Following the intervention of George Osborne into the debate over Scottish independence and what currency an independent Scotland might use there has been an obvious interest in the next Scottish polls and what they might show. Will it have closed or widened the gap, or made no difference? Today there are two new Scottish polls asking about the referendum, sadly neither quite answer the question.

To get the less interesting one out of the way first, TNS BMRB have a “new” Scottish referendum poll, but the fieldwork was actually conducted between the 28th January and 6th February (I can only assume that the long time scale is because the poll was conducted face-to-face… though even then, the fieldwork was completed a fortnight ago). The figures in TNS’s poll are YES 29%, NO 42%, 29% don’t know – entirely unchanged from their previous poll in mid-January. Given the fieldwork was conducted prior to Osborne’s intervention though, this clearly doesn’t answer the question.

More relevant is a new Survation poll in the Daily Mail. This was conducted on Monday and Tuesday, so after Osborne’s intervention and at the time Alex Salmond was actively responding. Topline figures there are YES 38%, NO 47%, Don’t know 16%. Survation’s previous poll was showing YES on 32%, NO on 52%, so prima facie it looks as though there has been a significant shift towards YES. But there’s a caveat – last month Survation weighted their data by recalled 2010 vote, this month they’ve weighted by 2011 Holyrood vote. According to John Curtice Survation’s weighting last month knocked about five points off of Yes, their new weighting has not, raising the possibility that the difference could just be down to weighting. Realistically its not that simple – there is a random element in sampling, one sample will not be the same as the next and, therefore, weighting will have a different effect from one poll to the next, and it seems like a big difference to all be down to weighting to a different election. All we can really be confident in saying is that the two polls are not really comparable, so we should probably hold off on judgement – there are sure to be some more Scottish polls along soon. The tabs should be up on Survation’s site in about half an hour.

Scottish independence referendum polls so far are here.

344 Responses to “New TNS BMRB and Survation Scottish polls”

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  1. Survation’s Oldham East & Saddleworth poll was a mess, with an effective sample of just 225, but it was a first effort… their subsequent byelection polling has been at least as accurate as Ashcroft/Populus.

  2. @Leftylampton
    The Daily Mail ( unsurprisingly)

    I am reading it this week as it is in the breakfast room at my hotel. It is a print Fox News – still banging on about the Lab non story ‘why is the BBC not reporting this?’ Because its NOT news. Furious with the churches with an editorial claiming the Lab party are writing the church sermons – Bonkers

  3. @Colin/anyone else clicking for the YouGov full details –

    a space has been accidentally included in the hyperlink. Delete the ‘%20’ from the end of the URL and Bob (should hopefully be) your uncle.

  4. Couper

    So it’s BOTH of the scenarios that I postulated then…

  5. @R&D

    Persecution complex? You’re accusing me of that now as well, are you?

    Persecution has to be deliberate. The ‘problem’ is not that there is any deliberate policy to ignore Scotland’s ‘otherness’ WITHIN the Union. The problem is that it is never taken seriously. So if what you bring to the marriage is never appreciated or understood, what point going on with the marriage?

    But there is a wider point which folk south of the Border never seem to grasp; any political/social set up is only ever pro tem. If it is a good idea, do it. For me, the Union in 1707 makes a fair degree of sense, given the realities on the ground. But in the post-Empire, globalised technological world of today I believe Scotland would do better going its own way.
    Again, I point back to what I said yesterday evening: ‘difference’ and ‘foreignness’ are relative terms. Scots and English are never going to be as foreign to each other as, say, English and French, though I guess your average Englishman might feel very ‘foreign’ in a Gaelic speaking bar in Steornabhaig and a Norwegian would probably understand more than someone from Hampshire in a bar in The Broch (Fraserburgh).
    Cultural boundaries are much more fluid than our politicians seem to suggest.

