This morning’s YouGov daily poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 39%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. At the start of the week YouGov produced an interesting string of seven point Labour leads, but with a four point lead yesterday and a five point lead today it looks as it’s business as usual. Full tabs are here.

Meanwhile the twice weekly poll from Populus has figures of CON 32%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 13%. Full tabs for those are here.

308 Responses to “Latest YouGov and Populus polls”

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  1. ICM Scotland on Sunday; Yes – 37% (-) No – 49% (+5)

    Fieldwork 17-21 Feb.

    Haven’t seen details, but being reported as undecided shifting to No (must take note of Scotsman’s editorial bias though).

    Sounds like those ‘rumours’ were complete [email protected]

  2. Thanks Stargeek.

    But why won’t it work from ?

  3. Apparently there has been a change in ICM methodology as their last poll over weighted young voters, and therefore the change may be over stated. Can’t find details.

  4. My last post was based on a Wings over Scotland comment quoting a John Curtice blog on the ICM poll, but there doesn’t appear to be one on his site, so treat with caution.

  5. @ Colin

    Re fhe YG site problem, it is something to do with how the link works on the YG site itself. So you have to go outside the YG site and go to it directly. Hope this makes sense.

    In regard to polling in general, I was struck by a graphic from the 1974 elections, which showed the spread of support across the UK for Labour and Tories. Not much has changed really. Labour still have support in a few areas in the south of England and the Tories struggle in the north of England. It is roughly the same marginal seats that will decide the election in 2015, that were important in 1974. Of course there have been boundary and seat name changes. Makes you think.

  6. @Colin

    It works from my YouGov link. Maybe they fixed it, just for you. :)

    Charts updated folks!

  7. @Colin, R Huckle and especially AW –

    Someone keeps accidentally including a space at the end of the hyperlink on the YouGov site. If you click it and then take the ‘%20’ off of the end of the URL on your address bar it’ll work.

  8. @Alec

    “Sounds like those ‘rumours’ were complete [email protected]

    And I’m afraid quite a lot of the posts on this thread too. We’ve got a fellow on here who claims to be a statistician touting statistically invalid and unrepresentative regional cross-breaks in nationwide opinion polls as if they were tablets of stone. A so called statistician breaking Mr Wells golden rule Number 1. Then we have the MOE deniers getting excited about micro-poll movements which happen to be in their favour, of course, followed by the methodology apologists downplaying poll movements that aren’t in their favour. Gawd save us all.

    It’d be funny if it wasn’t so tedious.

  9. (actually as Statgeek says it’s fixed now)

  10. It isn’t Independence that is boring, but the needless quibbling and related maneouvering that seems to come with it is something else. Eg the claim that the English don’t appreciate Scots’ difference, their “otherness”. Then when Alec points out we do, hence devolution, it gets flipped and now the problem is suddenly that we DO appreciate Scots’ difference, because apparently this implies we don’t see them as “normal”…

  11. @CB11

    Can you point me in the direction of the person who claims to be a statistician?

  12. Found the Curtice Blog –

    he does indeed, suggest caution for this poll, based on the unusually high Yes vote last time, rather than a methodological change.

    Interestingly, he also says this-

    “It is the economic argument the Yes side needs to win. No less than 90 per cent of those who think independence would be good for Scotland’s economy say they will vote Yes, while no less than 91 per cent of those who think it would be bad indicate they will vote to stay in the Union.”

    This is with a 46/35 split thinking the economy would be worse/better after independence.

    It seems fairly clear, sadly, that the real vote mover in this will not be misty eyed views of nationhood, or the desire for a better society (more people think inequality would fall under independence than not) but basic financial wellbeing.

    The uncertainty over currency may have played into this, but it was much more high level constitutional and economic debate – converted into ponds and pennies it may yet do some damage.

    However, I remain wedded to the notion that the No’s need to give Scots an idea of what their country would look like at a No vote.

  13. Ok my arithmetic (sorry up thread I used a crude method)

    Panelbase 44/56
    ICM 45/55

    Considering the forces ranged against Yes that is actually quite close.

