As I write there is still one council to declare, but the maths mean that the overall result is going to be Yes 45%, No 55%. So, how did the polls do?

The final pre-election polls had all tightly converged around the same figures – Yes 48%, No 52%, with every company was within one point of this. In fact the level of No support was three points higher than this. For a single poll a three point error would be within the margin of error, but every poll being off in the same direction suggests some systemic error.

A possibility is the shy noes/enthusiastic yesses we discussed before the referendum, but on the face of it a simpler explanation is just late swing. The YouGov recontact survey on the day, going back to the same people they interviewed in their final survey found enough movement between final survey to actually voting to take the figures to YES 46%, NO 54%, one point from the actual result and enough to explain the apparent divergence. From that it looks as though no was going to win anyway, but there was a further movement from yes to no when people actually got to the polling station.


838 Responses to “Scottish referendum post-mortem”

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  1. RogerH..

    Let’s put this way: in a tight race (as I expect it to be in 2015), if constitutional reform and the EU give the Tories two or three extra percentage points, it will be already enough to win them a plurality in the HoC though not necessarily a majority. And, as you said, an English parliament and the promise of an EU referendum might appeal to UKIP voters. If the UKIP vote melts down, a Tory majority (not just a plurality) is all but sure since EM’s Labour seems to have a “vote ceiling” and the Conservatives will also capitalise on the Lib em debacle.

  2. “…if constitutional reform and the EU give the Tories two or three extra percentage points…”

    Big if.

  3. “And, as you said, an English parliament and the promise of an EU referendum might appeal to UKIP voters”

    Not what I said. I don’t think Cameron can offer anything that will appeal to most UKIP voters.

  4. @Charles,

    UK policing is incredibly fragmented, which I think is a bad thing. Unfortunately it is rather trapped by the “myth of localism”. People imagine that they want tailored local services for their specific local needs, when if they really thought about it they’d realise that there’s really nothing unique about the policing needs of communities. Some issues are more important in some areas (racial sensitivities in London, travel times and officer self-sufficiency in remote rural areas) but that doesn’t make them unique (it’s not as if racial sensitivity doesn’t matter in Cornwall, or that you don’t want the bobbies of Streatham to be able to think on their feet).

    My preference would be for national police forces for each of the four home countries. I understand the reasons why North Wales Police don’t like the idea, as they are virtually cut off from the rest of Wales and have far more to do with NW England.

    In the face of swingeing police cuts, most forces are forming local “strategic alliances”. Devon and Cornwall have teamed up with Dorset for example, and Avon and Somerset with Gloucester. The idea is to cut costs by pooling the management of things like firearms units and telecoms units. There are also now regional crime squads which tackle organised crime (matching the “official” regions of England) – a complete full circle back to the days of the Regional Crime Squads which became the National Crime Squad and then the National Crime Agency (except that we also have the NCA, so the regional crime squads are “extra”).

    For all that they have their critics, the PCCs on the whole haven’t really been a good or a bad thing. They have simply replaced Police Authorities and do the same job in the same way, with about the same effectiveness. Perhaps over time, political differences will open up about police priorities, but I haven’t seen the slightest trace of this to date.

    How any of the relates to the devolution debate, well I don’t know. I think I’d prefer to keep policing outside of it, but in reality if the English regions become sub-nations with their own legislatures and their own laws, then cross-compatibility between police forces will eventually break down. So far, English constables still have police powers in Wales and vice versa, because issues of criminal law for Wales are still decided in Westminster. But if Scottish style devolution came to Wales and England (or the English regions) then eventually the criminal law would be incompatible and the powers of the police may be restricted just to their own legislature. There are of course ways around this. I am a Special Constable in the Isle of Man, for example, a title I acquired to enable me to execute a search warrant there in 2010.

  5. Ed Miliband strikes me as being on a different planet, watching his speech shows me he didn’t understand what’s going to happen in Scotland if things don’t change. I’m a very vocal no supporter but if change isn’t delivered as promised I will be a yes voter as will 90% of this country. Gordon Brown seems to me to be the only politician who understands what happened. Maybe it’s time Scottish Labour split from the rest of the party, would do much better up here.

