Wednesday, July 2, 2014

OK, YouGov, your self-imposed purdah period is at an end. NOW will you answer some simple questions about your methodology and lack of transparency?

You might remember that Laurence Janta-Lipinski's excuse last night for refusing to answer any questions about YouGov's bizarre methodology or their lack of transparency was that an upcoming wonder-blog on the subject had not yet been published on the company's website. It was never actually explained why publication of the blog was such an essential precondition for answering extremely basic questions, but luckily that's now an academic point, because the blog has appeared - and it's written by Peter Kellner himself. So now that it is at last unambiguously permissible under the Janta-Lipinski Doctrine to ask questions (admittedly only "reasonable" questions, whatever that means), I've left the following comment under Kellner's article -

I was told last night by your colleague that once this blog appeared (but NOT before!) any "reasonable" questions asked about YouGov methodology would finally be answered in full. Could you therefore please answer the following -

1) Why are you so obsessively secretive about the voting intention breakdown of the two SNP groups you use for weighting? Why do those numbers never appear in the datasets?

2) If there is logic in separating out Labour-to-SNP switchers from 2011, why not also separate out Lib Dem-to-SNP switchers and Lib Dem-to-Lab switchers, both of whom are very large groups? Surely any reasonable person must conclude that the only reason for the inconsistency in your approach is that you're working backwards to produce the headline numbers that "feel right" to you - and that is hardly something you are capable of being objective about, given that you absurdly declared as long ago as 2011 that it was literally impossible for Yes to win this referendum.

3) There was a YouGov referendum poll last year that asked for people's country of birth, which showed a huge disparity between your sample and the 2011 census figures - you had far too many English-born people and too few Scottish-born people. Given that it's been well-established that being born in England is a strong predictor of a No vote, that by definition means that your headline results would have been artificially skewed towards No. What steps have you taken to correct for that bias in subsequent polls? If you have not taken any such steps at all, why not?

No response so far, but admittedly it's very late at night. We should be able to look forward to a very detailed reply, because these were the undertakings that Mr Janta-Lipinski gave last night -

"we'll have blog up later in the week, happy to answer any and all Qs after u've read it, assuming they're reasonable"

"we are publishing a blog, i will answer all Qs after, on here, email, phone, hell, even face to face"

So it'll be interesting to see if the man is true to his word. Frankly, I'm not holding my breath.

I'll be writing a detailed commentary on Kellner's piece and his (let's call a spade a spade) astoundingly arrogant conclusions when I'm feeling less tired - I'm just back from spending the day in Arran. For now I'll just note what amused me the most about it - Kellner specifically cites the eccentric practice of splitting SNP voters into two distinct groups as a reason for thinking YouGov are right and others are wrong. I'm not quite sure where that leaves Mr Janta-Lipinski's claim that it's OK to be ultra-secretive about that part of the methodology because it's just one trivial detail out of "thousands"!


  1. Excellent and comprehensive rebuttal James. Suffice to say that since the PB tory twits are shrieking hysterically about your post then you have clearly hit the nail squarely on the head.

    Kellner's eccentric bluster and blatant politicking is making YouGov's polling a complete laughing stock. Entirely Kellner's choice of course but it absolutely reeks of desperation and obviously taints all future YouGov referendum polling.

    All the more counter-productive since some of use do actually remember that YouGov had Labour leading both the constituency and regional vote around a month and a half before the scottish elections in 2011. Not quite what happened on polling day, was it? In fact it wasn't even close.


  2. Woah. Breathtaking arrogance on that Yougov blog explaining how they are right and everyone else is wrong.

    So many holes.

    Bascially, it comes down to Yougov thinking they understand the minds of the Scottish electorate and not understanding the huge level of tactic voting in 2010. Really unprecedented. And it's not only that...

    I could start with:

    How come Yougov became an 'outlier' post 2007 yet 2010/11 is the explanation? TNS were regularly getting close to parity once the 2007 dust had settled. And that's with no past vote weighting at all. Just knocking doors so no self-selecting either.

    So people elected and SNP government in minority in 2007. Had gone off New Labour big style, went on to elect an SNP government in majority / vote for pro indy parties at >51%, yet were steadily going off independence? That makes sense!

