Sunday, August 10, 2014

Reasons to be sceptical about the changes in the new Survation poll

I've been away all day, but I've finally had a chance to catch up with the way Survation are reporting the findings of their own poll, and quite frankly it's laughable.  It's obviously a matter of perception whether the No campaign can be reasonably said to have a "commanding" lead when Yes are on 43% - just 7% from victory.  But one thing that is undeniable is that it's a much lower lead than in countless polls we've seen in this campaign, especially up until a few months ago.

There's one particular line that contains a downright inaccuracy (I'm tempted to be a good bit more blunt than that) -

"This is the highest ‘No’ vote – and the biggest lead over ‘Yes’ – seen in a Survation poll since our first independence referendum poll in February."

The "first" poll they are talking about there was in fact their second - they are attempting to erase from history their first referendum poll in January which showed a much, much bigger No lead.  It's hard not to suspect that they are doing so to please their clients the Daily Mail, who were plainly keen to make the false claim that the leaders' debate had led to a record lead for No.  What possible justification can there be to pretend the January poll didn't happen?  Well, Survation have radically altered their methodology since then, and it's impossible to know for sure what the outcome of that poll would have been under the current procedures.  But it is possible to hazard an educated guess based on the raw unweighted data, which as it happens suggests that the No lead would have been slightly higher in January than it was in last night's poll.

The breathless way in which Survation report their finding that Darling "won" the debate verges on the idiotic.  The only credible way to gauge the winner of a debate is to conduct an instant poll immediately afterwards - if you wait until a day or two later (as Survation did), public perceptions will be hopelessly tainted by the media spin on who "won".  But hats off to the impressively high 28.3% of Survation's respondents who know their own mind, and who defied the media narrative by saying Salmond won the debate.

To turn to the headline voting intention results, there are two specific reasons to be sceptical about the supposed swing to No (over and above the possibility that it's largely an illusion caused by the standard 3% margin of error).  There are two groups of respondents who showed particularly big swings to No, and who had to be upweighted massively because Survation couldn't find enough people in those demographic categories.  Whenever that happens, it effectively increases the margin of error for the overall sample, and makes volatility from one poll to the next much more probable.  Indeed, I seem to recall saying in a post not too long ago that Survation's constant need to drastically upweight the youngest group of respondents really ought to be causing volatility, and it was surprising that it wasn't.  That has finally happened now, because since last week's poll the No lead among 16-24 year olds has increased from 5.1% to 34.6%.  The effect of that wildly implausible swing has been magnified in the overall results, because the 61 real respondents in that age group have been upweighted more than two-fold to count as 129 'virtual' respondents.  Self-evidently, there hasn't really been a 15% swing to No among young people in the space of one week, so it's likely that the weighting procedure has artificially generated at least part of the increase in the overall No lead.  Indeed, if we look at the other age groups (who haven't needed to be upweighted significantly), it's striking how similar this week's poll is to last week's - No have gained a little ground among three age groups, and Yes have gained a little ground among two.  But nothing of any great statistical significance.

The other part of the datasets where alarm bells start ringing is the regional breakdown for the South of Scotland.  Last week, Yes had an 11% lead in that region, whereas now they are behind by 24%.  Again, the impact of that turnaround has been magnified, because in both polls respondents from the South had to be upweighted roughly two-fold.  Now, to be fair, this week's results are actually more plausible than last week's - you'd expect the South to be one of the most No-friendly regions.  But the point is that the extreme upweighting of two such different figures has distorted the trend.

The best clue that No have been flattered in this poll lies in the unweighted data.  In the vast majority of polls, the weighting helps Yes, but in this one the No lead is slightly smaller on the unweighted figures.  Indeed, the No lead on the unweighted figures of this poll is smaller than the No lead was on the unweighted figures of the last-but-one poll from Survation.

What I draw from all of this is a) it's far from clear at this stage that there has been ANY post-debate bounce for No at all, and b) if there has been a bounce, the balance of probability is that it's smaller than Survation's headline numbers would suggest.

*  *  *

This supplementary question made me laugh -

"Do you believe the Scottish Government should draw up alternative options to a ‘currency union’ ahead of the referendum on September 18, 2014?"

What, like they did several months ago, in rather a lot of detail?  In next week's Survation poll -

"Do you think Clement Attlee would have been a better Prime Minister if he'd introduced a National Health Service?  Why oh why didn't he do it?"

171 comments:

  1. The Borders TV region did not broadcast the debate and the STV iPlayer was inaccessible during the debate so any opinions that Borderers have on the outcome of the debate will be based upon the media's biased reporting of the debate.

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  2. "Last week, Yes had an 11% lead in that region, whereas now they are behind by 24%. Again, the impact of that turnaround has been magnified, because in both polls respondents from the South had to be upweighted roughly two-fold. Now, to be fair, this week's results are actually more plausible than last week's - you'd expect the South to be one of the most No-friendly regions. "

    Makes you wonder why this sort of analysis wasn't done last week, when we had a poll showing an all-time high for Yes.

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  3. It was. More reading, less trolling would do you the world of good.

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  4. Good in-depth analysis as always James.

    The simple fact of the matter is everyone knows polls are an imperfect snapshot and must always be analysed to see how they match up to the ridiculous spin they are given by their clients like the Daily Mail. It's not as if the scottish public weren't acutely aware of that fact since 2007 and only three years ago in 2011.

    With trust in westminster politicians and the unionist dominated media at an all time low from the scottish public it was inevitable they would be looking more and more to sources like James blog and other popular scottish blogs for their information. An obvious truth which some No supporters just can't cope with.

    You only have to look at the fact that even this poll (with all it's manifest limitations and faults) has more of the scottish public convinced that the westmisnter currency scaremongering is a bluff than not. So much for the BritNat spin that Darling had 'wiped the floor' with Salmond on currency. That even after STV's somewhat comical debate format and the tsunami of unionist media shrieking about currency which ensured that one issue was given far more prominence than it's going to be in the following debates and in the campaign itself.

    Education, foriegn affairs, the environment, jobs, the economy, Welfare, pensions, healthcare, Trident, transport, nuclear power, defense and other issues will most assuredly, all be discussed and debated by the scottish public.

    When they do every single one of those issues (including currency) will then be decided by scots using the fundamental core principle of the Independence referendum.

    Who do who scots trust with scotland's future?

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  5. * Who do scots trust with scotland's future?

    Bit annoying that another "who" popped in as I was formatting that previous post, though it does at least give the opportunity to repeat that fact since it's vital importance simply cannot be emphasised enough.

    It will be interesting to see how many No supporters actually engage with the methodological changes, outright spin and various bizarre weighting anomalies that James has highlighted in the Survation poll.

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  6. Thanks yet again for digging under the surface James. I fear you'll have another mass attendance from that herd called 'anonymous'.

    It's interesting that the No side who constantly accuse Indy supporters of blind optimism and straw-clutching, display these attributes in excess. A single poll virtually within MOE and with at least some questionable weightings instantly becomes the death knell for the Yes campaign, the SNP and Alex Salmond. On the sewagey little backwater that we all love so well, they're now speculating on the massiveness of the No victory, the failure of Salmond's career and the disintegration of the SNP, ON THE BASIS OF A SINGLE POLL! One gets the impression that there's a great deal of pent up fear and therefore anger within their breasts.

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  7. For the benefit of our first anonymous:
    "Unfortunately, there is still one caveat - as Alistair Davidson points out in the comments section below, respondents from the South of Scotland have been upweighted two-fold, and that means what is almost certainly a highly inaccurate breakdown of Yes 50%, No 39% for the region has been magnified." (2/8/14)

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  8. "On the sewagey little backwater that we all love so well, they're now speculating on the massiveness of the No victory, the failure of Salmond's career and the disintegration of the SNP, ON THE BASIS OF A SINGLE POLL!"

    C'mon TUD, who takes those westminster bubble fools seriously? All of the PB herd claimed Cameron's spindoctor Coulson was a non-story for years and now he's in prison.

    One out of touch twit on PB even wrote a piece claiming that Blair would be a great idea to be No spokesman. Imagine that as another Iraq War heats up. The mind boggles.

    Not that Darling will fare much better when he gets asked why he supported the invasion of Iraq and whether he now regrets scaremongering about Weapons of Mass Destruction.

    Darling was hilariously awful as he blustered incoherently for minutes, refusing to admit scotland could be a successful country when independent. So wait till you see him blinking, stuttering and losing the plot completely over that one.

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  9. Desperate shoot the messenger stuff.

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  10. Hi. I have a question regarding weightings which might be a daft one. They divide the votes into regions and then weight up or down depending on sample size. Shouldn't a higher weighting be given to areas with larger populations? Meaning, wouldn't a slight percentage lead in central Scotland outweigh a larger percentage lead in the South Scotland when it comes to the vote. Or am I missing something?

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  11. It will be interesting to see how many No supporters actually engage with the methodological changes, outright spin and various bizarre weighting anomalies that James has highlighted in the Survation poll."

    It certainly didn't take long for an anonymous Britnat twit to answer that one.

    LOL

    Pitiful trolling even by their comically low standards.

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  12. Do people think the cross-party manifesto pledge for no currency union by unionists is sufficient for people to believe them?

    They’ve been screaming ever more loudly about how they are not bluffing yet still feel the need to keep emphasising this as people do when they are telling porkies and can tell it ain’t washing.

    I think they need to go a bit further. Maybe have it tattooed on foreheads? That should convince people they’re not bluffing surely?

    Electoral suicide for 2015 (should Scotland be voting in that) and 2016 anyway. As I said in another thread, threatening to punish your own voters (Labour/Tory/Lib No voters will have to live in an iScotland) must be a campaigning first globally. I see the FM concurs in the Herald this morning.

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  13. "Do people think the cross-party manifesto pledge for no currency union by unionists is sufficient for people to believe them? "

    Who wouldn't believe a manifesto pledge from Clegg? Foolproof! LOL

    Not that Cameron or little Ed's pledges are trusted either.

    Good robust response from Salmond which crystalises the posturing and bluff into a Kamikaze Currency Pledge. Which it most assuredly is from the westminster politicians.

    It will also have the advantage of laying out in detail why the scottish public shouldn't trust the westminster establishment on this since it will be free from the rammy of STV's clumsy debate format and the desperate wall to wall unionist media shrieking and spin.

    The more scots hear and read that Darling himself said a currency union was "desirable" and "logical", the worse it well get for westminster politicians demanding scots must blindly trust them on this issue.

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  14. sorry James you are simply cluthching at straws.Your man Salmond did very badly.Even the Sunday Herald says so and reports discontent amongst the grass roots.Go into workplaces and they are talking about the currency.You can keep the pound all you want but without a currency union and a central bank to underwrite that currency and financial institutions which in turn will underwrite savings, mortgages, pensions etc we might as well all have wee bawbees in our pocket.Continue to ignore it and you will get beat.Listen to some on the yes side and spell out your preferred Plan B

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  15. how about a poll on who believes the polls?

