I’ve been tied up with boundary changes and having a birthday at the weekend, so this is just a quick post to catch up with some of the voting intention and Scottish Independence polling I’ve missed. Looking at Westminster voting first, I’ve updated the voting intention on the sidebar to include all the latest figures. Overall the Conservative party’s lead remains strong – most polls still have the Tories at around 40% and Labour around 30%.

The two most recent polls, from YouGov and Ipsos MORI, both showed the Tory lead falling a bit – YouGov had a lead of 7 points (down from 11), MORI a lead of 6 points (down from 11). In the case of YouGov, this is actually within the normal range of their recent polling (they had the Tory lead at 7 and 8 points in August too) and the MORI poll is probably at least partially a reversion to the mean after an anomalously high 45% score for the Tories their previous poll. Nevertheless, it may be a sign of Theresa May’s honeymoon continuing to fade.

Two years on from the Indyref we’ve also seen a handful of new polls on Scottish independence. The last time I wrote about polling on Scottish independence was at the end of July. Back then we had seen a couple of polls from Survation and Panelbase taken immediately after the EU Referendum that appeared to show a shift in favour of Scottish independence, but a YouGov poll taken a few weeks later showing no apparent change. We’ve had several more Scottish polls since then, including more recent polls from Survation and Panelbase, as well as polls from TNS and Ipsos MORI. The picture now looks very clear, showing NO ahead with no obvious net movement towards Yes as a result of the EU referendum (though as John Curtice points out there has been churn under the surface). MORI show NO five points ahead, Survation, Panelbase and TNS all have NO six points ahead.


464 Responses to “Catching up on voting intention and Scottish Independence”

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  1. “NO ahead with no obvious net movement towards Yes as a result of the EU referendum”

    True, but the churn is where the interest lies at the moment – when (and if) we find out what May decides to do (if anything) about Brexit, then things may change (in both directions)

    As a famous pollster frequently says “Time will tell” :-)

  2. Anthony

    If it was your birthday – then I hope you had a good time, with lots of presents.

  3. Happy Birthday Tony!

    Peter.

  4. Churn?
    The successive polls presumably do not ask the same people? For if they do, their panel soon becomes a special set, rather than a random sample, having been asked the same question before.

    “Not much change, if any” is not an arresting narrative, is it?
    I suppose that is why you, and other people who know perfectly well that poll figures are subject to sampling errors which mean that X means somewhere between X+y and X-y with the centre more likely than the extremes, but that the extremes must be expected to actually happen from time to time, still in verbal commentary choose words which imply that X means X precisely?

    Nor should you forget that a ‘lead’ is actually the difference between two figures both subject to such sampling errors, and so has its own error which is larger (the square root of the sum of the squares of those individual errors, assuming the usual normal error curves and their treatment.)

  5. While the Lab NEC didn’t seem to be able to come to many conclusions at their marathon meeting today, they di issue a press release saying that SLab was to be “fully autonomous”

    Which is odd.

    In Dec 2014, Murphy said that SLab was now “fully autonomous”.

    2 weeks ago Dugdale said it was an “autonomous party”.

    So, if you are already autonomous – how do you become hyper-autonomous?

    If SLab is to be able to have its own policies on reserved matters, how does their MP vote in Westminster on these issues, if there is actually any difference?

    How can you be “fully autonomous” when you are funded from elsewhere, and can’t even do your own purging?

    As others have asked previously here, how can Labour produce a rational structure for autonomy within the UK when they can’t get their heads (or any other part of the anatomy) round autonomy within their own party?

  6. The Secretary of State, Mr Brokenshire, has argued for an open border arrangement in the new arrangement with the EU:

    https://www.ft.com/content/a879bd44-7df8-11e6-8e50-8ec15fb462f4

  7. Prof Howard

    I can’t see the article, but is Brokenshire arguing for an open border within Ireland due to –

    1. UK staying within the Single Market / Four Freedoms?

    or

    2. RoI leaving the EU?

    or

    3. A closed border between Ireland and GB?

    or

    4. Lala land coming into existence? :-)

  8. ON
    “As others have asked previously here, how can Labour produce a rational structure for autonomy within the UK when they can’t get their heads (or any other part of the anatomy) round autonomy within their own party?”

