Friday, October 14, 2016

Sensational BMG poll reveals that 45% of Scots insist on "leaving the UK" even when a polling company abandons all pretence at objectivity and asks the most risibly biased question in years

I'm almost embarrassed for BMG Research.  For extremely good reasons, it's become the industry standard to ask the actual 2014 referendum question when polling on independence.  Although we don't know what the exact question will be in a future indyref, it's highly unlikely that the SNP government would ever sign off on a question that frames the issue in a radically different way, and there's absolutely no reason why they should - because the 2014 question was not only approved by the Electoral Commission, it was chosen by them! 

The other crucial point, of course, is that it's not possible to meaningfully measure whether support for independence has increased or decreased since 2014 if you depart too radically (or indeed depart at all) from the actual referendum question.  So answers on a postcard, folks, as to why BMG have asked this unspeakably moronic question and then attempted to innocently portray it as a routine poll on independence from which meaningful conclusions can be drawn -

If a referendum were held tomorrow, on whether Scotland should leave or remain a member of the United Kingdom, how would you vote?

To leave the United Kingdom : 45.3%
To remain in the United Kingdom : 54.7%

For the avoidance of doubt, this isn't strictly speaking even a poll on independence.  Even in the bad old days when YouGov were pushing their own agenda and trying to pejoratively reframe the independence question as being about "leaving the United Kingdom", they did at least get around at the end of the question to mentioning that it was also about Scotland becoming an independent country.  The BMG question doesn't even do that.  Leave the UK to do what?  Join a federation with Norway?  Become a province of Canada?  We're not told. 

And the question doesn't even make sense on its own terms.  It's presumably an attempt to mimic the EU referendum question, but the difference is that the EU is an organisation that actually has members.  The UK isn't like that - it's an incorporating political union in which Westminster claims total sovereignty.  We even have legal experts who argue that Scotland was technically "extinguished" when it became part of the UK.  When is the last time you can remember Nicola Sturgeon wielding her veto at the Council of Britain?  Yeah, exactly.

So the question is not only shockingly biased, it's also complete gibberish.  I'm struggling to remember the last time a question as bad as this was asked as a headline 'voting intention' question - I certainly can't think of one in the last five years. When YouGov finally made their own question more neutral in the run-up to the referendum, the Yes vote immediately shot up, which gave us an indication of just how sensitive respondents can be to the exact wording.  I'm afraid, therefore, that the BMG poll is hopelessly tainted and the results must be regarded as practically worthless.  Perhaps the only thing that can be taken from them is that it's pretty damn impressive that as much as 45% of the population insist on their wish to "leave the UK" even when confronted with such a stupid question.

What the hell is going on here?  The poll was commissioned by The Herald, so in theory it's possible that they requested a non-standard question to make some sort of point or other, but the fact that they haven't made more of an issue of it in their own reporting of the poll leads me to conclude that probably isn't what happened.  There's clearly some sort of agenda at play, and I think it may be at BMG.  One important clue is what we witnessed yesterday with the reporting of another result from the same poll.  As RevStu has already pointed out, the Herald bizarrely claimed that the poll found that a Hard Brexit would not be a "game-changer" for attitudes to a second indyref, when it fact it showed the complete polar opposite of that - a majority against holding a second referendum was transformed into a majority in favour of a referendum as soon as a Hard Brexit was assumed.  While it's easy (and to some extent fair) to bash the Herald for making a black-is-white propaganda claim of that sort, it looks to me as if they may actually have been taking their lead directly from BMG - because the 'expert analysis' on the BMG website contained almost identical spin.

Let's take a step back for a moment.  If a poll shows that Hard Brexit turns the answer to a question on its head, on what basis can BMG even pretend with a straight face that it doesn't constitute a "game-changer"?  What they seem to be arguing is that because only a relatively small percentage of the overall sample (5.4% by my rough calculation) change their minds and embrace a referendum when Hard Brexit is mentioned, it doesn't actually matter that this is sufficient to swing the balance of the overall result.  But just think about the implications of that logic.  There was a widely-publicised Britain-wide ICM poll the other day that gave the Conservatives a mammoth 17% lead over Labour.  If "only" 5.4% of the overall sample were to move directly from the Tories to Labour, that would slash the lead to around 6%.  Would BMG seriously claim that such a change is not significant?  If they did make that claim, people would laugh at them, and rightly so.

