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. @Bill Patrick
    Thanks, I think, for your encouragement. Always looking for the strong stuff.

    Desmond Wilcox has just asked a black man in Trafalgar Square how he voted. On recieving the reply “Labour”, Wilcox followsup with “And would you describe yourself as an immigrant?” – Harry Enfield didn’t need to make it up!

  2. rogerh

    The association is the nasty bit. Good story by the DMail IMO.

  3. Amber: “Regarding the Survation voting intention for Westminster, it looks rogue compared to all the other Scotland only polls there’ve been, ever.”

    I’m actually looking forward to the thunderous silence coming from SNP Central when the next poll comes out…

  4. @ TOH

    Re Dmail story and various Labour people who were part of a civil liberties group. Personally I think this is purely to smear political opponents and an attempt to get the people mentioned to sue the Dmail.

    I cannot see these people purposely campaigning indirectly on behalf of perverts.

  5. @R&D& Alec

    Certainly the name ‘United Kingdom’ could be used without any problem. There comes a problem when we ask ‘of what?’ At present we are the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This would cease in the event of Scotland voting Yes. Without Scotland there is no Great Britain as a political unit. So the continuing UK of GB &NI would have to change its name to something else, perhaps the UK of South Britain and Northern Ireland. Of course the simplest thing would be to reduce the name to The United Kingdom and leave it at that. But this still involves a change of name.

    This would not apply to Spain if Catalonia were to become independent – and this is where the so-called parallel with the Spanish situation breaks down. As far as I know, Spain did not unite with Catalonia. It conquered it. England united with Scotland to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain – a new entity.

    And, yes, the 1800 Act of Union with Ireland does supersede in some respects the 1707 Act. But on the other hand, that was a union between an already existing Great Britain and Ireland (a union which continues, of course, at least in part). However, without Great Britain existing any longer, one might posit the question as to the need for a new Act of Union between England, Wales and N.I., just to clarify the issue.

  6. R Huckle

    If there is nothing in it why don’t they sue?

  7. @Steve2

    Has anyone any idea why Scottish polls produce such wildly varying results? The SNP, Labour and Conservatives must feel as though they are rollercoasters. Lib Dems, on the other hand, seem to be stuck in a sinking boat on the great water dip.

  8. the rUK could call itself “Greater England” – it has some logic, but would be deeply unpopular the non-England parts of it.

  9. “UK of GB &NI would have to change its name to something else”

    I don’t see why (the USA doesn’t cover all of the Americas, last I checked; the Republic of Ireland doesn’t cover all of Ireland; and Guyana doesn’t cover all of Guiana) but I’m sure you have legal advice on the matter.

  10. @mrnameless

    Does that mean that Populus have sorted out their weightings now?

    The Lab lead remains 6 on average and the party share is roughly

    Lab 39
    Cons 33
    LD 9
    UKIP 12
    Others 7

    across all pollsters, I think

    which is about the same since last summer

    Leaving out unexpected events. I wonder if these things will change the figures

    The budget – i note that GO is dousing expectations ( the public finances were quite poor today for Jan +4.7bn against Jan 13 of +9.8bn) so no giveaways.

    May elections

    Wage increases beating inflation Autumn ( I am predicting October after the NMW increase)

    Autumn statement

    then that’s it, the election campaign starts after Christmas

  11. It also smacks of Grossdeutschland, and I apologise for bring in Godwin so early.

  12. AS far as the vast majority of folk on the continent are concerned, that’s what the UK is anyway – and you can drop the ‘Greater’ bit for that as well!

  13. “The budget – i note that GO is dousing expectations ( the public finances were quite poor today for Jan +4.7bn against Jan 13 of +9.8bn) so no giveaways.

    May elections

    Wage increases beating inflation Autumn ( I am predicting October after the NMW increase)

    Autumn statement”

    There’s also the current press trials. How annoyed Dacre and Murdoch are at each party will affect media backing and funding.

    Oh, and Nigel Evans’ trial, and the final round of party conferences.

