A pro-independence blog by James Kelly - voted one of Scotland's top 10 political websites.
Hi James, I'm a bit of a novice at polling and an old hand at betting. Following recent polls I've been on a couple of bookies sites looking at individual constituency betting and have been surprised at the prices.While I think most people expect that present polling is unlikely to translate into the absolute (mid 50s) landslide they suggest it is surely reasonable to expect that the SNP should be favourite for virtually every seat. I'm amazed, and a little concerned, at the number of areas they're second favourite to win and those where they're favourite but only by a short margin, say 8/11. Do you think that the bookmakers just don't grasp what is happening in Scotland and it is time to get in and bet? Or are they offering a more realistic appraisal that cuts through the hype?CheersDavie
I think the bookies took a hammering at the Holyrood 2011 Election Davie and will not be caught out like that again. They were offering fantastic odds in 2011 and didn't catch on to what was happening until it was too late.
So you are suggesting that they are wary of a late polling shift and pricing up accordingly? That, in a reversal to 2011 where that SNP were the beneficiaries, this time they fear they may be a Lab/Lib charge so they are keeping them shorter odds than they would be if history was not considered?If that is the case then the SNP odds represent excellent value.
davie. Are you looking at the odds from Paddy Power?
looking at Oddschecker which gives you all firms:http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/british-politicsSo many dubious Lab favourites; e.g the likes of Donohoe, Davidson, Murray, Alexander, Greatrex not to mention their 'shoe-ins' like Murphy and Bain. Then a raft of seats with a fag paper between them on odds.Somebody has this wrong; the pollsters or the bookies.
Nobody necessarily has it "wrong". Polls just measure opinion as it stands when the survey is conducted, to the best of their ability. Bookies' odds obviously involve guesswork, e.g. 1 what will happen to public opinion between now and polling day? e.g. 2 is there a history of party X under or over performing their poll ratings? e.g. 3 are there local factors which may affect the result?The other thing you have to remember is that when the SNP are as high in the polls as they currently are, they can only win an absolute maximum of 59 seats. Therefore the seat total markets can only go so high, realistically, because there would be very little profit available above the spread if it is set very high. If the SNP spread was around 50 seats, then all the value would be to sell the market. Your maximum possible loss would be very limited, but your possible gain (if the SNP did poorly) would be quite high. The individual constituency markets reflect the reality that there are very few (if any - maybe just Orkney & Shetland) seats where the SNP don't have a realistic shot of winning. It doesn't mean they will win everywhere - it's practically impossible to do that (even Blair 'only' won 418 seats out of 659) - but they should be competitive almost everywhere.
Is there definitely going to be another Ipsos Mori poll before the election?One concern that I have is that, if I remember correctly, polls significantly overstated how well the SNP would so in the European election last year. Could that be happening again?
I share those concerns. I am also keeping a good look out for those postal vote applications numbers as well. They certainly played a big part in the final Referendum vote.
Yeah hope someone's keeping an eye on Ruth Davidson and the postal votes.
Postal votes are mainly a problem because they encourage people to vote weeks before polling day. So the last three weeks of the campaign can be hamstrung in that respect.On the other hand it could work in the SNP's favour this time if people are voting by post right at the peak of popularity.
You assume we've peaked. In these strange times who knows? 52%, 55% ... ?
Well, I was going to make that point too, but I'm typing on my phone. Whatever happens, we're not exactly disadvantaged by people having the chance to vote now.
Looking at the Euro elections the SNP was indeed overestimated. So was Labour, but to a lesser extent. The biggest surprise was the Conservatives, who did much better than expected. Of course, circumstances and turnout are/will be different this time.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Parliament_election,_2014_%28United_Kingdom%29#Scottish_polls
James, I keep hearing about an undecided factor of around 30% but cannot trace the source. What do you know of this, is it correct?
You tend to get higher rates of undecided voters in polls that are not conducted online. As James says in his piece, online samples are self selecting (you have to volunteer to take the surveys) so they tend to have more politically motivated people participating.Take yesterday's TNS poll, for example, which was conducted by face to face interview. 56% of the total sample indicated a clear party preference. Of those that indicated a preference, just over half (29%) said they would vote SNP. Of the remaining 44% who did not indicate a preference, most of those said they were undecided (29% of the total sample). The remainder refused to give an answer or said they would not vote.The poll also asked people how likely they were to vote. The two key numbers are that 67% said they were certain to vote, and another 11% said they were very likely to vote. That indicates that turnout will be in the region of 70%. This is unusually high, as turnout in the last UK General Election was 64% in Scotland.If all of the people who expressed a preference and all of those who said they were undecided voted, this would produce a turnout of 85%. This is inconsistent with their likely to vote question. I think we can reasonably assume that a fair chunk (about half) of the people who told TNS that they are 'undecided' will in fact not vote at all.I think it's likely that the SNP share will drop / Labour share will increase closer to the election, because more of those undecided voters will be past Labour voters. But even if the SNP failed to win over hardly any of the undecided voters, they would still do pretty well. If the TNS poll is correct, they would still win 29% of the total electorate. This would be just over 40% of the vote on a 70% turnout. For perspective, the last two UK governments (Labour 2005 and Con 2010) have been elected on around 24% of the total electorate.
