Ipsos MORI today released a new Scottish poll for STV, showing a 50%-50% tie between YES and NO were there to be a second independence referendum. This is the first poll not to show NO ahead for some time – there were a couple of snap polls immediately after the EU referendum that showed YES ahead, but apart from that you need to go back to February 2016.

As ever, one shouldn’t get too excited about one poll. Looking at other recent Scottish polls there’s a mixed picture. While a BMG poll at the end of January still showed a narrow lead for NO, it suggested a significant drop in the NO lead compared to BMG’s previous polls. In contrast two Panelbase polls this year haven’t shown any significant movement and still had NO well ahead. The MORI and BMG polls suggest there could be some movement in attitudes to Scottish Independence, but we probably need some more polls before we can be sure.

MORI also asked whether people thought an independent Scotland should be a member of the EU – 48% thought it should be, 27% thought it should be a member of the single market but not the EU, 17% supported neither.

Finally there was a question on voting intention in the Scottish local elections – or at least, people’s first preferences. Topline figures were SNP 46%, CON 19%, LAB 17%, GRN 8%, LD 6%. Full details of the poll are here.


130 Responses to “Ipsos MORI show Scotland split 50-50 on independence”

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  1. @Pete

    That’s an interesting revelation, but Channel 4 news probably shouldn’t have run with it in the middle of a police investigation. The couple will presumably be prosecution witnesses and it’s not best practice for witnesses to give their evidence to jury via TV interview (although it’s not unheard of, and doesn’t bar them from repeating it in court of course).

    It is more normal for TV investigation to broadcast first then send the material to the police, who then start an investigation. Journalists who simultaneously investigate, and broadcast their evidence, are frowned upon by trial judges (not that it remotely stops them, naturally).

  2. @Pete

    Yup, I am not thinking of that class of people. It’s more the people who run taxi companies, rather than the people who drive for them, who are in the government’s firing line.

    But where are these areas where noone can find work? I presume there are no migrant workers there?

  3. @ Neil, Pete

    I’m guessing the main target are those people doing locum / contracting work through PSCs.

    When I was made redundant a few years back I looked at contracting as an accountant, so I spoke to a couple of PCS management companies – each had in excess of a thousand contractors on their books and they both stated they could achieve an all-in tax rate of between 10 and 15% on average earnings of £150,000 per year.

    Assuming that they weren’t bullsh1tting, just one of those PCS management companies (and there are many dozen out there) was costing HMRC between £30 and £40 million in tax receipts…

  4. @Neil A – “Are you arguing that inheritance tax should be paid on assets but only on the value that they have appreciated since they came into the possession of the deceased person?”

    Yes, that would be a sensible approach, but probably too complex to enforce accurately. An easier to calculate mechanism would be equally desirable.

    The key point is that people like @TOH draw false boundaries around income and assets and make nonsensical claims about some things being double taxed while they are perfectly happy to see other people’s income taxed multiple times.

    The truth of the matter is that we now have an increasing number of elderly people requiring expensive care, and (in general) this sector of the population is sitting on an absolute mountain of wealth in the form of fixed, and largely untaxed assets.

    Again, in general terms, they are expecting working people to pay for their care costs, and seem unwilling to countenance allowing some of their estate to cover these costs in a shared, collective manner, providing security and dignity for everyone at very limited cost to any individual.

    It’s a failure to grasp some of these fundamentals that have meant we have had this government in particular in power for seven years (but also applying to their predecessors) apparently happy to see old people sitting in their own faeces while they dibble around wondering about how to solve the care crisis.

  5. @Jim Jam – “Merv King – failed miserably in his duty to warn about personal credit becoming a problem.”

    Indeed. Quite funny how pro remain ‘experts’ who got the post Brexit crash wrong are discredited, but more pro Brexit experts who got everything else completely wrong are acceptable.

  6. @ToH
    Back on polling and local elections, I agree Yougov and today’s results looks particularly rosy for the Tories.

    There seems to be an increasing divide between London (the only place where Labour’s vote is holding up strongly), the South (where the LDems are level with Labour in this poll) and the Midlands (where the Tories appear positioned to give Labour a thrashing and the LDems are weakest) – this will make May locals pretty interesting….

  7. Alec

    Lord King was a fine Governor who was on the side of the working man and had little time for the metropolitan liberal salon softies of London. Them who love the EU more than their own country and who rage against the dying of the light and howl at the moon.

    Their day has come and gone, the ordinary people have seen through their clever clogs nonsense and are wanting a new exciting future free from the shackles of the EU.