  6. Just seen that DM article.

    I struggle to find words to express my contempt for that disgusting rag. It’s usual combination of lies (secret report) and selection (clearly the Met Office did NOT say that it “would” be drier than normal) to misinform the public for a political purpose.

  7. “The ‘problem’ is not that there is any deliberate policy to ignore Scotland’s ‘otherness’ WITHIN the Union. The problem is that it is never taken seriously. ”

    Oh please! My fellow Scots abilities to whinge and ignore reality never ceases to amaze me.

    The otherness of Scotland has been taken so seriously within the union that it has retained it’s own law, education, official church – and it even has it’s own government, with tax raising powers that it never wants to use.

    As a Scot, I find it laughable.

  8. leftylampton

    Interesting how people can have completely opposing views on the same article. Still no surprise really, it depends on the political divide.

  9. @Peter Cairns – “I have a strong feeling that Ed Balls supported the No to a currency Union for much the same reason that Osborne proposed it!”

    You really, really, even for a second, don’t think it had anything to do with a very similar, poorly constructed currency union, right on our doorstep, very nearly collapsing and only surviving through the imposition of mass unemployment and austerity on their populations?

    Does this thought not cross your mind even for a moment? If the SNP come up with a completely useless idea, people are going to tell them it’s useless – not because they’re Scottish, but because it’s useless.

  10. Good Morning All, from a gorgeous spring morning here in Southbourne-Bournemouth.

    The political arguments are getting tasty.

    Spring is in the air.

    What will be the polling effects, I wonder, of both ?

  11. TOH

    What is your take?

    I’ll tell you mine.
    1) the DM state in the headline that it was a “secret” report. In the article they state that the Met Office don’t release these reports to the public anymore because they were embarrassed by previous ones.

    In fact, the Met Office published the link I posted on 21 Nov 2013 for anyone in the world to see.
    So that’s the headline wrong straightaway.
    Facts 0-1 Daily Mail

    2) The article states
    “The forecasters – using ‘cutting-edge science’ – assured councils there would be a ‘significant reduction in precipitation compared to average’ for most of the country, adding that there was only a 15 per cent chance the winter would fall into the ‘wettest category’.”

    In that link I posted (took me 15 seconds on Google to find it – secret eh?!), the Met Office actually said,
    “onfidence in the forecast for precipitation across the UK over the next three months is relatively low. For the December-January-February period as a whole there is a slight signal for below-average precipitation.
    The probability that UK precipitation for December-January-February will fall into the driest of our five categories is around 25% and the probability that it will fall into the wettest category is around 15% (the 1981-2010 probability for each of these categories is 20%).”

    You see that article as fair and reasonable?

  12. @Amber

    “Which makes me believe that this Survation poll is a bit of a rogue.”

    I might agree if I had a line of reliable polls to confirm that. Today’s YG Scottish cross break:

    Con 30%
    Lab 36%
    Lib 6%
    SNP 24%
    UKIP 2%
    Respect 1%

    Green 0%
    Others 0%

    That’s a Westminster result of:

    Lab 35 (-6)
    Con 16 (+15)
    SNP 4 (-2)
    Lib 4 (-7)

    So, which one to believe?

  13. Leftylampton

    My apologies, I thought you were referring to the piece about HH and co, a story the Mail have been running this week and which I find very revealing.


    See my apology to Lefty

  14. Here’s the core of the DM’s approach.
    The Met Office actually said, “The weakening of the prevailing westerly flow means that the normally wetter western or northwestern parts of the country MAY see a significant reduction in precipitation compared to average,” (my emphasis).

    The DM reports that the Met Office “…ASSURED COUNCILS THAT THERE WOULD BE a ‘significant reduction in precipitation compared to average’” (my emphasis).

    My take on this is nowt to do with my political outlook. It’s to do with my approach to truthfulness.

  15. TOH

    Accepted. Cheers

  16. @Oldnat – “As members of the UK, we jointly built up assets and liabilities. Both should be proportionally shared on dissolution of the union.

