Since the Scottish referendum we’ve had Scottish polls from MORI, Panelbase, YouGov and Survation and they’ve been consistent in showing large leads for the SNP over Labour in Westminster voting intentions. ICM now have a new Scottish poll out and it shows the same as other companies – topline Westminster voting intentions are CON 13%, LAB 26%, LDEM 6%, SNP 43%, UKIP 7%, GRN 4%.

The 17 point SNP lead is smaller than the 24 point lead that Survation recorded at the start of the week (and without tables yet we can’t really speculate why) but would still produce a landslide win for the SNP if repeated in the general election next year. In the Guardian write up they mention some analysis by John Curtice suggesting that Labour may do even worse than uniform swing suggests – looking at responses from areas where Labour was over 25% ahead of the SNP in 2010 shows the Labour vote dropping more there than average. I’d be wary of reading too much into sub-samples of voting intention in a poll that’s only 1000 people to begin with, but nevertheless this seems perfectly plausible for the reasons I mentioned here – when there is a huge drop in support for a political party a uniform swing does start to become untenable due to a floor effect… there are simply too many seats where a party doesn’t have enough support to begin with to lose that much, so they have to lose more votes in places they had more votes.

UPDATE: Full tabs are here, and reallocation of don’t knows did happen and did help Labour – it would have been a nineteen point lead otherwise.

453 Responses to “ICM Scottish poll gives SNP 17 point lead”

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  1. Oil price is really a non-issue, as far as the political debate in Scotland is concerned – other than the unedifying spectacle of Labour politicians and spinners gloating about it on-line. Scotland didn’t vote Yes and we have the UK ‘broad shoulders’ to protect us.

    The poll question ‘Who do you trust to make the best decisions for your family’ Westminster 17% Holyrood 55%.

    The referendum changed the way Scotland views itself – prior to it generally the view was Scotland was completely integral to Britian. And being Scottish was synonymous with being British and all British were the same ‘people’

    The ‘family of nations’ narrative changed that – it was so powerful during the referendum campaign from the No side. There was no attempt by the No campaign to say ‘We are all British let’s get along’ instead they went down the ‘equal partners’ route. No doubt to prevent any accusation of anti-Scottishness.

    But it has left the feeling in Scotland that we are ‘different’ and we need someone to stand up for Scottish interests. That seems to be the psychological outcome of the referendum and leading to the polling answers on trust and VI.


    “If I may take your analogy a step further.

    We are all going to cross the road blindfolded. Some of us wanted to choose a different time and a different road, because we feel our destination is slightly different.”


    Well, if you at least acknowledge and prepare for the risks, then at least you have a better chance of survival.

    Personally, I don’t think the oil price need be a deal-breaker as far as Independence is concerned. If you want Independence bad enough, you’ll put up with any interim hardship.

    And it’s clear a fair few Yessers feel that way, and after what has happened in the past, especially the Eighties, and poll tax etc., one can understand it. The problem comes when some prospective yessers DO care about possible interim hardship, and are sold a pup to that end.

    The issue now, is that some may not want peeps to realise they were sold a pup on the oil price…

  3. @Peter Cairns

    Lol, cheers for the ad hominems, but I waz kinda hoping you might have more than that to contribute. Still to deal with the ad homs…

    It’s true that I sometimes get stuck into something when it is complex and interesting, or indeed when something is so wrong that one cannot encapsulate the degree of wrongness in just a couple of points.

    It isn’t true, however that I dodged your question. I openly acknowledged the difficulty of answering it and explained why. I am not in the habit of dodging stuff and endeavour to address issues point by point where possible. And acknowledge when not sure, not just with you but with Oldnat on the Gulf thing.

    I also addressed all his points. On the “equals”, thing, on the Gulf thing, on the US etc.

    I was pretty comprehensive on Northumbrian Scot – the hypothetical thing, the gloating thing, the “in the past” thing, the partisan thing etc. etc. I even went through it again when he repeated it… and when Roger did.

