Today is exactly a year until the Scottish Independence referendum (it’s also my birthday, nice of Alex Salmond to get me such a good present next year!) so we have a slew of “one year to go” polls.

First up there is a Scottish YouGov poll in the Times, with topline referendum figures of YES 32%, NO 52%. YouGov also asked people to think how they would vote if they were convinced that the Conservatives would win the UK general election in 2015, which narrowed the NO lead a little, but not a lot – YES 36%, NO 51%. Despite support for full fledged independence trailing, YouGov found wide support for more devolution, with majorities supporting the devolution of pensions, taxation, welfare benefits and drugs policy.

A quick methodology note on YouGov: their previous Scottish polls have used party ID for political weighting, this poll switched to using recalled past Holyrood constituency vote for 2011 (but also separated out people who voted Labour at the 2010 general election, but SNP in the 2011 Holyrood election). It didn’t actually make a huge difference to the results – on the old weights it would have shown YES 31%, NO 53%. Full tabs are here.

Secondly there is a poll by Progressive Scottish Opinion in the Daily Mail. They aren’t British Polling Council members, but did do regular polling before the last Scottish elections – their topline referendum figures are YES 27%, NO 59%, Don’t know 14%.

Thirdly the Guardian have a British poll on Scottish independence. Across Britain as a whole 32% of people think Scotland should be an independent country, 52% should not (so actually fairly close to the split in Scotland itself – a little more NO than the Scottish ICM poll, but exactly the same as YouGov’s today).

Fourthly there is a TNS-BMRB poll in the Herald, which asked about the economic effect of independence. 45% thought the Scottish economy would perform worse outside the UK, 23% thought it would improve, 15% thought it would be much the same. As far as I can tell TNS-BMRB did not ask the referendum question itself.

There were also suggestions of an Ipsos MORI/STV poll on the referendum, but as yet one has not appeared. If it does I’ll update this post. If it doesn’t and it was just a rumour, I obviously won’t!

UPDATE: I’ve updated the reference page on Scottish referendum polls so far here. It seems the Ipsos MORI poll is real, and should turn up on the STV evening news later on.

The monthly ICM poll for the Guardian is out tonight and has topline figures of CON 32%(nc), LAB 36%(+1), LDEM 14%(nc), UKIP 9%(-1), no significant change from last month. Like MORI, NOP and YouGov in recent months, ICM also found an increase in economic confidence – 50% now feel quite or very confident about their economic prospects compared to 49% who are not very or not at all confident.

Meanwhile Populus’s twice weekly poll has topline figures of CON 33%, LAB 40%, LDEM 11%, UKIP 9%. Full tabs are here.


This week’s YouGov Sunday Times poll results are here, and have topline Voting intentions of CON 33%, LAB 38%, LDEM 9%, UKIP 12%. As you’d expect, the poll has questions on the Liberal Democrats for their conference, as well as some about Ed Miliband and the Unions.

By 45% to 34% people think it was the wrong decision for the Lib Dems to go into coalition with the Conservatives, though this is mainly driven by Labour voters. Amongst the remaining Liberal Democrat supporters three-quarters still think it was the right thing to do, but of course that’s largely because those opposed to the coalition are no longer voting Liberal Democrat! On the principle of coalition, 22% of people think it is better to have coalition governments that force parties to compromise, 53% think that a single party government is better.

22% think that the Liberal Democrats have been a positive influence on government, 25% a negative influence and 43% don’t think they’ve had much influence either way. Asked more specifically about Clegg’s claim that the Lib Dems have prevented the Conservatives from being more right wing, 46% think this is true (30% think it’s a good thing, 16% a bad thing). Asked which best reflects their view, 36% think that by entering coalition Clegg was doing what he thought was best for the country, 44% that he was betraying his principles for power regardless of the interests of the country.

Turning to Labour and the Unions, on balance people still think that Ed Miliband is too close to the Unions (32% think he is too close, 17% too distant, 20% about right, 31% don’t know). Miliband’s proposals to change how trade unions affiliate members to Labour are widely supported and by 43% to 14% people think he is right to try and reduce Labour’s links with the Unions (although a further 20% think that he isn’t actually trying to do this). Despite this overall he is not seen as handling his party’s relationship with the Unions well – only 25% think he’s done it well, 46% badly.

Only 16% of people think Miliband is ever likely to be Prime Minister, 70% think it is unlikely. Even amongst Labour supporters only 42% think he is likely to be Prime Minister, 45% unlikely. This is a strange finding given Labour’s consistent lead in the polls and when polls ask people which party they expect to win the election, far more tend to say Labour. I suspect this is speaking more of people’s difficulty in visualising Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, rather than their considered prediction.

Also buried away in the poll was a repeat of the “bedroom tax” question from back in March. Back then YouGov found more people supported the policy than opposed it, since then opinion has switched round, and there are more people opposed (48%) than in support (40%).