  6. English parliament within current House of Commons:

    Surely, inconceivable without the same electoral system as now used for the Scottish parliament. In my opinion, all elections in the UK should be on the same electoral system. New Parliament Act?

    What about the timing of elections to the putative four national (unicameral) parliaments in relation to the UK HoC?

    What about the huge financial implications of separating the English budget from the UK budget?

    What about the huge administrative implications of separating English and UK administrations?

    Perfect opportunity to abolish the HoL – a great cultural revolution (‘aristocratic embrace’ and all that) plus saving loads of dosh, wiping out prime ministerial and other patronage at a stroke, etc. Scrutinising system for English Parliament to be the same as currently used in Scottish Parliament.

    All this seems a pretty tall order. Can it be done without a written constitution? Whether so or not, it obviously (surely) can’t be done without the peoples’s direct consent.

    And it certainly can’t be done at the same time as fulfilling the vow to Scotland.

  7. I’ve never been a big fan of social media when it comes to politics and especially last night when I posted content from what I thought was a genuine tweet on twitter but later discovered it to be a fake account spewing out rubbish.

    Too many trolls around.

    However…..I’m reading quite a lot of content on social media regarding Labour in Scotland (from ordinary people) and from what I gather they are heading into political oblivion.

    Now it’s social media and everyone has opinions and I suspect some trolls are out in force but opinions are flying around out there and it is looking bad for Labour.

    Away from social media..

    I’m looking forward to see how back bencher Gordon Brown will ensure Scotland will get real extra powers?

    The way I see it is this..Gordon Brown did Cameron’s bidding for him during the referendum, he along with the no campaign pulled it off and now Cameron wants to go further with devolution than Labour which included the Scottish MP’s voting on English only matters dimension.

    I actually thought Labour were fighting to save themselves rather than fighting to save the union during the campaign because independence would be bad news for Labour in the rUK

    Now it appears Labour are doomed from more devolution proposed by Cameron!! Oh dear damned if it were a YES and damned if it were a No

  8. @AC,

    That’s a bit overblown. Labour have plenty of support in England, and in good years are capable of winning majority support here. They certainly don’t want to lose the advantage of supplementary support from non-English votes, but if they do lose it they will still be a powerful force.

  9. Allan Christie.

    One thing I realised during these last two months is never believe the social media. They have been full of utterly bewildering stories, bare faced lies and paranoid delusions on a grand scale. Even last night on twitter they said Glasgow was a war zone, stabbings, murders, arson etc. In reality none of it was true. It was a bunch of morons who likely didn’t even vote, looking for a punch up after a bottle or ten of Buckfast. I live in Glasgow and apart from the morons in the centre it was very calm indeed.
    Labour will suffer a backlash for a while it will not last that long, unless Ed Miliband keeps up his nonsense. Alex Salmond swung the Snp to the left, I expect they will move back towards the right now that he is leaving, in fact I’m pretty certain they will.

  10. NEIL A

    Sorry I was posting from a Scottish dimension with regards to Labour but you are right….they have the capability to win the next GE, I just wonder how they will do in 2016 in Scotland or even in 2015 at the UK election in Scotland.

  11. Pointer:

    The budget issue is actually what concerns me the most.

    I have no idea what the Tory proposal will look like, but I’d expect the Treasury to remain a UK government department and the UK parliament to appropriate a block grant to the English executive, which the English departments would then be free to spend as they wished. Not unlike the original model for Scottish devolution, I presume.

    I also assume the English executive/parliament jurisdiction won’t be as broad as that of the devo plus Scottish executive/parliament. In other words, the UK will still ” hold on to the money”, but I’m just speculating here.

    Anyway, there may be huge conflicts though if the UK government and the English executive are controlled by different parties.

  12. @Neil A Many thanks for thoughtful and informed reply to my question. I am also impressed by your powers extend to the Isle of Man.

  13. I think Labour will do ok in 2015, but badly in 2016. People up here realise that in order for Labour to win the UK election outright they must do well in Scotland. But I fear at Holyrood the backlash will last until the election after 2016, unless of course they deliver on more powers, which would alter things immensely.