Ta muchly. Just another fear bomb from Slab supporters then.
Maybe this is off topic for this article, but the subject has snuck into the comments, as it's sneaking into comments and twitter all over the place. The subject, essentially, is the honesty and integrity of "people". People we don't know personally, but who are doing a job we see the end results of.Two groups of these people are coming in for an enormous amount of low-level stick in online postings and comments. Wings is at it as well. These groups are the firms who conduct the opinion polls, and our local authorities who run and administer the election process itself.How often do we read comments along the lines of "the poll was rigged!" And it seems any poll might be rigged. The referendum polls were rigged down to discourage the Yes movement and make people believe that No was the default choice. Until they were rigged up at the last minute - to do what? Oh yes, provide an excuse for the last week of fear-napalming and the Vow, without which Yes would of course have won. Now, apparently, the opposite stratagem is in force. The polls are rigged to show the SNP stratospherically high - to encourage complacency in SNP activists and galvanise the opposition (who won't be discouraged, of course....) Also, so that an eventual SNP Scottish majority of say 35 seats can be derided as a failure.(It's like homoeopathy. No matter the actual result, it's possible to find an explanation in terms of the basic assumption, that shaken-up sugar pills are medicine, or that the polls are manipulated.)And it's not just one polling company. All the polling companies are in the grip of the same devious mastermind, to deliver the same devious, misleading, manipulative result. (1/2)
(2/2) The other thing is, "OMG the postal vote!" The postal vote has its problems, for sure. It facilitates the real problem, which is the opportunity for fraudulent registration of either real people who don't live in the property in question, or entirely fictitious people. It's a lot easier to vote by post if you don't actually exist. The other perennial postal vote problem is the potential for people in certain domestic circumstances to have their vote coerced or even completely hijacked. Vulnerable residents of care homes and subservient members of patriarchal families are the usual groups implicated.But that sort of fraud is low-level piecemeal stuff, and unlikely to influence the result of a national election in a significant way. It's not organised, and it doesn't involve local authority employees.The pernicious implication behind most of the tweets and the comments is far more sinister. It is that the private polling companies and the public servants of the local authority have been subverted on a massive scale to do the bidding of - who? David Cameron? The Bilderberg Group? The Illuminati?The polling companies live or die by their accuracy and reliability. They may get it wrong, and they may be encouraged to get it wrong by vested interests desigining push polls and that sort of thing, but they try. Their corporate dream is to be the one that got closest to the actual result on the night. Also, they employ lots and lots of ordinary people, to conduct interviews and collate data and crunch numbers and so on. Have all the pollsters agreed to do the bidding of Mr. Big, all at once, and NOBODY within any of these organisations has blown the whistle? Really?Local authorities are also ordinary people. They're the councillors we elect and the people the councils employ to run the local services. In the referendum, half of them were Yes voters, certainly in some areas. A councillor remarked to me at the Borders count, "I know these people (the tellers). Most of them voted Yes. I'm gutted for them, having to count all these No votes."Yes voters were acting as polling clerks. They were driving the vans and taxis taking the boxes to the counts. They were opening the boxes and counting the votes and adding up the numbers.As regards the postal votes, the system to ensure security is very good, once the votes reach the electoral registration officer. Representatives from the parties are there to watch them being opened and able to check that the signatures and so on match. And again, the people doing the job are ordinary council employees. Yes voters, SNP voters, in the normal proportion for their area.Ruth Davidson was very indiscreet. She had been tipped a wink from No representatives who had witnessed the postal vote opening and snuck a look at the votes (which they're not supposed to do). Yes representatives had quite possibly tipped their side off too, but Yes had more sense than to mention it on air. Ruth didn't admit to any MANIPULATION of the postal vote though, only to knowing what it was. Sneaking a peek is possible. Manipulating the vote isn't.I wonder if all those people who so casually remark that the postal vote is rigged or the polls are rigged, have any idea of the preposterous scale of the conspiracy they're alleging, and more to the point, the disservice and the insult they're offering to the thousands of ordinary people doing their ordinary jobs.
