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. I always like subtle campaigning.

    The Orange march got little publicity, so probably had little impact outside Edinburgh.

    Locally, however, the decision of local Yes campaigners to organise squads to clean up the rubbish that the LOL left strewn across the Meadows (and publicising that on social media) might shift a vote or two – as well as providing negative publicity for these ultimate British Nationalists.

  2. @RogerH – “The UK government has no power to prevent people from holding as many citizenships as they wish. This isn’t America.”

    No parliament binds it’s successors – so all they need to do is have a vote in the Commons, and hey presto, there’s a new law. See the way we suddenly got five year fixed parliaments after 2010.

    Parliament has the power to do whatever it wants.

    @Roger Mexico – Salmond’s paper actually proposed that all Scots in Scotland kept their UK citizenship !!!

    That would lead to the absurd situation of Scotland being independent, but being able to influence UK elections just as if they hadn’t left.

    There’s no way the public would buy it. So I think a very explicit exception will be made for Scots – no dual citizenship, they’d have to choose one or the other. It’s no good jumping up and down saying that this is unfair, look at the commonwealth, blah blah blah. It’s not going to be politically feasible to have it any other way.

    If the 830,000 Scots in England choose to be UK citizens and give up Scots nationality, there is no reason why their lives can’t continue happily on, just as it is now.

    If they choose to be Scots nationals they can still work and live here, but because they will have left the EU they’ll need a work visa. Just Googled it – it’s about £600 per annum. A small price to pay for the joys of living and working in England, and I’m sure they’ll be glad to fork over the cash.

    P.S. I personally think we ought to take a leaf out of the Americans’ book and charge the Scots an Exit tax. After all our lives will have been disrupted at great expense and none of us will have had a say in this at all. Only fair we should be compensated.

  3. It is a view held by many on both sides Oldnat.

    Admittedly it’s more associated with the No vote (as it’s a bit politically naive for a Yes voter to suggest that this referendum is a bad thing, given that if they win they’ll claim victory and if they lose they’ll be wanting another vote at some point), but to give but one example of talk which hardly points at quick reconciliation:

    “This has been the most negative, fear-driven and insulting political campaign in modern history and should be treated with nothing other than the total contempt it so richly deserves.

    “Scots have long memories. And the main culprits, no matter the result, shall suffer.”

    Care to guess which way this person will vote?

  4. Martyn

    In order to keep the peg, exactly the right amount of banknotes need to be printed, you still would have no freedom of monetary policy apart from the last ditch dropping of the peg.

    Equally you can’t go to the bond markets without dropping the peg either.

    In terms of handling a shortfall in revenues you are still left with the choices of raise taxes, cut spending or devalue.

  5. @Alec

    I know.

  6. Oldnat ,

    The Orange march was another , maybe unintentional , own goal for the No campaign , but it’s all over social media . Sparsely attended , the usual types bused in from the edges and Greater Belfast . It won’t look good , especially in whats left of the Labour heartlands .

  7. Candy

    “That would lead to the absurd situation of Scotland being independent, but being able to influence UK elections just as if they hadn’t left. ”

    Such a situation would be wholly unacceptable – so it’s just as well that it couldn’t happen.

    UK Ex-pats can only vote in UK elections if they had been previously registered in a UK constituency – and even then only for 15 years after leaving.

    Unless rUK were to introduce somewhat strange legislation to allow those previously registered to vote in Scotland, to cast a vote in an English, Welsh, or NI constituency, then they couldn’t vote in a rUK election unless they lived in a rUK constituency.

    [Why] do you imagine that i would be able to cast a vote in rUK unless I lived there?

  8. “The IOM can print their own banknotes ”

    And so can I (as long as I make it sufficiently obvious that they are from Bank of Robin, to comply with forgery laws). But no-one is obliged to accept them.

    Or to put it another way, an independent Scotland can use the pound, until they run out of them. Which given their trade deficit, even after oil, won’t be very long.

    But what will they do then?

  9. Robin

    You are confusing fiscal deficit, which in most years has been lower than that of rUK, with a trade deficit. Scotland has a trading surplus, as opposed to rUK.

  10. @Oldnat

    Candy’s point feeds into one of mine concerning voting rights of non-UK citizens resident in the UK. When the Empire existed and farflung colonists still referred to Britain as “home”, allowing Imperial subjects in Britain to vote for Westminster made sense. But post iScotland independence, the number of Commonwealth, Irish and Scottish people in rUK will be pretty big, and people will look askance at this.

