I’ve been entrenched in preparing Nick v Nigel debate polling (more on that later) for the last couple of day, but in the meantime there have been two new Scottish referendum polls.

The new YouGov poll in the Times this morning continues the recent trend of movement towards the YES camp. Topline figures are YES 37%(+2), NO 52%(-1), equating to to 42/58 split once don’t knows and won’t says are removed. YouGov tend to show one of the bigger NO leads, but the trend is there. Looking at the longer term figures from each company, back in September YouGov had YES at 38%, 39% in December and January, 40% in February, now 42% in March. YES have got a lot of catching up, progress is slow and there’s not that long to go, but the movement is there. Tabs for the new YouGov poll are here.

The second poll from TNS BMRB is contrasting, but is actually rather less new – fieldwork finished on the 9th March (I assume the long gap between fieldwork and publication for TNS polls is something to do with their face-to-face fieldwork, but it still seems to take a long time. Even face-to-face fieldwork these days is done on a laptop, so it’s not like lots of data needs to be collated by hand). Topline figures there are YES 28%(-1), NO 42%(nc). No continuation of the trend towards yes there.


70 Responses to “New YouGov and TNS Scottish polls”

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  1. Mac First.

  2. Mac Bu**er !

  3. A Saltire thread? Time for a rendition of ‘Peter Pawlett Baby’?

    Since we’re on Scotland, I might as well highlight that since the budget (and the narrowing of the polls), the Lab VI in the Scottish cross-breaks has firmed up to the 40% level (from the 37/38 level).

    Make of that what you will.

  4. The suspicion has to be that the publication of the TNS poll was held back in an attempt to undermine the evidence from other more recently assembled polls of a gradual but essentially consistent move to “Yes”.

    Whether or not that is the case, it is clear that some of the TNS polling actually took place in February- a long time ago in political terms as normally accepted.

  5. The suspicion has to be that the publication of the TNS poll was held back in an attempt to undermine the evidence from other more recently assembled polls of a gradual but essentially consistent move to “Yes”.
    ————
    Tinfoil hats are optional. ;-)

  6. Amber Star.

    Ok. Having reread (with more attention) Anthony’s commentary which suggests that TNS publication dates are usually significantly delayed relative to fieldwork, I will settle for :

    “…. it is clear that some of the TNS polling actually took place in February- a long time ago in political terms as normally accepted.” :-)

    Some media outlets HAVE spun this poll as contradicting the move to Yes recognised by most others, whereas in fact it just seems out of date.

  7. @ Thomas
    The media often report polls in a somewhat skewed way. My reply was intended to be light-hearted & I’m glad you ‘got’ the humour. :-)

  8. Interesting intervention from the CBI today, although perhaps not that interesting, as they have already said they are against independence. However, some of their points have merit, although others are based on what they assume will happen. But then, everything the yes camp say is also based on assumptions, so make of that what you will.

    Possibly more genuinely interesting is the SSE statement. They accept that post yes would probably see a single UK energy market retained, but they also suggest there could be significant changes.

    There is a big debate on energy, and from what I’ve picked up, I think both sides are right in much of what they say. I can’t see the energy market being broken down into separate national blocks, so the SNP is correct (as SSE agree) that a single market will remain.

    However, Ed Davey suggests Scotland will have to pay more for it’s energy, which I think is also correct. Scotland will have a much higher renewables ratio, which unbalances everything and does remove the ability to balance. It’s also true that output from renewables is heavily subsidised, via ROCs, FITs etc.

    These subsidies are paid by bill payers, 90% of whom live outside Scotland. They aren’t going to pay producer subsidies for Scottish producers, and as the proportion of subsidies spent in Scotland is higher than their proportion of population, that means higher bills.

    The other key issues will be whether Scotland can ramp up production fast enough to replace the roughly 50% of current capacity that will be lost when they lose one nuclear and one coal fired station soon. I’m very doubtful, and this would mean Scotland both paying larger green subsisidies along with importing English energy.

    Contrary to SNP claims, I’ve always seen energy production (not oil) as a potential weakness for independence, at least short to medium term.

  9. @Alec,

    During the early stage of the Russian Ukraine crisis two weeks back, on one single day, European gas prices went up 10%. This very clearly shows the impractically of a forced price freeze. What if during a price freeze arbitrarily imposed internally by one country on its suppliers, prices went up say 25%, or five times the average margin, is said government really going to let energy firms go to the wall by not allowing them to pass it on?