  14. @Carfrew – BBC R4 had two Scots related items on Friday afternoon – not a hint of explanation that they were somehow unusual – just a perfectly normal day on BBC radio dealing with different parts of the UK.

  15. @Alec

    Just read your comment then looked at my Twitter feed and saw this:

    “@lewis_baston: Who is this person talking rubbish about Scotland on Radio 4?”
    “@bevclack: @lewis_baston My question precisely. Total drivel.”

    I have no idea who the folk are but I thought it light of your comment.

  16. OK now

  17. WES

    Well spotted !

  18. @Coupar2802 – it looks like he was talking about Roger Scruton, oft referred to in this house as ‘Scrotum’. I didn’t hear what he was saying, but I did hear an item afterwards with a Scottish father and son, Eric and Ross, one Yes and one No, discussing independence. It was objective. thoughtful, and very friendly.

    I was interesting in hearing the pre Yes Eric (the father) say that a big moment for him was the Iraq war decision. This helps firm my sense that we could propose a number of constitutional changes for Scotland and English regions as part of a settlement in the event of a No vote.

    As part of this, I would look at a requirement that the making of war has to be approved by all 4 parliaments/assemblies of the UK.

  19. @Alec

    Your point about devolution forced both an about turn and also a descent into quibbling instead over what is perceived as normal or not, which is rather in the eye of the beholder. At that point it becomes noise. Same thing happens over currency union. Point out the downsides of currency union from rUK perspective, and absent of a compelling counter, noise results…

    If I were to point out, for example, the problem with claiming the currency as a shared asset, but then wanting to keep the oil, there may not be a counter to that either. In which case, noise would result. Whereupon it becomes all about how good folk are at noise abatement…

  20. The amazing events in Ukraine & the heartrending pictures & stories are riveting reading this morning.

    Sunday Times has gone to town on geo-political concerns-Inaction by the West; Steely determination by Putin. etc etc.

    Their Doomsday outcome is a Putin fostered schism in the country, with a bloody civil war which would make the Balkans look like a minor skirmish.

    Hope they are wrong.

  21. Yes it was Roger Scruton.

    Apart from the big mistake on finances, to which I will return in a moment, I thought his analysis interesting and not too different from that of Tom Devine in “Scotland 1700 – 2000”

    The financial debate about ‘England subsidising Scotland’ needs to be laid to rest. If you remove the City of London from ‘England’ and give it a separate category you find that Scotland’s input into the treasury comes second to the City of London and way way above that of most of England & all of Wales and NI. If looked at in this way, then it is the City of London which is subsidising everyone; without it Scotland would be subsidising England.
    At least, that’s my understanding given the info which comes my way. Anyone got a better understanding?

  22. @John B

    What were the finances like re: subsidy before we found the oil? How much did Scotland contribute then?

  23. @ R Huckle

    Re: your point about the possible implications for Scotland of a delay in entering the EU, and the use of English ports etc.

    I am no expert (as you know) but my view would be that if the rUK wanted to be bl**dy-minded they could make life an absolute misery for a newly independent Scotland. They could simultaneously interfere with Scotland’s EU application (by insisting on such unpalatable terms that Scotland wouldn’t accept them) and exploit that delay by establishing punitive tariffs for Scots goods through English ports. I think that would all be technically legal and within their power, but for all sorts of reasons I don’t believe for second that the rUK government would behave in that way.

  24. @Alec

    I agree about the parliaments. Also I think even in the event of a Yes vote we will end up with DevoMax. The more tricky aspects of Independence are not worth the pain.

  25. Before we found the oil we were still producing ships and steel and coal, though not on the scale of, say, the 1950s. So economically Scotland only started to be ‘subsidised’ to any noticeable extent in the 1980s.

  26. @ Valerie
    “Re moderation.
    I think the best response to it is
    “Never complain, never explain”.
    Dunno who first coined that. Royalty, Kate Moss?”