  14. It’ll still be a united kingdom in the sense of having one monarch. And, of course, it was Scotland’s king who united the two kingdoms.

  15. @Bill Patrick

    Its the GB bit which is the problem. GB includes Scotland BY DEFINITION (Great Britain being the WHOLE ISLAND).

    UK is fine as a name. UK of GB & NI is not.

    The USA does not claim to unite the whole continent. It just claims to be a union of those particular American states which want to be part of it. If it legally called itself “America” (as opposed to what most people call it) others may well have cause to complain.

  16. @RogerH

    Absolutely NOT! One monarch can reign over several different kingdoms without their being united – just look at the Habsburgs back in the 1500s etc.

    And Lizzie Windsor is queen of several different countries – Canada, Australia and New Zealand to name but three – and they are not a united kingdom by any stretch of the imagination.

  17. @Mr Nameless

    Are you suggesting that Murdoch and Dacre will be pushing for a surge in UKIP votes?

  18. @Mrnameless

    thanks for those, I missed them

    Re public finances

    Here is Samuel Tombs from Capital Ecoomics

    ‘The smaller surplus largely reflected a 3.5% annual fall in income tax receipts, which looks particularly odd given the strength of the recovery in the labour market.’

    We were discussing this month and here it is again – record employment and falling income tax, seemingly a contradiction

    I think Bantams said the raised tax threshold and people said jobs created too badly paid to attract income tax, could be both reasons of course.

  19. ‘Britain’ would suit me now, let alone “in the event of…”.

    “Where are you from?”
    “England, Britain, the UK…….take your pick!”

  20. If it is the case, as some have claimed, that rUK will become a ‘new’ state, hence leaving the EU, NATO, and other treaty obligations entered into by the UK, why am I, a resident of England, not being consulted via a referendum? That is, if my country is to become a ‘new’ state, why is the referendum not UK wide? The answer is because rUK will be the continuator of the rights and obligations the UK. It will continue in the EU, in NATO, and will occupy the security council seat. The fact that UK by Act of Parliament agrees to Scotland becoming independent does not alter the fundamental legal legitimacy of the rUK as a continuing state. There are a number of recent examples, but let me take just two, When the USSR fell apart, the Russian Federation claimed the continuity of the USSR – this was accepted as legitimate by the UN. In the reverse of this, when the GDR and the FDR reunited, the new FDR took over the obligations of the GDR and claimed the continuity of the GDR. This was accepted and the two UN seats became one. Incidentally, this meant that the territory and people of the former GDR became part of the EU via the FDR. As an aside, at one point in the 50’s, both the FDR and the GDR claimed they were the continuator of the Third Reich, the Weimar Republic and so on back to the German Confederation.

  21. James VI & I chose to call himself ‘King of Great Britain and Ireland’. It’s been a united kingdom ever since whereas Canada, Australia and New Zealand are each separate kingdoms in their own right.

  22. “It’s been a united kingdom ever since”

    Apart from the Interregnum, of course.

  23. Right Oh!

    Having just read the Articles of the Act of Union, 1707, I can confirm that in my non expert legal opinion, there is no basis in law for claiming that Scottish independence would effectively dissolve the UK.

    I say this, because the 1707 does not refer to the UK – it didn’t exist at this time. Article 1 says “‘That the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom by the Name of Great-Britain,…..”.

    The name of the new state under the 1707 Act is therefore the ‘Kingdom of Great Britain.’ This is referred to in the act as ‘united’, but this forms no part of the official title.

    The 1800 Act of Union, which saw the addition of Ireland, states in Article 1 – “That it be first article of the union of the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland, that the said kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland shall, upon the first day of January, which shall be in the year of our lord one thousand eight hundred and one, and for ever, be united into one kingdom, by the name of “the united kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland,””.

    This, therefore, is the basis for the name ‘United Kingdom’, and not the 1707 Act. Interestingly, it also makes clear that Ireland is considered a kingdom, so if Scotland left, there would remain a union.