    All younhave done is repeat an ad hominem which clearly wasn’t true. Basically, you are making stuff up, because you cannot address ANY of my points.

    Whatever aspersions you may cast on me, it will not alter the fact of the oil price crash, or all the effects such things have on economies.

    If no one ever answered any of your questions, or everyone dodged everything under the sun, it would not alter the potential impact of a collapsing oil price on revenues, on currency, on growth, on investment.

    Nor would it magic away the difficulties countries like Greece experience when not able to control their currency.

  4. Normal , for want of a better word , voters don’t give a fig about stock market stats , commodity prices , bond rates , growth figures etc. The only stats they’re interested are their own personal finances .

    Petrol pump prices are still high for millions of people and unless that changes dramatically there won’t be much political mileage in it .

    However the situation will change when a cash strapped Westminster administration gives into temptation and tries to get away with increasing Fuel Duty ………

  5. @ Cooper2802

    Any government would have to finance public expenditure. I consider taxation (including extraction tax on natural resources) the least efficient way. However, as far as I know the SNP doesn’t propose the nationalisation of productive assets where the private owner fails. Without this, public expenditure can be disproportionate (whether the Scottish one is that, it’s a different matter)

    SNP is not more left than Labour, only more radical. Its history and some of their policies are much closer to the Conservatives. If nothing else, the militant nationalism. How can a party be further from the Tories than Labour when their slogan is not Workers of the World unite, but capitalists of Scotland pay enough tax to maintain social peace and the existing order?

  6. @Peter Cairns
    “You can post on anything actually even if there is a Saltire at the top….”

    You can too.

  7. “And, as I have often said about oil. Who cares? Nationalism is an emotion based on history / language / culture and so on. It’s not a rational decision. ”

    Oh dear – most more into me breeches dear friends, once more.

    THAT is the whole bleedin’ point: it SHOULD not be a rational decision. I have pointed this out so many times but, emotionally, I have no problem understanding why a nation wishes to be entirely self-contained and I doubt if many others do either.

    The problems were:

    1/ The yes camp attempted to make, very precisely, a rational argument, making claims that Scotland, as a whole, would be better off financially. Not emotionally, not spiritually but in straightforward terms of MONEY.

    2/ Ergo that must have been at the expense of rUK. It’s our oil and we will have it all to ourselves [ not very socialist for a supposedly left wing party by the way.]

    3/ The BT folk were then forced on the proverbial back foot to say: “Actually you won’t and here are the reasons,” That was then parodied as “Too wee, too poor.” which went down in Scottish folk-lore as something actually said by the No lot when it clearly was not and would not have been.

    etc etc etc.

    The bottom line is that it was a nasty, divisive campaign which is why many non-Scots are probably still bitter and, whether intended or not, came over as distinctly anti-English with the continuous, barely coded diatribe.

    My personal view [completely unimportant] now is that I wish it had happened. The rest of would have been fine and I am fed up at the UK being a “world” power, long after our sell-by date in those terms.

    But que sera and we are now, somewhat awkwardly in my view, still stuck together.

  8. Laszlo

    You raise yet another issue – this time based around your own definition of “Left”.

    We haven’t yet had the Stalin v Trotsky concepts of what it means to be a true socialist discussed on these threads.

    I would hope that that happy situation continued! :-)

  9. couper

    “But it has left the feeling in Scotland that we are ‘different’ ”

    That sums up the whole problem for me: you’re not.

  10. While I was typing that response to Lazlo, R&D was weighing in with yet another version – effectively, that no people can be considered “socialist” or “left-wing” unless they give away all their wealth to the poor (or at least to the Whitehall Treasury).

