With what I assume are all Sunday’s Scottish polls in, where do we stand? Looking across the board at all six companies polling, two of them using two different modes, we actually have a broadly consistent picture. Excluding don’t knows, the Yes shares in the 8 different companies/methods are:

ICM (online) 54%
Panelbase (online) 49%
ICM (phone) 49%
TNS (face to face) 49%
YouGov (online) 48%
Opinium (online) 47%
Survation (online) 47%
Survation (phone) 46%

Seven of the polls are clearly clustered around a small lead for the NO campaign, with the one exception that rather odd looking ICM online poll with a smaller sample size than their usual online efforts. A lead of just a couple of points in a single poll is within the margin of error, but in this case all but one poll is showing NO ahead, so I think we can reasonably say that the polls are giving NO a genuine but small lead.

If the polls are broadly correct, and if nothing changes in the last five days, then NO look like they’ll have a narrow win… but of course those are two very significant ifs. It’s certainly possible for a race this tight to change within a few days and there have certainly been occasions in the past when the polls have had a systemic error of a couple of points in one direction or the other.

556 Responses to “Scottish polling round up”

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  1. Hal,

    My interpretation of the SNP strategy is very similar to yours.

    The nationalists want ‘independence at any cost’. However, that attitude is not shared by anywhere near a majority of the electorate. Therefore they have been peddling a ‘land of milk and honey’ scenario where independence will be painless, cost-free with zero negative social, political or economic consequences for Scotland in the hope of attracting a majority vote.

    This scenario is so riddled with flaws that I cannot believe any sane member of the SNP actually believes it.

  2. @ Colin

    Tommy Sheridan-a truly scary bloke
    Tommy scares lot of people, because he’s not a poverty tourist who has a community organiser walk him around the ‘rougher’ areas of Glasgow. There should always be a place in political debate for people like Tommy Sheridan whether you agree with his views or not.

  3. @Steve2 – I’ve given that a lot of thought, but yes I would think thats a scenario that could play-out. I’ve got some thoughts on the matter which are probably best shared post 10pm Thursday; don’t want to scaremonger!

    There has already been some talk about partition, which personally I think would be hard to win.

  4. A ‘Yes’ vote could mean Scots never living under a Labour government again. It seems likely to revive the Scottish Tory Party, though.

  5. @ Rich

    There was a guy on Sunday morning politics talking about view of a socialist state for Scotland, are these people for one moment giving any thought where the money is coming from?
    Alex Salmond has implied that the country will be awash with oil & gas; & the man from Witherspoons sees an excellent business opportunity! What more do you need to know? ;-)

  6. Guys, that’s right, it was Sheridan.

  7. Nationalism always reveals its nasty side, however well-meaning the intentions with which it starts.

  8. @MrNameless

    It would appear that even in my very short stay in Sweden over the weekend, I sprinkled my centre-left stardust over that fine country and my presence assured the timely demise of their centre-right government! It was fascinating to see the levels of engagement in Stockholm, reflected in the voter turnout of over 80%, and the amount of posters, hoardings and campaigners in evidence on polling day. One of the things I wanted to do whilst in the Swedish capital, besides flogging the streets for two hours in the Half Marathon, was to visit Olof Palme’s grave and the nearby plaque that marked the place where he was shot and killed in 1986. Palme was a centre left politician that I’d admired in my youth, particularly his outspoken criticism of apartheid and I wanted to take the brief opportunity I had to pay my respects.

    It was a poignant day to visit these places and his modest grave in the Adolf Fredrik cemetery in central Stockholm, close to a road renamed in his memory, was covered with red roses, the symbol of the Swedish Social Democrats.

    Whereas the 40 year political hegemony of the Social Democrats ended with electoral defeats in 1976 and 1979, and they have oscillated with the Centre Right parties since in terms of forming governments, their emergence as the main party in Swedish politics again yesterday shows that the political idea that they represent still burns strongly and that the society that they created after the war, and moulded for 40 years thereafter, still endures.

    Olof Palme would have smiled to himself yesterday, I think.

  9. @RogerH

    “No they wouldn’t because the Tories would themselves have lost more than one MP (31 in 1950, for example). It’s deceptive for you to try to manipulate the statistics in such a way.”

