Friday, March 11, 2016

Question Time : It's Tayside, Jim, but not as we know it

I may have been in a small minority on this point, but I actually thought Question Time's attitude to Scotland in general and to the SNP in particular had improved somewhat over recent months.  We seemed to have moved on from the incredulous reaction a viewer received last spring when he dared to ask why the SNP weren't represented in an edition of the programme recorded in England.  Since then, a compromise seems to have been reached whereby the SNP do regularly feature in English-based episodes, but not every single week - which is perhaps fair enough given the unprecedented situation of Westminster's third-largest party being a Scotland-only outfit.

But as has now been well-documented, last night's show from Dundee was a monumental step backwards, and probably marked an all-time low - it was certainly even worse than the notorious Glasgow episode in 2010.  What escapes me is the mathematical formula or guiding principles that could possibly have resulted in an audience that was so comically unrepresentative of the city, region, and even the nation that the programme was being filmed in.  Were the BBC aiming for an audience that reflected the political views of the UK as a whole, and not of Dundee or Scotland?  Nope, that can't be it, otherwise a small number of SNP supporters would be bussed down to England every week to make up their 5% share of the Question Time audience - and we all know that doesn't happen.  Or perhaps the production team ignored the current state of Scottish public opinion, and simply aimed for a crude four-way split between SNP, Labour, Tory and Lib Dem supporters, with a smattering of Greens and undecideds thrown in?  That's perhaps more plausible, although it's hard to see how it can be justified, because it must have led to a roughly 65-70% anti-independence majority among the audience in a city that actually voted Yes to independence by a wide margin.  It wouldn't have been so bad if the discussion hadn't related to independence, but it clearly did to a significant extent.  And isn't it fascinating that the artificial quota for each party could seemingly only be reached by bringing in loads of people from far outwith the Dundee area, and indeed from far outwith Scotland?

It's also worth amplifying a point made by RevStu earlier - David Dimbleby's claim during the programme that everyone had known at the time of the indyref than an in/out EU referendum was on its way is a piece of utter nonsense.  Very few commentators anticipated an outright Conservative majority, which meant the odds actually seemed to be against an EU referendum - it wasn't going to happen if there was any form of Labour-led government, and whether it happened under a Tory-led government was expected to depend in large part upon the negotiating stance of the Liberal Democrats.  But even if it was true that an EU referendum had looked certain eighteen months ago, that would still miss the whole point.  The Better Together campaign claimed explicitly that only a No vote was a vote for continued EU membership - and they did that in spite of their knowledge that there was a very realistic scenario which could lead to Scotland being swiftly forced out of the EU against its will if it voted No.  In a nutshell, the No vote was won under false pretences - and the London media were complicit in that, because they failed to challenge a very obvious deception.  If the likes of Dimbleby had hounded the Tories over the contradiction of planning for an in/out EU vote at the same time they were inviting Scotland to vote No as the only way of guaranteeing EU membership, he might now have a point in saying that the Scottish people shouldn't be surprised by how things have panned out.  But he didn't, so he doesn't.

*  *  *

Without much fanfare, there was a huge moment in the EU referendum campaign earlier this week.  YouGov's recent batch of polling had seemed to indicate a significant swing towards Remain - so I was waiting with bated breath to see if the weekly ICM poll picked up the same trend.  In fact, it went in completely the opposite direction, and showed a Leave lead for only the second time.  That's unlikely to be a freak finding, because last week's poll was very similar (it was a dead heat).

If all of the online pollsters had agreed with YouGov, it might have started to look like the writing was on the on the wall for Leave - but instead the waters have been muddied further.  ICM, often regarded as the "gold standard" of UK polling companies, has simply swapped places with YouGov as the more Leave-friendly firm.  Why that has suddenly happened is anyone's guess.