  11. Brian Nicholson

    I feel that the turnout of the electors will tip the balance, but even that has its own questions. I would expect the BT will win the postal vote due to the majority of postal voters being older than 55. The interesting result of the postal vote will be the margin of victory.

    This is a bit of a myth actually. Since the postal vote became available on demand it’s not just those who find it difficult to get to a polling station who use it.

    After the 2011 Holyrood elections YouGov asked how panelists had voted. About 19% had – possibly a higher percentage than the population generally as YouGov panelists tend to be more regular voters (87% voted compared to 50% overall turnout). By age it was:

    18-24 4%

    25-39 15%

    40-59 20%

    60+ 27%

    So there was an increase with age but it’s not as extreme as you might think. If you work the figures out only 43% of postal voters were over 60 and I would expected it to be less in the referendum as it was boosted by older voters also being more likely to vote. This differential will be lessened if turnout is much higher than the 50% for 2011 Holyrood.

    There was also very little difference in the percentage of the votes for each Party cast by postal vote, which suggests that, at least in Scotland, no Party particularly benefits.

  12. Martyn

    rUK would be perfectly free to restrict voting rights for Westminster elections to rUK citizens (although not, I think for Local or EU elections).

    It will do what it thinks is appropriate for it. That’s what independent countries do.

    What’s the problem?

  13. @Oldnat

    I wasn’t delineating a problem. I was scratching an old itch of mine: namely, most people genuinely don’t know how the UK is structured and run.

  14. Martyn

    Indeed. Maybe more in Scotland now have some idea of “how the UK is structured and run.”

    Seems like around half of us think it’s pretty poor. (I did have another term instead of “poor”, but auto-mod didn’t like it!) :-)

  15. Martyn

    But post iScotland independence, the number of Commonwealth, Irish and Scottish people in rUK will be pretty big, and people will look askance at this.

    But it’s already pretty big and has been for many decades. Without anyone giving a toss. And how are you going to impose this ban? Will you eject Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith from Parliament and send them in chains to Gretna for the crime of where they were born?

  16. Roger Mexico

    Nice idea, but maybe Mann would have more of the required Elba/St Helena characteristic?

  17. STV news reports:

    “Around 15,000 people have taken part in a pro-Union Orange Order march through Edinburgh.

    Police Scotland said the march, involving 110 Orange Lodge bands and thousands of spectators, passed off peacefully with no arrests.”

    Hardly what I would call “sparsely attended” but then again I’m in England so doubtless there will be a poster or two who will probably say I have no idea what I’m talking about……

  18. @ON

    Scotland’s current ‘surplus’ is tiny, and will vanish when banks relocate south of the border. Oil revenues are set to decline substantially over the next decade, after which there will be a large deficit.

    In any case, the same applies to a fiscal deficit. Where would a Scottish government get all these pounds it plans to spend? Who in their right mind would lend to a government that has no means of repayment, without a substantial risk premium and a demand for “fiscal prudence” (i.e. Austerity Max)?

    Edinburgh would very quickly have a second reason to be called the Athens of the North.

  19. Here’s what the following article has to say about it:



    “The Scottish White Paper assumes that UK citizenship will persist after independence. If this were correct, on the day that Scotland becomes independent all Scottish citizens would also be UK citizens. Between six or seven million people would then become dual Scottish/UK citizens. British citizenship law is quite generous in respect of dual citizenship: in general it allows its citizens to hold citizenship of other countries. There are, however, a number of reasons why Scotland might be treated differently, at least initially.

    “First, it is unusual for a state to have quite so many of its citizens holding dual citizenship. Classically, citizenship is presented as the highest form of political membership that an individual can possess: their membership of the state. States are partly characterised by the claims they level over their members: they present themselves as exercising supreme authority, claiming to have the final say about the obligations of their members, to be the final determiner of political and personal disputes. Citizenship is a form of state membership that brings with it a share in the governance of the state: it is the citizens, through the institutions of the constitution, that determine the decisions and policies of the state. Understood in this light, dual citizenship is inherently problematic. The individual is a member of two states, states animated by two distinct citizenries, which make competing claims to supremacy over her.”

