This Sunday’s polling is mostly dominated by Scotland – even the YouGov/Sunday Times national poll mostly had questions about Britain’s attitudes to the Scottish referendum.

Let start with the Scottish polls though. Last weekend we had a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday which was widely reported in the media as showing that George Osborne’s intervention in the referendum debate had actually boosted YES. This was mostly rubbish – the change appeared to be largely, but not wholly, the result of Survation changing their weightings. I concluded we should probably wait for more evidence before deciding what the impact from the currency row was.

Today we have a new ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday. Their topline figures with changes from a month ago are YES 37%(nc), NO 49%(+4). At first glance this poll would indicate the currency row had led to a significant boost to the NO campaign, but once again I’d urge some caution. Regular readers will remember that the previous ICM poll showed a big swing towards YES, far bigger than any other poll, so this one may very well just be a reversion to the mean rather than any meaningful change (in particular ICM’s last poll had an unusually pro-independence sample of young people, which I suspect may have vanished. On that subject this month ICM have apparently changed their method very slightly, changing the age bands they use to weight young people.)

In the rest of the poll ICM found that 63% of people in Scotland think it is in Scotland’s best interests to keep the pound, 12% think she would be better off with a separate currency. 47% think that an independent Scotland would be able to use the pound, that the main British parties are bluffing. On the issue of Scotland’s EU membership, 54% would like to see an independent Scotland be an EU member, 29% would not; 57% think Scotland would be able to join, 24% think membership would be blocked.

The SNP have also commissioned a new Panelbase poll. Now, the last time we saw an Panelbase/SNP poll they played silly buggers with the question ordering, but I’ve double checked with Panelbase and nothing like this happened in this one (though the wording is very slightly different to that used by the Panelbase/Sunday Times poll). The topline figures are YES 37%, NO 47%. The no vote is two points lower than the last Panelbase/Sunday Times poll, but Panelbase’s previous poll was a bit higher than usual – for most of the past year Panelbase’s polls have consistently shown a NO lead of between 8 and 10 points, this is wholly in line with that.

In short, looking at the post-currency row questions we’ve got some polls showing YES up, some showing NO up, some showing little change, all of them obscured to some extent by reversion to the mean after unusual results or methodology/wording changes. It’s a pretty confused picture, but I’m struggling to see any clear movement to YES or NO.

Meanwhile the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is here and has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%. In England and Wales 21% support Scottish independence, 61% are opposed and English & Welsh respondents are now slightly more likely to think E&W would be worse off (27%) than better off (23%) if Scotland left.

Also worth noting there is an interesting non-Scotland related question – YouGov repeated a question from last April about the government’s welfare reform package as a whole, freezes, caps, bedroom tax, etc. Back in April 2013 56% of people said they supported them, 31% were opposed. Now 49% support them, 38% are opposed – so still more in support than against, but a significant movement over the last year.

397 Responses to “ICM and Panelbase Scottish polls”

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  1. Alec

    I’m still bemused that (inevitably short-term) economic issues are central to the independence debate. I wonder what Burns would have thought of a people who whose allegiance could be bought and sold for oily gold?

  2. Neil A

    Agree with your balanced report on the Harman affair, she has handled it badly.

  3. NEILA


    By & large those nuances are lost on me too.

    It seems quite clear what PIE’s purpose was-the scientific & social justification for sexual activity with minors-including babies.

    I think the irony you identify in your penultimate para . is precisely what DoM has tried to highlight & expose.

    Those who strike high moral poses from the Olympian Heights of Propriety always have to be careful if they were once wandering in the foothills with the rest of us.

    The “progressive” 70s as you describe them have a lot to answer for-and they are doing so now. Many will say that is a good thing.

  4. I thought Kevin McGuire was fair on R4 this morning when he said DoM would have run this if the politicians were Conservatives.

  5. Rosieanddaisie

    “Its jolly complicated isn’t it, if one takes the line – as I assume TOH must – that, if its in the papers it must be true?”

    Your trying to put words into my mouth again. My post was simply saying that the story is not going away, and how right I was, first item on this morning BBC news.