    My point is based on the notional impact of the Conservatives effectively gaining 29 seats now, and applying that to the margins necessary to form a government. What I think is deceptive is an argument that looks at the level of Conservative support in Scotland some 60+ years ago rather than today in order to try and contrive a case that losing Scotland now would not shift the political balance of the rest of the UK well to the right and “greatly enhance” the prospect of future Conservative governments here.

  10. @Amber

    Even as a Tory supporter I recognise that our society has many people who are angry, who have a right to be angry and have a right to be represented by people who are angry on their behalf. Mr Sheridan is just an emissary of a part of Scotland (and Britain) that is as entitled to be heard as anyone else.

  11. I may have posted this previously, but Yes funder, Jim McColl is quite clear that his rationale is that public spending will be massively over ambitious initially then there will be a collapse which will result in an abrupt shift to a very low public spending, low business tax very low wage economy.

  12. @ Rich

    I have a lot of time for Tommy Sheridan. He may not be dealing off a full deck when it comes to the economy but the question which he is posing has begun to occupy the minds of some of the big, mainstream politicians. Tommy’s question has always been:

    Let’s say you are born without any advantages or an obvious talent or anybody to mentor the small talent(s) which you have; so you don’t get many opportunities, despite being willing to work hard. You are always striving but never arriving. What then? Should your life, from cradle to grave, always be insecure & without hope of anything better than just getting by?

    I am thinking that whichever political groups can answer this question in a way which captures the imagination of the majority of their electorate will be in power in the UK, in the USA & in every democratic nation of the world before many more years have gone by.

  13. CB11 – I was interested to note that the Social Democrats have 105,000 members from a population of 9 million. If translated across to here that would be the equivalent of the Labour Party having over 700,000 members.

    I think it illustrates the value and power of a solid ideological basis for political parties. This has to be something which can adapt to fit the times but which represents a constant idealistic trend in a party’s history.

    Labour have at times embodied strong ideas in different directions, but the current Clause IV means very little. I say that as a supporter of the current Labour Party – in the knowledge that its direction could change without much opposition should a future leader be minded to do so.

    Political parties have to be flexible to be successful and survive, but also they have to be rooted in some basic philosophy or they’ll repeatedly alienate their base.

  14. @ Neil A

    Yes, exactly. The people Tommy represents need representation as much as, or perhaps even more than, the rest of us do.

  15. @ John Pilgrim

    Thank you for your kind offer. I may take you up on that ‘er long! :-)

  16. CMJ

    Theatrical footy tradition requires that you don’t mention his name.

    MacBecks should also always be referred to as simply:

    “The Scottish Play[er]”

    But you’re right: they love him there

  17. Phil Haines 1950, 1964 and Feb 1974 would all have led to Conservative governments had there been (in effect) 29 more Conservative MPs, and October 1974 would have seen a re-run within months.

    What on earth is the relevance of elections in 1950, 1964 and 1974? Most of the people who voted in those elections are now dead. You might just as well go back to 1922 or 1929.

    The current electorate is very different from how it was then. If you look at three of the four most recent elections you can see that Labour got a big majorities in England alone. They did not do this in 1950, 1964 and 1974, but things have moved on since then and English people’s views of the Conservatives have changed.

  18. Very interesting interviews with George Galloway and Tommy Sheridan on the Sunday Politics yesterday – with my head I’m with Galloway (which is why I still hope for a NO vote) but my God my heart was with Sheridan!

  19. Crossbat11,

    I wouldn’t exaggerate the significance of the Social Democrats’ win yesterday. Their vote was up 0.5% on last time, and far below what they used to be able to get. They increased their seat share by one seat.

    The election was primarily a triumph of extremism: the extreme right, in the case of the Swedish Democrats, and a lesser extent the eurosceptic Left party.

    It will be interesting to see what kind of government the Social Democrats form. A coalition with the Greens would be far, far short of a majority; the Social Democrats won’t work with the Swedish Democrats, obviously; and the other parties are in an electoral alliance against the Social Democrats. I don’t know enough about Swedish politics to know whether or not a German style grand coalition of the centre-left and centre-right is possible.