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  16. Anonymous, good that folk are talking. That, as James said in his very sensible IBT article on the subject helps Yes, not No. The problem as I see it with No supporters is their black and white, never look below the surface view of politics, polling and campaigning. Of course the press are saying 'Salmond did very badly' but anyone who believed there was ever going to be any other outcome to Tuesday's debate is living in cloud cuckoo land - the press are the No campaign. It's a bit like asking Blair Jenkins what he thougt and being surprised when he says Salmond was better. And just in case you think I'm spinning this I posted widely on Monday on social media that the outcome of the debate would undoubtedly be 'Salmond slaughtered'. Luckily the posts are timed and still visible so my predictions can be checked. Where Yes supporters made a mistake was in believing that any other outcome was possible. Michael

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  17. The next stage form No will be to do exactly what they did the last umpteen times it came up, to wildly overegg their pudding. I mean the numpties clearly had a small advantage on Tuesday and then lost half of it with their patronising celebs letter. The usual pattern with this one - we've had it about six times already remember - is that they go wildly shrill and lecturing as the punters get bored and move on to something else. f they think they can keep this going for 6 weeks they'll be disappointed. But here's a wee forecast for this week - major company threatens to leave. It's just the whole campaign again but condensed into a short space for those who weren't listening last time. The problem for No is that the negativity and girning gets boring and this time the voters are going to have to look seriously at the alternative prospectus, the place they'll find info about that is from friends and family which is to Yes's advantage since passionate and informed Yes supporters vastly outnumber the No's.

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  18. If people are talking in work saying that Salmond lost the debate, they might just have been listening to the MSM.

    As it has been oft repeated, Among the people who matter most to the Yes campaign, women and especially undecided, our FM came out on top.

    However the more important point is the whole currency scare is based on a huge lie: that Scotland won't be able to use the pound.

    I had an old geezer tell me 'angrily' that we would be ruined cos the pound belongs to England, ie Bank of England!

    As people tell Yes campaigners this and we explain the reality to them that Scotland can use the pound if it wants and no one can stop us, and that it's only a currency union that we are being denied, also that Scotland would be debt free if we don't have the currency union, they will soon begin to come back to the Yes side, and just a little bit p'd off that they have been lied to by the Better Together campaign.

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  19. Everytime there is a poll with the No vote increasing it turns out to be a massively flawed poll! Almost as if it's being done intentionally.

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  20. My mother in law just decided to vote Yes after sitting in the No camp for years.

    Her reason? How dare they tell us we can't have the £!

    Must admit I'm shocked that she moved but also delighted. I'll get her voter reg forms done now :)

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    1. So your mother-in-law has "just" reacted to six month old news. Aye reet.

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    2. Anon : Why not? Darling's whole line of attack was caught in a timewarp from January.

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    3. She has only just engaged with the indyref, this will be her 1st vote

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    4. So she hadn't been in the No camp for years, she was undecided or don't know.

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    5. Anon, she was a default No. When asked she said she would vote No.

      Now she has declared for Yes.

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  21. No you can use the pound.You can use as much of it as you want you just won't have a central bank to underwrite your currency and financial institutions which in turn means mortgages, savings and pensions are now underwritten.I hope Salmond continues down the route he is going.The damage he is doing is fantastic news.Plenty on the yes side not happy.Go read the pro-independence Sunday Herald today. As for anyone who thought Alex Salmond would come out on top...you gotta laugh.Poor old Pete Wishart stated it would be the biggest slaughter since Bannockburn. Silly man who has plenty egg on his face.So keep it up Alex.The longer the better.

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  22. "The breathless way in which Survation report their finding that Darling "won" the debate verges on the idiotic."

    Are we really expecting them to go "oh, we did ask how people viewed the debate, but our polling is likely to be rubbish and ICM's poll is much more accurate so go read their version instead"?

    There's a fair point here which is that media coverage can be assumed to change people's perception of how a debate went - particularly if you consider some people won't have actually watched the full debate in the first place and will be picking up little bits here and there. No doubt that will be cited as more evidence of the massive unionist conspiracy in the media, but it's actually something that always tends to happen with debates - e.g. the Clegg bounce in 2010 showed the same thing (and I assume we don't think the media is being run by Lib Dems).

    I wouldn't actually rule out the opposite thing happening in the second debate given Darling is now probably the favourite to win it (so any improvement from Salmond will be amplified). No matter how many times people keep complaining about media bias, it's utter nonsense to think every single newspaper/TV station and all of the journalists contained within are in cahoots with the No campaign. If Salmond does appear to win the second debate it will be reported as such in the majority of media outlets - if you don't think that's true you're living on another planet.

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    1. Peter : I must be living on another planet, then, because I think if the ICM poll had shown Salmond 56%, Darling 44%, that would have been reported as a draw, not as a crushing Salmond victory. Can you really not see the double standard?

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  23. Given that the First Minister clearly won the first debate with lying, ranting snarling and incoherent backbench MP darling but was declared to have been slaughtered, filleted and by the entire MSM how wrong are you P Wilson?

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  24. "Given that the First Minister clearly won the first debate with lying, ranting snarling and incoherent backbench MP darling but was declared to have been slaughtered, filleted and by the entire MSM how wrong are you P Wilson?"

    In that case anything short of the tabloids running a story in which they state Salmond wiped the floor with him, and that Darling is a "lying, ranting, snarling and incoherent" cretin is going to appear biased in your view. It's no wonder you think the entirety of society is biased in that case, is it?

    Of course there is bias. Of course you can argue overall, taking all things into consideration, there might be some "minor imbalance" (the direct quote from John Robertson who did the famous study on media bias) in the coverage. That doesn't lead us to a point where every media organisation and every journalist is part of a conspiracy.

    This utter nonsense - which would look ridiculous on a football forum far less in a political debate - has been allowed to stand for far too long. Those on the No side refuse to engage with it while Newsnet Scotland and Wings Over Scotland peddle outright conspiracy theories. It's complete gibberish, it makes the Yes campaign look ridiculous and if you had any sense you'd step into the real world and stop seeing the hand of David Cameron behind every development.

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    1. Peter, can I just gently point out to you that you're responding to a No troll, and don't appear to have noticed?

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  25. I'm sympathetic to James who filed at nearly 4,.00 in the morning and raised some interesting points.

    But I am also more than a little confused. I thought Survation was the Yes friendly pollster who were holding out against big bad YouGov (and had argued strongly for their methodology against Kellner) not a viciously slanted Mail-friendly distorter with ludicrous questions. I am NOT querying the interesting arguments about the weighting and I have already disowned the Mail spin but I would like more sense of the overall picture because it seems to me the polls may be starting to move together though there seem to be no further polls on the horizon today.

    Also baffling (though this may just be me) Survation issued a detailed blog on their methodology for their new poll on their site when I looked at it last night. I only read it once and it referred to YouGov, now I can't find it at all.. Can anyone post a link here? Has it been taken down? As I say it may well just be me.

    Last point. I would question Jame's point that any polling done a few days after a debate is invalid because of the spin. I am not so sure about this at all. It was not an argument used after the first Obama debate when large sample polls appeared a few days later showing his supporters had been disappointed. People DO recall their reactions and what they said to people when they were watching it and they are not so psssive they just blithely accept what they have read! That does not sound like the YES supporters on this site and I am quite sure it is not true of many Scots !


    (The idea that the debate was rigged is a stronger argument to me but it would involve accepting the rigging worked to a degree. There is no doubt Salmnd got some good punches in latterly but his problem was that was expected while the bits where Darling scored weee not)




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  26. Anon:"So your mother-in-law has "just" reacted to six month old news. Aye reet"

    The really shocking development of the last week has been Milliband's intervention, essentially threatening Scots, including his own supporters. with punishment if we dare to vote yes.

    Even a horrified Henry McLeish said it was a "major miscalculation."

    Why would any labour voter take kindly to be threatened in this way? Milliband is a fool.

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  27. Sometimes not feeding the trolls is counterproductive.

    It gives them free rein to spread their lies. Which is why some people still carry on the fight over at the anti-scotsman.

    Telling the truth and exposing lies should never be pointless.

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  28. Sorry, but anyone trying to claim that the blatantly obvious wall to wall unionist shrieking after the debate is a "conspiracy" is massively out of touch.

    The unionist press aren't exactly hiding who they support. LOL

    They have been laughably rabid and forthcoming in attacking the SNP, Salmond and the Yes campaign for years. They've even gone so far as to smear Yes supporters on their front pages including ordinary members of the scottish public.

    It's not just the westminster politicians who the scottish public hugely mistrust, it's the unionist dominated media. Anyone trying to tell scots that any bias in the press or lying from westminster politicians must be a figment of their imagination and a 'conspiracy theory' might want to rethink that one.

    Nor will yet another Iraq war do any favours for anyone pretending the media and westminster politicians would ever lie to the scottish public.

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  29. you are not being threatened you are being given what the RUK would do.You may want to fall in line behind Alex and take the gamble but there is an awful lot of folk who don't.Turn it around the other way.Scotland was 10 times the size of the RUK and they voted to leave.Do you think Alex would agree to underwriting their economy and their financial institutions.Do you think Alex would agree to let this much smaller country have a say in his tax and spend policies.Do you think Alex would allow a foreign country to have a say in what they did.Of course he would not.A few need to face up to reality.Big Eck got it badly badly wrong the other night.The game changer happened but not in the way yes thought it would.Instead of slagging off JL at FMQ's every week and having all his MSP's behind him laughing and giggling he came up against somebody who had seen it, worn the t-shirt and it showed.The momentum that was needed has come to a shuddering halt as the very friendly to the yes side Survation showed with the latest poll.You can either change and spell out what you will do after there is no currency union in the event of a yes vote or keep on going the way you are.Watch the polls the longer this goes on.Folk don't want groats or bawbees in their pocket I'm afraid

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  30. 'You can either change and spell out what you will do after there is no currency union'

    Salmond has, you must have missed it.
    rUK has much to fear if Scotland finds England's terms to onerous.
    I expect you'll be shocked if Scotland's negotiating team say 'no thanks'. Whatever will you do?

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  31. I'm absolutely fine with scots having to choose whether they trust the pledges and bluster from westminster politicians. On currency and on every other subject.


    Here's why.

    http://survation.com/as-the-gap-closes-between-the-yes-and-no-campaigns-who-do-scots-trust-with-scotlands-future/


    No doubt Nick Clegg's manifesto pledge against currency union is a massive blow to the Yes campaign, but we'll just have to get over it somehow.

    *chortle*

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  32. "She has only just engaged with the indyref, this will be her 1st vote."

    Of course Chris. I'm surprised it even needs pointing out just how many scots are now turning their attention to be Independence Referendum now that it's beginning to enter the most crucial final stage.

    It's why scottish blogs and Independence focused sites like Scot Goes Pop, Bella Caledonia, Wee Ginger Dug, Newsnet Scotland, Lallands Peat Worrier, Wings Over Scotland, Business for Scotland and others, are getting more and more popular and getting more and more visitors.

    That was always going to be the case.

    It's also why so many amusingly incompetent and anonymous BritNat trolls and astroturfers are crawling out of the woodwork.

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  33. Mick, and what do we know for certain?

    When voters engage and are presented with the correct information they usually end up going Yes!

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  34. "he came up against somebody who had seen it, worn the t-shirt and it showed"

    Since Darling's t-shirt also says "There are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" just how much stuttering, finger-pinting and blinking do you think Darling will have to do when he gets asked about that in next debate?

    We could go over Darlings other t-shirt that has expenses scandal written all over it, but since even the lib dems demanded that Darling should resign over his expenses scandal it's not as if we even need to lay out all the details.

    I somehow don't think either of those two facts will help the No campaign when scots are deciding whether to put any blind faith in the pledges of Westminster politicians, do you?

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  35. Err David if your lot say no thanks to a currency union then that is exactly what people then want to know what you'll do.

    That is exactly the very point people want Alex to tell us

    Which is his preferred option - we simply do not know as he refuses to say it

    So David get on the phone ansd say hey Alex if our lot turn down a currency union what one is it we will use

    Some folk walk right into their own trap lol

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  36. Darling himself said a currency union was "desirable" and "logical".

