Saturday, September 13, 2014

Yes campaign soar to all-time high of 49% in pulsating Panelbase poll

So much for Euan McColm's hints that there was bad polling news for Yes coming tonight.  Hot on the heels of the sensational ICM poll that put the Yes campaign 8% ahead, we now finally have the first signs that what we used to call the "most Yes-friendly pollster" is picking up the same pro-Yes swing as everyone else (with the possible exception of Survation).

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49.4% (+1.9)
No 50.6% (-1.9)

For obvious reasons that will be rounded down to 49/51 for publication, but in fact those results are virtually identical to the TNS-BMRB poll, which was rounded up to 50/50.

With the exception of one poll from last September that is generally disregarded because of an unusual question sequence, this is the best poll for Yes that Panelbase have ever published.  Although they've tended to produce much more modest shifts than other pollsters, it has to be borne in mind that they've made a number of small methodological changes which have probably had a cumulative No-friendly effect, so the progress that Yes have had to make to reach 49% may well be slightly more substantial than would appear to be the case at a casual glance.

Of course there was a time not too long ago when a poll like this would have been greeted by No supporters with a dismissive "it's only Panelbase" and a shrug of the shoulders.  That won't work anymore - Panelbase have well and truly 'slipped back into the pack', and their results now look positively mainstream.  Three out of seven BPC pollsters now agree that Yes are on 49% or higher, and five out of seven agree that they are on 47% or higher.  (One of the other two doesn't really count, because Ipsos-Mori haven't published a poll since the evening of the first leaders' debate.)

I'm now going to embark on the mammoth task of analysing the other three of today's four polls (or of falling asleep - whichever happens first), but to make matters easier I'll start by copying-and-pasting something I've just written on the previous post about Yes taking the lead with ICM...

I just want to deal with a point about the ICM poll that has already been discussed at length in the comment section below and elsewhere. It is categorically not the case that it should be regarded as a lesser poll because it had a slightly lower sample size than usual (705 as opposed to the more typical 1000). According to the very handy MOE calculator on the ComRes website, the margin of error for a poll of 700 respondents is approximately 3.7% - which is only fractionally higher than the 3% margin of error for a poll of 1000. Someone suggested below that I have said in the past that, by definition, polls of this size cannot be regarded as statistically reliable. I've never said that, because it isn't true. The only thing I can think of is that I put a health warning on YouGov "polls" of roughly this size in the run-up to the European elections, but that's because they weren't proper polls - they were aggregates of subsamples from GB-wide polls. The key factor in determining whether a poll is legitimate is not the sample size (unless it is absurdly small) but rather whether it was properly weighted. As far as I know, this one was weighted in exactly the same way as any other ICM online poll would be - I'm quite sure Professor Curtice would have been the first to flag it up if that had not been the case. So it should be regarded as a legitimate ICM online poll in exactly the same way as any other ICM online poll.

Indeed, we've had smaller polls than this during the campaign - two of the three Angus Reid polls that were published last year had samples of 500 or so, and although that fact was noted in passing, it wasn't perceived as significantly detracting from the credibility of the results. In the US, samples of 500 would be regarded as fairly routine, and it would certainly be seen as very odd to use that as an excuse for ignoring any given poll. And what about the ICM poll with a sample of 500 which the media seized upon as 'absolute proof' that Alistair Darling had defeated Alex Salmond in the first debate? I don't recall Euan McColm casting doubts on the reliability of that one. (I did, as it happens, as did Professor Curtice to some extent, but that was mostly because of the extreme upweighting that had gone on.)

It's therefore extremely troubling that the title Curtice uses for his blogpost on the ICM poll is "ICM Put Yes Ahead - Perhaps". Does the "perhaps" refer to the 3.7% margin of error? If so, shouldn't any verdict on any standard poll of 1000 people also automatically have the word "perhaps" attached to the title, because all of those polls have margins of error of 3%? Or is there some kind of mystical gulf between the numbers 3 and 3.7 that I've failed to comprehend so far? It just seems like a ludicrous double-standard. I note that a report on the BBC website is mentioning all of the other polls today, but not the ICM one - I can't help wondering if that's been caused by a misinterpretation of Curtice's title as meaning that this is somehow not a "proper poll". By the way, I have no complaint about Curtice's decision to add this poll to his Poll of Polls, but to give it a slightly lower weighting in proportion with the sample size - that seems perfectly reasonable to me. But it should also be seen absolutely, unambiguously as an endorsement of the poll's legitimacy, because that's exactly what it is.

