There are two new Scottish independence polls in today’s papers – ICM for Scotland on Sunday, and Survation for the Sunday Post, both conducted just after the SNP’s conference last weekend (though as ever, correlation should not necessarily imply causality.)

ICM in the Scotland on Sunday has topline figures of YES 39%(nc), NO 42%(-4). Getting rid of the don’t knows brings us to YES 48%, NO 52% – leaving aside the SNP commissioned poll with leading questions last year, this is the highest level of YES support recorded so far.

Note that there was a slight shift in ICM’s methodology from last time – rather than just weighting those with a declared 2011 recalled vote to the correct proportions of the 2011 vote, they are now also weighting the sample so the correct proportion of the sample claim to have voted in 2011. This should have the result of increasing the proportion of won’t votes and don’t knows, but won’t necessarily have any impact on the proportions of YES and NO.

The second poll for Survation has topline figures of YES 38%(+1), NO 46%(-1). Without don’t knows the YES vote is at 45%. This is a slight move towards YES since Survation’s previous poll a week and a half ago, but looking more widely it’s more of a “no change” poll, Survation also showed YES on 45% in March and February.


516 Responses to “New Scottish Independence polls”

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  1. Amber

    Hardly. It took Yes a full year to reduce how much the debate is about the SNP. For the No campaign they have to be loud because of the strength of the Yes. Grassroots campaign. Yes are doing little to win the national debate and frankly if the No campaign just went quiet there’d be more pressure on Yes. But Yes would still be performing well locally.

    It’s the No campaigns weakness in the national media and local campaigning that is causing their issues atm

  2. @Oldnat – “For clarity. My links were not misleading. They were 100% accurate.”

    I don’t agree. You were clearly trying to denigrate Brown’s record on pensions in advance of a speech he is to make where he claims Scots pensioners will be better off within the union.

    The links you provided in one case gave evidence that the UK pension scheme as a whole provides reasonable provision, and in the other you present an article critiquing a Tory plan that is SNP policy, as an implied critcism of Brown. That, most people would agree, is misleading.

    Interestingly, you earlier quoted Ros Altman in your support regarding the pension dividend tax credit claims. Ros Altman also supports the new flat rate pension. In this, I am strongly critical of her. She is willing to see future low earners experience a massive reduction in their state pension entitlement, which I feel is fundamentally wrong.

    But what you did was select one expert’s views on one area in your support, and then quote a second source that is critical of your first experts viewpoint on a separate issue.

    That’s what they call cherry picking.

    The truth is, you tried to respond to the Brown initiative by being a bit too clever, and you ended up getting yourself tied up in knots by posting things that you don’t appear to understand. You were being highly misleading throughout.

  3. @OLDNAT You and I want the same thing, you want independence from rUK. I want independence from Scotland – or at least the vocal version of it that you are at the very mild end of.

    Of course after year zero there will be no more need for polls as you begin the monumental task of building a proud new nation unhindered by the shackles to the beastly English.

    I’ll have to wean myself off the Scotch whisky of course and that will be sad, but the Norfolk stuff is surprisingly honest – a bit like Jura. So a small price to pay to get rid of the miserable old uncle telling us all how rubbish we are.

    Scotland has been a great contribution tho the UK (and this isn’t sarcastic), it has punched above its weight in science, philosophy and the military – but if you don’t want to be in the marriage it really is best you go. It’s a shame because in a way Scotland is the essence of Britishness, the civilisation that we all share had it’s earliest origins in Orkney.

  4. Populus is out for whatever it is worth:

    New Populus VI: Lab 36 (+1); Cons 33 (-1); LD 10 (+1); UKIP 13 (-1); Oth 7 (-1) Tables http://popu.lu/s_vi140422

  5. @Shevii

    “Populus is out for whatever it is worth:”

    What do you mean, “for whatever it’s worth?” Labour triples lead in new poll! The papers will be all over it like a rash, won’t they?

    :-)

  6. LibDem surge with 11.1111111111% jump in support.

  7. Amber Star

    So, the conclusion by most people commenting here is that Yes have played a blinder whilst BT & UWL have been rubbish so far. But I’m guessing that when No wins, they’ll not be saying that Scottish citizens must’ve really, really wanted to stay with the UK to vote No after such dire campaigns.