    If rUK wants to be the Successor State on its own, and claim all the assets, then it also accepts all the debt.”

    Do please use the correct terminology. ‘Successor state’ means a new state, ‘continuator state’ means the state that inherits the previous states conditions.

    Again, I can’t see any point to your post. You are saying exactly what I, and the UK government is saying. They had to underwrite debt issued between now and any independence date for straightforward market reasons and to avoid higher interest rates. This does not mean they are assuming responsibility for all debts after independence without a legally binding contract with Scotland to pay their share. Why is this so difficult for some Scots to understand?

    Perhaps the most straightforward conceptual approach that any Scot should be able to grasp, is to look at the UK bailout of Ireland. We have raised billions on the bond markets, underwritten entirely by the UK. We then gave this to Ireland, who have agreed to repay us interest and capital. They are not able to claim no responsibility for this because the bonds are the responsibility of the UK. While the circumstances are markedly different, this is how a debt share will work. The name on the bond is not relevant.

    You are also quite wrong when you feign ignorance of anyone on your side talking about an asymmetrical division of debts and assets. Sturgeon, Salmond, Swinney, and just about every other online Yes poster, has at one time or another proposed refusing to take a share of the debt.

    They are labouring under the false impression that the sterling currency system – a set of policies and practices, not a physical asset – is an asset to be divided, and so have unilaterally threatened to refuse a share of debt. Quite, quite daft.

  17. It is a globalised world: but I think that rather than making small countries stronger it makes them weaker.

  18. @TOH – two things you need to bear in mind;

    i) The Met Office is the best weather forecaster in the world – by a very, very long margin. It is a state run enterprise. For right leaning papers who favour private enterprise, this is a problem, so the Met Office becomes a target. This is very similar to the BBC.

    ii) The Met Office also has a key global role in researching climate change (so much so that their headline duty is ‘Weather and Climate Change’). Anyone who is sceptical of global warming needs to attack the credibility of the Met Office.

  19. @Alec

    Personally, I think the BT campaign has been daft. It could have cut to the chase regarding this currency issue at the beginning. Why did it not do this?

  20. On the currency union, I posted a though on this on a previous non Scottish thread that was removed, but as this is relevant I’ll have another bash.

    One approach that London could take to demonstrate the wrong headedness of the SNP approach would simple be to agree to let Scotland have sterling – the whole lot. We wouldn’t share it, but give the currency to them. We would split the foreign reserves, the debts, we could give them 10% of the property value of Threadneedle Street etc.

    Scotland would have sterling, so couldn’t complain about those nasty English stealing all their ‘assets’.

    Next, the UK would set up a new currency. We could call it ‘sterling’ and have pounds and pence. We could even make them look the same if we wanted to. We would set the new sterling at parity with the old one and just get going. The markets would call the UK sterling ‘sterling’ and the original sterling ‘Scottish sterling’, because they would, and everyone would be happy.

    There are numerous examples of nations changing their currency throughout all ages, and the fact that the UK could do this, demonstrates with abundant clarity that the nationalist argument that a currency system is an asset is complete bunkum.

    Flowing from this, linking demands to share a currency with threats to refuse a share of the debt falls right into @Oldnats example of people wanting to share assets but not debts – the nationalists are threatening this all the time, not the unionists.

  21. @Alec

    So the English graciously allowed Scotland to remain ‘different’? That is precisely my point. The English have never really tried to see the Scottish experience as something which might add to the mix. Whereas the Scots have always had to learn about England (and why not? Surely it is a good thing to know as much as possible about your partner!) this has never really been reciprocated.
    Try finding anything quintessentially Scottish being treated as ‘normal’ on Radio 4. English experiences, customs etc. are treated as the default position. Everything else is ”different’. But if we were truly a United Kingdom in which differences were treated as enriching and not baffling (or even threatening), then the Scottish experience would be seen as just as normal as the English experience.