You probably don't need me to point out that you would have to go to the extreme end of a 3.7% margin of error to take this poll to a result that does not have Yes clearly in the lead. Given the strength of the evidence from other pollsters that No are either slightly ahead or level, perhaps we do need to assume that ICM have produced a result that is at the extreme end of the margin of error, but so what? We could be forgiven for making exactly the same assumption about today's Survation poll, which is showing a lower Yes vote than others.

On the previous thread, Keaton makes the point that the ICM poll looks very much like an extreme outlier.  I wouldn't necessarily disagree with that, but that doesn't mean that its publication shouldn't affect our perception of the state of play.  Look at it this way : other recent polls say that the Yes vote is somewhere between 46 and 51.  If the true position was closer to 46 than to 51, you'd expect that any extreme outlier poll that came along would put them on something like 43, rather than 54.  So if nothing else, ICM have certainly bolstered the impression of a race that is very close to being even-stevens.  A crude average of the rounded numbers from today's four polls gives a position of Yes 48.5%, No 51.5%.

It should also give us heart that the ICM fieldwork started one day later than the same firm's telephone poll started, and finished one day later than the telephone poll finished.  That may not seem like a huge difference, but the scare stories have literally been ratcheting up with every passing day, so it's important to have some kind of evidence that the electorate resisted them until at least Friday.  Unfortunately, the most apocalyptic of all the 'warnings' - very much of the "YOUR CHILDREN WILL ALL DIE IN HORRIBLE AGONY IF YOU VOTE YES" variety - is not really factored into any of the polls so far, so we have to bear that in mind.  It's hard to believe that noble, selfless intervention into our democratic process won't have had any negative effect at all, but we'll see.

Let's turn now to the Survation telephone poll, which of course was commissioned by the No campaign, and only published after they decided the numbers were sufficiently to their liking (heaven only knows how many unpublished polls they've commissioned over the last couple of weeks).  As Calum Findlay pointed out straight away, Yes only ended up being rounded down to 46% by the tiniest of margins, and it's intriguing to speculate whether the poll would ever have seen the light of day if the coin toss had gone the other way, and Yes had been rounded up to 47%.  My guess is that it wouldn't.  In any case, it was only on the turnout-weighted figures that Yes were rounded down - among the whole sample, the poll shows a position of Yes 46.7%, No 53.3%.

It's also somewhat chastening for the No campaign to find themselves voluntarily publishing a poll which shows that undecided voters are more likely to break for Yes.  Whatever happened to the claim that the recent swing to Yes had only occurred because the undecideds who were willing to "take a leap" had already done so, while the remaining hard-core of undecideds were heavily No-leaning?  When 'undecided leaners' are added to the voting intention figures for the whole sample (there isn't enough information to add them to the turnout-weighted figures), the position improves to Yes 47.1%, No 52.9%.

Although the Opinium poll was, to use Kenny Farquharson's favourite term, "independently commissioned" and would have been published whatever the results had been, it shows quite a similar story to Survation, in that rounding has made the published figures less favourable to Yes.  The unrounded figures are Yes 47.4%, No 52.6%, and without the very strict Ipsos-Mori-style turnout filter being applied, they would be Yes 47.9%, No 52.1%.

*  *  *

REQUIRED SWINGS

Swing required for 1 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 0.0%

Swing required for 3 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 0.5%

Swing required for 4 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 2.0%

Swing required for 5 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 2.5%

Swing required for 6 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 3.5%

Swing required for 7 out of 7 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 7.0%

* * *

SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Opinium are a fully-fledged BPC-affiliated polling firm, so with this update of the Poll of Polls we move back to using an average of seven firms for the first time since Angus Reid were removed in the spring due to inactivity.

MEAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 48.1% (+1.1)
No 51.9% (-1.1)

MEAN AVERAGE (not excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 43.6% (+2.1)
No 47.1% (+0.3)

MEDIAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 47.9% (+0.3)
No 52.1% (-0.3)

(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each of the pollsters that have been active in the referendum campaign since September 2013, and that adhere to British Polling Council rules. At present, there are seven - YouGov, TNS-BMRB, Survation, Panelbase, Ipsos-Mori, Opinium and ICM. Whenever a new poll is published, it replaces the last poll from the same company in the sample. Changes in the Poll of Polls are generally glacial in nature due to the fact that only a small portion of the sample is updated each time.)

54 comments:

  1. Yes have won the polling wars tonight.

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  2. All round a pretty good night of polls in the end. Let's keep up the work.

    Now trying to work out when James will run out of adjectives!

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  3. Yeah, not sure what McColm was on about. I used to think we could at least trust poll rumours from journalists, but now it looks like even those are bollox.

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  4. Keaton

    It could be that the BT poll was what he hinting at. All in all not that bad at all.

    For us in Yes, keep working at it.

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  5. Sandy : If the Yes vote had been slightly higher in the Opinium poll, I was thinking of calling it an "awesome Opinium offering", but that might have been a step too far.

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  6. Shock and awe, stalled the Yes rise, but hasn't caused a swing the other way. What can they try now? We have litrally had a headline implying a new great depression.

    What is Better Together going to do this week?

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  7. Robert, West LothianSeptember 13, 2014 at 10:52 PM

    I think all this proves that if you try to kick and frighten the Scots by crikey they will kick back bigtime.

    This results is on a knife- edge and Cameron will no doubt be having a "Chequers" sleepover with wee Ed and Clegg-bite to dream up their next onslaught of fear and smear. What will it be?

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  8. Presumably, all polls point to the same result: a statisticalcal tie. All of them are within margin of error of a 50/50.

    Great evening.

    Best,

    Xabi

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  9. Sunday Mail front page looks as close to a Yes endorsement as they dare come.

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  10. Are we due a YouGov poll for The Sunday Times? Or have I missed that, so many polls this evening. Wowza. Absolutely clear the blitzkreig has failed, we are in the trenches and ready to emerge unscathed for a decisive last battle and victory!

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  11. "What is Better Together going to do this week? "

    Funny you should ask...

    http://nationalcollective.com/2014/09/13/better-together-final-week-plans-leaked/

    LOL

    Though this is still one of my favourites.

    Topher ‏@tophergen Sep 3

    #PatronisingBTLady �� best one pic.twitter.com/fnI8hzOzGm

    ROFL

    So just in case there is somehow anyone on here who still does not understand how astonishingly out of touch and biased the westminster bubble media have shown themselves to be...

    "Not since Iraq have I seen BBC News working at propaganda strength like this." Paul Mason Channel 4 @paulmasonnews http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/steerpike/2014/09/former-newsnight-hack-slams-beebs-referendum-propaganda/ …"


    Very, very satisfying days campaigning. Tired but still buzzing from an atmosphere of wonderful positivity and determination from fellow Yes campaigners and all the responses we had. Needless to say tomorrow will be another huge day with many things planned. Though, as should be perfectly obvious by now, do NOT expect to see any of it on the westminster bubble media any more than it was reported today. Regardless, there is simply no way on earth ordinary scots have not noticed the astonishing scenes up and down scotland today. They will either have seen it with their own eyes, heard about it from family, friends and workmates or seen it plastered all over social media.

    cynicalHighlander highlights just one example, have a look for yourselves on social media twitter etc. There are indeed many more.

    Hysterical scaremongering and negativity didn't work in 2011, it hasn't worked all the way through this referendum (hence the hilarious No campaign omnipanic at the inevitable rise in Yes) and they have reached such preposterous levels that they are basically a self-parody now.

    Hard work ahead in these vital last days but hard work which the Yes grassroots campaign on the ground is utterly relishing.

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  12. Mick, not sure if I have ever said this, but I enjoy your posts they are inspirational.

    Great poll for Yes,wonder how much difference 2011 voting intentions would make to it. Guess we will never know.

