Friday is the anniversary of the Scottish independence referendum, so we’ve had a flux of Scottish polls over the weekend from YouGov, Panelbase and Survation. They mostly covered the same ground – should there be another referendum and how would people vote, and how people will vote in the Holyrood election next year.

Should there be a second referendum?

In the Survation poll 43% of Scots wanted another referendum within five years, 36% said in five years or more time, 20% never. Panelbase found 36% wanted a referendum within five years, 55% did not.

In YouGov’s survey they didn’t ask a timing question, but asked a couple of questions on whether there should be a second referendum. 40% of people thought that a referendum should be a once in a generation event, and there shouldn’t be another for many years. 29% thought that a referendum should not necessarily be once in a generation, and there was no reason why there shouldn’t be another one soon. Inbetween those two groups were 24% of people who thought a referendum should be once in a generation…but that if circumstances change, an early second referendum could be the right thing to do. One potential such change could be the European referendum (15% of people told YouGov they didn’t support a second referendum, but would do if Britain voted to leave the EU), but the SNP could obviously seek to persuade Scots of the case for a second referendum because circumstances had changed in other ways.

How would people vote in a second referendum?

All three polls had very similar findings – people would still vote NO in a referendum tomorrow, but by a smaller margin than they did a year ago. Survation had figures of YES 49%, NO 51%, Panelbase had figures of YES 47%, NO 53%, YouGov had figures of YES 48%, NO 52%.

Holyrood elections

The main story across all three polls was again the same, and largely unexpected: the SNP are headed for another landslide victory in next year’s Holyrood election.

  • Survation/Daily Mail had constituency shares of SNP 53%, LAB 22%, CON 14%, LD 6%. Regional shares were SNP 42%, LAB 21%, CON 13%, LD 6%, GRN 11%.
  • Panelbase/Sunday Times had constituency shares of SNP 52%, LAB 23%, CON 14%, LD 6%. Regional support stood at SNP 48%, LAB 22%, CON 15%, LD 6%, GRN 6%
  • YouGov/Times had constituency support at SNP 51%, LAB 22%, CON 18%, LD 4%.Regional support stood at SNP 45%, LAB 20%, CON 18%, LD 4%, GRN 6%

All three had the SNP just over 50% in the constituency vote, and a little lower in the regional vote (which may be a Green party effect, the Scottish Greens don’t typically stand in the constituencies). The main differences between the polls are that Survation show the Greens doing significantly better than Panelbase and YouGov, and that YouGov have the Scottish Tories doing significantly better.

Tables for the three polls are here – Panelbase, YouGov (1),(2), Survation


99 Responses to “A year since the Scottish referendum”

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  1. Setting aside the positions of the other parties, the Conservative’s position is as brittle as Labour’s in 2005. This is not the 1980s.

  2. It’s not impossible that Corbyn’s unfortunate public image can be redeemed but comparisons with Ed Milliband are perhaps unhelpful. Milliband was/is relatively young and, although he’d been in politics for some years, his was an unfolding career that could have evolved in several different ways. By contrast, Corbyn is an old man who has been around on the backbench for decades. While his ascent to the leadership has been a startling development, it’s largely a consequence of a perfect storm of circumstances and the man himself seems to have little potential beyond what is already known about him. This makes it unlikely, in my view, that public perceptions of him can be substantially altered.

    Corbyn’s other problem is that if he was to change him image in an attempt to attract voters who currently don’t count themselves as his fans then he risks alienating his existing following, which is heavily invested in his ‘authenticity’ and ‘man of principle’ persona. So he’s stuck between a rock and a hard place on that front.

  3. These three scotland polls show an average ‘no’ lead of 4. The last ten polls in the run up to the referendum also showed a ‘no’ lead of 4. Of course in the end, the lead was 10. So has opinion not moved at all and is the ‘real’ gap of 10 still there? Or are these polls more accurate?