  14. jmcoo7

    I take it you’ve never met Nicola?

    In any case, Salmond re-positioned the SNP by persuading both National Council and Conference to adopt that stance.

  15. JMC007

    Yes social media is rife with false content and although there was a bit of trouble in central Glasgow it was blown out of proportion.

    Someone had tweeted from a fake Glasgow City Council account and a Herald account trying to exaggerate the trouble. I don’t have a twitter account and can only read what is on open accounts which most of the media have.

    ….
    ” Labour will suffer a backlash for a while it will not last that long, unless Ed Miliband keeps up his nonsense. Alex Salmond swung the Snp to the left, I expect they will move back towards the right now that he is leaving, in fact I’m pretty certain they will”
    _

    You might be right with regards to EM but there is no way the SNP will swing to the right post Salmond departure. The party would commit political suicide and it’s SLAB who accuses the SNP of being tartan Tories and sticking up for big business.

    Nicola is just to the left of Salmond…She knows the west holds the keys to power in Scotland and they keys only turn left.

  16. OLDNAT
    jmcoo7
    I take it you’ve never met Nicola?

    _______

    I don’t think he has..

  17. MOG
    I quite fail to see why my arguing in favour of English devolution is at all partisan. You obviously don’t agree with it but then I don’t think I have ever agreed with anything that you have posted. However, I will defend your right to post your views as we live in a democracy and even though I will probably disagree vehemently with what you say.

    I cannot for the life of me understand why what is good for Scotland is not good for England. I wholeheartedly agree with the various posts which NEILA has posted on the subject and particularly the one where He said that first you have to have an English parliament and then you can pass the powers down to the regions. You cannot empower the regions first as a means of keeping socialist control, as Prescott tried to do. England is a country just as Scotland is. What is good enough for Scotland is good enough for England.

    I happen to believe that Cameron was pretty smart saying what he did, when he did and I further believe that that has put Labour in turmoil, with some more or less agreeing with him and of course some trying to protect, what will increasingly be seen by the public at large, as an untenable and unfair position.

    Incidentally, I am not a member of the Tory party, the EDL or indeed any other political organisation. Please don’t make assumptions about me when you know nothing about me.

    Why not change your moniker to something like, HappyChappy. You never know, it might make you less miserable and give you a more positive outlook on life.

  18. Oldnat.

    No but my mum did, maybe your right, but I’m not convinced especially after doing so badly in heartland areas. Must have been devastating to only win yes vote in one of the areas where they had been dominating for years. The swing to the left has harmed them in Perth, Stirling, Angus amongst others. No matter what happens the next 5 years or so will be fascinating. How to gain more working class without alienating your core vote, a bit like new Labour alienated the working class by moving to the middle is a very difficult thing to maintain.

  19. jmcoo7 — I do not like or trust Ed Miliband but its the English not the Scots who have most to fear from him
    Neither he nor anyone is proposing not to offer further devolution to Scotland. What is clear though is that more devolution needs to go in hand with stopping Scottish MPs voting on English matters the very same matters they are barred from voting on in their own country.

    Please explain ‘jmcoo7’, what is wrong with that? OK I ngrant you – it terrifies Labour. After all it fair.

  20. No polls tonight?

  21. Hookeslaw, personally I see nothing wrong with it, but let’s be honest if he derails the extra powers to Scotland there will be another Referendum within the next 5 or 6 years, that’s a certainty and it won’t be 45-55 it will be 80-20. So deal with Scotland first, then change the way our mps vote on English matters. Is he plain stupid? if he blocks the powers promised he even diehard labour voters like me will not support Labour next May.

  22. @JMC007

    “People up here realise that in order for Labour to win the UK election outright they must do well in Scotland.”

    They’re probably mistaken, though. Unless the Scots elect Tory MPs instead the chances are that any reduction in Labour’s Scottish vote (assuming it does fall, which is far from certain) will be insufficient to make a significant difference.