    His own words are on the record and prove beyond all doubt that he is now full of shit. It's an obvious bluff from a desperate campaign with nothing to offer the people of scotland other than untrustworthy pledges, bluster and relentless negativity.


    So what was that about "Some folk walk right into their own trap"?

    LOL indeed. :)

    :)

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  37. Well, Chris, I guess we'll have to take your word for it. Certainly it would be unbelievably sad to invent such a homely anecdote.

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  38. That almost sounded like one of the anonymous BritNat trolls doubting the word of a scottish voter after the BritNats and tory twits have comprehensively made a fool of themselves on here with their astroturfing and moronic whining.

    They wouldn't be that stupid though, surely?

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  39. Anonymous: "Folk don't want groats or bawbees in their pockets"

    Most folk use plastic cards nowadays actually. I have used the same plastic card across the world in many currencies. It works pretty much everywhere. I don't care what my country's money is called, what I care about is that we stop sending it all to the country next door, where they decide how much spending money we get back.

    I care how much of it is syphoned off into the pockets of the financial and political classes in the south and their associated chums.

    I care that our money is being used to support our NHS and vulnerable citizens and that our children can be educated.

    I'd be quite happy to have our own currency to be honest but I know that if we leave sterling it will instantly collapse, so we kind of have to stay a while for the sake of the rUK.

    The biggest negotiation we will have on currency union will be how long we are in it for. UK will want to tie us in for a century, that won't suit Scotland.

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  40. And yet you doubt the word of the Scottish electorate when they say No to separation in poll after poll.

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  41. Seriously, we have a no troll on here doubting an account of a single person moving from no to yes? Like they don't believe such a thing is possible?

    Man, you guys are hilarious. Haha.

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  42. @ Mick Pork

    Since Darling's t-shirt also says "There are Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq" just how much stuttering, finger-pinting and blinking do you think Darling will have to do when he gets asked about that in next debate?

    AD is on Tay.AM next Sunday on Ally Bally phone in at 11.00am answering ANY questions.

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  43. I wonder what the reaction will be to the YouGov poll tonight if it were to show a fall in the No lead?

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  44. Personally I would prefer a currency board, no bank of last resort and banks that know if they screw around they will not be bailed out.

    I don't care whether it is with the Pound, the Scots pound or Cowrie Shells.

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  45. At least we can now dispense with the notion that this site is anything other than Yes spin.

    Here are some of James’ recent posts about polls that showed Yes gaining?
    Yes campaign surge to new record high in sensational poll from traditionally No-friendly pollster Ipsos-Mori
    Pro-independence campaign make spectacular breakthrough in new poll from traditionally No-friendly firm TNS-BMRB
    Unrounded Survation figures confirm the No lead has fallen to its lowest level so far
    Support for independence soars to highest ever level in landmark Survation poll

    And here, polls with no change/ better figures for No?
    Reasons to be sceptical about the changes in the new Survation poll
    Pro-independence campaign remain on all-time high of 47% in new Survation poll
    New Panelbase poll shows Yes vote up on last directly comparable poll
    ICM poll is better for Yes on the unrounded numbers

    I think the real question is not how much are the trolls getting paid by McDoughal but how much are the SNP paying you?

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  46. James has a good point about the lateness of the poll on who won the debate and how the media could influence responses.

    Before talking it, I’ll state once more that people lie to pollsters all the time, even about the most trivial things, but especially about more sensitive issues. Here is a lovely example for people from the UK:

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/historical-polls/voting-intention-1992-1997

    http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/historical-polls/voting-intention-1997-2001

    1997. Labour went in on 50%+, won on 43% and afterwards got up to 60%. So, we had people saying they planned to vote Labour when they did not (shy Tories) then people to embarrassed to say they didn’t back the winner / still supported another party afterwards. Up to 16% telling porky pies simply in relation to New Labour vs Tory.

    Why do people lie to pollsters? Well, for the same reasons they lie to people; if they are embarrassed by or feel their opinion might put them in a position where they might be called up for it / attacked. Ergo, to state their position clearly and not lie, they need to feel they can justify it.

    Take for example the Y/N question. If someone asks you if you plan to vote Yes or No, there’s a good chance they’ll ask you why next, to justify your choice. That could be the next poll question. You’d better be armed with answers then, because if you are not, it could be awkward. One of the options might be ‘Is it because you are anti-English’ too. How would you handle that one? Can you prove you are not anti-English? You’d better be able to or not say Yes.

    If they are a political anorak, then they will be armed to the teeth with facts and figures, so readily tell the truth and be prepared for being put on the spot for this.

    Obviously, justifying No is easy; the papers are full of stuff saying why Yes is bad. The media provides all the justification you need here without having to come up with something yourself. Saying No is safer. The more Yes-friendly stuff in the media, the more people feel they can justify Yes, especially if they have done their research. Things like currencygate gave people a justification for saying Yes (and boosted polls) rather than actually creating more Yes votes (that would just be a side benefit but in reality, anyone that changed to Yes over currency was most likely a Yes deep down anyway). Much of the movement we have been witnessing is just polls returning to historical values (see below) as people engage with the debate, find facts to back their inherent leanings and are able to link to some media sources which have printed Yes friendly stuff. They said Yes for 11/17 years after all.

    As for the debate - the media narrative will have created the same feeling; according to all the papers, Darling won. Ergo, if you are going to say Salmond won, then you need to justify that with your own reasons unlike someone who says Darling won; they need no justification. So saying Darling is by far the easier option. The media created a narrative with the aim of leading polls towards the conclusion they wanted; not people actually thinking Darling kicked Salmond’s butt, but having to find very good reasons to go against what they were saying. That would require people to watch the debate, do research and produce their own justification. Quite a task. Easier to say ‘Darling(?)’ or ‘DK’.

    Just as it was easier for bob from Bristol to say he supported ‘Labour’ in the aftermath of 1997 even though he was a Tory and hated Labour. Or, for people who planned SNP to say ‘Labour’ to pollsters in late 2010 - early 2011. The polls changed in the end here because the media attacked labour and said their campaign was crap. Subway was classic. This didn’t change people from Labour to SNP; at heart they had been leaning to the SNP since 2007-9. What the media did was to give people a handy means to justify their intention. The more the SNP vote climbed, the more the media jumped on board backing them (confident that a majority was impossible) and so the more people felt it was fine to be honest and say SNP.

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  47. The striking difference between Survation’s ‘who do you trust to make the best decisions for Scotland’poll (and all the other ones on devo max etc) and Yes / No, is because Yes requires the respondent to justify that position as discussed. Saying you don’t trust Westminster is easy – hell, even people in England don’t trust it. You can just roll off the bedroom Tax, MPs expenses, the lack of clear promises on more devolution, Clegg’ broken promises, HS2 going as far as Leeds… These are all valid reasons espoused by the media which someone can use to justify that Westminster doesn’t act in Scotland’s interests.

    Yes was ahead in the polls for 11/17 years since 1997; from then until 2007, then briefly again in 2011. Pre-2007 saying and justifying Yes was fairly easy; you had the Iraq war etc, but the main thing was that the heat wasn’t on Scotland because ‘a referendum was impossible’. The polls then went level / Yes behind 2007-2011 because the heat was on and people would need to justify their e.g. ‘anti-English’ stance. In 2011, the SNP had just won a stunning victory – Scotland was going for indy. Ergo, people could say Yes – I mean that’s what was happening right? Then the full might of the media was turned on Scotland and saying Yes became very difficult again. This was most obvious in face to face (TNS) and (MORI) telephone polls; much more subdued in more anonymous online (panelbase). Panelbase was simply more friendly in the dark days of 12-13 where No were getting silly leads of ~30 points in MORI/TNS because people were a bit more honest with it.

    Of course you could argue there are shy No. There probably are a few, but these don’t seem to exist in polls / there’s no evidence for them. Why would they exist; they have all the justification they need in the media for stating their position. ICM of course looked and found the opposite; people saying No then marking themselves as a Yes later on when asked to scale 1-10.

    Here’s the SoS for Scotland talking about shy Yes voters:

    “If you know you shouldn’t do something but for an emotional reason you are going to do it anyway, then you won’t admit to pollsters what you are going to do.

    “You’ll say you haven’t made your mind up, but know exactly what you are doing but won’t admit it because you are making a judgment that is emotional rather than intellectual.”

    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/independence-referendum-could-go-way-2797015

    This is why the core No is <30% (ICM, TNS); those committed to No / completely against independence and won’t change their mind before the bit day. The rest are still listening or Yes.

    So, the question is not quite how many will vote Yes, but how many will vote No. We know ~4/10 are determined on Yes now it would seem; they are willing to stick their head above the parapet so can be relied on. They can get more shy Yes’s on board too. How many not committed to the union / wanted devo max will go out and vote No though? This explains the increasing number of trolls visiting SGP; if they were confident of a win, they’d not be trolling. Why be so nervous otherwise? Trolling is associated with arrogance and arrogance comes from a lack of confidence.

    Incidentally, if Yes wins, we’ll likely see all but hardcore No saying they voted Yes just like our 1997 Labour liars.

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  48. "At least we can now dispense with the notion that this site is anything other than Yes spin."

    Erm, the title is:

    A pro-independence blog by James Kelly

    What were you expecting, guest articles from Alan Cochrane?

    Feel free to start a pro-union polling site if you like. You can then try to explain stuff like this as Mick Pork posted.

    http://survation.com/as-the-gap-closes-between-the-yes-and-no-campaigns-who-do-scots-trust-with-scotlands-future/

    That's going to be tricky I imagine.

    (sorry if this post appears twice / partially twice - first attempted vanished).

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  49. Anonymous: "I think the real question is not how much are the trolls getting paid by McDoughal but how much are the SNP paying you?"

    Please point to a single instance where James's analysis has been wrong or inaccurate. You can't, can you.

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  50. Can we have a pre poll heads up for the YouGov poll please?

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  51. The YouGov poll will show a swing to no. Can't believe anyone would expect anything else. This is the British Government you are up against.

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  52. "The Borders TV region did not broadcast the debate and the STV iPlayer was inaccessible during the debate so any opinions that Borderers have on the outcome of the debate will be based upon the media's biased reporting of the debate."

    That's not necessarily true - I was in London during the debate and although the STV player didn't work at the beginning, it did kick in just before the start of the cross-examination section where all of the more interesting stuff happened. From then on it worked fine.

    Of course it was possible to watch the whole debate at a later time in any case.

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  53. People on here who are saying that the polls aren't manipulated to show good results for no are one of two things:

    Paid Unionist trolls,

    or

    People who believe what they read in the papers or what they see on our broadcast media.

    Not sure what one's the more embarrassing.

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  54. Actually the most pertinent questions that have to be asked about the YouGov Poll are - whether they have dropped the comical and absurd "Kellner Correction" methodological change - whether they finally make public the absurd secrecy at the heart of the voting data they use for that change - and whether Kellner has finally answered the perfectly reasonable questions about weighting and other matters that James and many others have asked which a YouGov employee promised would be answered weeks ago.

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  55. 'Anonymous Anonymous said...
    Err David if your lot say no thanks to a currency union then that is exactly what people then want to know what you'll do'

    Open your eyes, look at and listen to our FM telling you what we will do. I assume you can actually assimilate and digest words?

    http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/first-minister-no-currency-deal-no-debt-deal/

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  56. @Scottish Skier "This explains the increasing number of trolls visiting SGP; if they were confident of a win, they’d not be trolling."

    I can guarantee if there is a No vote there will be more No trolls on this site on 19 September than ever before. It's gloating, not desperation. Whether the polling is/isn't accurate, it's pretty clear that most No voters think it's accurate and think they're going to win comfortably.