As I mentioned yesterday, there was also a second Scottish poll in the Sunday papers, Panelbase in the Sunday Times. They had topline figures of YES 37%, NO 47%, practically unchanged from their last Sunday Times poll which had topline figures of YES 37%, NO 46% (it also demonstrates pretty conclusively that the answers to referendum voting intention in the Panelbase poll for the SNP were influenced by the two preceeding questions). Panelbase have done the most regular Scottish polling over the last year and a bit, and leaving aside that SNP poll have shown very consistent figures, with YES support between 34%-37%, NO support between 44%-47% and no obvious trend in either direction. I’ve updated the page on Scottish referendum polls so far here.

This coming Wednesday is exactly one year until the Scottish independence referendum, so there are a couple of Scottish polls in the Sunday papers. ICM in the Scotsman on Sunday have referendum voting intentions of YES 32%, NO 49%, Don’t know 19%. It looks as though there is also a new (presumably Panelbase) Scottish poll in the Sunday Times, though there is no sign of it yet.

Lord Ashcroft also has a new poll out, this time of a group of marginal seats. It’s not the battleground poll of lots of different groups of marginals, this one is focused up on the the 40 most marginal Conservative seats – the same group he polled back in 2011, and effectively the seats that would decide between Labour or the Conservatives being the biggest party within a hung Parliament (though it includes 8 Con vs Lib Dem seats, not just Con v Lab marginals).

The key thing to look at here is whether the marginals are behaving like the country as a whole, and what we can tell about the Lib Dem v Conservative battleground, something the national polls don’t really tell us much about. Firstly, looking at the Con v Lab marginals, the vote shares are CON 29%, LAB 43%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 11%. The Conservative lead across this group of seats in 2010 was 3 percentage points, so this reflects a swing of 8.5 points, so actually larger than the swing the national polls are currently showing (which is about 6.5 points), good news for Labour.

Now looking at the Con -v- Lib Dem seats. As in 2011, Lord Ashcroft has asked voting intention twice in the poll, first asking a standard voting intention question, then asking people to think specifically about their own seat and asking how they would vote there. This is something that was first used in the big PoliticsHome polls of marginal seats back before the last election – it makes hardly any difference when you ask people in most seats, but makes the world of difference when you ask people living in seats where the Lib Dems are in contention, presumably picking up tactical voting considerations.

On the standard question, voting intention in those Con -v- Lib Dem seats is CON 33%, LAB 24%, LDEM 18%, UKIP 14%. That’s the Conservatives down 8, Labour up 11, Lib Dems down 21(!). However, ask the localised version of the question and it shifts to CON 32%, LAB 18%, LDEM 29%, UKIP 12%. Clearly some Labour voters are still willing to vote tactically for the Liberal Democrats. This reflects a swing of only half a point from Lib Dem to Conservative in these seats. If the same happened in seats the Liberal Democrats were defending against the Conservatives, the Lib Dems would probably be extremely happy.

This morning’s YouGov poll for the Sun has topline figures of CON 34%, LAB 38%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 13% (tabs here. Meanwhile the twice weekly Populus poll has figures of CON 34%, LAB 41%, LDEM 10%, UKIP 7% (full tabs are here

The Sun also had a batch of YouGov polling about the Liberal Democrats in advance of their conference (I expect there will be more Lib Dem polling to come at the weekend).

The broad picture is still pretty miserable for the party. 42% think that the Liberal Democrats have influence in government (8% a lot, 34% a little), and 40% said they had contributed something positive to the coalition (the most popular choice, on 20%, was more moderate and centrist policies, followed by more interest in the less well off on 15%). However, 44% said that the Lib Dems had not contributed anything positive to government at all. Perhaps most worrying for the party, only 19% said they had an idea what the Liberal Democrats stand for these days, down from 26% a year ago.

Few people thought the Liberal Democrats had delivered on many of their specific aims in government. The one area where Lib Dems are seen as delivering is on tax, 10% think they have gone a long way to reducing the income tax paid by low earner, 38% some way. People rated them much less well on all the other aims YouGov asked about, just 22% think they’ve made at least some progress on protecting the environment, 22% on increasing taxes on the wealthy, 20% on reforming banking, 15% on constitutional reform, 13% on improving civil liberties.

Of course, this all has to be viewed in the context of the Liberal Democrats being quite a small party. While I am sure the Lib Dems would like it if a majority of people thought they were wonderful, realistically they are not aiming at majority support at the next election. Rather they will be looking to limit the losses from 2010, to increase from their current poll rating and hold on to a core of support, possibly in the mid-to-high teens. If there is a core of people who think the Lib Dems have contributed a lot to government, have delivering on their aims, and those people can be pursuaded to vote Liberal Democrat, then that’s something for them to build on.

Even so, things look difficult looking forward. 4% of people say they will definitely vote Liberal Democrat at the next election, a further 14% that they’ll consider it. Another 31% say they might vote for them in the future, but not at the coming general election.