Monday, April 18, 2016

In quotes : what John Curtice ACTUALLY said about "tactical voting", and how it differs from what the Sunday Herald claims he said

To my genuine astonishment, the editor of the Sunday Herald has spent much of the last 24 hours sticking doggedly to the hopeless fiction that John Curtice's views were summarised 100% accurately in the article which wrongly claimed that the psephologist had "advised" pro-independence voters to switch to the Greens or RISE on the regional list ballot in May.  Neil Mackay seems to have adopted a holding strategy which mainly involves repeatedly pretending to misunderstand the criticisms that are being made - he responds as if people accept that Curtice was paraphrased accurately, and as if they're simply annoyed that a platform has been given to views that they happen to personally "disagree" with.  Cue the familiar lectures about how the Yes movement needs to learn to accept questioning and dissent, etc, etc.  It really is SO disappointing to see an editor who we know is a decent bloke resort to this sort of distraction technique, especially given that the criticisms that have been made of the Sunday Herald are perfectly legitimate - overwhelmingly legitimate, in fact, given that no less an authority than Curtice himself has confirmed that he didn't say people "should" switch to the Greens or RISE on the list.  As a general rule, if the person whose views you're summarising says there was an inaccuracy in the way he was summarised, your claims of 100% accuracy probably aren't looking too promising.



Given the utterly bizarre circumstances we find ourselves in (I think I'm finally beginning to understand what "post-truth environment" means), it's probably worth actually going through the specific claims made in the Sunday Herald article, and then directly comparing them to John Curtice's own words in the report that is supposedly being paraphrased.  This is one "spot the difference" game that I don't think you'll find too difficult. (I've added the italics for emphasis.)

SUNDAY HERALD'S CLAIM : "Supporters of independence should not give their second vote to the SNP at the Holyrood elections, according to a new report by one of the country's top political scientists. Professor John Curtice says Yes voters should instead give their backing to another pro-independence party - such as the Greens or the leftwing party Rise - in case unionist MSPs are let in by the back door."

WHAT CURTICE ACTUALLY SAID : "But, of course, [tactical voting on the list] is not a strategy without risks."

*  *  *

SUNDAY HERALD'S CLAIM : "Curtice collated and analysed recent opinion polls and found that the SNP will win all but three constituencies and be returned firmly as the majority party of government on that vote alone."

WHAT CURTICE ACTUALLY SAID : "Perhaps, in the event, the SNP will not do so well as the polls are currently suggesting, thereby ensuring that every last list seat won or lost matters."

*  *  *

SUNDAY HERALD'S CLAIM : "Due to the rules of Scotland's complicated electoral system that would mean the SNP would then see only two MSPs returned on the regional lists – most likely in the Highlands and Islands because they will win fewer constituencies in that region."

WHAT CURTICE ACTUALLY SAID : "Conversely, if the polls are indeed underestimating SNP support on the list vote (and overestimating that of the Greens) then the party may well be strong enough in at least some regions to pick up a list seat even if it has won all of the constituency seats in that region (while perhaps the Greens are too far away from the 5-6% needed to win a list seat for any likely level of SNP tactical support to make a difference)."

*  *  *

SUNDAY HERALD'S CLAIM : "Pro-independence voters in other parts of Scotland who cast both votes for the SNP could therefore be “wasting” their regional list vote, according to Curtice."

WHAT CURTICE ACTUALLY SAID : "In any [event] one can see why [the SNP] is using the social media hashtag #bothvotessnp in the election campaign — it does not wish to take the risk that it loses out because voters decide to try and help another party on the list vote."

*  *  *

SUNDAY HERALD'S CLAIM : "Curtice underlines the fact that any party which hopes to win a regional seat must secure around 6% of the vote, suggesting that voting SNP in the regional ballot instead of smaller pro-independence parties could benefit unionist parties with a bigger share of the vote and no constituency MSPs."