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  57. @Patrick "People on here who are saying that the polls aren't manipulated to show good results for no are one of two things:

    Paid Unionist trolls, or People who believe what they read in the papers or what they see on our broadcast media. Not sure what one's the more embarrassing."

    I don't think you realise quite how left-field that argument actually is. I'd imagine the vast majority of Yes supporters (who are all for the most part reasonable, intelligent people) would reject the idea that the polls are all being manipulated as part of an anti-independence conspiracy. Indeed, I don't know a single Yes supporter who makes that argument, I only ever hear it being made by overly-excitable people on the internet.

    Even the idea of "paid Unionist trolls" is absurd - who is paying people to write inane comments on a blog? That's about the worst possible use of resources I can imagine. Judging by the calibre of some of the No trolls' comments above they aren't exactly providing much value for money either.

    This conspiracy gibberish really has to be put to bed. It's embarrassing to the Yes side more than anyone else. All it does is alienate floating voters because instead of just trying to convince people that independence is a good idea, you've inadvertently pinned a whole load of baggage about media/polling conspiracies to the concept that most ordinary people wouldn't touch with a barge pole.

    I know you no doubt believe this stuff, but it really doesn't help your cause. Is it really that hard to believe that Salmond floundering around with the currency question has put a few people off (perhaps temporarily)? Jim Sillars is making that argument and I presume he's not a Unionist troll.

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  58. Hi David

    oh yes I listened to your FM

    I listened to him about pandas and aliens and them driving on the right hand side of the road.

    Probably not the best week to ask did we listen to the FM

    1.7 million Scots heard him tell the country all about it.


    Can you tell me what his preferred option is in the event of no currency union.

    Not all the options just his preferred option please

    Simples really

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  59. "it's pretty clear that most No voters think it's accurate and think they're going to win comfortably."

    Yes, that's the problem for you lot, isn't it. Your voters are sat at home thinking about Coronation Street and what they will have for dinner instead of getting out on the streets, knocking on doors. Half of them are so confident of a comfortable win that they probably won't even turn out to vote.

    That's why you're all tweeting "no complacency" all the time.

    Your voters, incidentally, are still far away from the 50% mark, it's the undecideds that you are on here trying to frighten. You've got competition tho, Boris Johnstone is frightening them more into voting yes.

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  60. "I'd imagine the vast majority of Yes supporters... would reject the idea that the polls are all being manipulated."

    How wrong you are. People talk about it all the time, yes and no voters. Probably because they vary wildly from each other, one day we have one saying 38%Y/62%N followed the next day by one that says 48%Y/52%N. How can anyone take the polls seriously when that sort of thing happens all the time? Of course they will question their accuracy, you would have to be numerically illiterate not to. EVERYONE thinks they are getting it wrong, it is just the degree of wrong that is uncertain.

    To be honest, I'm starting to wonder if you anonymous guys even live in Scotland, you really don't seem to have a clue of what folk here are talking about day to day. And you say things like "your FM." Most Scottish folk just call him Alex Salmond, at a push THE FM. I know quite a few no voters, Labour and Tory and none of them would EVER say "your" FM

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  61. Betty: "I'm starting to wonder if you anonymous guys even live in Scotland"

    Yep, look, here's another hint that Anonymous doesn't have a vote in our referendum: "I was in London during the debate."

    Think you've been rumbled, mate.

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  62. It's no secret that BT are bussing activists up from England so is it a huge leap to believe that they use internet trolls from England also?

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  63. Anon says, "Even the idea of "paid Unionist trolls" is absurd - who is paying people to write inane comments on a blog? That's about the worst possible use of resources I can imagine. Judging by the calibre of some of the No trolls' comments above they aren't exactly providing much value for money either. "


    Two words. McTierney. Australia.

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  64. saynotoyesmen here *audience screams in delight*

    just to say the scottish half of the border tv region did get the debate, they can multiplex different programmes to both sides of the border

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  65. "AD is on Tay.AM next Sunday on Ally Bally phone in at 11.00am answering ANY questions."

    @cynicalHighlander

    Thank you kindly for that information cynicalHighlander. I may well try to get an answer and I would urge others to try as well.

    Let us be clear. Iraq is no longer some historical shame for Darling, the westminster establishment and the media.

    There are UK boots on the ground in Iraq now, likely scots boots as the SAS and their support systems are inserted into flashpoints.

    The UK government are considering airstrikes and military action so despite all the talk of hunanitarian aid (the SAS aren't there for humanitarian aid for a start) I'm afraid the continued airstrikes tell a very different story.

    It would be unthinkable for there not to be questions on this at the next debate given the seriousness of the situation and the certainty that the violence will escalate.

    Some of us, quite a few of us I suspect also have family or friends in the forces. So I'm afraid I consider it of more than passing importance to ask the likes of Darling "Why did you support the Iraq War and why did you scaremonger about Weapons of Mass Destruction?"

    I've been following the disintigration of Iraq for years and was posting regularly on another site of the incredible carnage that preceded the current crisis from the start of this year. This is no 'sudden' crisis but a constant escalation that had reached genocidal ethnic cleansing and murder squads long before now. The fact that the airstrikes and military intervention begin as yet more Oil fields looked increasingly under threat will not reassure anyone being told by westminster that this is for 'noble' reasons. Or reasure scots that scotland will not be dragged into yet another endless quagmire by westminster politicians.

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  66. well I certainly live in Scotland and waiting on Alex Salmonds preferred option should there be no currency union.

    Not a list of options just his preferred option

    thank you

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  67. would reject the idea that the polls are all being manipulated as part of an anti-independence conspiracy."

    I'd generally agree - no tinfoil hat here. I've given my own beliefs at length for the rather contradictory and highly variable nature of Y/N polls since the referendum became a possibility in 2007.

    Prior to that, going back to 1997 and beyond, a solid Yes was the norm. That was after all why we were given the devolution referendum; to try and prevent independence which the polls showed would likely end Britain by the late 1990's.

    We do however have two examples of very bad polling practice where pollsters are using 'gut feelings' that Scots are more pro-union than results suggest.

    These are Yougov with it's Labour / No boosting 'Kellner correction' - which flies in the face of established protocols - and ICM determined to prove a shy no vote based on nothing more than a wish for one using loaded questions that changed the Y/N result (of course they didn't find such a thing, but evidence for the opposite).

    Everyone is biased. It just depends on the degree of bias.

    There is no such thing as an impartial expert nor completely non-biased polling company. People are human after all and they may not even realise that they are doing something.

    The most important thing is they don't try to hide their bias in an attempt to deceive. James and regular commenters on here do not.

    I am quite aware of my bias - I will seek to find evidence of what I'd like to be the case.

    Thankfully, polls are full of this; it's just Yes/No straight up that seem out of step with everything else (e.g. Mick Porks classic example from Survation). I'm wondering why and have tried to offer explanations for that based on simple, rational arguments.

    I don't think kidding myself is sensible so won't make stuff up without presenting evidence. At the same time, I'm going to make my own mind up about polls and not listen to the MSM who are terrible when it comes to such things.

    So, no, no 'hidden' conspiracy in x-files style. However, we must always keep in mind that polls tell us how people responded, not what they really think. The art of interpretation is working out the latter from the former.

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  68. "It's no secret that BT are bussing activists up from England so is it a huge leap to believe that they use internet trolls from England also?"

    Given nobody really reads these comment sections other than the people arguing about it I'd say absolutely, that's incredibly far-fetched. You could spend money on some posters and reach far more people than arguing on a blog comment section would ever reach.

    We're putting the cart before the horse in any case. Conspiracy theorists always complain about "paid shills". Anyone who disagrees with them is assumed to be part of the conspiracy - that's the only way you can defend ludicrous conspiracies in the first place because you quickly find normal people, whether they agree with your politics or not, don't buy into that nonsense at the best of times.

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  69. @Anonymous

    That'll be a 'no I didn't' then.

    Turning away from evidence with a stiff British upper lip.

    Well I tried.

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  70. Peter, what's far fetched? The bussing of activists or the paid trolls?


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  71. Betty: "How wrong you are. People talk about it all the time, yes and no voters. Probably because they vary wildly from each other, one day we have one saying 38%Y/62%N followed the next day by one that says 48%Y/52%N. How can anyone take the polls seriously when that sort of thing happens all the time? Of course they will question their accuracy, you would have to be numerically illiterate not to. EVERYONE thinks they are getting it wrong, it is just the degree of wrong that is uncertain."

    There's nothing odd about arguing the polls are getting it wrong. After all, they vary to such a large extent at least some of them must be getting it wrong and by a very wide margin for that matter. YouGov and Panelbase can't both be right.

    The reason is they use different methodologies. How you weight the responses, how you compile the sample, how you ask the question, and various other factors can all skew the result on some level. That's why the trend is the real thing that matters, not the headline figures - in fact if you look at trends, the polls have been quite consistent (there was a rise in Yes earlier this year in several polls, then little movement until the Commonwealth Games and now we're waiting to see what's going to happen post-debate).

    Where it goes into the realms of insanity in my view is when we start arguing all the polls are being intentionally manipulated, seemingly in unison, to try and fool the electorate. I refuse to believe that a majority of Yes supporters (far less all of them) agree with that theory.

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  72. "Given nobody really reads these comment sections other than the people arguing about it"

    ROFL

    Your so desperate to believe that aren't you? You'll have to try harder than that. I KNOW for a fact the some people I have pointed in the direction of Scot Goes Pop, Bella Caledonia, Wee Ginger Dug, Newsnet Scotland, Lallands Peat Worrier, Wings Over Scotland, Business for Scotland didn't just read the headline articles but dug deeper and some even comment fairly regularly now.

    They seem quite pleased to be able to talk with others about what matters to them for the Independence referendum without being constantly told what to think by a shrieking unionist dominated media and westminster politicians.

    As for the pitiful recourse to bleating conspiracy theory at ever piece of information you don't find palatable, tell me, was the 2011 landslide win for the SNP against a backdrop of unrelenting unionist media hostility and months of unfavourable polling a "conspiracy theory"?

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  73. Pantone300: "Peter, what's far fetched? The bussing of activists or the paid trolls?"

    The internet trolls.

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  74. McTernan did it in Australia. McTernan is involved here. Why would we think he's NOT doing it again?

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  75. @Anonymous

    Pop a note off to David Cameron and tell him to enter into negotiations with the SG and we'll know where we all stand.

    The FM has told you what will happen. If your powers of comprehension are so abysmally poor, we can hardly be blamed for marking you down as an obtuse troll.

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  76. Just to clarify who could watch it on TV. In East Berwickshire in the Borders you only have access to the ITV border opt out if you use terrestrial broadcasting, ie basic non satellite freeview. If I want to watch STV I have to watch online. The STV player rarely works and I have given up trying. I follow Scotland Tonight on Twitter and catch up next day.

    If I had Freesat I would not be able to watch ITV Border opt out programmes. So I could watch the debate on TV live but those who had freesat here couldn't.

    In remote areas of the Borders we are so unimportant that the relay stations are not updated to enable us to access full Freeview. In my house I don't even get ITV2 or 3 and have only recently got Film4

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  77. Mick: "Your so desperate to believe that aren't you? You'll have to try harder than that. I KNOW for a fact the some people I have pointed in the direction of Scot Goes Pop, Bella Caledonia, Wee Ginger Dug, Newsnet Scotland, Lallands Peat Worrier, Wings Over Scotland, Business for Scotland didn't just read the headline articles but dug deeper and some even comment fairly regularly now."