    Not just most people here though. If you look at the Survation poll for the Sunday Post:

    http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/Sunday-Post-Dundee-Courier-Tables-1.pdf

    29% said Yes was “providing the most trustworthy information to voters”, but only 21% said No was (10% said both equally and 39% neither). The main reason for the difference is that No supporters were much less likely to believe their own side. Similarly more people felt the Yes campaign had been positive[1]. So if No wins (which is still the more likely) it will indeed be because Scots “really, really wanted to stay”.

    [1] Again it would be nice if Survation set up their 1-10 tables with a Mean line (as ICM for example do with Standard deviation and error as well) at the bottom of these tables. This gives a nice figure to summarise the overall feel of the data and to look at the variation within it.

  8. Silly question alert !!!!!

    If Scotland becomes independent, how would they sort out the state pension entitlements of people ? I presume UK treasury would have to provide Scotland with relevant funds to cover some pension entitlements. Sure it is funded out of current taxation, but it is more complicated than that.

    This is just one issue, which would take some time to resolve. I cannot believe they are only allowing 2 years between a yes vote and separation. It is going to take much longer than that.

  9. Even if the no vote wins it wont be the end of the issue.; consider, for example, how many EU referendums there have been. There were even two devolution referendums. It will remain SNP policy and SNP have shown they can win a majority of seats even with the way the seats were organised to try and ensure that no single party could win a majority of seats (Blair thought).

    So, come the next SNP majority then will come a further referendum – and that will come after ‘devomax’.

    You cant shut the door on an independent Scotland when at least 40-45% on current polls want it…

  10. Economic questions such as pensions one above are not relevant; since when has nationalism been about logic? Half the countries of the world are bankrupt. Eire began as bankrupt country. Nationalism is about a pride in a separate culture, a separate history a separate language and so on. Scotland has all these Nationalism is about emotional appeal…

    There is no emotional appeal attached to the Better Together campaign ; it’ s just scare stories based on self interest.

    AS I have said before watch the Yes for Scottish independence vote improve the second the EU votes are in with UKIP top – given UKIP is a totally marginal force in Scotland it will highlight the differences between Scotland and England …

  11. @JACK

    UKIP have the potential to pick up an MEP in Scotland.

  12. Amber Star

    @ John B “Many No voters are basing their position on the assumption that many more powers will be devolved to Holyrood.”
    ——————-
    Can anybody provide a link to polling or a focus study which backs up John’s comment, please?

    There’s quite a lot actually. For example if you look at March’s ICM for SoS:

    http://www.icmresearch.com/data/media/pdf/2014_march_indyref4.pdf#page=21

    after a No vote 68% of those asked think The Scottish Parliament should become primarily responsible for making decisions about taxation and welfare benefits in Scotland, including 39% of No voters.

    When asked what do you think will happen in the event that there is a No vote in the referendum? The breakdown of responses was

    [the Scottish Parliament] Will be given more powers and responsibilities 39% (No voters 50%)

    Will keep the same powers and responsibilities 33% (No voters 34%)

    will it lose some of its existing powers and responsibilities 13% (No voters 13% – most of those who thought it would lose powers were Yes voters).

    So half of all No voters think that powers will increase.

    ICM also asked No voters who wanted more powers Say that over the next year you were to come to the conclusion that the Scottish Parliament would not be given any more powers, […]Do you think you would vote No to independence or Yes? and 10% said they would switch their vote to Yes – about 5% of all current no voters.

  13. MR BEESWAX

    @”the civilisation that we all share had it’s earliest origins in Orkney.”

    East Anglia actually ( more accurately Doggerland) :-

    http://news.discovery.com/history/archaeology/early-humans-britain.htm

  14. ”the civilisation that we all share had it’s earliest origins in Orkney.”

    I think it was actually Barnard Castle.

  15. Ambridge, surely.

  16. Droitwich??

  17. SHEVII
    “Populus is out for whatever it is worth:”

    Hopefully Anthony will start a new thread.

  18. @COLIN Yes Doggerland was the earliest humans but they were wiped out by the ice ages. I was referring the mesolithic settlements after the last ice age that were the forerunners of British civilisation. I’m sure you and I could chew the cud about this forever but the nice ladies and gentlemen might get a little bored and say that it is a long way from discussing polling.

  19. I stand to be corrected by either Amber or Old Nat but if we accept yes have played a blinder (they have certainly reduced the No lead in the opinion polls), the obvious reason is that ‘No’ have not really bothered to campaign at the same level of commitment.