  6. Colin

    Absolutely right I’m sure the Daily mail would and absolutely certain the Daily Mirror would!

    As I posted to NeilA, all I’ve said so far on the story is that she has handled it badly and still not answered the specific questions raised as indeed her husbad and Patricia Hewitt haven’t either.

  7. @Lefty

    Given the wrangling over the oily gold, including the hiding of the McCrone Report, and the 40% rule, it’s not just the Scots who seem obsessed by it.

    Actually, I was too young to remember, but I just realised that the two points above were done by Labour, the latter bringing Thatcher to power.

    Imagine if things had gone differently. An Independent Scotland through the 80s, with the miners striking in England. I believe the rUK would have been in recession until the 90s, and Edinburgh would have been coining in the good stuff.

    God knows what would have happened to Wales or even Northern Ireland. Would the Falklands have gone ahead with no war funding on the horizon?

    Thatcher could easily have been out in ’83 had Scotland gone independent. Now there’s a thought.

  8. TOH

    We both remember the last time a politician was -allegedly-connected with child abuse. it wasn’t a Labour politician-and the press interest , including BBC, was considerable. as it was here too .

    I agree with your second para. she is obviously trying to avoid any hint of mea culpa.. Given the pose she strikes on these sort of matters , highlighted by NeilA one can understand why she wouldn’t want to “taint” the image as it were.

    But I think she has missed a trick on this one. DM probably anticipated that she would be pretty defensive about it.

  9. Re: Harriet Harman

    The question for me is ‘Why is this news now?’ There is nothing new in this; NCCLs association with PIE has been known about for decades. That Labour folk were in NCCL has been known about for decades. What ‘new’ information has been discovered?

  10. NEIL A
    ” The personal pain for Harman will be severe though. I can see it demoralising her and perhaps her deciding that she’s done enough for Labour and the country. These things linger, and I wouldn’t blame her if she decided she never wanted to do an interview again.”
    I greatly doubt any of that. If we know anything about her it is that she has great integrity and stamina in the face of political attack.
    As to the logic of your explanation of paedophila, it is valuable and balanced, but not the whole story, and not the whole 1970;s story. Social responses to sexual tendencies and behaviour were being forged against a background of Edwardian repression, cant and institutionalised abuse. The NCCL was greatly influential in providing a forum for balanced discussion of what could and what could not be governed by law and the penal system.
    Ms Harman does not have to apologise for the fact that an organisation which encouraged institutionalised criminal paedophilia had for a while infiltrated for its own aims an organisation dedicated to achieving civil liberty: civil in its title meaning, as has always been clear in the NCCL’s mandate and aims, within the legal and moral constraints of society.

  11. John Pilgrim.

    Wiki is interesting on the origins & development of NCCL.

    As you suggest-some honourable aims & objectives m, and noble causes.

    But some tainted episodes too -eg

    “In 1976, the NCCL in a submission to the Criminal Law Revision Committee of the British Parliament argued that “Childhood sexual experiences, willingly engaged in, with an adult result in no identifiable damage… The real need is a change in the attitude which assumes that all cases of paedophilia result in lasting damage”


  12. @Leftylampton – “I’m still bemused that (inevitably short-term) economic issues are central to the independence debate. I wonder what Burns would have thought of a people who whose allegiance could be bought and sold for oily gold?”

    Me too – very much so, in fact.

    In the absence of outright persecution, I have a general aversion to separatist movements. All of them are predicated on identifying difference, and I’m far more interested in seeking commonality and common purpose.

    I’m also not aware of separatist movement who knowingly campaign for an outcome that would make them worse off. There is always an emphasis that the ‘we’ will be better off – and in this sense, I always tend towards viewing separatism as an inherently self!sh movement.

    In the case of Scotland – my homeland – I also have a further concern regarding a key motivation for independence, namely that of escaping from the democratic domination of what is seen as a socially and politically inferior England.

    I have a deal of sympathy with this view, but for left leaning Scots voters I see two counter issues. If you really do care about fairer social and political outcomes, independence is effectively abandoning millions of people south of the border who are suffering too. I’m afraid I can’t bring my self to restrict my compassion to a line drawn on a map. History has dealt us the fate or fortune of two linked kingdoms (three, in point of fact) and I would feel peculiar if I was to seek to abandon those who shared my views elsewhere.

