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. @ RAF

    I didn’t study this at school; what got me interested in this subject was the international law which was created around both the forming & the break-up of the Soviet Union.

    I wanted to understand the context & began to study the histories of the countries – which had clearly been written from the pre-existing political perspective of the writers; nevertheless some interesting patterns appeared to be emerging which piqued my interest. So the study into these patterns continues. Then to understand them properly & draw appropriate conclusions.

  2. Given the reports of intimidation, can I ask whether there are international observers on the ground to confirm that the referendum is free and fair? It would be unfortunate if the first things to happen on Friday were accusations that the vote would not have been out of place in Crimea or Donetsk.

    More importantly for this forum, there must surely be a significant risk that a threatening atmosphere will cause responses to polls to be less reliable than usual.

    BTW I do not believe that there is ever any such thing as a ‘spontaneous’ protest. Anything more than a handful of people is *always* organised.

  3. Robin

    Which “reports of intimidation” are you referring to?

    Of all the sites I visit, this is the only one where they are being mentioned, but without specifics.

    I have checked the online versions of the Herald, the Scotsman and the Daily Record, BBC Scotland and STV.

    None of them carry any such stories. It seems rather odd that if what you are suggesting is happening actually is, then none of these Scottish media outlets carry any such stories.

    So what are you referring to, that would suggest the need for international observers to report on a “Donetsk” scenario?

  4. Here’s a startling revelation; more small countries split because there are more of them.

    It’s as much a revelation as, large families tend to have more children!

    Peter.

  5. The argument about political deadlock by size of country is a somewhat irrelevant one in my view. There are many countries, big and small, good and evil, which have effective political systems, and many that don’t.

    What I think can be said non-controversially is that both the British government and the devolved Scottish parliament are better at achieving what their leaders set out to do than systems such as the EU or US, and that this would undoubtedly continue on both sides of the border after the referendum whether or not that border becomes an international one.

    But I question the basis on which anyone from either side can predict whether or not independence will make Scotland’s government more effective (noting that this is quite distinct from the debate on whether or not independence would make Scotland’s government more representative, which is one of the few arguments where I think the Yes camp has decisively won without feeling the need to duck the relevant questions or sell assumptions as certainties).

    As far as the political system in isolation is concerned, the question is whether the relative predictability of what the union will bring (notwithstanding that there will be some change in the relationship between Westminster and Holyrood post-No, albeit with disagreement over whether that change will be token or substantial), or the radical change Yes believes will improve things, will be better placed to provide effective government post-2018.

    I say 2018 because by definition the year or two either side of independence would be transitional ones, so it would be unfair to take the short term into account when determining which outcome would ultimately prove to be best from a governance point of view.

  6. Thanks for updating the UKPR averages, Anthony

    comparing September 2014 with January 2014

    Cons 32 (-1)
    Lab 36 (-3)
    LD 8 (-2)
    UKIP 15 (+4)
    Greens 5 (+1)
    SNP + Others 4 (+1)

    I speculate that UKIP have taken 1 from Con, 2 from Lab, 1 from LD. Greens have taken 1 from LD and Others/SNP 1 from Lab

    – lots of churning going on though.

    Just over 6 months before the official election campaign starts

  7. Swedish General Election, 2014:

    Social Democratic Party (centre-left) 31.2%, 113 seats.
    Moderate Party (centre-right) 23.2%, 84 seats.
    Sweden Democrats (populist right) 12.9%, 49 seats.
    Green Party (centre-left) 6.8%, 24 seats.
    Centre Party (centre-right) 6.2%, 22 seats.
    Left Party (left) 5.7%, 21 seats.
    Liberal People’s Party (centre-right) 5.4%, 19 seats.
    Christian Democrats (centre-right) 4.6%, 17 seats.
    Feminist Initiative (left) 3.1%, no seats.
    Other parties 0.9, no

    Turnout was 83.3.

    The Swedish Democrats hold the balance of power.

