This morning’s Scottish Daily Mail has a new Survation poll of Scotland. Referendum voting intention figures with changes from last week are YES 37%(-3), NO 50%(+4), Don’t know 13%(-1). Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 43%(-4), NO 57%(+4). Tabs are here.

Survation are one of the companies that have tended to produce some of the better figures for YES. Their last three Scottish polls have shown figures of YES 47%, NO 53%. 43% is the YES campaign’s lowest score in a Survation poll since January, before Survation switched their weighting scheme to Holyrood recalled vote.

Normal caveats about any sharp movement in the polls apply, but this the first full natrep Scottish poll since the Salmond-v-Darling debate, so obviously people will look at that four point swing and conclude that the debate has indeed moved public opinion towards NO. I’d urge a little caution – as ever, it is just one poll, all polls have a margin of error, and when other post-debate polls come along they may or may not paint the same picture. This first bit of evidence though suggests the first debate has helped NO.

103 Responses to “Post-debate Survation poll shows swing to NO”

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  1. The desperation of some YES supporters in NE Scotland is shown by the damage being inflicted on the large purple NO posters.

    Last night`s local paper reported that in the last fortnight 140 out of 200 large posters put up in fields in the countryside have been trashed, a rate of damage never seen in elections in this law-abiding area.

    These posters have been erected in places owned by NO supporters, so the attackers are crossing fences to reach the structures.

    YES spokespersons have disowned the vandalism, but it will be interesting to see who the police catch, from the camera footage they have received.

  2. Alistair Darling further solidifies his reputation as a “safe pair of hands/eyebrows”.

  3. Is anyone else shocked that, if indeed the debate made a difference, the debate could actually make a difference?

    It’s an independence referendum, for God’s sake. Who are these people who are making their minds up based on two politicians sniping at each other on television!?

  4. Does Survation have the WM VI or HR VI. I looked on the link you sent but don’t see any.

    Question – if some one says they didn’t vote in previous elections how are they weighted?

  5. @Spearmint

    I agree I am always really surprised when superficial things move VI for example party conferences. Usually they swing back – in this case however Yes is behind and it was a big opportunity missed. Not sure how things will go over the next few weeks but anecdotally Labour are making a lot of enemies and are toxifying themselves. There are a large number of Labour voters saying ‘never again’ to voting Labour. That is why I am interested in the Survation VI.

    Also if Labour are becoming toxic it could lead to them not admitting to voting Labour in the past. Does you gov check their panel for consistency? I.e check the person is not changing what they said re:past elections

  6. Spearmint,

    If someone has been largely ignoring the issue until now, because they have better things to do, the very point of a debate is to help them get quick access to the arguments from both sides.

  7. Couper – when YouGov weight by Holyrood 2011 past vote they weight using the answers people gave in 2011, they don’t get given the chance to change their answer. Same applies to party ID for weighting GB polls.

    (As it happens we do sometimes ask past vote and party ID afresh and compare how individual people have changed their answers over time, this is so we can estimate likely levels of party ID for new panelists and adjust our target weights appropriately)

  8. missis minty

    Don’t agree at all.

    If some are ambivalent then seeing Salmond, who embodies smugness in most people’s view [not mine of course], unable to debate real issues, can clearly tip them towards NO, its too risky.

    “Its wor poond” is not an intelligent riposte.

    I can see the attraction of both sides so can sedel that something is needed to sway the undecided one way or another.

  9. @AW

    Thanks I thought that about YouGov.

  10. @Spearmint

    Well, here’s the thing. Where a state wants independence, those in favour usually form the vast majority. They don’t need to be swayed by a debate, the referendum being a formally that reflects the obvious will of the people.

    The problem in Scotland is that there does not appear to be a solid majority in favour of independence. On the contrary, polls have shown a consistent plurality who don’t want independence. As a result, AS has to maximise every tool at his disposal to nudge to YES support towards 50.01%. To do this he really has to be winning over the electorate at every opportunity. And that includes the debates.

    I don’t think anyone won or lost the debate. The instant debate polls merely confirmed existing polls. No-one was swayed either way. For the reasons stated above that is bad news for the YES campaign.

    A month though is a long time in politics.

  11. RAF,

    I think that this is the essence of the currency issue for the the Naw campaign: they can’t make that much progress from the issue, but the Aye campaign can’t make ANY progress from the issue. Therefore, the more time we spend on the currency issue, the less the Naw-Aye gap can narrow as the Aye campaign needs it to do.

