Two interesting polls last night. The daily YouGov poll for the Sun had topline voting intentions of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 6%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%. That’s a couple of lower Labour leads in a row, but as ever, that could easily be margin of error. Worth noting is the 6% for the Lib Dems, that’s the lowest that YouGov have ever shown since they started polling in 2001 (the lowest the Lib Dems have recorded in any GB poll is, so far as I can tell, a 3% in an ICM poll for the Sunday Correspondent in 1989. You occasionally get Lib Dem politicians rolling out the old story of how they remember when the Lib Dems were just an asterisk, which pollsters sometimes use to denote less than 0.5% but not actually zero. As far as I can tell, and I’ve been tracking the mythical beast for years, that never happened in a GB poll, though it could have done in a Scottish or by-election poll. 3% is the lowest to beat!)

Secondly there was a new Survation Scottish poll for the Daily Record. It has referendum topline figures of YES 39%(+2), NO 44%(-2). Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 47%, NO 53%. Looking at Survation’s past Scottish referendum polling they’ve typically been showing YES at 37-39% and NO at 46-48%, so it does suggest movement away from NO… but as ever, it is only one poll and it’s the wider trend that counts. Tabs are here.

There was also a “new” TNS poll out yesterday, though the fieldwork was actually conducted about a fortnight ago, so much older than the Survation poll. That had referendum voting intention figures unchanged from the month before, YES 30%(nc), NO 42%(nc).

328 Responses to “YouGov Lib Dem low & new Survation Scottish poll”

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  1. @ Couper

    I guess your views on Scottish Independence are similar to mine over Europe but you have to weigh up pros and cons. Taking your example on Nuclear disarmament (I know it was just making a point rather than being end all) it might make you/me feel better about ourselves but it wouldn’t make the world a safer place and not necessarily make Scotland a safer place.

    For me that is the balancing act on Europe. Without it we have more control over our own country in terms of self sufficiency, taxation, jobs etc so we can build our own trains if we chose to do so even if it “costs” more.

    Equally we lose some of that because we are not part of a bigger group that has more power to enforce these things. Like if you want to trade with Europe your country must have basic standards of human rights, workers rights and so on. Unfortunately so far I don’t see much evidence of the EU doing any of those things except within our borders. They obviously impose sanctions on the worst regimes but most of the time we still accept trade with countries with a very poor record on workers rights and as a result can make things cheaper than we could ever do.


    There are no shortage of BSkyB dishes on houses in Liverpool and I can’t recall any complaints about Miliband appearing on Sky News.

  3. @Couper
    “I am a Labour member…… I am sorry to leave England in the clutches of the right wing …….”

    Thanks, comrade.

  4. “but we wont vote in right wing governments”

    It would be an interesting and conceivable historical irony if we vote Aye and, post-independence, there was a big shift of attitudes towards the right in Scotland. I suspect that in such a scenario left-wing Scots would find that the rUK wouldn’t let them back in. Maybe Strathclyde could vote for independence.

    If that sounds totally unrealstic, consider the fact that we’ve had the power to raise the basic rate of income tax above sub-Thatcher levels for 15 years now, and the only serious attempt at getting a mandate for it (when the Lib Dems made it a big part of their campaign) didn’t stimulate much enthusiasm. And BSA data doesn’t back up the idea that Scotland is much to the left of England on most issues-

    – and it seems to me that, for historical reasons, (on average) the English vote for parties that (on average) are to the right of them and the Scots do the opposite.

    Even though the idea of a right-wing dominated Scotland is fanciful (though not improbable) I do think that if we vote Aye there will be a lot of people (especially in the throughly left-wing areas like Glasgow and the rest of the western Central Belt who might have the impression that their attitudes reflect the rest of Scotland’s) who will find independence very disappointing in terms of achieving an end of left-right democratic politics in their favour.

  5. Re Scotland and the analogy with the EU, for me by far the best thing about the latter is the gradual evening out of economies within the Union.

    Obviously far from perfect but add to that the difference in countries such as Poland compared to the days of the Iron Curtain.

    It seems illogical in a way to argue for a single world language whilst at the same time wanting smaller, more separate countries.

    I think that perhaps the United States has a reasonable balance but am no expert [though I know they do talk funny and shriek a lot at concerts which I have always assumed is ‘cos they’re bonkers]

    Perhaps a United Kingdoms – but I don’t like the “king” word [that should be left to chess]

    Anyway a UNITED sumfinks.

    Please don’t go Scotland and we won’t even wack yer midgies any more.