    In some respects, perhaps R&D are urging us all to embrace Christian Socialism. However, since that would seem to involve sharing a belief system woth Tony Blair, I must respectfully decline so to do,

  11. @Lazlo

    The SNP do not claim to be socialist, they claim to be social democratic. SNP are to the left of Labour because they have left wing policies:

    1. No Trident renewal/open CND support Unlike Labour
    2. Abolish House of Lords: no SNP ex-MP sits in HoL and SNP do not nominate to it. Unlike Labour
    3. Anti-Austerity against the Welfare Cap for example.Unlike Labour

    They also support universal benefits which is seen as support of the welfare state (Labour equivocal on this issue)

    It is not about whether these policies are right/wrong just that they are more left wing than Labour – and this was borne out by the BES study.

  12. @R&D

    It was Better Together that coined the term ‘Project Fear’ which translated into not just the ‘too wee, too poor’ line but also the ‘If you leave we will destroy you’ line:

    No currency
    No EU membership
    No NATO membership
    No pensions

    Again whether this was right or wrong – it has left Scotland feeling they cannot trust Westminster or Westminster politicians (see polls)

  13. @jack – to be historically accurate, Eire didn’t start out bankrupt. The UK agreed to take it’s share of the national debt in exchange for an agreement for Eire not to seek to unite Ireland, which it later reneged on.

  14. Alec

    “to be historically accurate, Eire didn’t start out bankrupt”

    Any attempt to identify the nature of the debt position of the Irish Free State at its inception in a single post is always likely to be partial.

    The cost of the 1923-24 Civil War between supporters and opponents of the Free State Treaty was enormous. Whether you want to define the “start out” of “Eire” as being before or after the Treaty is one of these somewhat pointless arguments.

    To put the 1925 cancellation of the Free State’s share of the UK National Debt into context, it is better seen, perhaps, as a shrewd and relatively cost free move by the Brits.

    “The state overcame its first debt crisis by 1931. While the financial impact of the Civil War was a body blow, it was also a once-off problem – being caused by emergency military spending that was slashed after the security crisis had ended. The Irish Free State was also released from contributions to UK’s national debt in 1925, in return for foregoing territorial claims to parts of Northern Ireland.”

  15. @Couper2802

    I’m sure Labour Party Members would be appalled at being offered that list of policies by their Leadership ;-)

  16. An interesting chart, showing the current favoured Westminster situation in Scotland . Not sure how accurate or representative it is, but if true, it suggests that just 32% of Scots favour an overall majority of either Labour or the Conservatives.

    42% prefer a coalition of some sort (35% being SNP related).

    If data is fair and accurate, it does make me wonder if FPTP is no longer favoured in Scotland, due to the use of AMS (which is not to say that people inherently understand all the aspects of AMS, but they perceive it to be more democratic and proportional than FPTP).

    It may show that the use of FPTP can be demonstrated quite quickly to be inferior to PR, and people embrace the new system easily.

    The biggest obstacle then is the turkeys in Westminster not wanting to vote for Christmas.

  17. Catmanjeff

    Remember that Scots have become used (though few probably remember which system applies in each election, till they are reminded!) to FPTP (Westminster only), AMS (Holyrood), STV, (local councils) and closed party lists (EU) and binary choice (referendums).

    People seem to cope quite happily with the variant systems, but it would be interesting to see polling as to which system Scots find “fairer”.

  18. @Oldnat

    I do agree, and it’s good to know that the electorate aren’t as dumb as some of those who like the simplicity of FPTP would suggest.

    Like I suggested, those senior politicians decrying PR for being too complicated perhaps have more selfish motivations for keeping the current system.

  19. old nat

    “While I was typing that response to Lazlo, R&D was weighing in with yet another version – effectively, that no people can be considered “socialist” or “left-wing” unless they give away all their wealth to the poor (or at least to the Whitehall Treasury).”

    Leaving aside the fact that I said no such thing the “weight” of my posts will never match the weight, quantity and arrogance of your own.

    Anyway I stand by my view that to wish to detach yourself from a “united” country by claiming you will be better off [against majoprity evidence and opinion] is not the most high-minded of principles.

    To do so because you are inherently “Scottish” – whatever that may mean – is a different kettle of haggis.

    En el otro mano most peoples do not consider themselves just “different” when they talk in such terms: there is often an element of “better” involved – which is another different kettle of worms altogether.