    We're going into rather odd territory here. It was a straightforward point that if you were going to pay people to spread No propaganda you'd be better served doing it via a poster or someone knocking on doors rather than in the comment section of a blog (just on the off chance a passing floating voter scrolls down to comment number 85 and ever gets a chance to read it).

    Do you actually believe there are people on this thread who are being paid by the No campaign to write nonsense? Genuinely?

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  78. Thanks Rolfe. I mixed up my macs. :-)

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  79. Lidl supermarket 3pm.
    Managed to grab last bag from box of baby potatoes - Ayrshire grown, Saltire on top right-hand corner of bag.
    Next to it was three boxes filled high with bags of baby potatoes with union flags on top right-hand corner of bag.
    Similar use-by dates on bags.
    Polls?! Who needs 'em.

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  80. Scottish Skier: "Everyone is biased. It just depends on the degree of bias.

    There is no such thing as an impartial expert nor completely non-biased polling company. People are human after all and they may not even realise that they are doing something."

    Obviously I can agree with this. I'll also concede that bias might enter polling and be part of the reason they could get the results wrong. But that's just another reason why we should focus on the trend rather than the aggregate figures: i.e. even if bias is a factor here it's going to be a consistent factor across different polls. In other words if Yes goes up or down then it's still telling us something about real changes in public opinion.

    And of course, polling companies - which cover countless different issues beyond Scottish independence, after all - have a stake in trying to eliminate these biases as much as possible.

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  81. "We're going into rather odd territory here"

    I quoted your own words Peter. So don't complain when I point out to you how absurd they sound. It's blatantly obvious that the headline articles get more views than the 'below the fold' comments sections. We all know that. Pretending that "nobody" really reads anything other than the main body article is however utterly futile and simply incorrect.

    Do I believe there are No activists trolling this blog? I believe my own eyes there, so yes. As to whether they get paid or not, I've no idea. However, it's an area you really don't want to get into given McTernan has involved himself in the No campaign and that the No campaign has joined in with smearing Yes supporters on the front pages of the likes of the Daily Mail.

    Do you genuinely believe there aren't any No campaign supporters or activists trolling this blog?

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  82. I'm puzzled by the polls, and I don't wholly exclude a consipracy.

    Yes is absolutely bloody rampant by any measure other than the opinion polls and the bookies' odds. I think we all know how betting odds can be manipulated by people with a very great deal of money at their disposal and we also know there is evidence of that happening here. But what about the polls?

    - Yes has huge numbers of grass-roots activists, genuinely self-starting and self-motivating and completely out of control. No is begging Labour members to come out and be active (often in vain) and bussing up students from England.

    - Yes events are always well-attended and often packed out. No struggle to get anyone to come along.

    - Yes window posters and car stickers are very visible all over the place, despite not being mailed out unsolicited. You hardly ever see No posters or car stickers, despite these being distributed en masse.

    - Every online poll there is seems to show Yes around 80 to 90%. OK, not representative, but why can't No get people to go and vote in these things?

    - The internet is crawling with Yes-supporting blogs and web sites. No-supporting blogs are few, and those that exist have moths flying round them.

    - Yes canvassers are reporting very encouraging canvass returns. No never talk about their canvass returns.

    - Yes activists are constantly talking about friends and family who've moved to Yes. No activists (those that exist) never report similar anecdotes.

    It's obviously true that a lot of the No vote is sullen and bitter and doesn't want to go to meetings or get active or even go online. So it's possible (in fact inevitable) that the enthusiastic visibility of Yes is giving a false impression. I just find the scale of the proposition we're being invited to believe to be somewhat implausible.

    At face value, we should be looking at 80-90% Yes. That's clearly not the case. But to propose that Yes is still below 45% despite appearances is stretching credulity for me. In particular, we're being asked to believe that there has been little or no move to Yes since about Easter or thereabouts, despite the increasing engagement with the Yes campaign we've seen in that time, and the personal experiences of Yes campaigners with their own social circles.

    I just can't reconcile this in any sensible way. There's something a bit weird about it, and I'd like to hear what Scottish Skier thinks about it.

    I also wonder what his current thoughts are about his "conspiracy theory" from way back that Cameron wasn't as averse to a Yes vote as he made himself out to be.

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  83. "And of course, polling companies - which cover countless different issues beyond Scottish independence, after all - have a stake in trying to eliminate these biases as much as possible"

    In the final polls before the election they do. For every other poll they still get paid by their clients. Being simply wrong or out of kilter with other polling companies has not forced any of the major polling companies into bankrupty yet. Some also don't need to rely on political polling as their only source of income since they do so much commercial work for various corporate clients which has proved extremely lucrative for them. The entire industry of public relations and advertising would almost grind to a halt without the feedback/focus groups and polling some pollsters provide them.

    They are companies providing a service for a client. No more, no less. They are also very far from being infallible.

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  84. Although I certainly love the idea of an eight point swing toward no, I agree that we need to be cautious about this. Survation have been going in different directions over the last few polls which, given the heavy weighing, could be a result of margin of error. It could be a picture of relative stability with the odd Yes or No friendly outlier occurring due to weighing.

    Also, I don't think that many of the earlier anonymous posters are being particularly constructive, even if they are on my own side.

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  85. Mick: "In the final polls before the election they do. For every other poll they still get paid by their clients. Being simply wrong or out of kilter with other polling companies has not forced any of the major polling companies into bankrupty yet. Some also don't need to rely on political polling as their only source of income since they do so much commercial work for various corporate clients which has proved extremely lucrative for them. The entire industry of public relations and advertising would almost grind to a halt without the feedback/focus groups and polling some pollsters provide them.

    They are companies providing a service for a client. No more, no less. They are also very far from being infallible."

    And yet oddly when Wings or the SNP commission a poll it doesn't immediately go on a wild swing toward Yes even though the clients in this case support independence.

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  86. Lest we forget, there is also the small matter of the Chilcott Inquiry into Iraq still to report as Iraq dominates the news yet again.

    Unfortunately the public will only be allowed to see the "gist" of the conversations between Tony Blair and George Bush.

    A perfect time then for Alistair Darling to clarify in the next debate just why it is he told the scottish public there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq? Does he also still support the Iraq invasion.

    After all, if we are truly 'better together' it is only right and fair that Darling should explain to scots why they should trust westminster politicians like him and Blair to be honest with us. Particularly when it comes to matters of life and death like war and military intervention.

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  87. Blinking HystericalAugust 10, 2014 at 9:20 PM

    We all know McTernan is involved in this referendum but does anyone know how and where? Who employs/pays him? Where does he work from? What's his job description? He's not particularly visible so he's definitely up to something behind the scenes.

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  88. There is a YouGov poll tonight and if that doesnt show a swing to Yes after a very poor last poll then I might start to believe that I am completely wrong about what is going on in the campaign or the polls are seriously wrong.

    I don't think they are wrong deliberately but I wonder about sampling and weighting.


    The voters might be a very different constituency than in general elections so weighting according to past vote won't work accurately.

    How are folk that did not previously vote weighted?

    I know of entire families that are registered and intend to vote for the first time ever. How are they accounted for and weighted?

    There is also voters that always vote Party X but they are not sure this time so don't vote,

    The possibility is that the turnout will be very different to a GE.

    If the pollster uses general population they still have to apply a turnout model.
    It is this turnout model that determines the weightings if it is wrong then the polls are wrong.

    ReplyDelete
  89. now now David your doing an Alex Salmond here

    David said...
    @Anonymous

    The FM has told you what will happen. If your powers of comprehension are so abysmally poor, we can hardly be blamed for marking you down as an obtuse troll.

    I know all the different options that htere are but could you simply tell me which one will it be if there is not a currency union.

    Now it is really quite a simple question but you appear to have the same difficulty Alex Salmond has.

    Jim Sillars and Dennis Canavan had no bother answering it so what do you think it will be

    ReplyDelete
  90. "Managed to grab last bag from box of baby potatoes - Ayrshire grown, Saltire on top right-hand corner of bag."

    Very sound methodology. ;-)

    This place is getting busy too. Folk are now moving to final decision.

    At this point in time in 2011 (t-38), Labour were still in front.



    ReplyDelete
  91. @Anonymous 9.29PM

    Now this really is a simple question so we'll see if you have the same difficulty answering it that Darling did when asked to admit scotland could be a successful country when Independent.

    Did you believe Alistair Darling when he said there were Weapons of Mass destruction in Iraq?

    The scottish public had no bother answering that one and thought Darling and Blair were full of shit so what do you think Darling's answer should be

    ReplyDelete
  92. "Very sound methodology. ;-)"

    Sadly more thought likely went into that methodology than YouGov's absurd "Kellner Correction". ;-)

    "This place is getting busy too."

    I'm sure James will be gutted. LOL

    "At this point in time in 2011 (t-38), Labour were still in front."

    Why must you piss all over the No trolls chips? Chips made wi Ayrshire tatties nae doot. :-D

    ReplyDelete
  93. I remember driving round the outlying houses and farms this far out from 2011, with a strange feeling. I wasn't just leafleting for the SNP in the hope that we'd do OK and another step in the long twilight struggle and so on. I was absolutely petrified of Labour getting back in and Iain Gray being FM and losing the Scotland-first government of the SNP.

    I was moderately despondent. I couldn't believe people could be so stupid, but some days I was resigned and other days the best I dared hope for was a slight increase in the SNP lead and the chance to go on as a minority government with a slightly better mandate.

    Then look what happened.

    I believe to this day that as the election drew near, as crunch time approached, voters took a long hard look at the alternatives and saw exactly which side their bread was buttered on. I'm sensing a similar possibility here.

    Obviously I'm getting more hostility on the doorsteps than I was getting in 2011. I live in the Borders, goddamnit. But the Borders aren't going to decide the outcome. Our role is just to keep our end up, not to break the 50% mark. It's developing into a contest between the upbeat, positive, reasonable Yes side, and the bitter, negative, vindictive No side. Between promises of austerity and hopes of a better future.

    Whatever the electorate was smoking in May 2011, I hope they light up again next month.

    ReplyDelete
  94. Brilliant news

    Yougov poll just released

    55% No

    35% yes

    exclude dont knows and it's 615 - 39%

    fantastic news

    well done Alex keep saying nothing on Plan B

    ReplyDelete
  95. should read 61% - 39%

    ya beauty

    ReplyDelete
  96. "exclude dont knows and it's 615 - 39%

    fantastic news£


    ROFL




    When you eventually work out what the headline numbers are No troll, you will be able to tell us whether the absurd "Kellner Correction" is still being used and whether YouGov are still a laughing stock for using it?

    ReplyDelete
  97. Yasssssss!!!! Get it right up you Natz, told you the YouGov would show an increass, LOL! You not even going to get a third of the vote.
    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaasssssssssssss!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  98. So the 'disaster' of DabteNoPlanBgate has produced, wait for it...Yes NC, No +1pt.

    Golly.

    ReplyDelete
  99. feeling sick, yet, porky boy?

    can't wait till the 19 th of September, I'll be on here all day telling you all to Get It Right Up You, ya beauty

    ReplyDelete
  100. Rejoice! Rejoice! PMSL. Unitroll xx

    ReplyDelete
  101. TOLD you we knew that currency was the right way to go. scares too many people. Looks like it worked out ha ha.

    don't think I'm going to tire of sayong get it right up you LOL

    ReplyDelete
  102. All that mindless shrieking, all that rampant hysteria from every unionist paper in the land, all that gushing praise of Darling from tory twits, all that triumphalism that Darling "wiped the floor with Salmond" produced, wait for it...


    NO CHANGE!