  6. Phil Haines,

    People like Willie Ross had a sense that playing up a sense of Scottish nationalism (as opposed to socialism and class-alignment) would be a bad idea for Labour in the long-run. He may well turn out to be right. No unionist party did more to promote the idea of Scotland being a victim of the UK arrangements than Labour (perhaps correctly!) and no unionist party will suffer more if we vote Aye.

  7. “And BSA data doesn’t back up the idea that Scotland is much to the left of England”

    No….. that’s Wales and Ireland yer thinking of.

    Scotland is a bit above.

    [though obviously not in footballing terms.]

  8. R&D,

    What constitutes left and right depends on where you’re starting from.

  9. Actually, most of Scotland IS to the left of England if you’re using one of our maps. Edinburgh is on a longitude with Bristol.

  10. (Where ‘England’ means ‘the South and London”, as it does in any good Scots dictionary.)

  11. Thanks Bill.

    I know its not here anyway and that’s all I need to know.

  12. @Bill P
    Yes, that’s an interesting and plausible perspective.

    Politics is all about scapegoats (whether justified or not). Generally speaking:
    – The rich and class inequality are the scapegoat of the left
    – The English are the scapegoat of Scottish nationalists
    – The EU and immigrants are the scapegoat of UKIP
    – The EU and benefit claimants are the scapegoat of the Conservatives

    Parties do well when they succeed in focusing the public’s concerns on their own scapegoat. I suspect that a lot of Salmond’s concern over UKIP stemmed from the fact that UKIP are promoting a new scapegoat with the potential to compete with his own.

  13. Bill Patrick
    The Results for the 1955 General Election in Scotland

    C 1,273,942 (50.1%) 36 MP’s elected
    L 47,273 (1.9%) 1 MP’s elected
    Lab 1,188,058 (46.7%) 34 MP’s elected
    SNP 12,112 (0.5%) 0 MP elected

    So not that fanciful after all!

  14. Dear Steve 12.06
    Yes but Miliband was in this case promoting a Sun marketing campaign, which is what all this ‘supporting England’ thing is. I don’t see that any of the politicians should have got involved or have been asked, but they were not being hippocrites, except maybe Clegg (assuming he took part?)

  15. @ CatmanJeff

    The irony is (missing the irony of the piece!) that he (missing the fact it was a spoof and not actually him saying it) could still be right! Still pretty easy for Spain to qualify.

  16. @Shevii

    I think that the Lib Dems chance of doing better that very badly is less than that the chance of England winning the world cup……


    @”Meanwhile, as was utterly predictable to everyone except the London media, Cameron’s ‘Stop Juncker’ campaign is backfiring magnificently:”

    Not yet .

  18. steve

    The Panel Base poll give one of the smaller leads for No at 7% so I am not entirely certain we should rely too heavily on their subsets.

    It’s not really a matter here of how accurate the values are absolutely, but what the comparative values are between two different subsets. If Panelbase’s polls are too biased towards Yes for some reason, then you would expect the same bias in their respondents wherever they were born. But any difference between the two should be valid.

    There may be a problem with sample size of course – the Scots-born one was 724, English-born 145, the others only 67, but it’s probably good enough to illuminate that there is a difference and give a broad-brush picture, though not to the nearest percentage.

    (Incidentally YouGov probably do have a problem with their under-25 samples which seem to move about even more than you would expect, but that’s a topic for another time)

    To show that the effect is consistent over widely different polls you can look at the latest MORI poll (which has headline Yes 34%, No 52%, Undecided 13%):

    The percentages for the Scots-born are Yes 37%, No 49%, Undecided 14%; for rUK and Ireland[1] Yes 22%, No 69%, Undecided 8%. Those born elsewhere split Yes 22%, No 59%, Undecided 20%. This is the same pattern as we saw with Panelbase, even though the values are different

    Neither Panelbase nor MORI appear to weight for their samples according to Country of birth, though there doesn’t seem to be a massive discrepancy. The Scots-born were 81.3% of MORI’s sample and make up 82% of the population over 17[2] from 2011 Census figures. However the differences do suggest that it might be a good idea for pollsters to look at given the differences in Indyref opinion that Country of birth shows.

    [1] As I said in my previous comment what evidence we do have suggests those from Ireland tend to be more pro-Indy than those from the rUK they are put with here and they would be better with the other non-UK ones. However the RoI-born only make 0.42% of the population according to the Census.

    [2] 83% of the population as a whole was Scots-born because the younger you are the more likely you will be where you started.

  19. With prison overcrowding following on so soon after the passport crisis is there a danger for the government of appearing less than competent?

