Saturday, September 3, 2016

Humiliation for "electable" Owen Smith as bombshell YouGov poll reveals the Scottish electorate prefer Jeremy Corbyn as leader

Let's start with a detail from yesterday's new full-scale Scottish YouGov poll that may not be the most important, but is certainly the most amusing.  As we all know, pretty much the sole selling-point of Owen Smith's campaign to become Labour leader is that he is supposedly much more "electable" than the incumbent Jeremy Corbyn.  Well, this poll begs to differ -

If you had a vote in the Labour leadership election, who would you vote for?

Jeremy Corbyn 27%
Owen Smith 25%

Those figures are for the whole electorate.  Ironically, among the rump Labour vote, Smith does a little better (he's tied with Corbyn at 35% apiece), which gives the lie to the idea that he's better-placed than Corbyn to grow Labour's support.  At least in Scotland, Smith is very much the 'comfort zone' candidate for Labour, whereas Corbyn is the more attractive candidate for people currently minded to vote SNP.  42% of SNP voters (who of course make up roughly half the electorate) would back Corbyn if they had a vote in the leadership election, and just 20% would vote for Smith.  It's true that Corbyn has so far failed to make good on his suggestion last year that he could actually coax those SNP voters back to the Labour fold, but based on these numbers, the idea that Smith would have a better chance of doing so is risible in the extreme.

Turning now to the meat of the poll...

Journalists always (and rightly) get a good roasting when they make misleading claims about opinion polls for the sake of a good headline, or to push some political agenda.  It's therefore only fair that YouGov themselves should get a similar roasting when they do exactly the same thing.  Matthew Smith's article on the YouGov website about this poll makes two extremely dodgy claims -

1. "Scots don't support a second independence referendum...With the SNP set to relaunch their campaign for independence, 50% of Scots oppose a second referendum."

In fact, the poll didn't ask about the general idea of a second referendum.  Respondents were instead asked whether they support a referendum before the UK leaves the EU, which could of course be in the very near future.  There will be people who answered 'no' to that question because they don't favour a referendum until 2021 or whenever, but who have been wrongly categorised by YouGov as opposing a second referendum, full stop.  If YouGov want to make such sweeping claims without being criticised, they shouldn't ask such narrow questions.

2. "Should [the SNP government] be successful in forcing another vote, the results would be almost identical to last time, with 54% of Scots voting against independence and 46% in favour."

The question on independence specifically asks how people would vote if there was a referendum "tomorrow".  The chances of the SNP getting the requisite legislation through by teatime today do seem rather remote.  It's disappointing to see YouGov fuelling the lazy journalistic myth that polls are predictions, rather than snapshots of public opinion at a given moment in time (and indeed snapshots which may not be entirely accurate).

On their Twitter account, YouGov also make a third claim -

"Ruth Davidson is now more popular among Scottish voters than Nicola Sturgeon"

To be fair, that's a fractionally less outrageous statement, because there is a convention of headlining the 'net satisfaction' figures for political leaders, ie. subtracting the percentage of voters who have a negative view of the leader from the percentage who have a positive view. If you do that, Ruth Davidson's satisfaction rating is indeed 1% better than Sturgeon's (a trivial difference which is of course well within the margin of error). But the fact remains that Sturgeon is significantly more popular than Davidson in absolute terms - 53% think Sturgeon is doing a good job, compared to 46% for Davidson. It's the negative ratings that swing the balance, and given that Sturgeon is actually in government making decisions, it's hardly surprising that she arouses stronger feelings than Davidson does among those who don't like her. But bearing in mind that the target figure for an absolute majority under our electoral system is the mid-to-high 40s, the question has to be asked : if 53% of voters like you, does it really matter that much if 33% of voters don't?

On all measures, Sturgeon is considerably more popular than Theresa May, in spite of the fact that May is still enjoying her honeymoon as Prime Minister. Just 35% of the electorate think that May is doing a good job - 18% lower than the figure for Sturgeon. And May's net satisfaction rating is 7% lower than the First Minister's.