  8. NEIL A, mine was only a guess that there we’re areas where no one could to find work, so of course I could be wrong, apologises for that. But it does seem to be harder once you hit 50 to find work (note harder not impossible) , so no doubt there’s a fair few there that have gone self employed and a lot of youth moan they can’t get a job, no experience oft the example given why.

  9. Alec

    I laid out the reasons why inheritance tax and wealth taxes are triple taxation. I gather you still don’t understand. Sorry but I cannot help you any further. I suspect it’s that you don’t want to understand rather than don’t understand.

    I would aslo be gratefult if you would just say you disagree rather than use words like nonesense and nonesensical. This would be a much nicer place if we all used good manners and stuck to saying we disagree rather than using emotive terms. Just IMO of course.

  10. The Yougov poll is clearly very good for the Tories – though perhaps a bit rushed to have fully absorbed the post – Budget reaction. It will be interesting to see whether other pollsters confirm these findings over the next week or so.
    Yougov has now being showing the lowest Labour poll ratings consistently over the last 6 months – so there now appears to be evidence of a clear house effect there. It first gave Labour a 25% rating at the beginning of December last year so the party appears to have held its ground over the last 3 months or so. Cold comfort for Labour though!

  11. To me, the trend is inevitable, largely because of Tory blundering….

    1) Scots voted 55-45 to remain in the UK largely because the pound was more stable than the euro. That’s no longer the case. In June of last year, the pound was worth 1.31 euros. Now, it’s declined to 1.14 euros. Anyone with sense would rather have his currency in euros than in pounds right now.

    2) Scots voted to stay in the EU in the Referendum. They still feel that way.

    3) The Tories continue to display an arrogant attitude towards Scotland. That will just further drive Scotland towards independence.

    4) Some months ago, posters on this site claimed that petrol prices were low, and that they were going to stay at the 99p-one pound level. I pointed out that it’s going to go up, and some posters ridiculed my suggestion. Well, when I last went to the pump, I paid £1.16 per litre. With Saudi Arabia cutting back oil production to raise world prices, England will be praying that Iran will increase their oil production. At the moment, the oil industry is looking good for Scotland….

  12. JIMJAM

    Where we can probably agree on “experts” opinion on the outcome of Brexit is that they will all be wrong to some degree.

  13. TOH – going to have to disagree with point 3 on your list.

    Capital gains are taxed with one massive exception – principal private residence and this exception is starting to dominate household finances for people living in the south west. Many are making more money on the increase in the value of their PPR, than their salaries. Example I know someone who earns £20k and lives in a 4 bed terraced house in zone 4 in south west London, the value of which has gone from £385k to £900k over the last 15 years or £34k pa. There is no double taxation here, they only paid £385k for the house.
    When they move out the stamp duty is paid by the buyer. That £34k pa gain is untaxed in the UK system at the moment and is 1.5x their salary. Even the stamp duty is only 5%. This is a giant tax free bonanza.

  14. Michael – I am/was a remainer but not sure the below is right

    ”Anyone with sense would rather have his currency in euros than in pounds right now.”

    There will be different views about the Euro itself and there is a view that 1.4 (Dec 2015) and 1.3 was an overvaluation of the £ anyhow due to Greece etc.

    I certainly won’t be stampeding in to the euro or Euro funds.

  15. JIMJAM

    We may be on different sides of the Brexit debate but I totally agree with your last post to Michael.

  16. ToH My first reaction to the Brexit vote was ‘I hope I am wrong’ and that is still my view I do not wish the transition to fail and don’t believe it will be a disaster.

    Neil A was on balance Brexit and I was on balance remain with the key for me being the additional paperwork and non-price costs with not being in the single market as someone who exported before and after the single market.
    IMO, Competition, inflation and currency will take care of even WTO level tariffs in the medium term.

    I guess I am a Soft Remainer.

  17. JIMJAM

    Many thanks for the insite. It helps to understand where people are coming from, especially when they have trading experience as you clearly do.

  18. Michael Silva: ” Anyone with sense would rather have his currency in euros than in pounds right now.”

    Interesting, as I’m currently facing exactly that decision. I have a reasonable sum in euros, which I bought at £1=€1.50 some years ago when I was about to buy a property in Spain (next to Joe Strummer’s house!). That fell through (the developer didn’t like being locked into the previous year’s prices, at a time when they were going up fast, so scrubbed the development and gave me the deposit back – hence the cash stash).

    Now, Nationwide is closing its euro account. The default when they close the account is to take it in sterling. That would show a handy profit, and crystallise the current low rate of sterling. But will sterling drop further? If so, I could transfer it to another euro account, or buy some euro-denominated funds (I rather fancy some Irish commercial property funds, on the strength of all those banks transferring to Dublin…)

    So, I’ve got to do something. Any advice?

