There is a new Panelbase Scottish poll for NewsNet Scotland out today, with topline figures of YES 40%, NO 45%, don’t know 15%. Leaving aside that one poll with leading questions, the five point lead for No is the smallest we’ve seen since way back in February 2012. As ever don’t get too excited about any single poll, it’s the trend that counts, but there does appear to be a slight trend towards YES. John Curtice has his say upon it here.

Polls so far are here. Different Scottish polls from different companies tend to produce slightly different figures, especially in terms of don’t know. For trends it’s probably best to repercentage to exclude don’t knows, and one should certainly only compare polls from the same company:

Taking them one at a time, ICM had YES on 40% last September, then 46% in January, then 43% in February – YES appear up on September, but recent trends are unclear.

Ipsos MORI we had YES on 34% last September, 37% in December, 36% in February. Again YES appear up on September, but the recent trends are unclear

Survation we had YES on 38% in January, and then on 45% in February and March… but there was a significant methodology change between January and February, so don’t read too much into that shift.

TNS-BMRB we have what looks like a trend. YES was on 36% in October, 38% in November, 40% in December and January, 41% in February.

YouGov appears to show a similar steady but slow trend – 38% in September, 39% in December and January, 40% in February.

Panelbase have consistently shown better scores for YES than other companies, but until today have not really shown a clear trend: 44% in September, 45% in October and November, 43% and 44% in February. Repercentaged to exclude don’t knows today’s YES figure would be 47%… so higher, but not something that couldn’t be normal margin of error.

Putting it all together whatever trend is present is only small, so in individual poll series it is difficult to distinguish it from normal sample variation. Looking across the board though, the direction of travel in recent months does appear to slightly be towards YES.

185 Responses to “Panelbase/NewsNetScotland – YES 40%, NO 45%”

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  1. @ Pete B

    Auto-mod struck again!

  2. RinN
    Printing money is for some hard to grasp, especially if they don’t want to (grasp).
    I’ve been worried about your adopted country. Even though not in the EU, you are in Schengen – are you not ‘swamped’ by Romanians and Bulgarians?

    We had a European thread, just, so I think I am on topic.

  3. Crossbat

    I did wonder if it was ‘that’ c word but decided that I must be mistaken because I have never seen it in use on these pages. Just shows what one misses when not looking in every day.

  4. @Oldnat

    “At last!

    A “quick, objective (but completely unscientific) personality test” to determine how to vote in the indy referendum! (from the Herald).”


    “You’re completely on the fence!

    Based on your answers, your opinions are balanced equally for and against independence.”

    That test is worth hee haw in my humble opinion. :))

  5. Statgeek

    For a joke test, it seems to have identified your position rather well. :-)

  6. Howard

    Not yet, at least I haven’t met any. Maybe they don’t like the cold! Having said that, we have had a horrible winter, the US stole our snow and arctic temperatures. I haven’t needed my thermal underwear once!

  7. ‘C’ word?

    I assume it means Cyber-nat, which is basically Mail / Telegraph speak for ‘Scottish person with a political view on the UK that differs from ours’.

    Got it!

    “Celtic Companionless Conservative” (a.k.a. David Mundell)

  8. Not Colonial then?


    “also wondered if anyone here had picked up on the latest thoughts from the BoE on economic theory and money creation, but alas no”


    Hello again Richard. Gotta link on the BoE thing?…

    (p.s. it’s not quite all endless cycles. In recent weeks we’ve done hydraulic gradients, schoolkids achieving fusion, student accommodation in Sheffield and Bristol, tidal arrays in the Pentland Firth, the relevance of speed to road safety, and additionally there have been many, many squirrels…)

  10. I’m a fence-sitting English squirrel.
    Well, I wasn’t going to support Team Scotland, was I?(though I’d prefer Team UK to Team GB)

  11. @Statty

    Sure, if you are talking about Scotland being underepresented in the news, that’s an understandable concern. But is it really necessary to qualify almost every statement by saying it’s different in Scotland? I mean, we know for example not everything the Education Secretary says will apply in Scotland, because they have a devolved parliament.

    Equally, it probably won’t apply in other places that have their own governmental arrangements, e.g. New Zealand, Cuba or the Gobe desert. Is it really essential to keep mentioning this?

