This Sunday’s polling is mostly dominated by Scotland – even the YouGov/Sunday Times national poll mostly had questions about Britain’s attitudes to the Scottish referendum.

Let start with the Scottish polls though. Last weekend we had a Survation poll in the Mail on Sunday which was widely reported in the media as showing that George Osborne’s intervention in the referendum debate had actually boosted YES. This was mostly rubbish – the change appeared to be largely, but not wholly, the result of Survation changing their weightings. I concluded we should probably wait for more evidence before deciding what the impact from the currency row was.

Today we have a new ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday. Their topline figures with changes from a month ago are YES 37%(nc), NO 49%(+4). At first glance this poll would indicate the currency row had led to a significant boost to the NO campaign, but once again I’d urge some caution. Regular readers will remember that the previous ICM poll showed a big swing towards YES, far bigger than any other poll, so this one may very well just be a reversion to the mean rather than any meaningful change (in particular ICM’s last poll had an unusually pro-independence sample of young people, which I suspect may have vanished. On that subject this month ICM have apparently changed their method very slightly, changing the age bands they use to weight young people.)

In the rest of the poll ICM found that 63% of people in Scotland think it is in Scotland’s best interests to keep the pound, 12% think she would be better off with a separate currency. 47% think that an independent Scotland would be able to use the pound, that the main British parties are bluffing. On the issue of Scotland’s EU membership, 54% would like to see an independent Scotland be an EU member, 29% would not; 57% think Scotland would be able to join, 24% think membership would be blocked.

The SNP have also commissioned a new Panelbase poll. Now, the last time we saw an Panelbase/SNP poll they played silly buggers with the question ordering, but I’ve double checked with Panelbase and nothing like this happened in this one (though the wording is very slightly different to that used by the Panelbase/Sunday Times poll). The topline figures are YES 37%, NO 47%. The no vote is two points lower than the last Panelbase/Sunday Times poll, but Panelbase’s previous poll was a bit higher than usual – for most of the past year Panelbase’s polls have consistently shown a NO lead of between 8 and 10 points, this is wholly in line with that.

In short, looking at the post-currency row questions we’ve got some polls showing YES up, some showing NO up, some showing little change, all of them obscured to some extent by reversion to the mean after unusual results or methodology/wording changes. It’s a pretty confused picture, but I’m struggling to see any clear movement to YES or NO.

Meanwhile the weekly YouGov/Sunday Times poll is here and has topline figures of CON 32%, LAB 39%, LDEM 8%, UKIP 12%. In England and Wales 21% support Scottish independence, 61% are opposed and English & Welsh respondents are now slightly more likely to think E&W would be worse off (27%) than better off (23%) if Scotland left.

Also worth noting there is an interesting non-Scotland related question – YouGov repeated a question from last April about the government’s welfare reform package as a whole, freezes, caps, bedroom tax, etc. Back in April 2013 56% of people said they supported them, 31% were opposed. Now 49% support them, 38% are opposed – so still more in support than against, but a significant movement over the last year.

397 Responses to “ICM and Panelbase Scottish polls”

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  1. One comparison between the DM attack on Harman and their attack on Ralph Miliband is the way the accusations are being reflected back on themselves. I didn’t know the DM supported Fascism in the 30s before they went after Miliband Sr’s views from the same time period, and equally, while I knew their website is all about celebrities, and paparazzi shots of celebs in bikinis gaining or losing weight, I had no idea until today that this lewd coverage extended to underage girls. Multiple examples of this now trending on twitter. Laura Kuenssberg was scathing about Harman suggesting that in her interview, so I wonder what her thoughts are now. This could prove to be a spectacular own goal by Dacre, as this time it’s about what his paper is doing now, under his watch, not 80 years ago. So question is, will they see sense and drop it, or keep going as they did with Miliband and risk putting themselves further into the firing line?

    To bring this back to VI, I can’t see this having an impact unless the public believes Harman and her husband actively supported Paedophilia in the past, and there’s some kind of a coverup in which the Labour party knew this and were still happy for her to have a senior position in it. Is that even a remote possibility?

  2. I am not one of those who have lost faith with the BBC – count me with Welsh Borderer.
    I have just heard the treatment of the Harman non-story on (I think) the World at One, which was as bad as Newsnight (though I think they said ‘retweeted’ from ITN).
    I am genuinely shocked that the BBC has stooped so far and they’ve lost one staunch supporter.