  8. @ Peter Cairns

    Here’s a startling revelation; more small countries split because there are more of them.
    ——————
    No, there isn’t.

  9. @ Chris Hornet

    …noting that this is quite distinct from the debate on whether or not independence would make Scotland’s government more representative, which is one of the few arguments where I think the Yes camp has decisively won without feeling the need to duck the relevant questions or sell assumptions as certainties.
    —————-
    More representative of what?

  10. @MRNAMELESS
    Thanks for the info re Swedish GE
    Changes from 2009 are as follows:
    S +0.3 + 1 seat
    MP (Green) -0.4 -1
    V (Left +0.2 + 2
    FI +2.7 0
    TOTAL C-L + 2.8 + 2 seats (46.8% – 158)
    M – 6.8 -23
    CP -0.5 -1
    FP (Lib.) -1.7 – 5
    KD -1.0 -2
    TOTALC-R -10 -31 seats (39.3% – 142)
    SD +7.2 + 29
    There has been an important shift from C-R to Far Right and a less important one to the C-Left (mainly to FI), and as a result the C-L block is stronger than the outgoing Alliance. The SD hold the balance of power but only theoretically, since no other party wants to cooperate with them. Outgoing PM F. Reinfeldt has already resigned and SD leader S. Loefve will be the next PM. Formation of the new gvt. will not be easy. It will probably bee a minority SD+Green cabinet, with probable external support by Left and the 2 Centrist/Liberal parties on an issue by issue basis.

  11. @MrNameless,

    I have to admit, I am a little confused by the reporting on the Swedish election.

    From what I understand, the left has around 44%, the right has around 39% and the UKIP-types have around 13%.

    And yet the assumption is that the left will form a government with the UKIP-types rather than the right doing so. To the point where the PM has already said he will resign.

    Is there a constitutional requirement in Sweden for the leader of the largest party to be PM? And are the parties of the right really as enthusiastic about immigration as those of the left?

  12. * In my previous post, speaking about SD Leader S. Loevfe I meant of course the Social Democrats (S) and not the Sweden Democrats (SD).

  13. Mr N

    Amazing result.

    AfD have scored 10% & 12% in regional elections in Germany.

    This sort of protest seems alive & kicking across Europe.

    Maybe new elections in Sweden soon ?

  14. But Mr Löfven, the former head of a trade union, will have his work cut out to form a coalition that can pass a budget this autumn. He is likely to reach out to the three smaller centre-right parties currently in government to see whether he can tempt them to join a coalition and thwart the Sweden Democrats.
    “This is perhaps the most complicated situation we have in Sweden since democracy. So it will be very, very difficult to form a government for Stefan Löfven,” Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, the influential head of the LO trade union confederation, told the Financial Times.
    Some even predict a new vote within a few months as Mr Löfven’s government would be too weak to survive. PM Nilsson, chief leader writer of newspaper Dagens Industri, said he expected fresh elections in February.”
    FT

  15. Thanks Virgilio

    A salutary lesson for the Tories and UKIP I think.

    The Swedish democrats have quite literally managed to swap replace a right wing government with a left win one, virtually single-handed.

    I know nothing about Swedish politics so I don’t know whether the left are more pro-immigration than the right, but one generally assumes so.

  16. @Neil A
    It is not a obligatory for the 1st party to form the gvt (in both 2006 and 2010 the Moderates were 2nd after the Soc. Dems and yet they formed the gvt). Yet the C-R alliance leaders had made it clear that they would not ask for the support of far-right SD and they would remain in power only if the sum of their seats were superior to the sum of the c-l parties. Since this did not happen, outgoing PM has resigned and S. Loevfe will be the next PM. SD party was and remains the “bete noire” of Swedish politics despite its rise in votes and seats.

  17. Well the game is up for the’Yes’ Campaign.

    The Scots, in time of great need, look to those superior intellects and sages who can guide them.

    Therefore, given the fact that the great hero to the Scottish people, David Beckham, has spoken, everyone can pack up and go home.