  12. Carfrew

    Here’s a link to positive money, there were also articles in the guardian and the FT

  13. I’m also going to take this panelbase poll with some salt, until we see some more from panelbase. Something John Curtice points out in his “What Scotland thinks” page, it’s unusual for male and female voters to support no in almost equal measure, usually males trail females in supporting no, so there just could be a random sample here.

    Setting aside this poll…for now anyway…there has been a slight swing of 2.4% from No to Yes since September. What is even more interesting is that swing seems to have occurred from the autumn to the end of 2013 with 3%, but since the start of the year it’s swung back to no by 0.6%

    I have left out Survation as Anthony mentions that Survation changed their methodology earlier this year, but ICM did too because they had issues with obtaining samples of 16 to 24 year olds which caused some exaggerated swings. If we leave ICM out, we have a swing of 2.25% from autumn to end of 2013 and no swing since.

    Further evidence for this split in the swing is TNS BRMB, who suggest the ratings about stabilising since December.

    From this you could conclude that the yes were making sight progress right up to the end of 2013, but since then have stalled or even gone into reverse. Maybe the white paper actually harmed any progress they were making and / or the NO side stepping up their campaign on issues such as the pound have checked progress by yes

  14. Back to the thread!

    Following Anthony’s wise advice, I’ve repercentaged the figures for Labour voters to exclude undecideds.

    Survation had 25% of decided Labour voters saying Yes. Panelbase have 32% of them saying Yes.

    Can the Scottish Labour Conference (starting tomorrow) persuade them otherwise?

  15. @carfrew

    The issue is that virtually nothing – and possibly nothing at all- the English Education Secretary says has any relevance to Scotland yet his or her pronouncements and actions will be covered extensively on UK network news and media normally without making that clear.

    And the Gobe Desert and others places abroad do not share a public broadcaster or national newspapers etc as the four nations of the UK currently do.

  16. @CARFREW

    “Equally, it probably won’t apply in other places that have their own governmental arrangements, e.g. New Zealand, Cuba or the Gobe desert. Is it really essential to keep mentioning this?”

    You have just made the case for devolved broadcasting!

    Of course these arrangements don’t apply in NZ etc, but then neither are these reports heard there. They are, however, heard in Scotland – because there is not a “Scottish Six”. At the time of devolution, c. 1997, there was a proposal to have the main news bulletins delivered in Scotland by Scottish broadcasters, but it was held that everyone should receive the same bulletins. Hence the requirement, rarely acknowledged, to inform viewers which statements are true of the UK as a whole, and which are applicable to one part only.

  17. PaulGoddard

    Since it’s a poll, it would have to be a random sample.

    The gender balance results were interesting and (I agree) we’ll need to see whether other polls confirm that finding.

    Worth noting, however, that the churn effect that produced similar Yes figures for males and females involved movements to/from the Undecideds.

    Among males, 6% more moved to the No camp – almost all of them from Undecided. They were more than compensated for by the 8% of females who left the No camp – a net 5% now voting Yes, while the others moved from No to Undecided.

  18. No sign of any budget bounce for the Government in today’s You Gov and I’m guessing that most, if not all, of the fieldwork was conducted after Osborne made his speech in the Commons.

    I’m a tad surprised, to be honest, because I thought the polls would tighten considerably, more so in the immediate warm afterglow as opposed to in the mid to long term. The weekend polls may paint a different picture, but if today’s YouGov is representative of the general reaction to the budget, then the good ship HMS UK Opinion sails serenely on, much as it has done so for the thick end of two years now.

  19. crossbat11

    Having misread your post at first I was rather taken by the idea of HMS UK Opinion sailing serenely on – thick end first.

    Seemed so apposite for it to be steaming in reverse, and since it would actually be GB Opinion then it would, Titanic-like, be leaving Northern Ireland behind. :-)

    (As Alec pointed out upthread, actually using accurate language is helpful).

  20. @HIRETON

    The issue is that virtually nothing – and possibly nothing at all- the English Education Secretary says has any relevance to Scotland yet his or her pronouncements and actions will be covered extensively on UK network news and media normally without making that clear.

    And the Gobe Desert and others places abroad do not share a public broadcaster or national newspapers etc as the four nations of the UK currently do.”