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  13. Hi James,

    Two simple questions:

    (i) how will it be independence for Scotland if - for the sake of argument - you get a currency union and Scottish monetary policy is determined by the Bank of England in London?

    (ii) Can you also explain Salmond's movement from saying in 1999 that sterling is a "millstone round Scotland's neck" to now saying that a currency union is in the best interests of both Scotland and the rest of the UK?

    Genuinely interested.

    Paul

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  14. Hows the cereal Paul?

    Very good, thanks.

    Are you able to answer my questions?

    Genuinely interested to know to know why you think (assuming you do!) that something that was described as being a millstone is now mutually beneficial?

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  15. LOL because there were never ever any Labour or Lib Dems who were in favour of joining the Euro, that just never happened did it?

    Clearly, France and Germany aren't independent. Will Paul write and tell them all, or should I break the news to them?

    Given the mass exodus of capital from the UK as they all panic about the value of Sterling collapsing I'd say the odds of us getting to this time next week without a CU already being agreed in outline are pretty low.

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  16. Also, send your questions about Alex Salmond to Alex Salmond. Not everyone here is in the SNP

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  17. Lots of independent countries share currency.

    The Irish Free State used THE POUND for a decade before they used the Punt on a 1:1 exchange basis.

    Australia used THE POUND. New Zealand used THE POUND.

    Scotland will use THE POUND. It's quite simple.

    This is also one of the 3 reasons Goebbels Brown kept the UK out of the Euro.

    1) Blair was in favour so he opposed it in a fit of pique.

    2) He refused to give up ANY power from the Treasury.

    3) If the Uk was in the Euro zone then all the scares and smears about currency would be no longer exist. What would the argument be against Independence? The'd have none other than sentiment.

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  18. Clearly, France and Germany aren't independent. Will Paul write and tell them all, or should I break the news to them?

    Self-evidently they are not independent because their monetary policy is determined by the ECB in Frankfurt, not in their own countries! This is such basic economics!

    For Germany this actually works well because a weak Euro is, for their export-led economy, preferable to a strong DM. But for France, in recession, and for many other Eurozone economies, it is a disaster.

    What you cannot answer is the fundamental weakness in the YES campaign's case - if the suffering of Scotland is due to being tied to an English/SE economy/politics which is so divergent with Scotland, how can you support a currency union which means that your monetary policy will be decided by the Bank of England in London?

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  19. Not with short term Sterlingisation. I think that's where we are going and it won't be for long, but with no UK debt. Eventually Scotland will have its own currency.

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  20. Lots of independent countries share currency.

    The Irish Free State used THE POUND for a decade before they used the Punt on a 1:1 exchange basis.

    Australia used THE POUND. New Zealand used THE POUND.

    Scotland will use THE POUND. It's quite simple.

    This is also one of the 3 reasons Goebbels Brown kept the UK out of the Euro.

    1) Blair was in favour so he opposed it in a fit of pique.

    2) He refused to give up ANY power from the Treasury.

    3) If the Uk was in the Euro zone then all the scares and smears about currency would be no longer exist. What would the argument be against Independence? The'd have none other than sentiment.

    September 14, 2014 at 12:07 AM

    So please answer the question; if Scotland's problems are due, to paraphase the nationalist's case, to the dominance of London/SE, how will the fact that their monetary policy will still be determined by the Bank of England in London solve this?

    How can Scotland be an 'independent' country when their monetary policy is determined by the BofE in London?

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  21. Not with short term Sterlingisation. I think that's where we are going and it won't be for long, but with no UK debt. Eventually Scotland will have its own currency.

    Ok, accepting that is the case, why not the Euro? I mean, you are supposed to the be the outward-looking pro-European alternative to the 'little englanders,' are you not?

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  22. Remember this doesn't include newly registered people and dont tell the news media it doesnt.

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  23. Ok - please can someone explain how Scotland would be an 'independent country' when its monetary policy is decided - assuming there is a currency union - by the Bank of England in London?

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  24. Ok Anonymous- Go tell the Germans, the French and many others that they are not independent because they are in a currency union.