  3. Another point to add to your own scottish_skier is that the 2011 elections was fought by Labour with fiercely anti-independence rhetoric in full flow. They were the ones who finally tried to make that election about independence with Gray and his SLAB chums trotting out most of the scaremongering we are seeing reheated now. It got so bad that little Ed and Balls were plonked in to the campaign to bolster the anti-independence rhetoric as a desperate last gasp measure.

    So the notion that the 2011 election was somehow an independence free affair is completely bogus. It was a ubiquitous feature by the end of the campaign.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that the ground campaign in 2011 was the largest, most focused and effective the SNP had yet mounted. It too had a huge effect on the outcome which is patently obvious to anyone with even a passing knowledge of scottish politics.

    I remember some of the activist reports from across in scotland in 2011 that were completely at odds with most of the polling. So much so that the even some in the SNP didn't fully believe them and thought them far too optimistic. Yet they were bang on as it turned out.

    Those switchers in 2011 were also hardly just confined to Labour voters. The very notion that they were is utterly laughable.

  4. In the meantime, I wonder what Survation, Panelbase and ICM think of Yougov's blog which basically says they're all shite?

  5. We'll see soon enough Scottish_Skier but I strongly doubt any of them will be as overtly political as Kellner has clearly become. I suspect they will get on with their polling and will be in no rush whatsoever to adopt YouGov and Kellner's desperate bluster and bizarre methodology.

    It's also worth pointing out just how massively misrepresented the latest MOE poll was by YouGov's Murdoch client, the Times. You would think that might concern Kellner just a touch but apparently not. Funny that.

    While we're at it what has also become clear is that the 'No Better Thanks Together' (or whatever they are called this week) campaign is also spinning YouGov for all they are worth by parroting the line that "Yes needs a gamechanger".

    All the more risible since the past few weeks have seen the No campaign line up 'gamechanger' after 'gamechanger' (Harry Potter, Obama, Hillary Clinton, the Pope) and has also saw the the Westminster government's very expensive propaganda booklet dropping into most of scotland's letterboxes. Not to mention a sustained and reprehensible period that saw the vehement smearing of Yes supporters by the press, media and unionist politicians.

    So what did they get for all that desperate effort? A MOE 1 point change in Yes and No support from a pollster who uses utterly eccentric methodology.

    So you'll forgive me for not worrying too much about out of touch westminster bubble people in the media when I know how things are proceeding on the ground and in the real world.

  6. James, an alert reader just emailed me this:

    "YouGov did a poll in Jan where the asked for Holyrood voting intention Labour were a couple of points ahead of the SNP.

    I notice that their recent poll had a Holyrood VI crossbreak that
    matches the Jan poll. It is odd because the VI question isn't asked according to their data tables.

    It seems that YouGov are either selecting or weighing according to
    this Holyrood poll from January. With YouGov also showing a strong
    correlation between party and referendum vote. This will almost
    certainly produce the steady No lead.

    It will also enable YouGov to do another HR voting intention poll some point before the referendum and so fall into line with other pollsters just in time not to be wrong."

    Any views?

  7. Really really good challenges to YouGov. Why don't you remind them about how poor they were in 2011 until they and every man and dog knew SNP was going to win?

  8. RevStu : The VI question was asked in this poll, so it's probably just a coincidence that the numbers are the same as January. But YouGov are certainly sticking out like a sore thumb by showing a Labour lead for Holyrood - even Ipsos-Mori have been showing a comfortable SNP lead. Although it's fair enough for Kellner to point out that YouGov were somewhat (only somewhat) more accurate than ICM and Survation for the European elections, he still ought to be reflecting on how implausible it is that Labour supposedly have an outright lead for Holyrood at a time when the SNP have just won the European elections and the other No-friendly pollster is showing them miles ahead.

  9. It might be fair enough if Kellner hadn't made such a fool of himself with his scottish EU election 'prediction' during the results programme, which you pointed out at the time James.

    A very telling incident that might just bear repeating (or linking) for those who missed it and still don't understand just how far Kellner keeps foolishly straying into pushing his own pre-judged political narrative.

  10. You could just repeat it, Mick....

    I'm all ears.