Meanwhile, a new full-scale Scottish poll from YouGov suggests that the Remain lead north of the border has dropped sharply from 27 points to 17 points over the last month, which seems thoroughly counterintuitive given that the same firm has shown the opposite trend across Great Britain.  Support for independence is unchanged at 46% - which makes it more likely that the modest drop in the Yes vote in the last YouGov poll wasn't a fluke.  The most recent poll from Scotland's only regular telephone pollster (Ipsos-Mori) also showed slippage in the Yes vote - but still showed Yes in the lead.  So we're no closer to knowing whether there is currently a narrow pro-independence majority, or a narrow anti-independence majority - it depends on the data collection method, and perhaps on other aspects of polling methodology.

SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?

50/50 ONLINE/TELEPHONE AVERAGE :

Remain 45.9% (+0.1)
Leave 38.6% (n/c)

ONLINE AVERAGE :

Remain 40.9% (+0.2)
Leave 39.8% (n/c)

TELEPHONE AVERAGE :

Remain 50.8% (n/c)
Leave 37.3% (n/c)

(The Poll of Polls takes account of all polls that were conducted at least partly within the last month. The online average is based on twelve polls - five from YouGov, four from ICM, one from ORB, one from BMG and one from TNS. The telephone average is based on four polls - two from ComRes, one from Ipsos-Mori and one from Survation.)

49 comments:

  1. Although it's interesting that the last poll from Survation showed Yes gaining a point.

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  2. It's obvious from another poll released on the YG website that they also asked Holyrood VI as part of their poll, as it gives the heading "Constituency VI".

    https://d25d2506sfb94s.cloudfront.net/cumulus_uploads/document/yvtrw0ymeh/Scottish_Renewable_Results_160222_Website.pdf

    They cross out the weighted numbers in that column because otherwise you could accurately work out the % shares for SNP, Labour and Tory in the poll before its published by the client (the Scottish edition of the Times newspaper). From the unweighted numbers I would guess that the SNP and Tories are down slightly (maybe a point) and Labour are up a couple of points. This would be a reversal of their previous poll, which put the Tories up a couple of points and put them narrowly ahead of Labour. The Times then gave that finding (Tories 2nd / Labour 3rd in Scotland) a fair amount of publicity.

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    1. They did not get enough elderly and have up-weighted them. Certainty to vote not there so we will have to wait until the Times publish them.

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  3. As I’ve said before the bbc has given up trying to be balanced in its attitude towards Scotland’s politics. Like britnat newspapers its paramount purpose now is to concentrate on fellow britnats by feeding them with more and more too-wee-too-poor-too-stupid propaganda. Just like britnat political parties the bbc is, by its blatant bias, slowly and surely eroding its influence in Scotland - ha bloody ha!

    Don’t pay the licence tax.

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  4. I wouldn't say it's entirely counterintuitive that YouGov is showing a sharp drop in support for Remain; after all, the political situation in Scotland has been moving somewhat differently to that in the rest of the UK in recent years. Support for the EU in Scotland has also been starting off from a very high base compared to England.

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  5. If that audience was from Dundee, then I'm an old Etonian...

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 11, 2016 at 9:39 PM

      No one wid understaun ra Dundonian accent so they brought in carpebaggers fae Aiberdeen.
      What I do notice about QT is it is rare to have a socialist on the panel. It is the usual variation of Tories like Swinney who will not tax the rich and attempt some wealth distribution. At least when you get Sheridan or Galloway on they argue for socialism.

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    2. (sounds the honking Yoon Klaxon)

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    3. Glasgow Working class 2March 12, 2016 at 10:20 AM

      Zombietron alert

      Bowler hat - check
      Flute - check
      Union jack - check
      Marching band - check.

      Honk honk zombie yoon alert!

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  6. Have Police Scotland found the population of Dundee yet? Queue theme tune from the Twilight Zone! Or the X-Files if you prefer!

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 11, 2016 at 9:47 PM

      I have driven through Dundee on many an occasion and noticed the Dundonians are like like Glesga East Enders. A lot of them take their sticks out for a walk.

