Sunday, December 21, 2014

Mega Murphy meltdown as SNP rocket to 24-point lead in scorching Survation survey

There's a question I'd rather like one of the nation's journalists to ask Jim Murphy some time soon.  It goes like this.  "You know that promise you keep making that you will prevent the SNP from gaining even a SINGLE SEAT from Labour next May?  I take it you'll be resigning immediately if you don't deliver on that, yeah?"

Because as of this moment Murphy's powers of prophecy aren't looking too hot.  Survation have just released the first full-scale Scottish poll to have been conducted since he became Scottish Labour "leader" (the fieldwork took place between Monday and Thursday) and the message is absolutely identical to the one that Scottish subsamples from GB-wide polls have been sending us over the last few days - namely that the "Murphy bounce" eagerly anticipated by Jim's right-wing admirers north and south of the border has quite simply failed to materialise.  Given that the SNP's Westminster lead in the last Survation poll seemed implausibly high, I had expected them to slip back a bit tonight due to normal sampling variation, but instead there has been a further net swing of about 1% from Labour to the SNP.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 48.2% (+2.4)
Labour 24.4% (+0.5)
Conservatives 15.9% (-0.8)
Liberal Democrats 5.3% (-0.8)
UKIP 4.0% (-0.8)
Greens 1.1% (-0.4)
BNP 0.4% (-0.3)
SSP 0.1% (-0.1)

On those numbers, Murphy's problems would go a touch further than merely a failure to keep his promise of preventing the SNP from gaining a single seat.  He'd actually be losing no fewer than THIRTY-SEVEN of the forty-one Scottish seats that Labour won at the last general election - and, needless to say, every single one of them would be a gain for the SNP.  Most amusingly of all, Murphy would even lose his own East Renfrewshire seat!

In the real world, the result is unlikely to be quite that good.  It seems reasonable to assume there'll be some kind of swing back to Labour as polling day approaches, if only because they'll have a huge advantage due to lop-sided coverage beamed in by the London media.  It's also possible that Survation are slightly overstating the SNP's lead, even as it stands now.  Although there isn't quite the clear-cut divide that we saw during much of the referendum campaign between Yes-friendly and No-friendly pollsters, Survation do seem to have emerged (at least in their online polls) as one of the most favourable firms for the SNP.  Oddly, though, the most favourable of the lot has been Ipsos-Mori, a pollster that spent the referendum campaign vying with YouGov for the title of most No-friendly firm.  Conversely, the recent polls from Panelbase have shown a somewhat lower (albeit still huge) SNP lead, even though they were for such a long time the only firm that had Yes even within touching distance.

We certainly shouldn't buy into the idea that Survation "must" be overstating the SNP, though.  It's worth pointing out that their methodology is actually much less favourable for the SNP now than it was in their pre-referendum polls, for the simple reason that they have started weighting by recalled referendum vote.  In this poll, 438 people who recall voting Yes were downweighted to count as only 411, while 482 No voters were upweighted to count as 509.  (Those numbers change slightly after undecideds and probable non-voters are stripped out, but the basic pattern remains the same.)  The mind boggles as to how big Labour's deficit would be if the pre-referendum methodology was still in operation.

Whatever we might think about specific weighting procedures and their effect on the size of the SNP lead, one thing about this poll that we should be able to have a reasonable amount of trust in is the trend, because as far as I can see there has been no further methodological change since the last Survation poll.  And it's the trend where the true horror lies for Labour.  The idea that Jim Murphy was going to be some kind of "Messiah" figure now looks unutterably daft.  The Record (which commissioned the poll) are valiantly trying to put a positive spin on the situation by distracting our attention with the results of supplementary questions that asked specifically about Murphy, but in truth even those look pretty grim for Labour.  Just 14% of voters say that they are more likely to vote Labour now that Murphy is "leader", while 18% are less likely to do so.  A quarter of voters say they think Labour will be more successful due to Murphy, compared to 16% who don't - but that's actually a much less important finding, because it will have been influenced more by the media's propaganda efforts to paint Murphy as a political colossus and obvious vote-winner, rather than by respondents' own feelings about the man.