    Socialist style market control won’t work in such a globalised market as we have now, too many geopolitical issues impacting even what appear to be domestic markets.

  10. “The other key issues will be whether Scotland can ramp up production fast enough to replace the roughly 50% of current capacity that will be lost when they lose one nuclear and one coal fired station soon. I’m very doubtful, and this would mean Scotland both paying larger green subsisidies along with importing English energy.”

    ————

    Oh, that we had been developing Thorium. What do you think of the Thorium thing, Alec? (Or indeed anybody…)

  11. @ Rich

    I think there was a clause for exceptional circumstances in the Lab proposals however loose that was.

  12. “During the early stage of the Russian Ukraine crisis two weeks back, on one single day, European gas prices went up 10%. This very clearly shows the impractically of a forced price freeze. What if during a price freeze arbitrarily imposed internally by one country on its suppliers, prices went up say 25%, or five times the average margin, is said government really going to let energy firms go to the wall by not allowing them to pass it on?”

    ———-

    Just five thousand tons of Thorium could power the world’s energy needs for one year. Stockpile some Thorium, and you can be independent thereafter for years and years. And there are sources in numerous countries anyway…

  13. Alec et al
    The surplus electricity generated in Scotland goes to England and is set to increase. So why if Scotland became independent would consumers in Scotland pay more than consumers in England?

  14. @Amber and Colin (from last thread)
    Believe me I was genuinely naive about the QE decision making. I distinctly remember King giving interviews and at no stage did he impute that this is what he was being told to do, as opposed to his Committee taking the decision. Indeed he gave the exact opposite impression.

  15. Anthony

    I’m interested in why YouGov adopted the weighting system they have, whereby the recalled 2011 vote for the SNP is subdivided into two groups as shown in the weighting tables –

    Recalled 2011 Constituency Vote – Unweighted No (Weighted No)
    Conservative – 118 (119)
    Labour – 291 (272)
    Liberal Democrat – 85 (68)
    SNP – 307 (281)
    SNP (but Labour in 2010) – 67 (108)
    Others -13 (10)
    None/ DK – 191 (214)

    Is the “but Labour in 2010” drawn from your records of political alignment – or from recalled vote in 2010?

    Given that the SNP also drew votes from 2010 Tory & LD voters in 2011, why not include those groups as well?

    While IIRC, you use newspaper readership largely to differentiate between tabloid and broadsheet readers, are you using Scottish readership figures for your weightings in Scottish polls?

    Your weightings seem rather disparate from actual readership here, in that you weight up Sun/Star readers (84% of whom in Scotland take the Scottish Sun) by only 4% – leaving that group still 11% lower than the actual sales figures.

  16. During this past week, for the first time, I have begun to believe that a Yes vote is a real possibility. Much will happen between now and September 18, and the closer we get to that date the more ‘knife-edge’ the situation will become. Many of you don’t care one way or the other, of course; but for those of us who do care, one way or the other, (or want Devo-Max for that matter), the next five months are going to be hell.

  17. It’ll probably also be hell for those who don’t care, to be honest…

  18. LBC is a tad busy at present. Wonder why?

  19. Howard
    Thanks-but you had no need to address that to me.

    I agree with you.

    We should now observe silence on that issue whilst the Saltire crowd let off steam.

    Off to watch round one of Nigel “Saloon Bar” Farage vs Nick ” Wine Bar” Clegg.

  20. Two main obstacles for Scottish voters. What currency ? Will Scotland still be in the EU ?

    Currency is big factor, as if Scotland does not have security of a shared currency with the UK, there is a possibility of Scotland being subject to higher interest rates.

    If Scotland is outside of the EU, there are many implications, including trade and other rights currently afforded by membership.

    If people are uncertain, they are unlikely to vote to leave the UK.

  21. Tried connecting to LBC listen live website, but fails on internet explorer!!! Help! How can I listen to the debate?

  22. Statgeek – Many Thanks!!!

  23. Anthony

    Your “Tabs for the new YouGov poll are here”
    points to the mid-month tracker PDF, as does the “INDEPENDENCE: NARROWING GENDER GAP PUSHES ‘YES’ TO NEW HIGH” article on the YouGov site.

    Correction to the actual PDF when it’s available would be appreciated.

    Re the debate, it’s also on BBC News + Sky News now

  24. @ Howard

    Read all the QE timeline stuff on the BoE’s own website. It is very clear that each distinct stage of the QE program had to be authorized by the Chancellor.

  25. @Donald Scott – “The surplus electricity generated in Scotland goes to England and is set to increase.”

