I always feel at moments like this that I should be paying my own personal tribute, but there's nothing I could say about Margo MacDonald that hasn't already been said a hundred times better by others. I think all of us who have supported independence throughout our adult lives know exactly how each other feel tonight. And as long-term readers can probably imagine, I also thought that Margo was a tremendous force for good on the subject of prostitution laws and regulations - or at the very least a force for pragmatic common sense, which amounts to the same thing when a powerful and ideologically-driven lobby is threatening to do a great deal of harm.
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RevStu has revealed that he has a new referendum poll up his sleeve for the coming weekend, presumably from Panelbase. As far as I'm aware, there have been no hints yet about whether the results are good, bad or indifferent. I know a lot of people will be hoping for (or even expecting) more progress for Yes after the recent crisis in the anti-independence ranks. However, we don't know when the fieldwork took place, and if memory serves me right, I actually saw someone mention on Twitter that they'd just completed a Panelbase referendum poll the day before the now-legendary leak to the Guardian was revealed. In any case, because the recent poll commissioned by Newsnet Scotland marked the first time in months that the No lead reported by Panelbase had fallen below the firm's normal range, it's worth preparing ourselves for the possibility that the Yes vote in that poll was exaggerated a touch by normal sampling variation, and that the new poll will show some kind of modest reversion to the mean. If that happens, it won't of course mean that the No lead has risen in the real world, although doubtless McDougall and co would try to spin it that way!
I'll also be looking out to see if Panelbase have stuck with their new and much more neutral preamble for a third poll in a row.
While we wait, I'd better get this complex and rather wonderful graphic posted before it's out of date. It was sent to me earlier in the week by Scott Hamilton, and it's based (as I understand it) on an extrapolation of the trend from a rolling average of the last eight polls. That differs significantly from the method I use for this blog's Poll of Polls, which is instead based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each firm, regardless of when it was carried out. In my view, that method produces much more meaningful trend figures in a campaign that's been distinguished by pollsters disagreeing with each other wildly due to different methodologies. To take an extreme example, suppose eight polls had been published in February, and they had all been conducted by Yes-friendly pollsters such as ICM and Survation. And then suppose eight polls had been published in March, all conducted by No-friendly pollsters such an Ipsos-Mori and YouGov. A comparison between the crude averages of the figures for each of the two months would have suggested an increase in the No lead, even though in all likelihood the complete opposite had happened!
However, there are pros and cons in both methods, and it's worth pointing out that Professor Curtice uses an approach similar to Scott's.