  19. Somerjohn.

    Unless the cost are high take 50% or a proportion?

  20. Jim Jam

    Sounds sensible. I think the easiest course is to take it in sterling (no costs) and then stick most of it in some LSE-listed Irish property funds (which seem to be called REITs). They yield around 4%, which can’t be bad with appreciation on top (unless TOH is right and the eurozone’s days are limited…)

    I’m not a high-roller in terms of investments – just an OAP with a pension and a few minor bits and pieces of investment – but it’s always interesting to have to put your money where your political mouth is!

  21. @ Michael

    I would not worry too much about the oil price as oil will soon be redundant or at least high cost oil like North Sea will. The “it’s our oil” thing always grates on me. It’s the equivalent in my mind of me winning the lottery and saying to my wife of 30 years “i know we have been through a lot together over the past 30 years and I have depended on you as much as you on I. But I have had a lucky break in a lottery and as a result you can pack your bags as I will be much better off without you!” If the oil was off the coast of Kent we would not hear a thing from the SNP but I don’t think England would have kicked out the rest of the UK. No?

  22. @Somerjohn

    There are risks in both directions depending on what happens in the upcoming elections.

    On balance I would hold your Euros as I see a further fall in the pound as nailed on.

    Probably the best move would be to transfer those Euros to USD. If Trump and the Republicans reduce corporation tax the dollar will almost certainly rise as even more money piles into the USA.

  23. Alec,
    ” in general terms, they are expecting working people to pay for their care costs, and seem unwilling to countenance allowing some of their estate to cover these costs in a shared, collective manner,”

    Someone above linked an article about Keynsian economics. He argued that there must be a reduction in wealth inequality in order for the economy to function efficiently, and for a period this principle was put in place, with the result of both wealth and power redistribution away from the elite. In the last 40 years we have operated to pretty much the opposite principle, that it is beneficial for wealth to pile up in a small number of hands.

    The slashing of death duties and resistence to them is simply another expression of an underlying principle that wealth inequality is a good thing. If Keynes was right and this principle is wrong, economic stagnation now is unsurprising and indeed inevitable unless the policy changes again. It is a far cry from Thatcher’s expressed aspiration that everyone should own their own home.

    The Other Howard,
    “I laid out the reasons why inheritance tax and wealth taxes are triple taxation”
    Are we not in danger of another straw man argument here? There are many different taxes on different things, but in principle we could just have one big tax on one thing and raise the same amount? It is just seen as fairer or more acceptable to divide taxation over many smaller bites. The bottom line is ability to pay and whether taxes levied fall on those best able to pay. The rising disparity of wealth suggests we have the balance wrong.

  24. I have now found the posted Yougov results for the 8/9 Mar survey and so can look at those cross breaks as the jargon seems to have it.

    The party support seems to be conservative 29% (+1), Labour 17% (no change), lib 7% (-1), UKIP 8% (-1), SNP 4% (no change) , other unlisted 3% (-1), would not vote 13% (-1), dont know 20% (+3).

    Now I think a week beween polls is a pretty useless timeframe to determine a trend, and the changes are mostly so small as to be well within random errors. But proceeding on this inadequate basis (and no offence intended to the pollsters, this is in the nature of the beast and we do the best we can), then the biggest change visible is a rise in the ‘dont know’ party. If there is any signifance to the comparison, it would be that events during this timeframe have caused greater uncertainty amongst voters.

    Even though ‘don’t know’ are the second biggest party, I suspect the system will deprive them of even one MP if there was an election tomorrow. If their vote was combined by an electoral pact with the ‘would not votes’, I still doubt they would get any MPs despite then being the largest electoral block. Do we have any handy statistics on how suppor for this group has waxed and waned over the years?

    It may be that support for this grouping will fall in due course as their members appreciate the unlikelihood of their support being translated into actual MPs. Tactical voting may apply. So despite their expressed intentions today, what would they really do?

    Looking along the tables, the ‘don’t know’ party has been formed from 25% of past labour voters, 25% of past liberal voters, 21% of UKIP voters but only 14% of former conservative voters. It would seem the conservatives are the group most likely to have stuck with their last choice party. This could be interpreted as implying the ‘don’t know’ group as a whole has a bias against voting conservative, and if they do switch again it might be expected to not be in that direction.

    The figures for the ‘will not vote ‘ party are even more stark. There are 6x more former labour voters amonst their members than either conservatives or liberals. This suggests a block of former labour voters currently choosing to sit out events rather than support the party which is their preferred choice. And this is some 13% of the total of voters, enough to swing the labour 17% back to near parity with the conservative 29%.