    It’s a bit like taking up chewing gum to help yourself to give up smoking: chewing gum has not got much health benefits in itself, but you can’t chew and smoke at the same time.

  12. hello spearmint – but what this debate exposed was that Salmond had no plausible plan for the putative scottish currency – and hence the economy and hence any plausible support for any political proposals.

  13. The referendum is like a criminal trial.

    The change campaign (yes) needs to demonstrate beyond reasonable doubt that independence can work

    The no campaign only has to cast reasonable doubt on independence, and the status quo should win.

  14. John Pilgrim fpt
    I agree fully with you about politics at a constituency/ward level, certain people, gawd elp us, enjoy the ‘long game’ of getting candidates in place, delivering leaflets, planning campaigns etc over the years and decades that it can take to effect change. There is a certain esprit de corps about being in a functioning, campaigning local party , like being in a decent regiment !
    This is why on a certain level, Labour people are sad about the virtual disappearance of LD activists, on the other hand , in many constituencies we now have only one ‘enemy’.
    Couper, for a supposed Labour supporter, you always have a knack of highlighting / fabricating any downside there is for Labour. My reading of Darling’s trouncing of Salmond is that folk will see a Labour man telling it like it is, saving the Union and preparing the way for a Labour victory next year. Doubtless you will have anecdotal evidence to the contrary. Trying to cast doubt on Darling’s Scottishness was a brilliant move !

  15. @CMJ

    “The referendum is like a criminal trial.”

    12 Angry Men springs to my mind, such as it is. Is there a touch of Lee J Cobb about FS?

  16. Guym
    FS ???

  17. @RAF

    “A month though is a long time in politics.”

    Wilson used to say a week was a long time in politics, let alone a month! However, in the case of the Scottish Independence referendum campaign, I think we can safely say that, barring a political earthquake almost off the Richter Scale, this is damned near done and dusted now and has been so from the very beginning of the long campaign. It’s all over. I know some people with a vested interest in talking up the closeness of the race have spun tales of momentum gathering for the Yes campaign, of “don’t knows” likely to break dis-proportionally for Yes, how Salmond would convert thousands to the Yes cause when the debate intensified and how polls were tightening etc, but I just could’t see it myself. No momentum for Yes and no feel of a close race at all was my interpretation, virtually from Day 1. 65:35 No win is my prediction now.

    The more general point you make about independence movements usually having the overwhelming support of the population is a very good one and it may well be that Scotland is one of those interesting examples where a political cadre has foisted an issue on the people where no real grass root enthusiasm for it existed. The success of the SNP in domestic Scottish politics probably owes very little to a great desire among the people for independence. Like UKIP, they get their political oxygen from a multiplicity of factors, not least a desire to say up yours to mainstream politicians. The headline raison d’etre of the two parties is not central to their political appeal.

  18. @EL

    My mind, such as it is, substituted Fred Salmond, a snake oil salesman who I used to work with, for a fish of a very different colour whom I should have identified as AS!

  19. Couper2802:

    These angry Labour YES supporters will have calmed down by next May.

    In 2015, after independence has been rejected, the surest way of securing what most Scots want, will be to vote Labour.

    I expect Alex Salmond will have stood down as SNP leader by then – he looks tired now and has also upset many of his own SNP supporters, besides not satisfying others intending to vote YES.

    I think Nicola Sturgeon will have taken over as SNP leader, since she has performed well in the current debate as well as at Holyrood. In our local papers there have been calls for her to replace AS in the next referendum national TV debate versus Alister Darling.

  20. Darling’s success in taking on Salmond surely won’t have been lost on Ed Miliband. Post September, I hope that Darling’s given the opportunity to refocus his forensic talents on George Osborne.

    As a value bet, Darling looks a snip at 11/1 for next Chancellor.

  21. How useful are opinion polls in the middle of the holiday season ?

  22. If there has been a movement towards no propelled by the debate, which seems likely then then it is hard to think that movement hasn’t now gone further given the nats’ response has been to shout louder and louder that it is their pound and they are keeping it.
    Very hard to think what the nats will say different in the next debate. I was on a stall this morning and the nats wanted to ask how we would meet their demands if more than 40% voted yes.

  23. David Welch

    These angry Labour YES supporters will have calmed down by next May.