    [All three are weighted by referendum vote – i.e. all three samples are made up of (amongst those who voted) 45% who voted Yes and 55% who voted No, so if there had been no change the polls would still be showing 45/55. Of course, it’s not quite as simple as that, things can and do go wrong, the general election was evidence of that, but most likely there has been a small movement to Yes – AW]

  4. WATCHIT

    You may well be right.

    There is an insightful piece in the New Statesman which pretty much sets out what I expect to happen.

    To reiterate I am not a Corbyn supporter (I preferred Burnham).

    The positive development is that Corbyn offers the opportunity to clear out Labour’s stables. It reminds Labour’s base that it still has a soul and reminds the more hardcore Blairites that they have desultory support. It gives the chance to clear out the hacks with their pathetic office politics.

    Once the process is over, I expect Labour to develop a fresh position that is not as left-wing as Corbyn but which is genuinely distinctive from the Tories. That would not be under Corbyn of course and I have no idea what time scale would be involved.

    I find this far preferable to the content-free drift that I think would have happened under Cooper.

  5. Hawthorn
    I pretty much expect the same thing.

  6. Hawthorn – my thoughts exactly. Im happy for ‘moderates’ (I dont think Corbyn’s policies are that immoderate its just his baggage and anti-establishment attitude that gives that impression in the main) to come in if they actually give the impression that they want to drag the country leftwards where they can. The old lot don’t give that impression.
    A reboot was the only option to avoid a slow drawn out death.

  7. @David Colby – 11,25

    “These three Scotland polls show an average ‘no’ lead of 4. The last ten polls in the run up to the referendum also showed a ‘no’ lead of 4. Of course in the end, the lead was 10. So has opinion not moved at all and is the ‘real’ gap of 10 still there? Or are these polls more accurate?”

    What needs to be remembered, I think, is that ‘opinion’ responds to a mixed bag of stimulants.
    For example, the SNP’s ability to appear convincing whilst in government is important in the current context, as is the on-going uncertainty regarding Labour’s electability throughout GB.

    Another factor is the degree to which the current legislation going through Westminster responds adequately, or not, to the expectations raised a year ago by the Vow and by Gordon Brown, and the report of the Smith Commission.

    Another factor will be the effect EVEL has on Scotland’s budget via the Barnet Formula (assuming that the Barnet Formula will survive this parliament).

    Another factor will be the outcome of the EU referendum.

    These are four distinct aspects of ‘opinion’, and in the event of a ‘perfect storm’ might come together to shift ‘opinion’ decisively into the Independence camp. That is, presumably, what the leadership and the many supporters of the SNP want.

    So, in answer to the question ‘are these polls more accurate?’, the answer has to be ‘no-one knows’ – simply because different people regard the examples above (and many others which might have been mentioned) as having different importance.

    Is there currently a majority in favour of independence? No.
    So is this debate going to go away? No.
    Why not? Because, by the very nature of the ongoing debate, there is no ‘settled will’ of the Scottish people, despite what David Mundell and others claim.

  8. @ Hawthorn

    Yes, I agree and that’s what I hope too. I’d very much like to see a rebooted Labour Party with policies for the 21st Century instead of 70s/80s Corbynism versus 90s Blairism. And I think the party should take its time and get it right instead of rushing things in the panicky way that’s characterised the post-Blair era.

  9. @Couper
    ‘“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”

    Thatcher rather defied that expectation. When she became Tory leader in February 1975 she was widely perceived as far too shrill, middle class and right wing to be electable – yet she became the ‘Iron Lady’ and the outcome proved so very different with a very strong appeal to the skilled upwardly mobile working class.

  10. Graham

    You could also say the same about “Bambi” Blair.

  11. Joe,

    I agree that some people find it emotionally consoling to believe that the other side never REALLY wins.

  12. @JOHN B
    my sense is that scotland has had its fill of us and that not even 20$ a barrel oil would stop them next time.

