YouGov had a new Scottish referendum poll in this morning’s Sun – tabs are now up on the website here. The headline referendum voting figures are 36%(-1) for YES, 53%(+2) for NO, changes are from YouGov’s last poll in April. Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 40%, NO 60%.

The changes are within the margin of error from April, so don’t read too much into the movement to NO. More notable is what it doesn’t show – the recent Survation, Panelbase and ICM polls showed movement to YES (albeit, the ICM one was probably reversion to the mean), so it’s notable that YouGov aren’t showing the same. The wider picture of Scottish referendum polling remains that what movement there is in voting intention is so slow that it is hard to discern beneath normal random variation, and right now it is difficult to be certain whether there is still a drift towards YES or whether things have stagnated. There also remains a substantial and difficult to explain difference between the figures from different pollsters, one I doubt will be resolved until the votes are counted.

If the topline figures here will be a relief to the NO campaign, the rest of the poll is a much more mixed picture. The Yes Scotland campaign is seen as the more positive of the two campaigns – more people think it has been positive than negative, while people are more likely to view the Better Together campaign as negative than positive. However, the Better Together campaign is seen as having been mostly honest (by 40% to 34%), the Yes Scotland campagn mostly dishonest (by 42% to 35%).

On the question of a televised debate, the Scottish public would much prefer to see a debate between Alex Salmond and David Cameron (48%) than between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling (21%). Finally Yes Scotland seem to have a substantial advantage in the ground war – something you see claimed anecdotally, but it’s nice to have evidence to prove it. 49% of people recalled being contacted by Yes Scotland over the last few weeks compared to only 38% saying they’ve been contacted by Better Together.

73 Responses to “YouGov/Sun Scottish poll”

1 2
  1. Interesting the fact that people largely not in Scotland talk about the negativity and even acrimony of the Referendum debate.

    I suppose that’s the coverage your getting. Being out and about knocking doors it’s actually good fun.

    There is a good spirit in the Yes camp (the great weather helps, we’ve only had one rained off day in more than a month and it’s Scotland) and by and large people, even people who are dead step No are generally polite.

    One of the odd things is that quite a lot of No voters are apologetic, not in the sense of apologising for how they will vote as sort of No hard feelings. I for one never really saw that in any before in any Holyrood or Westminster election.

    The media have made a great play of the Rowling and Lally affair and Cybernats, but in the same week the SOS poll showed that 70% of people had discussed the issues and three to one hadn’t had any problems even when their families are split.

    In a week where a few dozen people at most tweeted nasty comments probably a million Scots heard or talked about it… That’s something like 100,000 to 1….

    It’s a bit like the Press ho ha about Rowan Atkinson’s Bishop sketch for Comic relief where he said God, “probably doesn’t exist anyway”. There was consternation because it got a record number of complaints…..870!

    But as 12 million people watched it (though probably not all saw that sketch) that’s something like 10,000 didn’t complain for every one that did.

    It’s like Substituting Wayne Rooney at Wembley because a half dozen guys have shouted Rubbish!

    What we can’t know is which is the more accurate the feeling on the ground or the media narrative and more importantly which will be the more influential.

    For the little it’s worth I am going for a lot closer than 60/40 for the reason that with turnout estimated to be close to 80% there are a lot of people out their who usually don’t vote and who party’s tend to ignore and despite their best efforts pollsters particularly on line ones find it harder to reach.

    That’s not an attack on YouGov or anyone else or a the polls or wrong because I don’t like what they say, it’s just that their are a lot more people voting in this who aren’t interested in politics than normal and many are hard to reach and poll.

    It could turn out a bit like Venezuela or Iran, where the media was caught out by the results because they just didn’t have the right information to estimate just how the rural poor were going to vote.


  2. @John B
    Next time? If the result is as predicted from the start of this referendum campaign (ie about 60:40 NO) there seems little justification for any expensive re-run soon. How about a UK-wide YES/NO referendum (with no time for expensive campaigning) on the question “Let there be no further referendum for 50 years on any nation leaving the UK ” ?
    Alternatively, hold one every year on 1st January.

  3. From the English point of view, I’ve seen quite a bit about the “Yes” campaign, but the “No” campaign seems a bit quiet, beyond disputing or responding to various points put forward by “Yes”.

    I’d be surprised if DC was up for a debate vs Salmond, he might well be seen as a voice for Westminister (or England, take your pick), whereas Alistair Darling would presumably argue from a primarily Scottish perspective. We shall see…

    I wonder if AW is going to do a graph of averaged out yes/no figures as the referendum comes closer, as he did to show us how Labour’s VI has drifted downward until recently. Assuming there’s enough polls to do that (probably will be lots).

    If the Greens really are as popular as they seem, what’s the chances of them retaining Brighton Pavilion? Every time I see predictions on UNS for individual seats, this is one that Labour reclaim. 2010 was a very low Labour vote nationally, it’s unlikely to be repeated this time, so the chances of retaining it seem low.

  4. There are also a few posting who should proof read their posts and use “there” instead of “their”!


  5. And in your own case, Peter, ‘they’re’!

  6. @Dave

    By ‘next time’ I am thinking in terms of another ten years, though the EU situation may have changed by then (greater moves towards federalism etc.) and we have no idea what the oil situation will be, or renewable energy production (e.g. tidal or wave power), so Scotland’s potential economic situation for ten years’ time is an unknown. Idem for the UK as a whole, of course.