You're absolutely correct. For me, another glaringly obvious thing is, if there was wide-spread electoral fraud in the referendum, why haven't the SNP hierarchy or other leading Yes campaigners spoken out against it? Are they in on it too? Jesus.One thing I would is that 'Wings' (as in Stu Campbell) has not in any way promoted these conspiracy theories (although if you saw one the more outré commenters on there repeating them, I wouldn't be flabbergasted). Advanced industrial democracies don't have to stuff ballot boxes, etc. They can, as in Noam Chomsky's term, 'manufacture consent' through their privileged position in relation to mass media - e.g. the final, shock-and-awe phase of Project Fear last September.Allegations of ballot stuffing and widespread electoral fraud just make us look like cranks and allow unionists to discredit us without having to confront the case for independence properly.
Stu has made the occasional tweet about "of course" he doesn't trust the postal vote. He may simply mean it's open to low-level fiddling, which is of course true. But without that context people do tend to grab on to such tweets from a respected and influential person to bolster their own delusions.
You only need to use Google to read about previous postal vote riggong. It doesn't need to be a huge conspiracy.
It does, on the scale suggested.The previous cases you'll find were situations where over-enthusiastic councillor wannabes tried to do the impossible. They were caught, inevitably. The amateurish tippexing of voting papers and so on would have been impossible to pull off.Don't confuse isolated attempts at vote tampering, by people who were caught doing it, with the sort of massive all-pervasive conspiracy that's being assumed by those who so thoughtlessly throw around allegations on twitter.
Excellent posts Morag. Some of the best refutations of postal conspiracy theories I have come across.
Excellent refutations of polling conspiracies too I might add..
I don't buy the claims made by some Yes supporters that the referendum was rigged. It just feels like a way of dealing with the disappointment of the result. We are better looking to the future.
The worry is of course that people don't believe No was really ahead, so they don't believe we have to work to change minds.Or that they become convinced that the result will always be rigged so there's no point in going on at all.And that they become convinced we're living in a state where our friends and neighbours who happen to work for polling companies or the local council (or are even employed casually to act as polling clerks or ballot box drivers) are all subverted to interfere with the democratic process by some unnamed all-powerful force. I think that's a deadly mind-set, and I don't like to see people slipping into it.
If anyone has any doubts about the referendum result then they should try and talk to as many people in the middle classes in Scotland as possible. Then they will see why we lost. The Yes campaign did not win over as many people in this category, which would have ensured a Yes vote. Whether we could have done anything more to win them over at that point in time is perhaps the most important question of all. I suspect Yes did it all it could in the circumstances.
Rolfe, fight it on twitter with the folk you see pushing these so called 'conspiracies'. Don't come on here looking to start a pointless argument with no one that's actually postulated any of your grievances (yet). We get it, you see yourself as a small 'c' conservative, rightminded woman of logic. Fine. Just stop lecturing like we all have to agree with your view (and your view of yourself). The YES movements greatest achievement was to muscle power away from self appointed political and social institutions and minority elites. Part of the price of that is that all voices get heard, from which assessments and judgements can be made. You make your judgement, good. Everyone else will make their judgement too, good. That's as it should be, but you sometimes give the impression (possibly unintentionally) that you have special insight and therefore a privilege to hector. You have insight, but no privilege to hector.I would have liked to have heard your take on the supposed contents of the McCrone report at the time of it's 'non existence', plenty screamed 'conspiracy'. Or how ridiculous the idea of governmental hiding of oil wealth was. Tinfoil hat conspiracy accusations have been a well used and standard tool in the suppression of uncomfortable facts against the status quo by the British establishment. It is therefore no surprise that many are willing to question, what would have seemed unquestionable just a few short years ago. The BBC hiring, covering up and in some cases enabling child abuse for example. Anyone putting forward a theory such as that would have been considered 'tinfoil' hat material, would they not? What would your position have been I wonder? braco
It's impossible to fight this on Twitter, with the 140-character limit. It requires lengthier explanation than is possible in that format.This isn't about how I see myself. I bitterly resent your personalisation of my argument in that way. Can you not refute my points without setting up a straw woman to attack? This is about logic and rationality, not your personal take on my personality.Rather than address the argument, you list a string of completely unrelated events you imagine I would have denounced as ridiculous. I have not and never did denounce any of these as ridiculous, so you're wasting your time with these diversions.You can believe what you like, but if you haven't a shred of credible evidence to support your belief, and if your belief implicitly accuses thousands of ordinary people - our friends and neighbours and fellow-voters - of complicity in a vast conspiracy, then promoting it with sly winks and innuendo is doing people a real disservice.
