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. I believe that recent result from the Large Hadron Collider have confirmed that if a Burgher meets an Anti-Burgher they will mutually annihilate with a great flash of Licht.

    A decision on whether the Licht will be New or Old is possible – but only with a further injection of a few billion Euros.

  2. CON 34%
    LAB 39%
    LD 9%
    UKIP 12%


  3. @Peter Cairns – “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.

    Sorry Peter, but that’s a complete misrepresentation of what I said, and the examples you posted are entirely bogus.

    My point was that the state is responsible for it’s actions, and we are all part of that state. We cannot divide ourselves from the democratic whole when it suits us, and deny our fair share of the consequences.

    So, we all know that the Lib Dems did not support the Gulf War, but all Lib Dems will now still have to pay their taxes to cover the cost. That is democracy.

    It is as nonsensical to argue that Lib Dem voters should not pay their taxes for the Gulf War bills as it is to say Scotland should not accept it’s share of the UK national debt. These things happened, in our country, so we all have to shoulder the burden.

  4. @Alec

    There’s very little difference between an Austrian and a German; there’s very little difference between a Dane, a Swede and a Norwegian. But unions (and all five of those mentioned above have been involved in a variety of unions) can serve their purpose for a while and then it’s time to rearrange things a bit. After all, three hundred only seems like eternity if you’re an American. For Europeans it is a reasonably good time, but not the bee all and end all. As Tennyson said: Our little systems have their day, they have their day and cease to be.

  5. DAVE

    Thanks for the explanation, but I suspect you don’t fully understand how “Devo-Max” is thought of in Scotland.

    Quite correctly, you point out that in an indy Scotland, there would be no role for Westminster to decide what things it would choose to devolve to Scotland.

    However, I think you maybe wrong in assuming that the “Devo-Maxers” concentrate on being graciously allowed by Westminster to decide on various things, but just want to get more of them – if they are allowed.

    Judging by the ones I talk to (and since polling hasn’t examined in detail what is now a redundant question, either of us may be right) their concentration is on what powers they want exercised in Scotland. They are happy to “pool sovereignty” (though most don’t use that description) with rUK on defence and foreign policy.

    For many in Scotland, since their preferred option was taken off the table, the choice is between which option is most likely to come nearest to their preference. They’ll need to make a judgment call on that.

  6. @Nameless
    Dramatically boring. It’s like Waiting for Godot.

  7. @John B – “….England and Scotland have been gradually moving in different directions politically. The two sides simply do not understand each other.”

    That’s what I find so funny. Apart from the minor point that large parts of England have lower levels of Tory support than Scotland, I’m tickled by the fact that polls show around 20% of Scots are Tories, and maybe 40% in England?

    All in all, that isn’t that great a difference, but just fancy – every fifth person you pass by in Scotland is one of those impenetrable people that doesn’t understand their own country and wants to vote Tory.

    The understanding between the two countries seems remarkably close when they elected a Labour government with a massive majority for 13 years, but then we can’t admit that we Scots are in any way similar to the English.

  8. PI

    There’s a joke about the shortened version of that play:

    Act I/ Scene I

    Enter Godot, stage left……..

  9. @ Old Nat

    Got it in one. Pooling sovereignty is an excellent way of describing Devo-Max. But, as Ed Balls demonstrated last week, Labour hasn’t the imagination (let alone the guts!) to propose it as a real option.


    Aye, but what about the AuldHiggs Boson and the New Anti-Higgs Boson options?

  10. @John B – now you’ve changed the goalposts! By all means rearrange the political furniture, but you’re trying to justify it by saying we’re different.

    However, it would fit with the Scots national sense of heroic defeat, if we won independence and then went back to what we did in the 1950s and voted heavily for the Tories.

  11. john b

    “The two sides simply do not understand each other.”

    I can manage just about OK actually – so long as you speak slowly.