    If anyone might be questioning the benefit of the pensions ‘triple lock’ as compared to, say, people dying because of NHS cash shortages, 46% of pensioners would vote conservative. A massive plurality. Probably they fancy passing on their house to their kids untaxed, as well. Pensioners are also sparsely represented in the ‘will not vote’ party, and much fewer in the ‘don’t knows’

    ‘would not vote’ support seems to concentrate in the Midlands and North of England, traditional labour heartlands, again suggesting these are labour supporters sitting out the vote. The biggest geographical break is 39% support for conservatives in the south outside London. Truly the tory shires. The land where planning regulations fiercly protect the amenity value of anyone lucky enough to be already owning property in a rural location.

    So my conclusion is….the conservative lead might look good as a headline but underneath is far less secure. If labour could find one decent issue with traction, their supporters could come flocking back.

  25. @Danny

    “The figures for the ‘will not vote ‘ party are even more stark. There are 6x more former labour voters amonst their members than either conservatives or liberals. This suggests a block of former labour voters currently choosing to sit out events rather than support the party which is their preferred choice. And this is some 13% of the total of voters, enough to swing the labour 17% back to near parity with the conservative 29%.”

    Thanks for highlighting this, which is obviously of crucial importance. If Labour could somehow get their act together, they could revive there share. If not, their are potentially rich pickings for other parties able to tap into that dissatisfaction (LibDem? UKIP?). If neither – then we will continue to see Conservatives enjoying artificially high vote shares, even as so many elements of the national administration are in trouble (NHS,social care, housing, prisons, border control… you name it)

    As you say though, it’s dangerous to read too much into cross-break trends over a single week. Closer, longer term scrutiny is required.

  26. Once again the statistics bear out the assertion, ‘its the economy, stupid’.

    Voters split on party lines whether they think the economy is doing well at present or is being handled well, and supporting tories. If they think it is doing badly or being handled badly, they support labour. Whether this is a belief their chosen party can do no wrong and so must be handling the economy better, or a choice of party because of how well they are perceived to handle the economy I couldn’t say. Some and some probably. Though presumably the ones who matter electorally are those who are choosing based upon how the economy is seen to be doing, who might therefore be susceptible to changing sides. So whether it is wholly true that the economy drives choices or not, a party needs to act on this basis because it is this group which needs to be won over.

    Opinion seems to be that the economy is about to get worse. Breaking it down by Leave/remain, the sides seem just about the same as at the time of the referendum. Remain are far more pessimistic than Leave. Nothing has changed. The argument about whether opinion on Brexit could change decisively depending on a bad or good outcome remains exactly as before, and I suggest is something which will be decisively concluded in retrospect.

    There will be plaudits for those driving Brexit if it goes well, and there will be blame if it goes badly. Everything remains to be won or lost in this respect. Potentially, this could crystalise well before we actually leave, especially if the government fails in its attempts to keep the state of negotiations hidden from the public.

  27. Options as a safe currencies are the Swiss Franc and Japanese Yen.

    If the proverbial does hit the fan anywhere in the world, it’s these currencies which are likely to rise.

  28. @ OLDNAT
    “via Britain Elects
    Scottish independence poll:
    Yes: 48% (-1)
    No: 52% (+1)”

    If Scotland wants or needs a “IndyRef2”, the wisest move is for Westminster to legislate to allow one – should the next Scottish Parliament agree approximately 12 months before – for May 5th 2022.

  29. @jonesinbangor

    Autumn2018 it is, then

  30. I don’t understand this die-hard belief English folks have in the superiority of the pound….

    Let me repeat what I said above:

    “In June of last year, the pound was worth 1.31 euros. Now, it’s declined to 1.14 euros.”

    The reality is that the pound is becoming weaker against all currencies, including the euro. I don’t expect the pound to gain against the euro in 2017. I expect more falls from the pound.

    In June, I could get J$182 (Jamaican dollars) for the pound at Western Union. That actually represented a recovery. Back in June 2015, when Cameron got re-elected, that’s what I got. Then, with Cameron’s offer of a referendum, the pound declined against the Jamaican dollar. It had a rebound in the first half of 2016, as the markets believed Remain was going to win. Since June, it’s been declining, even against the Jamaican dollar. Now, the best I can get at Western Union for the pound is J$155.

    You know things are really bad when the pound is declining against the Jamaican dollar!

    So, I have more confidence in the euro than the pound right now…and we’ll soon find out if Scotland feels the same way too:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-39255256

    A Scottish referendum between Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019?

    Bring it on!

    Theresa May has overplayed her hard line against Nicola Sturgeon in her attempts to win votes from South England.

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