There were two new Scottish polls in the Sunday papers. One was by Panelbase for the SNP, one for ICM in the Scotland on Sunday. The Panelbase poll has topline figures of YES 43%, NO 46%, Don’t know 12%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 48%, NO 52%. The previous three Panelbase polls asked using this version of the question showed NO leads of five points, so the change here is well within the normal margin of error, but the direction of travel is once again towards YES and is the closest Panelbase poll we’ve had yet.

The ICM poll had topline figures of YES 36%, NO 43%, Don’t know 21%. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 45%, NO 55%. Compared to their poll last month YES are up two points and NO are down three. However last month’s ICM poll was something of an outlier, showing a sharp shift towards NO, and I suspect this one is largely just a reversion to the mean after a freaky poll a month ago. While ICM have messed about with their methodology in Scottish polls this year, a crude average of their leads to date is 8 points. Today’s isn’t that different to the average.

26 Responses to “New Panelbase and ICM Scottish polls”

  1. Good morning all

    Thanks to AW for the thoughts on the indyref polls. ‘Direction of travel’ is a good phrase: there is no guarantee that you will reach your intended destination, but the journey is often as interesting as the place you are travelling to.

  2. Fantastic post as always Anthony, but did you stay up late last night!! Your final sentence is a primary teacher’s dream: “This isn’t that different to that!”


    Just joshing – thanks for the time you put into the site – it is great, innit!

  3. Alternative that isn’t that different to this !

    Looks like the result whether it be this that is going to be reasonably tight.

  4. Another two polls showing a shift towards YES.

    Looks like Obama and Hillary Clinton’s interventions have made an impact after all.

  5. It’s very hard to judge Panelbase because thy did not participate in the Euro elections.I assume though since this site takes them seriously their methodology is not open to challenge? I ask because there are various comments on line attacking their polling approach but I accept these may be just the usual ‘shoot the messenger’ bias?

  6. Forza Italia! Thank goodness we are a bit closer to an exit from the hype and hysteria!

  7. Go on! Have a guess!

    How many ‘on subject’ comments in how many hours?

    Is it the subject or is it the weather?

  8. @ John

    On past threads, there have actually been long comments about Panelbase’s panel of voters, when & how it was recruited, when & how it was frozen. Panelbase’s lack of track record has also been noted.

    However, I don’t recall your point having been mentioned – i.e. the fact that Panelbase didn’t make any attempt to establish a benchmark for their panel of participants &/or their methods by doing Euro polling. So thank you, that’s an interesting addition to the debate about Panelbase.

  9. My first thought on this was that panel base are always the provider of the most pleasing results for the yes camp which is why it came as no surprise that the yesnp chose to commission a poll from them. It may be coincidence but I feel they have chosen in advance the polling organisation which would provide the best result for them to wave around which in itself must surely call panel bases methods into question.

  10. GRAHAM: “Forza Italia! Thank goodness we are a bit closer to an exit from the hype and hysteria!”

    *rolls eyes*


    There is always a temptation to doubt the methodology of polls with which we find inconvenient to our point of view.

    However there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the Panelbase (48 per cent YES) methodology and neither is there with Survation (47 per cent YES) or ICM (45 per cent YES) although the “gold standard” should not have fooled about with their spiral of silence nonsence.

    What is important is that these three polls showed movement of 4;6 and 5 points to YES in the space of three days.

    That tells us the direction of travel and it is all in the YES direction.

    I’ve just read a seriously great article from Kevin McKenna in the Observer which finishes with the line “Better together needs to think much more carefully about its tactics ….. because this campaign is slipping away from it”

  12. Panelbase data tables now available.


    Most interesting is that the momentum to Yes is not coming from the ‘Don’t Knows’; they are coming from the No vote. Thats the dangerous thing for Better Together. If the Don’t Knows are all still in play and the No campaign is actually losing voters; what luck is there for a surge to the No’s (of course one issue is the lack of clarity around the don’t knows; the headline figures mean little and I wish there was large polling done so some information can be gleamed from this group).

    Better Together have spent another week or so talking about things most Scots show little to no interest in. JK is great cash for their campaign but I see no reason other than Elitism to believe her view point is of more worth than the Weir’s. Its a good interest piece from the media but it being JK is politically grey. The issue being that we have had yet another rallying cry against the evil cybernat. People are abusive online; in a population of 5M+ we will have some extreme people, some trolls and some over-excited folk – polling evidence (this is where I realise the Better Together campaign has no real political strategy behind them, there are black and white numbers that tell us what they are doing wrong) shows strongly that No voters are not receiving abuse.