    *tears of laughter etc.*


    No change in a pollster that is already a laughing stock for it's preposterous "Kellner Correction".

    It was all for nothing. Poor old BritNat twits. They never ever learn. :D

    ReplyDelete
  103. Absolutely fantastic news

    It is all falling apart

    One man to blame

    If you had any sense you would tell the country your preferred choice for plan B and you would get Nicola in and Alex out.

    I hope you continue down this route right up to polling day

    A fantastic poll - yes in big trouble

    ReplyDelete
  104. Hey James.

    Long time reader, first time writer. I tended to enjoy the comments sections of your posts due to the objective nature of the comments. However, this is becoming a bit of a joke now, with the "anonymous" posts beginning to ruin what was, and still is, an excellent site. Time to do something about it.

    Regards from Berlin/Munich.

    ReplyDelete
  105. All the shrieking about Currency changed nothing shit for brains.

    Because only 2% of scots consider it the most important issue in the referendum and some of us knew that.

    Darling claimed there was Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq and now Iraq is dominating all the news, I don't think he's gong to escape that in the next debate, do you?

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  106. Get some sleep Mick. Please!

    ReplyDelete
  107. love it

    only 2% worry about the currency

    I really do hope you keep it up all the way to polling day

    Heard the latest one pon pandas

    there are more pandas in Scotland than Alex Salmond's options on a currency - boom boom

    ReplyDelete
  108. Long time reader, first time writer. I tended to enjoy the comments sections of your posts due to the objective nature of the comments. However, this is becoming a bit of a joke now, with the "anonymous" posts beginning to ruin what was, and still is, an excellent site. Time to do something about it.

    I concur.

    ReplyDelete
  109. I agree, BVB1909, We are now the same as the Scotsman, it will only drive readers away.

    ReplyDelete
  110. Interesting that you can't move for london based apambots. JK Rowling must be so please that her money is being well spent in denying the democratic rights of an entire country.

    And come the 19th September all of you should be very afraid. Your lords and masters will not take kindly to your total failure to prevent Scotland winning.

    ReplyDelete
  111. What about the system that Wings has where the first post has to be moderated then the poster can only use that name? Is that a possibility, James?

    ReplyDelete
  112. saynotoyesmen here *all other readers fist pump shouting "oh yeah!"*

    Fact is no change in any poll is fine for no. 1-0 up, heading into injury time, its the equivalent of time-wasting, keep the ball in the corner, bring a sub on etc.

    ReplyDelete
  113. "only 2% worry about the currency"

    'Which of these would you say is most important to you in deciding how you might vote in the referendum?' - Currency 2% TNS-BMRB

    A pollster who isn't a laughing stock for a lunatic "Kellner Correction". YouGov are still keeping secret the past vote data that the "Kellner Correction" is based on. Nor have they answered the many questions about No friendly upweighting that a YouGov employee promised would be. Until they do they will never be taken seriously.

    Sorry to have to upset you with the facts.

    There is about as much chance of Yes activists letting a Kellner poll (that shows no change from the debate LOL) getting to us as there is of Darling apologising for his expenses scandal or apologising for scaremongering about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

    ReplyDelete
  114. I suppose you could still worry about something without it being the most important factor in deciding how you would vote.

    ReplyDelete
  115. A bitterly disappointing evening for the No campaign - they must have been expecting some kind of post-debate bounce, but there's absolutely nothing. Glad to see our resident trolls are putting a brave face on it, though.

    I'm on a train at the moment, but a post will appear after 1am.

    ReplyDelete
  116. Good luck in driving out the idiots spoiling the comments section.

    The Better Together TV / Radio / Press campaign backfired. The first poll, and it had to be the one with the 'Kellner correction' gives No 55 (+1) Yes 35 (nc) Undecided 10 (-1)

    Come on Scotland.. let's win our independence..

    ReplyDelete
  117. "Fact is no change in any poll is fine for no"

    So you admit the debate and all the shrieking about currency changed nothing? Looks like a great many of you No trolls have been proved to be idiots for a start.

    It's also not just any poll chum. It's YouGov who have already inserted of the most bizarre and absurd methodolological changes ever seen from a supposedly respectable pollster. A change which inflates the No vote and which other pollsters openly mocked and dismissed at the time.

    ReplyDelete
  118. James - looks as though fieldwork dates straddle the debate, so would act to dilute a bounce, if any.

    ReplyDelete
  119. SNTYM here again

    anonymity isnt the problem, its abuse. plenty of registered or named posters on here use terms that arent polite eh mick?

    aw hell lets cut to the chase. whats spoiling it are posters who dont buy the yes party line. Get rid of us internet filth in your quest for a msm-free unbiased viewpoint by all means :-)

    In the end its up to james its his blog

    ReplyDelete
  120. "It's also not just any poll chum. It's YouGov who have already inserted of the most bizarre and absurd methodolological changes ever seen from a supposedly respectable pollster. A change which inflates the No vote and which other pollsters openly mocked and dismissed at the time."

    According to UKPR the change in the weighting this time actually benefits Yes. However it doesn't give much confidence that it is being changed so often!

    ReplyDelete
  121. They've added another TWO methodological changes apparently on top of the absurd Kellner correction.

    Do we have to add a new number to every YouGov poll to indicate how many more methodological and weighting changes were made in it for every single new poll, because it's getting beyond ridiculous now.

    Still, it gives James plenty to get his teeth into.

    Kellner seems eccentrically intent on proving that YouGov doesn't have a fucking clue how to accurately poll for Independence Referendum.

    ReplyDelete
  122. However, this is becoming a bit of a joke now, with the "anonymous" posts beginning to ruin

    You’ll likely need to get used to it in the coming weeks.

    Trolling is what people do when they get desperate; it’s really that simple.

    People who are happy and confident do not feel any need to actively seek out those whom they disagree with and verbally assault them for no reason.

    While annoying for sure, the more No activists on here, the better the signs are for Yes.

    If No were confident, we’d be alone / talking to ourselves.

    I can understand the concerns of No. They never wanted to be in this position to start with, i.e voting a referendum. Briefly, in 2012-2013, they had a seemingly ridiculous lead of 30 points or so. To have steadily lost that month by month as the day approaches must be difficult.

    Ahead of vote, it is the trend that is most important. So No desperately need something that says people are now moving away from Yes to buck the long term trend. That's why they are here - to try and find evidence of this, while at the same time goading. If they were winning, they'd have their own polling sites and a few lonely, angry yessers would be trolling those instead. Situation reversal basically.

    ---

    In 2011, the first poll to suggest the SNP would win clearly was at t-23 (we are t-38). The gap was then closed again between the SNP and labour at t-14. Only after t-11 did the polls start to show in earnest what would possibly happen; that people were going to vote for what happens next month.

    I must say I was perplexed. I didn't understand where the SNP up to 45% in 2009 had gone. It was because it hadn't gone; people just lied to pollsters. I must admit thinking 'you bastards - I love you' when the votes started being counted. How to stress out a poll geek in one easy step was 2011.


    ReplyDelete
  123. "Kellner seems eccentrically intent on proving that YouGov doesn't have a fucking clue how to accurately poll for Independence Referendum."

    That's rather over the top. I actually think weighting by country of birth makes a lot of sense (which is one of the changes here). The reason being that those who are born in England, for instance, are more likely to vote No. If they hadn't weighted it that way then the result would have been 38 Yes / 62 No (i.e. the weighting has reduced the No lead with DKs excluded by 2 points).

    There's nothing wrong with changing the methodology if it leads to more accurate results or makes sense on its own merits. I think that change does make sense and actually increases the Yes vote in any case.

    ReplyDelete
  124. "There's nothing wrong with changing the methodology"

    There absolutely is when it's shrouded in secrecy like the preposterous "Kellner Correction" is. For that matter why on EARTH would a supposedly respectable pollster leave it till now to finally weight by birth? Same goes for all the other bizarre last minute tweaks and changes.

    You can spin it however you like but the appearance is of a pollster who simply isn't confident they have anything like the correct and robust polling in place and have left it to the final stretch before hurriedly altering their methodology multiple times.

    I can't wait to see what the next YouGov poll's methodological change will be personally. Assuming it's only one of course. We may well get another two or three new changes after all.

    ReplyDelete
  125. They've added another TWO methodological changes apparently on top of the absurd Kellner correction.

    So this is pretty much useless then if that is the case. What to compare with?

    As usual, I'll wait for tables before giving more thought.

    I'm all for adjusting methods, testing these etc, but not with just weeks to go is what I think right now.

    Method adjustment has been the main theme over the last year. This of course means the pollsters don't feel they have a good idea what will happen.

    That's fair enough. Scotland has been tricky for elections due to just 15 years of devolution; i.e. little long term patterns to work with. In that short period it has progressed rapidly towards a referendum on indy too, confounding polls.

    That's very little time to develop good methods for gauging opinion especially with such poor foresight in past elections.

    Y/N polls are just part of the picture and must treat them as such. Scotland's situation is very unique.

    Anyway, 2011 led to this and I can't help but feel as sense of Déjà vu polls-wise for reasons I've posted on before.

    ReplyDelete
  126. "There absolutely is when it's shrouded in secrecy like the preposterous "Kellner Correction" is. For that matter why on EARTH would a supposedly respectable pollster leave it till now to finally weight by birth? Same goes for all the other bizarre last minute tweaks and changes."

    Polling companies change methodology when they think it will help their accuracy. It really isn't any more complicated than that.

    We're talking about a referendum which has a different dynamic to a normal election - e.g. birth shouldn't really make much difference to party choice in an election, but in the referendum it could be expected to play a role. YouGov aren't the only company who have done this, actually, Panelbase also changed their polling weighting to include birth as well. The reason why they did is that it became apparent samples were containing too many people born in England, so they took that on board and altered it to make it more representative.

    In any case we know the two changes in this case haven't boosted the No vote. The birth weighting has marginally boosted the Yes vote. The age change they also did here has made no difference to the result. What precisely is so objectionable about those changes is beyond me - get rid of them and the result shifts marginally toward No (essentially making no real difference to the overall result).

    ReplyDelete
  127. "Anyway, 2011 led to this and I can't help but feel as sense of Déjà vu polls-wise for reasons I've posted on before. "

    You are right to do so because when it comes right down to it what we will likely see is a sudden rush of veiled and furtive change/tweaks days before the actual poll. That will allow some of these pollster to cover their arse.


    I certainly do not envy you or James your task while this sort of thing goes on.

    ReplyDelete
  128. The changes made little difference in this case.

    That's the entire point. This is not their last poll and it is most assuredly close enough to the final stretch for it to be perceived as almost 'last minute' when they've been polling on this for years.

    ReplyDelete
  129. To all you Labour no trolls on here bleating on about currency unions, lets talk about some of the other reasons people are voting yes.

    You do realise that if we stay in the union that it is very likely that our NHS will be privatised?

    As the England NHS becomes privatised (and it is, google it) the Govt will spend less on it. The Barnett consequentials mean we will get less in the block grant to pay for ours. We will have no choice but to begin privatisation.

    Anyone who tells you Scotland's Block grant is safe is a fool. Osborne is eyeing £25bn of cuts in the next few years, Labour have said they will match them.

    Now, are you aware that the average American health insurance policy is $22,000 per annum equivalent to over £1000 per month for a family of four?

    People who don't have health insurance in the United States just die. If you have a baby that is born with a serious condition your baby will not get cover. If it needs heart surgery you will need to pay for it.

    The Americanisation of the UK will be completed in the next decade.

    Are you sure you are OK about this?

    Now quit bleating about the £ and think about the wellbeing of other people for a change.