    That, plus they can’t even seem to decide anything. Whether one likes the Tories or not you have to admire their efficiency. Within about 10 days of the referendum the PM had resigned, a leadership election had been held (albeit abortive), and a new PM and a new cabinet installed.

    By contrast, Labour have been dithering for months about whether or not to challenge the leader, how that would be organised, how the shadow cabinet should be selected, whether some of those who resigned might return etc etc. How could a non-tribal voter think they might be able to run the country? It appears that they couldn’t run a p*ss-up in a brewery to coin a phrase. Anyway, that’s my two penn’orth. G’night all.

  9. Ive never traveled to or from Northern Ireland, or the Republic of Ireland either, so I don’t know what border arrangements we have. I imagine that up until the good Friday agreement there must have been some kind of internal border checks when traveling to or from NI.

    I suppose that having border checks between Britain and the island of Ireland would be preferable to having border checks actually on the island. Less work and less inconvenience but then you would have a de facto united Ireland or at least it would feel that way.

    Not an easy problem to solve

  10. Oldnat:

    His argument is thus:

    “I would offer .. some words of reassurance: the UK government emphatically does not want to see a return to the borders of the past. The prime minister said it on her visit to Stormont in July. I have underlined the point in meetings with the Northern Ireland Executive, the Irish government and businesses in Northern Ireland over the summer. The Taoiseach and Irish foreign minister also state unequivocally that an open border for people and business is a priority for them. This shared determination is our greatest asset as we seek to make a success of Brexit.
    Aside from the power of political will, there are existing structures we will want to build on. The Common Travel Area between the UK and Ireland was there for decades before either country was a member of the EU. It has served us well and will continue to do so as we seek to maintain an open land border between Northern Ireland and Ireland.”

    That’s all he has. As J Powell puts it in the Mount Stewart conversation: “assertion”.

  11. Prof Howard

    Thanks.

    Assertion indeed!

  12. I think these polls demonstrate why Sturgeon has changed tack and her messaging. Will the SNP base be kept happy after all the red meat “EU ref betrayal”?

  13. Panelbase are being their usual lackadaisical selves, and haven’t published the details of their Sunday Times poll yet.

    However, for those unable to see through the ST paywall, here’s a summary of one question in the poll.

    “33 per cent of people said that an independent Scotland within the EU was their ‘ideal scenario’, however 23 per cent said that Scotland in the UK outside but the EU was ideal. 28 per cent opted for remaining within both unions. 11 per cent supported Scottish independence and exiting the European Union.”

    The big question, of course, since “ideal scenarios” seldom transpire outside the minds of Tory politicians talking about Ireland (!) is what level of compromise will enough people accept, once they know what might be practicable.

    https://www.commonspace.scot/articles/9374/independent-scotland-within-eu-most-popular-option-constitution-poll

  14. Sea Change

    I agree that Sturgeon’s “messaging” has adjusted – as have the polls – but both, I would suggest are consequences of the UK Government’s failure to define (or even discuss) what Brexit will actually entail.

    Her “tack” hasn’t changed. It is to keep Scotland in the EU.

    If May doesn’t actually take us out of the EU “against our will” (which is the language Sturgeon uses) then no “material change” will have occurred, and indyref2 then becomes less likely on an EU strategy.

    As to the “SNP base be[ing] kept happy after all the red meat”, it’s important not to make the mistake (as Salmond has admitted he made) of confusing the SNP base with the Yes base. There is, of course, a big overlap, but they aren’t the same.

    One might equally ask how May is going to keep the Tory/UKIP/Brexit folk happy after the red meat of the EUref.

    Handling such issues is what good politicians do successfully – and is why Cameron turned out to be a very poor one.

  15. OLDNAT

    Anthony
    If it was your birthday – then I hope you had a good time, with lots of presents.

    IF it was Anthony’s birthday? I thought the Scots so rated Anthony, that they arranged a referendum to coincide with the date. I’ve a vague feeling that this one might have involved the number 0, so Anthony was presumably having an existential crisis, while some of his commenters were having the one that winning a referendum now seems to entail.

  16. ROGER MEXICO

    “while some of his commenters were having the one that winning a referendum now seems to entail.”

    What crisis is that Roger? As a Brexiter i’m very happy going forward to leaving the EU.

