One day, very very soon, we're going to start calling a brass neck a 'McDougall'. Just 24 hours after mocking the Yes campaign for using a supposedly leading question in their Panelbase poll (which, incidentally, was merely a supplementary question that was asked AFTER the real referendum question), the anti-independence camp's embarrassment of a campaign chief has brazenly published a poll in which the real referendum question was replaced lock, stock and barrel by a leading and entirely hypothetical one asking whether people would prefer independence or a devolved parliament with enhanced powers (as opposed to the status quo that is actually on offer in exchange for a No vote). It's always been assumed that such a question would produce an entirely different result, given that a number of Yes voters are really Devo Max supporters who are plumping for their second preference. So there must have been profound shock over at McDougall Central when the numbers from YouGov came back looking like this -
If you had to choose one or the other, which of the following would you prefer for Scotland?
Scotland becoming an independent country : 35%
Scotland remaining part of the UK with increased powers for the Scottish Parliament : 57%
The support for independence is just TWO PER CENT lower than when YouGov posed the actual referendum question a couple of weeks ago, and the support for more devolution is just FIVE PER CENT higher than the No vote in that poll (although of course opposition to independence and support for enhanced devolution are far from being the same thing). This suggests that underlying support for independence has considerably deepened.
Why on Earth have they willingly published such catastrophic findings? It seems that after a run of polling setbacks, bad really is the new good for the No campaign.
(PS. Can we now look forward to John Curtice referring to YouGov as "the No campaign's favourite pollster"? Fair's fair.)