    Goodee :-)

  21. A bit off-topic, but Ifor what it is worth I suspect the Swedeish Social Democrats will have to form a minority government, either on their own or with the Greens. The previous centre right coalition in Sweden did not have a majority either. Though at least it could blink left (Social Democrats, Greens) or right (Sweden Democrats).

    If the Social Democrats are slick they ought to manage to force some of the small centre-right parties to support them, and if they won’t then find the right issue on which to call fresh elections and aim to force one or more of the small centre-right parties under 4%. (They are only just clear of it.)

    What actually happened was that the outgoing PM knew he was going to lose, so he played the race card (aka moaning about immigration). This had no effect on his party but (if you look at the movement of polls) costs the left votes (esp. the Greens) and strengthened the extreme right.

  22. Anyone’s who’s been to Sweden recently should know there is an underclass of poor people – many ways rather like Scotland.If you like poverty and despair Hultsfred is a posh version of Ayrshire.

  23. RogerH,

    Stop your blatant selling of independence to me!

  24. AMBER

    I just said I found him scary.

    I didn’t say his point of view was invalid, whether I agreed with him or not-nor did I mention “poverty tourism”. You obviously introduced that phrase for a reason-but it is lost on me I’m afraid.

  25. Oh by the way the SAP sets membership fees locally but in General they are approximately 30% Lower than the Cost of Labour Party Membership in the UK

  26. September 2013 –

    “Scottish government welcomes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) talks…..

    In England the role of competition in the delivery of healthcare has increased with the private sector having a greater role in providing NHS-funded healthcare. Some commentators suggest that this may open up the NHS to further commercialisation under the TTIP. The position in Scotland is quite different. The Scottish government has always protected, and will continue to protect, the NHS in Scotland from privatisation. The Scottish government’s commitment to the people of Scotland is for a publicly funded health service providing care free at the point of delivery.”

    September 2014 –

    [TTIP is] “…one of the biggest threats to the future of the health service in Scotland”.

    Both quotes are from the SNP Health Minister, and tend to suggest they’ve been a tad economical with the truth regarding the NHS.

    As with the second TV debate, when Salmond claimed increased privatisation in the English NHS would reduce the block grant to NHS Scotland, it’s a complete fabrication, yet far too many Scottish voters appear to have been swayed by this.

    This shows how powerful the NHS can be as an election tool, even when the information provided is rubbish. If it chimes with people’s prejudices, then it can be a powerful motivator.

  27. Conservative, labour, or lib-dem is irrelevant. Queen in parliament ? Westminster parties? Political elite? London media?
    What’s really scaring the political elite in the UK is the fact that on Thursday the 18th of September, sovereignty will reside in the will of the Scottish people. Democracy. The people will speak. Yes or no. And Westminster can do nothing. At last!

  28. @Killary45

    “What on earth is the relevance of elections in 1950, 1964 and 1974?”

    The relevance is to show that past election defeats for the Conservatives don’t always happen to have been landslide defeats, as you implied when you cited 1997, 2001 and 2005 as if they were typical. If you’re going to cite past elections, surely I can as well, but indeed I much prefer to focus on the present.

    So focusing on the present rather than in the past, then without Scotland I presume we can agree on the fact that the Conservatives currently would only lose only 1 seat against the 30 fewer needed to form a Commons majority, and therefore be 29 seats closer to a majority. I presume we are also agreed that there isn’t any sign of a massive Conservative resurgence in Scotland, with their hopes of picking up seats in 2015 being limited to a couple at best. I hope we can also agree (with or without reference to the past, as you wish) that the likelihood that future UK elections without Scotland secession will be quite close is at least as great as the likelihood that either Labour or the Conservatives will romp home.

    And if we can agree to all of those points, at the risk of labouring a point, I think it follows that the loss of Scotland would greatly enhance the prospect of there being Conservative governments in the future in the UK.

  29. Just dropping by – read very little of the thread, I’m afraid, but feel it incumbent upon me to ask if references to nationalism (e.g. RogerH 11.59 above) are equally applicable to British nationalism as to Scottish nationalism? If not, why not?

