Friday, August 9, 2013

Pro-independence campaign closes the gap to just two points?

There has been some more excitement about the WoS/Panelbase survey this afternoon, because it can be inferred from the answers to one of the questions that current voting intentions in the referendum are as follows -

Yes 34%
No 36%

Taken at face value, that would be the lowest No lead in any poll since 2011. The problem, though, is not so much that the question asked wasn't directly comparable to standard referendum polls, but that it was asked in a way that might have proved problematical for some respondents. People were asked if their own voting intention differed from the stance of the party they voted for in 2010. However, there wasn't an option to say "I plan to vote Yes/No, but I do not know the view on independence of the party I supported", which may well have led anyone who was uncertain about their party's stance to give a response of 'don't know'. So these figures need to be treated with caution, but they're certainly heartening.

Incidentally, the poll was conducted among an online panel - that won't have made any difference to the outcome on most questions, but it may have slightly inflated the numbers who reported having heard of specific Scottish political websites.


  1. James, I think the Panelbase question helpfully stated which option was supported by the six main parties in the equation. So even if the respondent didn't know that, for example, the Scottish Greens supported independence, the information was provided for them.

  2. Ah, fair enough. Well that's good, that increases the credibility of the voting intention figures.

  3. I think they're right, too. I don't know why previous polls have been pushing don't knows to the NO answer, but they have been doing that. This one managed to ask the question in a semi-disguised form and got the genuine response.

    No wonder Bitter Together are bricking it.

    When a whole bunch of people started suggesting pretty silly questions, when the money first came in, it was obvious that crowdfunding was one thing, but crowdsourcing the questions was quite another. RevStu went very quiet about it and the next thing anyone knew was that the poll was underway. I was slightly nervous about what the questions would turn out to have been, but no worries. Sheer genius.

  4. I think one of the problems that pollsters create, is when they ask the question: If the vote on independence was held tomorrow' this will cause a lot of undecided to think 'well I don't have enough information yet, so I need to say No'
    So this tends to put a lot of don't knows into the no bracket.
    I think the three way split between yes no and don't know is more accurate and this is why I am so sure we will win.

  5. I think part of the reason could be that this question is number 7, and comes after a number of questions designed to get people to think about the issue in more depth - eg about transfer of specific powers, and the 'If you were already Independent would you rejoin the Union?' question.

    To me this says that when people start thinking about the issue in more depth the split is currently about 50/50.

    Its in line with the recent Yes Scotland results that showed 47/46 amongst the half or the population who felt they were well informed about the issues.

    All positive stuff with more than a year to go.

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  7. I can confirm the respondents were given the information on parties official positions.

    Plan to vote YES: 34%
    Plan to vote NO: 36%
    UNSURE: 30%

    Reading this, I’ve noticed an interesting comparison to a YouGov/BT poll from October last year:

    Support Independence: 30%
    Strongly Oppose: 37%
    Tend to oppose/Unsure: 33%

    Interesting. When the referendum question is asked outright, 8%/9% of the people “Who tend to oppose” say no.