What we have, then, is a situation where a polling company puts an indefensible partisan spin on their own results on Thursday, and then on Friday publishes a poll which uses a leading question to produce a desired result.  It's depressingly clear that we can no longer regard BMG as a politically neutral actor, at least in respect of Scottish polling.  Precisely what their objective is, though, is harder to say.  By breaking ranks on the consensus in favour of using the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?", and by doing so in a casual way without feeling any apparent need to justify or even explain such an extraordinary step, they may be trying to 'normalise' the use of leading questions in the future.  Perhaps there's nothing more to it than a simple attempt to artificially suppress the reported support for independence, or perhaps they're also trying to influence people's thinking on what the actual referendum question 'should' be next time around.  Either way, it's a nakedly political and partisan act, and one that brings shame upon a firm that - remarkably - is a member of the British Polling Council.

62 comments:

  1. Not to mention the fact that the fieldwork was mostly carried out before the Tory conference and all of it by the time May delivered her final day speech on the 5th.

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    1. In normal circumstances, that would be a very important point, but it pales into insignificance compared to the fact that this is being portrayed as a "voting intention poll on independence" when it simply isn't.

      Delete
  2. Remember that poll by better together Scottish Ref buried down 100ft concrete ( : > )

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  3. And the reason for BMG asking such a dubious question is...?

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    1. Unionists seem a bit worried.
      They're all, either independently or in coordination, deciding that the next referendum question has to be worded to help boost the No vote. I've seen the same line taken from multiple different sources. I suspect many direct messages are flying about behind the scenes on British nationalist twitter.

      Delete
  4. Polling is a weapon of the State. It will be used to form headlines that the State Media will happily report and report and report on.
    Don't you know that independence is only wanted by a few nutters?

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  5. On topic for this thread is that presumably BMG did not ask the same question again with the addition "and if the UK has a hrd Brexit, how would you vote then?" It looks from ACTUAL calculations from their own poll from previous questions (see next post), that this would make it about 53-55% YES, 45-57% NO.

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    1. typos should be "45-47% NO". And "hard Brexit".

      (wow, enough tobacco inside that keyboard for a rollup)

      Delete
  6. Sunshine on CrieffOctober 14, 2016 at 3:55 PM

    Did they also ask the question prefixed with "In the event of a Hard Brexit..."? Would have been interesting to see if that would have been a 'game-changer'.

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  7. OK. Tangential.

    http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/hard-brexit-is-not-a-game-changer-for-snp/

    After the first question of effectively "would you want another referendum", BMG asked ONLY those who were against one a question would a hard Brexit change their minds. From that webpage:

    "Of those against a second independence referendum, just 12% said a ‘hard Brexit’ might change their mind, but three quarters (75%) said a ‘Hard Brexit’ should not result in another independence referendum (13% did not know)."

    But earlier:

    "only 12% of Scots who are currently against another independence referendum would change their mind."

    That is a self-evident mistake / falsification. In fact 12% + 13% = 25% changed their minds, 12% to a "for", and 13% to "don't know". Only 75% were still against.

    Data tables confirm this, but all it needs is the summary page itself which "contradicts" itself.

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  8. The proper context for these polls is surely the major consideration in trying to assess opinion. That means that there should be a series of questions relating to the EU and the single market. It is only in that context, the realistic context, that a question about future voting intentions should be asked.

    That said, I am still perplexed at the high numbers of people still attached to the UK. we need to get that down below 30% to feel comfortable.

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    1. That's not going to happen.

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    2. Don't see why not to be honest James. The people we see are the hardline activists, not the general punter.