  20. @Oldnat – agree that the inception of Eire/IFS/whatever was a messy affair, and as we struggle to reach agreement and understanding on what happened in Scotland three months ago, I doubt there is much mileage trying to work out what happened over the water nine decades ago.

  21. R&D

    It’s a fault of mine to think that people mean what they write. However, I clearly misinterpreted your

    <b."It’s our oil and we will have it all to ourselves [ not very socialist for a supposedly left wing party by the way.]"

    as meaning something that approximated to your words, and not whatever you intended..

    I would never suggest that you would do anything other than “stand by your view” – whatever actual evidence may suggest.

    It is one of your more endearing qualities.

  22. Alec
    “I doubt there is much mileage trying to work out what happened over the water nine decades ago.”

    Though it might help to avoid repeating mistakes.

  23. Alec

    Agreed. There is quite sufficient a quantity of issues, only marginally related to polling, around as it is!

  24. @ Oldnat & R&D

    In isolation from to what I responded, I would wholeheartedly accept your point (Oldnat – history has decided that debate).

    However, the fact is that SocialDemocratic policies would sooner or later bankrupt any country. The question is just time. So the debate is necessary (not here mind you).

    I’m getting tired of being told in various countries (Hungary, Sweden, France, Brazil, the UK) at various timesin the last 25 years that the progressives (would that be an acceptable term R&D?) can’t afford this debate or unnecessary (lowest common denominator). Then they are discredited.

  25. @Laszlo

    The debate is certainly necessary (but not here). James Galbraith in ‘The Predator State’ suggests that the difference between the right and the social democratic parties, is that the social democrats actually believe the neoliberal fairy tales.

  26. A post for those seeking an alternative to Scottish politics..

    On December 21 there was a bit of a squabble when @ CatManJeff posted a comment suggesting there was statistical support for the claim that Labour VIs had recently shown a reliable upturn. This was based on the fact that five polls in a run had shown a Labour VI that exceeded their average VI for their earlier part of the month. (On binomial assumptions this is equivalent to tossing an unbiased coin five times and getting five heads in a row: a sequence that has a probability of 1/32 of occurring by chance.)

    Several of us jumped on him and accused him of cherry picking. Why base the average on polls from just part of the month? Why look at just the five polls just preceding his post? Etc. Etc.

    He stood his ground, and on further consideration I think the binomial argument provides a nice simple way of detection upturns/downturns in polling sequences. So, I hope he doesn’t mind if I build on his argument.

    Can I make a proposal to avoid accusations of cherry-picking? How about agreeing to base of current VI sample on precisely the set of polls that our host is using for his poll-of-poll calculations (currently 18 national polls with data collection up to December 22nd)? If we agree between us that we are not going to pick a current snapshot other than Anthony’s current set of polls, then no-one can accuse anyone of cherry-picking.

    The next thing to agree is the baseline to assess the current polls.

    Others will have their own ideas, but my proposal is to use the linear regression trends I posted on November 24th and 25th. These were based on all public 2014 UK national polls up to Nov 24 (N = 433) and represent long-standing trends. Assuming these trends have continued unchanged since then, it is possible to calculate what each party’s VI should be for each poll in the ‘current poll set’. You can then see whether each actual VI figure is higher or lower than the expected figure.

    On the basis of this analysis it turns out that the Conservatives are currently performing well in line with 2014 trends (with 10 current polls exceeding predicted VI and 8 falling below this level). The LibDems are currently slightly, but not reliably above trend (11 polls above and 7 below predicted levels).

    In contrast, Ukip are currently performing reliably worse than their pre-nov 2014 trend (4 polls better and 14 worse than trend). This confirms that the steady rise in Ukip VIs have levelled off since November (perhaps the result of momentum loss after the by elections).

    In line with Catmanjeff’s original claims Labour is clearly performing better than would have been expected on the basis of the earlier trends (17 polls ahead of predicted VI and just one below that level). On the (perhaps questionable) assumption that the 18 polls are all entirely independent events, there would be less that 1:10,000 chance of just zero or one of 18 falling below the trend level.)