  17. My daughter married in Ireland to a man with dual nationality. This I believe will continue as these rules pre-date membership of the EU.
    When we went to southern Ireland we did not need a passport but that might change if we leave and Ireland stay. Ireland might choose to leave as a result of the interference by Brussels in their tax affairs.
    If Scotland continues to call for a fresh referendum I believe that it should be a trigger for a referendum of the whole of the UK to decide if Scottish MP’s should be barred from voting on any English and Welsh matters.

  18. OLDENGLISH

    That seems to make good sense although I don’t see the SNP calling for a fresh referendum on independance unless they really feel they can win, and not a ot of signs of that at the moment.

  19. I think with both Countries in favour of the current arrangements an open border with the Republic will remain.

    The tensions will come from two main directions and neither of them is a push for a United Ireland.

    On the UK side with immigration such a pressing issue we will see the “Back Door into Britain” argument which will inevitability lead to greater checks on flights and ferries but not quite an internal border.

    From the EU side depending on what terms we get over the Single Market there will be concerns over the Repiblic becoming a Trojan Horse, allowing British goods and services to circumvent any WTO rules or Tarriffs.

    How that second part goes really depends on the mood in the EU and if it hardens towards Fortress Europe and towards the Republic over things like Apple which some view as cannibalising other members taxes.

    As I raised before people here who support us leaving take the view that our political elite have been taught a lesson and now need to tell Brussels where to get off and in the face of our demands those in Brussels will come up with a UK friendly compromise.

    They also tend to point to the rising tide of anti EU feleling lapping a the feet of the Brussels Elite.

    The scenario they don’t in visage is that politicians in EU capitals react to their publics demands to put them first and put their jobs making cars in Germany and France ahead of UK jobs making cars to send to Germany and France.

    I am not saying it’s going to happen but we could well be looking at a change of mood where Politicains on the continent feel it is in their own personal interest to “Get Tough” and put the Uk in it’s place.

    Pro remain campaigners and most UK politicians though the EU was in our best interest but the public disagreed. Most EU politicians think a sensible deal over Brexit is in the EU’s best interests, but their voters might not agree.

    Peter.

    As to Scotland, nothing has really changed since before the EU vote.

    As too an Indyref2 iI suspect any decision on that will wait till we see more clearly the outcome of the A50 talks, the boundary review and who looks like forming the Government in 2020.

    Peter

  20. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)

    Good morning Peter, it’s nice to be able to more or less agree with you including the last bit about Scotland.

    The one bit that I raised an eyebrow at was ………”and put the Uk in it’s place.”

    The EU can go for a hard Brexit, as we can and some of us might prefer but that would not “put us in our place”. Our place is what we make of it in the World.

  21. CR

    You know when you’ve gone from NI to the Republic because the roads suddenly improve.

    The old ‘border posts’ were a nightmare – and not very efficient due to the open nature of much of the countryside – no-one would want to see them return so they probably won’t. However if they, or something like them, don’t return then we will have an open border with Europe.

  22. The BBC is saying another oil services company has gone bankrupt. What is the feeling in Scotland as to whether the SNP has dealt well with the oil crisis or in fact the continual job losses Scotland has had over the last 12 months.?

  23. Wolf I am not in Scotland (and I have not sourced my contacts there) but surely no person can blame the SNP (or N Sturgeon) for the oil price fall which is the fundamental source of the problem in the oil industry.

  24. “The old ‘border posts’ were a nightmare – and not very efficient due to the open nature of much of the countryside – no-one would want to see them return so they probably won’t. However if they, or something like them, don’t return then we will have an open border with Europe.”

    Hopefully not but that requires a soft Brexit type of arrangement or some kind of deal that at this stage is hard to imagine. Otherwise as J Powell said in the Mount Stewart conversations, we might expect to see small roads being crossed out. There are issues to do with tariffs. Slab Murphy will be most interested.

    (When I have crossed from Northern Ireland to Donegal the roads did not seem at all better. On the contrary, in fact.)

  25. WOLF
    What is the feeling in Scotland as to whether the SNP has dealt well with the oil crisis

    The UK government has devolved no control whatever over North Sea oil and refused to countenance FFA, as did Lab & LD when it came to a HoC vote. It has also refused to devolve Corporation Tax.