      By the way you're welcome always to use any stuff I post here for this blog and IBtimes, if you need links or whatever just post in reply, I nearly always thoroughly research before posting. Don't always get the post right first time all the same!

      Delete
    3. Only Indyref2 will produce the necessary electoral 'reality' to eventually and finally force those current soft NOs (actually 'undecided') to engage seriously in the arguments and come to an uncomfortable decision (one way or the other).

      For many this still will not happen until the final weeks of an intense multi dimensional media/societal campaign. Not surprising as true political 'decision' making is something that most have been encouraged to leave to others!

      Engagement is our secret weapon and that can only be deployed under real 'history making' moments of decision by a nation. This is when the MSM hyperbolic SCREAMING has a double edge.

      In Scotland, after 300+ years of resolutionless tantric Independence pub talk, only the thrill of the real thing still excites the Scots electorate's national ardour (and thank god for that)!

      Everything else is just 'he said, she said' and exactly where the union wants our 'national conversation' held.

      End London Rule Now!
      braco

      Delete
  9. Now. From BMG: "We are a Market Research Society Company Partner and are fully compliant with the MRS Code of Conduct."

    From MRS code of conduct:

    https://www.mrs.org.uk/pdf/code%20of%20conduct%20(2012%20rebrand).pdf

    "Analysis and reporting of findings
    B.49
    Members must ensure that conclusions disseminated by them are clearly and adequately supported by the data."

    That BMG webpage and hence the Herald article is a clear breach of the MRS code of conduct by BMG. I suggest people - as many as can be bothered - complain to BOTH BMG (complaints to the company first rather than MRS), and IPSOS about the Herald who commissioned the poll, and wrote a misleading article for which they quoted the BMG's own misleading page. Mention in both complaints that you are complaining to the other one as well.

    BMG's contact page here:

    http://www.bmgresearch.co.uk/contact-us/

    no idea how you do an IPSOS.

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    1. That should have been in reply to my long posting above.

      I'd also ask BMG to update their webpage pointing out their "error", and ISPOS to ask the Herald to publish a correction as prominently as they published the original.

      Which would be on the front page of the printed edition.

      (ain't going to happen, but worth a try).

      Delete
    2. Kudos to you, yesindyref2, and others, for having the tenacity to pursue these issues.

      Delete
    3. Dan, thanks, but I got caught by it as well. In the Herald I concentrated on their use of the word "ONLY" about a 12% change, when what I should have done is actually check to see if the figures added up - which made it 25% actually changed their minds in total.

      Right enough the BMG article wasn't up till lunchtime, but even then I went into data tables rather than looking at that one flaming summary page.

      Perhaps it's deliberate, they sling in a fairly minor red herring to focus our attention, and quietly slip in a whole load of lying figures underneath we don't pay attention to.

      Delete
  10. James Kelly: "(5.4% by my rough calculation) change their minds and embrace a referendum when Hard Brexit is mentioned"

    Don't forget those who changed from being against Indy Ref 2, to being undecided when the hard Brexit question was put. They too changed their mind - that question was ONLY put to those who were against in the first place, not those for or those undecided.

    That gives an extra 5.8% or so (top of the head).

    The amended total is 44% For, but only 35% against according to my (data table) calcs. BMG really, errr, made a mistake.

    For an overall 55.3% for, 44.7% against removing ALL the don't knows from both questions. A reverse of the first Ref :-)

    ReplyDelete
  11. Glasgow Working Class 2October 14, 2016 at 7:24 PM

    Inspite of all the Nat si scare stories and threats you are not progressing. Most of us Unionist Scots know you are just racist English haters. You will crawl into bed with anyone. Even if you do get independence and fuck up the economy you will still blame the English. That is what you do.

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    1. Bert, you're wrong, I'd "roast" the dwarves, and you can't even poach an egg. And it's William wot stole your wallet.

      Delete
    2. The Britnat si loves merciless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
  12. Glasgow Working Class 2October 14, 2016 at 8:57 PM

    Knickerless torn apart by Gary Bibbon on Chanel 4 news tonight. She was left knickerless.
    Swinney giving money to foreign middle class students while Scots walk to food banks.