  12. @Alec

    Of course 20%+ of Scots support the Tories. But this leads to many more questions, such as what form of Toryism are they supporting and is that option on the table at a UK level? Don’t forget that, at the moment, voting Tory in Scotland is actually a protest vote!

  13. alec

    @John B – “now you’ve changed the goalposts”

    Makes a change from nicking them.

  14. ALEC

    I quite agree. In fact, I don’t know of anyone on my side of the argument who doesn’t.

    As members of the UK, we jointly built up assets and liabilities. Both should be proportionally shared on dissolution of the union.

    If rUK wants to be the Successor State on its own, and claim all the assets, then it also accepts all the debt.

    Other than political posturing, why would anyone want to argue that “the assets are mine”, but “the debt is a shared burden”?

  15. @Steve2

    “And trying to pin RBS’s failures on London is just another example of the Scots nationalist favourite of “Our mess is not our fault! It’s London’s!””

    Equally, trying to pin it on Scotland is just as ludicrous.

    Pin it on the finance centres, the people who work or worked there at the time, and the woeful regulators and the government who did not push the regulators more.

    Just as I don’t pin the uselessness of Westminster on ‘the English’.

  16. @R&D
    You should have posted a spoiler alert before telling everyone the ending.

    At least the election will eventally come.

  17. @John B

    Yes indeed, the Higgs Boson is very important. Without it all the other particles would be very Wee….. and absolutely Free!

  18. If Greece, Italy, Spain – or any other country – left the EU is it conceivable that they would want to/be allowed to still use the euro whilst conducting an independent fiscal regime?

    It seems so bloody obvious that I don’t understand some of the responses. If Ed Balls thought it was remotely feasible to be different to Osborne/Alexander then he obviously would have been.

    He clearly agrees and, as others have said, it might be an idea to wonder why.

    Perhaps it IS that he’s a remote Westminster grandee [wottever one of those is] and just hasn’t thought it through.

    I doubt it though.

    Anyway, 60/40, Bob’s yer Uncle.

  19. @Oldnat Thanks for that reply, which makes clearer how you (and others) see DevoMax.
    BUT ” the choice is between which option is most likely to come nearest to their preference. ” Not really. If YES wins, something like your preference might be achieved by treaties between rUK and Scotland. If NO wins, there is a mechanism to get what you want. However, that mechanism involves some kind of Act of the Westminster parliament, and the negotiations to get “what powers they want exercised in Scotland.” may well look to them and to the English not very distinguishable from being graciously allowed some concessions in the direction of independence. But with current rhetoric about bluff and bullying, I fear that the general English reaction to trying for DevoMax after a NO vote could well be “You voted to stay. Live with it. ” or tougher terms so you get a few points on who decides to spend a more strictly constrained amount of money.
    My own interpretation of a NO vote is that it ought to reflect a determination for all UK citizens to work together towards a common goal – but maybe I’m idealistic.

    However, decisions are as you said complex things not always driven by logical alternatves. My wife and I are English, living in “Little England beyond Wales. My wife’s sister and her English husband live in Scotland and may very well vote YES. My wife is baffled as to how a Yorkshirewoman could even contemplate that course.

  20. @John B

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

    I have as much in common with either of them as I do with Cameron, Clegg or Miliband. They are not representative of pretty much all the Scots I come across.

    Having said that, Lamont and Sturgeon are no closer (Sturgeon is less annoying, but Lamont is a tough act to follow in that regard). To be fair, the more I analyse politicians, the more remote they seem. Being Aberdonian, I immediately wonder if there are any in politics that might be closer to my own way of thinking.

    Michael Gove (!)
    Nicol Stephen (!)
    Kevin Stewart (MSP Abdn)*
    Mark McDonald (MSP Abdn)

    Don’t know anything about Mark, and not living in Aberdeen any more, I was largely out of touch with the recent election. I knew Kevin Stewart years ago as a neighbour of my best mate. We bounced around a few pubs before he was a politician. He was fine enough, but I didn’t know him well, and it was 20+ years ago.

