Thursday, November 6, 2014

A third full-scale poll shows the SNP with a commanding Westminster lead

For the first time, we have the opportunity to make a direct comparison between two full-scale post-referendum polls from the same company, helping us to judge whether there has been any movement in opinion over the last few weeks.  On the face of it, the message from the new Panelbase poll commissioned by Wings Over Scotland couldn't be much clearer -

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 45% (+11)
Labour 28% (-4)
Conservatives 15% (-3)
UKIP 7% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 3% (-2)
Greens 1%

However, the percentage changes listed above are only meaningful if Panelbase have stuck with the bizarre decision they made last time to weight their Westminster results - and only their Westminster results - by 2010 past vote recall, which we know tends to be less reliable than 2011 recall.  That led to people who recalled voting SNP being downweighted by an extreme amount.  The fact that the new poll has reported such a huge swing suggests to me that the methodology may well have been (very sensibly) changed, and that will presumably become clear when the datasets are released.

[UPDATE : RevStu has let me know that the figures were weighted by 2011 vote recall, so the percentage changes are not meaningful.  This does of course illustrate how the last Panelbase poll was a hell of a lot better for the SNP than it appeared at first glance.]

These numbers are very strikingly in line with the YouGov poll which merely showed a very large SNP lead, rather than the Ipsos-Mori poll which showed a bloody enormous SNP lead.  However, as Panelbase and YouGov are both online pollsters and Ipsos-Mori is a telephone pollster, it's still too early to conclude that the Ipsos-Mori poll must be an outlier.  The other thing that sets Ipsos-Mori apart is that they're the only firm that don't weight by past vote recall at all.

The other headline finding from the poll that has been released so far is on the subject of independence -

Knowing what you know now, if the independence referendum was tomorrow how would you vote?

Yes 51% (+6)
No 49% (-6)

(Percentage changes are from the actual referendum result.)

This is the second published post-referendum poll to ask about independence, and both have shown a Yes lead. However, I'm sure Professor Curtice will be making the point that this poll differs from the YouGov poll in that it doesn't ask an identical question to the pre-referendum polls, and therefore the results can't be considered directly comparable. Nevertheless, this is only the second published Panelbase poll in history to show a majority for independence (the previous one was in September of last year, and ended up being largely discounted because of an unusual question sequence).


  1. As exciting as the 51/49 split is, the question is a bit loaded. Asking respondents "knowing what you know now" is going to tilt the responses somewhat. Even if we are at a very narrow minority in real terms (i.e. 48-49) I think that's still really remarkable less than 2 months from the referendum.

  2. Of course it is easy to select the "radical " option when you know that it won't happen, but I am optimistic that we can win another referendum in the long term.

  3. Sunshine on CrieffNovember 6, 2014 at 6:41 PM

    "Knowing what you know now..."

    So does that mean as soon as we invent time travel we'll be independent?

  4. That preamble was put in as the people polled were people that voted 45 yes 55 it shows a swing based on whats happened.

    Whats interesting is people have gone from yes to no

  5. As was said time and time again there is only one poll that counts.

    And it was on the 18th September 2014.

    1. And what luck that the "one poll that mattered" had a result that was tied to a grandiose last-minute "Vow", which London must now either honour or suffer the consequences.

      Nice try, though.

  6. Sure. However, if the polls stay as they are or Yes builds up a lead, then there will need to be another 'only poll that counts'. Certainly would allow pro-indy parties to e.g. include a new referendum in 2016 manifestos. That's democracy.

    The No campaign really needs to get into gear and persuade Scots of the value of staying in the union.

  7. Wings over Scotland said the the phrase, "knowing what you know know" is a neutral one.

  8. "if the independence referendum was tomorrow"...

    ...but it isn't.

  9. I find the EU results the most interesting about this. Excluding Don't Knows, it's 52% stay and 48% leave. 57% of Yes voters want to stay compared to only 48% of No voters. There's everything to play for in any future EU referendum.

  10. If we're to believe George Foulkes' polling wisdom, this one is a hoax. On this poll George Foulkes tweeted: "Poll by a dodgy pollster for an even dodgier website...". He must be a very stressed man.

    Amnesia or convenience, he seems to have missed the recent IPSOS Mori polls which give Labour an even worse reading. Unless IPSOS Mori & STV are also dodgy.

    1. "He must be a very stressed man"

      More likely Foulkes in neck deep in the new Brown Blair wars and leadership plotting. So he's scrabbling around desperately for some kind of distraction as the leaks about senior Labour figures and MPs wanting little Ed out the door hit the news and papers.

      Foulkes is very well known in westminster media circles for leaking and spreading the dirt on his colleagues.

    2. I often see Labour types complaining that Panelbase is a "dodgy" pollster. Is there any basis for this at all? Surely in the referendum they acquitted themselves better than YouGov and TNS, whose results in the last few weeks bizarrely took a sudden leap into the range that Panelbase had been consistently recording throughout the campaign.

      Even from a partisan point of view, it's strange to see him complaining about this poll, which is no worse for Labour than other recent ones, and considerably better than the Ipsos MORI.

  11. So much for the out of touch westminster bubble twits idea of 'saving' the London branch office by sending in the Eggman. Far from doing so Murphy is looking at yet more catastrophic polling for them and even before he's made leader the Brown Blair wars have already restarted with plots to get rid of little Ed hitting the news and papers today and tomorrow.

    I'm sure the Eggman's Blairite chums have nothing to do with that of course. ;-D
    Perhaps little Ed didn't should have warned Murphy about the catastrophic polling in scotland. Or perhaps not.

    Poor old little Ed and the Eggman. You would need a heart of stone not to laugh.


    Ah well, it's the incompetent fop's turn soon enough with Cameron poised to take yet another beating from the kippers in Rochester. Tory backbenchers will go into full headless chicken mode afterwards, (yet again) leadership plots will resurface, Cammie will flounce and posture like a maniac as he does his John Major impersonation. (yet again)

    Textbook. :-)

    1. The hit we'll take from the TV debates could be neutralised by months of anti-Miliband sniping and the Red Tories falling 5% behind the Blues.

      At the prospect of a certain Blue Tory Govt we may well see another few % swing from the RT to the SNP, thus cancelling out the TV debate damage.

      Of course if we can find an answer to the debates AND the above unfolds then we could be looking at RT wipeout.

  12. Of course it's nice to see support for Independence is now 2 from 2 out of post-Indy polls. I take little happiness that we didn't do it for 'real' on the 18th, but if we can keep building up levels of support for the next one bit by bit, so we go into the next campaign with a healthy lead.

    And also the large dash of salt is required that this purely speculation, this question alone. There will not be a referendum in the near future, but still, 2/2 so far - let's keep going and getting as many SNP MPs in next year. Then Holyrood hopefully a large majority of pro-indy SNP, SSP, Greens in the hoose plus a possible EU referendum.

    It's interesting. Very.

    1. Farage is saying his price for propping up Cameron would be a summer 2015 EU ref, not 2017.

      Why can't the SNP run next year on a platform promising Indyref2 right after the EU one?

  13. All manner of reasons, but the principal one is effectively that we have no idea what will happen in the GE AND promising such a thing could very well alienate no voters who are planning on voting SNP to back up devo max. If we go all out for another indyref, they won't vote for it. Not to mention that if you adopt that policy and UKIP only get 10 or so MP's, we may only get 10-20 seats and labour will walk in and there would be no eu in/out referendum.

    Also, it's worth remembering that it takes YEARS to leave the EU. So IF there was a yes to leave the EU, then it would still be a few years to wait....not only that, but this all becomes mute if Scotland also votes to leave.