    It would seem logical to me because you would expect the SNP to throw everything at this referendum as Scottish independence was the reason they were formed and even if the party has evolved I would guess for the vast majority of their activists this referendum is far more important to them than the Scottish parliament or the General Election next year. Add to that the ‘No’ camp is made up of people of very different political persuasions so more difficult to present a united front. I don’t know the mindset of Scottish Labour but if I was in their place I think my priorities would be GE 2015, Scottish parliament and if I had time left over I might do a bit of ‘No’ campaigning just because my mates expected me to.

    The other thing of course is when you are 3-0 up at Half Time you tend to relax a bit- usually you come through fine even if you give away a goal or two, sometimes you add a couple more and on very rare occasions you get beat 4-3. On Scottish Independence I think I’ll go for a 4-2 ‘No’ win :-)

  20. MR BEESWAX

    We could certainly debate the meaning of “civilisation”

    I thought Starr Carr ( Yorkshire) was one of the earliest British Mesolithic sites.( 8770 BC)

    Actually Doggerland was a rich habitat with human occupation in the Mesolithic-final inundation not until 5000BC or so.

  21. @Colin @Mr Beeswax

    The problem is survival of artefacts, especially when there is extensive reuse of sites. Finding extensive evidence of (or example) Mesolithic London would be challenging.

    Areas with less development have the advantage of preservation – and the disadvantage that there was a reason that they became less developed!

    My specialised subject is somewhat later – the cup and ring markings of Northumberland…

  22. @R Huckle – “If Scotland becomes independent, how would they sort out the state pension entitlements of people ? I presume UK treasury would have to provide Scotland with relevant funds to cover some pension entitlements. Sure it is funded out of current taxation, but it is more complicated than that.”

    Very interesting question. The Institure of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS) wasn’t altogether impressed with the SNP’s plans, although to be fair, they did focus more on private schemes when looking specifically at cross border issues.

    They believed new EU regulations on fully funding cross border schemes would be greatly to Scotland’s disadvantage and that the current proposals would not fulfill these requirements.

    They also questioned why the UK would agree to maintain cross border risk sharing within the Pension Protection Fund, which effectively would bail out failed company schemes. ICAS suggests that the one sided nature of the ability to bail out schemes is such that UK would not have any value in joining a pooled scheme, leaving potential risks for Scotland to deal with alone. ICAS could not be claimed to be a partisan body.

    Gordon Brown (bias alert, and using unpublished DWP figures) believes that in future Scotland will pay 8% of NI contributions but receive 8.8% of state pension payments, so apparently a fiscal gap that would need to be closed to maintain existing planned UK pension levels.

    On the issue of state pension liabilities, ICAS has no real advice, other than it’s very complicated, the data is currently not available, and a large volume of research to get the relevant data will be necessary prior to negotiations commencing.

  23. THE SHEEP

    Indeed-the presence of most fossil remains & artefacts is a miracle , given the geological & man-made changes to the earth’s surface.

    I like this resource for occupation of Britain:-

    http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nature-online/life/human-origins/humans-in-britain/what-was-britain-like/changing-landscape/index.html

  24. Interestingly enough, I also picked up a few additional pointers about debts and liabilities while looking into pensions. The Treasury paper on UK debts and independence makes clear that there would be no transferring of existing debt liabilities to Scotland in terms of the existing bonds. However, they do say “Instead, an independent Scotland would need to raise funds in order to reimburse the continuing UK for this share.” [See https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/270643/uk_debt_and_the_Scotland_independence_referendum.pdf%5D

    In other words, this implies Scotland would need to go immediately to the bond markets to raise an equivalent amount to pay over to the UK, upon independence. As we know that the markets will add a risk premium to a new country, it seem highly possible that Scotland will commence independence with a higher net debt burden than the UK pro rata value would suggest.

    This would also avoid any risk to the UK of a debt strike by Scotland, as they would have already paid over their share – they would then be in the position of defaulting on the markets. This is entirely what I would have expected. The UK government will require absolutely copper bottomed and legally binding assurances that Scotland will pay it’s agreed debt obligations, so getting them to raise the money on the markets and pay off the debts at the outset would be the best and fairest way to do this.

    The Treasury also makes it clear that they will be expecting payment for accrued liabilities that have not yet been met. They cite public sector pension obligations and nuclear decommissioning costs as the two examples, so it seems pretty clear that the UK government will be seeking a full and fair division of liabilities.