    Best to get your head around the reality that what you are describing is isolation, a policy not embraced by Yes

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  25. Lol, the dumbduck English Nationalist saying using the pound isnt independence needs shot.

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  26. The great thing is that Yes now knows that the worst possible scare stories JUST DONT WORK. We aren't going to be fooled. They need a positive case for the Union.

    Fnarrr.

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  30. QI correct in thinking that Montenegro uses the Euro, despite not being a member of the EU? The last time I checked it was definitely an "independent" country. In fact, it had an amazing Eurovision entry last year. Shame it didn't win :-(
    Na-na-na-na Igranku!

    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8BmHI_57vJk

    *Sorry for the multiple attempts at posting*

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  31. That should read 'Am I correct in thinking?' Doh!

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  32. It's so cute the way the Nawtrolls tell people who probably wanted devo-max in the first place, "Look it's not enough independence, you have to vote No!"

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  33. I've stopped logging onto The Guardian/BBC/Hootsmon website these days because I'd probably end up throwing my laptop out of the window .... plus it's the only one I've got!

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  34. Dunno if I'm getting carried away here, but Darling is saying that he's totally certain there'll be a No vote. *Makes me suspect the exact opposite*.
    I know Salmond etc express confidence that there'll be a Yes but what was unusual about this instance of Darlingsation was that he was literally saying I *know* it will be a No because I've seen our canvassing returns.
    This really smacks of desperation. Never a good idea to make it sound like a foregone conclusion, which is exactly what he was doing.
    I reckon 58% Yes on the day.
    What a day that will be.
    And again, let me just add my voice to the many paeans to James's sterling efforts on this wonderful site...truly curative after trudging through the crap of the Guardian, Herald etc (to name just those sites I can sometimes, almost, just about stomach...)

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  35. Geezo, they must be absolutely shitting themselves when their trolls are having to come on here and wheel out the same intellectually deficient questions about currency?

    Did this troll really say Germany and France aren't independent countries?

    Astonished!

    Haven't you heard, Scots hear the word currency in this debate now, put their fingers in their ears, and sing "lalala" to themselves and wait until BT have hopped off their Plan B! Plan B! soapbox.

    It is going to be absolutely bloody joyous watching those same Labour politicians this time next week supporting a CU, and Osborne having to backtrack in double quick time as the value of Sterling drops like a stone. Everyone knows with Scotland Sterling loses considerable value. I still am waiting to hear what Osborne et al intend to do about it, or their now worsened trade deficit.

    Do they have a plan B? Or are they basically sitting there crossing fingers?

    Given the absolute desperation move of BT releasing one of their own polls to counter the YES surge we all know the answer.

    The word I have is that BT have had 3 private polls done in the last two weeks which have put YES ahead, and their canvas returns in many parts of Glasgow are nothing short of disastrous.

    Labour are just days away from being finished in Scotland for a generation.

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  36. A Yes vote could and should bring about an entirely different Scottish Labour party which is sensitive to the desires of Scotland. It will take Labour time, but I wouldn't write them off in an independent Scotland. It all depends on how they react.

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  37. While the headline figures are interesting and no doubt technically more accurate and meaningful, I'm interested to hear the figures which include the DKs. For one simple reason; I took note of what Scottish Skier said many months ago, that the core No vote was 30%.

    If I remember him correctly, given a 3 choice ballot paper we would have had 30% initially for each option, so it was always going to be decided by what the Devo Max supporters did. If they split 2:1 for Indie, we win. I think this is likely and is what is happening on the ground.

    I look forward to seeing any poll showing the No side including DKs at 40% or less, as I don't think there's any way they can win from there.

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  38. The momentum, the happiness, the feverish excitement, the sense of moment, the willingness to reach out and embrace our destiny, the opportunity to stick two fingers up at the establishment, the beaming optimism and hope of the armies of YES supporters, the song and the flashmobs, all of these will create an irresistible force that people will surge to.

    BT only offer fear, we offer hope, creativity and potential. Those who are still lingering in the last few days will come our way and create the new Scotland we so badly want.

    When is the next poll? I am hooked!