    End Quote


    “…But post iScotland independence, the number of Commonwealth, Irish and Scottish people in rUK will be pretty big, and people will look askance at this. But it’s already pretty big and has been for many decades. Without anyone giving a toss. And how are you going to impose this ban?…”

    I’m not strictly advocating a ban on non-UK citizens voting in a Westminster election: I think it would be a good idea, but I’m not delusional enough to believe that people would do something because I point out it’s an anomaly.

    People live in a mental landscape where most of the concepts (money is concrete, counties are eternal, Ireland is part of Britain, the world is at peace, law is universal, what is not forbidden is compulsory, we vote for a government, everybody thinks the same…) are fictional. Technically I’m a statistician, although these days I work more with big data and my job entails presenting difficult concepts to people who usually go on to….ignore me and do what they were gong to do anyway. Since I get paid regardless I’ve learnt to not let it bother me, but when things get important (such as an election or referendum) it becomes difficult.

  21. @Roger Mexico – “And how are you going to impose this ban? Will you eject Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith from Parliament and send them in chains to Gretna for the crime of where they were born?”

    It’s quite easy to handle. You simply make people choose between UK citizenship and Scottish citizenship.

    Ask all Scots-born to reapply for their passports and papers. And to make a final binding choice between Scotland and the UK. I expect most Scots settled in England will choose UK citizenship, it’s a no brainer.

    If they choose Scots, well they’ll just be removed from the electoral register, that’s all.

    There won’t be a question of “sending people back in chains”.

    I expect Scots will still be able to live and work in England, they’ll just have to apply to the Home Office for a work visa at the cost of £600 per annum (as they won’t be members of the EU and will not have the same rights as EU members).

    (I expect in the unlikely event that the UK left the EU, the same thing would apply – Europeans currently in the UK would not be asked to leave. They would simply be asked to apply for a work permit. So business won’t be inconvenienced, but the state gets a nice stream of revenue from non-state members enjoying our hospitality.)

  22. Candy

    You don’t even understand your own laws as they are now. If North Ayrshire is no longer in the UK, then I have no connection with an rUK constituency through which I could register to vote in an rUK constituency.

    rUK can do what it likes with regard to the franchise for some elections. That has nothing to do with having dual citizenship

    rUK can also decide to reverse current policy and disallow dual citizenship.

    Of course, there are consequences for any such decisions, but your original post was simply nonsense. Unless I was resident in rUK, I could have no vote in an rUK election, unless an rUK Parliament decided to change its laws to allow me to vote in Middle Wallopp.

    Even if it was insane enough to do so, I would decline to exercise a vote in a foreign country. You guys need to go to hell in your own way.

  23. The New Statesman have a new poll collating/election calculator/campaign news site up. It’s actually pretty cool.


  24. I believe the second and third of these are highly likely . I believe the first is highly unlikely and can’t imagine many people have either thought of it or would believe it if they did

    My children were born in England of a Scottish father and English mother. I think they are the only group where dual citizenship would be a sensible solution

  25. CANDY

    @”As you say, the man is deranged.”

    Someone who knows him well, asked to sum him up, said “he is a gambler”.

    This is apparently as true in his daily personal life as it seems to be in his political life.

    It would be interesting to know what his expert opinion on the odds are at present :-)

  26. Thats not a bad poll for Cons-provided they can claw something back from UKIP.

    Lab at 35% is vulnerable.

  27. All this Dual Nationality chat seems a bit tenuous. It’s not quite as daft as blowing up Oil Rigs but going that way.

    Why would rUK change it’s long standing nationality laws just to exclude Scottish citizens from dual nationality? It would annoy a lot of other dual nationals to have to give up their rights (assuming no one except Candy would suggest only removing the right to dual nationality from Scots).

    Even if rUK for whatever reason asked Scots resident in rUK to renounce Scottish nationality at the point of independence, if Scottish Nationality Law allowed for eligible persons to vacate their renunciation later (as most dual nationality allowing countries do) then it would have little practical effect as Scottish born residents of rUK could apply for Scottish citizenship at any time in the future.

    Also given how Barney tells us Austria “Bans” Dual Nationality and USA “Discourages” it. He may be interested in the Dual Nationality of those two countries held by Arnold Schwarzenegger. (Austrian law actually allows dual citizenship only if you apply in advance for permission as Arnie did)

  28. I don’t think that dual citizenship will be allowed in he long run, but it has precious little to do with elections. As ON says, for the majority of people in Scotland there would be no eligibility to vote in the UK. But this isn’t true (at the moment) for anyone who has moved to Scotland in the 15 years prior to separation. And if there was still free movement of people across the border this would continue – spend long enough in the UK to register to vote and you get the vote for 15 years…

    I don’t think that this will be politically tolerable, even if he numbers are small, in the same way that members of EU states can’t vote in General Elections.