A bit intemperate braco. I found Rolfe's take on it reassuring and enjoyed the read. It was nothing I didn't know but good to be reminded. I actually do think there likely was an element of rigging in the referendum; it would have been a dereliction of duty for M15 not to have been involved as Nicolas MacPherson ably reminded us. But the scale of the defeat would have been beyond their competence. I never actually push these thoughts (today excepted) as I don't think it is productive to the independence cause to do so.But this is not a referendum on the future of the UK. It is a general election and if we believe the British State is going to be involved in different constituencies rigging them individually we all need to take a break. Who are they going to 'big' up? Will they consult the 'tactical voting wheel' before filling in the fake postal votes?
I think it's pretty inevitable that MI5 were involved in the referendum. Good grief, if policemen can be induced to become bidie-in lovers of peace activists, getting agents to apply for jobs with Yes Scotland and stuff like that would have been kindergarten level. Who knows what damage could have been caused by interference at that point?I don't have a shred of evidence that any of that happened of course, I just think it's likely. But if someone was able to come forward and show me good evidence, or a good explanation, for why it didn't happen, I'd happily forget the whole idea. Clinging on to a pet conspiracy theory in the teeth of evidence that it didn't happen is the real tinfoil hat territory.What I'm certain MI5 didn't do was interfere with the actual ballot papers. Not only would it have been essentially impossible to do on a sufficiently large scale, given the safeguards in place, the evidence of the statistics of the actual vote puts the idea to bed.
Fair enough Rolfe, you're probably right ref ballot papers. I think the frustrating truth is: we have an older population who are easily manipulated and/or scared with a limited exposure to information and a natural tendency against change; a sizable rUK population who rather selfishly protected their links with their countries of origin rather than let Scotland be a normal country; a population of bigots who swear allegiance to the red white and blue like a pseudo religion; a lot of I'm all right Jack sorts who kid themselves that the reason for their relative success and other's predicament is simply down to their talent; a large though declining number of died in the wool Labour types who are conditioned to vote as they are told by their on-the-gravy-train leaders and a few (though I've not really met them) perfectly reasonable sorts who weight everything up objectively and thought the UK State was the best way forward for Scotland.All egged on by a business, media and land owning class who were delighted there were so many useful idiots.
I couldn't agree more. I think the stranglehold of the mainstream media, particularly the broadcast media, held by people with a unionist mindset, was the killer blow. "How the BBC stole the referendum" really is the issue.They insulated the voters from the vibrancy and positivity and optimism of the grass-roots Yes campaign. Happy people were portrayed as vile cybernats and threatening mobs. Astroturf No initiatives were bigged up as real people. Every scare story was run as gospel, and every refutation as "they would say that, wouldn't they".People spent hours, days, weeks and months persuading friends and relatives to vote Yes, only to have their efforts entirely negated by that evening's six o'clock news.Things are changing, but still the polls show Yes and No too close to call. People are still scared.