    I agree re moderation.
    The quote is attributed to Benj. Disraeli! by Morley, in his 19th-century life of Gladstone; at a dinner party attended by Dis & Gladstone, at which Dis also said: the “swan very white and tender, and stuffed with truffles, was the best company at the table.”

    We could also lose the apologia which end ” . . .Damn iphone!”.

  27. Neil A

    On the other hand, it might mean that Scottish ports – Leith, Dundee, Rosyth – might pick up the slack with many fewer Scottish exports leaving via England.

  28. The biggest subsidy junkie has always been London.

  29. Never complain, never explain – wasn’t that Stalin?

  30. @John B

    Got the actual figures? Might not be great for the Yes campaign if Scotland were being subsidised then once they get the oil, want to cut and run.

    And was some of the shipping business put Scotland’s way ‘cos of the Union?

    And also, figures on UK investment in developing the deep sea technologies required?

    Could Scotland have done that so easily alone?

  31. Quite a significant shift in opinion on benefit changes revealed in today’s YouGov

    “In recent years the government have started
    to introduce a number of different changes to
    the welfare and benefit system, including
    introducing a cap on the total benefits a
    household can receive, limiting the annual
    rise in benefits to below the rate of inflation,
    reducing council tax benefit and reducing
    housing benefit for social housing tenants
    with what the government see as spare
    rooms (often referred to as the “bedroom
    tax”). From what you have seen or heard about
    these changes, do you support or oppose the
    changes to the benefit system?”

    Support 49%, Oppose 38% Net +11%

    Previously (April 2013) Support 56% Oppose 31% Net +25%.

  32. The problem with the Scotland is a subsidy junky argument, is the counter argument – that is because we are in a Union that stifles us, so let’s get out.

  33. @Phil Haines

    Maybe the churches comments are getting through.
    It would be interesting if they asked each change separately. People might agree with some but not others.

  34. @Phil

    I wondered the other day if some of the ramifications of the benefits thing might come back to haunt VI. It’s an interesting one because of the support in principle, but then there is what happens in practice. []

  35. @COUPER2802

    “The problem with the Scotland is a subsidy junky argument, is the counter argument – that is because we are in a Union that stifles us, so let’s get out.”


    Lol, you guys’ll have it either way. If you are subsidising us ‘cos of the oil, best to leave. If not, best to leave anyway, ‘cos its stifling.

    Obviously best not to share the currency, given the stifling thing, right?.

  36. Benefit cuts are something that’s unlikely to grow in popularity – more likely the opposite as people may become aware of someone affected.

  37. @Carfrew – “Could Scotland have done that so easily alone?”

    Norway did, from a much poorer base, so there wouldn’t have been a problem in Scotland.

    @John B – “The financial debate about ‘England subsidising Scotland’ needs to be laid to rest. If you remove the City of London from ‘England’…..”

    You’ve got to be really careful here. You’re arbitrarily picking out something and saying if it wasn’t, then it wouldn’t be. It’s a daft analysis. London is in England, so we wouldn’t remove the City from the figures, would we?

    There are also many other variables. In terms on non oil and whiskey trade, Scotland is a net importer to the tune of around £13B from the UK, and quoted oil export figures omit to mention the £19B of remittances abroad, which neither the UK currently sees, nor would a future Scotland. Then there’s the £7B extra under Barnett.

    All these factors go towards the net contribution to the economy. Overall, at present, Scotland is a very small net contributor to the UK economy, but with the continued fall in oil output predicted by pretty much everyone except the SNP, this is unlikely to last.

    The SNP themselves suggests £500 per head benefit to independence, which equates to a wafer thin £2.5B gross total.

    Within these figures they are assuming things like no challenge to English tuition fees, and an automatic right to an extra £1.2B in CAP funding, based on the minimum average area payments not currently available to the UK. New entrant states were told they had to accept a 10 year phasing in of these, so I would think it’s highly unlikely that these countries would approve a deal for Scotland on significantly better terms than they were offered. That would probably strip a billion immediately from the SNP’s figures.

    This link shows the long term decline in oil production so I think that it’s stretching reality to claim Scotland is guaranteed to be better off.