  11. Fair enough Rolfe.

    SNP win the European elections - and the big losers are blundering Peter Kellner, and the BBC results programme

    "And yet just a couple of hours ago, YouGov's Peter Kellner smugly informed the nation that Labour were heading for victory in Scotland. Viewers of the BBC results show will have been forgiven for taking that wildly implausible claim seriously, because it was shorn of all context - it was the first time any Scottish results had been mentioned (other than a very brief comment from Kellner himself about Aberdeen). Now, of course, the trends of early results can sometimes be unrepresentative, and if that was the case he could be forgiven for leading people astray. But that categorically isn't what happened. He immediately explained the percentage changes that had led him to conclude that Labour were winning, and they made no logical sense whatever - they in fact suggested that the SNP were heading for victory by about 2% or 3%. It seems he hadn't even bothered to check the baseline figures from 2009 before coming into the studio. The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson then had an immediate opportunity to correct an obviously flawed piece of arithmetic, but clearly he didn't know the baseline figures either, and instead eagerly seized on the latest concocted "blow for Alex Salmond" narrative".

  12. I think the problem with 2010 / 11 and weighting is that the 2011 result was already in place by 2009. SNP were polling up to 41% on average with labour down to 31%. All that was needed was another ~4% from the libs to SNP and that came from the coalition.

    The pre-2011 Labour lead for Holyrood was nothing more than a mirage. Why people said Labour to pollsters when they already supported the SNP I can only attribute to shy SNP syndrome.

    It's why canvassing gave such odd results. On the doorstep, people were telling SNP canvassers that they were going to back the SNP. When pollsters asked them, they said labour. However, when pollsters asked them if they were satisfied with Salmond / the SNP, they said they were and thought Gray / Labour were useless.

    Just a quick look and e.g.

    That says to me SNP support never went away post 2009.

    All that happened in 2010 is ~12% core SNP voted Lib (=Tory) or Labour tactically to stop the Tories, and 9% or so Labour leaning to SNP (they were saying SNP in polls for Holyrood) voted Labour once more in a last gasp anti-Tory vote. This completely failed on all counts and for SNP core who voted Lib, must have been heart-wrenching. They actually voted in the Tories.

    No wonder 2010 'recall' is a bit shaky. People are not falsely recalling, they're lying, just as lots lied about planning to vote Labour for 2011 while SNP was actually the plan.

    People lie all the time in polls. I'm always puzzled why folk think they tell the truth. I mean check this out:

    Labour only got 43% yet went into the 1997 election on 50-55% and came out on up to 60%.

    Bums on fire. But then saying 'Tory' wasn't the done thing.

    Saying SNP became 'ok' post 2011, but is 'indy' ok to say? Are people happy to say they are 'separatist, blood and soil xenophobic braveheart loving nazis'? Women seem particularly shy here. No wonder considering the level of abuse Yes people get (Survation) compared to No.

    It will be if Yes wins just like 2011 normalised SNP. Otherwise, we may not see much if any movement until the last few weeks, just like 2011.

    This line from the Yougov blog says it all:

    "Alex Salmond’s party was trounced in 2010"

    Scotland as seen from London. Westminster is god.

    The truth was Mr Salmond was on course for a stunning victory and was not trounced at all. The Scottish electorate were just giving the anti-Tory FPTP tactical vote one last shot.

    All that was needed was smiles in the rose garden and the end of the union would be nigh.

    Yougov seem to see none of this; only what they want to see and literally make up weighting methods to suit this. They want to believe 2011 was some sort of fluke / protest and Scotland still loves Labour, hence 'Labour 2010 (we still love you) + SNP (competent) 2011. Jesus wept. Labour fell to 1/3 in 2003 - over 10 years ago - and have never recovered.

    When you consider the support for Devo Max / indy, ask yourself, which Parliament represents the true party support of Scots? The PR Holyrood one or it's MPs?


    Weight by 2011 because you get honesty.

  13. Dear YouGov, We all voted Labour in 2010 to try and keep the Tories out, who doesn't know that? Are you daft?

    Not only that, we won't be making that mistake again.

  14. One thing I should add is that we polling geeks / 'political activists' can sometimes struggle to comprehend that people might not tell the truth when polled.

    However, we're not normal people in this respect; we don't care what people think of our views and are happy to state them online and to pollsters in the context of debate.

    Most people are not like that. Their VI is their own business and they can be very reticent to give it depending on who is asking and how the information they give might be perceived / used.

    Just about every Yes person I've known before taking a more involved role has been a shy Yes. Independence being something only discussed in private with other known Yesers.