  23. JMCOO7

    SNP strongholds voted no and some Labour heartlands voted Yes. If the SNP were to win the same percentage as the Yes votes in most of the no areas during the Scottish election then they would be dancing with joy and romping it.

    They won a majority with 45% of the vote in 2011 and yes in some areas they won seats with a much lower % but they also won a fair amount of seats with over 50%.

  24. @JMC007

    Agree. DC has to deal with Scotland first as that’s what the UK leaders promised. Also England’s constitutional settlement requires much further thought. We first need something approaching a convention in order to create a settled consensus.

  25. RogerH.

    True, but those 20 or 30 seats lost in 2015 could end any chance of a majority Labour government. An interesting scenario could be Labour largest party propped up with Snp support if they win many seats, they could overtake the lib dems as third largest group. Labour would have to make huge concessions for that to happen. 2015 will be even more exciting than this year in my opinion.

  26. @JMCOO7

    “Hookeslaw, personally I see nothing wrong with it, but let’s be honest if he derails the extra powers to Scotland…”

    You seem to have completely misunderstood the current situation. No one is trying to de-rail the extra powers for Scotland (well apart from one or two irrelevant Tory backbenchers). They have all-party support, including from Labour. The dispute between Miliband and Cameron is about Scottish MPs voting at Westminster. That has no bearing on the transfer of powers to Holyrood.

  27. “True, but those 20 or 30 seats lost in 2015 could end any chance of a majority Labour government.”

    They won’t lose 20 or 30 seats, though. (And even if they did they wouldn’t be won by supporters of a Tory government.)

  28. HOOKSLAW

    “Neither he nor anyone is proposing not to offer further devolution to Scotland. What is clear though is that more devolution needs to go in hand with stopping Scottish MPs voting on English matters the very same matters they are barred from voting on in their own country.
    Please explain ‘jmcoo7?, what is wrong with that? OK I ngrant you – it terrifies Labour. After all it fair”
    _______

    The way i see it is EM’s all for devolution in other peoples back yard but not his own because it might produce a bad anomaly or two.

  29. There are no Labour marginals in Scotland:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-25949029

  30. RogerH.

    I disagree, latching the Scottish powers alongside other changes will drag it out way past the dates promised. You only have to see the political reaction to his speech here in Scotland to see that. Oh and be rest assured the Labour vote in Scotland is in danger of being eaten away in very important areas, Glasgow being just one example. Yes won in every constituency in my home city, that would herald a labour wipe out if repeated. My family all voted no, we are all Labour voters but I doubt any of us will vote labour if the promises made aren’t kept.

  31. @AC – “However…..I’m reading quite a lot of content on social media regarding Labour in Scotland (from ordinary people) and from what I gather they are heading into political oblivion.”

    That would be the same social media that confidently proclaimed a Yes win was a certainty?

    @JMC007 – “…personally I see nothing wrong with it, but let’s be honest if he derails the extra powers to Scotland there will be another Referendum within the next 5 or 6 years…”

    Sorry, but I think you seem to be talking complete garbage, if I’m being honest. Milliband isn’t derailing anything – he has stated very clearly that powers must be devolved to Scotland, according to the pledges made and signed by the three party leaders.

    Now, if you could point me to the bit that Cameron signed where he made his vow contingent on reforms in England, you might have a point, but you can’t – hence why I think you are talking garbage.

    The only way these reforms will be derailed is if Cameron persists on changing his vow by linking it to changes elsewhere. If he wanted to do this, he should have said so at the time. He, and he alone will responsible for failing to meet his pledge, and in all likelihood the permanent breakup of the union.

    What I find utterly and completely staggering is that Cameron has just been delivered a message by 45% of Scots that they are absolutely sick and tired of Westminster schoolboy debating society style governance.

    So his response? Go back to schoolboy debate society government, and try to link a very straightforward promise he made to something else he wants. This is precisely why we hate politicians.

    Reform will be needed in England – this is accepted by all. Do not link this to the agreed Scottish timetable. That is fundamentally dishonest, and proves everything the Yes campaign said about Westminster.

  32. ALEC
    @AC – “However…..I’m reading quite a lot of content on social media regarding Labour in Scotland (from ordinary people) and from what I gather they are heading into political oblivion.”
    ….

