I’ll be back blogging properly after the weekend, but for now here is the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll. Topline voting intention figures are CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 14%.

There is now clearly more support than opposition for the RAF taking part in air strikes against Islamic State/ISIS – 45% support Britsish air strikes, 31% are opposed. There is a pretty even split over supplying arms to Kurdish forces, 37% support the the idea, 39% are opposed.

201 Responses to “YouGov/Sunday Times – CON 34, LAB 36, LD 8, UKIP 14”

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  1. @ Couper 2802

    Labour is in a whole world of trouble in Scotland and they shouldn’t be counting on many MPs come May. They forgot or maybe never understood that Scotland isn’t pro-Labour it is anti-Tory.
    Joining with the Tories has lost Labour the working class vote whatever the outcome. Even YouGov’s incredibly pro-Labour sample show support for Labour slipping away in the referendum polls.

    Labour believe the UK is better together. They may have to take some electoral pain for that belief. But a truly self-sacrificing act inevitably requires some sacrifice.

  2. Darling rabbiting on about an issue shown not to have any grounds in the polls – currency.

  3. Fraser,

    Is he? I can’t hear him over Alec Salmond and the nationalists in the audience…

  4. couper

    You seem to be conflating and confusing two totally different things. Perhaps you are becoming too bitter to see clearly but Labour are not “joining” with the Tories: they are simply stating their own position vis a vis the lack of sense in a currency union, with what would be another country [the whole point of independence is surely to become exactly that??!] and also support a continued union.

    If the most appalling person or grouping you can think of also held the same view it would not mean Labour, or any other party, were “joining” with them.

    There are some famous Arsenal supporters I can’t stand but that doesn’t mean I confuse THEM with my love of ARSENAL.

  5. Is attacking Alistair Darling and the Labour party’s record a good strategy for the Ayes? That seems to be Salmond’s overall shift from the last debate, thus far at least.

  6. Good grief this is an unpleasant debate from both sides. A bit of an embarassment for our (Scottish) politics.

  7. Darling on the ropes a little…

  8. The debate has boiled down to silly schoolboy squabbling.

    Low grade politics, awful to watch.

    Sometimes I enjoy politics – and this moment isn’t one of those times.

  9. Salmond seems very keen on getting his own “He can’t answer the question” moment. Hasn’t quite got there yet, although Darling’s answers are very unstructured and reactive, suggesting that the atmosphere has made him lose his cool.

  10. Expect the Yes campaign to fight on the ‘more power’ question. Darling was shockingly unready for that question, you heard it as soon as he started speaking, he was searching for something to say and ran to Ed M’s policies :/


    I think SNP attacking Labour has been their strongest area in the whole campaign. Remember – Labour have been kicked out of Scottish Devolved politics.

  11. Expect the Yes campaign to fight on the ‘more power’ question. Darling was shockingly unready for that question, you heard it as soon as he started speaking, he was searching for something to say and ran to Ed M’s policies :/


    I think SNP attacking Labour has been their strongest area in the whole campaign. Remember – Labour have been kicked out of Scottish Devolved politics.

  12. Salmond would come across a lot better if he would just make his point, shut up, let Darling make his and then respond, instead his argument is just getting lost in the interventions he is making. For the first time I see why some of my north of the border friends can’t stand him.

  13. Catmanjeff,

    One of the problems is that both of them seem to be sliding towards a Labour vs. SNP debate, when this is actually a debate on Scottish independence. Or an angry drunken pub discussion; it’s hard to tell. I can think of countless cases of more civilised debates on fundamental constitutional issues that I’ve had with people from the nationalist community in Northern Ireland!

  14. I think Trident is a debate that is very hard for anybody to win, particularly at a time of big budget deficits / austerity, and also in a post Cold War environment where our biggest known enemies seem to be almost stateless. Am almost surprised Labour and EM havn’t looked at this policy area.

  15. One of the problems is that both of them seem to be sliding towards a Labour vs. SNP debate…
    Yes, Darling would clearly prefer to go ‘full Labour’.

  16. On the question of what the LibDems could do post 2015, it seems to me that they have to come up with a coherent new story about what they are about in order to survive. Not being Labour (assuming there is an AM) might get them somewhere but not very far.