The Record's last throw of the dice is to point to the finding that 28% of Labour voters, 14% of Tory voters and 22% of Liberal Democrat voters agree with the statement : "I am more likely to vote Labour now Jim Murphy is Scottish Labour leader". Suspiciously, though, we are not told how many Labour, Tory and Lib Dem voters agree with the statement "I am less likely to vote Labour now Jim Murphy is Scottish Labour leader", and that part of the datasets hasn't been published yet. Perhaps the most important detail we need to see is how many current SNP voters say they are less likely to vote Labour now that Murphy is in harness - because of course a large chunk of Labour's support from 2010 is now in the SNP column.  Admittedly, we're told that 21% of current SNP voters would "seriously consider voting Labour" - but we aren't told how many current Labour voters would seriously consider voting SNP.  How mysterious.

If you wanted to summarise in a few words why the SNP are doing so well at the moment, it boils down to the fact that they have the support of the vast majority (85%) of people who voted Yes in September, while unionist parties have been unable to prevent a very substantial minority of No voters (29%) from "defecting" to Nicola Sturgeon's party - although in reality a lot of those people will have voted for the SNP in past elections anyway.  It's reasonable to deduce that the SNP need have little fear of suffering localised reverses next year in their No-voting north-east heartlands (and of course that was borne out by a recent council by-election in Aberdeenshire).

Jim Murphy is a dyed-in-the-wool Blairite, which means among other things that he believes in an authoritarian ideology (militarism, detention without trial, and all the rest of it).  It's curious, then, that he's recently spent so much time championing "targetted libertarianism" in a way that he hopes will appeal to a certain group of lapsed Labour voters that he wants to win back - ie. working-class men who he thinks above all else crave the personal freedom to drunkenly shout sectarian abuse at football matches.  I'm just wondering how well a macho offering like that will play with women, especially given that the SNP's new leader is female.  For now, the gender gap still works in Labour's favour (the SNP "only" lead by 46% to 28% among women), but for how much longer?

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Yet more nonsense from Mike Smithson at PB -

"Previous Scottish polls with figures like these have failed to budge the Scottish single seat markets. Last week the SNP was only down as favourite to win 4 seats currently held by LAB. This suggests a lack of confidence on the ground."

No it bloomin' well doesn't. The vast majority of punters at UK betting exchanges are based south of the border and don't have the first clue about what's happening on the ground in Scotland (exactly the same problem that distorted the markets during the referendum). If you wanted to predict an English election using the "wisdom of crowds" principle, you wouldn't ask crowds in Belgium, would you?

"53% of those sampled in Survation Scotland poll "remembered" voting YES in IndyRef"

Heaven only knows where he's getting that from, but it's certainly not from the Survation datasets. In fact, 44% of the unweighted sample recall voting Yes, and 49% recall voting No (the remainder presumably didn't vote or can't remember).

* * *

Survation also have figures for Holyrood...

Constituency voting intentions for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election :

SNP 50.8% (+0.8)
Labour 24.6% (+1.6)
Conservatives 15.1% (+1.0)
Liberal Democrats 4.8% (-1.9)
UKIP 2.2% (-0.9)
Greens 1.5% (-0.8)
BNP 0.3% (-0.5)

Regional list voting intentions for the 2016 Scottish Parliament election :

SNP 39.8% (-0.8)
Labour 23.8% (+3.5)
Conservatives 13.7% (+0.7)
Greens 9.0% (-0.9)
UKIP 7.1% (-0.6)
Liberal Democrats 5.5% (-0.9)
SSP 0.5% (-0.4)
Christians 0.3% (+0.3)
BNP 0.2% (-0.1)

In spite of the slight uptick in Labour support (from a horrendously low base), this poll confirms what other firms have consistently shown - that the biggest threat to the SNP at Holyrood does not come from unionist parties, but instead from the inclination of some of their own voters to drift off to the Greens on the list.  If things remain as they are, that phenomenon would threaten the SNP's chances of a second overall majority.  If the state of play changes, it might even threaten the SNP's chances of remaining the largest single party.  Hopefully a very aggressive two-vote strategy will be put in place to counter this potentially huge problem.

*  *  *

SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Barring the improbable appearance of another full-scale Scottish poll between now and Hogmanay, this will be the last Poll of Polls update until 2015.  It's based on the Survation poll, plus five Scottish subsamples from GB-wide polls - four from YouGov and one from Populus.  As always, the new Opinium poll (in which the SNP are flying high) is excluded, because the Scottish subsample result hasn't been published.

Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election :

SNP 45.8% (+3.4)
Labour 25.3% (-1.0)
Conservatives 16.5% (+1.0)
Liberal Democrats 5.3% (-1.3)
UKIP 3.7% (+0.1)
Greens 1.9% (-1.7)

(The Poll of Polls uses the Scottish subsamples from all GB-wide polls that have been conducted entirely within the last seven days and for which datasets have been provided, and also all full-scale Scottish polls that have been conducted at least partly within the last seven days. Full-scale polls are given ten times the weighting of subsamples.)

48 comments:

  1. What I find utterly bizarre about all this is that Murphy recently retweeted something from George Galloway of all people, claiming that the SNP won't win a single seat from Labour. Either he knows something we don't or he'll be utterly humilated in May.

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    1. That line made sense as an initial expression of confidence, which you can get away with if you only use it once. Banging on about it makes it a hostage to fortune.

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    2. Och come on Stoat, climb aboard. You know you want to ;-)

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    3. He's right, they won't win a single seat from labour........They will win lots of seats from labour!

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    4. I think we are presuming far to much.and I for one am very wary of how the media is shaping up,if you want to see the news in the southern regions go to the very top of the listings on your TV it gives the various regions,sometimes very interesting,I record one while watching the other then view the differences.We may get a bad surprise come May,after the referendum I was sickened and hope that May will cheer me up,but expecting the worst while hoping for the best

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  2. The details of the poll as reported by the Record can be found here:

    https://archive.today/ZKGXf

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    1. Tables are here:

      http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/December-Scotland-Daily-Record-Scottish-Voting-Intention-ONE.pdf

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  3. Scottish Parliament Voting Intentions:
    FPTP:
    SNP - 50.8%
    LAB - 24.6%
    CON - 15.1%
    LIB - 4.8%
    Others - 4.7%

    List:
    SNP - 39.8%
    LAB - 23.8%
    CON - 13.7%
    GRN - 9.0%
    UKIP - 7.1%
    LIB - 5.5%

    Seats:
    SNP - 69 seats (N/C on 2011)
    LAB - 28 seats (-9)
    CON - 15 seats (N/C)
    GRN - 7 seats (+5)
    UKIP - 5 seats (+5)
    SSP - 1 seat (+1)

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    1. LIB - 4 seats. I seem to have missed them off.

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    2. Thanks for that, but where does the SSP seat come from? This poll only shows them at 0.5% on the regional vote (admittedly lower than some others).

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  4. Gosh UKIP in Holyrood? That's an uncomfortable thought

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  5. It is, but their voters are probably just elderly Tories who have switched their hateful right-wing party of choice. There have always been people like that in Scotland, sadly.

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    1. They're not 'just 'elderly Tories' in this poll though. It's a small sample (59) but 49% are under 45 (compared to 45% of the SNP's) and in 2011 of those who voted for Con/Lab/LD/SNP only 37% voted Con (29% voted SNP).

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  6. UKIP winning a few seats on the regional list is inevitable IMO, they'll pick up the racist/orange vote. Will be ironic seeing them take seats in the parliament they wanted (still want?) to abolish.

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    1. It's imperative we get David Coburn in there. He's destined to be the new John Smith-style "Father of the Nation".

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  7. Working inthe industrial sector in West Central Scotland it's clear to me that what Calum says is true. The bigots that showed themselves in George Square after the result displayed an attitude that is not uncommon among certain sections of our population. UKIP will be an ideal vehicle for the narrow minded to climb aboard.

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    1. Gerry Braiden wrote a good article in the Herald about this a week or so ago. An example of it is an UKIP activist who has been ingratiating herself on twitter with some of the darker elements of the Rangers support. In particular one rocket who managed to persuade the European Commission to investigate whether Glasgow council had provided "state aid" to Celtic (the EC quickly found it hadn't). To be honest I don't mind this because UKIP peeling off the "orange" vote will hinder any attempt at a Tory revival.

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    2. About Interim UKIP Scotland Chair, Arthur Misty Thackeray: Misty hit the headlines recently when a series of his rants ended up in the Herald, thanks to perennial UKIP Hunter, Paul Hutcheon. They included his musings about how Catholicism was based on “fascist ideology” and bemoaning the “suffocating culture of anti-loyalism” in Glasgow, which is of course best symbolised by Glasgow City Council…or as Misty likes call them “Gays, Catholics and Communists.”

      http://athousandflowers.net/2014/04/27/meet-ukip-scotlands-nigel-of-the-north-2/

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  8. I'm a Green, so perhaps I'm biased, but I think it would be quite a good thing for the Greens to get a few MSPs at the SNP's expense. They would surely form a coalition with the SNP, and it would help to keep the SNP on the straight and narrow where certain policy issues are concerned. Also, I'm uncomfortable with the idea of the SNP taking ALL the Yes movement for itself.

