It’s the last Sunday before the referendum so we can expect several polls tonight (in fact, the chances are we’ll get lots today, and then comparatively few until Wednesday when there will be a glut of eve-of-referendum polls). I am expecting at least three today – Survation, Panelbase and Opinium – and I’ll update as they appear.

First out is Survation, conducted for the Better Together campaign. Their topline figures are YES 41%, NO 47%, Don’t know or refused 12%. Excluding the don’t knows and won’t says that works out at YES 46%, NO 54%. Full tables are here. I haven’t included any changes since last time as unlike all Survation’s previous Scottish referendum polls this one was conducted by telephone rather than online. It means we couldn’t confidently conclude anything from any change, though for what it’s worth it wouldn’t be showing any significant change anyway, Survation’s last online poll had YES 47%, NO 53%.

Later on we have an Opinium Scottish poll for the Observer, due at 8 o’clock, and a Panelbase for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE: The second Scottish poll of the evening is one we weren’t expecting – an ICM poll for the Sunday Telegraph here. The fieldwork was done at pretty much the same time as the telephone ICM poll for the Guardian yesterday, but this one was conducted online and has significantly different figures. Topline figures with changes from ICM’s last online poll are YES 49%(+11), NO 42%(-5), Don’t know 9%. Excluding don’t knows this works out at YES 54%(+9), NO 46%(-9). This echoes the large shift towards YES over the last month that YouGov and TNS have shown, but the significant lead for the YES campaign is in contrast to other polls, which are showing a small lead for the NO campaign.

Note that the sample size for the poll was only 705, smaller than usual but not obscenely so (a sample size of 705 increases the margin of error to 3.7%, so less precise than 1000, but not by a vast amount). Update with the Opinium poll coming up very soon….

UPDATE 2: The Opinium poll for the Observer is also out and has figures that are very much in line with the main pack – YES is on 45%, NO is on 49%, 6% say don’t know. Excluding don’t knows that works out at YES 47%, NO 53%. This is Opinium’s first outing in the Scottish referendum campaign, so no trend data. Full results are here, and Opinium have a note on methodology here – in Opinium’s usual GB polls they do not use any political weighting, but in their Scottish polling they are weighting by both 2011 recalled Holyrood vote AND recalled 2010 Westminster vote.

Still to come tonight we have at least a Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times.

UPDATE 3: What is presumably the final Scottish poll of the night is Panelbase for the Sunday Times, and has a wafer thin NO lead. Topline figures appear to be YES 49%(+1), NO 51%(-1) (they are being widely quoted at 49.4% to 50.6%, but quoting decimal places when you’ve a margin of error of plus or minus 3 whole percentage points always seems downright silly to me!). I’ll update again shortly with a roundup of where we stand.


The fortnightly Opinium poll for the Observer is out tonight. Topline figures are CON 30%(+2), LAB 36%(+4), LDEM 7%(-3), UKIP 16%(-5).

The sharp fall in UKIP support probably isn’t meaningful at all, the Opinium poll a fortnight ago had them jumping five points to a rather incongruous 21%, today’s poll is probably just a reversion to the mean. For those looking for a “Carswell effect” don’t look here: the fieldwork for this poll started on Tuesday, so most of the responses probably came before his defection.


There are three polls in the Sunday papers today – GB polls by YouGov and Opinium, and a new Scottish poll by Survation.

YouGov in the Sunday Times have tables here. Topline voting intention is CON 35%, LAB 38%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 12%, GRN 4%. The main part of the poll deals with Ed Miliband’s image, following his speech at the start of the week. As we know from countless other polls, Miliband’s ratings on best PM, being up to the job being a strong leader and so on are poor. The questions today were prodding at whether that is indeed something to do with “image” or even “looks” (I say “prodding” – I don’t think it’s really possible to answer the question conclusively).

Asked whether each man has the right policies or looks the part of PM Ed Miliband narrowly leads Cameron on policies: 38% think Ed Miliband has the right policies, compared to 32% who think David Cameron has the right policies. On looking and sounding like a Prime Minister 57% think Cameron looks the part, only 13% think Ed Miliband does. Of course, it easier to look like a Prime Minister when you actually ARE Prime Minister, but that doesn’t explain the gulf between the men’s ratings – YouGov also sometimes ask a question about the opposition leader “looking like a PM in waiting”. Ed Miliband tends to score around 20% or so, when Cameron was leader of the opposition he scored up in the forties.