    So you’ve been told, but with Torness and Longannet due to close around 2020, you will lose around half your capacity. Quite a lot of this capacity will be replaced by renewables under SNP plans, but not many expect the gap to be fully closed, and you are also replacing baseload generation with sporadic renewables.

    In such circumstances, it’s more than likely that less will be exported.

    And –
    “So why if Scotland became independent would consumers in Scotland pay more than consumers in England?”

    Because Scotland’s energy mix has a higher proportion of renewables. As I explained, these are subsidised by consumers through ROCs and FITs, as they cannot produce electricity at a competitive market price.

    If Scotland wants to be independent, and it wishes to support renewables development, then Scottish taxpayers/bill payers will have to shoulder the burden of the subsidies, without the help of UK consumers. It’s really quite straightforward.

    The SNP appear to think that a post independence single energy market means that everything carries on as now. It doesn’t. It means that we share the buying and selling of the product, across an integrated grid.

    Tax incentives and subsidy arrangements won’t be paid by English consumers, so Scottish bill are almost certain to rise.

    The SNP tells us a lot of things, but not everything.

  26. @Rich – “During the early stage of the Russian Ukraine crisis two weeks back, on one single day, European gas prices went up 10%. This very clearly shows the impractically of a forced price freeze.”

    Have you any idea just quite how amusing it is to read this, on the day that SSE announced a 2 year price freeze?

    Your logic suggests that this just isn’t possible, but hey – they’ve just done it! They’ve accepted the possibility of reduced profits and increased risk, regardless of what wholesale prices will do – for two whole years!

    Incidentally, SSE have also said they are going to separate their production and retail sectors. It really looks like Ed’s rather fantastic play on a price freeze and market reform has started to work, all on it’s own.

  27. Colin and Amber, thanks.

    I will await the report of the Clegg – Farage debate and accompanying sound bytes, because, that way, I get a better idea of what the general voter will receive. It could move VI, this, as not much else is happening politically is there?

    Apols, back to the northern question.

  28. On the scientific method of the clapometer, Farage is edging this one.

  29. @Carfrew – “Oh, that we had been developing Thorium. What do you think of the Thorium thing, Alec?”

    Don’t know enough about it to give an informed opinion, to be honest. I understand it’s less toxic, and was the original fuel of choice (I seem to recall the UK had a small trial thorium reactor way back, but I could be wrong).

    Most technical references I’ve seen suggest it was dropped as it couldn’t be weaponised, and arms were a key part of the nuclear power justification. China is going big on it, and probably is a good one to watch.

  30. @Alec

    I rather suspect that was what Ed wanted to happen, rather than to have to legislate for it. Of course SSE denied any linkage of its move to Ed’s energy policy.

  31. @MrNameless

    Clegg -v- Farage is an odd battle as demographically they fish in different waters.

  32. @Alec

    ‘Energy bills set to rise (in area of argument chosen)’. They will rise in all nations, regardless of the government, politics and so on, so the basis of the argument is non-valid.

    Will bills in Scotland be higher under independence than they would be within the union at a given date in the future? No one knows.

  33. Clegg keeps saying ‘The world’s biggest economy’, so expect that as a soundbite.

  34. @Statgeek – “Will bills in Scotland be higher under independence than they would be within the union at a given date in the future? No one knows.”

    Yes we do, or at least we pretty much do, if that date is within 5 – 10 years of independence.

    This issue of subsidies for green energy is actually a very big issue for an independent Scotland. It produces around 36% of UK green energy, while funds the subsidies by only 9% or so. That’s a very big gap to plug, which is set to get bigger, under the SNP’s independence plans.

  35. @Alec

    And as a net exporter of renewable energy, the gap will be plugged. I imagine rUK and Scotland would share energies (renewable or nuclear) as peaks and troughs occur.

    It’s simple logistics. Winds will drop and England’s nuclear will be bought. Winds will rise and England will buy some of the overflow and save on nuclear (from France perhaps).

  36. I think both sides of the Clegg / Farage debate will say their side won. By and large I personally was largely unmoved. I did perk up when I heard Farage saying “Oh dear, Oh dear”. Funny stuff, but not something to vote on.

    Maybe it’s the Scottish Independence thing, but for now, areas of the UK have to compete with London and the SE, which is a problem for investment farther North. If in the EU, rather than compete with areas in Europe, some bureaucrat might assign investment to a place of their choosing, so even less chance of it being a less well-off area of the UK.