  3. PS
    That post is probably illegal – apologies to AW

  4. Guymonde

    Just listened to the BBC News and i have to say that although not a great fan of the BBC I thought the report was very balanced.

  5. statty @ alec

    “Thank you for my morning laugh!”

    I hate those condescending replies.


    I have no idea quite what Harrriet Harman is being accused of by the DM – do the editors?

  6. To be fair I didn’t hear the whole report because somebody called, but taken with Newsnight, the first piece sufficed for me to form a conclusion.
    You and I are unlikely to agree ToH :p

  7. “That’s your opinion – not mine”

    Though bleedin’ obvious when addressing another person who is disagreeing with you, this is a stunningly brilliant riposte.

    Just wish I’d thought of it.

  8. I complained to the BBC about their coverage – I don’t usually but just feel this is so unfair on HH. I have a comment in mod but wanted to point out that she issued a statement which addressed every one of the DM non-issues

  9. @Alex F

    The nationality of the cabinet members is fairly immaterial. They are thinking about getting re-elected, and investing in the safe seats in Glasgow (Labour will get elected anyway almost all the time) is wasted spending to get votes.

    Far better to secure some marginal votes in the Midlands or Y&H. That’s the reality of the Westminster system.

    “Are you saying that Scotland is unable to compete with England now”

    It never could and never will if an issue comes up, that the majority of English MPs will vote together on (e.g. if Scottish independence was to be settled in the HoC, the non-Scots MPs would probably vote ‘No’ en masse).

    In that sense Scotland cannot compete without it being overtly favoured, which was the impression that Blair / Brown gave English voters, although I didn’t see much of it.

    So cabinets have a choice. Spend on seats that can’t be won, or can’t be lost, or spend on seats that can be won over. If they spend in Scotland there will be a Southern backlash.

    By the way, have a daily slice of Project Fear:

    Frightening pensioners into voting their way now.

  10. I remain a fan of the BBC in general but less so of some of their political reporting.

  11. @R&D

    It was a sincere reply. I did have a good laugh at the idea that folk are voting ‘Yes’ out of fear, when all the fear stories are from the ‘No’ camp.

  12. Stattso

    You must have a finely attuned sense of humour – I prefer Stewart Lee or the memory of Monty Python.

  13. couper2802

    ” I have a comment in mod but wanted to point out that she issued a statement which addressed every one of the DM non-issues”

    I’m afraid facts are no defence against a media onslaught led by really nasty journalists.

    I think an implied accusation of a link to paedophilia is as obnoxious as it gets.

  14. statty

    Why do you link a statement by the scots tories with a project – as though a. darling himself was masterminding it?

    Its just a statement by the scots tories and that’s how it should be reported.

    to be fair there would probably be some delay at the border checks and people would need to make sure that their ThraePoondies [did I mention devaluation???] had been exchanged for proper pounds.

    So deaths probably would rise significantly.

    Paul Croft/ PF.

  15. ToH
    “You are just restating your opinion of the D Mail. I was just pointing out that I do not share your view of the newspaper or its intention in this instance.”

    No, Howard.
    You were pointing out that my (extremely poor) opinion of the D.Mail was because they were criticising a senior figure in my party of preference.
    I was pointing out that my very low and worsening opinion of this execrable propaganda sheet, is that they are immoral and sleazy, and purvey vicious and unfounded attacks on any democratically elected politician they wish to harm, through smear campaigns which are carefully crafted to reach a gullible readership, while continuing to evade what I hope will be their come-uppance at the court of public opinion, if not the Law.

  16. Rosieanddaisie

    I doubt you could have.

  17. @Statgeek – “It was a sincere reply. I did have a good laugh at the idea that folk are voting ‘Yes’ out of fear, when all the fear stories are from the ‘No’ camp.”

    That’s utter nonsense. Doorstep campaigners are stressing what a ‘disaster’ a No vote would be, as it would give the green light to withdraw Barnett etc. The term ‘austerity max’ has been coined solely by the Yes campaign, and it’s complete balderdash to assert that only BT are scaremongering, and you know it.

  18. As the last thread was taken over by an obsessed minority gabbling on about things like child abuse and the Daily Mail, I’m going to start talking about Scotland………

  19. John Pilgrim

    Say what you like, I just want to hear replies to the actual questions asked by the Daily Mail.

    Personally I find the D Mail an amusing read, not to be taken too seriously on occasions, but a real joy sometimes, especially when Littlejohn is on top form.

  20. toh


    I doubt you could have.”