Alas, I'm not done with dodgy claims about the poll yet.  Step forward the maestro : Mr George Eaton of the New Statesman -

"Scottish independence support falls again: No side ahead by 54-46"

What?  I mean, what?!  There have been five credible polls on independence since the EU referendum : an online Panelbase poll showing a significant increase in support for independence, telephone and online polls from Survation which both showed a significant increase in support for independence, an online YouGov poll showing a modest 1% increase in support for independence, and then yesterday's online YouGov poll showing that the 1% increase had been reversed, returning us to the position in the poll before last.  On what planet does that sequence of results justify the statement "Scottish independence support falls again"?  Answers on a postcard, folks.  Eaton is either cynically intending to mislead, or just doesn't have a clue what he's talking about - I'm struggling to see a third option.

Can YouGov's figures of Yes 46%, No 54% be regarded as reliable?  As I alluded to in my TalkRadio article yesterday, every pollster has its own 'house effect', and there's no guarantee that other firms will report the same basic trend, let alone the same headline numbers.  One point about YouGov's methodology that has become increasingly controversial is their failure to include 16 and 17 year olds in the polling sample.  You could call this institutional inertia, but really it boils down to Anglocentricity.  If the Westminster parliament had reduced the voting age to 16, it's unthinkable that YouGov would still be conducting Westminster voting intention polls without interviewing 16 and 17 year olds.  It's unlikely in most cases that this deficiency will lead to the Yes vote being underestimated by more than 1%, but when the contest is so evenly balanced, even that can make a big psychological difference.  By definition, the Yes vote being 1% too low means that the No vote is 1% too high, so it's perfectly possible that the No lead is being overestimated by a full 2% in the new poll - even assuming the methodology is otherwise correct.  YouGov might shrug their shoulders and say that this is a relatively minor flaw, but if they're not polling the correct electorate and some of their competitors are, we're entitled to point out that their results should be regarded as comparatively unreliable.

103 comments:

  1. Seems YouGov have developed a knack of producing polls unfavourable to independence to coincide with significant events from the pro-indy camp (last time it was the march in Glasgow, this time it's the launch of the conversation).

    Quite deliberately pauchled I believe to allow the MSM to push the narrative that Scots have no appetite for independence.

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  2. The National are claiming YouGov shows a "slight rise in support" for independence, because it's got a higher Yes figure than the actual referendum. It's good to see it's not just the Unionists who can get creative when reporting polls!

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    Replies
    1. 46% is a slight increase over the 45% of the actual referendum.

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    2. It's a decrease from the last YouGov, though. That's how changes in polls are normally reported.

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    3. When you consider that about 3% of No voters are now dead,this poll would indicate that more Yes voters are being converted to unionism.

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  3. I am quite comfortable with the results of that poll. Support for the SNP Government at over 50% is welcome.

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  4. Yes, don't forget YouGov poll from 18 upwards and ignore the 16 and 17 year olds as though they don't exist. That would adjust the headline figure according to my calcs as YES 47.5%, NO 52.5%.

    I did the same with the Sturgeon rating in a posting in the Herald, but in fairness we've been happy with the nett ratings when they were good for Sturgeon, we can't "change the rules", now it doesn't suit us, so I added a bit of spin and passed it off as "now that's what I call spin", while hopefully still having made the point.

    Surprising Corbyn doesn't actually do better in Scotland perhaps, but his performance hasn't been great.

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  5. Anon @ 4:13pm. Of all the percentages floating around your conjecture is closest to 100% accuracy. The politcised nature of polling collaborations between the Times Group papers and YouGov is becoming very evident.

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  6. Am I correct in thinking that YouGov have excluded 16 and 17 year olds from their sample?
    Is there a reason for this omission?

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  7. Also worth noting: YouGov ask how a leader is doing as leader of their party. Not sure if this is the standard question all pollsters use?

    Thing is, I loathe Ruth and the Tories, but even I would be inclined to say she is doing well leading the Scottish Tories.

    So, the YouGov leader ratings aren't a measure of a party leader's general popularity.