  13. YouGov Poll
    YouGov – would you trust Corbyn on:
    NHS (+6)
    Spending (-19)
    Taxes (-20)
    Immigration (-24)
    EU (-23)
    Economy (-27)
    Terror (-27)
    Defence (-34)

    It’s a bit useless until we get the scores for the Labour Party so we can see if he is running ahead or behind his party

  14. I hope the Westminster Government declines to authorise a second Referendum until the 2030s. Not much the SNP can do given they already hold 56 out of 59 seats – no real leverage left.

  15. And also until we get a VI. All this is well and good, but it’s whether people will vote for labour under him that matters.

  16. The politics blog in the paper that cannot be mentioned (17th September) has some interesting reading into the reason for the election result.

    http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2015/sep/17/mi5-chef-andrew-parker-says-terror-threat-is-growing-politics-live

    I don’t have time to summarise right now, but there is plenty of grist to the mill.

  17. To clarify, it the 16:17 post on the British Election Study.

  18. @Watchit
    “I’d very much like to see a rebooted Labour Party with policies for the 21st Century instead of 70s/80s Corbynism versus 90s Blairism.”

    Political change is found very rarely in brand new radical positions, but in discovering old radical ideas were correct.

  19. @David Colby

    Nothing has been done to change the hearts and minds of the 45% that voted Yes. It is as if Westminster and the BrIrish State have decided that they can live with a very large minority of Scot wanting to leave the union.

    I remember J.K.Rowlings ridiculous assertion that Scotland after a No vote would be given special attention and Devo-Max.

    It is fairly obvious with the watered down Scotland Bill, EVEL, what feels like contempt for the democratic representatives of Scotland at Westminster and contempt for the Scottish Government, only the other day refusing to let Scotland attend an UN summit which is on devolved matters.

    It is the unionists heralding the end of the UK

  20. @johnb

    The other issue is whether the Smith Commission implementation is scuppered by Treasury intransigence and if so how that is perceived. It’s difficult to tell exactly how close we may be to Holyrood withholding legislative consent to the Scotland Bill but the fact that Swinney raised the issue in Holyrood suggests it is not impossible.

    I can’t see either Labour or the Tories making much impact as Mundell’s speech today and Dugdale’s performance at Holyrood suggests that they have not moved on from the referendum. The LDs can probably be discounted as a serious force.

  21. @Graham

    I rest my case.

    And for information Scotland is recognised as a nation at the UN and the UN has protection for the rights of nations to self-determination.

  22. @Graham

    If Scottish voters elect a SG committed to holding a referendum it is very difficult to see how Westminster could refuse unless it wanted to precipitate a constitutional crisis.

  23. The BES has found that it was actually people voting Labour that gave the election to the Tories. Labour voters in the Lib Dem Tory marginals gave those marginals to the Tories and resulted in a net gain of 7 seats for the Tories, without these seats the Tories would not have had a majority.

    […]

  24. @Hireton

    I disagree. The result of the 2014 Referendum on a turnout of near 85% should not be overridden by a Holyrood election where turnout is likely to be nearer 50%. The Scottish people have spoken in ‘a once in a generation’ decision . Cameron has rightly already ruled out another Referendum in this Parliament – I trust his successors will continue to do so until the 2030s.

  25. @Graham

    So the unionists better get out and vote in the Holyrood election or there will be another referendum. As pointed out the Scottish Government can call an election with or without Westminster approval and international law will back up Scotland’s right to self-determination.

    However, I doubt it will come to that the SNP will only call a referendum when they are certain to win and at that point the Scottish people are hardly going to care whether Westminsters agrees or not, so no advantage to saying no. Westminster is likely to just accept the inevitable, try to save face and make the best of it.

  26. @Graham

    You may well disagree but the era of Westminster supremacy has gone. There are other centres of political power and legitimacy now.

  27. @COUPER2802
    Your strident reply merely reinforces my gut feeling.