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    1. The Britnat si loves merciless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
    2. Good try at some really nasty misogyny there, but you aren't quite up to the Trump standard. Admittedly, he has set the bar high so you'll need to work harder at it.

      Delete
  13. Do you never tire of your inanity GWC? The rest of us do!

    ReplyDelete
  14. Glasgow Working Class 2October 14, 2016 at 9:40 PM

    Bet you have been desperate to use that word. What do you mean by the 'rest of us', surely Scotland does not have more than one fash idiot!

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    1. The Britnat si loves merciless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2October 14, 2016 at 10:20 PM

      Your Nat si shit are more to the right of the Tories. Knickerless is aThatcherite clone.

      Delete
    3. Nope, knickerless as a sexual insult for a female politician just isn't up to a good standard of misogyny. Seriously, work on that.

      Delete
  15. See the BritNazi bore with a sexual deviance is back again.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2October 14, 2016 at 11:50 PM

      Your deviance is battery operated and up yer erse and the battery is going flat so enjoy.

      Delete
    2. It's a very strange and confusing format for an 'independence' question when we already have a precedent.

      I remember reading the reasoning for the 'leave/remain' EU question, after a YES/NO question was rejected there. One of the major factors was Cameron attempting to get a YES vote for the STATUS QUO option, when the focus with referendums is traditionally and naturally on the proposal for change.

      The original Yes/No question, "Should the UK remain in the EU?", was rightly judged to be leading, confusing and out of step with the common format of referendum questions. If the question was reversed to vote on the proposal for change it would have been acceptable: ("Should the UK leave the EU?" YES/NO)

      And as mentioned above, this involves the UK already being seen as an independent state within a voluntary economic union, not a devolved country like Scotland.

      Personally, I would like to see a YES/NO question on the issue of sovereignty rather than 'independence' which has multiple meanings, often negative. Should we be a sovereign nation state ?

      And to separate the EU question also.


      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 1:42 AM

      It would be interesting to know where the hatred of the English has been ingrained in Knickerless and Kim Jung Eck. Why would they sell out Scotland to anyone to end the Union. There must be an answer!

      Delete
    4. Surely Kim Jung Ruth fits the description more accurately, you Britnat si sexual deviant.
      Crawl back under your stone, gwc2, you have become a total fascist Britnat si.

      Delete
    5. Time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
    6. No problem with english people. We just have a problem with people like you GWC who have an inability to present a positive case for the union, instead you just harp on about nonsense. Your whole case seems to revolve around calling people names - infantile to say the least.

      Are you even a real person and not just a bot?

      Delete
    7. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 10:56 AM

      The Scottish people voted to stay in the Union that was positive. You Nat sis were the failures. No currency plan, no business plan, no banking plan. No plan for anything and still no plan. People will not vote for independence until they can be sure they will still have a job in the aftermath.

      Delete
    8. The Britnat si loves merciless, directionless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
  16. Ever since looking at YouGov's management closer and seeing a close relationship or partnership almost with the Conservative Party, I have just ignored anything they produce.
    Does a similar relationship exist between BMG and the Conservatives or Labour?
    Just as YouGov conveniently supplies polls supporting the Conservative's claims, who's claims do BMG's polls backup? Are we going to find out it was set up with Tory party donor's money? Was it's MD an Oxford chummy of Boris Johnson and Ed Milliband?

    ReplyDelete
  17. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 12:20 PM

    Knickerless to make informal diplomatic ties with Herman. Looks like we will need a Berlin Airlift in reverse to survive if border controls are put in place by England. Dangerous game the Fash are playing with our economy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Britnat si loves merciless, directionless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
  18. Nice to see Drunken Hovercraft taking a break fro posting as GWC2 and defending the racist cartoons showing Scots as tartan clad savage beasts to be hunted.