    “That would be the same social media that confidently proclaimed a Yes win was a certainty?”
    ______

    Not at all.

  33. Alec.

    Fair enough, I just have problem trusting Ed Miliband, I hope your right. I will give him the benefit of the doubt of course, but continue to watch closely what happens. As for Mr Cameron, I don’t want to even think about him, his speech after the result was known was pathetic, totally changed the whole argument away from the Scottish issues. He couldn’t care less about Scotland, and I doubt he would even be that bothered if we had voted yes. He sees himself as pm of Southern England, which come 2015 is likely where his seats will all be.

  34. JMC007 – “…personally I see nothing wrong with it, but let’s be honest if he derails the extra powers to Scotland there will be another Referendum within the next 5 or 6 years”
    _____

    That could happen even sooner if you take in the 2017 EU referendum and turns out to show a clear difference of direction in opinions from North and South.

  35. I agree with Alec that additional powers for Scotland and EV for EL are two separate issues. The Tory demand that they should be delivered together is just a campaign tactic. The Tories know they won’t get English devolution before the GE, but their game plan is to blame Labour and make it an election issue. The Scottish bill, which will be published in January, may on the other hand be voted in this parliament or in the next, but, in any case, I have no doubt it will become law, regardless of whether English devolution moves forward or not.

    I know the SNP has scared Scottish voters about the unionist parties lying on the “vow”, but the vow is pretty much a sure deal.

  36. The other point about powers for Scotland is that Cameron, with his 306 MPs, (actually currently 305, but lets assume Clacton if UKIP would back him in this) might not be able to block a joint Labour/Lib Dem move to deliver their own vow to Scotland.

    Lab + Lib Dem, plus SNP, SDLP, Green, and possibly the Alliance MP, would have I think 326 MPs – enough to win a vote.

    If Cameron really does try to break up the union by refusing to honour his own vow, the other signatories should really tell him to shove it and do it anyway.

    Then go into the election with Cons guaranteed to lose any chance of support in Scotland and clearly unable to be trusted on anything, even a signed vow by their own leader.

  37. ALEC

    “What I find utterly and completely staggering is that Cameron has just been delivered a message by 45% of Scots that they are absolutely sick and tired of Westminster schoolboy debating society style governance.
    So his response? Go back to schoolboy debate society government, and try to link a very straightforward promise he made to something else he wants. This is precisely why we hate politicians.
    Reform will be needed in England – this is accepted by all. Do not link this to the agreed Scottish timetable. That is fundamentally dishonest, and proves everything the Yes campaign said about Westminster”
    ________

    Well I do agree on this.

  38. JMC007: “I disagree, latching the Scottish powers alongside other changes will drag it out way past the dates promised.”

    But they’re not ‘latched’. From where have you got that idea?

  39. I think this puts a good perspective on the issue:

    “Mike Smithson [email protected] 1m

    By 59% to 11% English voters tell Survation that there should be an English parliament”

    But…..

    “Mike Smithson [email protected] 8m

    Just 5% tell Survation/MoS poll that constitutional reform should be top priority for government well behind Immigration & economy”

  40. MBRUNO.

    Your probably right, however with a general election to fight it’s amazing how folk just forget things or push them aside in the hope they are forgotten. There is also the issue what happens if come May 2015 and the election is as tight as polls suggest, forming a government etc could drag on for quite a while. So many unknowns out there, let’s hope it’s all sorted ASAP.

  41. From Twitter:

    @britainelects: National Opinion Poll (YouGov):
    LAB – 36% (+1)
    CON – 31% (-2)
    UKIP – 16% (+2)
    LDEM – 7% (-1)
    GRN – 5% (=)

  42. @Allan Christie

    EM is not against devolution in England. It’s just that England needs its own settlement first. It’s some way behind Scotland in this and you can’t expect them to move to the endgame at the same time.

