Saturday, December 5, 2009

The remaining question

Well, perhaps I'll indulge in one more brief return to Chekov-watch, since the 'Three Thousand Versts' blogger has returned to the issue of Scottish nationalism. He, refreshingly, does not dismiss the idea of letting the Scottish people decide their own future out of hand, but rehearses the usual spurious objections about timing, 'rigged questions', etc. Once again, is it too much to point out that complaining about the principle of a multi-option referendum is a touch peculiar given that a single-option referendum is the SNP's clearly stated preference, and the multi-option vote is merely a proposed compromise?

Chekov's own suggestion for a 'clear, unambiguous, definitive' question is "Do you wish Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom?". This is at least an improvement on the standard proposal for a 'neutral' question from the likes of Alan Cochrane, ie. "Do you think Scotland should become completely separate from the rest of the United Kingdom?". But I think Chekov really needs to explain why the simple question "do you think Scotland should become an independent country?" is any less 'clear, unambiguous or definitive' than his own suggestion. The idea that anyone does not realise that independence would entail leaving the UK is risible - and if anyone is going to argue that case, I could just as easily make the point that Chekov's question is absolutely not unambiguous, because 'leaving the UK' could in the literal sense imply joining another country (Norway for instance?) every bit as much as it could imply becoming an independent state.

Final thought - what does it say about a self-styled 'liberal unionist' when he finds himself in so much agreement with Alan Cochrane? Cochrane is a unionist, certainly...

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ipsos-Mori sensation : SNP lead Labour in Westminster voting intentions

On this blog I normally focus only on the Scottish subsamples of UK-wide polls, because the relatively rare full-scale Scottish polls are widely covered elsewhere. But the results of this particular full poll from Ipsos-Mori deserve to be shouted from the rooftops by everyone sympathetic to the SNP, because it blows the prevailing media narrative of recent days and weeks utterly out of the water. The SNP's hopes of even modest gains at the general election were, we were told, fading fast. But here we have a poll that not only shows a decent SNP lead in Holyrood voting intention (which will ease the jitters caused by the two recent YouGov polls), but also - remarkably - shows the party retaining a slender lead over Labour for Westminster. Here are the full figures -


SNP 34% (+1)
Labour 32% (+5)
Conservatives 15% (-3)
Liberal Democrats 12% (-2)
Others 6% (-2)

Holyrood (constituency ballot)

SNP 36% (-2)
Labour 32% (+7)
Liberal Democrats 12% (-3)
Conservatives 12% (-3)
Others 8% (+1)

There do not appear to be any voting intention figures for the Holyrood list vote. The fieldwork concluded just over a week ago, which crucially places it well after Glasgow NE.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Mixed fortunes for SNP in new polling subsamples

Two new Scottish subsamples of UK-wide opinion polls were revealed yesterday. The detailed figures from the YouGov poll published on Friday night indicate that Labour have reopened a decent gap on the SNP, having previously seen their lead shrink to just one point. (However, the Labour lead is still a little smaller than that implied by the recent full-scale Scottish poll conducted by YouGov.) But, by contrast, in the new ComRes subsample, the SNP have actually retaken the lead. Here are the full figures from both polls -


Labour 36% (+6)
SNP 25% (-4)
Conservatives 22% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 13% (-4)
Others 4% (-)


SNP 30% (+5)
Labour 28% (-12)
Liberal Democrats 17% (+8)
Conservatives 17% (-4)
Others 6% (+2)

The YouGov figures are notable for being the first subsample in several weeks to record a decent showing for the Scottish Tories - but in ComRes the party continues to flatline.