  18. SD 12.9% of votes -14% of seats.

    Couldn’t happen here.

  19. @Colin

    SD 12.9% of votes -14% of seats.

    Couldn’t happen here.

    You are right.

    We couldn’t possibly have a party winning a fair number of seats based on their share of the vote.

    Sadly.

  20. AMBER
    I’ve followed the Baltic States experience somewhat and various British and French colonial African and Indo-Chinese territories, from work there, in some cases pre-independence. The former colonial terriroties had ancient kingdoms but during colonialisation and the drawing of boundaries were, and in most cases still are,divided by language and cultural, and in some case religious, groupings.
    (If you wanted to discuss, please ask Anthony for my e-mail.)

  21. Also by urbanisation and economic development and specialisation.

  22. YouGov poll of Wales (ITV Wales, Cardiff University):

    Westminster:
    LAB 38
    CON 23
    UKIP 17
    PC 11
    LD 6
    GRN 5

    If the Tories finish behind UKIP in Wales it’ll cut off another big chunk of the country for them.

    Scottish Independence:

    Yes 21%
    No 64%
    DK/WNV 16%

    Welsh Independence:

    Yes 17%
    No 70%
    DK/WNV 13%

    Welsh Assembly Income Tax Powers:

    Yes 38%
    No 39%
    DK/WNV 24%

  23. This is a Scottish thread so we must put the Swedish election results in a Scottish context.

    On Thursday Scottish nationalists will be seeking to take a step that would greatly enhance in perpetuity the prospect of governments of the right for the rest of the UK, a prospect which they seems to bother them not in the slightest. So any left-leaning nationalists feeling remotely pleased that a government of the left looks like being returned to power in Sweden should remember that they must remain totally disinterested about election results in foreign countries.

  24. Phil Haines On Thursday Scottish nationalists will be seeking to take a step that would greatly enhance in perpetuity the prospect of governments of the right for the rest of the UK,

    Election results for England only:

    1997 Lab 328 Con 165

    2001 Lab 323 Con 165

    2005 Lab 286 Con 193

  25. Is WNV really an appropriate option for a referendum that 0% of participants are able to participate in?

    That said, I’m surprised that the gap between Scottish Independence and Welsh Independence is that small in the Wales survey. I’d go as far as to say that Wales has more to gain from Scottish independence than Scotland itself, because Westminster will likely do everything in its power to convince it that it has done better from staying in the union than Scotland has from leaving.

    Very ominous for the LDs if they’re polling 6% in Wales, given that in 2010 they secured 4.5% of the national vote just in the four constituencies they held (and even that wasn’t enough to avoid losing Montgomeryshire).

    ————–

    More representative of what?

    The colour of the tie and rosette that Scottish people vote for.

  26. Listening to a bus-stop discussion with a Yes and a No supporter on R5 this morning where the Yes supporter gave another revealing insight into the Yesser psyche.

    He is expecting Scotland to dramatically change its welfare system, a currency union and that there will be no corporate exodus. 100% confidence on all three of these. Isn’t this a stubborn ‘head in the sand lalala’ attitude? There was no mention of self-determination or the NHS, the Yes campaign’s current soundbites.

    And when the No supporter explained her vote was down to the “uncertainty of Scotland’s economic future after a Yes vote”, the Yes supporter interrupted and demanded a forecast of where the UK’s economy would be in two years’ time. Surely, ‘the state of the UK economy in two years’ is a lot more predictable than ‘the state of iScotland’s economy in two years’.

  27. ChrisHornet,

    I would suspect there probably are one or two Scots who will be able to vote who got caught up in that poll. But I took WNV to mean “If I could vote, I wouldn’t”. Remember that those saying Yes and No have no actual say either.

  28. As regards last night’s discussion of countries divided by two voting blocks along ethnic / religious lines, the Tom Devine article on CiF last night reminds me that the rise of the SNP has actually correlated strongly with the breaking down of the old West of Scotland (lesser extent nationally perhaps but still marked correlation) political/religious affiliation over the past 30 years or so.