    It will be interesting to see whether they apply the above principle to this category of debt. Eg, will Scotland have to borrow £7B in 2016 to cover 8% of the anticipated decommissioning costs of Sellafield? The UK government will certainly want them to, I expect.

    None of these issues have been accounted for within the SNPs assessment of a debt share post independence. They seem to use as their starting point a per capita division of the public sector net debt, which is quite false. On top of that, they then calculated the additional per capita tax contribution for the last 30 years due to oil and gas revenues, producing a much lower net debt liability for a newly independent Scotland. It’s a moot point whether we should accept retrospective changes to the division of income and expenditure to calculate current liabilities.

    In addition, local government debt and debts owed by public sector corporations, while included in the national debt total, is disproportionately held within Scotland. Scottish local authorities hold 12% of LA debts, which equates to an additional £3.4B of debts payable by Scotland, and although public sector corporation debt is relatively small at only £10B in total, £3B of that alone is owed by Scottish Water, so that would be another £3B at least directly transferred into Scotland’s starting liabilities column.

  25. @R Huckle – “Sure it is funded out of current taxation, [state pensions] but it is more complicated than that”.

    Actually, I wonder if it is? If you want independence and pensions are funded by current taxation, surely you are saying that you will pick up the tab for past pension rights accrued within your jurisdiction? Why would Scotland expect the UK to subsidise their future pensions?

  26. Channel 4 report on Lib Dem to Labour defectors, including a ComRes focus group: http://bcove.me/t09xeuiu

    Very interesting stuff there. People not that happy with Ed but seem to consider him basically safe if a bit new, full of loathing for Nick Clegg. Altogether seemed very positive for Labour, since those are the voters they need to hold onto.

    A proper poll would be better, but we work with what we have.

  27. Some of the GE constituency betting markets are getting interesting, as Paddy Power and Ladbrokes have between them managed to create the odd arb.

    e.g. Redcar Lab 8/13 (Ladbrokes), LD 5/1 (Paddy Power), UKIP 66/1, Con 100/1.

    Equivalent to a tax free return of well over 20% for a 1 year deposit.

  28. Just in time for Anthony to start a new thread, we now have the tables for the ICM/SoS poll:

    http://www.icmresearch.com/data/media/pdf/Scotsman_april_2014.pdf

    Enjoy. (Looking at the methodological changes there are some odd things I’ll tryot look at later).

  29. COLIN and MR BEESWAX
    To look what it means to be British you really need to look at the gene pool.
    One book on this topic is by Stephen Oppenheimer,
    http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/stephenoppenheimer/origins_of_the_british.php
    available on Amazon
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Origins-British-Genetic-Detective/dp/1845294823
    Not sure how well respected the guy is in the relevant scientific circles but it is very readable text. Nice chapter on the Celtic Myth.

  30. @ Alec

    “@R Huckle – “Sure it is funded out of current taxation, [state pensions] but it is more complicated than that”.

    Actually, I wonder if it is? If you want independence and pensions are funded by current taxation, surely you are saying that you will pick up the tab for past pension rights accrued within your jurisdiction? Why would Scotland expect the UK to subsidise their future pensions?”

    People who have paid their contributions either side of the border, who then move to the other side of the border. You may have someone from say Glasgow who has paid full contribution and then decides to retire to England in say August 2016. Who would pay their pension ? UK or Scottish government ?

    This would all need to be resolved, so that people knew who was responsible for their pensions. If you had a UK pension and then moved to Spain to retire, you would still receive your pension from the UK. But being that Scotland was part of the UK, it would be a different situation. UK and Scotland would need to resolve who was liable, how much etc, as I don’t think pensions can all be funded from current revenuves. There would be treasury reserves I guess, which could be used for any liabilities that could not be met.

  31. @Roger Mexico and Amber

    If (when) No wins it will not be because the majority of Scots ‘really really want the Union’; it will be because the majority, on balance, think that the Union as it will be post further devolution is a slightly better option. There are, in my experience, quite a few people who are enthusiastic about the Union, but by no means 100% of those who intend to vote No.

    This referendum is not about 100% enthusiasm, except from around 30% on the Yes side. For the rest of us it is about where, on balance, all things considered, given a following wind etc. we might be better off – not financially but in toto,

    So please, Amber,don’t try and suggest that the majority or anything like the majority of Scots has a great love for the Union. It isn’t like that.