    In the end this alienates many voters; just who are the politicians and pressmen shouting about? Its firstly a waste of time and resources; and secondly I seldom see any highlighted tweets or emails which show anything beyond the usual stream of abuse we see for many issues. In the end we know in politics there are some classless individuals – heck, take a look at the abuse given to the current British government or Alex Salmond. It seems to me this all does more than waste time; it alienates voters and leads to the distrust (which we have good evidence of) the public have towards the No campaign – its making them look opportunistic and false.

    What was the point in Obama and Hilary being asked to weigh in on Scotland? Hilary is a seasoned politician; she doesn’t mix her words, the shift in the Obama Administrations ‘view’ on Independence is obviously in some way orchestrated. So we have more headlines and time taken up discussing this. Why? What gain for No is there? Instead they take up media time and interest stories with a valueless intervention. Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon is declaring nuclear disarmament a key position of the Scottish Constitution (this is actually very clever as it differentiates between ‘SNP Policy’ and the question “What would an independent Scotland look like?”)

    One of the many interesting things to discuss when it comes to Scotland is how it will impact the 2015 election. One piece of interesting information? It would seem the main political parties are not able to properly campaign on this issue; for three major parties with splits within them on policy issues that is not great news. Going forward to the referendum it looks like the way Better Together is designed is actually crippling her; they have not got a political strategist leading, guiding and explaining many of the above issues.

    It looks like the Yes vote should get at least its necessary 45%+ to make the whole thing look worth while; but reflecting on the above I don’t see what the No campaign has to counter this momentum. The three main UK parties have simply failed to take the referendum seriously; their focus is moving to 2015 – why are all those discussing Labour’s campaigning issues not also screaming about the current situation in Scotland, despite having a more dire effect than forgetting a candidates name of the hundreds you have on the table?

    I would say its time for Cameron to drive this issue; I think he genuinely cares and frankly Better Together is weakened by declaring that the British Prime Minister is not able to speak to or for Scotland (which has been the SNPs main position for about 40 years now). However I do not think he is a good debater and I suspect he is ignorant on quite a lot of the debate. He should have been engaging with this debate a while a go; he should have been reading a Scottish paper every day for the last year. The Tories make Scots more likely to vote yes; but they are also a reason some are voting No; and more importantly – he doesn’t have to campaign as a Tory but the PM and simply accept his policies are not backed by Scots but find an argument for why thats fine.

    As it stands? Better Together look utterly unprepared. I hope they do not believe that what we have happening now is the YES campaigns main push. To put it all in context – there is more change of a Scottish YES vote based on these polls than Labour losing the next election.

  14. @ L Hamilton

    However there is nothing whatsoever wrong with the Panelbase (48 per cent YES) methodology…
    I didn’t comment on their methodology; I commented on their panel composition & their lacking a track record in any political polling.

    I admire Survation’s approach, in that they’ll give any political polling a try. But their track record is patchy; sometimes they have a reasonable result compared to actual, sometimes they’re not even close.

    ICM’s method for the referendum has thrown up some wildly differing results but their last few polls average around 8% of a lead for No.

  15. Amber

    As to the composition of the Panelbase panel, you will undoubtedly continue to express your concerns.

    Indeed, Panelbase were sufficiently concerned about the possibility that such a problem might affect their commercial reputation, that they surveyed members of a different panel. Prof Curtice’s judgement should satisfy most unbiased people though on that score.

    “Now in this poll Panelbase have tried to assess whether their panel is disproportionately pro-Yes in composition by conducting half of the poll amongst members of their own panel and half amongst those who are members of another (unnamed) panel. The balance of Yes and No supporters in the two halves was identical (though the non-Panelbase panel respondents did contain a higher proportion (20%) of Don’t Knows than the Panelbase ones (15%)). That would seem to dispel the concern about infiltration.”

    Clearly, not all pollsters (perhaps none of them) have the appropriate weighting methodology for a referendum. It’s by no means clear that political polling appropriate for a traditional election with a number of parties works with a binary choice referendum, where all sides recognise the importance of the decision (an AV referendum, this ain’t!).

    Inevitably, campaigners tend to like those polls which show their side doing well, but we are all going to have to wait till 19 September to know which pollster came closest.

