Tuesday, January 24, 2012

More evidence of the London media's selective attention-span on independence polling

I'm not really in the strongest position to criticise anyone for talking too much about tiny polling subsamples, although I'm sure Anthony Wells would haul the Guardian over the coals for earnestly reporting the Scottish findings of their independence polling as if the figures were meaningful. What really gets my goat, though, is these words...

"The Scotland-only results necessarily rely on a much smaller sample, but are in line with the findings of other recent polls in suggesting that Salmond has a mountain to climb.

A recent YouGov survey of Scottish voters for Channel 4 news pointed to a 61%-39% referendum defeat for independence."

Two points - a) they're not really in line even with the YouGov poll, which showed the Yes vote nine points higher, and b) they're certainly not in line with the full-scale ICM poll published just one day earlier which showed the Yes vote a mere three points behind the No vote. So why mention the YouGov figures as an example of "other recent polls" but not ICM? It's hard not to see this as yet further affirmation of my theory that the London media have settled in advance on a narrative of "polls show little appetite for independence", and will turn a deaf ear to each and every piece of contrary evidence.

Oh, and a last thought - given that the referendum will be held in more than two-and-a-half years' time, and not next Wednesday, is it really reasonable to characterise the challenge of getting from 39% to 50% as a "mountain to climb"?


  1. Re polling, the media might want to consider the last Scottish Elections when the SNP were well behind a few weeks out from polling day. Also South Carolina, that one showed that public opinion can change very quickly within a few days.

  2. http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/01/24/english-fears-of-welsh-devolution-point-to-underlying-constitutional-problem-with-the-uk/



  3. The roller-coaster ride has started


    who is ICD?

  4. Thanks for the link, Marcia. They seem to have polled people throughout the UK, so that begs the question of whether the Scottish figures are based on a tiny subsample. But encouraging nonetheless.