    No idea wot yer on about but I definitely could have..

    [Maybe rejected it as daft and not worth the bother but we shall never know or care.]

  21. Roisieanddaisie

    Indeed! LOL

  22. “Personally I find the D Mail an amusing read, not to be taken too seriously on occasions, but a real joy sometimes, especially when Littlejohn is on top form.”

    Ah……. some irony.

    This is brilliant: his CV from wiki

    “Littlejohn passed the eleven-plus, obtaining the highest marks in his year”

  23. Which reminds me – I got 100% which at the very least must have been equal top.

  24. @Statgeek
    So all cabinet ministers are self serving and only interested in themselves.
    Presumably that applies to Salmond’s ministers as well?

  25. Rosieanddaisie

    “Littlejohn earned a place in the inaugural Press Gazette Newspaper Hall of Fame as one of the most influential journalists of the past 40 years.”

    You missed the above out from your last post.

  26. @Couper 2802

    “I complained to the BBC about their coverage – I don’t usually but just feel this is so unfair on HH.”


  27. Rosieanddaisie

    So Littlejohn is like Hitler! Sorry but i think that is the silliest post I’ve ever seen.

  28. Can I put in a request to stop the Daily Mail talk? It’s not to do with polling and it’s going nowhere useful.

  29. MrNameless

    I totally agree.

  30. toh

    Please try harder: I am simply pointing out “being influential” doesn’t mean much as it can be a negative influence.

    On the other hand I AM surprised that more “influential” writers don’t include their 11-plus results in their CV.

    How are you supposed to know if they are any good or not?

    In future I shall add mine to my website plus – to show what a great musician I am – add my “Full marks at Grade V theory of music” certificate.

  31. @R&D

    Because the Con/Lab/Lib are all in this together. :)


    “and you know it”

    Excuse me? What are you implying? I am not part of the Yes campaign, and so far the majority of the scare-mongering has been from the ‘No’ side. Every day there’s a drip, drip of “this won’t be possible” or “that will be more expensive”.

    Nothing positive. Nothing. Cameron headed to Aberdeen to see the oil folk, and flew back. He didn’t bother to speak to the local voters. He didn’t stop to assure anyone of anything. Fear? Oil? He did speak to the media of course.

    If I find that one side of a given debate is wanting and the other is making more sense, that doesn’t put me in any camp. It is me stating the situation as I see it. I don’t trust Salmond, but I trust the fear factory a lot less at present.

    The only ‘scare-mongering’ I have heard from ‘Yes’ is the scare of the future based on the past. It may be valid or it may be just words. I haven’t had anyone on my doorstep.

    I’ve heard the odd inconsistency, such as “The NHS in Scotland is protected as it’s run by a devolved etc, so vote ‘Yes’ to protect Scotland’s NHS.” Not so much scare-mongering as false logic. That would come under typical political spin in my book.


    “So all cabinet ministers are self serving and only interested in themselves.
    Presumably that applies to Salmond’s ministers as well?”

    I didn’t say all ministers anything. I suggested a scenario where ‘a’ minister or ‘a’ cabinet can divert investment in the direction of a marginal constituency, and will not face a big backlash.

    Yes it can apply to Holyrood (Salmond’s lot at present or any other Holyrood Government in the future), but there’s not the same detachment by distance or culture as there is with Westminster.



    Probably bluff and bluster though.

  33. @R&D – This story is lead on R4 and I think is part of the process that may well move esoteric currency matters into a much more relevant polling concern, if it starts to link cause and effect into an effect that voters are much more directly concerned about – the real economy.

    For the Yes campaign, this mornings news is actually significantly worse that just the Standard Life story. Here –

    we’ve also got the BoE Deputy Governor being none too complimentary about SNP plans for financial regulation. However, the crunch comes later in the article, when it describes how the CEO of Glasgow based Aggreko feels about the currency issue.

    In the case of losing the pound, he believes this would add 2-3% to their costs, and it unimpressed by the idea of a currency union on the terms proposed by the SNP.

    I’m getting the feeling that the debate is shifting again on this issue, and despite what nationalists say, currency will turn out to be a crucial matter, once all the implications sink in.

    Initially, the SNP approach was to merrily say they could do what they wanted with a currency union and UK would not be able to stop them. Then, when it became clear that UK would not enter a new currency union, the line seemed to be that they are just bluffing, with the fall back that this wouldn’t matter anyway because we’ll just use the pound anyway.