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  39. I used to argue for Scotland to have its own currency but have now come to the realisation that if we were to go down that route sterling would collapse. That would still be bad news for Scotland as we don't really want England to end up in a deep recession with very high interest rates on their debt repayments, it wouldn't be good for our exports.

    So for the benefit of iScotland and England we really should do this currency union thing.

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  40. Jim Sillars on Twitter new opinion poll out tonight.Assume it is a good one if he forewarning us on Twitter

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  41. Jim Sillars on Twitter new opinion poll out tonight.Assume it is a good one if he forewarning us on Twitter

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  42. We can never have too much good news! Jim Sillars is a like a stone in the shoes of Labour just now that they can't get rid of. Reminding them of the sort of party they used to be. I don't agree with the man on everything, but I admire his passion and dedication no end. He also fairly ripped strips off the journalist on BBC news yesterday morning. What a great guy.

    Every one of us should have his quote about sovereignty on our facebook pages on Thursday. Our sovereignty is coming, and we are not giving it up ever again!

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  43. I think Jim Sillars is talking about a new advert not a poll.

    However I was polled by Yougov on Friday so I would assume that the Sun would have this for tomorrow?

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  44. Sillars isn't talking about a new poll, but a new advert.

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  45. Thanks for that James

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  46. One of the anons writes about "the absolute desperation move of BT releasing one of their own poll" but I don't recall outrage here when Yes did exactly the same thing and more than once. Blind partiality is unattractive.

    Which is why I continue to compliment James on the fact (though he can be quite sharp in argument with potential no trolls and why not?) he never seems to lose his pollster objectivity on polling evidence even when no doubt his heart is beating pretty hard.

    He was even prepared to acknowledge the ICM poll could be an outlier as some evidence might suggest. The question about it is really is it an outlier or a harbinger because it is the sort of polling lead we saw for the SNP in 2011. It may prove to be a glimpse into finalpolls or something else. Vitally important for this is exactly WHEN its polling too place. You do say this and poiot out its relation to other ICM polls but I want to see it in relation to when all the other weekend polls were sampling. This is vital but nobody seems to be talking about it. I'd love to see all these polls alongside each other with THE DATES OF SAMPLING FOR EACH ONE by them. Does this exist in one place somewhere (as opposed trawling through each polling site), it might help us be much clearer.


    As to the supposed scaremongering, some (not all) of which in my view a perfectly rational appraisal of the immediate financial costs of a Yes vote and the resulting uncertainty, I can't see these polls as evidence it has succeeded OR failed. It may have stopped the quite incredible momentum for Yes that was visible in many polls in the first week of September. or it may have done nothing.

    Re Sun etc everyone knows now Murdoch is on a private tour Of Scotland and is continuing to be ambiguous, in the last tweet he complained of Salmond's partners being ultra-left and again of EU. But I have now seen elsewhere serious discussion that he IS indeed considering moving Sky to an Indie Scotland at which point I guess he could obtain overall control and hope to circumvent London's and OFCOM's regulation that way. Right now it is one of Scotland's biggest employers. I think most here are agreed if the polls look right for him, he will bring the Sun out for Salmond. Nothing to lose if he senses it's going that way.

    Finally James you wrote

    "Unfortunately, the most apocalyptic of all the 'warnings' - very much of the "YOUR CHILDREN WILL ALL DIE IN HORRIBLE AGONY IF YOU VOTE YES" variety - is not really factored into any of the polls so far, so we have to bear that in mind. It's hard to believe that noble, selfless intervention into our democratic process won't have had any negative effect at all, but we'll see."

    This is a genuine question on above NOT an argument. What were you referring to, was it IS and the hideous execution or something else? Has someone tried to make capital out of it? And by 'factored in' did you mean because the polls were earlier? I just wasn't quite clear on this point.



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  47. "What were you referring to, was it IS and the hideous execution or something else?"

    No, it certainly wasn't that - I was referring to the Deutsche Bank drivel.

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  48. Expat, Relucant or otherwise is still a prick.

    When your entire strategy is to scare people and lie, lie and lie again. What do you do when people just stop hearing anything you say?

    The correct answer is not just to tell bigger LIES.

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