    All in all, I’m not being represented. maybe I should stand for parliament. How does “The Honest Party” sound? “The Geek Party” ? Hmm.

  21. @Mr Nameless


    37% or lower = special measures
    38% = requires improvement (formerly satisfactory)
    39% = good
    40%+ = outstanding

    We need a bit of grade inflation.

  22. Statgeek

    Councillor Alexander Swick (Buff Hardie) should surely get your vote as an Aberdonian!

  23. I have a strong feeling that Ed Balls supported the No to a currency Union for much the same reason that Osborne proposed it!

    Osborne may be the Chancellor, not a very good one in my view, but he got where he is at Cameron’s right hand because he is a political strategist, a very good one in my view.

    Last weeks polling showed that Fiscal Union is popular in Scotland, one reason the Scottish Government chose it, but goes down like a lead ballon South of the border.

    Osbornes eyes are much more on May 2015 than Sept 2014 and a statement that asserted British Soverignty goes down well with English voters, particularly those looking to UKIP.

    Just as Blair knew that he could suffer at the election by looking “Weak on Defence” after the war if he didn’t back Bush over Iraq when the Tories were, so too Balls must have known that not defending the pound would be a gift to the Tories.

    Balls after all was at Browns side when he ruled out the Euro which was always as much about domestic politics as economics.

    I don’t think people should assume that what Osborne says about Scotland is necessarily about Scotland.

    Chancellor or not he’s more likely to study the polls than the financial pages!


  24. Alec,

    “My point was that the state is responsible for it’s actions, and we are all part of that state. We cannot divide ourselves from the democratic whole when it suits us, and deny our fair share of the consequences.”

    You can if the other part of the state has unilaterally declared that it accepts all liability, which is what Osborne and Alexander told the markets about debt a month or so back.


  25. This may be the first time I’ve agreed with a partisan political statement from the Treasury, when commenting on the Survation poll.

    When did the Civil Service ever comment on an opinion poll before?

    “Treasury officials say the result was not unexpected, and that the results of Mr Osborne’s speech would be seen over a longer time period.”

  26. These polls are spookily inert, aren’t they? Falling unemployment and inflation, flooding crisis and religious leaders entering the debate on welfare, yet no discernible impact on the opinion polls. You name it, no matter what seems to occur on the political and economic front, the polls continue to tell the same story. A twitch here and there, but the narrative is unchanged; Labour enjoying a solid lead, consistently scoring in the high 30s, the Tories stuck in the low 30s doldrums, desperately awaiting some wind in their sails, the Lib Dems swimming on the ocean floor and UKIP defiantly refusing to have their death certificates signed.

    My verdict? Opinion more or less ossified and seemingly impervious to the vagaries of transitory political and economic events.

    All very strange in many ways. When might there be a stirring in the forest and what might induce it? No Big Mo in sight for any of the parties really, hence the continuation of the same old, same old in the polls.

    Am I being a tad premature here, but shouldn’t we be seeing some increase in support for the governing parties after 6 months of pretty solid good news on the economy?

  27. cb

    that was jolly flowery.

    you should take up poetry

    I agree that it is all a bit strange and it will be intriguing to see how local/euro elections and court verdicts effect the old ossification.

    the big fly-in-the-ointment for the Tories is that, despite the money etc etc they will throw at the campaign next year, EM and Labour are equally geared up for the date, the debate and the launches of their own prospectus.

    I still think a Labour victory is by far the most likely outcome but haven’t a clue about the size.

    Cameron is a positive and the labour front bench a negative but I’m not sure anyone cares.

    Whatever story Clegg has to tell no-one will listen and that is probably the key to the Cons being unable to even continue with the coalition.

    Shame yesterday’s match didn’t get to 1-0 with Mesut’s penalty. As Gary L. said, Germans are rubbish at them.