    Now, I think the debate will start to move onto what will businesses do about the uncertainty. It’s inevitable that a number of them – possibly quite a large number – will seek to move operations south. I see very little incentive for moves in the reverse direction.

    The effect of this, as companies advice shareholders as they are obliged to do, will be a steady raising of the risk factor, coming not from government or BT, but from independent, self interested businesses, many of which will be Scottish, as with Standard Life and Aggreko.

    This is going to feed directly in the key voter concern of the economy, and will be very difficult for the SNP to counter.

  34. @Alex

    As for the ‘we’ll leave Scotland’ scare stories or legitimate concerns – I think they are all already priced in.

    Some folk are keen on self-determination and are confident we would manage – others more pessimistic and anxious it is ‘a choice between hope and fear’

  35. A gamechanger in the Uncertainty Stakes ?

  36. @ Couper2802

    Don’t you have to be a member of the EU, to use the Euro as your currency ? If Scotland leaves the UK, it will no longer be part of the EU. Scotland will have to negotiate EEA status, similar to Norway and then start the process of applying to join the EU.

    If Scotland does vote for independence, I suspect that the new Scottish government will say that they will continue to use pounds sterling, whether rUK like it or not. It would still be legal for Scottish banks to issue pounds sterling, but Scotland may pay a high price, as the markets will not like the situation.

    There would be a crisis situation, with the Scottish and UK governments having a very difficult negotiation process. This may be more difficult because of Labour position in Scotland, where they stand to lose MP’s and where Labour is the second largest party. By the time of separation Labour could take over from SNP in Scotland and then what would they do ?. Would they ignore the referendum vote and use the election result to justify the continuation of the union ?

  37. Comment in mod. Too much mention of Scotland ?

  38. @Alec

    It depends on what motivates the Scottish voter. If it to rid themself of the yoke of supposed latter-day English imperialism then economic concerns will not be the defining factor.


    It could be seen Instead as a negotiating tactic by SL

  39. @ r huckle

    “Don’t you have to be a member of the EU, to use the Euro as your currency ? If Scotland leaves the UK, it will no longer be part of the EU. Scotland will have to negotiate EEA status, similar to Norway and then start the process of applying to join the EU.”

    The EU has never lost a chunk of territory and faced with the prospect of doing so, I suspect it will discover an ability to be flexible and accommodating. After all, if Croatia with all its historical baggage can be fast-tracked in, it really would be very odd if a country (or region, if that was its actual legal status for EU purposes) that had been in the EU for 40 years were to be excluded, even if only temporarily.

    However, logic seems to me to suggest that regarding currency, Scotland would do best to follow the example of other newly independent countries like Slovakia, Slovenia and Croatia, which successfully ran their own currencies before joining the EU (and then adopting the Euro). Scotland with its own currency could choose in due course to join the eurozone or not (by the simple expedient of failing to sign up for ERM).

    One advantage of a stand-alone Scottish currency would be the ability to devalue against the pound to gain a competitive advantage versus rUK.

  40. @Coupar2802 and @RAF – Polling evidence suggests that economic issues are not priced in. They are listed as the most important issues on which people will base their vote.

    Reading Rob Peston’s item on Standard Life, I actually think it starts to look much more serious for Yes. I think we are going to see a series of stories like this, and in the absence of a clear currency arrangement that doesn’t frighten business (which I don’t think is going to come through pre Sept) my suspicion is that there will be a series of very difficult headlines for the SNP.

  41. The Standard Life Statement

    “27 February 2014
    Scottish referendum

    On 18 September 2014 a referendum will be held to decide whether Scotland should become an independent country. In recent months some of our customers have been in touch with us to ask what impact this would have on their savings and investments with Standard Life.

    Our key priority is to continue serving the needs of our 4 million UK customers, wherever they reside and regardless of any constitutional change. The same applies to our customers in other parts of the world.

    As a business we have a long-standing policy of strict political neutrality and at no time will we advise people on how they should vote, but we have a duty and a responsibility to understand the implications of independence for our customers and other stakeholders and to take whatever action may be necessary to protect their interests.

    In view of the uncertainty that is likely to remain around this issue, there are steps that we can and will take now based on our own analysis. For example, we have started work to establish additional registered companies to operate outside Scotland, into which we could transfer parts of our operations if it was necessary to do so. This is a purely precautionary measure, and customers do not need to take any action. We are simply putting in place a mechanism which, in the event of constitutional change, allows us to provide continuity to customers and to continue serving them, wherever they live in the UK. “

  42. S&P seem to take a different view of an indy Scotland than ALEC does.

    “An independent Scotland could start off life with an investment-grade credit rating because it has a “wealthy and open” economy, according to the influential Standard & Poor’s ratings agency.