  28. @davidcolby I wouldn’t suggest your gut feeling is right….to paraphrase relationship speak – “it’s not about you, it’s about us”. As a Scottish nationalist I’ve got nothing but friendly feelings towards the other nations of the UK – after all, it’s always best to get on with one’s neighbours – I’d just like us running our own affairs thanks.

  29. Graham

    There seems to be a fairly widespread consensus that if indy suffers a 2nd referendum loss in the relatively near future, that is likely to be a severe setback for the cause of independence.

    Nicola has made it clear (in the STV documentary the other night) that she has no wish to have another indyref until the Yes side is likely to win.

    Surely the logical position of those who wish the demise of the independence movement would be to hold an indyref in the shorter rather than longer term?

    An even more sensible stance would be to for the UK to legislate for a constitutional position that satisfies the regularly expressed wish of around two thirds of Scots for a status equivalent to a Federal component in the UK, and then hold a referendum on that, compared with independence.

    The only obstacles to such a rational course of action would seem to be –

    1. The Unionists are afraid they would lose any referendum

    and/or

    2. Despite the rhetoric of a year ago, Westminster has no intention of ever devolving any workable powers beyond the absolute minimum that they think they can get away with – as in 1998, 2012 and 2015.

  30. @Coups

    You ever thought about getting an allotment?

  31. @Couper2802

    Judging by what’s being said about Hungary that’s a particularly worthless statement.

  32. @ Old Nat

    ‘London has already done very well out of infrastructure projects’

    Too right:

    Average spend per head per annum on infrastructure in London: £1400.

    Average spend per head per annum on infrastructure in the Westcountry: £19.

    When they talk of ‘capital investment’, they mean ‘the capital’…

  33. Couper2802

    As pointed out the Scottish Government can call an election with or without Westminster approval and international law will back up Scotland’s right to self-determination

    Complete nonsense. You’ll note, for example, that Catalunya is still part of Spain.

  34. Oldnat

    Nicola has made it clear (in the STV documentary the other night) that she has no wish to have another indyref until the Yes side is likely to win.
    Surely the logical position of those who wish the demise of the independence movement would be to hold an indyref in the shorter rather than longer term?

    Only if they were to believe that an increase in pro-independence sentiment is inevitable. If you believe that it’s at or near its peak then encouraging a referendum now would be idiotic.

    I know you personally might believe that the independence movement is an irresistible force but it would be highly unwise to assume the same of all the Unionist bogeymen.

  35. @ Wolf

    Sorry I don’t get the relationship between Cooper2808’s point/ (which intrigue me in its direction) and Hungary. Maybe a moderated post that doesn’t turn up?

  36. @FuntyPippin

    Scotland can leave the union with England just as easily as the UK can leave the EU. Scotland is recognised as a nation and as such has the right of self-determination under international law.

    Catalonia may not be part of Spain for much longer.

  37. Couper2802

    Scotland can leave the union with England just as easily as the UK can leave the EU.

    Nope – the right of member states to unilaterally withdraw from the EU is explicitly guaranteed in the Maastricht treaty. There’s no such provision in the UK constitution, nor in international law.

    Catalonia may not be part of Spain for much longer.

    You’ve missed the point. Whether or not it gains independence in the next few years is irrelevant. What is relevant is the fact that the Catalan government had its right to unilaterally hold a referendum squashed by the Spanish government without any intervention from the UN, which gives the lie to your claim that such an action is impossible under international law. The subsequent consultative referendum similarly resulted in no constitutional change.

  38. @FuntyPippin

    I think you’ll find that the act of union stated that either nation could withdraw, if a majority of Scottish MPs wanted independence then they could withdraw from the union. There is a famous quote from Thatcher to that effect. That is why the SNP made it very clear that the GE was not about independence.

    But to be honest Funty, I don’t know why you are arguing it ought to be obvious that Scotland cannot be kept in a union against its’ will, what’s England going to do invade Scotland (remember we have the nukes)?