    A reasonable story might look like:
    – Pro competition hence pro-business
    – Pro consumer (didn’t say they had to be consistent)
    – Pro Europe
    – Pro humanitarian (but sufficiently flexible when the road gets difficult)
    – Pro equality (except for income + wealth)
    – Pro family (but then so is everyone else)

    So you get a fairly consistent centre-right party that is distinct from both Labour and Conservative and has ties to traditional Liberalism. But I would also suggest a rebrand.

  17. Not a very nice debate to watch. It sounds as if Salmond is winning in the hall, Certainly his supporters clap the loudest. His strongest card seems to me to be his argument that conservative policies on things like the bedroom tax are forcing Scotland to become the sort of place it does not wish to be. On the currency, budget etc I find him very unconvincing but they talk over each to such a degree that the rights and wrong of this get lost in the overall bickering.

  18. I think Salmond probably ‘won’ that debate. I really like Darling, but he was scrambling for words on a few occasions, and it was uncomfortable watching him having to think so urgently on his feet.

  19. OldNat

    It’s hard to see why the SNP (who tried to keep the Devo-Max option open as long as possible, would try to exclude it in a scenario where the Scots electorate had opted to remain in the UK.

    An obvious position for them would be to accept the result (anything else would be bloody stupid) and take the lead in establishing a new Scottish Constitutional Convention to work towards the greater autonomy that Scots clearly want- and that during the campaign Unionist politician have been calling for.

    Well that would be the sensible option, but there has long been an all-or-nothing approach in some elements of the SNP. They didn’t take part in much of the Scottish Constitutional Convention for example. If No wins, there will be some pressure for a similar disengagement with British politics. It probably wouldn’t happen, but there does need to be a change in the collective SNP mindset so as to be seen to take Westminster more seriously -if only because it is what most Scottish people will expect.

    But successful engagement may raise all sorts of problems for Labour and not just in Scotland. Not only might it lead to electoral losses next May, but demands that Labour reverse certain coalition policies (demands that no one else prominent will be making) may force decisions to be made that are currently being put off.

  20. Answer=42,

    Is pro-competition and pro-business even a consistent position? Businesses don’t tend to be keen on competition in their markets.

    Pro-competition and pro-consumer, on the other hand, would be a consistent position since the competition is for the approval of the consumers.

    The Lib Dems are also always going to be the largest party in a good position to play up wealth taxes e.g. mansion taxes, given that they won’t actually have to implement them and can always blame their coalition partners for not doing so.

    As for being pro-family, perhaps focusing on other groups than “families with dependent children” e.g. young adults and pensioners would be a good idea for them. If everyone’s trying to cram in through one door, try another entrance.

  21. Also, the old Liberal line was that the Tories were the party of big business, Labour the party of the unions, and thus (a) only the Liberals could be focused on the interests of the whole country and (b) only the Liberals could look out for everyone else (including consumers) caught up in the power-struggle between the Tory/Labour paymasters. That was the basic post-war Liberal narrative that finally started paying off them from Orpington onwards.

  22. I didn’t see any killer blows in that debate.

    And the Moderator should be shot as he lost complete control of what became an utterly ridiculous sight.

  23. On the debate, I think both lost. I don’t think it was a draw: I really found it very off-putting and distasteful from both sides.

  24. Having just watched Salmond for 2 hours, all I can say is that I am now of the opinion that I hope it is a yes vote. Yes is not the best result for rUK and it certainly isn’t for Scotland but if that is the way Salmond, and to be honest some on this site, behave then it is best we separate.

  25. I.e. it was not a draw because it’s possible for both sides to suffer from a debate. It’s akin to two people in a canoe in the North Sea, rather than a football game. What serious discussion there was got drowned out by talking over each other, like some public meeting in East Ukraine.

  26. I think tonight’s debate leaves us where we have been for ages.

    If you are concerned about the details about currency etc, and want some certainty about the nuts and bolts, it will be ‘no’.

    If you believe that remaining tied to Westminster is bad, and trust that an independent Scotland has the heart to find a way whatever, it will be ‘yes’.

