Sunday, March 12, 2017

Dramatic BMG poll suggests Yes surge is real : pro-independence vote at 48%, retaining most of last month's big gains

After last week's dead-heat Ipsos-Mori poll (actually a narrow Yes lead on one measure), I suggested that if the next poll reported a Yes vote of 49% or higher, that would make it very likely that the apparent recent boost in support for independence has been real and not an illusion caused by random sampling variation.  Tonight's BMG poll falls just short of that target figure, putting Yes on 48%, but the conclusion to draw may not be radically different.  Yes have retained most of the 3.5% jump in support from the BMG poll last month, with the sharp 'reversion to the mean' that many people expected failing to occur.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 48% (-1)
No 52% (+1)

This is the fourth poll in the regular(ish) BMG/Herald series, and the sequence of results for Yes so far has been 45%, 45.5%, 49%, 48%.  Those numbers are not inconsistent with a static position - ie. if the true figure has remained constant at around 47%, it may just be pure chance that the first two polls produced an understatement and the next two produced an overstatement.  It would all be comfortably within the margin of error.  However, the telling boost for Yes in the Ipsos-Mori poll, coupled with the fact that three of the last four polls from all firms have put the Yes vote above the 45-47% range we've become accustomed to, probably tips the balance in favour of there having been a genuine recent swing to Yes.  As ever, we need more information, and the next poll may cause a hurried reassessment, but that's how it looks just at the moment.

Make no mistake, though - regardless of whether there has been a recent swing, the last few polls have constituted a significant setback for the anti-independence forces.  They'll put a brave face on tonight's result, emphasising the continuing No lead...but it was only a few months ago that they were crowing about a YouGov poll that suggested Yes support may for the first time have fallen below the 45% achieved in the 2014 referendum.  At that point, it genuinely seemed possible that Brexit was perversely putting support for independence into a tailspin, and that the threat to unionism had almost passed.  Instead, the Tories, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are now having to readjust to a reality in which Yes support is almost certainly higher than the 2014 result, and in which it's far from guaranteed that there is currently even a No lead.  Tonight's poll is technically a statistical tie, meaning that the standard margin of error leaves a degree of doubt over which side is actually in front.

The report in the Herald claims that respondents in the poll were opposed to a second indyref taking place "before Brexit" by a relatively narrow margin of 49% to 39%.  However, that's likely to be a misrepresentation of the question that was actually asked, which last month was about whether there should be another referendum before Brexit negotiations are concluded - not the same thing as "before Brexit".  It would be perfectly possible to hold a referendum after the completion of negotiations but before the actual date of Brexit, which means that this poll leaves open the possibility that there is majority support for an indyref before Brexit.

Incidentally, the result on that question is essentially identical to last month's, making a complete nonsense of the claims in the Express a week ago that there has been a sharp decline in support for a referendum.  That silly fiction was based on a BMG poll commissioned by an anti-independence and pro-Brexit campaigner, which used a radically different and highly leading question.

One small but important point that needs emphasising - as of last month, BMG were still not weighting their results by country of birth, which is standard practice for most of their competitors.  We'll see when the datasets emerge whether they've put their house in order for this poll, but if not, it's possible that the Yes vote is being slightly underestimated.  For some reason, there generally seems to be a disproportionately high number of English-born people in volunteer polling panels, meaning there is often a small inbuilt skew towards No unless the imbalance is corrected for.

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SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 48.0% (-0.3)
No 52.0% (+0.3)

(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each firm that has reported at least once within the last three months. The firms included in the current sample are Panelbase, BMG and Ipsos-Mori. The aggregate YouGov figures for August to December are excluded, because they don't really constitute a standalone poll. The most recent proper YouGov poll was completed just over three months ago.)

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To return briefly to the subject of a few days ago, I've been taking a look at Jim Sillars' "open letter to the Yes movement", which strikes me as being distinctly odd in a number of ways.  Firstly, he blasts the SNP for dictating the pace of a second independence referendum, and demands that other voices within the Yes movement be heard, such as himself.  Now I realise that we have to be careful about being too exclusive in any definition of what constitutes part of the Yes movement, but I don't think it's unreasonable to say that a basic minimum requirement is that the people involved should actually be planning to vote Yes.  As I understand it, that is not Jim Sillars' current position - he might vote Yes in certain circumstances, and he might abstain in other circumstances.  That makes him not so much a Yes supporter as a floating voter.