    These posts are counter-productive and are symptomatic of lingering imperialism.

    What unionists should be doing is trying to figure out how to make the union appealing to the almost half of Scots that want out.

  39. Holyrood can hold another referendum without Westminster consent but such a vote would have no binding force. Were they to follow such a course I would hope that the other parties would advise their supporters to boycott it.
    At the end of the day Nationalists seen to forget that the existence of Holyrood is dependant on the will of Westminster.

  40. OldNat – “Nicola has made it clear (in the STV documentary the other night) that she has no wish to have another indyref until the Yes side is likely to win.”

    What if she’s pushed into it by miscalculating a series of moves?

    For example, earlier this year she made several grandiose comments about how if the UK left the EU Scotland was entitled to hold another referendum as it was a “material change”.

    At the time she made those statements it must have seemed like a cost-free bit of grandstanding to her base as all polls were showing we’d remain in the EU.

    She then puts this clause into her Holyrood manifesto, again because her base expects it, gets re-elected and expects that the clause will not get triggered.

    But then the UK goes and votes to leave the EU for various reasons, the mayhem on the continent. At the same time as this happens, the oil price is in the doldrums and the polls are showing that another indy ref would deliver another No.

    Does she say “Sorry, I know I was grandstanding but I didn’t really mean it, we’re not going to have another indy ref”. Or does she think, “I’ve committed to this, so I have to go ahead, I can’t see any way of getting out of it that won’t skewer my reputation.”

  41. COUPER2802

    I think you’ll find that the act of union stated that either nation could withdraw, if a majority of Scottish MPs wanted independence then they could withdraw from the union.
    Oh? Where will I find that? I can’t seem to find it in the text of either the Scottish or English Acts.

    But to be honest Funty, I don’t know why you are arguing it ought to be obvious that Scotland cannot be kept in a union against its’ will, what’s England going to do invade Scotland (remember we have the nukes)?
    I’m not claiming that it’s a good idea to deny a second referendum (in actuality I believe that would be massively counterproductive). I’m just pointing out that your claim that Scotland can unilaterally decalre independence and have it stick is pure fantasy.


    These posts are counter-productive and are symptomatic of lingering imperialism.

    Just thought I’d highlight this as it’s an example of one of my pet hates. Opposition to Scottish nationalism isn’t imperialist or colonialist, and I find it quite repulsive when people try to equate them.

  42. @Funty

    Lol, Coups seems really on a mission to try and close down discussion of certain weaknesses of the Indy/SNP thing. Ironically she got modded earlier for it…

  43. Blimey I think she needs a nice lie down in a quiet room.

  44. @Funty

    It is imperialism to state that Scotland is a colony of England and is not free to leave the union.

    And counter-productive, it will not persuade a single person that wants independence to stay.

    BTW – I didn’t get modded I did get a post snipped

  45. @Graham

    Not for much longer, according to the BBC Cameron is going to honour the first sentence of the Vow and make Holyrood permanent.

  46. Lol, OK then Coups, snipped. By the mod. As in moderated. Do peeps get paid-per-quibble or summat?

    And for purposes of board harmony, simply noting a fact is not the same as agreeing with it. Simply noting some constitutional detail does not automatically mean Funty is being Imperialist, particularly if he is not advocating that as the way things should be.

    Like, if I notice that my coffee is a bit bitter, that doesn’t mean I am suddenly in support of bitter-tasting coffee.

  47. @VALERIE

    “Blimey I think she needs a nice lie down in a quiet room.”

    ———

    …And an allotment…

  48. The YES/NO breakdown in the latest polls seems to be broadly the same as what the pre-referendum poils indicated. There is no statistical reason to believe then that there has been an increase in the YES support since last year. We know now by previous experience that referendum polls tend to underestimate the status quo (in this case, NO) vote.

  49. Couper: California or Texas are not allowed to leave the United States either. Does that also make the US imperialist ?

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