    ReplyDelete
  130. You're really reaching at this point, Mick. I understand precisely what it is you're trying to do - you want to undermine YouGov's credibility overall and make an exaggerated argument to the effect that everything they produce simply "doesn't count" because it's all skewed by apparently crazy/random methodological tweaks nobody can understand. That's brilliant - keep campaigning on that point if you like - but I'm not particularly interested in that argument so if you can leave me out of it that would be great.

    I'm interested in the real world of how polling actually works and in this case we're talking about two extremely minor changes which:

    1. Make quite a lot of sense, and

    2. Have an incredibly small impact on the actual results in any case

    ReplyDelete
  131. "In 2011, the first poll to suggest the SNP would win clearly was at t-23 (we are t-38). The gap was then closed again between the SNP and labour at t-14. Only after t-11 did the polls start to show in earnest what would possibly happen; that people were going to vote for what happens next month."

    I think it's a bit more complicated than this. At the equivalent point to this poll in 2011 (the Monday five weeks before the vote - the 28th of March 2011) the swing toward the SNP in YouGov's polling was already well underway. It had shifted from a 9 point lead for Labour in the constituency vote in February, to a 1 point lead for the SNP on the 28th of March. It then continued to rise up until the 21st of April at which point YouGov's polling had swung so far to the SNP that it was about in line with the final result (SNP about 13 points ahead of Labour).

    So we are behind the 2011 trend in terms of YouGov's polling. If we were matching the 2011 trend we should have seen a notable swing to Yes so far and we should be expecting over the next three weeks that this swing would continue - with Yes being in line to overtake No around the end of August. At present we aren't seeing anything like that, we're actually seeing No mildly increase its lead in the last four months.

    We're reaching a point where we either say YouGov's polling is completely worthless and we ignore it (let's call that the "Mick approach" - in which case analysing trends in worthless polling is pointless) or we accept that the swing toward Yes which parallels the 2011 election doesn't seem to be happening in YouGov's polling at any rate. That doesn't mean the case is lost, but it does mean Yes might need to have a sharper swing than the SNP had in 2011 (if YouGov are in the right ballpark).

    ReplyDelete
  132. Can't believe the reaction our (I can't believe their not trolls)visitors saw the Yougov result.

    Yes n/c No +1

    And they get into a complete lather!!! hahaha!

    About polling bias, I think if you look again you will see that a lot of the problem stems from not just the raw data, but the biased way the polls are reported.

    Lets take the way the UK gov reported that proffs estimation of Scotlands start up costs.

    They purposely inflated the figures using stats inappropriately, so the very next day the proff released a statement saying they had not reported his figures accurately and demanded an apology, he has since been very active on twitter and in the MSM making sure the truth of his calculations are reported.

    Now one thing James has often reported is how the MSM or BT politicians are reporting the polls, ie comparing polls and claiming a rise for NO yet James looks into it and reports that they have missed a poll out and it's actually a drop for No!

    There has been numerous occasions in which this miss-reporting has happened yet how many times has a polling company released a statement saying that the figures from their polls are being reported dishonestly? NEVER!

    Why not?

    In fact why do the pollsters keep changing methodology yet don't tell people before they release the results?

    I think most people know that fraudsters and con-men tend to use the 'lie-by-omision' more than the straightforward lie, so this is why I am inclined to believe that the polling companies are untrustworthy!

    One other thing I recall, is when wings paid Panelbase to do a poll, how proff Curtice dismissed the findings by claiming that not asking the Yes/No question first meant the poll was skewered, yet he says next to nothing when Survation asked that ridiculous questions about currency and don't even get me started on the now changing kellner correction, (is it now Kellners Corrected Correction?)

    But never mind I'll let all you No's get back to your Champagne after all the collapse of Alex Salmonds dream as the No friendly YouGov poll shows No Change is certainly cause for celebration eh!

    Not forgetting the surge of 1% for No, just hope that's not down to the 'Kellners Corrected Correction'

    ReplyDelete
  133. Thank you Mary.

    A very timely reminder that it is simply not up to the unionist media and westminster politicians to dictate the only issue that scots will decide the referendum on.

    The fact that westmisnter politicians are still trying to bully and browbeat the electorate on this one peripheral issue says everything about westminsters desperate sense of entitlement. It's not their referendum, it's ours. You would think the No campaign might have learned to show some respect for the wishes of the scottish people. Or have the common sense to want a full and frank debate on EVERY issue that affects scotland's future and who the scottish public should trust with it.

    The scottish public will be the ones who decide which issues matter to them. End of story.

    So if the No campaign continue to offer nothing more to scots than bleating about currency, then a no change poll (after they threw everything but the kitchen sink at currency) will be the least of their problems.

    Trusting westminster politicians to look after scotland's elderly, disabled and vulnerable doesn't go down to well on the streets and doorsteps as it turns out.

    Nor does the creeping privatisation of the NHS as you so rightly point out Mary.

    ReplyDelete
  134. "You do realise that if we stay in the union that it is very likely that our NHS will be privatised?

    As the England NHS becomes privatised (and it is, google it) the Govt will spend less on it. The Barnett consequentials mean we will get less in the block grant to pay for ours. We will have no choice but to begin privatisation."

    This argument is said a lot, unfortunately/fortunately it doesn't stack up with actual levels of public spending. Public health spending in the UK has almost doubled as a percentage of GDP in the last 20+ years. Since the financial crisis and the coalition health reform, in contrast, it's gone down by about 0.27% of GDP (i.e. next to nothing in comparison to the increase in spending over the past two decades).

    So the idea that privatisation (which, incidentally, can generate more public spending than it saves - that's one of the best arguments against it) will reduce the health budget by such a colossal amount it will force us to privatise the NHS in Scotland simply isn't credible, no matter how often we hear it repeated.

    ReplyDelete
  135. "you want to undermine YouGov's credibility overall "

    LOL

    If I wanted to do that I would have introduced an absurd "Kellner Correction" shrouded it in secrecy and then added methodological change after methodological change mere weeks from the actual polling day.

    Or better still have an election in 2011 where the pollsters, and YouGov in particular, got it VERY wrong indeed.

    I entirely understand you seem to think YouGov are incapable of error and everything they do must be beyond criticism. I'm certain Peter Kellner agrees with you. Just don't expect us to adopt that kind of polyanna approach to mere polling companies. They certainly haven't earned it in scotland after 2007 and 2011.

    Scottish_skier expressed the precise same concerns that I did only in his more measured and analytical way.

    You are only fooling yourself if you actually believe this is the ideal time to continually introduce methodological changes into polling.

    ReplyDelete
  136. The problem with comparing YouGovs polling for the Last couple of Scottish Elections is this does not take into account that the UK's future and a lot of very wealthy elite types fortunes were at stake.

    The way Kellner assured the BBC that Labour would get the most votes in Scotland in the Euro elections, showed a man who had full confidence in his methods, yet his methods were completely wrong.

    Why did he get it so wrong?

    I'm not sure, but one rule for almost any election I use, is whatever the polls are saying they will always underestimate the SNP vote.

    I am thoroughly convinced that for a number of reasons that rule will work for the Yes vote as well.




    ReplyDelete
  137. "Public health spending in the UK has almost doubled as a percentage of GDP in the last 20+ years"

    Which has nothing to do with the skyrocketing costs of the idiotic PFI deals both labour and the tories kept introducing, does it?

    I'm afraid there's nothing less credible than pretending the tories and labour aren't up to their well renumerated necks in the creeping privatisation of the NHS.

    But don't take my word for it, here's someone you ought to find persuasive proving the point in his own inimitable and 'lucrative' way...

    ReplyDelete
  138. Alistair Darling paid thousands by NHS Privatisation Company


    Labour MP Alistair Darling was paid thousands of pounds by a company heavily involved in the privatisation of the English NHS, it has emerged.

    In 2011, the Edinburgh MP who heads the anti-independence campaign Better Together, received over £10,000 for addressing a dinner organised by Cinven Limited.

    The company is a leading buyout firm, who in 2008 bought 25 private hospitals from Bupa for £1.44bn. Other UK investments include Spire Healthcare, who run private healthcare hospitals, and whose clinical director Jean-Jacques de Gorter said the use of private sector would "spiral" as a result of Conservative MP Andrew Lansley’s reform proposals.

    Mr Darling, who this week will give a speech on behalf of Better Together, is one of a string of current and former Labour MPs who have links to or have benefitted financially from companies involved in private health care.

    Others who have benefitted include Mr Darling’s former Labour cabinet colleagues Alan Milburn and Patricia Hewitt who were both former Health Secretaries. Hewitt was a former advisor to Cinven and landed a lucrative £55,000 role with the firm after standing down as an MP.

    When in office, Milburn received tens of thousands of pounds from several firms involved in private health care.


    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-news/7709-alistair-darling-paid-thousands-by-nhs-privatisation-company

    ReplyDelete
  139. "I entirely understand you seem to think YouGov are incapable of error and everything they do must be beyond criticism. I'm certain Peter Kellner agrees with you. Just don't expect us to adopt that kind of polyanna approach to mere polling companies. They certainly haven't earned it in scotland after 2007 and 2011."

    You're getting increasingly unhinged here, I have to say. I'm arguing for the perspective that we don't know which company is getting it right and that we therefore have to take all of the results with a pinch of salt - either by averaging them out or, better yet, simply reading the trends to get an idea of where public opinion is heading. What I will never argue for is simply writing off polls you disagree with or trumpeting those that match your own views.

    You seem to think someone making that basic appeal to reason amounts to claiming that "YouGov are incapable of error and everything they do must be beyond criticism". I think that says more about how far into left-field your own view is than it does about me.

    ReplyDelete
  140. Can't wait to see Darling answer questions on that one myself. Should be almost as informative as to why Darling scaremongered about Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq.

    ReplyDelete
  141. Peter Wilson, Let me put it simply. The Scottish NHS is funded by a block grant from WM. Currently it is roughly £28bn. Westminster has its eye on it for a slashing, £4bn looks likely in the short term, possibly more in the future as UK govt public spending decreases.

    Now I don't care about % of GDP or whatever, it's not relevant here and it won't be how the Scottish grant will be calculated. What is relevant is that the Scottish Government will have a LOT less money to spend than it does now, possibly 20% less.

    In addition, there is no way the Westminster parties will allow Scotland to have much better public services than England, the home counties and marginals would go off their heads. Can you imagine how they will react if they have a privatised NHS and we still have a state owned one, free at the point of use? Especially if they think their taxes are paying for it. No chance will they let that happen.

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  142. "You're getting increasingly unhinged here, I have to say."

    Yes, you have to say it because the facts do not back your attitude up for a second. When Kellner finally answers the perfectly reasonable questions James asked him of the YouGov I might take your faux outrage more seriously. When your own tactics of overstating the others case are used against you it doesn't take long at all to see that you do not enjoy it.

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  143. "Which has nothing to do with the skyrocketing costs of the idiotic PFI deals both labour and the tories kept introducing, does it?

    I'm afraid there's nothing less credible than pretending the tories and labour aren't up to their well renumerated necks in the creeping privatisation of the NHS."

    I've had this argument a lot over the last few weeks and this always seems to be the response. Someone ignores the point (that public health spending isn't being slashed to accommodate privatisation) and instead responds with something like "ah but the Tories really are privatising England's NHS - look at this newspaper article!!!"

    The debate isn't about whether the Tories want to privatise England's NHS. It makes no difference to any of us who live in Scotland how England's NHS is run beyond the mere fact of how much public money they use to pay for it. Citing the fact that privatisation often costs more public money than the alternative in that argument is actually a case for saying our budget will increase and that it's less likely Scotland's NHS will be privatised. Yet you don't seem to recognise that because you're knee deep in arguing about the ills of privatisation - as if I'm somehow arguing *for* privatisation, when I'm actually pointing out that we're not, contrary to baseless scaremongering, going to be forced into privatising Scotland's NHS if we vote No.