    Is it really the case that our sharing a broadcaster or papers should make people need constant reminding that Scotland has a devolved parliament. Unless you think we need reminding about sharing newspapers and stuff. But ok…

    …let’s add that into the mix then. The next time Gove makes a statement, he should make sure to add that “This does not apply to Cuba or the Gobe Desert, who additionally do not share our broadcaster or newspapers, unlike Scotland, who do share a broadcaster and papers, but have a devolved parliament (unless maybe they sell some of the papers over in Cuba, NZ etc., and then maybe there’s the World Service…)”

  21. That’s a strange analysis from Crossbat . UK opinion has now halved Labour’s lead and 20 % of voters are now voting for UKIP , Nationalists and Greens !

  22. @Richard in Norway

    Thanks muchly for the link. So they finally acknowledged it then. Interesting the comments about the implications for QE…

  23. carfrew

    For all his faults, Gove can probably spell “Gobi Desert”.

    The BBC World Service is actually reasonably good at dealing with the functions of government at different levels.

    Possibly because they are broadcasting to people in the rest of the world who frequently live in federally or confederally constructed states.

    England is in the abnormal situation of having its domestic affairs run by politicians some of whom are elected from outwith its borders.

    The inability to understand that is reminiscent of the (very) old Scots joke about the mother who was proudly watching her son graduate from military college, and as they all marched by, she said: “They’re aw oot o’ step but oor Jock.”

  24. Haha, you want to have a go about autocorrect now?

    Gove probably knows more than you about productive pedagogy, which wasn’t much. Couldn’t believe your comments a little while back about how all the evidence points to being in favour of delaying the teaching of reading, when in fact the matter is rather in dispute.

    Also, your comments about how in countries with kindergartens they delay reading till age six. They may do with formal teaching, but they teach it informally. Also, in some countries, parents are expected to do rather more to assist in helping with the reading.

    Ok oldnat if you think people cannot get the governmental arrangements, then every time Gove makes a statement that doesn’t apply to Scotland he can say so, as long as Salmond does that every time he makes a statement that doesn’t apply to England. Or do you think only the English would not get the devolved thing?

    While we are at it, since you are so keen on accuracy, every time you make some claim about Independence, maybe you should preface it that you don’t really know for sure what will happen with the currency, the EU, the Scottish economy etc.

  25. Sounds like the gin is kicking in lol

  26. Lol, Green tea for me Chas. With lemon. Dunno what oldnat’s drinking though…

  27. I’ve not heard this chippy stuff about broadcasters saying England when they mean Britain for years .

    The BBC and ITV have gone to great lengths to educate their contributors , only a few have slipped through the net and they are usually corrected on the spot .

  28. OldNat

    You sought a datum on the figure from the latest St Davids Day poll (ICM, 1000 sample, published by BBC Wales 28 Feb 14) which shows 23% wanting the Welsh Assembly abolished. In a similar poll in 2010 same source reported that the figure was 10%.

    The result does rather confirm my anecdotal take on opinion here in the borders (and Wales has a much longer and more populous border than you do with England ;-).

    People in the Eastern Valleys and borders have never been that keen on devolution, partly because of the language issue which is a peculiarly divisive factor within Wales and the Welsh. Many are even less keen now because of disappointment with the results of devolution, not to mention the problem you get with most public institutions – European Commission is a prime example – ie they always want more power, never less. The bitter argument between the brave, long suffering and truly Welsh Ann Clwyd MP and our FIrst MInister illustrates the problem. Ann herself said this month she would not be willing to vote for any further devolution here until the existing services notably health and education were improved. That’s my position too . I voted for devolution twice (alongside a minority in my area ), most recently in 2011. I would vote against ANY further devolution now, and indeed would probably support re-centralising the health and education services unless there are measurable improvements in terms of mortality and waiting figures and PISA ratings within (say) 5 years. Fortunately we will still have that option available as part of the UK. For Scottish people its a one way ticket if your referendum goes YES. Your health services and education are probably better than Wales and perhaps also England at the moment. But what if they fall behind in 10 years time ?