    One final point: the English have, on the whole, seen the Act of Union as adding Scotland to the existing set up. But this is legally not the case. In one famous debate in the HoC, Deputy Speaker Harold Walker, when asked to rule on how the Act of Union applied to what the then government was proposing, replied: “I’m not here to interpret the Act of Union.”

    Yet the Act of Union set up the UK Parliament. The Act of Union is precisely what he WAS there to interpret and protect. It is this unconscious ignorance which I find so frustrating.

  22. @Statgeek – “Personally, I think the BT campaign has been daft. It could have cut to the chase regarding this currency issue at the beginning. Why did it not do this?”

    I don’t necessarily disagree. While I’m pretty vehement in my dismissal of the economics of the SNP’s ludicrous currency plans, I’m sufficiently aware to recognise that the moves from London may not be politically helpful.

    I posted last night that BT need to address the SNP’s own Project Fear and start addressing the positive case for the union. The status quo is the least favourite option, so if that’s what you set yourself up to defend, you’re going to struggle.

  23. @Leftylampton

    ‘A significant reduction in precipitation in western and northwestern’ parts is precisely what did happen. Scotland north of Inverness, for example, has had a relatively dry winter. It is the south west which has been hit by everything which normally is spread out over the whole western seaboard. So the Met Office got that right.

  24. New Populus VI:
    Lab 38 (=);
    Cons 32 (-1);
    LD 9 (-1);
    UKIP 13 (=);
    Oth 8 (+1)


    You’d think since it’s my birthday they’d put out an interesting poll. Ah well.

    Dangerous territory for the Clegg Party here. If they start polling below others as they’ve started polling well below UKIP, that’s it for all but their safest seats – and I’m predicting they won’t hold any seats with more than 50% anyway.

  25. @Alec

    In the still unlikely event that Scotland were to vote ‘Yes’then the original Act of Union ceases to be. This would be a mutually agreed ‘separation’. Of course, the Yes campaign has failed woefully to highlight this fact. It talks, wrongly, of Scotland ‘leaving’ the UK. But this is not the case. The UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would cease to exist. For a start the term ‘Great Britain’ will have to change to something else, as it is only applicable to the whole island and not to its southern part alone.

    Scotland is not ‘walking away’ from the UK. The UK parliament has agreed to allow for the end of the Union. This was not imposed unilaterally by Scotland but was done by agreement – by voting at Westminster, probably with the support of many south of the border, who are not getting a vote in the referendum but would not mind expressing a view.

    Legally (although not, apparently, politically) both become equally ‘new’ states. Or at the very least, the UK will have to find a new name – if only by dropping the ‘of GB and NI’ bit.

  26. @Alec

    One last thought: I think I’ve said before that I was never totally convinced by the shared currency stuff. I understand the SNP’s arguments, but I just don’t see Scotland having enough say in how sterling would be run to make the risk worth taking.

    What I don’t understand is why Ed Balls cannot say something positive about how a Labour Government in Westminster would collaborate economically with a Labour government in Scotland (under Devo-Max or Independence – or even under the present set up!).

    Labour in Westminster seems to me to be risking a very negative backlash against Scottish Labour. I don’t think it will happen, but my impression is that the situation is more volatile than most people (including the pollsters) believe.

  27. @John B – “So the English graciously allowed Scotland to remain ‘different’? That is precisely my point. ”

    Sorry, but that’s nonsense, and entirely different to what I said. I made no reference to anyone ‘allowing’ the Scots to remain as anything. I used the word ‘retained’.

    You could equally say that ‘the Scots graciously allowed England to remain ‘different”. It’s complete rubbish, from a distorted perspective. We remained different because we are different, and the union recognised that in 1707 and in every single one of the 307 years since.