    In retrospect Teddy Taylor’s loss of Glasgow Cathcart in 1979 marked the end of working class Toryism in Scotland and opened the door for the current realignment.

    1950s Scotland resembles the small country with two dominant voting blocks divided on national/religious grounds much more than present day Scotland.

    The current Labour/SNP parties and personalities are certainly antagonistic but when you look at Labour/SNP voters you struggle to define religious/national/demographic categories that define who votes Labour vs who votes SNP these days.

  29. Amber,

    There are over 200 countries in the world and the top eight have over 50% of the worlds population.

    Within this are India, China, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh, all of which have had major historical conflicts, current conflicts or are the product of conflicts.

    If you are arguing that big states are better able to contain or in some cases crush demands for regional autonomy you might have a point, but they aren’t more stable.

    Peter.

  30. Peter, smaller populations fight less than big ones.

    Well, obviously.

    If you had separate parties, one involving five people in one room and another involving a thousand next door, it would be no surprise to anyone that an argument of any sort started in the more larger party first. Probably over the lack of chairs or the choice of music, I’d guess.

    But I’d also guess that larger party would also have more facilities, attracted more party-goers, the host would be someone others would want to be seen with…

  31. @Killary45
    My wording was “On Thursday Scottish nationalists will be seeking to take a step that would greatly enhance in perpetuity the prospect of governments of the right for the rest of the UK, a prospect which seems to bother them not in the slightest.”

    I used “greatly enhance” not “make certain”.

    The facts are that without the 59 Scottish seats any party would need 30 less to gain a majority in the HoC. And since the Conservatives only have 1 in Scotland at the moment, that means that without Scotland the Conservatives are 29 seats closer to a majority and would have got one in 2010 (not that it would have made much difference, Clegg has been so accommodating.)

    You can if you wish cite the Blair landslides as evidence that Labour could still potentially form a government without Scotland. It could, but only in an exceptionally bad year for the Conservatives. 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.

    At the moment, Labour are betting favorites to get more seats than the Conservatives in 2015, though not by much. Without Scotland, the Conservatives would be clear favorites to gain most seats.

    So all in all I think “greatly enhance” is about the right wording.

  32. Very good point on welfare, seems the yes voters are expecting significant increases in welfare and a fairer society, although I hate that phrase and don’t really know what it means. If somebody works much harder than me, they deserve the rewards, that fair as far as I am concerned. 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?

  33. The Nos will win by at least 53-47. I say this because a) many Nos are keeping quiet for fear of abuse and so the polls don’t show them and b) the women will swing it in NOs favour because shop prices will rise in the event of a Yes vote.

  34. @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.”

    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.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/why-labour-doesnt-need-scotland

  35. Latest Populus VI: Lab 35 (-2), Con 34 (+1), LD 9 (=), UKIP 13 (=), Oth 8 (+1). Tables here: http://popu.lu/s_vi140915

    Just when it seemed from YouGov that the Lab lead might be widening (or in particular the Con score had dropped a couple of points) it seems we are possibly back to Poldrums with Mori and Survation positive to Con and YouGov and Opinion positive to Lab.

  36. What no-one mentions is that although Labour would lose 41 MPs, they would need 30 fewer MPs to form a majority in rUK (as it is currently set up). A set back for them but hardly catastrophic.

  37. Or, viewed another way, Scottish Labour MPs only affected the outcome of the 1964 and 1974 elections.

    However, without those there may have been a period of one party rule from 1951 – 1997.

  38. Shevii,

    The average of all the polling is definitely pointing to a slight uptick in UKIP since the end of august and a slight dip in the tories, with labour about the same.

    yougov showed a conservative vi of 30% which we hadn’t seen since the beginning of june.

  39. Lurker, I have always considered it total bilge and utter nonsense that a Yes vote would somehow see us with a Tory govt in perpetuity (or ‘just for a few years longer’ to be more reasonable).