    Interesting discussion on BBC Scotland lunch time and again on BBC Radio 4 WatO on the reliability of polls. Personally I have no idea of what to expect come Thursday’s/Friday’s declarations. Some claim that the ‘dks’ are all, or mostly, ‘No’ voters. That may be the case, though I think it unlikely, because until only two weeks ago the Nos were a clear majority. Why would anyone be afraid of being open about supporting the majority? Makes no sense to me. Is 1992 and the Tory victory after Labour being ahead in the polls applicable here, or did the polling companies learn enough from that experience to avoid the same mistake now?

    What the pollsters certainly have to ask about is why 97% of those legally entitled to vote have registered to do so. Until a short while ago (beginning of last month) there seemed to be no real possibility of a Yes victory, so those intending to vote No would (IMO) not have seen any particular need to register. Indeed, they would, most likely, have already been on the electoral list, supporting the three ‘Westminster’ parties (short hand, I know, but you know what I mean).
    If this line of thinking is in any way accurate – and I have no idea whether it is or not – then surely the Yes campaign is likely to see a much bigger turn out in support than expected a month ago.

    Whichever way it goes, however, it has been a really good thing to be involved with. Scotland is much the better for having had the discussion.

    may come back later……..

  30. John B: “Why would anyone be afraid of being open about supporting the majority? Makes no sense to me.”

    Apart from the much-reported intimidation, John?!

    No-one wants a brick through their window or to be harassed in the street.

  31. Scottish (or Welsh Nationalism) = Evil
    British Nationalism = Good

    Rule Britannia !
    A narrow NO win still means your time is running out!

  32. Russell Cennyd: Scottish (or Welsh Nationalism) = Evil
    British Nationalism = Good”

    Utter nonsense.

    Who, apart from knuckle-dragging underbiters, has ever said British Nationalism is “good”?…

  33. @ Phil Haines

    I am not sure it is best to view the partisan advantage of parties through the prism of the 2010 election, which was particularly bad for Labour in England but not that bad in Scotland. After all, you might expect the Tories to win a majority with a 7pt lead over Labour.

    It is true that the Tories would find it easier to gain a majority without Scotland, but it would also be quite possible for Labour to do so if they managed to poll in the mid-30s (as opposed to 29). Basically, they would just need to make an extra ten gains which is not that much of an extra swing. Also, few of Labour’s target seats are Scottish.

    To put it briefly, I guess that the impact of losing Scotland for Labour would be no greater than if the boundary review had gone through.

    However that also ignores the impact on the idea of Toryism which would be pretty diminished without Scotland. It would remove another thread binding that party together. All bets are off if Scotland votes aye.

  34. @Steve2

    I took it to be a joke.

  35. BBC: Mr Ewing added: “Whilst the No campaign like to talk down Scotland’s oil wealth – despite enjoying the riches that flow from it into the London Treasury – it’s clear that Scotland’s oil and gas story is far from over.

    I count at least three porkies in his statement.

    1. ‘No’ has never “talked down” Scotland’s oil wealth just that it is finite and cannot be relied on as a reliable revenue source.

    2. The oil riches flow to London only because that’s where the Inland Revenue is based. The money returns to Scotland in the block grant and the Barnett Formula.

    3. The oil and gas story is very nearly over, an examination of oil production since 1999 demonstrates that.

    And earlier today, we had Salmond accusing the PM of coercing foreign multinationals into “talking down Scotland” and said the RBS had promised ‘no operations would be moved from Scotland’ when he really said ‘some would’.

    Today’s Yes strategy is seemingly ‘lie until your pants combust’.

  36. Killary45 “What on earth is the relevance of elections in 1950, 1964 and 1974? Most of the people who voted in those elections are now dead.”

    I agree that history does not have to repeat itself, but though 1974 is certainly forty years ago, there are still many electors from that time still voting, and in fact that UK demographic is more likely to vote than younger people.

    I can also confirm that rumours of my demise are greatly…aaaaargh !

  37. @Russell Cennyd – I think you’re a bit wide of the mark as far as this forum goes. In general, most on here tend not to like nationalism of any colour (including to be perfectly fair, quite a number of Yes supporters).

    Those English nationalists that do occasionally pop up here also seem perfectly happy that nationalism in other parts of the UK is understandable and acceptable. Sauce for the goose, and all that.

    For my part, I tend towards all nationalism being undesirable, in a broad sense. It tends to generate an over inflated sense of national importance and distorts proper judgements, in my view.