    What more do you suggest the SNP can do?

  26. @wolf

    “or in fact the continual job losses Scotland has had over the last 12 months.?”

    Hello from Aberdeenshire. Well, unemployment in Scotland has fallen recently and is now below the UK rate. The oil shake out has had profound effects in this area of course. The Scottish Government does not control the main economic and tax powers which bear on the oil industry and its current problems so I don’t think people expect it to be able to “handle” the oil crisis other than at the margins. It seems that its retraining and other programmes are operating and I am not aware of any great criticism from the industry or elsewhere about its response. And the fact is that a lot of the people in the oil sector are highly skilled and many have transferable skills and will find jobs elsewhere in the economy without further help.

  27. OldNat

    “SLab is to be able to have its own policies on reserved matters, how does their MP vote in Westminster on these issues, if there is actually any difference?”

    NEC actually worded it for the devolved matters.

    More importantly the Scottish and the Welsh Labour leaders will be able to nominate their representatives for the NEC, thus Corbyn’s majority has gone (providing that the conference would vote for it).

  28. OldNat

    Apologies, should have spotted the “reserved matters”.

  29. Laszlo

    Theres a good chance it will pass conference. The purge seems to have targeted conference delegates. The PLP appears to be unsure if it has done enough to tilt conference in its direction, will be interesting to see

  30. I notice as well that the corbyn camp is talking down expectations of a large win. I still find odds of 20/1 on Smith winning quite tempting though the odds might have moved in since monday

  31. 5-6 points? So a 3 point swing required?

    I wonder if MoE will become ever more important with Yes/No polls?

  32. Moved in to 16/1 shortest is 11/1

  33. TOH,

    “Our place is what we make of it in the World.”

    But not ours to decide.

    We can decide to leave the EU if we wish but we can’t decide the terms of trade we have with it or anyone else, that will need to be negotiated and if not we revert to WTO or worse Tit for Tat.

    I’ve heard the “We can Trade with the Rest of the World” line repeatedly but few if any solid answers as to why Germany is far more successful than us even though as a fellow EU member it currently trades with “The Rest of the World” on exact the same terms as us.

    The only thing I can come up with is that we offer them far better terms to enter our market than the EU which would be good for them, but I can’t see what their incentive is to buy more from us.

    I am sure the Australians would love UK finance to create businesses that would compete with British ones and to sell us more Lamb, but I can’t see them dropping their “Environmental” rules that keep our fresh goods out to the benefit of their farmers.

    I am sure India would love free trade, but it would still make life difficult for British business and what if they ask for concessions on Immigration controls for Indians coming to the UK?

    I’d, like most Brexit issues, a clear steer from those in favour of exactly what they want from the EU, why they expect to get it and just what makes them think that Countries outwith the EU want to give us freer access to their markets than they currently give the EU.

    The real reason Free Trade Agreements take so long is that where as we all want “Fre Trade” we all want it on our terms.

    I am not saying we can’t somehow come up with agreements that work out better for the UK, I just can’t see why people are so convinced it will just happen and haven’t seen anything other er than unsubstantiated reassurance that it will!

    Peter.

  34. CambridgeRachel

    Yes, I saw the rumours about the purge among delegates. However, there are far too much of these. McDonnell seemed to play down the expectations, but it could also be just the opposite.

    Anyway, at least the delegates won’t be able to read the S*n in Liverpool :-)

  35. CambridgeRachel – “I suppose that having border checks between Britain and the island of Ireland would be preferable to having border checks actually on the island. Less work and less inconvenience but then you would have a de facto united Ireland or at least it would feel that way.”

    The issue is that there is more traffic by sea and air between the two islands than across the land border. The Belfast-Glasgow route, the Belfast-Liverpool route, the Dublin-Liverpool route, the Cork-Swansea route. Ireland’s population hugs it’s east coast facing Britain. If there are hard borders between the UK and RoI, NI will be fine because their routes are within the UK, but RoI will not.

    Most Irish agricultural exports are to the UK. And lots of Irish exports to continental Europe are shipped across sea to Liverpool, put on lorries and then driven to the ports in east Anglia, where they are put to sea again and sent to Rotterdam.

    That’s why the RoI is emphasising the Common Travel Area, which is euphemism for keeping the sea and air routes open. The land border only has significance symbolically, though symbolism is important of course.