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    2. (sounds the fake Weegie klaxon)

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  7. I know quite a few people who had requested tickets but not one was successful in getting a ticket. Perhaps they should have said they were Conservatives or Labour and they may have been lucky.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 11, 2016 at 10:00 PM

      The problem Marcia is we have two Tory parties in Scotland. Blue and Tartan and similar in policy. The rich getting richer and both refusing to tax the better off.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassMarch 11, 2016 at 11:08 PM

      Yes two fighting for the right wing vote being Tory and Labour who wrap themselves in Tartan.

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  8. Adding the latest Yougov to my Scottish POP results in zero change on the EUref. Still 2/3 in 1/3 out.

    However, I've always tracked Yougov separately due to it's poor record in Scotland. This is after all the pollster who predicted the SNP share dropping away just ahead of 2011. Likewise only at the last minute turned from Yes getting thumped to something pretty close.

    And what I don't understand is how, as not being a random sample but a targetted one, they still end up with twice as many English born people in their Scottish samples as is the case. Why not just target the appropriate demographics? It's not as if they don't have this info on record now.

    Any poll that needs to consistently re-weight in such a big way on a key factor has a problem, yet Yougov seem fine with it.

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  9. As a NO voter I was also surprised, pleasantly I may add, at the anti SNP/anti Independence views of such a large proportion of the audience.
    I would also add that I didn't think it was John Swinney's best performance but I do acknowledge that he was outnumbered 4to1 by the other panel members. I didn't see sign of Patrick Harvie coming to his aid at all.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 11, 2016 at 10:15 PM

      Patrick Harvie is a leftie so why should he give any support to Swinney? The SNP are not green friendly they cancelled GARL and the buses are clogging the M8 spewing out diesel emissions.

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    2. Jimmy,when the audience is hand-picked to BE anti-SNP/anti-Independence,you would have to be some kind of half-wit to expect any other result

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    3. Jimmy,when the audience is hand-picked to BE anti-SNP/anti-Independence,you would have to be some kind of half-wit to expect any other result

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2March 12, 2016 at 12:49 AM

      You do not have any wit. This the case with most fundamentalist Nat sis the World over.

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    5. (sounds the witless troll Klaxon)

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  10. Last time I saw so many plants, I was in Dobbies.

    BBC "impartiality" at its best - especially from that morn Dumbledor.

    What a Unionist Plank.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 12, 2016 at 12:07 AM

      I thought it was a fair and representative bunch of capitalists who just differed in how to manage capitalism. Swinney did not want to tax the rich, the international bankers will be pleased with that. Wee Nicola was on the roger melly saying she did not want to offend the rich. So no change.

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    2. (sounds the fake socialist Klaxon)

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  11. ANONYMOUS

    In the run up to the Referendum I tried several times to be picked for the QT audience when the programme came to Central Scotland.I never once got further than the Q answering machine.At the time I put it down to the fact that the answering machine could tell by my voice that I was no longer in the full flush of youth(being in my 70's).
    We all know that my age group voted heavily for NO, we also know that the BBC were afraid of Alex Salmond and the SNP in case he became Prime Minister of an independent Scotland.
    Obviously the BBC are not afraid of Nicola Sturgeon or the prospect of an independent Scotland so they no longer need to defer to her.
    By the way I don't insult the Yes voters, a lot of my family voted for Independence so I don't feel that I should be described as'some kind of a half-wit'

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  12. Dundee: 42% unionist.

    Angus: 56% unionist.

    Perth & Kinross: 60% unionist.

    Scotland: 55% unionist.

    The idea that the QT episode was hopelessly skewed is utter nonsense. The audience reflected, generally, the local area and the wider country. I think yessers tuned in hoping to see an audience unanimously salivating over John Swinney and threatening to lynch the unionist politicians. You didn't get it - nor should you have.