    Nazi lists of foreigners and undesirables. Nazi cartoons of the Scottish menace. What a nice bunch they are.

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 2:31 PM

      Whit are ye going on about nutter.

      Delete
    2. Time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 11:11 PM

      Were you the Nat si fuck witt who after the Scottish referendum put his head in an electric oven and tried to gas himself.

      Delete
    4. Time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
  19. "Leave the UK to do what? Join a federation with Norway? Become a province of Canada? We're not told." Exactly the same problem as with the EU Referendum and the result with which we are now saddled!

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  20. Glasgow Working Class 2October 15, 2016 at 11:25 PM

    All Jock Nat si fash that want to hand over Scotland to the German 4th Reich should be deported to the Fatherland with immediate effect and British passports withdraw for ever.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
  21. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/pound-value-brexit-dollar-euro-jim-rogers-prediction-currency-exchange-latest-a7362086.html

    Nice to see it put so succinctly and so truthfully -


    Pound sterling could be worth less than a dollar within three years, investor Jim Rogers warns
    Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, said the UK is facing serious problems.

    "International investor Jim Rogers has warned that the value of the pound could go under one dollar within three to four years if Scotland was to leave the UK.

    His comments came on the day that Nicola Sturgeon said declaring independence could help Scotland escape the uncertainty triggered by UK’s vote to leave the EU.

    Rogers, who co-founded the Quantum Fund with George Soros, said the UK is facing serious problems.

    Speaking to the BBC, Rogers said: “IF SCOTLAND LEAVES, THEY ARE GOING TO TAKE THEIR OIL WITH THEM AND THE POUND COULD GO DOWN A GREAT DEAL. IT WOULD CERTAINLY GO UNDER ONE US DOLLAR.”

    “You've got a LOT OF DEBT, you've got a SERIOUS BALANCE OF TRADE PROBLEM which shows no signs of being corrected. I don't see anything to make sterling go up.“

    I always wondered why Unionists wanted us to stay.........................not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2October 16, 2016 at 1:22 AM

      David Francis the socialist worries about Capitalism. Where and when did you lose the plot auld yin?

      Delete
    2. The Britnat si loves merciless, directionless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
  22. Glasgow Working Class 2October 16, 2016 at 1:29 AM

    David Francis wants a Capitalist Independent Scotland. As if you can be Independent when Capitalism dictates and the politicians line their pockets with the spoils. You have nae credibility auld yin. Just con the young and vulnerable auld yin like the Nat sis dae.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Britnat si loves merciless, directionless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
  23. Glasgow Working Class 2October 16, 2016 at 9:58 AM

    Fuck ye get out of bed and fn Knickerkess is on the roger melly. Scotland, Scotland, Scotland, independence, independence, independence. Vote against English Grammer schools it it effects Scotland. What a repetitive little shite just like anonymous. And less support for independence inspite of brexit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Britnat si loves merciless, directionless Tory rule and has previously written about its desire for armed militias in every workplace. All the better to stifle dissent against auntie Cruella's overlordship.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2October 16, 2016 at 5:33 PM

      Yes repetitive little shite confirmed.

      Delete
    3. I'll come up with new material when the Britnat si does. Until then, time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
    4. Glasgow Working Class 2October 16, 2016 at 10:38 PM

      Evidence required Nat si liar. You are losing the argument and decend into typical Nat si denial.
      We Unionists have won the vote and argument. Up yer kilt jockanory. Thanks for the laughs.

      Delete
    5. I'll come up with new material when the Britnat si does. Until then, time for some of the snivelling Britnat si hypocrite's greatest hits: The troll calls scottish people "jocks", advocates arming Leave campaigners, claimed Jo Cox's husband was a fascist, uses racial and ethnic slurs, pretends to be Labour (badly) while espousing far-right racist hate-speech, praises Theresa May and the tories and displays a perverted poisonous obsession with Scotland's First Minister & her predecessor.

      The Britnat si may trot off whimpering back to its right-wing authoritarian overlords whenever it's ready.

      Delete
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    ReplyDelete