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    1. The problem with SNP voters drifting off to the Greens on the list is that it might cost the SNP seats without actually gaining the Greens any. That could easily have happened in 2011, because the polls overstated the Greens' support, leading to misguided "tactical voting" on the list (particularly in the northeast).

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    2. Despite being broadly an SNP supporter, I'd much prefer a "rainbow Yes" majority at Holyrood than a majority for the SNP. The 2007-11 parliament got much more done than this one has. But is it worth risking a Unionist majority in order to achieve that? Tricky one.

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    3. Really Jamie,you want to bet on nobody voting Labour? or for more bombs? SNP first and second,makes much more sense to me,get into the big picture then choose the colours we want to be.

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    4. "But is it worth risking a Unionist majority in order to achieve that?"

      You really have to ask? I'd rather have a parliament than an executive, which is exactly what we'd get with a Unionist majority.

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  9. James, I would really like to vote SNP constituency and Green/SSP regional in 2016, but I do not want to help Labour in any way. I had thought that a few more Green list votes could actually help prevent Labour from gaining so many list seats. Perhaps I was wrong - or does it really depend on where you are? (I'm in the North East).

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    1. James,

      Voting Green won't help Labour. The Greens are likely to pick up list seats in almost every region (with the possible exception of West & South Scotland). In the North East especially, The SNP need around a +50% list vote to win a list seat if they hold all their constituencies. Greens need just over 5% to win one.

      And if the SNP were to fall short of a majority, I think it's fair to say the Greens would be a good influence in any coalition government.

      While it makes sense to vote tactically for the Constituency vote, the list vote is there for you to vote for your preferred party.

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    2. I mean Luigi!

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  10. "Admittedly, we're told that 21% of current SNP voters would "seriously consider voting Labour" - but we aren't told how many current Labour voters would seriously consider voting SNP. How mysterious."

    Curtice says in his article that 19% of the Labour rump would "seriously consider" voting SNP. He also says that only 7% of SNP voters thought that Murphy becoming leader made them more likely to vote Labour. Those numbers are really low when you consider that 53% of the SNP voters say they have voted Labour in the past.

    Curtice also points to an interesting disconnect between unionist and nationalist voters: unionists mostly think of "who will provide the best leadership and policies for the UK?" whereas most nationalists think of "who will provide the best leadership and policies for Scotland?".

    http://blog.whatscotlandthinks.org/2014/12/murphy-proves-magic-bullet-labour/

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    1. I suspect that most Unionists think that what is good for London is good for all of the UK. Unfortunately, London has been overdeveloped at the expense of all the other areas of the UK. London is now the problem.

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    2. London cant feed itself,it trades on paper.

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  11. I keep reading about tactical voting well true its up to yourself how you vote and your reasons.Me I seek an independent and I can only see that voting SNP is the most likely way to get independence or even home rule something definitive,if somebody says they want independence but will vote Green because they are not sure of the SNP about NATO policy,that means you will not get independence you will be stuck with Westminster,teach the lessons after independence,please really think it through,I like Patrick Harvey,he is a guy with solid principles,but we are fight Westminster and they have not heard about principles yet.Get in the big picture or we will be painted out.

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    1. I couldn't agree more. Excellent comment. Gets right to the heart of it.

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    2. One of the problems during the Referendum campaign was that the media would represent an SNP argument, a Labour argument, a Tory argument and a Lib Dem argument. This meant there was always 3-to-1 pro-union representation.

      If we imagine there was a strong Green Party, SSP or any other pro-indy party, this would lead to the pro-independence argument being better represented in the media, with 2-vs-2 representation (given approaching Lib Dem armageddon).

      In Catalunya, for example, there are four pro-independence parties represented in the parliament (five if we count ICV and EUIA separately), which gives a broader choice and appeal of pro-independence parties (and 76% more seats).

      It is a near impossible task for the SNP to appeal to a broad enough group of people to maintain itself as a +45% party, or become a +50% party, and a 40% (SNP) + 20% (other indy) target looks more achievable.