    One other factor which needs to be considered is what happens if there are further major powers devolved and the English decide that Scots must not vote on a lot of English only issues.

    Finally, FIFA may decide that only one Association will be allowed to represent the whole of the UK, and then all bets are off! (That’s a joke, perhaps!)

  7. JOHNB,

    Ah, but when we are Independent we can replace all three with “Thya”


  8. This may be naive but if yougov has weighted to 2011 Holyrood voting why isn’t the SNP recalled vote 45% of the sample?

    [Because not everyone voted – AW]

  9. @JOHN B

    “Except that DC seems to know so little about Scotland that it would not stop the slide at all.”


    Don’t take it personally. Our politicians are famed in polling for being out of touch in general, not just in Scotland. Cammo did say he had a pasty once, from a shop that had already closed down beforehand.

    You possibly need to worry closer to home after Salmond’s nation of drunks comment…

  10. Scotland’s population is roughly a tenth of the UK.

    And if they take most of the oil, that’s roughly ten times the oil revenues per person. Which is quite the incentive for Independence.

    Crucially, it allows Salmond the opportunity to be quite a bit more “positive” and offer more than the “No” campaign.

  11. Carfrew,

    The ratio is even better when one considers that the royalties will be in the hands of politicians to direct, and there are only 129 MSPs. EVEN better when one considers that only Scottish government will be doing the directing and taking the credit.

    I don’t think that there’s ever been a case of natural resource revenues, supposedly owned by the people, being just sent to everyone’s bank accounts (the closest would be voucher privatization in some Eastern Bloc countries in the 1990s) but it would be an interesting case of politicians taking their rhetoric literally and sincerely.

  12. After the NO vote labour should campaign to stay in Europe but request** Los Jockos to leave the UK with NO voters invited to live in England sans les mijes.

    The rest of them could play Rob Roy games in the Heelands.

    ** insisto

  13. Gain the oil revenues and lose the engine of UK economy (London) and miss out on the English gas boom from fracking! Arguments either way, but back to the polls.

    What is very noticeable is the large difference in the percentages recorded by different pollsters. Much greater than difference in VI in the UK national polls. They all agree its a no, but differ hugely in the margin. Something badly wrong with somebody’s polling, rather like Angus Reid at the last election.

    My instinct says you gov will be closer than panelbase.

  14. I think the ‘yes’ campaign make a mistake in thinking independence is an economic issue. It’s a typically Thatcherite viewpoint.

  15. Is a reason why the Yes/No percentages vary so much the difficulty in refining methodology? I mean, we have GEs fairly often, enough for pollsters collectively to be quite accurate most of the time.

    We don’t have independence (or any other) referenda with just two options very often. By the time the next one comes along, whatever is learnt this time may not very helpful. Possibly even more so if it’s a “Yes”.

  16. @Bll P and Rog

    Yes, the economics of oil does feature significantly… This petroleum focus might be considered a development of the civic nationalism thing, into a sort of Honda Civic Nationalism.

  17. These figures only tell 1/2 the story – if you go to the YouGov poll details the ones that give the 48% wanting DC to debate with AS are from the YES camp – although only 22% in total prefer Darling to debate with AS, the NO camp prefer him to DC.

    The overall numbers are deceiving, but clearly both the yes and no camps realise it would help the YES camp if DC debated.

    They might not be right but probably are. Even leaving aside the anti-Tory sentiment in Scotland and the anti-Westminster sentiment too, to some extent, which DC represents unlike Darling in the same way – the fact is that Darling is going to be better informed than Cameron and therefore better able to debate. Cameron could put in a feisty display of passion and love for Scotland (from his heart I believe) but could be caught out by details on policy / matters affecting Scotland only, and end up scoring an own goal which boosts YES.

  18. Apparently Ed Balls has suggested he might resign if a post Yes UK Labour Government went for a Sterling Currency Union with Scotland’

    So it’s Win Win then!


  19. Good Evening All.
    Labour are still ahead, narrowly at 4% tonight.

  20. “Good Evening All.
    Labour are still ahead, narrowly at 4% tonight.”

    Bon soir Chris,

    Un autre statistical dead-heat et zoot alors blimey guv !!

    We just need that referee’s whistle and we can go straight to pens.

    All we’d bleedin’ need then is Mr Pickles in goal and there would be no way past.

  21. KeithP

    There has been plenty of discussion at

    We can be pretty sure Brighton Pavilion will not follow UNS: after all, the Green Party rise over the last three GEs bucked UNS.

    In addition, there is a well-known first-time incumbency effect, whereby virtually all new MPs get a boost when seeking re-election for the first time. Others will point to other local factors, as you will be able to see at the Pavilion thread.

    But it does look like the Green Party’s national poll rating is highly likely to be higher than 2010’s, as well as Labour’s, and B&H Labour party will be targetting both the other constituencies in the city, too, unlike the Greens.

  22. You would surely expect Cammers to be less au fait with Scotland as he has to divide his time making decisions for other parts of the UK too.

    Also, perhaps some Scots need to be informed that they now enjoy a devolved parliament, whereby responsibility for more decisions has been delegated to Scots, thus requiring less involvement from those at Westminster than before. That’s part of the point of delegation, to lighten the load at the top by making a range of decisions more locally.

  23. The latest TNS-BMRB poll gives Labour 35%, Tories 29%. UKIP, 23%, Lib-Dems 6%. Must be new low for LibDems.

1 2