    In 2015, after independence has been rejected, the surest way of securing what most Scots want, will be to vote Labour.

    I think this is very optimistic. I’ve pointed before to the process of consolidation that seems to be happening and there I think that even some who eventually vote No may feel uneasy about supporting a Party that has worked so closely with the hated Tories. It may register in staying away more than voting SNP, but I can’t see everyone going happily back to Daddy quite yet.

    There’s also something to remembered from the discussions we had about incumbency. Most people in Scotland may have a constituency Labour MP at the moment, but they also likely have a SNP constituency MSP. I get the impression that the SNP are usually quite good constituency workers and will have used that to build up personal support on the ground. And the feeling that the SNP ‘can’t win here’ will have been removed from most places.

    It may be that the process of consolidation can work on the No side as well, but it seems unlikely that usual Conservative voters will vote Labour to keep the SNP out. They may be willing at local level to give them second preference under STV, but it’s a bigger jump to do so at Westminster. And the rise of UKIP may splinter the ‘unionist’ vote further – even 5% for UKIP will reduce the level needed to win a FPTP seat, and that is already low in many places in Scotland. UKIP do pick up some votes from SNP, but more from Lab and Con judging by the small amount of data in Survation’s Westminster polls.

    As far as “securing what most Scots want”, YouGov did ask this back in April:

    and Which, if any, of the following parties do you think best stands up for the interests of Scotland? the Scottish National Party came first with 45%, Labour was second with 17%. Even half of all Labour and Tory voters said SNP.

    I think Nicola Sturgeon will have taken over as SNP leader, since she has performed well in the current debate as well as at Holyrood. In our local papers there have been calls for her to replace AS in the next referendum national TV debate versus Alister Darling.

    Actually Survation asked this their survey The BBC is expected to host another TV debate on Monday, August 25th. Who do you think should represent ‘Yes Scotland’ in this second debate? and it was a near-tie (Salmond 35.2%, Sturgeon 35.8%). Yes voters were slightly more in favour of Sturgeon, No voters Salmond.

  24. @Barney Crockett “I was on a stall this morning and the nats wanted to ask how we would meet their demands if more than 40% voted yes.”

    One disconnect in the yes group seems to be about how “big” they are and thus what demands they can reasonably make.

    The UK’s population is 63 million, of which Scotland is about 5.3 million. 40% of 5.3 million is just 2.12 million, or 3.3% of the UK’s population. Why would they think the other 96.6% (including the majority of the Scots) would want to concede anything to them?

    It’s the equivalent of 40% of some ethnic minority or other making this or that demand. If you arn’t even the majority of your minority, why would the greater majority take any notice of you?

    Ditto this belief about being able to be in a currency union with the UK on a 50-50 basis. It’s not possible given the relative size of the populations. How can they not see that?

    They even refer to the Rump of the UK – how could the remaining 57.7 million be the “rump” and the 5.3 million be the main part?

    Is the mis-perception down to looking at maps (Scotland has a big land mass) and equating mass of land with mass of people? How has it arisen?

  25. Yeah it’s not happening. There is only a month left. You can’t create such a swing now.

  26. Candy
    To be honest I think it is about British history. I have blogged previously that A Salmon believes that he will be able to behave as a particularly aggressive UK Prime Minister of another era. He has said that his job is to “kick ass for Scotland”. Last week N Sturgeon said that not only would Scotland still be in the EU but that they would prevent Osborne making any reforms. The SNP believe that while speaking a language of negotiation, they will in fact dictate.

  27. RM
    Labour will of course be delighted that discussion seems to have moved from whether Labour wins the referendum to what future repercussions that might have. In the long run we are all dead but in the short run Labour seems to be doing well. And in the long run the signs look fine as well.

  28. @ Spearmint
    “Who are these people who are making their minds up based on two politicians sniping at each other on television!?”

    Same people who enthused for Cleggomania? who think Farage is an “ordinary bloke you meet down the pub”? or that Boris Johnson is an amusing radical, etc.

    More likely: living full & interesting lives they had not hitherto thought about the pound, currency union etc.

  29. @Candy

    Not everyone shares your uberBrit view of the UK that’s why.

