Latest Scottish polls

There are two Scottish polls in today’s papers. Panelbase in the Sunday Times has topline figures of YES 40%(nc), NO 47%(+2). In an increase for NO after three Panelbase polls in a row showing a lead of 5 points, but nothing beyond the normal margin of error.

ICM in the Scotland on Sunday have figures of YES 34%(-5), NO 46%(+4). This looks like a sudden big shift to NO, but I suspect a lot of that is a reversion to the mean. ICM’s last Scottish poll was the one showing the NO lead shrinking to just 3 points… I suspect that one was just a bit of an outlier and this is a return to normality. Even so, in John Curtice’s analysis he suggests that ICM have changed their approach to turnout in this poll, and that it would have been even worse for YES on their old method.

There is a big contrast between what different pollsters in Scotland are showing, and many people trying to read narratives and trends into the polls that aren’t really there. Even attempts at “polls of polls” are tricky because of the difference between pollsters and their uneven pattern of publication (so you can either have an average that leans towards polls that are better for YES or better for NO, or have an average than includes all pollsters but has polls that are way out of day). My view is that the best way of seeing what is happening is still the rather laborious and imprecise process of looking at trends in individual pollsters:

Taking them one at a time, and excluding don’t knows so they are comparable, ICM had YES on 40% last September, then 46% in January, then 43% in February, 46% in March, 48% in April… now 43%. ICM have been more erratic than other companies (and have messed about with their methods more) so it’s quite difficult to differentiate trend from volatility or method change.

Ipsos MORI we had YES on 34% last September, 37% in December, 36% in February. We haven’t had anything since.

Survation we had YES on 38% in January, then after a methodological change they’ve been extremely steady showing YES on a consistent 44% or 45%.

TNS-BMRB had YES on 36% in October, 38% in November, 40% in December and January, 41% in February, 40% in March, 41% in April, 42% now.

YouGov appears to show a similar steady but slow trend – 38% in September, 39% in December and January, 40% in February, 42% in March and April.

Panelbase have consistently shown better scores for YES than other companies. 44% in September, 45% in October and November, 43% and 44% in February. 47% in polls in March and April, 46% today.

My perception is still that there was a tightening in the polls at the tail end of last year after the white paper, and a very slow trend towards YES since then. The trend may well have slowed or stopped completely in recent weeks, but the single ICM poll or the normal variation in Panelbase is not enough to conclude it has reversed.

227 Responses to “Latest Scottish polls”

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  1. Canvassing in Milton Keynes @ the w/e, certainly made me see the basis of Labours arguments regarding the cost of living. Whilst some people have 50k plus Merc 4×4’s and Beamer’s, many others are making do with 30k Audi’s. Tragic.

  2. Although I would take any party at 61% with a huge pinch of salt! it does open up the question of just what the final electoral map will look like.

    On this figure UKIP would get six out of seven seats in the Eastern Region making it decidedly purple.

    When the Press inevitably produce their Graphics on Monday the 26th UKIP could well look a lot more impressive than they probably are.

    Another aspect to add spice is that it only takes the biggest party to get a few more percent and the rest to be spread evenly for the later seats to be a real lottery.

    Depending on the distribution in the different regions, we could see the sort of North South divide we see at Westminster with a Eurosceptic South and Eurocentric North and London an island in the middle of a Purple lake.


  3. PS
    Ashcroft telephone Poll @ 4pm this afternoon

  4. Clearly 61 % in the East of England don’t support UKIP
    Having looked at the Com Res Data if I am looking at the right set the actual figure appears to be around 30%.

    Perhaps Anthony can clarify this.

    Unless there was a separate Poll conducted Only in UKIP Headquarters in Billericay

    In which case the Billericay dickies are doing very well!

  5. Steve

    Your misquoting me Daodao said that in response to my point about reality having an effect of the Scottish polling as the referendum gets closer.

  6. Rosieand daisie

    “I’m sure we agree about a great deal in reality.”

    I’m sure your right.

  7. Shevii – not so much angry, as disappointed. It’s idoicy of course, or possibly they know its nonsense and wish to mislead. Such is life.

  8. On secret ballots: North Koreas have a secret ballot for their elections. Since their elections are “For/Against” elections, you simply need to take a pen, walk over to a private polling booth, and mark a cross on the paper before you put it in the ballot box. If you’re “for” the candidate, then you can instead walk directly to the ballot and put it in the box.

    The problems with such a system are what AW is getting at. It’s one thing to TELL people how you voted, it’s another to SHOW people how you voted.

  9. Stan J

    Eastern Region Polling, May 18 2014, ComRes

    UKIP 61 […]

    “ComRes admits the polling is from a very small base, but that the numbers in the region have increased from 40 percent just a few weeks ago will still be cause for a major shock amongst Labour and Tory strategists”.

    Based on a sample of 87 people in total. For the European election.

    Another ComRes Euro poll a few days beforehand for C4M only gave them 35% in East of England (it is UKIP’s best region). This is just normal variation.

    Also remember that ComRes tends to flatter UKIP because the only report those 10/10 likely to vote. In practice more people than that will and this will probably reduce UKIP’s percentages.

