The Survation poll released on Thursday night also contained an independence question. Independence polls seem to be even rarer than Holyrood voting intention polls these days - we haven't had one since November, which is really quite weird, given that you'd think there would be enormous interest in discovering whether the substantial Yes leads shown by TNS and Ipsos-Mori in September can be replicated in other phone or face-to-face polls. Unfortunately, the new poll was conducted among an online volunteer polling panel, so it doesn't take us any further forward on the question of whether the TNS and Ipsos-Mori findings were freakish - but it does strongly suggest that the gains made by the Yes camp since the referendum have not been reversed. For the time being, the uncertainty will continue over just how big those gains have been.
Should Scotland be an independent country? (Survation, 8th -12th January) :
Yes 49.2% (-0.1)
No 50.8% (+0.1)
The fact that the rounded headline numbers are absolutely unchanged makes the calculation of the Poll of Polls refreshingly easy. Yes remains on the all-time high of exactly 50% reached in the previous update - and there would be an outright Yes lead if an ICM poll that is almost a year old were to be removed from the sample. The snag, though, is that there's no particular reason to assume that a new ICM poll would show a boost for Yes - the last one may have been relatively good for No because of ICM's methodology, and not because Yes have progressed further since March.
SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
MEAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 50.0% (n/c)
No 50.0% (n/c)
MEAN AVERAGE (not excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 46.3% (n/c)
No 46.3% (n/c)
MEDIAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 49.2% (n/c)
No 50.8% (n/c)
(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each of the firms that have polled on independence since the referendum, and that adhere to British Polling Council rules. At present, there are six - YouGov, TNS, Survation, Panelbase, Ipsos-Mori and ICM. Whenever a new poll is published, it replaces the last poll from the same company in the sample.)
Survation asked the EU referendum question as well, and found that the Scottish electorate currently break almost 2-1 in favour of the Remain position. That result is directly comparable with Survation's Britain-wide online polls, which have consistently shown the race is more or less level-pegging. Such a huge divergence leaves Colin Kidd looking a bit silly after his Guardian article suggesting that all parts of Britain might easily vote for Brexit, thus scuppering the hopes that a second independence referendum would be triggered by a 'Leave' vote. In truth, there is very little prospect of Scotland voting Leave. There may well also be a mountain to be climbed for the Outers at UK level, but if by any chance they do make it to the top, we'll almost certainly find that Scotland and England have voted different ways - and no amount of SNP ambivalence or tactical voting will change that fact. Neither is Kidd correct in suggesting that UKIP's Scottish seat in the European Parliament is evidence that Scottish and English public opinion is less different than is commonly supposed. All we have to do is look at the vote shares - on a low turnout, UKIP received 10.5% of the Scottish vote in 2014, which is more than 6% lower than they managed in London (by far their weakest region in England). Their Britain-wide figure was 26.6%.
If I was going to hazard a guess, I'd say that Kidd is a pro-European professor casting around for ways of shocking Nicola Sturgeon into campaigning passionately for Remain. But I doubt if she needs much persuading on that score, which is just as well given the total implausibility of Kidd's pitch.