Ed Miliband’s negative rating do not seem to be due to physical attractiveness, it’s not a case of Miliband being “too ugly” as John Humphrys once put it, as quite frankly neither of them are seen as attractive. Only 6% think Ed Miliband is attractive, but only 16% think David Cameron is. However asked if they physically look like a credible national leader Ed Miliband scores only 15%, David Cameron scores 55%. Clearly looking like a credible leader is not the same as looking physically attractive.

Does this matter at all? Well, the large majority of people say it SHOULDN’T matter – 80% said it shouldn’t matter much or shouldn’t matter at all when it comes to how the public vote at a general election. However, in practice people think it DOES – 55% think it actually does matter a lot or a fair amount. I suspect they are correct. I doubt very many people consciously sit down and think “I don’t think they’d make a good Prime Minister because they are funny looking”, but psychologically we all have many prejudices and biases about people based upon what they look and sound like. Unavoidably our views of politicians will be skewed by our gut impressions of their appearance – and the less closely people follow politics the more important those gut instincts and prejudices probably are.

And, my usual caveat about the Ed Miliband paradox: Labour are still in the lead. If people do think Ed Miliband doesn’t look like a leader, he hasn’t suddenly started looking that way; he’s unlikely to start looking less “leadery” as the election approaches. It’s already there in the price and it hasn’t stopped Labour being ahead in the polls. That doesn’t mean his image isn’t a negative for Labour (they could be further ahead without the problem), but it does mean Miliband as leader is not incompatible with Labour winning. The question, which I don’t think is currently answerable (except through wishful thinking one way or the other), is whether or not public perceptions of the opposition leader may become more salient as the election approaches and it becomes not just a judgement on the government, but a choice between two alternative governments.

Moving on, Opinium’s fortnightly poll for the Observer also has a three point Labour lead. Topline figures are CON 32%(+1), LAB 35%(+1), LDEM 7%(-2), UKIP 15%(-2), GRN 5%. Tabs are here.

Finally Survation have a new Scottish poll, which shows very little change on their previous. Topline referendum voting intentions are YES 40%(-1), NO 46%(nc), Don’t knows 14%(+1). Excluding don’t knows it’s YES 47%, NO 53%, the same as Survation’s last poll. Tabs are here

The poll was conducted between Wednesday and Friday so while it isn’t the first “post-Commonwealth Games” poll, it’s the first poll where we can really look for a Commonwealth Games effect. Thus far there’s no obvious sign of one.


The monthly online ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and Sunday Mirror is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 31%(-1), LAB 34%(nc), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1), GRN 4%. Changes are from ComRes’s last poll a month ago, and don’t show any significant movement.

I sometimes see people asking if asking “if there was an election tomorrow” produces different results from “the next election in May 2015″. ComRes did a split sample this month asking and asked the two halves with the two different wordings: there was no significant difference. Asking about next May produced a Tory score one point higher, UKIP two points lower… but these differences could easily be normal sample error (especially given they were only to half sized samples).

If you really wanted to test if the different wordings had any effect you’d need to test on a much bigger scale to differentiate any effect from normal sample error, especially since any difference is likely to be small. Personally I doubt it does make any difference, but would always ask “tomorrow” on principle, just to emphasize that a poll really is a snapshot of opinion NOW, not a prediction of opinion next year.

Opinium’s fortnightly poll in the Observer is also out tonight, and they have toplines of CON 30%(+1), LAB 34%(-1), LDEM 9%(+2), UKIP 17%(-1).


Sunday polls

A quick round up of Sunday polls today. The regular YouGov/Sunday Times poll is up here, with toplines of CON 34%, LAB 36%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13%. A two point Labour lead, in line with the daily YouGov polls this week so far.

There was also an Opinium poll in the Observer. They showed toplines of CON 29%(-2), LAB 35(nc), LDEM 7%(nc), UKIP 18%(+1). Changes there are since a fortnight ago, so pre-Juncker. No sign of Opinium showing similar movements to those in YouGov’s polls this week.

Finally there is a new-ish TNS BMRB Scottish poll. As usual there is quite a gap between TNS’s fieldwork and publication, so this poll was actually conducted in mid-June and is older than the recent YouGov Scottish poll. Topline figures are YES 32%(+2), NO 46%(+4), changes are from the last TNS poll in May. On the face of it it’s a widening of the NO campaign’s lead, but both sides have gained at the expense of don’t know and excluding don’t knows the YES figure is 41%, very much in line with TNS’s previous polls this year.