    Note that this is not as positive as Catmanjeff’s claim that the Labour VI is now *improving*. All it is saying is that their support is now not dropping away as fast as it was over the first 11 months of the year. However it does confirm that there has recently been a hint of the opposite of Swingback. We know that swingback hasn’t been happening over the last few months. Its protagonists still expect to see Labour’s VI to fall away at an increasing rate in the run up to the election. These calculations show that this process hasn’t yet started in the current set of polls.

    Stepping back from this week’s findings, what I am proposing is a refinement of CatManJeff’s idea for detecting whether change is afoot. Charges of cherry-picking are avoided by basing the case on the ukpollingreport poll-of-polls set. Others may have better ideas. But I think it would be useful to agree ways of settling the issue.

  27. @Couper 2802

    To an extent all referendums on independence and independence movements generally are based on the idea of hope over fear. But they are also based on national identity. If those proposing independence do not believe they are of a different national identity to those they want to overcome, why would they propose it in the first place?

    Sometimes this national identity is deep routed and obvious (Asia and African decolonisation movements, the Balkans during the break of of Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe after the break-up of the Soviet Union). However, in Scotland it is not that obvious and so the national identity is having to be created by accentuating the differences between Scotish people and those of the rest of the UK (principally the English).

    Now, SNP supporters in particular argue that they don’t trade in national identity but national political identity. Hence it’s not a matter of being colonised by the English or rUK, but by the different political identity to that of England, and the South of England to be precise. But is that sufficiently true to justify an independent state? The Referendum found it was not.

    So the question is can Scotland craft a sufficiently separate national identity in the future to overcome the fact that the national political identity crafted to date is insufficient to lead to a majority vote for independence? As stated above the only way to do this is to accetuate difference.


    “I think you’re still missing my point, or rather that we’re talking about different things. You’re concerned about the actual effect of oil price movements and how they might move in future and affect the economy. You make some interesting points and may well be right, but that’s not really germane. I am merely pointing out that such things don’t seem to disturb most Scottish voters much, who see oil as a long-term asset that will somehow turn out right in the end.”


    Well now, this is different to the “gloating” stuff you were reprising earlier, which is what I was responding to. As it happens, both Alec and I have expressed the view that the oil thing may well not affect VI. (Alec, because he feels the Yessers have innoculated against the influence of the mainstream media such that many disregard it. Myself because in not becoming independent, Scots are more insulated against the effects and the impact of oil prices isn’t necessarily a no-brainer topic…)

    But that is not really a very interesting outcome. The more interesting thing is to consider ways in which it might influence VI….

  29. @Roger Mexico

    “Similarly I never “claim[ed] the UK were threatening Scotland”. I just pointed out that the aggressive anti-Scottish tone seen in much of the London media (and sometimes even on UKPR) in the run up to the referendum was hardly likely to make Scots believe that their future was secure in the union. Of course it wasn’t a government campaign, just the usual suspects trying to find some group to blame things on rather than themselves, their readers and those actually making the decisions. But such things will have an effect on public opinion on both sides of the border. You can’t simultaneously try to work up resentment and hope that your target doesn’t notice when they access to your media.

    It was especially counter-productive when such attacks came from those who claimed they wanted the union to continue. Saying “You’re a sponging good-for-nothing. Please don’t leave” is at best giving mixed messages and otherwise suggests that they only want you for something else (probably your oil).”


    As I recall, you expressed it in the context of the currency debate, the government’s denying of the currency to Scots. And the “stab-your-face” metaphor graphically illustrated your perception of the threat.