    Broadening out from this, while I do see Scotland as a typical ‘wee nation’, I do retain a vestige of my Scots upbringing, and feel that there is something significant that Scotland can bring to the world in terms of justice, fairness and social inclusion – more so than England.

    However, after independence, our ability to project this to a global audience will be inherently limited by our wee nation status. Within the UK, we have an opportunity to bring to the world’s attention our beliefs and understandings and punch much harder. In doing so, we can help far more people.

    Within my own mental orbit, I see my unionist tendencies in the precise opposite to what is claimed by the pro Yes campaign. To me, separation isn’t a sign of confidence. It tells me you are frightened of your larger neighbour, that you don’t have the patience or the confidence that you can win the political argument with them, and that you would rather retreat to your own, small place of safety, than engage in the wider battle for hearts and minds.

    Apologies for the hint of arrogance, but I retain my belief in the superiority of Scottish proto Scandinavian political thinking, and I believe that England has, broadly speaking, gone off the rails, but I am confident that Scotland can work to help make the UK a better place, and through the UK, get a much wider hearing for our beliefs globally.

    In this, I see my unionism as inherently optimistic, outward looking, and the very antithesis of the ‘too poor, too weak and too stup!d’ jibe often thrown at me. In point of fact, I consider separatists to be the weak ones, as I see them as running away from the fight that must be had.

    Apologies if I sound a bit like a vicar this morning.

  13. @Lefty – long post in mod which I can’t spring out, but yes, I agree with you.

  14. @ ToH

    Yes but she hasn’t answered the questions they raised, you need to read the detail. The story is continuing to run and Harman is now beginning to use the word “regret”. It’s not going to go away until all three answer the points raised by the Mail IMO.
    I didn’t make any comment. I simply posted the link to show that the Guardian was also covering the story. People will make up their own minds, as have I.

  15. Colin

    We agree as usual. I don’t think this will go away until she answers the specific question and the same is true for her husband and Hewitt..

  16. @ John Pilgrim & others

    Is this about PIE/NCCL or is this about media regulation ?

    The Dmail are fully aware that media regulation seems to be on hold at the moment, as there is no agreement about how regulation should be done. I suspect that the Dmail are worried that a Labour government from May 2015 will proceed with their independent regulator, which will have some parliamentary oversight.

    So as a tactic the Dmail could run as many stories as they could about Labour politicians. If this did not succeed in stopping Labour being elected, it could be used against Labour when they tried to introduce the independent regulator. The Dmail will say that Labour politicians are trying to restrict freedom of the press, due to the embarasssing things Labour MP’s have been involved with.

    Just a thought as to what might motivate newspapers. But this is just a theory.

  17. Amber Star

    Actually I have an open mind on the story I just cannot understand why she and the others will not reply to the specific questions being asked by the Daily Mail. Colin’s thoughts may explain why she has not answered them yet but I suggest it will not go away until she does, no matter what either of us think.

  18. Neil A
    Fully agree with your posts on Harriet Harmon and attitudes to paedophiles.

    The current hysteria is reminiscent of ‘McCarthyism’.

  19. “Harriet Harman, in all your 63 years have you ever thought or written anything that could be construed as giving moral support to the evils of paedophilia? Just answer the question.”

  20. I can’t blame Harman for focussing solely on the DM’s implied accusation that she once supported Paedophilia (in the modern sense of the word). The NCCL allowing any legal organisation to affiliate simply by paying a membership fee is something that in hindsight was clearly a bad idea, but you just had to listen to the way Laura Kuenssberg repeatedly asked Harman if she was going to say sorry for the NCCL affiliating with PIE to know an apology would be potentially disastrous for her. Because that would be accepting the DM’s implication of what their membership policy actually meant. I didn’t hear Harman dodging the question, I heard her answering head on the real accusation that was being levelled at her. That she condoned and supported PIE. And if she answered with the yes or no LK was trying to force on her, she would be giving credence to those accusations. It’s like that old “have you stopped beating your wife? Yes or no.” question. Very disappointing from Newsnight, but sadly par for the course these days. Not suggesting political bias, I hasten to add, they treat pretty much everyone the same shoddy way.