  28. @Peter Cairns
    Most accounts that I’ve read have Balls persuading Brown against early Euroentry, and devising the wheeze of the 5 tests to provide cover. He was against it for much the same reasons he gives for opposing a Sterling Union. I don’t think your Macchiavellian explanation is neccessary – he just doesn’t believe currency unions are a good idea.

  29. Is there any polling that breaks down Scottish Referendum VI by location? I cannot help wondering whether Orkney and Shetland islanders would prefer remaining under the rule of the Westminster elite that has never heard of them, to being ruled by a newly empowered Edinburgh elite who would defiantly wish to mess with then. Perhaps there could be a case for new referendum for further Balkanisation.

  30. @Oldnat

    Aye, Sandy Swick sounds aboot richt.

  31. Good early morning after a rare grumpy Men’s night.

    Nothing boring about 39%

  32. “Am I being a tad premature here, but shouldn’t we be seeing some increase in support for the governing parties after 6 months of pretty solid good news on the economy?”


    Being told that there is an upturn means nothing to people who are not feeling it in reality. There are clearly enough of these.

    Anyway, George has indicated today that it could all be built on sand and he may need another 5 years to cement it.

  33. ” I don’t think your Macchiavellian explanation is neccessary – he just doesn’t believe currency unions are a good idea.”

    MacHiavellian even…………..

  34. Anyone know what happened to Lard Rennard’s threat to sue the Lib Dems?

  35. “But, as Ed Balls demonstrated last week, Labour hasn’t the imagination (let alone the guts!) to propose it as a real option.”

    Have you not considered that he might genuinely believe that a currency union would be a bad idea? That he doesn’t think it is a real option?

  36. rogerh

    How exactly would that fi in with the persecution theory?

    Be reasonable.

  37. “Anyone know what happened to Lard Rennard’s threat to sue the Lib Dems?”

    Oh dear – spelling error – LOrd Rennard of course.

    [Anyone would think he was fat!]

  38. Lard ……did people really spread it on bread?

  39. Bread? You were lucky. We had our lard on lard.

  40. We’d have killed for a lump of lard.

  41. Actually, now I think of it, we did.

    Those were the days….

  42. Note from Survation briefing that they have the SNP 5 points ahead for Westminster.SNP 38 LAB 33.

    No getting away from it this is a very very good poll for the NATS.

    Salmond should be sending Osborne the price of a season ticket on the sleeper with the message.


  43. @ L Hamilton

    Note from Survation briefing that they have the SNP 5 points ahead for Westminster. SNP 38 LAB 33.
    Which makes me believe that this Survation poll is a bit of a rogue.

  44. l Hamilton

    Knee-jerk reactions, even if true, have no relevance to the long term.

  45. Plus, the idea that the sterling decision is something so casualy arrived at, that it can be altered because of the possibility that Scots will say “OK, we’re offended so we’re off” is ludicrous.

    In the end, if that’s what the majority want, then they should go ahead: as I understand it its their decision, not ours.

    One would have imagined honest clarity would be more welcome than obfuscation and “we can probably do this or something else…….. maybe……..possibly……”

  46. YouGov tables won’t load again !

  47. Re a prior discussion on climate / weather interaction, – the Met Office reportedly gave LAs a three month forecast in November which indicated a drier than usual winter .:-)


    This is the message I get on YouGov website when clicking for the poll detail :-

    This XML file does not appear to have any style information associated with it. The document tree is shown below.

    ………….followede by a lot of symbols & stuff. ??

  49. Survation? I give you Oldham East & Saddleworth, where they set the world alight.

    ICM Con 18 Lab 44 LD 27
    Populus Con 15 Lab 46 LD 29
    Survation Con 6 Lab 31 LD 30

    Result Con 13 Lab 42 LD 32

  50. Colin

    I don’t know who’s reporting that about the Met Office, but I’d guess it’s either someone with a mischievous agenda, or someone who doesn’t understand what the Met Office actually does on long range forecasting.

    Here’s what the Met Office actually said in November.

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