Thursday, June 19, 2014

No Campaign Fib-Watch, Day 452

Hot on the heels of the No campaign making boastful claims about the new YouGov poll that are utterly irreconcilable with other claims they made only a few weeks ago on a glossy Twitter graphic, they've now excelled themselves with yet another glossy Twitter graphic - this time on the theme of national unity (yes, really!) and featuring the SNP logo in place of the 'o' in 'No Thanks'. (But full marks to them for resisting the temptation to "unite the nation" by once again portraying the logo as a hangman's noose.) The text reads as follows -


1 in 4 SNP supporters are voting No for more powers within the United Kingdom

Source : YouGov poll of Scottish voters for the Sun newspaper, June 2014"

Hmmm.  Firstly, what do they actually mean by the word 'supporters'?  I'd suggest that most reasonable people would interpret it as meaning respondents who would vote SNP in an election now, and if taken that way the claim is an out-and-out falsehood.  In fact, the YouGov poll cited as a source shows that only 9% of current SNP supporters are planning to vote No, which compares rather favourably to the 17% of current Labour supporters who are planning to vote Yes.

But presumably what they really mean by the "1 in 4" claim is 1 in 4 of the people who voted for the SNP in the unprecedented landslide victory of 2011, regardless of whether those voters are now supporters of other parties.  On that measure, it's true that the YouGov poll shows that 24% of 2011 SNP voters are in the No column, but the poll also shows that 21% of 2011 Labour voters are in the Yes column.  You'll probably already have spotted that those two numbers are remarkably similar, which is a touch startling given that in 2011 Labour were down to their rump, core, "come hell or high water" vote.  But I'm sure the No-bots would have mentioned all of that in the graphic if there had been space - after all, it's their mission in life to give people "the facts you need for the big decision", without fear or favour.

Having said that, it's on the word 'fact' that the graphic becomes somewhat unstuck.  You see, in order to justify their use of the YouGov poll as a "source" for their claim, it's not sufficient to be able to demonstrate that the poll shows that 1 in 4 SNP "supporters" (ambiguously defined) are planning to vote No.  It's also necessary to demonstrate that the poll shows that all of those people are voting No specifically because they want "more powers within the United Kingdom", and are credulous enough to think that a No vote will result in those powers being delivered.  Unfortunately, it's literally impossible to demonstrate that, because there isn't the slightest suggestion in the YouGov datasets of people having been asked whether they want new powers, whether they believe new powers would be delivered after a No, or whether they're voting No in spite of being fully resigned to the status quo being maintained, or indeed to powers being removed from the Scottish Parliament.

But leaving aside those minor quibbles, let's pay homage once again to the No-bots and their inspiring commitment to "the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help me Gideon".


  1. YouGov consistently snows highest no vote among SNP past voters, I'm assuming because of their whole SNP in 2011/Labour in 2010 thing.

  2. Seems that ACTUALLY 1 in 4 haven't declared as Yes. 76% Yes, 6% No and 18% undecided. More lies!

  3. Rob, unfortunately you're reading the table wrong. The figures for 2011 SNP voters are -

    Yes 67%
    No 24%
    Don't Know 8%