    “The English have never really tried to see the Scottish experience as something which might add to the mix. Whereas the Scots have always had to learn about England…”

    Well it may come as a surprise to you, but many of us were taught in England about Scotland. Weird that. I also recall a very strong campaign some years ago to change English law on rape within marriage. The point was made at the time very strongly that Scots law was fundamentally better, the point was accepted, and England improved as a country by looking to Scotland for a lead. Again, you’re talking small country mentality nonsense.

    “Try finding anything quintessentially Scottish being treated as ‘normal’ on Radio 4. English experiences, customs etc. are treated as the default position. Everything else is ”different’. But if we were truly a United Kingdom in which differences were treated as enriching and not baffling (or even threatening), then the Scottish experience would be seen as just as normal as the English experience.”

    I’ve come across plenty of Scottish stuff on R4 being treated as precisely normal. Maybe it’s a different R4 in Scotland? I’ve never seen anything remotely ‘threatening’ about the way Scottish differences have been presented. It’s a complete fiction in the minds of wee nationalists in a wee nation. I would agree that there is a southern bias in the media, but that has nothing to do with Scotland and Scottishness.

    Earlier this week, a sink hole destroyed a house in Ripon, N. Yorks. It didn’t make the news. Sinkholes in southern parts have been headline news. Does this mean that there is a conspiracy to treat Yorkshire as different?

    As a young Scot growing up in England, I was fiercely proud, and saw national slights on my country and identity everywhere. I then grew up, and I’ve moved away from such a small minded view of what my Scottishness means.

    I have far more confidence in Scotland and my Scottishness now, and I’m far more aware that the precise same ignorant thoughts are applied to many different people, groups and areas – and that Scottish people are just as guilty of such ignorance themselves.

    I believe I’ve come to a far more balanced view of my country, where I have the confidence to assert our own faults and failings, and I’ve stopped pretending that we are somehow superior to the English. I no longer accept the myth of a Scotland overlooked, ignored and downtrodden by England and the English.

  28. Surely it’s the ‘U’ that would go, leaving us back with a Kingdom of Scotland and a Kingdom of England (and Northern Ireland?), together making up the two kingdoms of Great Britain. (Afraid the principality of Wales still doesn’t get a mention, though.)

  29. @RogerH

    From one kingdom to two. Two new States. Therefore, logically, two new States applying to join the EU.
    Or two new States continuing to be part of the EU.
    You can’t have one rule for one new State and another rule for an equally new State.

    Politically, of course, the bigger and more powerful often refuse to see themselves as legally equal to the smaller and weaker (just look at the way the USA has behaved down the years), and politics often triumphs over law and equity.

  30. Alec

    You missed my apology to Lefty, I thought he was posting about the DMail’s piece on Harriet Harman and her husband and others which has been running all week and which I think is very revealing about the attitudes of modern so called liberal thinkers.

    I am not interested in the D Mail’spiece on the weather.

  31. We could be called the disunited kingdom, or DUK for short.

  32. @John B – “The UK of Great Britain and Northern Ireland would cease to exist.”

    I’m not certain, but I don’t think it would. That’s certainly not the predominant legal advice.

    I can’t be bothered to read through all the various acts, but if you’re basing the case on the 1707 act, then this has been superseded by the Act of Union 1800 and the Royal and Parliamentary Titles Act 1927.

    The agreed leaving of Ireland didn’t dissolve the UK – it just meant we had to change the formal name. I suspect this would be the outcome if Scotland departed.

    Again, I would put this down to the problems of Scottish mentality. Frankly, if 58m people want to live in a country called the UK after 5m Scots vote to leave – then good for them. It would be extremely arrogant of us Scots to demand that they can’t.

  33. @Alec

    It is kinda like the English appropriating the Union Jack and national anthem.

  34. @John B – got a post in mod, but it seems legally quite clear that UK would remain, Scotland would be the only new country.

  35. @oupar2802 – “It is kinda like the English appropriating the Union Jack and national anthem.”

    Except it’s not. It is kinda like the Scots wishing to leave the English, Welsh and Northern Irish to the Union Jack and national anthem.