    It may be, or it may not be. Once Long Gannet and Torness close, you’ll even be imported electricity for a while, so things really don’t look particularly rosy in the near term, I would say.

  38. RogerH: “The biggest subsidy junkie has always been London.”

    With an ANNUAL tax surplus of £15-18billion? Don’t be daft.

    However, it is true that public investment needs to take a more long-term view and invest throughout the UK, instead of seeking the short-term return and investing in London.

  39. @carfew

    I am not saying that is my opinion just it is a counter argument.

    But logically it is possible that being in a Union had caused Scotland to be poorer than she otherwise would have been. Especially given the wealth of natural resources Scotland has.

  40. @ALEC

    “Norway did, from a much poorer base, so there wouldn’t have been a problem in Scotland.”


    Well that depends on when Norway did it, and were able to leverage technoligies we had already developed…

    Deep sea drilling is commonplace now, but not when we were pioneering it…

  41. “The government provides 15 hours of free care for all three- and four-year-olds and 20% of two-year-olds, a figure shortly to double.”

    That’s because you’re only measuring a tiny part of the effect. You need to include the subsidy from having the national government based in London plus the many public institutions, from museums to the BBC, before adding in items such as the 40% transport subsidy from the Treasury or the cost of Crossrail, etc.

  42. @Alec

    We were told in the 70s that oil would run out by the end of the century. Aberdeen is the world centre for deep sea oil exploration and development. In addition there is R&D in renewables with a number of large contracts recently signed which will bring millions to Scotland over the next few years.

    If Scotland makes her own decisions perhaps she won’t close the electricity plants or perhaps she will invest in new ones- Scotland has hydro electricity after all.

    An argument that Scotland is too poor, weak, stupid to go it alone can very easily be re-buffed by the Yes camp.

    Instead of scares and denigration Better Together should come up with some positive reasons to stick with the Union

  43. @Couper

    It may depend to some extent on when one starts counting. There may be periods in the past when Scotland was doing well, and others where we helped out. Hence interest in the figures…

    True, it is possible that being in a Union was fundamentally detrimental, and that is a core issue, but hard data seems hard to come by. They don’t seem to feel that way about the currency…

  44. Sorry, wrong quote included! Should have been: “With an ANNUAL tax surplus of £15-18billion? Don’t be daft..”

  45. “An argument that Scotland is too poor, weak, stupid to go it alone…”

    Ah, that classic ‘Yes’ version of the ‘No’ argument.

    Well, two can play at that game:

    The ‘Yes’ case is merely a collection of daydreams based loosely on a lax interpretation of selectively-chosen statistics mixed in with a generous dose of resentment towards their closest neighbour.

    Or, y’know, each side could just argue their own cases instead of such infantile negative campaigning.

  46. @Steve2

    It comes down to whether Scots have the self-confidence to go it alone. At the moment the No campaign us trying to undermine that confidence.

    I am surprised that the polls are so close given the onslaught from BT. I am not really feeling that the Yes campaign has got started yet. They seem just to be reacting or soaking up whatever BT throws at them. I assume at some point the Yes campaign will actually start.

  47. RogerH, the surplus is tax revenue v public spending.

    Latest figures that I can find (2011/12) were £102.1bn in tax revenues v. £79.9 in total public spending.

    %-wise, London receives 14.4% of total UK public spending while providing 18.8% of tax revenue.

    An estimated 16.9% of people in employment in London worked in the public sector in September 2012. This is the third lowest proportion across all regions/nations of the UK.

    …I’m curious as to what data are you basing *your* argument on?

  48. It’s not the proportion of public sector jobs but the actual number that would be significant.

  49. Another real problem is that the SLAB establishment absolutely hate the SNP – so unfortunately the debate is not about what is best for Scotland but is very party political.

    Lab should be careful though because even though their MPs and activists hate the SNP, their voters generally have SNP as their second preference and there is a lot of churn between Lab and SNP. Labour need to be careful that their stance on the referendum (I.e backing GO) doesn’t alienate their voters in Scotland.

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