  10. The ComRes table the offending figures came from is here by the way:

    the f/w date was 14-15 May and the C4M one was 9-11 May.


    “Canvassing in Milton Keynes @ the w/e, certainly made me see the basis of Labours arguments regarding the cost of living. Whilst some people have 50k plus Merc 4×4?s and Beamer’s, many others are making do with 30k Audi’s. Tragic.”


    Yep, all that QE quasi-money-printing for the banks has had a handy knock-on effect for those in the South…

  12. I presume that it is still legal to take a picture of a blank ballot paper, just not one that has been filled in. Of course it’s a pretty useless piece of legislation when someone who wanted to control how another person voted could just insist they get a postal vote and fill it in in front of them. Still two wrongs don’t make a right.

  13. ‘Roland Haines

    “Canvassing in Milton Keynes @ the w/e, certainly made me see the basis of Labours arguments regarding the cost of living. Whilst some people have 50k plus Merc 4×4?s and Beamer’s, many others are making do with 30k Audi’s. Tragic.”

    Come out with me next time I go round Jaywick.

  14. Ashcroft National Poll: Con 29%, Lab 35%, LD 9%, UKIP 14%

    Apparently the Yoyo was invented in .

  15. (continued)


  16. That’s Labour’s best lead for over a week. A contrast with the one earlier. It tends to confirm that Labour is about 3% ahead of the Tories on average.

  17. The Ashcroft National Poll (16-18 May):

    Con 29%
    Lab 35%
    LD 9%
    UKIP 14%.

  18. Further to recent discussions concerning what impact housing supply has on prices and rents… just reading an article in the Times, by Dierdre Hipwell, citing an analyis that “shows that population growth has outstripped housebuilding by 19% between 2001 and 2011”.

    “The disparity is even worse in London, where soaring demand is so out of kilter with supply that the rate of population growth has exceeded the rate of increase in new homes by about 75% according to Savills”

    “In every region of the country except the Northeast, population growth has been, and still is, consistently above the delivery of new houses.

    …and regarding the Capital… “The disparity is most pronounced in the capital’s less affluent boroughs.”

    Which might be expected… possibly less money to be made catering to housing needs of the poorest…

  19. Deirdre Hipwell, rather…

  20. @Bill P

    well I suppose, if Lab were more ruthless, they might change the rules…

    Regarding the centre, there may be a gap opening up there. Whether Tories are occupying it is something else of course…

  21. I’ve lust looked at the 2014 Populus polls.

    I think Labour are at about a 2 % lead (from about 7 % at the start of the year).

    That is very close to the YG poll lead for Labour

  22. New thread

  23. So, in answer to ole SN, probably not “official” crossover quite yet.

    I shall say it again: the Tories have a high bottom and a low top, Unless something really dramatic happens IN THE PUBLIC’S PERCEPTION OF THEM that is not going to change in my view.

    That may even be unfair but fairness has bugger all to do with it. Most voting is based on gut instinct and added to that they will have two parties at them in 2015 – one from outside saying we’ll do it differently and the other from sort of inside saying “Oooo they’re awful, WE would have done it differently.”

    Meanwhile the Tories will be [as far as a large proportion of non-Tory voters are concerned] will be saying:

    “We can be even tougher without the dead weight of the Lib Dems. You’ll like that very much: give us a stonking majority.”

  24. Correction

    I’ve just looked at the 2014 Populus polls.

    I think Labour are at about a 2 % lead (from about 7 % at the start of the year).

    That is very close to the YG poll lead for Labour.

    At those averages, Labour will lead in about 8/10 polls, and the Conservatives about 1/20 polls. given the usual MOE and standard deviation.

  25. Carfrew,

    A move of the Tories to the centre would certainly make Miliband’s plans for realignment difficult. It’s much easier to shift the centre when your opposition doesn’t hold it, e.g. Labour in the 1980s or the Tories in 1994-2007.

    It’s quite the conundrum for the Tories, I think: carrying on the Cameroonian project opens up the centre ground for them, but alienates Blue Kippers; attracting Blue Kippers with tough talk on immigration and muscular Christian talk alienates those younger voters like me (who might have even been young Tories in a different era) who could be attracted by a more cosmopolitan Tory party.

  26. @Bill Patrick

    “We have a good system for accountability and a bad system for long-term thinking, and I frankly prefer having the former to fixing the latter.”

    Hard to disagree with that, but the question is – can we have some both. It’s easy to be defeatist about that but I am heartened by the Overseas Aid budget. We (under Lab) legislated (I think) a goal of getting it to 0.7% of GDP.

    Rather surprisingly (and bravely) DC has stuck to this in the face of lots of opposition within Tory ranks. OK, this may have to do with being in coalition (my sense is that it hasn’t) and it may have to do with not reneging on international treaties but there are plenty of excuses around that would allow wriggling out of that.

    So what about legislating for 0.n% of GDP to be spent on basic research. Difficult to defend against a UKIP/Taxpayers’ Alliance/Economic Libertarian attack but actually I suspect easier to defend than foreign aid.

  27. @Roland Haines

    Do they take their Audis here?

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