Intemperate? I do not subscribe to all conspiracy theories but neither am I a person who dismisses all conspiracy theories because they are 'conspiracies'. Human history, the great and the terrible, all entailed human conspiracy. Conspiracy and the human ability to act in concert is one of the great attributes that have allowed humans to dominate nature and become what it is that we have become (whatever that is). Modern human history is made up of political conspiracy and their sometimes expected, but mostly unexpected outcomes. What we are witnessing (on twitter according to Rolfe) and just about all other parts of Scottish society is just a natural re-balancing of what has been historically a far too trusting, know your place, biddable, and paternalistic British societal attitude. We may be in the early stages of possible over compensation, but that is far better than sitting back and effectively letting the establishment say or do exactly what they want to us. That situation occurred from SELF censorship and self ridicule from within the society being abused, stolen from and lied to. Rolfe, you ask 'what kind of society do these people think they are living in?' The answer to that is simple, they no longer know what kind of society they are living in and they are searching, in their own ways for answers. You accuse them of attacking our own people. Many folk who annoy you with their nod to conspiracy ARE our people. They usually voted YES, as that is the root of their upset and confusion at the disparity between their own experience of the referendum and the final result. It only takes a little thought and empathy to understand the current 'mood'. No one is being threatened or lynched! The only threat is to the societal institutions, laws and conventions that have thus far relied upon unquestioned authority to impose their will. The more questioning, the more theorising and the more holding authority to account (even if that leeds to the odd outlandish claim on the outskirts), the better as far as I am concerned. If it had been a YES, the same conspiracy theory 'culture' would have formed among some NO voters and for the same reasons.Again, I do not subscribe to the conspiracy theories that you are railing against. I just recognise them for what they are, the natural results of a wholescale and critical reassessment of a great majority of hitherto respected and trusted institutions central to the Scottish electorate's view of themselves as a civilised country. The real culprits that you have mentioned and that I agree with such as the BBC or the civil service, or the police, or the News papers, or the Labour Party are all examples of totally broken and corrupt institutions that until recently the majority of Scots would have completely trusted (beyond reason). They were corrupt then, just as they are now. People are asking 'if I didn't see it then, what am I not seeing now?'. This is absolutely necessary, essential even (in my view), and why I disagree with your attitude toward and fabricated offence from, what is in reality a bit of minor gossip and tittle tattle on twitter etc. braco
I don't even understand what you're trying to say there.People have been being sucked into conspiracy theories since long before anyone thought of the second shooter on the grassy knoll. This is nothing new.There is corruption at many levels, some organised, most petty. The way to oppose that is to find out what is true and what isn't, and seek to fix what's really wrong. What I find not only sad but destructive, is the propensity of many people to cling to notions of things being wrong or things having happened, which demonstrably didn't happen.Real problems are the "manufacturing of consent" which somoene mentioned above. The media acting as "fans with typewriters" (or video cameras) for the Labour party and the union side. The harnessing of the resources of the state to produce partisan propaganda. And indeed the utter corruption of the Labour party and its betrayal of its founding principles, which seems to come as a surprise to some people.If people are focussing on vote-rigging and poll-rigging, they're focussing on fantasy, not reality. That's never constructive. Worse still, instead of blaming the real culprits - the politicians and the media and the big business interests - they cast blame by implication on the ordinary people who handed out ballot papers and drove taxis and counted votes that night.By peppering their conversations with throwaway lines about rigged polls and interference with postal votes, they create an atmosphere of distrust of their ordinary neighbours who work in these capacities. They manufacture a discourse where it's assumed that these things are happening, and these ordinary people are corrupt servants of a shadowy "state".It's not healthy. Figure out how to combat media bias and the undue influence of vested interests, yes. Tilt at the windmill of universal ballot-box substitution, and that way madness lies.
There was a huge problem with wide scale postal voting fraud in the West Midlands when I lived there.Just to point out that the population of the West Mids is bigger than that of Scotland, and it was almost entirely the Labour Party who got caught.So...postal voting fraud by the Labour Party on a large scale isn't just possible, it's already happened several times...and no-one has been sent to prison for it.
My following post crossed with this comment. Oddly enough, when I googled to find the West Midlands report, what I actually found was a report of a Conservative doing it in Yorkshire.Attempted postal vote fraud by individual candidates and their friends has been discovered. And I agree, I think it's usually Labour people. But my point is that these are individuals working on their own behalf to get on the gravy train. And that as soon as they scale up the fiddle to the point where it might influence the vote, they get caught.This isn't a grand conspiracy, with some mysterious "They" controlling everything, this is a few dishonest people who want a cushy job. And mostly they're idiots, and they're caught.The tone of the tweets and the comments I'm referring to isn't of people concerned by individual candidates trying (usually futilely) to get on the gravy train. People are consistently implying some grand conspiracy by some unnamed all-powerful body. And they're implying actual tampering with ballot boxes, not just fraudulent registrations. This would inevitably require mass subversion of local council employees, and it's a nasty smear with no evidence at all to back it up.