  30. Candy
    See what I mean.

  31. Maybe we could have uber Brit awards?

  32. @ HookesLaw,

    Certainly Salmond’s performance did not give the impression the Nats had thought everything through. I guess what I’m trying to wrap my head around is the idea that there were people who were blithely believing the Aye campaign’s “Oh, don’t worry, there are no risks, everything will be fine, nothing you like will have to change!” rhetoric before, who have now had a rude awakening. It just seems very-Scottish to fall for that line, instead of viewing the referendum as a choice between being stuck with the English electorate and their wicked Tory/Ukip ways on the one hand and an uncertain, more risky future on the other, with costs to either choice.

    I know Salmond is popular, but did people really trust him that much? He’s a politician and securing independence has been his life’s work. Did they really think he was going to be completely honest about the potential downsides?

  33. @Candy

    That is why we are having the referendum because Scotland is too small to
    get the government it wants and at the same time it isn’t fair to foist Scotland’s choice on rUK. It is about democracy really, of course you have to believe Scotland is a nation to accept this point.

  34. Barney Crockett – I do indeed!

    Hireton, what is “uberBrit” about minorities of minorities not dictating to the majority?

    Here’s an example: Muslims are 8.5% of the population of the UK (a similar percentage to Scots). Now suppose a minority of muslims demanded sharia. People would think this was unreasonable – especially as the majority of British muslims are against it.

    A similar principle should apply to the Scots. The UK conceded the referendum because they were worried about the “tyranny of the majority”. But if the majority of the Scots (the majority of their minority if you like) vote No, then that’s the end of it.

    The idea that one particular minority of a minority should have special rights but another minority of a minority shouldn’t – seems inherently unfair.

    Scots already have greater rights than other minorities in Britain. Lets not make it even more unfair. Unless you believe in two-tier citizenship, where some have more rights than others…

  35. Barney Crockett

    I appreciate that A Salmond may not count you in his fan club, but you could at least get his name right (5.04 pm). Even I know what it should be.

  36. @ Spearmint

    Until the debate, the Yes team were doing rather well at persuading people that Scotland would be starting from where we are now and moving forward.

    The debate made people consider a different scenario; a scenario where Scotland must make big changes to things which we currently take for granted before we can move forward.

    So rather than forging ahead with project ‘common weal’, Scotland would be working on project ‘currency’ & project ‘we need a tax collection system’ & project ‘we need a pensions system or nobody will get their pension paid in 2016 when the change-over happens’.

  37. Salmond’s main campaign weapon has always been the nationalist default position – ‘look at those nasty English’. His post debate defence has amounted to ‘it’s our currency and we’re keeping it’. Completely daft – it’s all our currency, and it’s up to all of us how we manage the currency system. Not Scotland’s choice, as a minority part of the union.

    Yes is proposing a logical absurdity. I posted a long while back about the prospect of the UK saying to Scotland that they could have the pound, but we won’t share it with them. We could set up a new currency, called sterling, with a new central bank called ‘The Bank of England’, set at parity to current original sterling values, and then see what happens.

    Markets would call ours ‘the pound’ and Scotland’s currency ‘the Scottish pound’ and everyone would be happy. There is simply no way Scotland can have a currency union, unless rUK also supports it – which we don’t.

    Salmond has been found out with his absurd stance on currency, and while this isn’t directly what voters think about, they know a fish when they smell one. His insistence on something that is clearly wrong on currency is devaluing other policy stances, especially in the economic arena.

    Scotland won’t dictate to rUK, and Scots aren’t too stupid to realise this. This is why BT have niggled away on this one for a very long time, to pretty good effect.

  38. @Couper2802 – the question was about what would happen if the majority of Scots vote No.

    I understand that the SNP are saying that they still want their demands met even if they lose and are in the minority position – and they will seek to impose these minority-of-a-minority views on the 96.3% of Britain that doesn’t agree with them.

    Democracy should be about the losing side conceding gracefully, don’t you agree?

  39. @ Amber,

    Thanks for that explanation. It really clarified things; I feel much less baffled now.

    @ Candy,

    It’s not clear Devo-Max is a minority-of-a-minority position, though. A majority of Scots seem to want it, and the rUK might too if changes in the tax system meant the English people who worry they are subsidising Scottish public services no longer felt that way.

  40. @Candy

    That is definitely an issue. My feeling is that if Scotland votes No then you are correct Scotland has to accept its minority position within the UK. No special treatment and I imagine that is what rUK would want. One of the dangers of a No vote for Scotland is that we have lost our biggest card -‘ treat us special or we’ll leave.’

