Tuesday, June 17, 2014

No, Andrew Neil, this "new" poll does not show that Scots are pro-Trident

I didn't see it, but Mick Pork has mentioned on the previous thread that Andrew Neil has been abusing his position as a BBC host to crow about a poll that purports to show that Scots want Trident to stay here.  As Neil always takes such sadistic pleasure in taking apart interviewees who don't have a proper understanding of the numbers (and somehow got away with it in a recent interview with Douglas Alexander even though he'd made a catastrophic schoolboy slip-up in his own sums), I wouldn't mind seeing someone do the same to him in respect of this poll.  This is what he appears not to have taken account of -

1) It actually shows that the Scottish public do not want Britain to have nuclear weapons at all, by a margin of 46% to 37%.  (That makes it uncannily similar to an Ashcroft poll which was also brazenly misreported as showing that Scots were pro-Trident.)  It's impossible to argue that the public want Trident to stay when they do not think it should even exist.

2) The question that has generated such excitement among the nuclear weapon loving Brit Nats (Johann Lamont must be so proud) implicitly presupposes that Westminster will be retaining the inhuman weapons against our wishes, and merely poses a practical query about what should happen to them after independence.

3) This is not a full-scale Scottish poll at all, but a small subsample of a Britain-wide poll.  It's therefore of limited validity.  Even if it had been a full-scale poll, the tiny 4% lead for keeping Trident on the Clyde after independence would have been within the standard margin of error.  As it is, the margin of error for a small subsample is incalculable, and it's therefore entirely conceivable that the same question posed to a full-scale, properly weighted Scottish sample would produce the opposite result.

Incidentally, the Herald's reporting of it as a "new poll" is also somewhat misleading - it may have only just been released, but the fieldwork for it concluded last October!


  1. Is it a coincidence that the poll was conducted months ago, but published the day after Scottish Govt Constitution proposals?
    The media are all over the Trident numbers and Pro Fear Sir Curtice getting more biased exposure.

  2. The option that no-one seems to have considered with Trident is that Scotland gets it if they don't remove it from Scottish Territory by 2016.

    I know Scots in general don't want it, but I think everyone could be convinced that Hollyrood is *vastly* more likely to dismantle and dispose of Trident safely and quickly, compared to Westminster. Which would mean that the most reliable way to get rid of it would be for the newly independant Scotland to claim it. Then we can do what we want with it (other than fire it of course, since the USA would still hold the fireing keys)

    I know Westminster *really* don't want to engage with this argument, because it would mean that they *have* to get Trident moved in two years if they want to keep it, but I don't see why some vehicles and ammunition are different to other vehicles and ammunition.

  3. Thanks for clearing this up, but of course it exposes the Herald's leanings and continues the downfall of newspapers in Scotland.
    Hope Mick has calmed down!

  4. I was calm when I pointed out this Trident polling was bullshit this morning and I'm calm now seanair. You simply mistake having a strong opinion for not being perfectly in control of the facts and the issue.

    As usual James does an excellent job of cutting through the spin from 'better together' mouthpieces like Andrew Neil by showing the somewhat more telling reality of what the poll really said and just how seriously we should take it.

    Though in a sense it's simply not required because anyone who campaigns or even just brings up the subject at a workplace already knows perfectly well that Trident is deeply unpopular.

    Doesn't matter who the pollster is or how they try to bend the question, if you see any polling trying to tell you Trident is popular or getting rid of it is unpopular you can safely disregard it because it just ain't true. Trident has always been a very good issue for the Yes campaign to campaign and highlight and it always will be.

    I consider Trident an extremely important issue, but I certainly don't have it as my only priority. I'm not a green or CND campaigner, which is kind of the point. You don't need to be either to know that Trident is deeply unpopular. That's the mainstream view in scotland, it's absolutely not a small fringe view.

    Put it this way - I would no more trust polling claiming to show Tony Blair was trusted on Iraq in scotland - than I would trust polling claiming to show Trident was popular in scotland. That's how easy it is to completely disregard junk polling like that.

  5. And all across Scotland, 100's of 1000's of people suddenly decide they really do support trident. After all, people always base their opinions not on what they believe, but on what the latest poll apparently concludes the majority think.

    It's why the SNP are on 100% now for Holyrood. Each time a poll came in showing them in the lead, people said 'Oh, more and more people support the SNP therefore I should'. It was only a matter of time therefore before everyone supported the SNP.

    It's also why 157% support the union and rising. THE VAST MAJORITY SUPPORT THE UNION SO YOU SHOULD TOO.

    Oh, wait a minute, what a pile of shite. Only a total fuckwit would believe that polls actually change opinion rather than simply reflect it.