Secondly, he complains about the characterisation of Scotland's enforced departure from the EU as being a project driven by right-wing Tories -

"I am not a right-wing Tory. I voted leave in a referendum that, according to the ballot paper, was about the UK and the EU (not about Scotland and the EU), as did many SNP members and voters. I expect the UK Government to give effect to the result of my majority vote, which is not dragging us out, but negotiating a deal if common sense will apply in Brussels."

That is nothing short of extraordinary.  The "majority vote" he is talking about is a British one, which is in direct conflict with the Scottish majority vote.  As a British elector, he demands that his British vote must take precedence over Scottish self-determination, and that Scotland cannot and must not act until the British will is imposed upon it.  That is the quintessential unionist (or British nationalist) worldview.  How anyone can write those words while posing as a stalwart of the Yes movement is beyond me.

Thirdly, he feigns confusion over the question that would be put in a second indyref -

"What is the proposed referendum question to be? Membership application to the EU if they will let us in? Or seeking membership of the EEA via EFTA? Or plain independence from the UK with no guidance to where and how we shall trade?"

I suspect he was paying as close attention as the rest of us when the Scottish Government made perfectly clear that their preferred question will once again be "Should Scotland be an independent country?".  The EU will not feature as part of a referendum question on independence, and it would be downright bizarre if it did.  That does not mean guidance will be absent, however - it looks as if the view will be (not unreasonably) that Scotland has already decisively opted to remain within the EU.  None of this will preclude opponents of EU membership from pursuing their legitimate objective in future - all they need to do is secure a mandate in a democratic election.  There will, I expect, be regular democratic elections in an independent Scotland.

Perhaps the referendum question Sillars is really hankering after is this one -

"Do you think devolution was a bad idea in 1970, a good idea in 1979, and a unionist trap in 1997?  Do you think independence was a bad idea in 1976, an absolute imperative in 2014, and kinda 'meh' in 2017?  And do you think 'independence in Europe' was a great slogan in 1992, but an abomination in 2017?"

To which there are, naturally, only two possible answers - either "No", or "I'm Jim Sillars".

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41 comments:

  1. So it's all margin of error movements within a statistical tie?

    Two and a half years after anybody actually campaigned for independence and support has risen despite the non-stop propaganda offensive from the bbc and the rest of the quisling media. When will they admit that the UK is over?

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    1. Terms like 'quisling' and its connotations really don't help the cause, Anon - we're trying to win people over - get a grip.

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  2. What I'll be looking for is the likelihood of voting in the data sets. Although the headline numbers in the last poll were 51/49 no, among those certain to vote it was 55/45 no. Ipsos Mori found independence supporters more likely to vote, so it'll be interesting to see whether BMG shows the opposite again or it was sampling variation.

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    1. What you're saying about the 'certain to vote' figures in the last BMG poll isn't strictly true. It wasn't specified whether the certainty to vote question related to an indyref, and my guess is that it's more likely to have been a standard BMG question about the next Westminster general election. It may well be that independence supporters are less enthusiastic about voting in a general election than in an indyref.

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  3. Very, very encouraging!

    At 50, 48, 49 in the past few polls before a campaign has begun.

    Exciting week ahead in British/Irish politics.

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  4. Pro Union at 52% inspite of the mad frenzy by the Nat sis who claim to represent the Scots and more so after the brexit vote.
    So where are the Nat sis going wrong. Oh sorry I have the answer the fash do not speak for all of Scotland and the majority of Scots do not want to be run from Bruxelles und Frankfurt.
    Knickerless should resign along with the Paisley slapper. Time tae move on Nat sis you need fresh blood.

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    1. We have won the argument that is why yer erses are nippin. Call the referendum Nat sis.
      We have brexit, we are treating Knickerless with contempt like the frumpy numpty she is and she will still not call it.
      Jock bottle merchants. Up yer lederhosen.

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    2. Nat si are English hating racists. The UK voted out so it is the UK who negotiate.
      No special considerations for the Jock fash. Knickerless could not be trusted in any negotiations as she would bubble tae Herman any negotiating position.
      So call yer referendum and be done with it shitebags. Do it now scumbags.
      Sell Scotland out to Germany ya leeches.

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    3. Frau Knickerless says it will be Autumn 2018. Wee smelly drawers hedging her bets.
      We should be well out of the EU by then.

      Delete
    4. The poster above is a far-right racist tory sockpuppetMarch 13, 2017 at 2:46 AM

      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

      Delete
  5. fair to say alex bell doesnt beleive in independence anymore


    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/the-truth-independent-scotland-accept-10007763



    http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/news/politics/the-truth-independent-scotland-accept-10007763

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  6. GWC2 adds 2% too Yes ( : > )

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  7. Hey GWC2, Change the record bud, you're boring. Independence for Scotland is inevitable, you'll be doing yourself a favour if you just accept it and move on.
    We're no going away til it's done.��

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey is fur horses Nat si bhoy. Just take the pain your end is near and you must face the final curtain.