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  8. Also worth noting: YouGov ask how a leader is doing as leader of their party. Not sure if this is the standard question all pollsters use?

    Thing is, I loathe Ruth and the Tories, but even I would be inclined to say she is doing well leading the Scottish Tories.

    So, the YouGov leader ratings aren't a measure of a party leader's general popularity.

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  9. I think the question was how would they vote before RUK leaves the Eu. Why not have a control question how would they vote if article 50 triggered. Different answer I suspect but that wouldn't suit agenda.

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  10. Of more significance perhaps in the yougov poll is that 12% of NO voters changed to a YES which balance each other out. If the 13% of YES voters hadn't changed their minds, this would give, including the allowance for 16 and 17 year olds, YES 54%, NO 46%.

    So a task for us Indy supporters is to gently ease strayed YES voters back to the fold - as well as trying to convince more undecided (10%), won't vote (3%) and of course soft NOes.

    But I'm seeing soft YESes who are getting quite irate at the Unionists, so they seem to be campaigning on our side as well.

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    1. The yes voters who switched to no are clearly eurosceptics, pleased at the brexit decision and wish to see it implemented in Scotland. You can win them back by abandoning pursuit of EU membership, but in doing so you will lose a lot more support.

      The SNP is finally facing the stark political reality that you can only win the support of some of the people by pissing off another group of people.

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  11. Sorry, but I fail to see 13 percent of people changing their votes. Each way? I fail to see how questions can be this badly phrased in accident. I fail to see how SNP continues to fall for these press coordinating plots. I fail to see why their isn't a movement to get labor voters to support independence.

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  12. Sorry, but I fail to see 13 percent of people changing their votes. Each way? I fail to see how questions can be this badly phrased in accident. I fail to see how SNP continues to fall for these press coordinating plots. I fail to see why their isn't a movement to get labor voters to support independence.

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  13. It was a terrible poll for Labour with a significant drop in voting intention on both Holyrood ballots. I found it interesting that the movement seemed to be from Labour to the SNP, meaning that once you combined the support for the two main pro-independence parties (SNP and Green) you got around 55% for each.

    The fact that there was no further movement from labour to conservative, despite Theresa May's honeymoon and all the problems of the Corbyn/Smith contest, perhaps tells us that the Tories still have quite a low ceiling of support in Scotland.

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  14. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 9:57 AM

    Considering the Nat sis are pursuing old Thatcherite policies they seem to have a lot of support...... So why all the pretend hate fot the Tories!

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  15. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 10:20 AM

    Nat sis hire bouncers due to mafia in fighting. Well they did take over from the Old Labour! Position normal then.

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    Replies
    1. Tory sockpuppet.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 1:38 PM

      Tartan Tory/Tory bum chums. Matching simmit and drawers.

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    3. Tory sockpuppet.

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  16. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 11:34 AM

    Knickerless in fressh drive to improve the Scottish economy. All rhetoric and just keeping her coupin in the headlines. Really looking forward tae the next conversation.

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    1. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    2. Your still an odious turd gwc

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    3. It's craven snivellings do have some value. We can find out the extent of the bile some of our opponents reserve for us without having to dirty our browsing histories with the Express or the Dreary Heil.

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  17. Excellent analysis as usual, James. Aye, this poll has dodginess written right through it. Deliberate dodginess?

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  18. Glasgow Working ClassSeptember 4, 2016 at 7:21 PM

    Nat sis want to reintroduce the ancient Auld Alliance the common hatred of the English. Nat si rascist crawling frog fondlers. You Nat sis could crawl under a snake with a top hat on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 7:56 PM

      Are you simmit or drawers Nat si bhoy?

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    3. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2September 4, 2016 at 8:21 PM

      Not much of a political conversationalist are you Nat si bhoy? But what can be expected from the equivalent of a Red Neck.

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    5. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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  19. Why does anyone trust YouGov?
    Really why?
    All the time before the 2014 Ref they reported numbers around 2 to 1 for NO. Then just before and in time to grab headlines away from from really bad trade figures for the UK government they report a 1% Yes lead. Clearly fabricated. They are not just linked to the Conservatives they are pretty much a part of the party. Look at who runs them and who used to but now sits in Westminster as a Conservative MP. Check who set the company up and who were the investors. Just a list of Tory party supporters and members.