    It sounds as if you might be one of those who would be tempted to interpret the figures in the St David poll of

    5% – want Welsh independence
    38% – want more devolution
    28% – want no change
    3% – want less devolution
    23% – want the Assembly abolished

    as meaning that we should Carry On Devolving Regardless because the 38% is the largest minority !! I’m in the 28% but the slightest hint of more devolution a la Silk will put me in one of the next two categories below it – and I think you’ll find that goes for a lot of people in Wales. “No Change” doesn’t mean we are happy with the Assembly – for many its just a resigned apathy that we have to live together amicably and make the best of what we (just) voted for. By less than 1% on a 50% turnout as another poster correctly reminded us. “No Change” is not a signal that we seek a newly electrified train paid for (mostly) by the rest of the UK arriving here in Cardiff Bay carrying yet more powers to be shunted down the Bay. But I fear the Crachach mistake red/amber for a green light ….


    (re-post as first got sent into Auto-mod – have now changed a word that may have inadvertently triggered it ?)

  29. Sorry OldNat and others a longish post in automod replying to you wrongly said number supporting abolition of Welsh Assembly in 2010 ICM Poll (which had no slanted questions unless you know otherwise Howard) was 10% – I should have said 13%, Got increase in the abolitionists (up to 23% this year) mixed up with actual figure.

    I wonder if this will go into automod too …

  30. I think, politically, Osborne might have made a mistake here with the pension liberation. I think it will play well with those who have a pension pot to liberalise…but it is likely to rankle those who have not and accentuate the ‘party of the haves’ narrative.

    It’s true that the “Haves” are far more likely to vote than the “Have Nots”…but I suspect there are a LOT more people without pension pots to liberate than those with.

    Expect a slight boost for the so called ABC1s and a widening gap for the CDEs.

    If only Labour could get that apathetic vote out! Need a few more Energy Freeze ideas before May next year.

  31. Another approval above (or should it be below?) -20 but with no apparent effect on VI.

    I am wondering if an element of those disapproving previously when the range was minus 25-30 were people still giving a Tory VI and they are the ones now approving?

    ‘I will always vote Tory but don’t like what the Government is doing’ who are now’ the Government is doing OK’.

    Anecdotes not evidence I know but I do know Labour voters who said similar things when Blair was leader and whose ‘approval’ varied during the tenure.

    Perhaps the budget measures will help bring back some crinkly UKIP support? we will see. Although too late for those who have already taken an annuity and the below 60 age group have a large element of ABTs I seem to recall.

    (Of course some churn would have occurred)

  32. The other point people have not picked up on with the pension changes, is the people who work in Insurance/annuities. Most of these will be natural Tories, but if their jobs are now at risk following this change, they may not vote or change who they back. The could be many thousands of people whose jobs are affected by this change.

    As far as I know the government had not consulted with the annuity providers before this change. We now have, according to the Daily Mail, 250,000 people who are looking to cancel recently arranged annuities. Apparenly some annuity providers are having to allow people longer to withdraw from their contracts because of the rush.

    With such a big change to pensions policy, the government should have been working with the pensions industry, so they had a chance to make changes to their products.

  33. I think we all know the impact on Lib Dem poll ratings of the tuition fees U turn, but this will surely rub salt into those liberal wounds –

    It turns out that the policy looks likely to actually cost the Treasury, because of rocketing unrecoverable loans. Ho, ho, ho, is my initial response.

    Perhaps this is an example of a Laffer curve in operation? Funny how they never apply that logic when increasing taxes and fees on poorer people.

  34. Alec

    “increasing taxes and fees on poorer people.”

    Don’t understand your reference to poorer people, the fees apply to all. Not like you to make mistakes like that.

  35. Does anyone know what the tax situation is for people taking their pension and putting it into for example a high interest savings account? I just don’t see how this can be distinguished from using the cash to buy a Lamborghini unless the pensioners accounts are closely monitored.

  36. Superb piece by Littlejohn in the Daily Mail today. I’m off for a long walk to celebrate.

  37. JIM JAM

    Always enjoy your musings on Approval vs VI.

    The Times this morning headlines a YouGov Poll for The Sun showing 66% support for the Budget “savers” package.

  38. @TOH – “Don’t understand your reference to poorer people, the fees apply to all. Not like you to make mistakes like that.”

    People with money are less likely to take out a student loan for their tuition fees. Additionally, people who can’t repay such loans are, by definition, poorer.

    The analogy stands, in my view. We mustn’t increase the top rate of tax, because it will raise less money as rich people find ways around it. However, we can increase what are effectively taxes for education for poorer people.

    Except it turns out we can’t.