    Even now I am still shy depending on company and I'm the biggest Yes there is. Example - I got one of those Better Together spams about Academics for the Tories. I wrote an angry response in return and found myself hesitating to send as it was my work address and I'd be using that to express my VI. Then I though 'sod it'.

    For some people, such fears are real.

  15. "All the more counter-productive since some of us do actually remember that YouGov had Labour leading both the constituency and regional vote around a month and a half before the scottish elections in 2011. Not quite what happened on polling day, was it? In fact it wasn't even close."

    Whatever anyone thinks of YouGov, I've no idea why this particular line keeps getting repeated. What YouGov had was Labour leading on the 18th of March (almost two months before the election). In the poll immediately before the vote they had the SNP comfortably ahead. The variations between their final poll and the actual result were broadly within the realms of statistical error (SNP down by about 3 on their actual vote, Labour up by about 3 on their actual vote, Tories down by about 3 on their actual vote, Lib Dems about right).

    A previous poll they did about two weeks before the vote had the result almost spot on: SNP at 45, Labour at 32 (exactly what happened).

    The polling almost two months outside of the vote was different because public opinion was completely different two months prior to the vote. Why that needs to be pointed out is beyond me - just as it's entirely possible opinion could swing behind Yes in the run up to the referendum, which is now a little over two months away. That wouldn't make all of the latest polls "wrong" - nobody can do a poll on what people will think in two months' time.

  16. 'A previous poll they did about two weeks before the vote had the result almost spot on: SNP at 45, Labour at 32 (exactly what happened).

    If you look at all their polls, this one was a big outlier. The rest, including the last two ahead of election day with SNP leads of 8 then 7 (actually 14+) show a lovely steady trend of narrowing gap, but nowhere near reality.

    If you want to include the rogue one you mention, then Yougov predicted a big Labour surge at the last minute across three polls ahead of polling day. ;-)

  17. Then why do polls at all?

    If they are not information which suggest the outcome then they have another purpose. What is it?

    I can see that interested parties may use them to inform how they should campaign: IE what to emphasise. But in that case there is no need to publish them. And when it suits them that is what they say (eg the "unpublished poll" which the government paid for but decided was against the public interest to make known)

    The polls are not for information so far as I can see: they are for propaganda.

  18. SS : Yes, I was going to say to David that he appears to be unaware of the real final YouGov poll from 2011, possibly because it is absent from the list on UK Polling Report. I trust it's just a coincidence that UK Polling Report is run by a YouGov employee, who might have a vested interest in ensuring that people forget that the final poll was ever published!

  19. James

    Have you had the time to cast your eye over the latest panelbase poll for yesScotland?

    I would be interested in your thoughts.



  20. Yes, I posted about it when it came out - it was quite a while ago now.

  21. sorry just catching up.

    I look back on your blog

  22. Chill, guys. Less than 3 months till either Kellner becomes a laughing stock, or you do, so why sweat it now - unless you think that Yougov's predictions now will affect the result then (they won't).



  23. Ishmael, no disrespect, but I'd have thought it must be self-evident that I disagree with you that the way polls are reported and interpreted doesn't matter. And how the hell am I going to become a laughing stock in three months' time? It's Kellner who's claiming that he literally already knows the result of the referendum - not me.

  24. I am puzzeled when I look at the data tables I dont see the VI question. I only see VI on the crossbreaks.

    Don't they have to put the exact wording on the list with the other questions. I thought that was rhe rules.

  25. There's an updated version of the datasets today, with VI included. You're correct that they haven't published the question they used.

  26. Good points SS.

    As someone who worked in Mental Health I was always fascinated about how people viewed authority.

    A lot of people are scared they might get into some kind of trouble if they upset authorities, so they are fearful to say something that has been made clear, the authorities don't want (independence) people will be very reluctant to say something that may get them into trouble (as they see it)

    This usually comes from childhood experiences in which the child was being told off, but did not know what they had done wrong.

    Most people would be surprised to realise that they themselves had these fears,as it is so irrational, but it is something that is sub-conscious.