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    1. A valiant effort by your low standards, Aldo, but it doesn't wash, I'm afraid. That audience was far, far more than 55% unionist.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2March 12, 2016 at 2:39 AM

      Maybe some Nat sis have seen sense and turned to the Union not withstanding
      we are all in a Union.
      But I have to say the guy with the big hair who rabbitied on about project fear should have said it was the Nat sis who invented project fear. I was never going to support Natsi ism from the onset. Fear was never an issue. Scotland is a nation and in a Union.

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    3. (sounds the Nazi obsessive troll Klaxon)

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    4. Glasgow Working class 2March 12, 2016 at 10:23 AM

      Zombietron alert

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  13. Aldo, if you truly believe that audience was representative, then you must have a few bob on with Betfair, who are giving 26/1 against any party other than the SNP. The bookies are notoriously stingy, so how about letting me have a swatch at yer wallet? I'll give you 100/1 against any other party winning a majority......how about it mate? Are you all mouth and trousers?

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  14. There was some chat on Twitter on Friday that the BBC's primary commitment at the moment is to ensure balance around the EU referendum question - so the panel consisted of 3 europhiles and 3 eurosceptics. Of course, that this gives a hopelessly skewed panel relating to independence is an irrelevant side effect as far as they're concerned.

    For the audience, was the idea was that they were also split pro and anti EU? Were they, in the end?

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  15. With every effort by the BBC to back the unionist cause to the detriment of Scotland they put one more nail in the democratic coffin. Where do people go for the truth without the government slant on it. As we sit here waiting on the Chillcot report having just been given the Saville report and the child abuse enquiry starting when will the people realise this is just one cover up after another.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 12, 2016 at 11:50 AM

      How is it deprimental to Scotland? How would the working classes benefit and those in the margins that use food banks. The Nat sis say they will not raise taxes to obtain revenue. The rich in the whole of Britain are doing pretty well since the bankers screwed up. There is no requirement for Nat si ism.

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    2. (sounds the honking Yoon Klaxon)

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  16. As a supporter of independence, I thought Question Time was great. We need more episodes like that.

    I mean when you have David Coburn realising the damage it would do to his cause, what's not to like!

    David Coburn MEP ‎@DavidCoburnUKip
    BBCQT rarely in Scotland and @bbcscotland really messed it up last night a most unrepresentative audience
    9:10 AM - 11 Mar 2016

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    1. Glasgow Working ClassMarch 12, 2016 at 12:00 PM

      Skier, how many Scots were on the panel? And did you notice any that resembled a socialist?

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  17. Meanwhile a senile pensioner and former politician is campaigning for people to vote both for and against the same party.

    Much to the delight of the anti-Scottish media and their quisling cheerleaders BTL.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 12, 2016 at 12:31 PM

      Poor old Jim Sillars once tipped to be a British PM but was a socialist and that scuppered his career. Then onwards to the Nat si Tartan Tories and his career scuppered again. But still a socialist and probably about to be scuppered again.
      You cannot fault a man that sticks to his principals although he had no chance of converting this vicious bunch of right wingers that run the Nat si Party.

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    2. (sounds the plastic socialist Klaxon)

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  18. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  19. Aldo:

    https://twitter.com/angrysalmond/status/708309313773838336

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  20. What concerns me is not so much the balance of the audience in terms of percentages but how it can be that two of the speakers from the audience were (failed) Labour candidates, namely the rather nasty Kathy Wiles/Aliberty and Braden Davy who once lied on Twitter about voting Yes. I mean seriously, what's the chances of that? It's quite clear that the audience selection process is rigged and contains plants. The whole premise of the show is that these are local everyday voters who are getting the chance to ask questions of politicians. Utter bollocks.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 15, 2016 at 11:24 AM

      Anon, who is behind this conspiracy? Do you think there is a secret committee involved?

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    2. (Sounds the red Tory Klaxon)

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  21. SwagBucks is the number 1 work from home site.

    ReplyDelete