I actually forgot the best bit. The allegation that the polls were deliberately rigged to show Yes losing, so that nobody would question the rigged No result in the referendum when it was finally announced.It's easy to bandy about these ideas, but people don't seem to realise what they're alleging. That some all-powerful "They" can control both the independent commercial polling companies - all of them, at the same time, to produce comparable, false results - and subvert the democratic process at ballot box level.And always the "evidence" proffered is the same. That Ruth knew in advance how the postal vote had fallen, and various news reports of instances where groups of people have tried to exploit the loopholes in the postal voting system on a scale large enough to get themselves noticed.Everybody who is awake during the postal vote reconciliation can get an idea how the vote is going. That's why it's illegal to disclose anything you've learned during that process. Someone broke the law and told Ruth. But sneaking a peek isn't vote tampering. Knowing isn't the same as influencing.All the vote-rigging scandals cited for this grand conspiracy are individual enterprises by individual candidates. (Nearly always Asian, it seems, I don't know why that is.) Labour people in one place, Tories in another. They try to exploit the lax voter registration procedures on a scale large enough to influence the result. And they get caught. Low-level fiddling is possible, but scaling it up to the necessary level to turn a constituency around really isn't - unless it's astonishingly close in the first place.This isn't a grand conspiracy, it's just a few dishonest people trying to get themselves on the gravy train by cheating. It shouldn't happen, and the system should be tightened up to prevent it happening (which is in fact what the new registrations procedures are designed to achieve). But it doesn't provide any evidence that "They" have a grand overarching plan to rig any election or referendum wholesale. They haven't because it can't be done.Co-ordinating mass subversion of opinion polls with mass subversion of the ballot box is something even the old Soviet Union would have struggled with. What sort of society do the people tweeting "of course I don't trust the postal vote" think we're living in?
Don't forget the gifs that purport to show stuffing of ballot boxes. The ballot boxes look nothing like the ones used here (the ones in the videos are transparent, whereas as ours never are) and I suspect the footage comes from Russia. Yet someone, presumably a disgruntled Yes voter (it sounds a bit cranky but you cannot entirely rule out the other possibilities - Russell's teapot and all that), knowingly took footage of electoral fraud from another country and presented it on social media as 'proof' that the referendum was rigged. I literally don't know what motivates these people.
Leaving aside the footage that apparently came from Russia, none of the other bits of film shows anything actually untoward.A teller writes something on a piece of paper. You can't see what he wrote, or on what. Tellers were writing down numbers of incomplete bundles all the time. But that poor guy was vilified as a "wee scrote" and worse because someone alleged he was filling in a No ballot paper. Where did he get the paper? How many did he fill in? Why was he doing it right there in full view at the count? It's nonsensical.A woman teller moved a ballot from one stack to another. Once. Presumably she spotted that she'd put it in the wrong pile. Someone looped the film to make it seem as if she was doing it repeatedly. Why? If she wanted to put Yes votes in the No pile, why not just put them there in the first place? And since all the bundles were checked by the tellers swapping with a partner (pairs being allocated randomly on the night), what would be the point? How many tellers were doing this, to get 200,000 votes in the wrong pile, unnoticed, more or less evenly spread across the country?I'm not wholly convinced either of these bits of film were from the Scottish referendum either. It's just a bit odd that someone was filming at exactly these moments. And the way the tables were set up, are always set up for counts in Britain, observers watch over the tellers' shoulders from behind a tape. That didn't appear to be the case in either of these instances, as far as I could see. One was filmed from the side and the other from the front.And the most ridiculous thing of all. BBC TV footage alleged to show Yes ballots counted as No. The first thing the tellers do is to count the number of papers in a box, to check that they tally with the number of papers recorded as having been put into that box. This ensures "ballot box stuffing" can't actually happen. After they've done that, they get a cup of tea. Or ours did anyway. At this point, the papers aren't sorted into Yes and No. The bundles have to be put somewhere. They were put on tables in the counting area, where everyone could see them. These tables were labelled Yes and No, because they were to be used at the later stage to hold the sorted ballots. But the labels were irrelevant before the sorting was done.So really, did the BBC actually show vote-rigging on-screen? No, they just showed the piles of bundles of unsorted ballots sitting on the tables. There were bundles with Yes and No on top on both tables. Someone grabbed the footage showing a bundle with a Yes vote on top sitting on the No table, and ran with it.Come on, even Ernst Blofeld wouldn't have been as blatant as that. But when it was explained to them, people didn't say, oh thanks for clearing that up, they went on mega rants about how the tables shouldn't have been labelled until they were ready for the sorted votes, and no Yes paper had any right anywhere near a table labelled No and so on.Sometimes I despair of humanity.
And don't get me started on the blank-backed ballot papers. I didn't notice anything on the back of mine either, and thought it was blank. Checking with friends, I realised was mistaken. It happens.That's another one where there was no discernible reason for such a thing. What the hell would have been the point? Nobody could provide a coherent suggestion. (Not to disparage the incoherent suggestions, mind you. Some people should try fiction writing for a living.) More importantly, nobody could provide evidence of a single person having called attention to a blank-backed ballot paper before putting it in the ballot box.Then there were the piles of papers allegedly found in or beside bins. Easy to fake of course, by anyone with access to a postal voting paper and a photocopier.Why would anyone do any of this? Who found these bits of film and made the misleading claims about them? Who photocopied the ballot papers being waved around in George Square by an American woman?If you want a conspiracy theory, here's one. Much of this seems to have come via the USA. The effect has been to tar Yes supporters as demented fruit-loop conspiracy theorists, and to suck many hurting and disappointed people into actually becoming demented fruit-loop conspiracy theorists.Cui bono?