  32. @R Huckle – yes – I was thinking of that too, but I assume that Scotland would assume responsibility for people living in Scotland at the time of independence, and England those in England.

    In terms of the state pension, that’s really all there is to it. These are not paid from reserves, so there is no issue about who pays what, as far as I can see. If a Scots resident at independence moves to England, Scotland would pay their pension.

    Where there may be slightly more confusion is English citizens living temporarily in Scotland, or vice versa, but again, I would assume pension liabilities would reside with the citizens home nation. This might raise an issue over dual citizenship, so here I suspect there would be complications.

    Indeed, if I genuinely believed Scottish people would have an earlier retirement rate and a better state pension, I would look at registering as a Scottish citizen, as I think I would be able to based on my parentage. I would then remain living in England, but get a better pension paid for by the generousity of the Scottish taxpayers.

    State sector pensions are a bit more complicated, as some of these are funded, so would need to have a split of existing assets or an agreement to maintain a cross border scheme, but that would introduce big complications.

  33. Fellow archaeology fans, you are both right. I was using a dumbed down shorthand to explain these issues to the poor benighted souls not conversant with the joys of mesolithic life… and you’ve rumbled me. I took Neil Oliver’s view – but you know what them Scots are like for rewriting their own history.

    Rule Brigantia.

  34. @ Amber,

    t I’m guessing that when No wins, they’ll not be saying that Scottish citizens must’ve really, really wanted to stay with the UK to vote No after such dire campaigns.

    I think we probably will? Most of us are at least mildly unionist, so we’re predisposed to believe that anyway, and that’s the obvious conclusion to draw from the victory of what is almost universally agreed to be a dreadful campaign.

    (To be a little more precise, I think the YES campaign is mediocre, the NO campaign is disastrous, and neither campaign will make much difference because most Scots already know whether or not they have a burning desire to leave the union and they don’t need the campaigns to make their minds up for them. And unfortunately for YES a slight majority fall into the NO camp. It was a bigger majority before the campaigns started, but it will probably be enough to carry NO over the line.)

  35. @ Alec

    Could you imagine the situation, where it looked like Scotland would offer a better pension arrangement and people registered a main address there before the relevant date. Obviously not many people would be in this position, but some could take advantage.

    I am not really affected too much, whether Scotland goes independent or not. But it could be a pain in the *ss, as I have dealings with Scottish companies and if they are to be outside of the UK and EU, it might cause some technical issues. This could be made worse, if Scotland does not have pounds sterling.

  36. @MrNameless

    “Channel 4 report on Lib Dem to Labour defectors, including a ComRes focus group:”

    That was quite an interesting little piece on Channel 4 and a rare glimpse into the minds of a group of voters who hold the key to the outcome of the next election. I’ve been a little curious as to why pollsters haven’t concentrated more on these voters, delving further into their motivations, likelihood to vote and willingness to consider returning to the Lib Dem fold etc, but they remain curiously occupied with what I would regard as Tory-centric considerations. This may be because we are regularly drenched in Lord Ashdown sponsored polling, but I think he may be in danger of looking in the wrong places with his continued focus on the Miliband factor. UKIP and perceptions of economic well-being. I’m not discounting these issues but they are of lesser significance, in my view, to the 2 million or so Lib Dem voters who upped sticks in 2010, decided to pin their colours to the Labour mast and, through thick and thin, appear to have stuck to their original decision. This seismic shift in voting behaviour and party allegiance is the single biggest political event in this Parliament.

    The evidence is a little thin, I must admit, but listening to these Channel 4 focus groups suggests that Labour can be mildly reassured that the Lib Dem diaspora isn’t likely to go into reverse. No room for any complacency, and this gift from Clegg must be molly-coddled all the way to May 2015, but the people involved in the focus groups look and sound like natural Labour voters to me, perfectly comfortable in their new political skins.

  37. CB11,

    I agree with you on everything except it being the biggest political event in this parliament – I’d put it at number two, just behind the 3-6 million who upped sticks and joined Team Purple!

  38. ALEC
    “Where there may be slightly more confusion is English citizens living temporarily in Scotland, or vice versa, but again, I would assume pension liabilities would reside with the citizens home nation.”

    This is currently handled throughout the EEA based on contributions made to the specific countries to which statutory contributions were made.