  41. @ Spearmint

    Regarding devo-max, a similar situation exists to that which pertained to independence prior to the debates because Scottish people currently believe that devo-max would simply be a matter of money raised in Scotland staying in Scotland.

    The Scottish people aren’t, for the most part, systems analysts or bureaucrats. People only consider the ‘logistics’ when somebody like Darling says: Okay, before we can ring-fence Scotland’s tax receipts to Scotland we have to figure out what defines particular receipts as Scottish. And what defines particular payments as Scottish.

    People are suddenly faced with prospect of e.g. the rest of UK pensions office saying: Your pension will be paid by the Scotland office whilst the Scotland office is saying: No, your pension is a roUK pension etc. People begin to wonder whether they will be marooned in limbo between two states, both of which want to take the receipts but neither of which wants to pick up the tab.

    So the assumption that Scottish people would continue to favour devo-max once they considered the ‘logistics’ of it, is actually quite a big assumption.

  42. @Alec

    The position is Scotland will use the pound sterling and as it is a fully tradeable currency no one can stop Scotland doing so.

    Plan A is for negotiations regarding a currency union where rUK would have to take into account cross border trx charges, devaluation of at least 10%, the currency no longer backed by oil and other exports. Then there is Scotland’s share of the national debt. If the rUK decided they didn’t want a currency union then there is a lot if precedent regarding newly independent countries using the pound in a transition period. However will all be moot if Yes loses.

  43. “One of the dangers of a No vote for Scotland is that we have lost our biggest card -’ treat us special or we’ll leave.’”

    We do treat you special. You get all the midgies.

  44. Interestingly the Tories via Ruth Davidson have backed a currency union if there is a Yes vote. It must be such fun for them watching Labour take all the flack.

  45. “The position is Scotland will use the pound sterling and as it is a fully tradeable currency no one can stop Scotland doing so. ”

    Of course not, but please don’t believe the nonsense that a mature economy like Scotland can not have a secure long term currency position without suffering significant consequences.

    Adopting someone elses currency means no controls of certain key economic levers, no central bank, total control of currency matters by another country. It clearly won’t be the long term position, so sit back and watch as large chunks of Scottish industry relocate to England in light of the uncertainty.

    Of all the options, keeping sterling in an unofficial sharing arrangement is simply the worst possible option.

  46. @ couper2802

    The position is Scotland will use the pound sterling and as it is a fully trade-able currency no one can stop Scotland doing so.
    In that scenario, which organisation will be Scotland’s lender of last resort; & from where will it get the foreign currency reserves to guarantee both the Scottish people’s savings & the investment in infrastructure which the Scottish government is currently committed to (e.g. Forth Road Bridge 2 etc,)?

  47. @ couper2802

    Interestingly the Tories via Ruth Davidson have backed a currency union if there is a Yes vote. It must be such fun for them watching Labour take all the flack.
    All what flak?

  48. @Spearmint

    It is because there is a huge trap. She said ‘if a currency union was best for Scotland then I would back it’ this is in the event of a Yes vote.

    To say anything else would admit that she would work against Scottish interests post-Yes as Scottish Labour seem committed to doing.

    Cameron and Osborne will be perfectly happy with her because they want Labour to lose Scottish MPs in GE15 and hope that they can toxify Labour and Detoxify the Tories in Scotland during this campaign.

  49. @ couper2802

    Now I am not an economist but I know that a currency is not a stumbling block to independence [sni[]
    The Yes campaign (not you, personally) must have seen the polling which shows that the Scottish electorate do consider moving to the euro or other alternatives as being less desirable than keeping sterling.

    As for telling the electorate that they are “fools” for believing that sterling is best, I’m not sure that would work very well as a Yes strategy. Alex Salmond has already said that keeping sterling is best for Scotland, so it’s not just the No campaign who “are playing us for fools”.

  50. @Couper2802

    Except that none of your examples have been in the modern age of predatory near instantaneous transactions. We saw with the ERM debacle that the markets will take your money and run, and they have far faster reaction times (and lower moral standards) than Governments.

    As we’ve seen just this week a hedge fund can, and will, cause governments to default.

    Even the difficulty of not being able to print physical currency will cause difficulties, and will result in the cost of money being higher in Scotland (the current five pound note lasts on average one year before needing to be replaced, the new polymer one should last 2.5 years).

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