    The Government of Ireland Act, 1920 (now completely rescinded) effectively partitioned Ireland, with both parts being members of the UK.

    The Anglo Irish Treaty of 1922 agreed that Ireland would leave the UK and become a Dominion of the British Empire, and under the terms of the earlier Government of Ireland Act, Northern Ireland had the option to leave the Irish Free State within a month of it’s creation, which it invoked, effectively rejoining the UK after a month within the IFS.

    None of these comings and goings were deemed to have altered the status of the remaining parts of the UK in any way. Interestingly, the lack of national debt passed to the Irish Free State has sometimes been commented on as a precedent by Some Scottish nationalists, but is a false comparison.

    In the negotiations, the IFS accepted responsibility for a share of the debt, but negotiated that away in exchange for the recognition of the Ulster border – a commitment they later reneged on. The principle of accepting responsibility for debts in the name of the UK was agreed and accepted.

    Finally, Article 2 part (1) of the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927 states – “Parliament shall hereafter be known as and styled the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland…”, which is the origin of our current name as a country, and which is commonly referred to as ‘the UK’.

    In my view, this is clear evidence that the UK as an entity is not based on the 1707 Act, and Scottish claims that they can dissolve the union by voting for separation are thoroughly misguided. The 1707 Act has been subsequently amended and updated many times, and the union to which Scotland currently belongs is not the same union as they joined in 1707.

    If nationalist wish to try and claim that the 1707 Act still stands and is immutable, then not only does this fly in the face of principles of democratic law making, but also creates a problem for them. I say this because the 1707 Aritcle 1 quoted above says – “That the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall, upon the first Day of May next ensuing the Date hereof, and for ever after, be united into one Kingdom….”.

    If this Act cannot be superseded, then Scotland cannot leave the union, as they agreed to unification ‘for ever after’.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough now, but the accepted legal basis for the UK is not, and never has been, the 1707 Act, Scotland can leave the UK if it wishes, the entity called the UK cannot be unilaterally be dissolved by one country leaving it, which has been accepted in law and also by precedent, and nationalists who try to talk about dissolving the union are talking rubbish.

    It’s about leaving or staying – the union itself will continue.

  24. Markmyword: “as some have claimed, that rUK will become a ‘new’ state, hence leaving the EU, NATO, and other treaty obligations entered into by the UK…”

    Only the pro-indy crowd are saying that. And they are wrong. Move along now, please.

  25. @John B – point of information.

    Catalonia wasn’t conquered by Spain, it became part of Spain through “dynastic union” (i.e. marriage) first with Aragon, then with Castille. I suppose this is the opposite really of what happened in the UK, where the dynastic union happened because of QE1s failure to marry.

  26. I meant to say “If the USA called itself America (which is what most people call it but it doesn’t make that claim) then other countries would have good cause for complaint”

    What a country calls itself is important, both for its own self-understanding and for its standing in the world.

    On the point of a united monarchy, I would argue that although in the unlikely event of a Yes vote the ‘new’ entity, would be called Scotland, the monarch would not be ‘Queen of Scotland’ but would continue to be ‘Queen of Scots’, which she is under the present constitutional position, quite independently of her being also Queen of the UK of GB and NI.

    Anyone wanting clarity on that just needs to go back to 1649.

    When Charles I was beheaded, England declared itself a ‘republic. Scotland declared Charles II king and continued to be a monarchy (even though Charles Junior was in exile). When Charles II returned to London in 1660 he was crowned ‘King of Great Britain’.

    So since 1649 there has never been a King or Queen of England; instead, kings and queens have been monarchs of Great Britain since 1660.
    However there has always continued to be a King or Queen of Scots quite independently of the British monarchy – though the two jobs have been occupied by the same person.

  27. Anyone reckon this Clegg/Farage debate might move some people around? I think it would make more of an impact on TV.

  28. John B,

    The referent of ‘GB’ includes Scotland today and could not do so tomorrow. If we incorporated the Isle of Man into the UK and didn’t change the name, and regarded the Isle of Man as part of GB, this would not be an issue. Words aren’t magic.