WHAT CURTICE ACTUALLY SAID (ENCORE) : "Conversely, if the polls are indeed underestimating SNP support on the list vote (and overestimating that of the Greens) then the party may well be strong enough in at least some regions to pick up a list seat even if it has won all of the constituency seats in that region (while perhaps the Greens are too far away from the 5-6% needed to win a list seat for any likely level of SNP tactical support to make a difference)."

*  *  *

I rest my case, m'lud.

69 comments:

  1. If Professor Curtice were the litigious sort, he'd have a very strong case here. His professional detachment is being impugned. The quote marks around "wasted" in the article suggest he said something that be absolutely didn't say and the headline, as everyone with half a brain has noticed, is totally false. Still, what's the point of facts in a newspaper?

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  2. I'm especially disturbed that there's no mention of the South of Scotland region in the analysis. I live there, and I know the constituency I happen to live in is probably in the bag. So far so good. But the reason I've been working my socks off for the past couple of months putting out SNP election literature is that I want to maximise the list vote for the SNP here.

    Why? Because I know we'll be pretty surprised (in a good way of course, like last year, but still pretty gobsmacked) if we don't lose two of the other constituencies in the region to the Tories. We know the unionists there are coalescing around a tactical Conservative vote there. I'd be a lot more surprised if we aced all the South of Scotland seats than I would be if we won both Orkney and Shetland.

    If we do lose these constituencies, and our list vote holds up to within a couple of percentage points of our constituency vote (as it did in 2011), we'll get two list seats to compensate for the lost constituencies. If it doesn't, we won't. Who will get these seats in that event? Not RISE, for sure. I don't think the Greens will scrape a seat either. I think the Labour vote in Midlothian South will ensure that the seats go to Labour, as they won't have won any constituencies but will still get a lot more list votes than any of the minor parties.

    I've been trailing up and down driveways and farm tracks for weeks trying to avoid that, and here comes an Exocet designed to negate every bloody step I took.

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    Replies
    1. But the picture varies on a region by region basis. I'd hate to see seats thrown away in regions where SNP will win every constituency because people didn't think it through.

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    2. The SNP actually has a massively better chance of getting an extra list seat even if it wins all the constituencies in a region, than RISE has of getting a single one. Everywhere. Just as happened in the north-east last time.

      The Greens are on a slightly better wicket, but again the worked examples on Wings show that the way the arithmetic works the SNP is the smart bet to get another seat ahead of the Greens too.

      The people punting this scam - and scam it is, as it's designed to deprive the unionist parties of their justly proportional share of seats - don't seem to understand this, and it's impossible to explain it in a tweet.

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  3. You know, when I first heard this scam mooted I initially thought there might be something in it. It took me quite a while reading Scot Goes Pop and then later the stuff Wings worked through in detail to demonstrate for me what a thoroughly poisonous idea it was. So I can see why people give it credence.

    What really annoys me are the barbs about being brainwashed and stupid and someone who puts party above independence, because I've managed to figure out that James and Stuart are right. If I genuinely thought there was a decent chance of the scam coming off, I wouldn't be criticising it. I'd certainly say, as an SNP member of nearly 25 years standing it will certainly be SNPx2 from me, but I wouldn't be busting a gut trying to talk other people out of the idea. I'd stand by and let them get on with it. I might even be thinking, very quietly, more power to your elbow chaps.

    But these self-righteous zealots actually risk handing list seats the SNP would have won if its list vote had held up over to LABOUR. And they're so sure of their own brilliance they can't see it. Or maybe they're just so keen to advance the cause of their own fringe party they can't see it. Unskilled and unaware of it.

    If these fruitloops, through the Sunday Herald, manage to hand a seat or two in my region over to Labour, I'll never forgive them. But that's exactly what they're working towards, and the open approval and even glee of people like Kenny Farquharson doesn't open their eyes to what they're doing.

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    1. Absolutely correct, Rolfe. I am teeth-grindingly angry at the "sleekit" manner in which this nonsense has been peddled, from the barely camouflaged Solidarity mouthpiece that is "The Point", and the completely transparent RISE mouthpiece that is "Bella Caledonia" on the left, right through to the increasingly obvious Unionist "shills" at the "Sunday Herald", this attack on the SNP vote has been remorseless. I can understand why unionists would want to do this - but pro-indy folk? I will never forgive the SLAB scum who used their own membership lists to call OAP's and lie to them pre-referendum about their pensions. I agree with you that there is now another lot who will not deserve forgiveness if their selfish maneuverings cost us a SNP majority!