    Having just reached 65, I had to provide the DWP with extensive details of my working periods in NL & CH despite having paid AVCs as an expat for some decades until HMRC told me not to pay any more once I “qualified” for a full state pension.

    As even Barroso does not suggest that Scotland might be outwith the EEA, the main danger to similar arrangements between Scotland & EWNI would be if a post-Yes EU referendum resulted in EWNI also leaving the EEA.

  39. ALEC

    @”Scotland would need to go immediately to the bond markets to raise an equivalent amount to pay over to the UK, ”

    An article in ST last weekend put forward a different scenario.

    It was that Scotland’s share of UK Debt would be of such a magnitude that a fledgeling country with no track record would not be able to fund it all ab initio.

    NIESR is quoted as putting the total at £ 102 to £143 bn.-up to 86% of Scotland’s GDP.

    The implication for UK is perverse.-until the IOU is repaid, UK’s “Gross” Debt ( ie not net of the outstanding value of the IOU) would be pushed to over 100% of GDP. NIESR is quoted as saying that ratings agencies & therefore the bond markets would be forced to take a view on the value of the outstanding Scottish IOU., when pricing rUK bond tenders.

    Given that SNP politicians have threatened to renege on the IOU if they don’t get a currency union, this scenario becomes fraught for both parties.

    NIESR is quoted as saying that an independent Scotland would need to run tougher fiscal policies than UK has over the last four years, to both take over it’s share of UK Debt & bring it down to manageable levels.
    The article quotes a Scottish Government source for Scotland’s 2012/13 Deficit -8.3% of GDP.

  40. @ Crossbat11,

    This may be because we are regularly drenched in Lord Ashdown sponsored polling

    To be fair to Lord Ashcroft, he was one of the first people to commission a poll on the 2010 Liberal Democrats, back in March of last year: http://lordashcroftpolls.com/2013/03/what-are-the-liberal-democrats-for/. (His findings were much the same as Channel 4’s.) And his marginal polling is politically neutral.

    He does tend to poll on Europe and current/prospective Conservative voters more than we might if we were commissioning the polls, but considering the strength of his political allegiance I’d say he’s remarkably even-handed.

  41. @ Mr Nameless

    The thing we’re not sure about is whether the purple signings are just on loan for the Euros or whether they have signed a 5 year contract just like Moyes did at Man U.

  42. This thread has one good aspect. It gives those outside Scotland a little bit of an idea as to how vicious politics are here. The Better Together campaign is no surprise to me nor am I critical. The problem is you are trying to pose reality against dreams and the trouble is that if you speak up you will receive a unified and disciplined monstering.

  43. R Mexico
    I know it is going back a bit but on Aberdeen South, the point I made was that it was not going to fall to the Lib Dems who have been the main challengers to Labour since the early 90s. You suggest it will fall to the “yellow tide” next year. And it just might. But it is not likely.
    Aberdeen South is probably the wealthiest constituency held by Labour (see the article in this weekend’s FT about the city out-performing London!) The yes vote is likely to be amongst the lowest.
    The SNP would have to convince everyone who doesn’t want Labour to vote for them. This is possible in Scottish Parliament elections partly because fewer people vote but mainly because of the low tax promise of the SNP.
    When I said Dame Ann is in a stronger position than ever before I was not saying she was safe but that for the first time she is not a hyper-marginal!

  44. @Barbazenzero – I understand what you are saying. However, the difficulty is that, up until independence, UK workers have paid into the pensions scheme in the same country. This is clearly not the same as your experience.

    I guess the answer is to find out whether we each paid our taxes in Scotland or the rUK, which I think what you might be saying, although this would be extremely complex to administer, for both countries.

  45. @Colin – I was thinking very much about that article when I wrote my post. That’s why I picked up on the line “Instead, an independent Scotland would need to raise funds in order to reimburse the continuing UK for this share” in the Treasury paper.

    Essentially, if the deal is based on an IOU or Scotland agreeing to make annual payments to the UK Treasury, UK taxpayers are being asked to accept the risk of default by a sovereign nation.

    However, the Treasury paper could be taken to mean that UK will require payment of the debt share upfront, by the route of Scotland raising the money for itself on the bond markets. This would be more expensive for Scotland than the present UK arrangements, but would transfer all the risk to Scottish taxpayers – quite correctly – as the UK would already be reimbursed for Scotland’s share of the debt.