  21. My impression is that Harman approached Newsnight rather than it being the BBC chasing the story. I do think it was such a poor interview that it won’t have resolved anything, though.

  22. @Alec

    “It tells me you are frightened of your larger neighbour, that you don’t have the patience or the confidence that you can win the political argument with them, and that you would rather retreat to your own, small place of safety, than engage in the wider battle for hearts and minds.”

    Thank you for my morning laugh!

    I tend to see it as an opportunity to compete (confidently and positively) with said neighbour, rather than never win the political argument (591 MPs to 59), and have the competition taken from you and awarded elsewhere on the whim of a cabinet minister, who’s priority is shoring up a marginal constituency in the Midlands.

    Scotland can compete within the UK, but never against England, and from time to time England says “No” to Scotland, and Scotland can do sod all about it. If a separate Scotland loses opportunities to England, what’s the difference? At least the loss can be quantified into some positive change to do better next time and we can compete more effectively next time (be it price, diplomacy or whatever factors). With the status quo, no amount of improvement can get past the cabinet minister scenario above.

    I see the hearts and minds campaign from BT is going well. Fear, scare, worry etc. :))

  23. @Alex F: I agree about the interviewer. I thought she was as bad when interviewing the Welsh NHS chief last week, overlooking what appeared to be an attempt to undermine the more traditional way the Welsh NHS is being managed.

  24. R HUCKLE
    “Is this about PIE/NCCL or is this about media regulation ?”‘

    Not media regulation – that’s another chapter, perhaps – but certainly about media behaviour.

    The DM’s questions are intended to convey that there are questions to answer. There aren’t. Anyone with their head in the right place knows that HH shares the same repulsion for PIE as the rest of us, and always has done.

    That is not where the DM itself is coming from: a very dark and reptilian place where it and other Murdochian emanations rightly have their unspeakable being.

  25. Oh dear, here we are again discussing the Daily Mail. Anthony is being extremely tolerant with the debate so far and I’m loathe to intrude on what could be construed as private grief. Suffice to say that the Daily Mail (or is that DoM now, I lose track) lost all claims to partiality and objectivity many moon’s ago and anyone looking for balanced journalism within its pages is really embarking on a pointless journey. Those who like the newspaper and its political stance will be enjoying what it’s doing with Harman, Dromey and Hewitt whereas those who despise it and all its works won’t. It really is as simple as that. There is no light to be found in such a debate, just sound and fury signifying nothing.

    As for the bones of the story, for what they are, it appears a guilt by association piece, linking those who had anything to do with the NCCL in the 70s with an organisation advocating paedophilia. The Mail wants all those involved then, or at least all those with Labour connections, to apologise for their alleged acquiescence to and tolerance of PIE. The three in the firing line are refusing to do so, denying any such advocacy or acquiescence. Looks like a non-story heading for the buffers unless the Mail can get hold of any fingerprints on incriminating documents and statements. Innuendo isn’t enough although, if it’s political damage they’re after, smears can stick, as Alec has already said. In that sense, it might well be mission accomplished for the Mail.

    Unless I’m missing something here, none of them have been accused of child molestation or anything like, have they?

    By the way, I desperately hope this isn’t the opening bid in some dreadful dirty political war. The Sunday Mirror and Tom Watson are still implying that they are sitting on some sensational child sex abuse ring case involving a senior Tory in the 80s.

    All I can say is God help us all if this is what it’s coming to.

  26. I think that unfortunately for the rest of the year we’re going to see a succession of stories relating to historic crimes,possible cover-ups etc. and there’s no way of knowing how many will dominate the front pages or precisely which will seem to matter in the longer run.

    All the parties seem to have festering problems and my own guess is,as with MPs expenses, it’s politics as a whole that will be damaged – or in polling terms fewer people voting rather than voters switching parties.