    That said, in a debate involving so many people, you are going to get some hot-headed peeps making unnecessary comments on all sides that may not be helpful. To complain about it is like complaining about catching a cold. It’s pretty normal and unavoidable…

  30. @Roger Mexico

    “I’m not really convinced. Even the SNP probably don’t want to go through the whole process every other year and I suspect the electorate certainly doesn’t, unless they feel they need to ‘bale out’ from a UK behaving dangerously. So neither will regard a vote for the SNP as being a referendum-trigger and

    Incidentally viewing prospective Scottish independence as being “all about oil”(which it isn’t any more than the Iraq War was) may also fuel the belief that the UK only wants Scotland for its money (which it doesn’t).”


    I’m not convinced either. I think a referendum so soon is unlikely, not least ‘cos of oil prices. I was just pointing out that the impact of the oil can be current, not just consigned to the past. I think we can fairly assume that if the SNP saw an opportunity for another referendum sooner rather than later, they would consider taking it… the oil price thing rather scotches things a bit tho’.

    There’s been debate on here in the past with people saying they thought it’d be fine to revisit the referendum thing sooner rather than later. Not lately there isn’t much of that though. Meanwhile, Sturgeon has been making noises about revisiting the referendum in the near future. From The Graun…

    “Scotland could demand another referendum on independence because of the UK government’s austerity policies, a failure to deliver greater devolution or an exit from the EU , Nicola Sturgeon , the Scottish National party’s incoming leader, has said.

    As she took over the job from Alex Salmondat the SNP’s annual conference in Perth , Sturgeon gave further signals that the party would remain committed to a possible referendum despite its defeat in the independence vote on 1 8 September , giving a long list of potential triggers for another contest.

    Sturgeon said she would continue to make the arguments for independence , adding that it would be “democratically indefensible” not to give Scotland another referendum if there was a vote to leave the EU in 2017”.

    So you can see there is some reason to consider drivers for and against an early referendum…

  31. @Unicorn
    “…However it does confirm that there has recently been a hint of the opposite of Swingback…”

    Known in these parts as reverse swing.

  32. Unicorn,

    A deft partial U turn than many a politician would have been proud of

    As I recall it was not just CMJ but a number of us who whilst accepting that the average Lab lead was 1.6% for both November and December the variable UKPR average suggested this hid a narrowing and then a widening of the lead.

    The subsequent (current) 3pt lead on this measure supports this view.

  33. old nat

    “It is one of your more endearing qualities.”

    Well, I don’t s’pose know but it’s quite nice to have a sufficient number of endearing qualities to make them quantifiable.

    If you see no irony in a party that both sees the benefit of the EU, in it’s attempts to equalise wealth and opportunity across borders, whilst at the same time wanting to increase more localised borders, in order, apparently, to keep more of it’s own perceived wealth, then that is your prerogative.

  34. @Statty

    “As I said previously, if it is fashionable to accuse the Scottish Government of what could have been, and then call them up on their record of bad predictions, I suggest we also look at every UK chancellors’ predictions for the UK economy over the past 10-20 years. the consistently talk up the economy, talk down the debt and re-position their golden rules.”


    Chancellors do get derision if their predictions are risible enough. “E.g. “No more boom or bust”*, “green shoots” etc.

    Given that oil prices are not exactly in Scotland’s gift, and that Opec has been known to mess with oil prices before, at some length even, setting a worst case scenario of above $90 dollars was just a huuuuuge, unnecessary hostage to fortune at odds with reality.

    *yes I know some will say that isn’t precisely what he meant, but let’s face it: he hadn’t exactly made wondrous provision for the possibility of a banking crash…

  35. Is Scotland taking all the oil socialist?

    Well, according to Marx, it’s “from each according to their ability, to each according to their need”.

    So, if you happen to think Scots have little capability to offer, and instead are in great need of assistance, then the socialist view might be that they should have the oil.

  36. @Unicorn – I think this is a neat idea in principle. Can you explain why you chose trends rather than (say) the average over the past n polls? I am more interested in whether a party;s share of the vote is improving or deteriorating than in whether they are doing this more or less quickly than they have done in the past. Obviously you could do both and we would be doubly in your debt.