    They might do unrelated commercial work competently but when it comes to issues with value for the Conservative Party they just massage the numbers to suit party requirements. Nothing but party propaganda.

    Why does anyone trust polls? If questions and who you call can create the results you want. YouGov has had a good long time to create a system to produce the figures they want published. It only takes us a second to decide to ignore them as propaganda.

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    1. For what its,worth, they get a "B" fro nate silver / 538 over here. They have a staggering sample error rate of 6.9 %. They always have TONS of undecideds, so like now they have Hillary At 42, trump 37, Johnson 7, Stein 2, and a staggering 12 percent who aren't green/libertarian/ dem/ or rep. So with a 4% margin of error, they can hardley miss!
      We have the same problem with message polls over here, Rasmussen being the biggest. With one day to go they release a "poll" that is right on the average after months showing conservatives doing awesome. Then insist on using last #'s only .

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2September 5, 2016 at 12:59 AM

      Why trust the Nat sis who slag aff the Tories but go along with traditional Tory policies. The aforementioned two above comments are typical deceitful Nat si propoganda.

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    3. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    4. They don't even do commercial polling competently. I used to be on their panel but repeatedly I found myself cutting commercial polls short because I could not answer truthfully since there was no 'none of the above' option. If I have not used any of the companies or products listed what else am I supposed to do?

      I contacted them repeatedly, they repeatedly said they would fix it, then didn't until I had, had enough and left. It seems they frustrate honest responders like me out of the panel. What does that tell you?

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    5. If YouGov isn't trustworthy or is suspected of being part of some unionist conspiracy, then why doesn't the independence supporting side commission more of their own polls? There is certainly no lack of money. Could it be that it isn't actually that easy to get a polling company to do your bidding, beyond the conducting of a scientific and regulated poll in return for a fee? And could it also be the case that more polls from more widely varied sources would simply return similar figures?

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  20. Polling companies who think they can influence the electorate haven't learned much from recent events (if that is their intention).

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  21. 16 and 17 year olds do not vote in very large numbers. Of all the ones I have spoken to, all of them support SNP / independence - but none of them voted. There is a clear disconnect with them between wanting something and believing it should happen and actually getting off the couch and making it happen. They probably think their vote is too small to count - they don't realise that millions of 'insignificant' votes coming together can make something very significant indeed. Children don't think in this way. And, to be honest, from a unionist point of view, thank goodness they aren't as driven as the oldies when it comes to performance of civic duties.

    Aldo

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2September 6, 2016 at 12:02 AM

      Aldo, 16 & 17 year olds just want to shag and let the elders who used to shag determine things. The Nat sis will let anyone whatever age use the crayon on the ballot paper

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    2. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    3. I can't speak for the kids Aldo has been interviewing, but ICM reported a 75% turnout amongst 16- and 17-year-olds in 2014 - higher than the 18-34 group. YouGov's failure to include them is a significant flaw.

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2September 6, 2016 at 6:58 PM

      A kid thought the historical town of Dunkirk was in Scotland. Let kids grow up and study history start paying tax then vote.

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    5. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    6. The teenagers who are keen on voting will generally be from wealthier families and therefore more likely to be no voters. The teenagers at the opposite end of the social scale are the ones who support independence but are also more likely to be politically disengaged or view voting as a geekish or 'square' activity.

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    7. I'm not sure what the relevance of that is to YouGov's failure to include a significant voter demographic, but anyway: Ashcroft reported that 71% of 16- and 17-year-olds voted Yes. So once again, we find ourselves having to choose between polling data, and your gut feelings.

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  22. The head CEo Stephan Shakespeare is actually employed by the UK Government and the whole team looks like they are all staunch Tories. We will never, ever get a true poll from them. On his bio, it states he is employed by UK Gov. https://yougov.co.uk/about/our-team/

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  23. This poll shows that,while overall support for independence is pretty much static,significant numbers of people are open to changing their opinion according to circumstances.Its all to play for.