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    2. I think that arguing about this "scam", as you call it, on the basis of fact is doomed to fail. If facts could persuade the proponents of tactical list voting away from that idea, then they would have done so already. The reason why this idea isn't going away is because it says, "If you're a bit cleverer than everyone else, you can make your vote count for more than it ordinarily would." This is almost universally appealing.

      The honest way for these smaller parties to frame their pitch for list votes would be to say, "Here are our policies and principles. If you agree with these, then you should vote for us on the list and use your constituency vote tactically for the SNP, since [except for the Greens in a few constituencies] we're only fielding candidates on the list and the SNP are the only pro-indy party who have a hope of winning constituencies."

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    3. Sadly there are pro-independence supporters out there who genuinely seem to believe that independence will be achieved by all the pro-independence parties joining hands, and singing Kumbaya my Lord, and walking off into the sunset. However, those who are more cynical or realistic are well aware of the old divide and rule tactics beloved by states who are powerful. I cannot believe Mike Small (or written by others associated with RISE) has run article after article on Bella Caledonia arguing for independence supporters to split their votes. No matter how many times he and others have been told how difficult it is to use tactical voting for the Holyrood PR system, they just will not look at the evidence. They have put their fingers in their ears, and are shouting La, la, la. There is yet another article on BC from an individual, who apparently is an SNP member, but is going to vote Green on the second vote. I cannot be bothered to respond now, they just will not listen.

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    4. "pro-independence supporters who believe that independence will be achieved by all the pro-independence parties joining hands, and singing Kumbaya my Lord, and walking off into the sunset."

      You forgot to add... "with a good wishes, hugs and a friendly pat on the back from the rUK". They are the "Wet Indys", and there are a lot of them out there, mostly Greens or wistful SLABs.

      The other lot, RISE are just your usual lefty lefties, who although claiming to have policies to help the poor don't really care about them. They are mainly in politics for the excitement of fighting and arguing with other lefties about how many RISERS et al you can get on the head of a pin.

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    5. @James Coleman

      I cannot believe some independence supporters think that splitting the pro-independence vote three ways between the SNP, the Scottish Greens and RISE is going to cause anything but severe difficulties for the cause. The first thing the British establishment would in all likelihood do in those circumstances is use the divide and rule tactic to destroy the independence movement. They would point rightly to the fact that the Scottish Greens are divided on independence, then they would probably argue that RISE's main goal is socialism, and not independence or self-determination (after all that is how they themselves distinguish themselves from the SNP). I cannot believe that the likes of Mike Small et al are so naïve has to not being able to see this happening.

      RISE and the Scottish Greens appear to think that the best way to win independence is to attack the SNP, and not to mention the unionist parties in Scotland! WTF is all that about? To gain independence we have to win the support of some of those who voted No. Where is the strategy from the Greens and RISE to this obvious and glaring fact? They have shown they are more interested in taking votes from the SNP via this ludicrous argument about somehow being able to game the PR system for Holyrood, rather than try to appeal to unionist voters. That is how shambolic their strategies are.

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  4. What makes you think the editor of the Sunday herald is a 'nice' guy?

    If he has a surfeit of pride sufficient to stop him admitting a serious error of judgement, and remains obdurate he's right and you should not contradict him, he ain't a nice guy.

    Nice guys agree with you immediately.

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  5. Neil Mackay has no defence for the Sunday Heralds misinterpretation of Prof Curtices report.This whole debacle saddens me greatly.But only for a wee minute.Then it's onwards again.

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 11:30 AM

      19 Sept 2014 the Jocks voted to go onwards with the Union.I thought the Sunday Herald was pro independence!

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    2. Pitiful creature.