    What happens next depends on whether RoI can defend it’s interests against the rest of the EU. Their economy is under attack, directly by Brussels attacking the Silicon Valley subsidiaries, and with Brussels taking a hard line on Brexit. From RoI’s point of view, the only reason they didn’t turn into Greece is because the Silicon valley jobs remained, and Britain kept importing their agricultural produce. Is it worth them staying in the EU if both are being attacked by the ideologues in Brussels?

  36. On ferries between UK mainland and Eire there are passport checks on the Irish side.

    There is no passport check on the UK side on incoming air travellers, but there are occasional checks in Eire.

  37. @Laszlo

    It’s not just about passports – it’s about trade. Not just trade with the UK, but the trade to the continent that goes through the UK, using our island as a sort of short-cut to save on transportation.

    Hard Brexit would be a headache for RoI, which is why I’m surprised that Brussels chose to attack them on a second front with the Apple business. It just goes to prove that the folk in the Commission have no brains.

  38. Laszlo

    Thats a serious blow for journalism!

  39. Candy

    Could have something to do with Eire being a net beneficiary of the EU budget

  40. @CR

    They’re not actually. RoI turned net contributor in 2008. If the EU was rational, looking after RoI should be more important than pleasing Slovakia and co.

    The trouble with the EU is anti-Americanism is very strong and Ireland is now a proxy for attacking the USA, and they can’t see the bigger picture.

  41. Candy

    Don’t start me on trade of agricultural goods between Eire and Northern Ireland. Some poor cows had to travel back and forth many times (at least on paper) to collect subsidies.

  42. CambridgeRachel

    Yes, I know it’s a serious blow to journalism and the freedom of speech that the S*n’s delivery to Liverpool dropped from 55,000 to about 4,000’a day.

    Hopefully the two campaign groups of getting rid of it entirely will manage to persuade the conference centre that, as a private propery they have the right not to accept people walking in, or read the named thing,

  43. @Laszlo

    I meant agricultural trade between Eire and Britain. We import a lot of food from them, and the last thing they want is tariffs imposed on those imports.

  44. Candy

    You need to check your figures, as far as I can see 2009 was the only year that Ireland was a net contributor and then only slightly

  45. Candy,

    What a load of self serving blinkered nonsense.

    The move to tackle what many in the EU see as wholesale Coroprate Tax evasion comes from a public angry at the likes of Starbucks.

    I fully expect you to lay the blame for responding to that on “Anti American Brussels Bunglers” but then if they hadn’t you’d probably have been one of the first to claim that the “Brussels Elite” were protecting their Corporate friends, while they ripped off hard working tax payer, because for you they can do no right.

    The Apple situation comes from a growing political and public anger about large companies moving money on paper from where it is earned and should pay tax to where it will be least taxed. Like it or not politicians across Europe have had to react to public concern about practices that it the past they have either turned a blind eye too or actively encouraged.

    Oh course having condemned the Brussels Elite for ignoring the citizens of Europe for far too long, now that they turn around and act, they don’t get thanked, they get accused of bullying poor little Ireland and being Anti-American.

    That would be the same Anti American EU that is trying to sign one of the worlds most wide and far reaching free trade agreements ever with…..eh…..America!

    Hard or soft the EU will negotiate for all of Europe based on what the remaining members feel their priorities are and what they want.

    It is inevitable that within the EU there will be winners and losers depending on their relationship with the U.K. and the harder the exit it is the tougher it will be for those with the greatest economic ties, Ireland over physical trade, Luxembourg for laundering Corporate tax returns, plus Malta Gibraltar and indirectly though not in the EU, Cyprus, the Isle of Man and the Channel Isles

    That won’t be an easy or nice process but the idea that the Commission is somehow not seeing it or being short sighted because it is not prioritising the interest of one nation of 3m over those of twenty five others with 300m citizens is plain daft.

    Equally daft is that it should decide on terms that suit Ireland over Slovakia because right now it has a bigger economy, “Sorry all you Slav’s your not as rich as Ireland so you are getting shafted… No hard feeling but they put money in and your just subsidy junkies!”

    I have no doubts that the big three, Germany, France and Italy will be in the driving seat for better or worse, but because of that I doubt the EU will have the relative effects on two of the smallest economies in the EU high up the list.