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  24. Glasgow Working Class 2September 6, 2016 at 4:54 PM

    Knickerless the wee Tartan Tory to work with the Tories over Brexit. Who wid have thunk it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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  25. Glasgow Working Class 2September 6, 2016 at 11:27 PM

    Och aye the Noo an hoots Natsfash

    de ye ken thon tory Brexitbhoys are a bunch o clueless fuckwits ye ken the noo?


    The Guardian 43m

    @DavidAllenGreen @guardian seems that the #Brexit department is a very clever sketch written by Douglas Adams

    David Davis's single market stance 'not government policy' - Theresa May


    Ahm right shocked at that mon. Thon kiddyfiddler lookin twat Nigel Fahrtage the public skoolbhoy wull save the day tho ye ken? the noo?


    hoots!

    An ahm definitely scowteesh an no some far right tory shitbiscuit. Ken?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2September 6, 2016 at 11:55 PM

      By using my non de plum you expose yerself as a Nat si. DO try raising yer game Nat si. Up yer kilt and scub yer baws.

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    2. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

      Delete
  26. Glasgow Working Class 2September 7, 2016 at 2:45 PM

    Whit a knob that Nat si Gus Robertson is. Asking the PM to give a yes or no answer to a question!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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  27. Glasgow Working Class 2September 7, 2016 at 11:13 PM

    Tartan Tory Charlatan and a knob tae boot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2September 7, 2016 at 11:43 PM

      As above.

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    3. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2September 8, 2016 at 10:10 PM

      As above.

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    5. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    6. Glasgow Working Class 2September 9, 2016 at 9:37 PM

      Anti English racist and a thick wooden knobend.

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    7. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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  28. """More details and analysis to follow shortly..."""

    any more info yet?

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    Replies
    1. James is probably just sick and tired of gwc's inane ramblings that continue to spoil any discussions.
      Hope the troll hasn't won!

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2September 10, 2016 at 11:31 AM

      I will have to use the word inane more often in conversation. Amazing what university edjikashun can do.

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    3. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    4. Glasgow Working Class 2September 10, 2016 at 8:01 PM

      Nat si excuse for a knob.

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    5. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    6. Glasgow Working Class 2September 10, 2016 at 11:02 PM

      Right wing Tartan Tory scumbag. And a knob.

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    7. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    8. Glasgow Working Class 2September 11, 2016 at 9:38 PM

      Idle Knobend.

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    9. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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  29. A poll in Northern Ireland has revealed that 63% of the population want to stay inside the UK, with 22% wanting to join the Irish Republic. Very positive figures indeed for unionism. It means that Scotland stands alone as the only region of the UK that is seriously flirting with independence. Even the part of the country that fought a war over its constitutional status and has a deep religious divide is now satisfied with being British.

    It's been pretty quiet on here of late. Maybe the author suspects that the next few years wont bring anything much exciting - just political and legal wrangling and hollow rhetoric.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Scotland...is seriously flirting with independence"

      I'm glad you've started to accept what is happening. Acceptance is a very important part of the process.

      By the way, in line with your characteristic lack of perceptiveness, your speculation about the quietness of the author is several light-years wide of the mark. In reality, he's been tying up some loose ends in preparation (hopefully) for a sojourn to the continent, dealing with some work-related problems, and shamelessly indulging in a few recreational pursuits. It's full steam ahead for Indyref 2, Aldo. Are you as excited as the rest of us?

      Delete
    2. "Flirting" doesn't mean that coitus is guaranteed, James. Indeed, in 2014, when it came time to 'go upstairs', the answer was no. The SNP is now attempting to force itself on us - not very romantic.

      Full steam ahead for indyref 2? We don't even have a date for it yet - or a rough timetable. We don't have answers yet on currency etc. It's full steam ahead with rhetoric and threats - but like an actual ghost on "Most Haunted", I suspect a referendum will remain elusive.

