Long-term readers of this blog may recall that during the referendum campaign, the Press & Journal published two "polls" with utterly fantastical results - the second had the No campaign ahead by 65% to 17%. My initial reaction at the time was that these must be either outright voodoo polls (ie. self-selecting readers' polls) or 'half-breed' polls. In fact, it turned out they had been conducted by telephone, but by an Aberdeen-based firm called 'Ideas In Partnership' which, among other things, specialises in bridalwear events. To say that they are not a member of the British Polling Council does not even begin to do justice to how many light-years away they are from being a credible pollster. Needless to say, there is no transparency over their methodology, which is highly unlikely to be scientifically rigorous.
Seemingly following the philosophy that a schoolboy howler will look less bad if you commit it as many times as humanly possible, the Press & Journal have today splashed with a new "poll" from the same firm claiming that voters in the North-East and the Highlands reject the idea of a second referendum by 69% to 31%. Given how far removed from reality the results of the voting intention "polls" were, the mind boggles as to how big an adjustment we'd have to make to arrive at more realistic numbers - the true position could easily be more like 50/50.
The likelihood is that this is a firm that in its normal line of work is used to dealing with relatively affluent clients. It's therefore attracting a disproportionately high response rate from anti-independence voters, and is then failing to weight the results appropriately. Hilariously, the Press & Journal openly admit that only 44% of the sample was male. I'm sure somebody could double-check the figures from the census, but does it seem remotely likely that 56% of the voting-age population of the North-East and the Highlands is female? The age profile of the sample looks extremely suspect as well, with a whopping 32% aged 65 or over.
The question asked was also leading - it used the totally unnecessary introductory words "given the current political climate", which was presumably intended to steer anyone who likes the idea of a second referendum to think "oh, but surely I don't want one in the current political climate!"
Basically, ignore it. The P&J might as well have saved themselves the cash and just invented the results - they probably would have been closer to the mark that way. Incidentally, they also give the misleading impression that this "poll" is somehow in tune with national findings, by praying in aid a YouGov poll from a couple of weeks ago. But that poll asked a very specific question about whether or not the SNP should promise to hold a referendum in their 2016 manifesto. Polls that have asked broader questions about when and if a second referendum should be held have consistently found that there is majority support for it to happen within a decade or so.