I was assailed on Twitter today by Jonathan Rimmer, who I gather writes for Common Space and various other publications. His profile doesn't identify him as a RISE member, but it's pretty obvious he must be a dedicated supporter at the very least. Basically he was incredulous when I made an observation that I've already made umpteen times over the last few months, ie. that RISE are heading for zero list seats, but that it's unclear whether Solidarity will win zero or one, because we know from past elections that Tommy Sheridan has a small concentration of support in Glasgow that national polls may not be able to pick up. In an attempt to rebut this point, Jonathan made a number of wild assertions - that RISE are on 4% of the vote in Glasgow, that several polls have shown RISE ahead of Solidarity in "every single region", and that "every" poll that has mentioned RISE has had them ahead of Solidarity. (The latter point, even if true, wouldn't of course be strictly relevant, because it would be perfectly possible for Solidarity to nick a seat in Glasgow while finishing behind RISE in the national popular vote.) When I asked him for more details, he became strangely evasive, and just vaguely said that he'd seen the polls on Common Space. I pressed him further to supply some evidence, and at that point he started exhibiting all the classic signs that he'd probably been bluffing. "Can't do it, buddy, I'm on the phone! No, can't do it after I get off the phone either, much too busy. Do you think I carry polls around with me in my pocket or something? Why, yes, of course the fact that I'm tweeting right now means that I've got internet access, but not of sufficient quality to access opinion polls. Don't be ridiculous."
I'll just put him out of his misery and explain quickly why his claims are complete rubbish. There are only five active pollsters in this campaign, so let's go through them one by one...
YouGov : As you may have seen from the update on the previous post, YouGov revised a mistake in today's datasets - it turns out that for the first time, they asked respondents about RISE by name. On the constituency vote, both RISE and Solidarity are on zero. On the list vote, RISE are on 1% and Solidarity mysteriously weren't offered as an option. YouGov don't provide geographical breakdowns, so can't help with the claims about RISE being on 4% in Glasgow, or ahead of Solidarity in "every single region".
Ipsos-Mori : They don't provide a breakdown by electoral region either, but their most recent poll in February more or less disproves the claim that every poll that mentions RISE has put them ahead of Solidarity. On the constituency vote, Solidarity were on 0.3%, and RISE were on just 0.1%. Perhaps Jonathan can claim a very technical get-out clause here, because on the list vote the position was reversed (RISE were on 0.3%, Solidarity were on 0.1%). But that's pushing it a bit - essentially both parties were absolutely nowhere. This was the poll I referred to a number of times in the debate I had with Tommy Sheridan a few weeks ago.
TNS : One of only two firms that provide a breakdown by region - but they don't mention RISE by name. Nevertheless, this seems to be the poll that Jonathan is getting the "4% in Glasgow" figure from - he's using the SSP as a proxy, and the number comes from a tiny, unreliable regional subsample of just 39 people. A mere TWO respondents in Glasgow said they were voting SSP - and that's what's being prayed in aid as evidence of RISE's dominance over Solidarity in the city! The SSP were ahead of Solidarity in only five of the eight regions - in the other three, both parties were tied on a big fat zero.
Survation : The other firm that provides a breakdown by region - but they don't allow respondents to express a preference for RISE, the SSP or Solidarity. So nothing to see there.
Panelbase : The most recent Panelbase poll in January did mention RISE by name and gave them just 1%, but didn't mention Solidarity. No breakdown by region was provided.
As you can see, none of Jonathan's claims stand up to any scrutiny. It's untrue that every poll mentioning RISE has put them ahead of Solidarity, because Ipsos-Mori failed to do so on one of the two ballots in February. It's untrue that several polls have put RISE ahead of Solidarity in "every single region", because the only two pollsters that provide breakdowns by electoral regions haven't mentioned RISE by name (and one of the two hasn't even offered the SSP as an option). And even if you rely on tiny subsamples, it's not strictly true that RISE are on 4% in Glasgow, because that poll didn't mention them by name - but in any case that 4% was made up of a truly laughable TWO people.