  39. An intriguing article in The Times about members of DB schemes in the public Sector, taking transfer values out to a DC scheme in order to get the cash !

    Restrictions planned apparently-but that would certainly expose the huge capital value required to fund these indexed DB Schemes.

    Average UK DC pot at retirement is apparently £20k. That is what this policy change is all about.

  40. Crossbat11
    Surely the majority of fieldwork inputs would have been ‘in’ before the Commons debates, let alone after media reaction to the announcements? They began on Wednesday evening and through to teatime yesterday, unless you have insight of when people normally submit. Perhaps Anthony has info on that?

    So I don’t think anything, other than possibly the child care thing, could have been of major influence?

  41. @Alec

    Re: Tuition fees

    It’s not as if the Tories were not warned beforehand that this would happen. They did it anyway. Watch them blame the LDs for forcing them to set the starting point for repayment at those earning 21,000 per year.

    Expect a further slashing of government funding for higher education forcing universities to increase fees yet further, together with a lowering of the repayment threshold.

  42. @Coupar2802 – “Does anyone know what the tax situation is for people taking their pension and putting it into for example a high interest savings account? ”

    Webb said yesterday that from 2015 there would be no restrictions, with the withdrawals above the 25% permitted tax free being treated as earnings for that year, and taxed at the individuals marginal rate.

    This leaves open the opportunity for rich people to build up a sizable pension pot with 40% tax relief, withdrawing 25% tax free as now. In subsequent years they could then withdraw lumps sums of c £33,000, which would keep them below the 40% threshold (accounting for the state pension) therefore gaining significantly at the tax payers expense.

    I imagine lots of those annuities employees R Huckle was talking about will be working on such schemes right now.

  43. @RAF

    I always thought tuition would drive graduates abroad as they would not have to repay the fees. Another reason to vote Yes so we are never forced to introduce tuition fees. Even if Education remains devolved after a No vote – the UK Labour Party might force a tuition fee policy on Scottish Labour with the Libs and Cons are already in favour it is only the SNP that are against.

  44. Alec

    Why not just agree you made a mistake.

  45. NickP
    “I think, politically, Osborne might have made a mistake here with the pension liberation. I think it will play well with those who have a pension pot to liberalise…but it is likely to rankle those who have not and accentuate the ‘party of the haves’ narrative.”

    You may be right but then again, according to the latest YouGov poll for the Sun, this policy is popular with 66% of voters. My feeling is that Osborne may have just created his ‘right to buy’, moment and with Labour seemingly split on whether to support or not (and they will hopefully come out against eventually) the polls will slowly start to change in favour of the blues, as voters consider their options. Individual freedom to run their own affairs, or nanny state knows best.

  46. Robert Newark

    It’s what I expect although I think the swing back to the Tories will be quite late, but strong. The budget adds to the the economic competence argument and the lack of response from Labour adds to it as well.

  47. @Alec

    What I don’t understand about this ‘freedom’ meme is: at the moment the cash is transferred into a annuity tax free. But if the pensioner now has the ‘freedom’ to move the cash anywhere then I am assuming they will have to pay tax when the move the cash?

    So how will they live if they don’t want to take a tax hit – their pension will stay in their pot and they will take taxable income out as needed? That is not freedom to move to a better investment is it?

    I agree the pension changes benefit the rich, papers like the Sun basically spin it for the Tories as a good thing.

    It is a budget for the Haves but the Labour response is very weak, they really need to get good spin doctors.

  48. Colin,

    My initial reaction is that the Isa changes are positive whilst I am unsure about the pension ones (neither negative or positive – I just don’t have a view yet, may never!).
    So I would be in the 66% I think.

    Yes the approval/VI thing interests me perhaps more than it merits but others bang on about PMI and other data looking for early indicators in the same way. smiley thing.

  49. @PopulusPolls: New Populus VI: Lab 38 (+2); Cons 34 (+2); LD 9 (-1); UKIP 12 (-1); Oth 7 (-2)

    Not much change in Populous either

  50. @Colin

    I think the initial thoughts of some commentators that this was a ‘core vote’ budget are correct. Where 15k ISA allowance 30k for a couple will be welcomed by rich folk, it will solidify the ‘party of the rich’ meme for the non-Con voters. Similar with pension pots – shore up the rich older person vote but do nothing for the majority.

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