  27. If they have asked the question but not published the wording then they are breaking the BPC rules:

    "2.2. Whenever it is practical to do so the following information should also be published

    Complete wording of questions upon which any data that has entered the public domain are based;"

    So I am wondering if they are using data from previous polling to mke up their sample, something Peter Kelner alludes to in his article saying :
    "YouGov collects large amounts of data from its panel at the time of each election, and as far as possible uses this information, rather than remembered vote from months or even years later"
    So I suspect they are selecting their panel using previous responses. I am not sure how that would effect the result but it definitely would make 'how' they select their sample more pertinent than weightings.

  28. I can't really see any reason to think they are doing that, although they're certainly weighting by how people said they voted immediately after the 2010 and 2011 elections, rather than by asking now for recalled vote. That would be entirely reasonable, if it wasn't for the weird thing they do with Labour-to-SNP switchers.

    Just to avoid any doubt, the Holyrood voting intention question was definitely asked in this poll. The numbers may be dubious, but they're certainly up-to-date.

  29. narrowing gap, but nowhere near reality.

    I should have said growing gap, but I think people understood me.

    SNP lead over Labour ahead of 2011.
    May 2-4 42 7
    Apr 26-29 8
    Apr 19-21 13
    Apr 13-15 3
    Mar 25-28 1
    Mar 15-18 -3
    Feb 21-22 -9

    The one where they seeming got it right was a big outlier from their own solid trend.

  30. certainly weighting by how people said they voted immediately after the 2010 and 2011 elections

    Which is dodgy in itself.

    As I linked to, if you asked people (across the UK) who they supported in 1997, chances are you'd get lots of Tories saying Labour. Labour on up to 60% even though they only got 43%... Shy Tory was huge in 1997. So much for the 1992 corrections; people just didn't think much about it as polls predicted Labour winning and they did unlike 1992.

    If you asked Scots how they voted in 2011 just after it, chances are you'd get a few Labour saying 'SNP'. After all, there seemed to be a peak (MORI hit 51%) just after the election where support for the SNP was considerably higher than they polled. This is just like 1997. Some people felt it was best to say 'SNP' even though they didn't support them / vote for them. MORI would be most likely to see this because it's telephone. There's some evidence in yougov that Labour dropped just after the election too with SNP higher than Yougov were predicting. This post election peak fizzled out by the end of the year largely, just as the 1997 example. Associated with 'landslide / historic' victories.

    So, Yougov could be getting Labour people who said SNP to them post 2011, but were actually more Labour and less pro-indy. These people are classed as SNP 2011 when they are not.

    I'd maybe ask each time what people voted in 2011 like other pollsters do. Keep an eye on this for stuff like the above.

    As for 2010, the fact that every pollster gets weird answers here says recall can't be trusted. Yougov are still using 2010 after finding it a problem and admitting so. Even adjusting their methodology in light of that. If you are not getting good 2010 recall, no amount of fudging will do; your results can't be trusted.

    I can only explain the 2010 problem by the high (10-20%) level of tactical voting that occurred and people are not quite being honest due to that. Each time people find too few Libs (SNP tactical Lib vote not admitting it), too few Lab (generally due to tactical again) and too many SNP.

    Entirely to be expected based on tactical patterns as people don't say exactly what they did for the reasons I talked about.

  31. To add..

    Just think how genuine Lib voters reacted to the outcome of their vote for the Tories in 2010. Anger, dumping the party in droves...

    Now imagine you were SNP and, out of desperation, tactically voted Tory (Lib)... Yougov asks you 'How did you just vote: For the Tories (libs)?'

    Looking back yougov even show what I was saying. On a par with Labour for Westminster 2010 in mid 2009 at ~30% each. 10% is a big tactical vote and that's before we even count 10% on top from Labour who already didn't like them and were saying 'SNP' for Holyrood even though they still planned Labour in 2010 to stop the Tories.

  32. You are all to clever for me, that's for sure.
    Can I just say though that I have never trusted YouGov polls, they are owned by a serving tory MP for goodness sake.
    Talk about a conflict of interest.

    I will vote Yes regardless of what the polls say.

  33. @David McLean

    It's hardly a 'line' it's the truth. If you want to get upset over whether that poll was just under two months or around a month and a half before the result then by all means have at it.

    Scottish_Skier has already eloquently demonstrated the true state of the polling in the run up to 2011. The point you seem to be missing is that while the actual crucial final weeks and months of the campaign quite obviously affected opinion, (as campaigns tend to do) there was also a very pronounced failure from certain pollsters to pick up that shifting landscape when it happened, show some kind of consistency or even just get it remotely right.