  29. I had very little trouble getting dual British/American citizenship. Having said that I was a UK citizen acquiring American citizenship, not the other way round, and I understand that my way is easier.

  30. Regarding marches being covered by the BBC… Can anyone remember the last march of any type that they covered? This is a constant complaint, although usually from the marchers and sympathisers rather then their political opponents

  31. @ Roger Mexico,

    Will you eject Michael Gove and Ian Duncan Smith from Parliament and send them in chains to Gretna for the crime of where they were born?

    At last, someone makes a compelling argument for Scottish Independence!

    @ Colin,

    On these numbers they’d need 38% to be the largest party. 6% of the vote back from Ukip in eight months, without Labour gaining so much as a point back from Ukip themselves? Doesn’t seem likely.

    I think CCHQ is going to have to rely on T’Other Howard’s prediction of a Labour collapse. They need them down around 33% to stand a real chance.

  32. Good Morning All.
    Both sides seem to be saying the race is very close, and comes down to the Undecided voters.

    I think if the Union is rejected there will be a crisis for the UK’s PM.

  33. Labour VI may be slipping a touch – the 38% earlier in the week is out of line wt the other YGs – 11% for others.

    Latest YouGov / Sunday Times results 12th Sept – Con 32%, Lab 35%, LD 7%, UKIP 15%; APP -24

  34. All this speculation about what will happen if there is a YES vote! On this matter, I am in agreement with the Westminster government – there is no need for a plan B. It ain’t going to be YES. I feel that Old Gnat et al are clutching at straws.

    While outsiders have been making threats about the consequences of independence, on the ground sadly there appears to be considerable evidence of harassment of anyone putting their head above the parapet in support of the NO side. In the secrecy of the polling booth, these NO supporters will be able to express their real views.

    As someone who does not have a vote, I am not supporting either side, but hope that there is a clear outcome. Having said that, the National Assembly for Wales, whose establishment was a close run affair, is now accepted by most people. People do make up their mind late – I only decided how to vote on 18/9/97 4 days before the referendum, and then persuaded several others to vote similarly. So the YES side should not give up until 2200 on 18/9/14.

  35. …Greens 6, SNP/PCY 4, BNP 1, Others 1

  36. “…keep a tight ahold on nurse
    For fear of finding something worse”

    Relevant to independence and swingback?

    But he didn’t!

  37. @ Pete (and possibly Roger Mexico)

    I think you’ve mentioned Ireland and Isle of Man as examples of ‘currency unions’.

    Neither were or are.

    Ireland had the Irish pound after independence. This was pegged at 1:1 (until the ?1970s) but as the child of Irish immigrants to the UK in the 1950s I can tell you this really didn’t work out for the Irish.

    The IOM has the Manx pound which, again is not UK sterling, and is NOT legal tender in England and Wales although people/businesses throughout the UK can choose to accept them (just as they can also take the euro or dollar). On the IOM both the Manx pound and Sterling are legal tender. The Manx pound is also pegged at 1:1 but this doesn’t cause so many problems as the IOM economy is much smaller and well aligned with the UK economy. And they have offshore banking.

  38. I think Labour are still on about 36. We’ve had a 38 as highest one side and 34 as lowest the other. What’s changed is an increased Kipper share and consequent harm to the Cons. The LDs are doing worse than usual at the moment too, for reasons unknown.

  39. Alan, Candy et al, re: citizenship.

    We don’t know what will happen but looking up past precedent is a pretty good guide. The UK tolerates dual citizenship, so I expect that to continue. However citizens of ex-British territories have their UK citizenship revoked if they have no connection (birth, parents) to the current UK. So I expect that many Scots will no longer be UK citizens. This may not happen immediately though.

    It is also reasonable to expect Scots will be able to live and work in the UK without restriction (as the Irish). Don’t forget everyone will have an interest in minimising economic disturbances.

    As Alan says, there are some categories of jobs that require UK birth (e.g. GCHQ, Foreign Office, MI5). That might be an issue for a small number of people. Presumably legislation will clarify there cases.

  40. No voters get it. Yes voters don’t. That would seem fairest :)


    I think largest party is a big ask.