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    3. I agree with the sentiment Charles and Rolfe, but surely it's up to us to work out the most effective way of achieving that goal, region by region (at Holyrood). I would have thought that the most important goal at the moment is to effectively remove as many Unionist MP's and MSP's as possible from getting to represent Scotland. That's not always the same as getting as many SNP MSP's as possible .

      I am not an electoral system expert and so would like more definitive advice and analysis on how exactly tactical voting on the Holyrood list could work.

      As I understand it, Regions where SNP are likely to completely dominate the constituency vote, the current system is designed to make it very difficult for SNP to gain Regional MSP's, and so opens the door to Unionist (particularly Labour) victories on the list. This was after all where the SNP got their MSP strength from in the early days of Holyrood, when Labour took most of the first past the post constituency seats.

      Would it not therefor be better to vote Green or SSP or whoever is pro Indy instead of SNP in those Regions where SNP dominate the constituencies, and by so doing deny Unionist parties many more of the Regional MSP consolation prizes for not winning their FPtP constituencies?

      Am I reading this wrongly? If not, It seems to me for this tactic to be successful, it would need to be very well organised on a region by region basis, identifying and targeting the best placed indy supporting candidate/party to swing behind in each regional ballot.

      braco

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    4. Absolutely Braco.

      As Piemontels points out: where the SNP is doing very well in the constituency vote they can't pick up any more on the list so it makes a huge amount of sense to Vote SNP for the constituency vote and vote Green on the list and so help the Greens pick up a list seat in place of one of the other parties.

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    5. Justin, that's exactly the strategy that some SNP supporters attempted in the northeast in 2011, and ended up kicking themselves because they almost cost the SNP the "impossible" list seat, while the Greens fell short of winning any seats at all.

      By all means people should vote Green on the list if the Greens are their number one choice - but "tactical voting on the list" is a contradiction in terms. There are too many variables to take account of, and it's likely to backfire.

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    6. Agree, James, I did exactly this in 2011 without too much thought.

      SNP const and voted SSP on the list (without checking SSP's previously polling/results in the NE).

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    7. I am not arguing for that though Kevin and James. I am arguing for a thought out region by region strategy to get an authoritative opinion disseminated (possibly on eve of poll and after constituency and other polling is taken into account) in order to help pro Indy voters maximise our damage to the Unionist MSP haul. If voting SNP twice is best in one region fine, that's what we should do.If voting SNP and another pro indy party/candidate on the list is more effective in another region then that should be made apparent too.

      I don't see the argument, other than it not being possible technically? Or have I misunderstood the electoral relationship between the constituency FPtP vote and the top up Regional List vote? This is the info I am after.

      braco

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  12. Labour thought winning a no vote would save labour. It hasn't, it has destroyed them in Scotland.

    It's time Murphy, McTernan, McDougall et Al realise they have lost and move on.

    They and their toxic politics are not welcome in Scotland any more.

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  13. The last Populus poll of the year has Scottish sub-sample of SNP 36, Labour 23, Tories 19 and Lib Dems 13. Bigger than usual SNP lead for Populus.

    http://www.populus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/OmOnline_Vote_22-12-2014.pdf

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  14. Listening to some Labour/No voters I work with is mind expanding. The mental gymnastics is awe inspiring!
    Most of them seem to be going to vote SNP, but I can't understand their reasoning.
    As long as they vote SNP!

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    1. could you maybe give some examples though?

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    2. It was their reasoning for voting No.
      They say they are socialists, and didn't want to split 'the working class', but realise that real change isn't possible under the Westminster system.
      The choice of Murphy wasn't too popular, and I think they realise their No vote was misplaces. Maybe next time for them.

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  16. James - you do sterling work - keep it up. I know your appeal was till May 2015 but we'd be happy to fund on to May 2016 I believe; though I can only speak for myself of course. Perhaps others might comment?

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    1. Hear, hear, Stevie! I'm promising to fund all the way through the next indyref. Will only reassess funding pledge once indy is achieved.

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    2. And another modest wee donation fae me too for 2016, coming your way James.

      I really love this blog and reading not just James' view, but the many posters on here and it could be very, very helpful to SNP activists in 2015 along with Greens, SSP for 2016 such as this discussion we are having about list votes for SSP/Greens.

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    3. It's overshadowed by the horrible events today in Glasgow, but here are some more findings from the Survation poll, including Yes/No being split 50/50. http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/revealed-daily-record-poll-shows-4859836

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    4. Here are the full tables: http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/December-Scotland-Final-Tables-Full1.pdf

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