    The USA does not claim to unite the whole of the Americas and the UK wouldn’t claim to unite the whole of GB after 2016 if we vote Aye.

    Trust me: there is a reason why the SNP don’t use this line of reasoning.

    Mark Myword,

    Quite so. When the USSR voted on whether it should stay together in March 1991, they tried to get ALL the republics to vote, and each republic had to separately declare independence before the Union was dissolved in December 1991. (Actually, it lasted for 10 days after even that had happened. My earliest datable memory is the news that Kazakhstan had declared independence and that there were no longer any republics in the Soviet Union.) Had just, say, Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus stayed in, they could have continued the USSR.

    We can declare indendence, but we can’t destroy the UK as a state.

  29. “Oh Lord, it’s Ted Short giving a speech, I’m likely to slip into a vegetative state.”

    I think, in an emergency, you can stop listening.

  30. * independence.

    Actually, the UK could change it name to “The Democratic Fascist Socialist Anarchic Jellybean Republic of Europe” if it wanted. Nations can call themselves all sorts of silly things, e.g. “the German Democratic Republic”.

  31. @ The Other Howard

    “R Huckle

    If there is nothing in it why don’t they sue?”

    Because it would cost hundreds of thousands and there is no guarantee they would get it back. Plus it just gives the story more publicity. The DMail are fully aware of this.

  32. @R&D
    It was a close run thing but I managed to find the remote before I lost the use of my arms.

  33. @MarkMyWord

    You have been consulted in accordance with the constitutional methods suitable your part of the UK.

    In England the Crown is sovereign in Parliament. Parliament has voted to allow for the dissolution of the Union should the Scots wish for that to happen – “allow for”, I said: it has not voted for the dissolution, which was within its rights, of course.

    Naturally, although not having the voting figures to hand, I am assuming that a majority of non-Scots MPs voted for this situation. This is in accordance with the English understanding of Parliament’s role.

    In Scotland the people are sovereign and will make the decision in the way which is appropriate to Scottish constitutional understandings (see Claim of Right, Declaration of Arbroath etc.), This involved a referendum of the People.

    No, I don’t entirely buy that either, and there was no referendum prior to the Act of Union; but I think many Scots would argue that there are different understandings of sovereignty on the two sides of the border.

    Your representative in Parliament presumably consulted his constituents prior to the vote………

  34. @Alec

    Thanks for doing that research,
    . But you miss my point.

    I am not saying that the UK bit has to change. I am saying that the Great Britain bit has to change. There will still be a union between England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It just won’t be able to call itself ‘of GB….’

  35. @MrNameless

    “There’s also the current press trials. How annoyed Dacre and Murdoch are at each party will affect media backing and funding.
    Oh, and Nigel Evans’ trial, and the final round of party conferences.”

    These sorts of developments could have an impact on public opinion, I suppose, but there’s been no evidence of similar such events having much lasting effect on the polls during this Parliament. I’d be surprised, pending some lurid and sensational revelations, if this situation changes.

    In an otherwise remarkably tranquil period of polling, over a prolonged time, there have been only two real game-changers this Parliament; the LibDem diaspora in 2010 and Osborne’s omni-shambles budget in March 2012. Those two seismic events have essentially shaped all the polls we’ve seen ever since.

  36. We will have a ‘personal union’, as first under Sweyn Forkbeard:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_personal_unions#England.2C_Great_Britain_and_the_United_Kingdom

  37. John B,

    Someone should tell the Irish that they can’t call their country “the Republic of Ireland”. I’m certainly not going to tell them, though…

  38. @BillPatrick

    GB includes Scotland because GB refers to the whole island. Without Scotland there is no GB in the political sense, only in the geographical sense (cf Metternich and Italy).