    They’ll probably give Ireland a sweetener when they come to redistribute the post Brexit budget payments and that’s about all.

    But the it’s the EU we are talking about, so as always your starting point is they’ll have got it wrong.

    Peter.

  46. Good afternoon all from a very warm central London.

    Happy Birthday AW.

    It will be interesting to see the state of the polls once ol Corby wins the Labour leadership again. I’ll be looking out for any obvious shift in VI going over to the Lib/Dems as they have been touting for disenfranchised Labour peeps.

    Onto Scottish independence. I said it before and I’ll say it again and that is I don’t think the EU is such a big deal to Scottish voters as some are making out so I wouldn’t expect to see an increase for independence on the back of Brexit however it is early stages and who knows we might see some tartan tantrums later on when the real Brexit happens.

  47. PETER CAIRNS (SNP)
    Candy,

    “What a load of self serving blinkered nonsense”
    ________

    Now now you’re beginning to resemble Tancred with that sort of rant. Can you not just accept that some of us are not as enthusiastic about remaining part of the EU as yourself?

  48. WOLF
    “The BBC is saying another oil services company has gone bankrupt. What is the feeling in Scotland as to whether the SNP has dealt well with the oil crisis or in fact the continual job losses Scotland has had over the last 12 months.?”
    __________

    There are other areas in Scotland that are generating new jobs but I don’t think you can fully blame the trouble the oil industry is facing on the Scottish government.

    If you cast your mind back during the Scottish indy ref voters were told by Sir Ian Wood that the oil industry had a bright future by remaining part of the Union. In fact voters were also told to vote No to remain part of the EU and were also told they don’t need to vote for independence to get rid of the Tories yet Scotland voted overwhelmingly against a Tory government yet got lumbered with it.

    I don’t agree with the SNP’s pro EU stance but in all honestly they did warn voters during the indy ref that sticking with the Union wouldn’t necessary lead to a Union dividend.

  49. Allan,

    It’s not about remaining in the EU, it’s about portraying it as the root of all evil let alone the root cause of all our problems in the UK.

    I now have to constantly restate my position that the nature of the EU and the challenges it faces mean it ,like Washington, Bejing and New Dehli will inevitably like this, slow, awkward and frustrating and that it’s numerous failings come from the enormity of the challenges it faces not it’s gross incompetence.

    In the face of that I have to watch people doing intellectual somersaults to find a way to blame everything on Brussels.

    The Greek crisis, caused by decades of a ineffectual tax system and over generous benefits patched over with debt, but is it the fault of a long line of Greek Governments? No Brussels is to blame.

    Ireland joins the Euro and against EU and ECB advice abolishes property taxes rather than raises them leading to a property boom and then a house price and banking crisis. Is it the fault of Irish politicians hand in glove, or worse, with developers? No it’s the fault of the Euro.

    As I said yesterday regardless of Brexit those in favour of it will still be blaming Brussels years from now, maybe even decades, because they need their Boggy Man.

    Peter.

  50. Peter Cairns – “The move to tackle what many in the EU see as wholesale Coroprate Tax evasion comes from a public angry at the likes of Starbucks. ”

    The EU hasn’t got any right to interfere in the tax arrangements of member states.

    If they want to gain those rights, they need to negotiate a new EU treaty and then get it ratified in each member state (including referendums in countries like RoI).

    If they’re too scared to go down that route, then they need to abide by the existing treaties. Making power grabs by illegally tearing up treaties just puts their whole project in jeopardy.

    After all, if the treaties are so much toilet paper and can be undone at the stroke of a pen by an unelected commissioner who applies their decision retrospectively, then why would any business or country want to do business with the EU? I mean the treaties are so much bog-roll, right?

    If the EU doesn’t back down over Apple, the RoI is well within their rights to go nuclear. Threaten Irexit – how lucky does the EU feel about having not only another member leave the EU, but a member leave the eurozone too. Do they want to risk it? Ireland has nothing to lose with this strategy, because caving to the EU on the Apple stuff, and allowing the EU to jeopardize the Common Travel Area will tank their economy. So they might as well hold a gun to the EU’s head. I expect the EU to give Ireland an exemption on the Common Travel Area at the very least.

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