  20. I’m a little surprised at the prison overcrowding story. Crime is down, the courts aren’t hearing as many cases as they used to (although they are on the bones of their a** due to cutbacks). Diversionary strategies are very widely used by the police. I can only assuming changes to sentencing regimes, or cuts in prison places, have caused the problem. Do we know if there have actually been cuts in places? (as opposed to budgets). I know there is a prison closure programme, but I thought it was capacity-neutral in tandem with new provision.

  21. NEIL A

    I object to this creeping Americanism. It’s the bones of their a*** NOT a**

  22. @Guymonde,

    How do you know the second asterisk wasn’t a substitution for “se”?

  23. Or “m”?

  24. “How do you know the second asterisk wasn’t a substitution for “se”?”

    I read your mind. Well at least you’re not complaining about your iPad like so many on here (why don’t they use proper equipment?)

  25. An ipad ismn* pooper wqupment. At leeeast I downmt eveer avn pr. obmles wit mi,ne.

  26. @Neil A

    Given you have first hand experience of the matter, do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions about policing & crime levels?

    The recent stats on crime are particularly interesting not just because they show drops in overall crime, but also because they show enormous drops in the number of kids being brought before the criminal justice system. I believe the numer of ‘First Time Entrants’ is down about 75% in 5 years.

    However I’m also aware that a number of ‘Triage’ schemes have been introduced in recent years that aim to deal with petty young offenders informally, rather than give them official criminal records. However I don’t think there are any stats available with regards to how many kids have participated in these schemes, and I also believe application is inconsistent across local forces.

    My questions are, firstly how much do you think the drop in youth crime stats is due to genuinely large falls in the number of crimes committed by kids, and how much is due to the diversionary strategies? Secondly, have you noticed in your day-to-day work in recent years a significant reduction in the number of troublesome kids?


  27. @Drunkenscouser,

    The first thing I ought to admit is that I haven’t dealt directly with juvenile offenders, or indeed routine policing of any kind, for a couple of decades. I work in Organised Crime, but I have spent a lot of time working in Child Abuse teams (up to last year) where I came into contact with a lot of children, many of whom are involved in crime, although that’s not the reason I come across them. I don’t have immediate access to any knowledge about the statistics around youth justice.

    That said, there’s nothing about which I don’t have an opinion!

    Firstly I’d say that there have been youth diversion schemes of one kind or another for as long as I’ve been in the police. Juvenile Cautions, Formal Warnings, Reprimand, Final Warnings, Youth Offending Team referrals. In my opinion they’ve always been pretty effective. The reoffending rates for children who receive a Caution were really, really low. That experience of sitting in a police station getting a lecture in front of your mum seems to deter the majority of pre-criminal children from letting “bad behaviour” evolve into real criminality.

    As for the drops in youths entering the system. I have to say I honestly believe that a part of that is a genuine improvement in the behaviour of children (shock, horror!).

    There’s a school of thought that believes that the availability of extremely engaging video games, at affordable prices (to the point that virtually every family in the country has at least one, even though that utilise food banks) has reduced the number of boys wandering the streets, professing to be “bored” and looking for excitement.

    In a similar vein, television programmes have been more available, more varied and cheaper to access.

    So “crime for entertainment” has become much less of a problem. Linked to this is also improvements in the security of cars, which were the focus of a lot of youth crime. It’s significantly harder to steal fast cars than it used to be, due to deadlocks and immobilisers. And car stereos now have virtually no resale value, even if you’re able to remove one in usable condition.

    Drug use is also falling, which helps. So does cultural change. Some of the groups that have expanded in the UK have the twin attributes of relatively low cultural affinity for crime, combined with high birth rates. This has given us a youth population well-stocked with studious African East European and Asian children and in some areas this has displaced the far more crime-prone blend of white and African-Caribbean children that used to dominate.

    On the negative side, there have been some changes to policing that have reduced the likelihood of criminals, youth or otherwise, being brought to justice in the first place. “Restorative Justice” has become a complete catch-all, taking over from formal warnings as the principle “can’t be bothered with the paperwork” response for busy police officers. There are far fewer police officers, and the incidents of bad behaviour that might once have resulted in a police officer coming and arresting you are now likely to result in a PCSO (who can’t arrest you) coming and waving a finger at you instead.

    And although I can’t quantify it, I can’t help but believe that the government’s changes to police arrest powers (in police jargon “Code G” – which relates to only arresting people if it is “necessary” to do so) have left many officers quite unsure about exactly when they can and can’t arrest people. This leads, for obvious reasons, to an excess of caution. Very few shoplifters are arrested these days, for example, mostly they receive restorative justice (“RJs”), warnings or “street bail”. 20 years ago when I was a young PC virtually every shoplifter who was caught was arrested, even if they were a child.

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