  39. @BillPatrick

    True. The Republic continued to claim the whole island until the run-up to the Good Friday accords. Of course England and Wales could continue to claim to be the whole of the island (after all, if I remember correctly the word Cymru refers to the whole of the old Roman Province of Britain, and some Welsh folk are still hoping that all those terrible Saxons will go away again). But how would the Portuguese react if Spain were to call itself ‘Iberia’?
    That said, there is the airline by that name, which is Spanish…….

    Why not The United Kingdom of Little Britain and Northern Ireland?

  40. @John B – “I am not saying that the UK bit has to change. I am saying that the Great Britain bit has to change. There will still be a union between England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It just won’t be able to call itself ‘of GB….’”

    I think that’s another example of moving the goalposts. You were actually arguing that the union would be dissolved – it won’t be.

  41. @ John B

    I am not saying that the UK bit has to change. I am saying that the Great Britain bit has to change. There will still be a union between England, Wales and Northern Ireland. It just won’t be able to call itself ‘of GB….’
    ——————
    The arrogance of this is, quite frankly, breath-taking coming from you, a Scot who doesn’t like the UK ‘telling’ Scotland what it can & cannot do.

  42. @Alec

    No, I was saying that the Union between Scotland and England will be dissolved and that the Great Britain which united with Ireland will no longer exist.

    The fact that Great Britain didn’t call itself a United Kingdom doesn’t change the fact that it was formed by a union.

    When the Free State was formed, the 1800 Act was, in effect, amended to reduce the Irish bit of the Union, but the Union between Great Britain and some parts of Ireland remained.

    But if Great Britain were no longer to exist as a political entity, the original Union (1707) being dissolved, the Kingdom of Great Britain would no longer exist and therefore could not be ‘united’ with Northern Ireland.

    My question then becomes a simple one: in the very hypothetical situation of which we are talking, would there need to be a new Act of Union between England, Wales and Northern Ireland?

  43. Amber Star,

    I don’t think that John B is seriously suggesting that a post-Aye Scotland would dictate terms regarding the name of the UK. Then again, I don’t know WHO is supposed to tell the rUK that they can’t call themselves “the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” anymore, nor why this is supposed to be connected with the creation of a new state (nations change their names all the time without creating new states).

  44. “Why not The United Kingdom of Little Britain and Northern Ireland?”

    Brittany might object to that.

  45. John B,

    The answer to your question is “no”, because the UK would still exist.

  46. @R Huckle, TOH

    What the Mail article doesn’t point out is how contentious the PIE issue was within the general “civil liberties” movement. The feminists were determined opponents, as were the majority of gay rights activists (I remember PIE advocates being shouted down in public meetings and ostracised elsewhere).

    The “Libertarian” left – Anarchists of the “Peace News” kind were the main open proponents, and some Trots quietly followed their lead “to avoid loss of cadre” i.e. they wanted to avoid losing paedophile members – though I was told by one Trot not to worry about this, they’d be sorted out after the revolution.

    This all had rather a decisive effect on my political development, moving me out of the fringe and into the mainstream, so I have a lot of sympathy with Harman et al.

  47. @Amber star

    How arrogant? On the contrary, it would be extreme arrogance of the English and Welsh to continue to use a term for themselves which involves the whole island.

    Great Britain is a geo/political term meaning the island on which we find Scotland, Wales and England. Without any one of those three components it would be arrogant of the others to continue to use it exclusively for themselves.

  48. Alec- “I think that’s another example of moving the goalposts. You were actually arguing that the union would be dissolved – it won’t be.”

    John B- “No, I was saying that the Union between Scotland and England will be dissolved and that the Great Britain which united with Ireland will no longer exist.”

    Hmmm…

    John B- “From one kingdom to two. Two new States. Therefore, logically, two new States applying to join the EU.
    Or two new States continuing to be part of the EU.
    You can’t have one rule for one new State and another rule for an equally new State.”

  49. James VI & I adopted the title ‘King of Great Britain’ by proclamation although it was not recognised in law before 1707.

  50. PostageIncluded,

    That pretty much highlights my problem with extremists – they have no idea how to pick their fights.

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