The political editor of ITV Border has just tweeted the results of a "south of Scotland" poll. It's important to stress that this does not refer to the South of Scotland electoral region, but only to the much smaller area covered by ITV Border - ie. the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, which between them cover just 5% of the Scottish population, and can reasonably be assumed to be the most anti-independence part of the country.
The rounded headline figures with Don't Knows excluded are Yes 30%, No 70%, which represents a small swing in favour of independence since the January poll when (on the unrounded numbers) Yes were on 28.7% and No were on 71.3%. That does of course assume that the methodology was sufficiently similar this time around to make the two polls comparable - the January poll was conducted by ComRes, using telephone fieldwork.
Is there any way of extrapolating these numbers to get a sense of the national picture? I know that might seem a bit of a redundant exercise given that we've just had several nationwide polls showing significant progress for Yes, but if this does turn out to be a ComRes telephone poll it's of special interest because we've had no ComRes national polls at all, and very few national telephone polls from any firm. The only possible extrapolation method I can think of is to look at the regional differences exhibited in the 1997 devolution referendum, when the Yes vote in the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway was 12.7% lower than the national Yes vote. On the second question about tax-varying powers, the Yes vote was 14% lower than nationally. So if as a Peter Snow-esque "just a bit of fun" exercise we assume that the differential will be exactly the same this time (unlikely), that means this poll would imply a national Yes vote of about 43% or 44% - somewhat higher than suggested by Ipsos-Mori in the most recent nationwide telephone poll.
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UPDATE : Judging from the latest post by "Better Together"/"Non Merci", this was indeed another ComRes poll. Curiously, the headline chosen by the No campaign is "Momentum is with the campaign for Scotland to stay in the UK" - which is a rather creative interpretation of a poll that shows a 1% increase in the Yes vote and a 1% decrease in the No vote. Oh, how I'm going to miss my daily fix of McDougall Logic when this is all over...
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UPDATE II : There's a new (nationwide) YouGov referendum coming out overnight. This will be the first poll to properly factor in any fallout from the Lally/Rowling nonsense. As always, Twitter Kremlinology might offer the earliest clues as to what the poll shows. I'm afraid Nat-Basher Extraordinaire Kevin Schofield was the first to mention it (although to be fair that may just be because it's in his paper!).
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UPDATE III : Judging from the retweets of Schofield's comment by assorted thuggish anti-independence campaign staffers, it's clear that they think they can spin this one in their favour. It's worth bearing in mind, though, that the last YouGov poll in April showed the No lead at an all-time low for the firm of 14 points, so any increase tonight has to be seen in that light. YouGov have consistently been one of the most No-friendly pollsters, and will seemingly be consolidating that status.
More amusingly, it's also worth bearing in mind that the No campaign have until now falsely claimed that the last YouGov poll was in the fact the poll conducted by Progressive Partnership showing a No lead of 20 points - they've been doing that so they could lie through their teeth and pretend that YouGov had shown a six point increase in the lead (in fact both the YouGov and Progressive polls showed a decrease in the No lead). So if tonight's lead falls anywhere between 15 and 19 points, we can sit back and enjoy the spectacle of the No camp doing yet another "Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia" pivot, and suddenly discovering that the last comparable YouGov poll was the one showing a 14-point lead, thus allowing them to say that the No lead has increased in this one as well. On Planet McDougall, EVERY poll shows "momentum for No" - it's the law!
I was also amused to spot Kevin Schofield almost biting someone's head off for accurately pointing out that the last YouGov poll for the Sun showed a 60-40 lead for No. It's actually normal practice for a newspaper to make the comparison with the previous poll commissioned by themselves, even if the same polling company has conducted a poll for another client more recently. So clearly Schofield is determined to make the comparison with the poll that gives the highest baseline figure for Yes, in order to push the "momentum for No" spin. He's nothing if not transparent.