  37. @Statgeek – I don’t think you are quite understanding this. The subsidy costs for green energy is the issue, not the net flow of energy.

    Scotland might well suffer a short term energy shortage, readily compensated by importing from England, but the much bigger issue is the cost of subsidising it’s relatively massive renewables sector. Rather than being shared out among all UK bill payers, as at present, 9% of the population is going to have to pay 36% of the subsidy. That is going to be really quite an expensive hit.

  38. My verdict: Farage won it, but mostly because Clegg was rubbish and operates in soundbites.

  39. @statgeek

    Thanks to you I also listened on the radio. Perhaps watching it on TV would have made a difference…

    @Claire_Phipps:
    Twitter seems very concerned with Farage’s increasingly sweaty head

  40. I agree with Nige.

  41. The Mail’s Tim Shipman: “Both Tories and Labour have started suggesting general election debate could be just Dave v Ed. #NickvNigel reinforces that possibility”

    A straight up two-way debate won’t go down well with the deputy prime minister, but frankly there’s not a thing he can do about it.

  42. Farage vs Clegg – it’s like some wag once said of the Iran/Iraq War – “I won’t both sides to lose!”

  43. Well I wasn’t too impressed by either Clegg or Farage. Clegg particularly weak on the trust question – essentially offering no defence but saying ‘as politicians can’t be trusted we’ve made a law about it’ (which of course politicians can just as easily unmake). Though personally I would trust Farage even less far than Clegg (as an amateur psephologist I take the view that his oft repeated statement that UKIP takes as many votes from Lab as Con is a straightforward fib)

    Meanwhile, all excited, I was part of the Yougov panel that our leader has been working on today.

    It obviously didn’t like what I said about my impression of Farage because at that point the survey permanently froze.

    One of the little quirks of YouGov is they ask you at the end if there were any tech problems in your survey. If you get to the end, almost by definition, there aren’t! The approx 20% of surveys that freeze don’t give you the opportunity to remark on tech problems. I hope they are not basking in a view that their tech works perfectly.

  44. 7% of laws coming from Europe v 75% seems a wide gulf. Farage had sources close to UKIP’s 75% – the senior EU commissioner who did say 70% very recently, and the ex-German president who said 84% of theirs come from the EU.

    I expect UKIP researchers will be running a fine tooth comb through Clegg’s 7% according to the Parliament library, and if it’s out and there are flaws in coming to that figure then they will highlighting that loudly in future debates.

  45. Clegg-Farage debate was a draw IMO. However, it was a bit strange, as they play to such different constituencies in the electorate and weren’t trying to dig into each other’s support. Clegg’s grasp of facts was actually brilliant – but Farage’s appeal to historic principles chime with inate British sentiments. Thus it was a strange draw.

  46. BBC News are reporting YouGovs on line poll of just over 1,000 showing 57% thought Farage won.

    Peter.

  47. @ Mr. Nameless,

    Ofcom neutrality rules won’t permit Clegg to be excluded from the general election debates.

    I think he narrowly won this one but it won’t matter at all. People are not voting for Ukip because they’re worried the leaders of the three main parties are lousy debaters, and Clegg’s performance was evocative enough of the 2010 debates to remind pro-European ex-Lib Dems exactly why they hate him.

  48. I’m surprised that on that last question about Ukraine and why they want to join Farage didn’t bring up that eastern and Southern Europe receiving massive infrastructure upgrades- better trains, roads, trams and metros, new bridges and tunnels etc. He could have said how the UK is paying for that as it pays a fair bit more in than it receives whilst the UK’s suffers with poor and declining infrastructure.

    Though it’s clearly far more nuanced than that, using that argument would play very well to people on packed and clapped out trains and tubes in London, along with people stuck in Blackwall traffic day in day out, for example. Lots of LBC listeners in London will know all too well the lack of investment over the past few decades.

    It would have wider resonance nationwide as well. Many of the really deprived and poor areas of the UK, including much of London, have awful infrastructure. That would seem a massive open goal for Farage and his arguments.

  49. @Spearmint
    “…..Clegg’s performance was evocative enough of the 2010 debates to remind pro-European ex-Lib Dems exactly why they hate him.”

    Yep! (I don’t hate him though – I just think he’s a closet Tory-type Nat Lib and doesn’t believe in the historic mission for a “Realignment of the Left”)

    The deabte convinced me that I must make sure Labour poll more votes than UKIP at the European Elections so that as a nation we don’t send the wrong message to our European partners.

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