  16. An interesting read Fraser ,
    You have reminded me of something I had previously been curious about.

    Clearly if Scotland were to gain independence there would never be another labour government in Westminster –
    So all those folk who plod the streets in England and Wales chapping doors and delivering leaflets REALLY need to get on a bus to Scotland and help better together or their beloved party will be in perpetual opposition and while we are on the subject the unions who fund the Labour Party have squandered all their money if Scotland leaves so they too need to be making more of a show if they wish to remain a strong influence.

  17. Lee Lyons

    “Clearly if Scotland were to gain independence there would never be another labour government in Westminster”

    Well… There might well be a Labour government again. After all, you can measure the time since 1945 that Westminster had a Labour Government because of Scots votes, only in months, not years.

    England’s permanent Tory majority is an urban myth (or a UKOK misrepresentation of reality).

  18. Lee Lyons

    Clearly if Scotland were to gain independence there would never be another labour government in Westminster

    Complete nonsense. In actual fact there have been very few times when the result of the election in Scotland has altered the overall UK ‘winner’.

    In fact it could be the other way round. I’ve just taken all the latest Westminster polls:

    Today’s YouGov for the Sunday Times for GB:

    Con 34%
    Lab 37%
    L/D 8%
    Oth 22% [1]

    Survation’s Scottish poll earlier in the Week:

    Con 15%
    Lab 32%
    L/D 5%
    SNP 40%
    Oth 8%

    And the most recent YouGov for Wales (May):

    Con 22%
    Lab 43%
    L/D 7%
    P/C 11%
    Oth 16% [1]

    If you plug all these figures into Anthony’s advanced Swingometer:

    You get the following seat breakdown:

    Con 255, Lab 324, L/D 17, Others 54

    and Labour is short of an overall majority by two seats[2]. However the seat figures for Scotland are:

    Con 2, Lab 22, L/D 2, SNP 33

    take these away from the above figures and Labour has an overall majority of 13. So maybe the only way to get a Labour majority is for Scotland to leave.

    [1] For reasons to do with Anthony’s software, percentages don’t add to 100.

    [2] Just putting the YouGov percentages into a simple all-GB Swingometer gives a Labour majority of 44.

  19. Ok. To rephrase that.
    Many people believe that labour losing their scottish mps (typically around 40)
    So why don’t the labour and union activists get their finger out ?
    My point remains valid

  20. Lee Lyons

    Fair question.

    I don’t know the answer, but a lot of the Labour activists (like me) in this area in the 1990s are no longer in the Labour Party, and are actively campaigning for a Yes vote, or so disillusioned with the Labour Party that they wouldn’t lift a finger to help them.

    To “get your finger out”, you need to have working digits!

  21. Haha yes. I’m aware there is apathy among the labour ranks and I don’t care if they get up north to fight for their party or not I just wonder why they havnt. I think you may have hit a bullseye though regarding their apathy as the party activists were VERY thin on the ground ahead of the euros

  22. I wonder if Labour in Scotland understand that saying ‘Its Salmond V Scotland’ as Jim Murphy said recently will drive the Labour Yes voters to the SNP. Don’t they realise they are basically saying if you are a Yes voter then you are SNP not Labour.

    It is very dangerous for Labour if there is a No vote then when the second round of Austerity kicks in people will regret voting No and the Yes voters will blame Labour and be very unforgiving.

    It would have made more sense for Labour to allow a free vote on this allowing labour elected reps campaign on either side as they did in 70s. I think for both referendums

  23. @ Couper2802

    It’s ‘glued on’ that the SNP will blame Labour & Westminster when austerity is the issue. There’s nothing which Jim Murphy can say which will change that. The voters will have to choose who they believe, Alex (corporation tax cut) Salmond or Johan (something for nothing) Lamont. Happy days…

  24. Amber

    Of course, we only have polling to go on, as to which party in Scotland has most support.

    Seems to be happy days for the SNP, but I’m glad to see Greens eating into that – with my help on the next list vote.

  25. UKPR at its worst on the next thread!

    It’s not at all clear why those who (presumably) support the continuation of the UK Union would want to indulge in posting which would tend to intensify any thoughts from Scots that they aren’t seen as equal partners.

    In terms of effects upon polling, that would seem to be a very counter-productive approach. Although, sadly, most of the Scots population lacks the sagacity to read UKPR, the repetition of such sentiments in other parts of the social media would tend towards Yes rather than No responses.

    Every modern nation/country/state is an amalgam of previously disparate groups. Successful ones, incorporate the history, “values” (whatever the hell that means!) of its component parts into a common narrative.

    A wise UK would have incorporated the Declaration of Arbroath and the Magna Carta into the narrative. An unwise one would have done what it has.