    No party, let alone the Tories, would be able to maintain a sufficiently dynamic ideology to keep the support going beyond 2-3 Parliaments, and a country of 60m with vast socio-economic differences just will not produce a steady-minded electorate.

  40. Re: intimidation

    Not wanting to get into whataboutery, but this is what happened in Dalkeith yesterday.

  41. Some tiem ago I calcualted the post war GEs without Scottish MPs.

    http://ozzyscorner.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/the-shape-of-general-elections-without-scotland/

    I believe the ‘Labour can’t win without Scotland’ doesn’t hold much water really.

  42. Correction

    Some time ago I calculated the post war GEs without Scottish MPs.

    http://ozzyscorner.wordpress.com/2012/01/12/the-shape-of-general-elections-without-scotland/

    I believe the ‘Labour can’t win without Scotland’ doesn’t hold much water really.

  43. Re the intimidation, I wonder what impact early news reports of this on polling day would do to voting intentions.

    Will people choose to stay away or will they be more likely to vote No?

    Also, if there was a Yes, what would happen if/when the automatic entry to the EU, the currency union, the Scandinavian welfare state and the extra oil money doesn’t materialise and there is an exodus of companies?

    Will there be a surge in support for an end to negotiations and another referendum to reverse the vote?

  44. Also I would like to say that if any ‘groups’ do appear around polling booths and attempt to ‘interact’ with voters, then Scotland should take its place alongside certain African and C American nations where this behaviour more expected.

  45. Oops forgot to share: http://youtu.be/VpsnE_8javI

  46. 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?”

    If it was the same prog that I watched ( Andrew Neil from Scotland) -that was Tommy Sheridan-a truly scary bloke :-)

    More seriously I picked up an interesting train of discussion in that programme from TS & an SNP chap ( former PR man I think).

    It seemed to go something like -post Independence, the SNP changes leadership & possibly its name ; it having achieved its objective. Then Scotland gets the radical left wing re-distributive government which Sheridan was loudly proclaiming.

    My thoughts on that were that if this Land of Milk & Honey fails to emerge, or cannot be paid for, Scottish Centre Right politicians will then offer the alternative-not Labour. This is the scenario postulated by Dominic Lawson & Bill Patrick.

    I also think that Mathew Parris is right when he wrote that either way , the Union & the UK have probably changed significantly. And I can see Labour being the loser either way ie :-
    Independence-loss of Labour MPs at Westminster.
    Further Devolution of Taxation powers-Increased resentment at WEestminster by rUK MPs , and the possibility of a move to stop Scottish MPs voting on “English” matters-ie most things.

    Interesting times Rich-Westminster polls looking better too ?

  47. A final comment from me as I am off on holiday till Friday.

    A realistic proposal for independence for Scotland could have been made but wasn’t. The SNP’s economic plans are both foolish and reckless. Last week’s opinion polls played an important role in publicising this when the poll showing Yes in front spooked the markets. So if Yes wins, nobody can say they were not warned. For me, the most plausible explanation for the situation is that the SNP did not expect to win and constructed their economic case as a debating tactic only; a somewhat similar situation to the notorious LibDem tuition fee promise. And I don’t see that the ends justify the means: if Yes wins and the Scottish public finds out all the promises were insincere tosh, the recriminations will be severe and I fear for the safety of everyone. I can only hope that those in favour of independence do not vote yes now but are prepared to wait until another generation proposes a realistic way to do it.

  48. There would be little to be gained for the more peripheral regions of England from England-only devolution, particularly if the parliament remained in London. I don’t think that would be viewed as satisfactory to those regions.

    And don’t imagine that view would be restricted the left either.

    I write that as a Yorkshireman.

  49. @ON

    My “international observers” comment was somewhat tongue in cheek and should have had a smiley.

    That said, the repeated shouting down of No campaigners by Yessers cannot be described as anything other than intimidation. (I’m not aware of instances of the converse.) IMHO the repeated and widespread occurrence of rent-a-rabble suggests a coordinated and deliberate campaign of intimidation.

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