    We all know polling is not an exact science. Very far from it. There are however degrees of error since it is patently obvious that the pollsters can't all be right when they diverge so markedly. It is therefore only prudent to point out where the most egregious errors have occurred historically, show the true state the polling across the board as well as examine why some polling methodology is fair enough and why some just seems utterly bizarre.

    Something James and indeed Scottish_Skier have been doing extremely dilligently and with no small skill. It's why James blog attracts so many interested in these matters since he asks pertinent questions and examines the polling trends shorn of the shrill BritNat spin so many of the unionist papers plaster all over the headline figures from their chosen pollsters.

    It doesn't matter if you ascribe the final result entirely to a very big shift in public opinion or chalk it all down to pollsters getting it wrong. I consider both things to be true to a degree myself. Either way, what 2011 proved conclusively is that calling the referendum result definitively this far out from the September 18th vote is extraordinarily foolish. It would be foolish from anyone but for a supposedly neutral pollster like Kellner to do so and blunder in like this for YouGov is not merely foolish, it's arrogant and counter-productive.

    Kellner actually seems to think that attacking all the other pollsters (basically insisting I am right and everyone else is wrong) while leaving massive questions about his own strange methodology is a good idea. I would beg to differ. Kellner's crass intervention and bluster is hardly likely to persuade anyone other than those desperate to believe the most No friendly polls. Nor is it going to do much for his credibility on this matter which was hardly great to begin.

  34. So, Yougov could be getting Labour people who said SNP to them post 2011, but were actually Labour voters and less pro-indy. These people are classed as SNP 2011 when they are not.

    This might be true.

    Yougov's weighted base (way too many labour as usual in the unweighted and not enough SNP):

    2011 Holyrood Constituency Vote
    14 Con, 32 Lab ,8 Lib, 45% SNP.

    Are asked what they voted in 2011 again and answer:

    12(-2)% Con
    34(+2)% Lab
    8(nc)% Lib
    40(-5)% SNP
    3% Other
    4%(+4) DK


    Am I missing something or did non-SNP voters tell Yougov they voted SNP when asked just after 2011, but are now saying they did't and voted e.g. Labour or 'DK'?

    These must be 'just after 2011 asked' vs 'asked again now for this poll' otherwise they'd match up.

    So Yougov's 2011 weighted base isn't actually weighted to 2011 recall but 'just after 2011 recall'?

    Right after 2011 MORI were getting 49/51/49 SNP with panelbase, TNS and Yougov getting 47%, i.e. 2-6%m of people who didn't vote SNP were saying they supported them. That does call into question the yougov assumption that 'false recall' does increase with time.

    I for one remember what I voted in every election back to my first in 1997. I really have issues with people 'forgetting' this and think there's more of a 'what should I say I did' element.

    Interestingly, I was talking to a friend who's mum is Yes the other day yet she told MORI (recent poll) she was a DK. He asked 'why?'. She said 'Well, it's my business and I'm not comfortable telling that to people I don't know, especially when they just phone you up'. She was ok with saying SNP however.


  36. Yougov only poll showing small gap widening of course.

  37. @Anon / reuters

    You could get 6:1 on the SNP winning 2011 just 1 month ahead of the election. Labour on 1:12. SNP cause cause 'hopeless'.

    Bookies obviously more nervous right now of a Yes 2.6 months out as giving shorter odds of 4.5/1 (9/2).

    The bookies totally fucked up on 2011.

    Folk should bet on Yes now while they can still get a decent return on their cash.

    I do laugh when people say 'Aye, the bookies are always right.'

    What interests me is how they didn't see 2011 coming at all. Surely there must have been more and more punters in Scotland putting money on the SNP?

    Or maybe people were keeping quiet about intentions, so much so even mates in the pub were not giving their VI away so those that liked a flutter didn't see it coming until people started being honest just weeks away.

  38. That 1 point change MOE YouGov is being spun so furiously I'm almost beginning to feel sorry for those clinging on to it so desperately.

    You would think it might eventually sink in to the BritNats that no amount of westminster pundits, pollsters or bookies will stop the grassroots Yes campaign from being one of the biggest, most well motivated, well funded and effective campaigning forces scottish politics has ever seen. Yet they simply don't get it.