    I speak as a Scot, married to a Welsh women, living in England. Scottish and Welsh nationalism has, in my view, led to the self image of those two countries as victims of their larger neighbour, and has been instrumental in holding back those countries from dealing with their many problems.

    I wrote several posts yesterday on this general theme, but the most significant problems in Scotland have been inflicted by Scots, on Scots. Nationalism is hiding from this, which has I feel held back the development of Scotland. Devolution could have dealt with many of these factors (has dealt with some, thankfully) but the constant wish to separate themselves from others and blame someone else for their problems are the two greatest factors holding back Scotland, in my view.

  38. I am no fan of “my country right or wrong” but there do seem to be some that prefer to think that EVERYTHING about the UK is wrong.

    It does seem to bring out the “well f*ck off to North Korea” response in me.

  39. @Alister

    Couldn’t have put it better myse…………


    @” so he played the race card (aka moaning about immigration).”

    This is a phrase we used to hear a lot in this country.

    Not so much now thank goodness.

    Since Trevor Philips spoke out -ten years ago now-about the “separateness” which the flawed multicuturalism had “legitamised” , concerns about the effects of rapid, concentrated , bursts of immigration on certain parts of the country have not been equated to racism quite so readily.

    But talking about it is one thing. Doing something about it it is another. And it is the latter which concerns the voters turning to UKIP right now.

    In Scandinavia too, those comfortably separated from immigrant ghettoes & poverty have had a wake up call as , those who are not turn to antiimmigration parties in Sweden Denmark & Norway. Worse yet in the latter country.

    If the writings of Stieg Larsson are anything to go by, there is a dark strand in Nordic society which will be only too ready to exploit the effects which Trevor Phillips so bravely spoke about in this country a decade ago.

  41. @RAF – (hundreds of posts back!) – I agree that polls are useful evidence and also that in this case with the parties clearly close and a lost of other uncertainties they are much less useful guides as to who will win than is usually the case.

  42. Thanks Guymonde

    …Help, I have landed in Limbo, a place where an important referendum or election is always three days away.

  43. Colin – correct. Christian – Immigration and race are separate issues, of course, which you conveniently confuse. That tired old line about those having issues with excessive population increase and the effects it has on services/economy/society are just being racist is old hat and no longer silences legitimate concerns.

    It normally comes from the middle classes, that go on about those questioning it being racist yet see no ill-effects from themselves or even positive outcomes – lowering their staff pay and considerations, etc).

    It’s mainly the poor that suffer, and they can be dismissed.

  44. “Scottish (or Welsh Nationalism) = Evil
    British Nationalism = Good”

    What all right-wing nationalists have in common – whether the British/English variety of UKIP and Tory Euro-Sceptics or the Scottish variety of Salmond and Sturgeon, is that while they all “get an onion out of their pockets” as Private Eye would put it and blather on about Sovereignty and independence for their own cynical reasons, when there is a genuine threat to Sovereignty (and especially the NHS in the case of the TTIP ) they are either silent or even sheepishly support it!

  45. The Scots are too poor, the Scots are too weak, the scots are welfare junkies, the Scots could never intellectually debate independence. The Scots are gullible, the Scots believe everything, the Scots will choose. Is the Union Jack worth it? If you believe in the union, rule Britannia, etc. etc. ok. For many disenfranchised in our countries “Rule Britannia” means nothing more than the banks you rule your lives til you die. Britain has become nothing less than World Bank PLC

  46. I don’t know if an independent Scotland will make a go of it, what I do know is that the chance is better than the present scenario presented to us by the Westminster elite?

  47. Alec,

    I’ve been meaning to ask you about this. Your views on the Indy Ref are obviously unrepeatable here due to the comments policy, but what do you think the mood is among Greens in relation to their official support for a Yes vote? I can’t imagine all of them are happy with it. How did that position come about?

    (Yes I know the Scottish Greens are technically a different party but there must be dialogue and common policy decisions to some degree between the two).

  48. “Westminster elite”

    Now that’s not a phrase you hear often.

  49. The complaint I often hear that us little Englanders don’t understand Scotland is pretty ironic when it appears some people think that England is composed of the Westminster Elite and nothing else….

  50. BALBS

    John Reid explained this on DP today.

    He said “Westminster” is code for “The English”.

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