Panelbase have today released their second independence poll since the referendum -
Should Scotland be an independent country?
The previous poll from the firm in the autumn actually had Yes slightly ahead, but the results are not directly comparable, because that one was commissioned by Wings Over Scotland, and used a very particular question. In a sense, then, this is the first 'conventional' referendum-style poll from Panelbase since September, and it bolsters the strong consensus across a number of firms that the Yes vote has increased by a modest amount since polling day. We can be extremely confident that this progress is real and not merely a methodological mirage, because all of the firms have changed their procedures to bring in weighting by recalled referendum vote. (YouGov were slower to do so than Panelbase or Survation, but they eventually fell into line.)
It's particularly important to stress (because someone has already made a misleading claim in the comments section below) that this means it is categorically not true to say that "the polls have barely shifted since the 19th of September". 47% Yes from Panelbase may look very similar to the results we were seeing towards the end of the referendum campaign, but it's likely that Yes are now being downweighted significantly based on recalled vote in a way that, for obvious reasons, wasn't happening in the pre-referendum polls. In real terms, the Yes vote has increased since those polls - by a significant if not dramatic amount.
The datasets for today's poll aren't out yet, but we can use the autumn poll commissioned by Wings as an illustration. On that occasion, the 491 respondents who recalled voting Yes were downweighted to count as 431, and the 474 respondents who recalled voting No were upweighted to count as 534. There's no way of knowing yet whether the adjustment was quite so huge this time around, but if by any chance it was, it means that Yes would now be ahead if Panelbase were still using their pre-referendum methodology.
Make no mistake about it - there was nothing inevitable about support for independence continuing to swell after the referendum. September 18th could easily have been as good as it ever got for Yes, with people feeling afterwards that they could "move on" now that the matter was settled. I suspect we have two main factors to thanks for that not happening - a) the inspiring positivity of the Yes campaign, which people didn't want to let go of, and b) the spectacular boneheaded obstinacy of David Cameron, David Mundell and Adam "IT'S THE LAW!!!!!" Tomkins in refusing the budge an inch over more powers for the Scottish Parliament. It's getting to the point where we may end up looking back on Tomkins as the midwife of a second indyref. Cheers, Adam.
We're told that a supplementary question in today's poll found that almost half of the population feel that people not born in Scotland should be excluded from voting in the next referendum. The Sunday Times commentary invites us to feel concerned about that, but I can't think why - the right-wing London media are pretty much unanimous in backing the decision to largely exclude people born outside the UK from the forthcoming EU referendum, so they can't credibly argue that anyone who feels that the equivalent principle should also apply to a Scottish referendum is a filthy xenophobe. I'm sure most readers of this blog would agree with me that we should remain as inclusive as possible, and use just as broad a franchise as we did last time - but the logic of those who take a different view can't be faulted. They're simply adhering to the Cameron Doctrine.
As you probably recall, research from Edinburgh University found that if the Cameron Doctrine had been applied in September and a more restrictive franchise had been used, Yes would have won.