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 6:46 PM

      9 years the Nat sis have been in power and poverty is increasing in Scotland and all you do is make your snide comments scumbag. Swinney carries on as Osborne mark 2 and refuses to tax the rich.

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    4. Did you skip your nap?

      Delete
  6. He seems to be claiming it was 'reporting, not opinion'. Well, it seems to me that it was 'misrepresentative reporting OF an opinion'.

    In any event, I'm tired of hearing 'it was reporting' as an excuse for printing things that the writers know to be less than 100% correct because it's 'balanced' to let people lie to the electorate. I think the 'balance' we need restored is the one where elected officials and others don't get away with this sort of thing because there should ALWAYS be analysis added to 'reporting'. Otherwise, whether they accept it or not, they are choosing to support the great and the good in letting them lie to the public (whom they know do not all see the difference between reporting and opinion and sometimes take the former as fact) with adding qualifiers.

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  7. On a related point (speaking as a 1st Vote SNP/ 2nd Vote Green; but totally supportive of those voting SNP/ SNP, because I think both arguments and strategies are sound):

    Having Tom Gordon in charge of Politics at the pro-Indy Sunday Herald is like Corbyn having Hilary Benn in charge of Laboir policy on nuclear weapons.

    Someone needs to replace Tom Gordon as Politics editor at the SH or they will see their readership vanish. He'll still have a job at the Herald where readers expect them to be anti-Indy.

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  8. Prof is never going to say you should do this or that. Anything that claims this is rubbish.

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  9. This is just another reason the press are dying a slow death in Scotland. We need a fair, honest and balanced press and we have neither. I had hoped the National would have been that paper but it's mainly blogs that you can get free elsewhere and by buying it I suppose we support the finances of the Herald. Hense I rarely buy a paper now other than to have a laugh at how terrible they actually are. It's like every media outlet in Scotland from the papers, to BBC Scotland to Scotland Tonight has went Fox on us.

    Bruce

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  10. The amount of posts on-line saying that people have decided to stop buying the Sunday Herald as a result of this one article, shows just what a spectacular own goal it has been.

    David Leask was on Twitter trying to defend the article, but the when shown the Professors response to Rev Stu about whether he agree with the way the Sunday Herald had reported his comments, (that showed Curtice did not agree with the Sunday Herald) Leasky disappeared like 'sna aff a dyke' (always a clear sign of guilt)

    Oh, and while we're talking about someone disappearing like sna aff a dyke, has anyone saw Kezz lately?

    One minute she was never out of the news, then a few gaffs later she does a Johann Lamont!


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  11. I agree the Sunday Herald's report selectively quotes the Prof, and so is deliberately misleading. Disappointing, sure. How many voters will be misled though? Not many, I think. It doesn't have the reach.

    Poll in today's Herald, from BMG. No attempt to present percentages with don't know's removed. What's wrong, does no-one in The Herald have a calculator on their phone?

    Constituency % :
    SNP: 43
    Don't know: "almost 1 in 5" - 19?
    Labour: 17
    Con: 13
    LibDem: 5

    List %:

    SNP: 37
    Don't know: ??
    Lab: 16
    Con: 13
    Green: 6
    LibDem: 5
    UKIP:3

    No doubt some Yoon will start screeching about the SNP being on "only 37%"

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    Replies
    1. Not being complacent though! Reading that sort of guff is the best motivation to get campaigning.

      SNP x 2

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    2. Good chance the 'don't knows', or a significant number of them anyway, won't vote at all. Mind, an unknown number of those saying they will vote for one party or the other at the moment won't turn out either.....unless we are going to get a turnout of 81%, which seems very unlikely.

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    3. Encouraging stats. It means the vast majority of the population is either unionist, uncommitted or soft nationalist. It bodes well for future elections if the sep hard core is only 43%

      Aldo

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    4. Eh?
      Was this a poll that asked about independence?

      If Yes, you are right...

      If on the other hand it was a poll asking the voting intentions of people voting for the make up of the next Scottish Parliament...

      You are wrong.

      What one was it?

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    5. Pro independence people mostly vote SNP / Green.