      And if one should appear, we'll hit it with so many legal challenges that court should be adjourned sometime around 2040 :0)

      Delete
    3. Aldo,
      After what you say, I have now decided that I will give up all thoughts of Independence - then again, perhaps not!!

      Who would ever follow such an idiot's prognostications anyway?

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    4. I don't expect you to give up your wee hobby. But you should realise there is strong and determined opposition to it and that the holding of a second referendum is frought with difficulty - never mind actually winning it or implementing the outcome if the result is "yes". If the pointing out of such facts to you is enough to provoke you to issue insults, then I can tell the point has been well made.

      Delete
    5. If trying to 'legally' stop a vote is the best you've got, then WE are OK.
      As for "currency etc", this will not be like last time (and, I suspect, you Yoons know it) which I believe is the reason for the renewed SNP Bad articles - you're scared to death!! Good.

      Delete
    6. Glasgow Working Class 2September 11, 2016 at 9:31 PM

      It could be Aldo that the systemactic abuse and buggery of children over decades maybe a few centuries has convinced the Northern Irish that they are safer in the Union where scrutiny although not perfect is not covered up by the government institutions.

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    7. Glasgow Working Class 2September 11, 2016 at 9:57 PM

      barpe49. You lot of Nat sis are done for. Stop crawlin tae the Germans and save your dignity if you ever had any. You are clearly not Scottish but foreign infil traitors.

      Delete
    8. GWC2
      When did "systemactic" become a word?

      Delete
    9. Glasgow Working Class 2September 11, 2016 at 10:58 PM

      When I wrote it Nat si.

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    10. Racist Tory Sockpuppet.

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    11. Illiterate racist sockpuppet!

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    12. Not to mention sexist, and obsessed to a poisonous level with the First Minister and her predecessor...

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    13. Glasgow Working Class 2September 12, 2016 at 12:13 PM

      Knickerless has not moaned in the past few days is she doing a Billery.

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    14. Aye they are shitting themselves. It is coming out of both their holes and maybe even their nostrils and lugs as well.

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    15. Glasgow Working Class 2September 12, 2016 at 4:56 PM

      Who are they! Nat si. Your fellow two million Scots by any chance.

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    16. Yes, dearie. Now trot off back to the Daily Suppress like a good little sockpuppet, and whine about how the vile cybernats all laugh at you.

      Delete
    17. Glasgow Working Class 2September 12, 2016 at 7:32 PM

      They are not vile just thick as a building site staging plank on which a brickie has stood. You know just thick as shoite.

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    18. Yes, dearie. Now trot off back to the Daily Suppress like a good little sockpuppet, and snivel about how humiliating it is when the vile cybernats all laugh at your impotent rage.

      Delete
    19. In the absence of anything else,this was to be my year of peace and reconciliation.
      Peace because I need it in my advancing years and reconciliation of acceptance that Scots had really voted to allow England to continue dominating our affairs.
      However.....
      events in England have completely blown that out of the water.
      Cameron was warned that Scotland would not accept being taken out of the EU against our will but decided to proceed with his referendum anyway.
      Of course,he never expected the result he got,which us why he thought he could get away with ignoring our request.
      So,we are where we are,the mother of all constitutional crisis brought about by England's Tory party for narrow political advantage.
      Pathetic.

      Delete
    20. Glasgow Working Class 2September 12, 2016 at 10:16 PM

      Over one million Scots voted out and the rest could change their minds.So do carry on collecting your British pension courtesy of the English taxpaying majority. Please no more hard done tae stories!

      Delete
    21. Far Right Watch ‏@Far_Right_Watch 11 hours ago


      #Brexit wipes £200 Million from a major UK retailers Pension Funds.

      Delete
    22. Wow. You can really see the impotent rage and humiliation in the racist Tory sockpuppet's responses. The current user must be starting to realise that it's been made a fool of by its Tory overlords.

      Delete
    23. Glasgow Working Class 2September 13, 2016 at 9:09 AM

      Rage! You Nat si idiot I just laugh at you born losers.

      Delete
    24. Wow. You can really see the impotent rage and humiliation in the racist Tory sockpuppet's responses.

      Delete