    We now have a new dimension if a NO Indy vote is followed up with more fiscal powers for the Scottish Parliament.

    There will be a lot of pressure to stop Scottish MPs voting on Fiscal matters ( ie the Budget !) at Westminster.

    Thinks could be different at Westminster-even if the Union is intact.

  42. Candy

    I suspect whatever other outcomes of negotiations happen if the Scots vote Yes the arrangement regarding residency will be the same as for citizens of the Irish Republic in the UK

    They can vote in General Elections and you don’t require a passport. But they don’t become UK citizens.
    Identical arrangements apply for UK Citizens in the Republic.

    The reason for this is primarily because of Two small countries sharing the same small Islands .

    There are 800,000 Scottish born people living in the rest of the UK 200,000 are OAP’s including incidentally my Mother and Cousins.

    They have often lived here for decades ,over 60 Years in My mothers case and while they regard themselves as Scottish they also think of themselves as British and they didn’t get a vote either!

    There are also 400,000 English and Welsh and Northern Irish living in Scotland.

    IMO that is one part of the potential negotiations there should be cross party consensus because it genuinely does benefit both countries.

  43. I wouldn’t think more fiscal powers would be accepted by the Scottish Government unless the two governments can find agreement on with the proportion of the budget to be devolved – doubt that’s going to happen.

  44. BARDIN

    Brown has “promised” it. Downing Street welcomed the promise.

    To row back on it after a YES defeat is not going to improve their hatred of “Westminster” .

  45. Colin

    I meant that what is likely to be on offer – ie same or less budget and more ‘opportunity’ to raise taxes to meet an ever increasing shortfall, is unlikely to be acceptable. So my guess is negotiations will ‘break down’ and blame will fly on all sides

  46. BARDIN

    You mean…….SNP lose the Referendum , then turn down more devolved powers ?

    Is that the way to stay in office up there?

  47. I’m loving the Telegraph’s article where they explain that their own poll is rubbish as it puts Yes 8 points ahead while the all the others are right. Not disagreeing, but had it been the other way around they would be shouting from the rooftops!


  48. Colin

    If the ‘powers’ make Scotland worse off , of course

    Powers without the budget to use them are a liability

  49. @Old Nat

    Rant at others for “not understanding the law” is often coupled with having made a grave error of understanding themselves.

    Post independence will make Scottish constituencies no longer British ones. It will not go back in time and make it so they never were. So the requirement on ‘returning to the UK’ do not apply, since they will have a continuous history of enfranchisement.

    A Scottish/British duel citizen who lived in Glasgow would therefore still have a right to move down south and then vote. As would a Scottish citizen, if Scotland maintains commonwealth status during the negotiations, or negotiate a similar right as Ireland did. But the independent Scotland would have to negotiate that.

    It may well end up putting voting rights for commonwealth nation citizens on the table as a political issue, and people may well view it as an anachronistic holdover that should be undone. (Personally I don’t, I think that if you live in a place for long enough, and have been granted residency, you should be enfranchised to vote citizenship or not.)

    But the point is… That this would be something that Scotland is going to have to negotiate about. And once more, the SNP’s position has been “Well, obviously we’ll get what we want. For undefined reasons.”

    So yet again we have something fundamental resting on the rUK needing a reason to give Scotland everything it wants in a negotiation.

    I dread a slim Yes vote, because I think that Scotland might not actually end up independent after it, and what that would result in. Because SNP negotiations are doomed to collapse as they make demands that are entirely disadvantageous to the rUK, and unacceptable by the European Union. They literally have the current position of wanting concessions from the UK that the EU could not allow from any other member state.

    If Salmond attempts to bull head through negation for independence, and all indications seem to be that he will, it will be a disaster. And the Scottish people won’t get a single vote on the negotiation or final settlement, and it may well end in with the SNP ousted from government by a panicked populace.

    Time and time and time again, it comes down to the SNP and the Yes campaign proposing a path to independence and post-independance that is threadbare and ripe for collapse.

  50. Daodao,

    Oldnat and I don’t agree on much, as you know, but I think it’s a little unfair to accuse him of “clutching at straws”. ON, along with Peter Cairns and most of the other SNP members frequenting this site, has been pretty sanguine about the chances of a Yes vote. It is only the sudden tightening of the polls that has them, like the rest of us, grappling with the real possibility of Scottish independence.

    The only people I have seen predicting the outcome have been predicting a No vote.

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