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  144. Peter Wilson, England will pay less public money towards the NHS and Scotland will get less as a result. Privatisation won't cost the UK government more if patients are contributing to the costs and paying for their care. Like GP visits, overnight hospital stays etc. Ring a bell?

    Which is the plan as George Osborne said "The UK can no longer afford the welfare state"

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  145. "It makes no difference to any of us who live in Scotland how England's NHS is run beyond the mere fact of how much public money they use to pay for it. "

    Wrong.

    The systematic privatisation of services, cuts to funding and promotion of public payment south of the border is set to have far-reaching effects on the Barnett Formula funding allocated to Scotland, since the Scottish block grant is based on a proportion of the spending by the Westminster government in England. If spending in England goes down, the Scottish block grant does too. Under the coalition’s austerity drive, spending south of the border is being severely curtailed and this is set to continue for at least the next eight years, causing the Scottish block grant to be reduced and threatening the viability of funding the NHS north of the border.

    This funding issue was picked up on by the Institute of Healthcare Management (Scotland) in a report called “Getting Into Shape: an IHM Scotland policy analysis”. The report was, according to the IHM,

    “written in the context of the real terms cut in funding that the NHS in Scotland is about to experience, following the cuts made to Scottish public spending by the Westminster government.”

    The cuts are the result of the Westminster plan to save £20 billion from the NHS through the use of privatisation, a figure that would see a £2 billion reduction from healthcare consequentials in the Scottish block grant. Given that in Scotland’s latest 2010-2011 GERS accounts health spending was £10.9 billion, that would represent an 18.1% decrease in healthcare funding if Scotland remains part of the UK, making it extremely difficult to maintain flagship policies like free prescriptions.

    http://wingsoverscotland.com/why-only-independence-can-save-our-nhs/

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  146. The comedy trolls have gone quiet for a couple of hours. Wonder why?

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  147. "The systematic privatisation of services, cuts to funding and promotion of public payment south of the border is set to have far-reaching effects on the Barnett Formula funding allocated to Scotland, since the Scottish block grant is based on a proportion of the spending by the Westminster government in England. If spending in England goes down, the Scottish block grant does too. Under the coalition’s austerity drive, spending south of the border is being severely curtailed and this is set to continue for at least the next eight years, causing the Scottish block grant to be reduced and threatening the viability of funding the NHS north of the border."

    Which is why I said "beyond the mere fact of how much public money they use to pay for it".

    Honestly... this is pretty pathetic stuff even by the standards of the internet. Read the post before you respond to it please.

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  148. Thanks, Mick. It's really disappointing the way people try to deceive us out of our NHS, beggars belief.

    The no campaign is like the worlds greatest ever con.

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  149. Mary: "England will pay less public money towards the NHS and Scotland will get less as a result. Privatisation won't cost the UK government more if patients are contributing to the costs and paying for their care. Like GP visits, overnight hospital stays etc. Ring a bell?"

    Nobody is disputing the principle. The point is that public spending is drastically larger than it was a decade ago as a percentage of GDP and through the heart of the recession didn't come anywhere close to falling back to the level of ten years (far less twenty years) ago. If we weren't forced to privatise then, why would we be forced to privatise now?

    If you want to argue public spending will fall as part of the UK then fine, but there's no justification for making that argument using the emotive example of the NHS being privatised in Scotland when there is no evidence, whatsoever, that we're going to actually do that.

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  150. Peter, how would you run the NHS with an 18% cut to the budget?

    Close 1 in 5 hospitals? Sack a fifth of nurses? Stop treatment for the oldest fifth of the population?

    Or maybe privatisation?

    Come on, we're really interested.

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  151. " as if I'm somehow arguing *for* privatisation"

    "The debate isn't about whether the Tories want to privatise England's NHS."


    Honestly if that was the case you would have read the post where the leader of your 'Better Together' campaign Alistair Darling (is he a Tory? maybe) was revealed to have been paid thousands of pounds by a company heavily involved in the privatisation of the English NHS.

    This is pretty pathetic stuff even by the standards of the internet. Read the post before you respond to it please.

    This is easy. I'll let those actually interested in the future of scotland's NHS read the articles and make their own minds up.

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  152. "Peter, how would you run the NHS with an 18% cut to the budget? Close 1 in 5 hospitals? Sack a fifth of nurses? Stop treatment for the oldest fifth of the population? Or maybe privatisation? Come on, we're really interested."

    You've phrased that question in a very obnoxious way, I have to say, but I'll give a serious answer. What we're actually discussing here isn't the size of Scotland's health budget, but the overall size of the block grant. What matters to Scotland's health spending is how much money we have in total and the proportion of it the Scottish government chooses to direct toward health.

    In 2012-13, using the Scottish government's own GERS figures with a geographic share of oil, for instance, we received 9.3% of the UK's public spending. We only generated 9.1% of the UK's taxation revenue using those estimates. If our public spending had been proportionate to the level of revenue we generated the drop would be almost identical to the £2 billion you're citing from efficiency savings in the NHS. Worse, some of those savings are already contained in the 2012-13 figures.

    So we can make these arguments about cuts in public spending either way. The truth is nobody really knows how independence would affect the Scottish economy and that ultimately is what determines health spending. At no point, however, is it legitimate to claim that the net effect of this would be to "privatise Scotland's NHS" when healthcare is already devolved.

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  153. "The point is that public spending is drastically larger than it was a decade ago as a percentage of GDP and through the heart of the recession didn't come anywhere close to falling back to the level of ten years (far less twenty years) ago. If we weren't forced to privatise then, why would we be forced to privatise now?"

    Sorry?? So you somehow managed to miss all the New Labour PFI and PPP creeping privatisation that inevitably led to a tory NHS reorganisation from the incompetent Lansley "so big it could be seen from the moon".

    Did you miss the grotesque horrors of Stafford Hospital too?

    But according to you because money was spent on it before everything will be fine? Really??

    I didn't realise it was as simple as trusting westminster politicians like Clegg, Darling and Cameron just because it hasn't been fully privatised already.

    You've certainly reassured me and I'm sure many others.

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  154. Mick: "Honestly if that was the case you would have read the post where the leader of your 'Better Together' campaign Alistair Darling (is he a Tory? maybe) was revealed to have been paid thousands of pounds by a company heavily involved in the privatisation of the English NHS."

    And? I'm amazed anyone would actually think that constitutes an argument - as if merely demonstrating Darling is an idiot/incompetent is enough to somehow make an argument *for* independence.

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  155. "Sorry?? So you somehow managed to miss all the New Labour PFI and PPP creeping privatisation that inevitably led to a tory NHS reorganisation from the incompetent Lansley "so big it could be seen from the moon"."

    A Tory NHS reorganisation in England. We live in Scotland. The NHS is devolved. Why this needs to be said is beyond me.

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  156. "What matters to Scotland's health spending is how much money we have in total and the proportion of it the Scottish government chooses to direct toward health" Oh, that's OK, we can shut 20% of schools and lay off loads of police officers instead. Phew.

    And as for GERS, convenient you choose the only year that spending was greater than tax generated in the last 30 years.

    What about all the years we contributed more, and all the years to come that we will receive less share. Remember the Tories want us to get the same public spending as the rest of the UK, it is almost certain that £4bn is going from Barnett, regardless.


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  157. "as if merely demonstrating Darling is an idiot/incompetent is enough to somehow make an argument *for* independence"

    Or as if there's been wall to wall unionist media coverage of how Darling "wiped the floor with Salmond" and them claiming just how terrible he is for the Yes campaign is enough to somehow make an argument *for* No.

    Fact of the matter is Peter this is all about who scotland trusts with the future of scotland. So westminster politicians have only themselves to blame for their laughably low levels of trust from the scottish public.

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  158. My mum used to have a phrase: bullshit baffles brains.

    That's you, Peter. Or you're trying anyway.

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  159. "I must say I was perplexed. I didn't understand where the SNP up to 45% in 2009 had gone. It was because it hadn't gone; people just lied to pollsters. I must admit thinking 'you bastards - I love you' when the votes started being counted. How to stress out a poll geek in one easy step was 2011.
    "


    Now that you mention it I have a recording of that entire incredible night in 2011. I may just have to get it out and see what I can glean. On the ground where I was there were still some nerves being frayed but 2007 had taught us that what we were hearing could hardly be dismissed lightly. And so it proved.

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  160. It's Rolfe's post here that makes most sense to me because it mirrors my experience so closely. My feeling now is that there is something amiss with the polls, they are failing to detect something we all know has happened, that during this year many friends, family members and colleagues have moved to Yes. Of course there may be a greater propensity of firm Yes supporters to experience this than any other group, perhaps proximity to Yes arguments as it were makes a shift contrary to that happening in the wider population more likely. But that seems like a long shot.
    It's a little incoherent in terms of a theory, in fact wholly incoherent to be honest, but there is something about this campaign which I think is making it almost impossible for the pollsters to detect what all of us involved in the Yes campaign know to be huge Yes support and more importantly movement towards Yes..
    As others have said before and as Rolfe points out above the only evidence we have for a No lead is the polls. Any casual observer travelling round Scotland would never believe that No was ahead - Yes posters, stickers and flags outnumber No by at least 10 to 1 and that's in spite of the enormous pressure voters are under to hide their support for Yes. I know many people who are very nervous about declaring for Yes because they fear attacks from unionists. I'm part of a campaign team in a small central Scotland town and our shop has been attacked by unionist extremists on many occasions since we opened in May so the fears are genuine.
    I now social media is only used by certain demographics but our massive leads there can't be considered insignificant. Significant of what it is still hard to say but there when there isn't the same pressure to hide one's support for Yes we enjoy fairly massive leads.
    Weird, there is so much about this campaign that doesn't stack up, the oddest thing of all are the polls.Maybe they're the only people getting it right. Only time will tell. Michael

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  161. Alex Salmond said Scotland would use the pound "come what may."

    Ergo, without a currency union, the only option from the Fiscal Commission Working Group which allows use of the pound would be informal use of the pound, as seen in many countries around the world which seem to manage just fine.

    There it is. Can we move on?

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  162. As someone who until recently worked for the NHS in a large 'trust' in England, can I assure anyone who has been lied to by the BT campaign, that there has indeed been huge cuts to the NHS budgets.

    I myself attended several meetings with senior management in which staff were told just how much we needed to trip from our budget and that it would mean some painful changes.

    One was job losses. My trust assured staff that they did not want to pay people off, and admitted that this was because that would be too expensive, so they offered staff to apply for voluntary early retirement.

    Hundreds got this early retirement, but of course the jobs were not replaced, so the burden fell on already overstretched staff.

    The next stage was re-evaluation in which four members of my team had about £2,500 slashed from their wages!

    They then disbanded specialist teams and filtered them into other positions then sold their office space.

    They then announced that they would be selling our unit and moving us into a tiny office space, luckily there was such a public outcry with the media/and local politicians getting involved, that they changed their mind.

    All the while they were encouraging staff to start up private enterprises offering our skills for private hire, and paid us to look into start up costs (I did this)

    It's carnage and anyone who tells you otherwise is a complete liar.

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  163. They speak lies to us.
    They take from us.
    They insult us.
    They care not for us.
    We will leave them behind, for our country is beautifully made and our people bright with open and hopeful hearts.
    A firm, safe and secure path will be provided for them.

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