

    This is perhaps unfair to her; but her rather sexually radical successor hasn’t made much difference has she?

  46. @John B – “But equally importantly for me, there remains ‘the problem of England and English ignorance (I do not mean that as an insult but simply as a fact) of so much of life north of the Border (or even where it is, as so many seem to confuse Hadrian’s Wall with the end of England). We simply are not treated as equals.”

    I’m Scottish, and have to say I reject this argument as being the product of a Scottish sense of persecution. I could make a very similar case for residents of County Durham, or Cornwall. We are not treated as equals either. Huge areas of English culture are subordinated by a governing clique that doesn’t understand.

    I could point to the fact that the two most popular pastimes in the UK are course fishing and rambling, but these groups of people are routinely ignored and sidelined by policy makers and the London media. We’ve even recently had a government minister stating that he will ensure grants don’t get wasted on morris dancing. The outrage!

    Of course many in England are ignorant of Scotland, as many in Edinburgh are ignorant of England, or Shetland, or Hawick of Glasgow. ‘So what?’, would be my natural reaction. To me, London is a foreign country. Culturally an alien place. Why worry about it?

    I can’t help but feel that it’s a bit like men and women. On average, men are taller than women. But the difference between the tallest and shortest man and between the tallest and shortest woman is far, far greater than the difference between the male and female averages.

    I find it far more appealing to seek to find what unites. There really is very little difference between Scots and English, when we get down to it, and the cultural and social differences between Scots themselves are far more significant that the average difference between the nations.

  47. Valerie


    I’d leave them to it.”

    Good advice.

  48. @Graham

    “What is the justification to weighting on the basis of 2011 rather than the 2010 General Election? Why should this produce more accurate results re- Scottish opinion?”

    1) The balance of opinion in Scotland shifted in that year;

    2) The incumbent factor. In 2010, it was Westminster Con / Lab / Lib, with leadership debates, and no sign of Salmond in the debating room. In 2011 it was Salmond who was doing the talking as the leader of the party in government, so a massive difference. Westminster elections don’t seem to favour the SNP as much, as many see it as a Lab / Con battle. In Holyrood, it’s a Lab / SNP battle. The referendum is arguably a Westminster / SNP battle.

    3) A minor point, but to be pedantic, 2011 is one year closer to the present than 2010, so is arguably more relevant to polling, especially when (some?) polling companies and election predicting sites changed their methodologies to allow for the 2011 election and all that.

  49. Furthermore, until the signs of Thatcher’s government cease to be visible on the scarred landscape of central Scotland, the situation will remain the same.
    Scottish Toryism tended, I think, to be paternal (almost, some would say, patronising). The cold wind of the 1980s ended all that.

    The Tories used to be supported by the Kirk. No longer. In any case the Kirk is a shadow of its former self.

    The astonishing thing is that the SNP made the progress it did between 2007 and 2011. But I wonder also if the fact that Scottish Labour’s big guns are split between Westminster and Holyrood, whereas most SNP folk regard Westminster as as buit of a side show. This means that the Labour leadership in Scotland is weaker that it might otherwise be,

    But none of that answers your question, of course.
    The real answer is that, from a Scottish perspective, the fact that the Tories have more than 100 seats in Westminster is the mystery. In other words, since around 1979 (but possibly even before that) England and Scotland have been gradually moving in different directions politically. The two sides simply do not understand each other.

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