    I would imagine that this arrangement, or something equally as secure, would be a key negotiating position for the UK. Anything less and we face exactly the scenario that you raise – that the UK’s financial credibility will depend on judgements made not only on the UK, but also on Scotland’s ability and willingness to pay. For me, this would not be acceptable.

    Some of the opinions expressed on debt post independence by Yes supporters have illustrated the lack of grasp of how the UK will react and what this means to UK voters. I believe there is a healthy laissez faire attitude in the rUK to Scottish independence, but this is on the basis that if you want something, you pay for it yourself. I suspect once issues like this are explained to English voters (and I’m sure UKIP will attempt this) political attitudes in the south will need to be met by the shape of the final deal, and this is likely to be to Scotland’s detriment.

  46. ICM’s methodology changes were explained in a piece on Scotland on Sunday by Martin Boon:

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/martin-boon-a-pollster-entering-uncharted-waters-1-3382088

    I’m not sure that I agree with everything he says, but I think the basic idea is a good one and addresses a problem I have discussed before, which is the under-representation in polls of the 50% who did not vote in 2011 for Holyrood.[1] Of course you have to careful not to go too far the other way and assume such people are as likely to vote in the referendum as those who voted in 2011. But when it looks likely that turnout will probably be in excess of 70%, the extra ‘non-regular’ voters have to be taken into consideration, in case their views differ from those that did vote then[2].

    In the ICM March poll there was an upgrading of the opinions of those who said they didn’t vote (DNV) by about 22%. This is possibly equivalent to expecting a turnout of 67%. In April’s poll the upgrade percentage was 71% – like assuming a turnout of say 79%.

    For a bit of fun I thought I’d estimate whether this had made any effect on what the result was. Applying the previous weighting increased the Y/N split from 48/52 to 49/51, not a great difference because the two groups though different are not that different.

    If has to be pointed out that there is one other factor that ICM don’t take into account. I think all other pollsters ask people how likely they are to vote usually on a scale of 1-10. But ICM haven’t done so in this series of polls on the Referendum (though they do when asking EP voting preferences). Now it’s clearly less important to make adjustments for what will be a high-polling election like the Referendum rather than a lower polling one such as the Euros. But most polls show that Yes voters are more enthusiastic than No ones and using LTV increases the Yes vote by a point or so. So it’s possible that with LTV and without the new adjustment this would have been the first Yes poll[3]

    Now I’m not saying that this is all an Evil Plot to stop the Yes camp getting good news. In fact I think this particular poll is a bit of an anomaly and overestimated the Yes vote. I also note that, unlike some other polls, it shows the undecided voters leaning to No rather than Yes (21% v 14%). No votes are also more likely to say they are “Definitely decided” (89% v 78%). But it does indicate how technical issues can change things in a close race.

    [1] There is also the complication of the people who say they “Don’t know” how they voted in 2011. Martin Boon seems to think they are just being cagey, but I suspect this group is made up of:
    (A) Those who can’t remember how they voted
    (B) Those who can’t remember if they voted or not.
    (C) Those who couldn’t vote because they were to young, out of the country etc. Logically they should just answer ‘no’, but 30% of under-25s said DK and given that about 60% of this group were too young to vote in 2011 but only 48% said ‘no’ I suspect this is happening.
    (D) Those who won’t say – but I reckon there won’t be many of these because if you sign up to an online panel to give your views you’re not going to come over all shy.
    I’m not actually sure what ICM do with the voting preferences of those who gave DK as their 2011 vote – I looks to me as if they discard them, but I suspect ICM would be better adding them to the DNVs.

    [2] Which you would expect. Mainly of course they will be more likely to say they don’t know or won’t vote, but those opposed to the existence of Holyrood (by definition No supporters) might be more likely to refuse or not bother to vote for it. In the April ICM, if you ignore the undecideds, those who voted in 2011 are split 50-50, but those who didn’t were only 43% Yes.

    [3] In this particular poll the 2011 DKs also leaned towards Yes, which would also increase Yes if they are not used because they can’t be weighted.

  47. How long before we see crossover in a Scottish referendum poll causing panic in the establishment?

  48. Or, as been predicted on various economic journals, in the money markets.

  49. Well at least the money markets have taken comfort in the departure of David Moyes. Man U shares are back up to the level they were last May when they won the Premier League for the first time.

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