    They are as comically out of touch as their political masters little Ed, Cameron and calamity Clegg.

  39. We have the 'shy voters', are they more likely to be Yes or No? I would think based on what I have seen over the years, they would fall mostly in the Yes camp.

    You were considered to be a bit odd way back in the 1950's if you wanted Scottish Independence. I know SNP members who keep their political views to themselves because of the hostility they encountered when mentioning their belief in an Independent Scotland. No would be considered to be the default position of many voters at the start of the Referendum campaign as they had not considered voting for Independence. They had not really thought about it in any depth. As the campaign has gone on people up and down the country are now debating the subject, many for the first time. A few No voters at the start of the campaign are planning to vote Yes. I am sure many will know others. Will they openly declare it or remain shy?

  40. I missed out, A few No voters I know personally -

  41. Sunshine on CrieffJuly 2, 2014 at 8:43 PM

    For what it's worth...

    I was a solid Labour voter until the mid 2000s. It was 2005 that I voted Labour in the GE, not for any enthusiasm for another Blair/Brown government, but to keep the Tories out (of both my constituency and Number 10).

    In 2007, I voted SNP for the first time, again not to put them in government but to keep the Tory out (different constituency for Holyrood).

    In 2010, with the very real threat of a Tory government, I voted Labour. And got what I was trying to avoid, anyway.

    By 2011, impressed by the SNP's term in office, and dismayed by "Scottish" Labour's negativity, I actually voted FOR an SNP government.

    Having witnessed Labour's behaviour during the independence campaign I seriously doubt that I'll vote for them again. And I don't think that I am alone amo0ngst Labour supporters in thinking that.

  42. Sunshine on CrieffJuly 2, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Another thing that I've noticed, perhaps James or SS could comment...

    It doesn't seem to be on the latest ref poll dataset, but on YouGov's latest 'Scotland Tracker' the full wording of the question is given with a preamble:-

    If there was a referendum tomorrow on Scotland leaving the United Kingdom and becoming an Independent Country and this was the question, how would you vote?

    Should Scotland be an independent country?

    Isn't the bit about leaving the UK likely to skew the figures?

    There seems to be a lot of little (deliberate?) flaws in their methodology that could be adding up to what appears to be an extreme result.

  43. Sunshine on Crieff : The tracker is misleading - when that wording appeared on the tracker a few months ago I assumed that it meant that YouGov had completely lost the plot and restored their notorious Dodgy Preamble, but it turned out from the datasets of the individual polls that they hadn't.

    SS : 2007 is an even better example of the bookies getting it spectacularly wrong. As you'll recall, the count didn't conclude until tea-time on the day after polling, but by midday Brian Taylor was giving strong indications on TV that it looked from intelligence on the ground that the SNP were heading for a very narrow victory. And yet until very late in the day the bookies had Labour as overwhelming favourites (I think the odds were about 1/10). Utterly insane, and the only way I can explain it is that English-based bookies and punters assumed they were getting the most up-to-date information from the London media, and had no idea they could very easily have found out more elsewhere. Some people must have made an absolute killing that day without even requiring inside knowledge - all they had to do was watch Reporting Scotland!

  44. James / Mick

    From your favourite site.

    Whenever I take part in an event I always get asked what I think is going to happen in Scotland. Generally I say that the polls are looking good for those who want to retain the union but I have a nagging doubt based on the Holyrood elections in 2011.

    Just look at the polls in the table above. Even some of the final surveys were showing the SNP with very small margins over LAB. As it turned out in the regional list section Alex Salmond’s party won by a margin of 17%.

    So could that possibly happen again? The answer is probably no but I’m not absolutely certain. This is the reason that I maintain a balanced of book on Betfair that is all in the green. Whatever happens in the election I win.

    This follows several months or trading when I’ve been betting on either side when I have thought that the odds were too long. Sometimes this works – sometimes it doesn’t.

    Certainly, the regional predictions were well off the mark, far worse than constituency.

  45. This is doing the reputation of yougov quite a bit of damage, i've made a few tweets to people about their dodgy methodology and basic dishonesty, and glad to see these have been re-tweeted a few times.

    If yougov are looking in, you should be aware at how quick your discredited and dishonest approach to polling is being shared far and wide on social media.

    Your credibility is being shredded, every time you use this unbalanced and secretive methodology.