    Though a sterling union with the UK or joining the eurozone would benefit Scotland’s credit rating, S&P added that there is no reason it could not successfully launch its own separate currency and “go it alone”.

    “In brief, we would expect Scotland to benefit from all the attributes of an investment-grade sovereign credit characterised by its wealthy economy (roughly the size of New Zealand’s), high-quality human capital, flexible product and labour markets, and transparent institutions,” said S&P in a report.

    “Nevertheless, the newly formed sovereign state would begin life with comparatively high levels of public debt, sensitivity to oil prices, and, depending on the nature of arrangements with the EU or UK, potentially limited monetary flexibility.

    “At the same time, Scotland’s external position in terms of liquidity and investment could be subject to volatility should banks leave.

    “On the other hand, if this were to happen, it could bring benefits in terms of reducing the size of the Scottish economy’s external balance sheet, normalizing the size of its financial sector, and reducing contingent liabilities for the state.

    “In short, the challenge for Scotland to go it alone would be significant, but not unsurpassable.”

  43. @Oldnat – “S&P seem to take a different view of an indy Scotland than ALEC does.”

    That statement is complete nonsense, I’m afraid. It actually confirms what I said. My statements were limited to suggesting that there will be some movement south of businesses, which S&P also recognise, and the impact that this could have on polling, which S&P don’t comment on.

    In turn, I didn’t comment on how viable the Scottish post independence economy would be – my comments were much more focused on the polling impacts of the Standard Life statement. It will be a major worry for the SNP. It doesn’t necessarily mean much for the Scottish economy overall, but that isn’t what concerns us here – it’s the impact on polls that we’re talking about.

  44. ALEC

    S&P suggest that the movement of some of the financial sector to England would actually help Scotland’s credit rating.

    Standard Life, of course, previously suggested that they would move out of Scotland, if devolution was introduced.

    As to polling, whether continued stories of what firms might do, if certain circumstances resulted from particular results of constitutional change, alters the trend in the polls, we will have to wait and see,

  45. @Oldnat – “S&P suggest that the movement of some of the financial sector to England would actually help Scotland’s credit rating.”

    No they didn’t. They said it ‘could’ help. There is a very big difference between ‘could’ and ‘would’. They also said it ‘could’ create volatility to investment and liquidity if banks leave.

    Indeed, the S&P statement isn’t really worthy of any comment, as it doesn’t say anything. S&P can’t make any kind of assessment as we don’t know yet what there is to assess. As I predicted way back when, currency will make a very big difference, both to the operation of the Scottish economy and to the behaviour of Scottish companies.

    As I also predicted way back when, there is no prospect for a currency union of the type Salmond backs. We will therefore start to see adjustments being made by businesses to account for the likely outcome of a Yes vote.

    You’ve focused on the banking sector, but in fact I also posted about two manufacturing companies also expressing concerns. All in all, we now have 4 of Scotland’s 6 FTSE 100 companies raising significant concerns about either moving south or losing profitability, and the fourth awaiting there own internal risk report. While Standard Life did raise similar threats with devolution, this time it is materially different. A financial border would be created, with 90% of their customers on the other side. It is natural to switch domiciles in such circumstances, whereas there was no need at all under devolution.

    S&P will make a fuller assessment when the policy framework is clear, but in the meantime it looks likely that there will be some significant impacts on the Scottish economy.

    This is entirely to be expected, as any structural uncertainty creates difficulties for industry. The S&P assessment confirms this.


    That and the S&P article got token coverage, and not at all at the national BBC level, while the SL article was wall to wall yesterday, across the entire media.

    Anyone getting the picture yet?

    You would think that if this Indy thing is to be done properly, and that if the Indy side are bound to lose, that the media and the establishment which seems to be guiding the media would be happy to have level coverage of opposing ideas. Instead, we seem to have bad news nationally and goods news regionally.

    The mistake is that the folk with the vote are at the regional level, and they notice these things.

  47. New STV/Ipsos-MORI poll (changes from their Dec poll in brackets)

    Certain to vote
    Yes 32% (-2%) : No 57% (nc) : DK 11% (+1)

    Don’t Knows leaning towards –

    Yes 39% (+12%) : No 29% (-5%) : Nae idea 32% (-6%)

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