  27. I have just tuned in to the ‘debate’. I managed a little under 5 minutes before switching off in disgust. I struggle to see how this embarrassment will increase any VI other than WNV. Which I suppose suits BT. I am not sure what Salmond is trying to do, although that may be unfair after only 5 minutes. I had thought it an impossibility for a major UK political figure to come across to me as less suited for a leadership role than DC, but AS was well on the way.

    It may be gathered that I do not have any direct interest in the outcome of the referendum, and only slightly more concern. I do wonder if this sort of thing is going to swing any undecideds to YES, or is even to intended to. The only way I can make sense of what little I saw is to assume that AS was addressing a post-NO audience: “I fought the good fight and went down swinging”.


    I agree-let them get on with it & live with the consequences.

    Felt sorry for AD-he has never approached his politics in that way, and wasn’t going to.
    do it now.

    A pretty unappealing spectacle all round.

    I pity the poor sods who have to vote.

  29. I was watching Liverpool get beaten by Man City (grr) so only caught the last 5 mins. The Grauniad seem to be saying draw and the Beeb that Salmond won (I thought the BBC was in the hands of BT running dogs but there you go)
    Would be interesting to hear what the committed on this site thought. Also whether it’s worth watching back – from what I’ve seen so far I’d be better watching The Waltons)

  30. Guymonde,

    Put it this way: I had to put the sound off several times and concentrate on my tea. On the other hand, I really don’t like “tough” politics, having grown up with an excess of it, so others may positively enjoy a bit of argy-bargy theatrical politics.

  31. @steve2

    “I didn’t see any killer blows in that debate.”

    That woman in the audience did quite well on Darling. :))

  32. @Bill P

    I too found it distasteful. I tried to watch but kept giving up in despair and repeatedly turning over to “Worst place to be a pilot”. About three minutes of two people trying endlessly to talk over each other was about as much as I could stomach each time. To call it a “debate” misrepresents what was just a shouting match. By comparison PMQs seems almost dignified.

  33. Apparently Salmond declared the winner by 71-29. Not the way people here saw it by & large. Game on?

  34. Roger Mexico

    ” there has long been an all-or-nothing approach in some elements of the SNP. They didn’t take part in much of the Scottish Constitutional Convention for example”

    Quite right. But that was the decision of the then leader Gordon Wilson and the then leadership (the ones that threw Salmond out of the SNP!)

    That’s like suggesting that Labour are currently against EU membership, because their leaders once were.

    On tonight’s debate – ICM poll as to the “winner” 71% Salmond 29% : Very significantly so among women.

  35. If you don’t want anyone to hear what people say in a live TV debate, just talk over them and hope that that distracts from your opponents point.

    Here, it’s easier, just report the comment and you’ll be rid of whoever is making a point you find hard to refute, at least until our moderator returns to the scene.

  36. Guardian ICM snap poll gives clear victory to Salmond 71% to 29% exc undecideds.

  37. Yippee an actual poll.

    Alex Salmond emerged as the clear winner of the second Scottish independence debate, besting Alistair Darling by a 71% to 29% margin, according to an instant Guardian/ICM poll of Scots who had watched the debate.

    Salmond will be delighted to decisively overturn the verdict in the first round, in which a similar ICM poll found Alistair Darling had won by 56% to 44%.

    The headline figures exclude viewers who say they don’t know who won the debate, with these included the figures are 65% for Salmond, 26% for 9% who were not sure.

    It will also be interesting to see what the viewing figures are compared to the first debate. That averaged 765,000 (peak 920,000). Though it’s possible that there’s a higher peak but lower average due to turnings off in disgust.

  38. @Phil Haines

    Yes I was surprised by Darlings attempt to drown out Salmond by not allowing him to respond. Seems to have backfired according to the ICM poll.

  39. @Hireton

    There you go again.

  40. According to Smithson: ICM/Guardian debate poll found that sample was 51-49 to NO before debate and 51-49 to NO afterwards.

    A remarkably pro-Yes sample which may have helped Salmond. Evidently no change to VI though.

  41. Watched it from start to finish, and am now two hours closer to death. Woeful debate all round, and I felt it was dreadfully moderated. Those who say we Scots have better education, more open minded mindsets and a higher standard of politics – please think again.

