Many thanks to Oldnat for pointing me in the direction of the datasets for today's Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland poll, which have been published unusually early, and which answer all the questions I raised in my previous post. I'm relieved to find that Panelbase have stuck with their new, more neutral preamble for a third time in a row, although it remains to be seen whether they will continue with that good practice the next time they are commissioned by an anti-independence client. The headline numbers were filtered by likelihood to vote, so are directly comparable with recent Panelbase polls - which is good news for me, because it means I won't have to recalculate the Poll of Polls figures! And the fieldwork was conducted between the 28th of March and the 4th of April, which means that the hammerblow that the No campaign suffered on the 29th of March with the leak in the Guardian is not wholly factored into the numbers. A large number of people are likely to have responded to the poll as soon as email invitations were sent out on the 28th.
Here are the figures from the poll down to one decimal place, with Don't Knows excluded -
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 47.2% (+0.2)
No 52.8% (-0.2)
And with Don't Knows included, it's...
Yes 40.8% (+0.8)
No 45.6% (+0.4)
So on these more precise figures, the No lead has actually fallen fractionally since the last Panelbase poll for Newsnet Scotland.
Much has been made of the big gender gap in this poll, but as the Newsnet Scotland poll was unusual for showing a small gender gap, it's probably reasonable to assume that normal sampling variation is at play, and that the truth lies somewhere between the two extremes.
It's also fascinating to see RevStu on Twitter mentioning a rumour that a trade union recently commissioned a referendum poll from No-friendly outliers Ipsos-Mori, but withheld the results after they turned out to be better than expected for Yes. Obviously it's impossible to know whether there's any truth in that, but if there is it would, if anything, be an even more significant development than today's poll. Ipsos-Mori are of course the only firm conducting referendum polls by telephone (they're also one of only two non-online referendum pollsters), so the fact that they've been producing much better results for No has been a crucial comfort blanket for the anti-independence campaign. But if that blanket was ever suddenly snatched away...