      Pro union people mostly vote Lib / Lab / Con.

      People who do not immediately answer one of the pro - independence parties when polled about their voting intentions are at least 'winnable', from the point of view of the unionist parties.

      Aldo

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    6. Steven this sort of poll should be motivation for realising that constant SNP x 2 mantras and imagining tactical voting where there isn't any, and constant paranoia about anyone not voting SNP x 2, and advocating sheeesht for indy are having the opposite effect of you and other's desired one. It's a great big turn off. Well done you lot :(

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    7. Steven this sort of poll should be motivation for realising that constant SNP x 2 mantras and imagining tactical voting where there isn't any, and constant paranoia about anyone not voting SNP x 2, and advocating sheeesht for indy are having the opposite effect of you and other's desired one. It's a great big turn off. Well done you lot :(

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    8. I think it's quite sad that the Scottish Greens and Scottish Socialists have simply become an extension of the SNP - the parties you vote for when you don't think the SNP will quite make it. Two proud political traditions - socialism and environmentalism - have allowed themselves to become eclipsed and subsumed by another, quite separate one: Nationalism.

      When the SNP craze settles down in a few years, these smaller parties will pay a price as they fish for votes in a poisoned pond.

      Aldo

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    9. The Sunday Herald article was skewed in a way that suggested tactical voting was a clever idea, when other parts of Prof Curtice's analysis not reported on suggested otherwise. I think it's reasonable to respond to that.

      If people want Green or RISE MSP's elected, they should vote RISE or Green. People who want SNP MSPs elected should vote SNP. Problem is not "SNP x2", it is those trying to persuade voters inclined to the SNP that they can get an SNP government by voting for another party.

      Not advocating any wheest for anything.

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    10. If you exclude the don't knows/won't vote the SNP are on 55% on the Constituency and 46% for the list.

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    11. "those trying to persuade voters inclined to the SNP that they can get an SNP government by voting for another party"
      Surely just copying those at the last general election trying to persuade voters inclined to Labour that they could get a Labour government by voting SNP.

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  12. If this is the infighting currently happening among the seps, just wait until Sturgeon gives her non commitment to independence in Wednesday's manifesto. Fireworks!

    Aldo

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    Replies
    1. Non-commitment does not mean 'not getting one'. It means 'if one of x number of triggers occurs, we look for one' and 'if the public demands it, we look for one'. You see that as potentially troubling for the SNP and you *could* be right but, remember, they're 'respecting the result of 2014' as so often demanded. The other thing to keep it mind is that, if the kickback against the SNP for the 'no commitment' pledge is as powerful as you seem to be fantasising about, then it will only indicate to them that the will for a second referendum in the near future amongst the general public is stronger than they imagine. They can then act on that.

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    2. The pro independence supporters of the SNP aren't "the general public", however.

      Aldo

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    3. How come the Tories are behind labour UK-wide in the latest Yougov Aldo? What's going on? Tory lead seems to have all but evaporated, with Corybn getting higher sat ratings than Cameron.

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    4. And polls in the same stage in the cycle of the last parliament regularly gave Labour double digit leads. They still lost.

      Aldo

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    5. Is is not that according to the Tories, the Tories are lying bastards without a clue about economics and vice versa?

      That's the message in the press today.

      Delete
    6. Meanwhile, the Labour Party is locked in a battle between old socialists and centrist reformers - with the dinosaur element winning.

      In 4 years time, people will weigh up the options and go for Osborne or BoJo. The SNP will be an irrelevance, just like last time.

      Aldo

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  13. The latest issue of the britnat Sunday Herald is yet another good reason for voting SNP x 2.

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  14. There are many Unionist sleepers within the Indy movement. The British State is a clever and devious beast.

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    Replies
    1. Frankly, I think you are talking pish.

      The British State is out there, being the British State. There are, undoubtably, folk who are pretendy Scottish Nationalists, but they are exposed right, left and centre.

      Take a chill pill, these idiots will have no traction.