Good article James, but I have a minor quibble about it. You talked of the "last-but-one" YouGov poll. You really should use the word penultimate. I'm a firm believer in using the word penultimate at every opportunity, along with its sibling word, antepenultimate.
The problem with 'penultimate'' is the suggestion of 'second-last in an *entire* series', implying that there's only one more Yougov poll to come, which isn't what James means. He really does mean 'last but one' in the series thus far, with no suggestion at all about its future.
Hah, he got you there, Stoat!
Well, that taught me for trying to be verbose.
Lol. If we want to get *really* anal (and who doesn't?) I mismatched my inverted commas when I quoted 'penultimate'. Anyway.
O/T James, but just to let you know I have just finished answering questions on the telephone from a young lady from Populus. Started with questions about Edinburgh North and Leith (the constituency I live in), but became much wider e.g would I prefer to see Cameron or Milliband as PM. First time I've ever been polled!!
Populus means it is possibly an Ashcroft poll. Alternatively could be an internal Labour thing.Do you remember more details about the questions / order they were asked?
"From memory. Some if the biggest yes areas had the lowest turnout. I thought this was more than coincidence. The important thing is this. We will probably never prove if it was or wasn't fiddled."It's not a coincidence, but neither is it evidence of fraud. Turnout in the 2010 general election was 65.1%. Yes voting areas had lower than average turnout. Glasgow constituencies had both some of the lowest turnout in the whole UK and the lowest turnout in the referendum. The low turnouts in Yes voting areas were merely a reflection of usual voting behaviour. The demographics most attracted to independence just happened to be the demographics who are least likely to vote. Interestingly, the highest constituency turnout in the whole UK belonged to a seat held by a certain Mr Murphy! Click here for a full voter turnout breakdown by constituency.
From memory. Some if the biggest yes areas had the lowest turnout. I thought this was more than coincidence. The important thing is this. We will probably never prove if it was or wasn't fiddled.Those that are convinced there was no fiddling. Are putting all their faith and trust in the state, not to have done so! It cannot be proven either way. It's all about personal feelings. So we just have to accept we will never know either way. Unless we could see every ballot paper then it's impossible.
1. Those areas usually have lower turnouts than average for all kinds of election.2. The margin of victory / defeat was too large for it to be 'fiddled'. 3. If there had been 'fiddling' going on, don't you think that the Yes supporters present would have spotted it?4. Independence supporters have some control over the state, either at local council or Holyrood. 5. If there was any legitimate reason for investigation, it would be (e.g. police questioning Ruth Davidson about her comments on the telly).
Sigh. It's not a question of putting any trust in anything. It's a question of asking, how could it have been done, and is there any evidence of that having happened? Conversely, is there evidence that it didn't happen?To the first question, there really isn't any way of doing it that wouldn't be spotted by the hordes of ordinary people involved with the process - partisan observers and employees alike. To the second question, no there's no evidence that anything beyond a few minor fiddles happened. To the third, yes there is a lot of evidence that nothing was tampered with. The cross-breaks are consistent in a way that couldn't have been achieved by any method short of substituting almost every ballot box, see two above.Some of the biggest Yes areas were working-class areas where motivation to vote is lower than average. There was something good on TV after work (football?) It came on rain, in Glasgow, later in the evening. A significant number of people probably just didn't bother to get their coat and shoes back on and go out again once they were settled by the fireside. Not everyone shared our enthusiasm, even if they generally supported Yes.Once again, we have "the state" referred to as if there's some all-powerful body manipulating everything. Who are these people and how are they doing it, with casual locals employed to pass out ballot papers and drive boxes to the count and count the votes? We are not living in a Stalinist state, really we're not. The SNP controls some councils and Holyrood, you know.I'm getting tired of this "it's all about personal feelings" schtick. No it's not. It's about evidence. You can have all the feelings you like, but when all the evidence stacks up in the other corner, it's time to take a re-think.