    On balance, I would give AS a points decision, although it wouldn’t be by much. Using the Mrs A scoring method, he lost very heavily indeed in the middle section where he simply wouldn’t shut up to allow his own questions to be answered. For me, that was the very worst part of a very bad night, and AS came out poorly at that point.

    He also told an out and out fib, trying to claim NHS budget spent on private contracts was somehow not state spending, and when done in England would therefore reduce NHS Scotland budget. AD did pull him up on that, but I doubt the audience heard.

    AD made some decent points, but I felt he lost the crowd in the middle section and went on too much about currency. Sometimes more is less. He wasn’t good enough to think on his feet. AS at one point told him off for being Labour, saying he was representing BT and standing with the Tories, but then later attacked AD as a Labour man. AD should have exposed the elasticity of AS’s approach.

    AD pulled it back later, and I felt he evened things quite well in the closing stages.

    Trying to get a sense of what this might do to the don’t knows, and I don’t know. Altogether a very depressing night to be a Scot.

  42. If I didn’t know that Alec was wholly unbiased on everything, I might have assumed that his last post suggested that he was a NO supporter. :-)

  43. My goodness I tuned in to watch a serious debate and all I got was Salmond acting like a school ground bully and constantly talking over Darling.

    The so called moderator was clearly reflecting the BBC’s fear of being seen as biased – a total waste of time.

    Judging by the audience’s behaviour I can understand how some commentators have been talking about the campaign becoming more divisive.

    I doubt the debate will have changed any voter’s mind as they will have learnt nothing new. Those filling out their postal votes will still not know in which currency their pensions will be paid.

  44. Alec,

    I’m actually not sure I get the NHS argument from ‘Ec. As I understand it, the argument goes like this-

    (1) Without full fiscal independence, we can’t determine the overall Scottish budget.

    (2) If we can’t determine the overall Scottish budget, then we may get into a situation where we can’t squeeze other departments enough to protect the NHS, and so the NHS will have to be cut.

    (3) Such a possibility is unacceptable.

    Therefore, (4) We should have full fiscal independence.

    Which makes absolutely no sense, since the Scottish government has made it extremely clear that their first choice is a currency union with the rUK, in which we wouldn’t have full fiscal independence. And, implicitly the second choice is unilateral use of the pound sterling, in which case we wouldn’t have full fiscal independence because we wouldn’t have even indirect monetary sovereignty.

    So Alec Salmond both (a) thinks that it’s in the best interests of Scotland not to have full fiscal independence and (b) thinks not having full fiscal independence is an argument against the Union. And I can’t quite find a way to make those two positions consistent in my mind, but I’m leaning Naw and so I may well be uncharitably intepreting the overall Aye jigsaw. Right now, the pieces don’t fit.

  45. Hireton and Toonie,

    They both behaved like Hyde Park SPGB loonies. Let’s avoid confirmation bias.

  46. I think the issue for Better Together is Salmond gave an answer on currency; not the one they want sure, but an answer all the same.
    The issue that is a low priority to the public and one polling shows the public distrust Better Together on; has been further weakened. And its their main debate issue.

    Darling and BT need one priority now; get their own answers on powers; they’ve promised them but show none. Darlings biggest flounder was that moment when he recited Labour UK policy as a devolved power. Yes will come out pushing that and Sturgeon showed their quick in her post-debate interview.

    One positive for me is the post-BBC coverage; its biased in the stations favour (not covering post-ITV so largely) but its actually well done and I felt BBC Scotland held the debate well.

  47. I predict Salmond’s three ‘Plan B’s will be heavily targeted from now on (although I count only two: a fixed or a floating Scottish Pound).

  48. “Altogether a very depressing night to be a Scot.”

    I think that’s a bit extreme. Tonight two politicians presented a bad image of Scotland to the rest of the world, but that’s not unprecedented. And to be sane, we must avoid feeling responsible for what politicians do, because they face so many incentives leaning them in the direction of bad behaviour. Politicians aren’t genetically programmed to be polite and reasonable.

  49. New Fred.

  50. STEVE2

    Perhaps it’s like the three R’s and there is really only one.

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