    The Daily Mail may or may not have ideas of their own about what they want to achieve but their recent track record isn’t impressive – their 2010 attacks on Clegg harmed the Lib. Dems to the benefit of Labour in my view and the attack on Ed M’s father certainly misfired too.

    Like a number of other commenters I’ll be very glad when it all stops and we can focus on current issues that affect all voters and the country as a whole right now.- but to repeat I don’t think you’ll see the underlying stories far from the front pages for the rest of this year at least.

  27. John Pilgrim

    In your opinion, clearly the Daily Mail does not support your party of preference but as Colin says above the Daily Mail would be asking the same questions if the story was about a Tory politician.

  28. I think Ian Dale has got it petty much spot on

    Harman should have just left the Mail to howl at the wind. I’m pretty sure will blow over with no lasting effect, but it’s not a very nice spectacle. Not sure why the Mail seems to be getting a free pass either, given their fairly regular propensity to publish images of just clearing puberty girls in bikinis…

    @Neil A

    Thank you for those comments – I think you’re pretty much correct in your assessment. I’d also like to say that I admire your ability to be objective in your assessments and posts – an example we’d all do well to follow.


    I think it’s pretty clear that it’s about Dacre’ s bruised ego – he’s still smarting over the thrashing he got in the “Milliband’s dad” affair. So he’s reloaded and fired at another target. The story, and allegations, are not new after all – they were doing the rounds in 2009 (and was probably covered by the Mail back then).

  29. @Statgeek – I’m afraid you seem to have fallen right into the trap. I’m not talking about economics or the number of MPs in the HoC – I’m talking about ideas.

    Within the union, with sufficient devolved powers (and I think we can agree that something needs to be done here to buttress Scots authority and safeguard against future power grabs from Westminster) Scotland can show England a better way to run things. Then, it won’t matter if there is a 59/591 split – if enough of those 591 see the difference.

    As I say, unlike you, I’m inherently confident about Scotland and our ability to hold our own and improve the union. I think we’re better that separatists think.

  30. @TOH
    “Chris Riley
    Re the Mail, that is only your opinion and even the Mirror has raised the same issues so can I assume you also hold the same views on the Mirror?”

    Your “even the Mirror has raised the same issues” point is less convincing when you read what the Mirror actually had to say:

  31. Statgeek,

    I’ve been avoiding the Independence debate, but wanted to clarify what you just wrote. Are you saying that Scotland is unable to compete with England now, when it regularly has ministers in the cabinet including recently both the Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer, but will be in a much better position to compete with no representation at all in Westminster, and no political incentive for the rUK government to consider Scottish interests in any aspect of decision making? Really? Now, I can understand feelings run high up there when a Tory government is in power, which doesn’t rely on Scottish MPs, but Independence is a permanent solution to what, if opinion polls are to be believed, is a temporary problem. It’s most likely Scotland will form a key part of the next Westminster government if you stick around.

  32. RogerH and AnarchistsUnite

    So what, nobody said the D Mail behaves in a saint like manner, the point is the story won’t go away until HH and the other two answer the specific questions raised by the DMail. I cannot understand why they don’t.

  33. Because by answering the Daily Mail it’s a tacit admission of some guilt, at least by association. It’s essentially the same as the Rennard thing in its principles.

  34. “Three-quarters of Brits and 95% of dog owners believe dogs are adept at understanding our emotions

    I wonder how good our resident pups are at understanding all of us?

  35. Interesting reading re: a slightly similar, and much more recent, connection between the ACLU (the US equivalent of the NCCL) and NAMBLA (sort of similar to PIE).

    h ttp://

    It’s all a bit Voltaire. Defending people’s rights to express views that you utterly disagree with.

  36. @ Roger H

    Thanks for that link! Very droll.

    It’s always good to be reminded that it was the tabloids that brought soft porn into the mainstream.

  37. @ Valerie, John P., etc.

    Yes, it’s the McCarthyite tactic of guilt by association. Ralph Miliband believed such and such, so Edward M. must believe it. The NCCL once had a horrible affiliate, so everyone who worked for that organisation must have supported the values of that affiliate, etc.