"From memory. Some if the biggest yes areas had the lowest turnout. I thought this was more than coincidence. The important thing is this. We will probably never prove if it was or wasn't fiddled."It's not a coincidence, but neither is it evidence of fraud. Turnout in the 2010 general election was 65.1%. Yes voting areas had lower than average turnout. Glasgow constituencies had both some of the lowest turnout in the whole UK and the lowest turnout in the referendum. The low turnouts in Yes voting areas were merely a reflection of usual voting behaviour. The demographics most attracted to independence just happened to be the demographics who are least likely to vote. Interestingly, the highest constituency turnout in the whole UK belonged to a seat held by a certain Mr Murphy! Click here for a full voter turnout breakdown by constituency.P.S. I posted this previously as a reply to the wrong quote. Please delete the other one.
You can delete your own posts on the Blogger software. There should be a wee icon or something below your own posts.
There an article at Common Space that concludes "How the polling companies weight their polls is giving a huge boost to the SNP numbers" but I can't follow the logic or even where the "raw" figures come from. Anyone read it and able to explain?See https://commonspace.scot/articles/1028/craig-paterson-poll-analysis-drilling-down-on-the-raw-numbers-shows-that-the-snp-shouldn-t-get-too-comfortable
Some of the points in that article don't make sense. I've just checked the TNS datasets again, and the SNP haven't been weighted up at all - on the headline numbers, there are 217 respondents in the unweighted sample who say they plan to vote SNP, and 219 in the weighted sample. Virtually identical. What he really means when he says "before weighting" is "before undecided respondents are stripped out", which is an entirely different point.Yes, by all means let's be cautious about the TNS poll because of the high number of undecideds and because of the other reasons I mentioned, but there's nothing odd going on with the weighting.
The obvious explanations are 1. exclusion of don't knows / won't votes (that's why all the headline percentages are higher than the 'raw' number) and 2. the YouGov polls had to be adjusted for the fact that there were excessive numbers in their sample who were born in the UK outside Scotland (that's why the SNP numbers are relatively higher than Labour compared to the raw numbers).Both of these points have been looked at it in some depth here over the last few days. I think both myself and James feel that the last YouGov poll over-stated the SNP position relative to Labour because it had an excessive weighting of non-UK voters, some of whom (i.e. the Poles) won't be eligible to vote. I think it's more than likely that the SNP will poll well under the scores suggested by YouGov and TNS, mainly because the remaining undecided voters will mostly be unionists. The problem for Labour is that the numbers who say they will vote SNP are too high to be overcome; they actually need to win some of these back. For example, the article highlights that 'only' 29% of the full TNS sample intend to vote SNP. If that proves to be accurate, that would still mean that the SNP would win 41% of the vote on a 70% turnout, even if they fail to win over any of the undecided voters.
Further to the anon comment from Edinburgh N & Leith, there is a comment on UKPR saying that Populus have been polling in Ross, Skye & Lochaber. Looks like another set of Ashcroft polls to follow.
Yes, somebody mentioned here yesterday that several people had been polled in Ross, Skye and Lochaber. That's one of four constituencies that have been mentioned so far.
Did you have Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale in that count? Because my neighbour was polled a few days ago by Populus.
Makes sense if it was. Ashcroft tends to return to seats that he previously found were close.
I find it difficult what to make of polls, if they are truly positive or not. Reading this article from Common Space:https://commonspace.scot/articles/1028/craig-paterson-poll-analysis-drilling-down-on-the-raw-numbers-shows-that-the-snp-shouldn-t-get-too-comfortable
OK, see it's been dealt with above.
Just been contacted (Glasgow North West)by 'MQR' apparently Messina Quantitative Research. Googling them, I see they were founded by a Tory activist :( see here: http://www.markpack.org.uk/87787/mystery-phone-polling-tories-say-isnt-done/However, the nice lady on the phone said they were operating on behalf of the 'BBC and other media sources' not for any political partyQuestions asked included: Voting intention, how likely to vote for each party on a scale of 0 to 10, how likely to change my mind, did I vote in 2010 and 2014 Euros, Dave or Ed better PM, what kind of coalition would I prefer, would I be more likely to vote for my Labour MP if EdM agreed to a Lab/SNP coalition.Anyone came across this outfit before?
Yes, they polled me in the Tory / Lib Dem marginal seat of Truro & Falmouth back in February. The questions they are asking you are basically the same as what they asked me, except for the Lab / SNP thing (because it wasn't such a public issue back then).MQR is bound to be Tory internal polling - they hired Jim Messina (who worked on the Barack Obama campaigns) at great expense. Fuck knows why they are polling in *Glasgow*, though.
gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahShould have said 'to give a kick to the effing Tories' in answer to the 'why are you voting' question.At least I marked them 0/10 for voting intention. That'll confirm their perceptions about Glasgow.