      Delete
    2. There will be a few in the SNP, but not many. These people have to be paid to do that, remember. The concern isn't the numbers, it's whether one or more of them has managed to work their way into a position of trust and influence in the party. I really don't know how to judge that, but I would hope not.

      I'm a lot less sanguine about Yes Scotland. That was formed de novo for a specific purpose and a defined period of time. If MI5 didn't do its damnedest to get a few agents in these in quite high-up posts, it wasn't doing its job. I suspect they succeeded. There were some particularly spectacular own goals that did look to me like someone actually playing for the other team.

      And of course some of that effort could well have been extended to the fringe independence parties

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2April 19, 2016 at 1:06 AM

      I attempted to infiltrate the Nat sis but noticed too many jars of vaseline so I left it to them to infiltrate each other. Some of them got the point.

      Delete
    4. Aw diddums. Troll stayed up late to share his fantasies...

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    5. It is almost certain that the SNP is filled with British spies from bottom level up to cabinet positions in the Scottish Government. Who knows - maybe wee nippy fae the chippie is one?

      Aldo

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  15. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  16. It's not as if there are many vacancies in the press these days.Boss shouts jump , how high? would be the mortgage slave/ pension slave instinctive reply.

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  17. Interestingly..

    http://order-order.com/2016/04/18/osbornes-equations-from-long-discredited-model/

    From the report:

    In HM Government (2013){Scotland analysis
    , HM Government (2013)}, gravity models were used to estimate the impact of a potential new international border (the ‘border effect’) on trade between Scotland and the rest of the UK.

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  18. There were some particularly spectacular own goals that did look to me like someone actually playing for the other team.

    Anything in particular in mind?

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 6:53 PM

      Leaving aside the personal aspiration of the Nat sis have you considered the people? Moreso that the Nat sis have been in power for 9 years and poverty is increasing and you Nat sis refuse to raise tax from the rich. What are you people about?

      Delete
    2. I think it time that the owner of this blog might want to put in a proper monitoring system to filter out all the off-topic remarks.

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 7:57 PM

      You clearly need some sort of filtering of the brain and do stop replying on behalf of others. You must put some importance on yourself.

      Delete
    4. Wow! GWC2 is on fire tonight, the chaps down the Conservative club will be reaching for the Vaseline and looking forward to him 'bending over backwards' to show his appreciation of his betters allowing him to serve them.

      Just lie back and think of England Mr McGibbon.

      Delete
    5. Wouldn't it be more of a case of GWC2 lying on his belly and sucking it in with enjoyment?

      Delete
    6. Well GWC2 is a unionist, so he'll bloody well take whatever's coming to him, and then thank his betters for it!

      Delete
    7. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 9:39 PM

      Hey Paddie I thought you were the one who had his Dukes pushed up while the guy had is hands on your shoulders whispering in your ear if you do not mind the pain I do not mind the shoite.

      Delete
    8. Strange creature. Internet's half full of places for people's sexual proclivities, and the troll shares his on a political polling site...

      Delete
    9. Glasgow Working Class 2April 19, 2016 at 7:40 PM

      It is political so why are you on here? The gutter is your place.

      Delete
  19. I see our disgusting little second class troll has turned up in all his glory. I wonder if the pub shut early tonight?

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 10:55 PM

      Maybe you know Paddie boy and are familiar with vaseline. I am perfectly capable of joining in in lowering the tone if that your game.

      Delete
    2. Fuck off McGibbon. Everybody knows you're a prick without you having to advertise it.

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2April 18, 2016 at 11:54 PM

      Once again you speak for everyone which is you. Knob.

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    4. That's nice. Do you find it therapeutic to come on here in the middle of the night and rant?

      Delete
    5. Glasgow Working Class 2April 19, 2016 at 11:19 AM

      You must be posting from the Ukraine.

      Delete
  20. Here's an experiment. Everyone ignore the trolls and don't even read the posts. Definitely do not reply,and let's see how they get on in an echo chamber. Don't even comment in the third person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This has been suggested many times, but some people seem to be unable to help themselves.

      Delete
  21. James,

    Are you planning to cover the 2 recent Holyrood polls?

    ReplyDelete