  36. john b


    I dunno now……………. since I was referring to the Scots politicians banging about bull y ing, bluff and bluster etc etc etc instead of engaging with the dilemma presented to them, and didn’t mention you or even think of you, then maybe you have got a persecution problem.

    I’ve just thought of a great joke by the way…

    If someone is very diffident and finds it difficult to engage with other people who do you send them to?


    A shyciatrist !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BOOM BOOM !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  37. Happy Birthday MrN

  38. Worrah divvunt layke is the wey they Westminstah toffs and yah BBC Grondees seem tae think that Geordies are, layke, comical figgahs wot canny takk proppah whereas, in reality, wor reet canny up heah.

    Ah DEFFNITTLY feels porsah-cuted by thay Suthern twats – nae offence layke bonny lad.

  39. ROGERH
    “We could be called the disunited kingdom, or DUK for short.”

    Clive Anderson on Agenda last Monday said we would have to be referred to as:

    Formerly known as the United Kingdom so kinda like DUK but with the F instead

  40. We would [but won’t be ‘cos its going to 60/40] still be the United Kingdom as those remaining would be ….. well… united is a jolly good word.

    If Texas joined Mehheeko the remaining states would still be the United States of America, there just wouldn’t be so many.

    In the opposite direction the European UNION remains under the same title even when more countries join.

    Its amazing.

    [Why the f**k is this so hard to understand?????!!!!!]

  41. Hi all,
    For polling and political junkies who are retired, unemployed or laid up with’flu (like me), BBC Parliament are reshowing their Feb ’74 election coverage.
    Robin Day and Alistaire Brunette head the show, Bob McKenzie does the psephology, Anthony Howard giving a bit of intellectual weight to the proceedings. We shall not see their like again….

    Do they do these often? I may stay off work more.

  42. Silly question time.

    If Scotland did become independent and had to have their own currency, what would the tax/duty position be in regard to goods that came though an English port, which were to be transported to Scotland ?

    I am presuming that there would need to be some form of process at ports to deal with this situation. An independent Scotland would not be part of the EU, so would not be subject to existing treaty rules.

  43. TOH re Harman

    The Mail have run this non-story time & again.

    If there was anything in it, don’t you think the police would have been doing something about it by now ?

    Either the cops have slowed down so much as to render them useless or there really isn’t anything to charge the Harmans with.

    Still, it gives Dacre et al something to be pseudo-offended at & it’s not like there’s any real news to report eh ?

  44. Typically nasty DM story based on the principle of guilt by association.

  45. “This would be a mutually agreed ‘separation’. Of course, the Yes campaign has failed woefully to highlight this fact.”

    That’s because it contradicts the colonial narrative, whereby Scotland leaving the UK is like one of the Imperial Colonies gaining independence.

    Anyway, Alec has it right on most points in this debate. London and the RoS doesn’t seem much closer when I’m living in the north of England than when I’m living in Scotland.

  46. @ Statgeek

    Regarding the Survation voting intention for Westminster, it looks rogue compared to all the other Scotland only polls there’ve been, ever.

    YG cross-breaks are just, well, cross-breaks. Nothing more need be said about that.

  47. Oh Lord, it’s Ted Short giving a speech, I’m likely to slip into a vegetative state.

  48. @TOH – apols re the Harman/Met Office confusion.

    may be we could get HH to do the weather forecast?

  49. Postageincluded,

    Almost all the elections since 1955 are on Youtube as well, including many of the ITV coverages… Not that I’ve done cross-comparisons or anything, that would be sad…

  50. @ChrisLane1945

    “Spring is in the air.”

    Careful, I gather that the Met Office long range forecasts are notoriously dodgy.

    The latest Populus poll confirms my recent observations that, as far as significant opinion shifts are concerned, there really isn’t anything going on out there.

    I wonder what Ziggy Stardust thinks?

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