    I agree with @Ozwald [spelling?] who posted today that all this had persuaded him to give the site a rest, but his post has been censored, or moderated, to use the current euphemism.

  38. @ Roger H

    The link you provided was v. telling!

  39. ToH
    “In your opinion, clearly the Daily Mail does not support your party of preference”

    My post was not about support for my party or anyone else’s party of preference, but about acting within the bounds of the morality which you rightly from time to time exhort us to.
    The Mail’s intentions are not to expose the truth about any supposed support of HH for PIE and its aims in the 1970s, but to damage her through its allegation of guilt by association.
    This is an instrument which it, and other papers in its group, have used to damage democratic politics as such, disregarding, because it can afford financially to do so,and as its fellow rag, the Sun did in its repeated and unfounded attacks on Gordon Brown, the law of libel.
    It will take the measured risk of committing a crime within a law which is framed to prevent it, in order to do damage, knowing the limits on any legal response from those it attacks.

  40. PS. Perhaps guilt by association isn’t such a bad idea!

    The Daily Mail once supported the Na-zis, so anyone who now works for the organisation now supports . . .

  41. John Pilgrim

    You are just restating your opinion of the D Mail. I was just pointing out that I do not share your view of the newspaper or its intention in this instance.

  42. Just a general thought, generated by this latest Daily Mail furore, but is what we’re increasingly seeing now a symptom of the further Americanisation of our politics where because there is so little meaningful difference between our political tribes, and everybody is dancing on the head of a centrist pin, then mudslinging and defamation is all that’s left to offer?

    It’s a horrible thought, isn’t it? Whatever happened to the battle of ideas that so excited and motivated me in my youth? I’m not claiming that politics has ever been whiter than white, and it has always had its dark and unsavoury side, but I sense desperation in the air now where the battlefield has essentially been given over to the Lynton Crosbys, Karl Roves and Damian McBrides of this world.

  43. From a journalistic ethics point of view, the Mail is badly failing on this – they are using spurious evidence (check) to damage someone’s personal reputation rather than their professional one (check) by using an old story that’s been known for years (check).

    It isn’t in the public interest in the same way something like the MPs Expenses Scandal was because it’s not relevant to someone’s current professional conduct or credibility, especially since in my view they were never guilty of anything in the first place.

    Conservatives would not be happy if the press tried to make scandals of what David Cameron and Boris Johnson got up to in the club-that’s-probably-on-the-automod-list, and rightly so because it no longer informs their conduct.

    This isn’t quite as bad as the Man Who Hated Britain because it’s not as vicious or unprovoked and at least attacks the intended target rather than family, but it’s still poor quality reporting.

    If something new had been revealed about the link between PIE and NCCL, it would have been newsworthy. If Harriet Harman had any dealings with PIE, that would have been newsworthy. As it is, it smacks of personalised smearing rather than legitimate journalism.

  44. mrnameless

    In your opinion, not mine.

  45. If the Daily Mail really feels so strongly about this issue why did it fail to bring the matter to public attention back in the 1970s and 1980s?

  46. Well it was a while coming -and not given direct-but better late than never :-

    Let’s hope DM considers this an end to it now.

  47. @ Mr Nameless

    ‘“Three-quarters of Brits and 95% of dog owners believe dogs are adept at understanding our emotions”

    They (and other mammals to greater or lesser degree) are able to do this because of mirroring neurons in the brain which align their body musculature to our own – emotions are located in the tension of various muscle groups which can be demonstrated scientifically. The intra-specific communication between humans i.e. intuition comes from the same mirroring neurons.

    Presumably, this had an evolutionary advantage in the capacity of an individual to identify aggression/fear in another whether of their species or another.

    Re: Rosie and Daisie – I have no doubt that they have Paul and Mrs Paul totally taped but not being able to see the rest of you will certainly cramp their style.

  48. I imagine HH is having a hard time defending herself because the allegation is so unfair. She has campaigned all her career for the rights of women and children – she must be incandescent with rage.

    And for the record she issued a statement addressing every one of the allegations. For example her modification to the pornography bill was to endure parents weren’t criminalised for taking pics of their kids on the bath – this is pre-Facebook days where you had to get pics developed.

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