    As for the WLQ it’s far more complex than is being made out. Why even if more powers are devolved to Scotland should Scottish MPs not be able to vote on England only matters? Bear in mind neither English nor Scottish MPs (only Scottish MSPs) will be able to vote on Scotland only matters. It’s not the fault of Scottish MPs that England doesn’t yet have a parliament.

  43. @JMC007 – it sounds like there is much we can agree on.

    Personally, I’d be a bit more trusting of Labour on this. Ed seems to ‘get’ the fact that much more fundamental change is needed. Indeed, he has already outlined plans for transfer of large budget spend to local authorities, doing this well before the Scottish vote and not connected to this.

    I’m also pretty sure that Labour understand the imperative to have a more symmetrical devolution settlement, but I would reiterate the point I made previously – when Labour devolved powers to London, NI, Wales and Scotland, they agreed voting systems that actually disadvantaged Labour (ex NI of course) in recognition that representative democracy was vital.

    Cameron has extremely clumsily attempted to avoid doing this in England, seeing a blatantly partisan opportunity arising from the referendum result.

    It’s old fashioned Westminster politics at it’s very worst.

  44. 743rd!

  45. @Bramley

    Electoral Calculus:

    Lab 355
    Con 249
    LD 18
    UKIP 0
    Nats 9

    Lab majority of 60.

  46. Alec.

    Yeah I agree, the problem I have with Ed is inexperience or bottle. Will he stand up to the forthcoming Tory assault, I sure hope he does. Most of the folk down south won’t care about an English parliament compared to other issues, I hope Ed realises this, the Labour party in Scotland could be reinvigorated if he manages to push through the powers promised. The days of old fashioned politics are numbered at Westminster it’s time the political dinosaurs realised this once and for all.

  47. Yeah that’s a good poll for Labour, I wonder how the Scottish splits for Westminster are now after Thursdays vote.

  48. Muddy: I go back to my reply to RogerH. Setting up an English Parliament won’t be the main issue the GE will be contested on. However, it may be a sufficientlly important issue to some voters to give the Tories the two or three extra points they need. The Survation poll you quoted seems to support that inference, especially if Ed Miliband goes against the wishes of 59 % of the people in England (plus the undecideds) !

    I don’t know, we’ll see come next May.

  49. @JMC007 – given his record, I really don’t think you could accuse Ed of lacking bottle. Generally, he is spoken of as being ruthless – if in doubt, talk to his brother.

    Also – this lengthy quote from an interview article in the Guardian gives a hint on what he is feeling right now;

    “I look at the guy [Cameron] – I mean, he has learned nothing. He is totally narrow, partisan. He didn’t even talk about the desire for economic and social change, which is totally front and centre of this referendum mood and, indeed, the mood across the country.

    “We have just spent two years trying to keep our country together. We should be incredibly wary of back-of-the-fag-packet solutions that create two sets of MPs, two classes of MPs,” he says.

    “Why? Because you have one prime minister of the United Kingdom” – not just a prime minister for England. Miliband’s arms fly around and he raises his voice, saying Cameron is “just not interested” in changing politics for the better but only in appeasing his backbenchers who want to punish Labour and stay in power. “It is just narrow manoeuvring,” he says.

    Given their joint constitutional venture before referendum day, did Cameron ring him on Friday morning and share his relief at the result? “No,” says Miliband. Should he have done? He doesn’t answer directly. “I don’t care really. Nothing he does on this kind of thing surprises me. That is how he is.”

    Miliband is angry, too, that Cameron has handed the wider issues of constitutional reform over to a committee headed by William Hague, which has been told to report back within months. He describes the move as part of the same “political fix” that fails completely to rise to the challenge of the moment. “How do you change the country with a cabinet committee chaired by William Hague?” he asks.

  50. @ Roger Mexico,

    I know about the Northern Ireland precedent, but that was a hundred years ago, at a time when Northern Ireland had a strong unionist majority and wasn’t threatening to secede. If anyone seriously suggests to Scots that they should have less of a voice than English voters in choosing the PM, matters of war and peace, macroeconomic policy, etc, they will be straight out the door.

    (Okay, 45% of them were happy to have their fiscal policy dictated to them by an English Chancellor. But there are still the other 55% to contend with.)

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