  37. @Unicorn

    I would have thought that the question of greater interest is whether VI for a party has increased or decreased over the “most recent” period, however the most recent period is defined. It is of lesser interest to know whether the rate of increase or decline has changed as you are suggesting.

    The problem with CMJ’s original method was that a period of increase for LAB was observed and then tested after the event – which is not permissible. He subsequently changed this by considering two “future” VIs, but I am not clear what the statistical basis for that is.

    A possible method is to consider only YouGov polls – I suspect the gain in simplicity would be greater than the loss due to discarding data. Then to adopt AW’s sequences as you suggest and calculate whether the current sequence is significantly different from the previous sequence (t test?), ideally with transformation of percentage data, or using a non-parametric equivalent test.

    I don’t think this is a fully satisfactory method, but would be objective and simple.

  38. “– even UKIP voters have heard of them. Though the ‘open-ended responses’ to “If you had to describe hipsters in one word, what would it be?” sadly remain hidden from us –presumably on the grounds of taste and decency.”


    Hipsters get a bad press in my view. In my experience, all they are guilty of is doing things like setting up bars and coffee shops and stuff and making nice coffee and cocktails. And are there any hipsters here making Scots posts on non-Saltire threads? I rest my case.

    (‘Course, if we find out that Allan C. was a Hipster…)

  39. @Unicorn

    There are really simple ways of establishing if the direction in which data is moving, well known and tried and tested over many decades – SPC (statistical process control).

    CUSUM is a great method (cumulative sum analysis).

    Really simple, and used in industrial processes for decades.


    The problem with CMJ’s original method was that a period of increase for LAB was observed and then tested after the event – which is not permissible. He subsequently changed this by considering two “future” VIs, but I am not clear what the statistical basis for that is.

    When using SPC, you always look at old data, so with respect, I don’t think your point stands. Usually it’s seven data points that show a trend definitively – so normally you have the current data points plus the previous six. Therefore it’s always a look in the rear view mirror.

    When using these techniques, if five points are heading one way, I watch the next few like a hawk. Alternatively, you can set warning limits at 2 SD (control limits are usually 3 SD), and a breach at 2 SD would be a strong alert.

  40. @Unicorn et al – very interesting discussion on identifying poll trends, but this is meant to be a site discussing oil prices and their relevance to modern Scottish politics.

    Please try not to stray off topic.

  41. @Carfrew – the quote from @Statgeek regarding poor financial predictions from UK Chancellors and some of the other comments introducing the impact of banking crashes etc lead me to think you’re finally cutting through.

    This looks to me like the grudging acceptance – ‘OK – our team got it wrong, we admit, but look at your team – they’re rubbish too’.

    It might just be time to put this one to bed and look for some polling matters?

  42. Tony Blair has been saying some less than encouraging things about Ed and labour’s chances according to the DT and the G.

    Blair was clearly very successful electorally, and has since made it his business to earn lots of money, but the general tone of his critique is that Labour needs to stay as it did when he was in charge – in the middle, pro business, etc.

    One thing that he doesn’t seem to acknowledge is that either the world has changes, and certain flaws in the old model have been exposed, nor that perhaps the things he did or didn’t do when in power might have contributed to today’s problems, so his idea of returning to his own golden age seems strangely out of date in many ways.

    Apart from that, I would have thought ex leaders might have had the decency to either offer support to their party or say nothing, 5 months out from an election. It doesn’t smack of a man keen to help his old pals.

  43. @ Syzygy

    Yes, an interesting piece of work.

    The debates of these sorts are also influenced by well-fed Westernerns (including myself) and those who have to think what will provide the calories (protein and other nutrients are less important in this context).

    Imagine: no garden food (wrong time of the year), no money for importing food, transfer of wages from abroad are confiscated by creditors, no medicines of the hospitals, so you have to travel abroad to buy them.

    I could continue, it’s a reality of Europe today.

  44. @Unicorn

    As an example of control charts, here is the data for Labour for Yougov, November and December 2014:

    Date Lab VI
    2014-11-03 – 34
    2014-11-04 – 34
    2014-11-05 – 33
    2014-11-06 – 33
    2014-11-07 – 33
    2014-11-10 – 33
    2014-11-11 – 34
    2014-11-12 – 35
    2014-11-13 – 32
    2014-11-17 – 32
    2014-11-18 – 34
    2014-11-19 – 33
    2014-11-20 – 33
    2014-11-21 – 33
    2014-11-21 – 34
    2014-11-24 – 34
    2014-11-25 – 33
    2014-11-26 – 32
    2014-11-27 – 31
    2014-11-28 – 34
    2014-12-01 – 32
    2014-12-02 – 33
    2014-12-03 – 31
    2014-12-04 – 32
    2014-12-05 – 32
    2014-12-08 – 33
    2014-12-09 – 32
    2014-12-10 – 33
    2014-12-11 – 34
    2014-12-12 – 32
    2014-12-15 – 34
    2014-12-16 – 34
    2014-12-17 – 33
    2014-12-18 – 35
    2014-12-19 – 34
    2014-12-22 – 36

    A standard control chart (X Bar) plots the VI in time sequence vs the mean, upper control limit (mean + 3 SD) and the lower control limit (mean – 3 SD).

    The data in time sequence should bob up and down within the upper and lower limits. The following would indicate something unusual goin on (special variation in the lingo):

    – 7 points in a row going in one direction
    – 7 points in a row above or below the mean
    – Any point outside the control limits
    – etc…..

    Any single point can be excluded if you can evidence the fact it is rogue.

    As can be seen, when plotted no data point shows anything unusual. However, there is a more sensitive analysis available that detects special variation unseen by an X Bar chart – CUSUM.

    Here you work out the mean for the data. Then for each data point you subtract the mean from data point and add this to cumulative sum. This always ends at zero.

    What you are looking for to show there is no issue is a random up and down zig zag. The first part shows this. However, multiple points in one way shows a trend. Please note that a single rogue poll is unlikely to be more than a small blip and not cause a bigger trend.

    There is clear evidence that for the first part of the data period, just random MOE was in action. However, there was a dip where a number of points were below the mean for period (graph down), followed by a period of time when Labour’s VI was above the mean for the period (graph up). Below are the charts:

    Here is the 5 poll moving average, which supports this analysis:


    In conclusion, by using SPC techniques a small improvement for Labour is disernible from YG data. Yes it is small. Yes it is possibly a temporary thing. However, I’m sure it exists.


    “Carfrew You are learning what political discussion is like in Scotland. Congratulations on your resilience”


    Lol, thanks Barney!! Honestly tho’ you can get this stuff over almost anything. Even hifi!! And other places can be a whole lot more advanced in terms of the Macchiavellian thing. Here it’s almost kinda sweet when they try it…

  46. Carfrew

    Now don’t be too hard on poor Barney!

    I think he was missed out in the Honours List. :-(

  47. @ Laszlo

    Imagine: no garden food (wrong time of the year), no money for importing food, transfer of wages from abroad are confiscated by creditors, no medicines of the hospitals, so you have to travel abroad to buy them.

    A cynical experiment in how far populations can be pushed into reversing ‘developed’ status before there is revolt. It has nothing to do with economic reality, and everything to do with increasing the precariousness (and hence tractability) of the reserve army of workers.

  48. When do you think the groat will drop that the scots would have voted yes under sturgeon and salmond lost the vote ?

    I see mr tony has issued his new year message tonight -he thinks,after the crash, the centre has moved to the right ,ed miliband thinks it has moved to the left.

    Will the uk ,greece and spain move the same way?

  49. @Alec

    You’re confusing Tony Blair with someone who gives a damn about the Labour Party. That ship sailed long ago.

    Maybe he should congratulate the Orange Bookers on how wonfmderful a job they are doing implementing his ideas in Government.

  50. @07.05.2015

    The rise of the SNP and the Greens does not support Blair’s view. Also, if politics since the crash has moved to the Right how come the Tories are on 32%?

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