      Delete
    2. The poster above is a far-right racist tory sockpuppetMarch 13, 2017 at 2:47 AM

      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

      Delete
  8. Did anyone in the Nat si party inform the Paisley Slapper that her job was to represent her Paisley constituents and society in general. However I am sure she will survive on her 70k plus year. Tell that to job seekers hen. Resign now.
    Your team got a draw yesterday. Horray.

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    1. Poor wee Nat si Jocks fae ra North. All yer crap about Brexit and selling Scotland out to the fash EU beaurocrats and you are still not ahead.
      Where are you going wrong? Could it be the Scots do not want to be sold out to Herman and the Frogs.
      The majority of Scots prefer their English neighbour! That must stick in yer craw ya fascists.

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    2. Paisley slapper coining in the taxpayers money. She must have a life season ticket at Ibrox. The woman if it is a woman is a disgrace to Scotland.
      The Nat si bubble will burst eventually.

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    3. £350 million handed to Scotland from the English taxpayer and not a bit of gratitude from the greedy Scottish MP'S who are coining it in and laughing at the Scottish people.
      Cut the Scottish MSP'S by half and half the emissions.

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    4. Hoose of Lords still sitting debating brexit. 200 ambulances waiting ootside tae take them home.
      Meanwhile the Joke Nat si MP'S are trying tae get Kim Jung Eck tae buy a round in the Red Lion.
      A poor person noted the Jocks were always first at the bar but their credit cards had expired.

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    5. The Nat sis are shitting themselves to go for a referendum.
      All the crap they spouted since September 14 and here we are, Nae referendum.
      Even their English hating racist fascist supporters have gone stumn.

      Delete
    6. Even the Jock fash fundamentalist Nat sis are shiting themselves fae haudin a referendum.
      The colostomy bags are full and choking the scumbags. The smell and wind phew!!!

      Delete
    7. The poster above is a far-right racist tory sockpuppetMarch 13, 2017 at 2:14 AM

      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

      Delete
    8. Dain yer impersonator again and then answering yersef. How sad dae ye need a wee pal?

      Delete
    9. 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

      Delete
    10. Get yerself a fishermans friend and do a bit of sucking.

      Delete
    11. 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

      Delete
    12. Remember tae spit it oot nat si dinnae swally.

      Delete
  9. So,support for independence has moved from mid forties to high forties.Encouraging.

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  10. I'd have thought that the best time for a referendum is when the shape of the deal is clear but negotiations are still at a stage when, after being fast-tracked into the EU, we can veto the bits we don't like!

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  11. I get the impression Sillars puts career first, Scotland second - hence why he moves so easily between supporting NO one day and YES the next. Ultimately he says whatever will get him on TV or in the papers. Certainly his position that he believes in Scottish self-determination unless Scotland's vote conflicts with England's, in which case he believes we should do as England wants and not complain about it, seems to miss the point of self-determination. Who know what he'll vote on the day itself.

    Sadly Sillarism seems to be prominent among many Yes-Leave voters I know. They argue the EU referendum was done has part at the UK, and so Scotland must honour it and leave with the UK before we seek independence again. They say they will vote No in indyref2, and then vote Yes in indyref3 which they seem to believe will happen in 2020 immediately following the UK's departure from the EU.

    They don't seem to see the hypocrisy in saying they believe in self-determination but oppose Scotland’s decision to stay in the EU and being forced out by England, and they don't have any evidence for this indyref3 in 2020, but the take it as gospel that there will be one.

    Arguing with them on the position is like arguing to a young earth creationist the case for evolution or the earth not being 5000 years old, its just water off a ducks back.

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    1. Certainly his position that he believes in Scottish self-determination unless Scotland's vote conflicts with England's, in which case he believes we should do as England wants and not complain about it, seems to miss the point of self-determination.

      I think Sillars is a raging nutjob, but you're just blowing smoke there. That's not 'certainly' his position at all, he just hates Europe almost a much as he does Westminster.

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  12. Be 'interesting' to see what movement there is in the polls now that the First Minister has started the process towards a second referendum.

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    1. Unionists should unite to oppose this affront to democracy. Fascism should not be tolerated.

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    2. 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

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    3. Repetitive Nazi that had the hots for Cox and May, a loser. Go and suck yer fishermans friend.

      Delete
  13. Jim Waterson‏Verified account @jimwaterson

    Corbyn says Labour will try to block a new referendum in the Scottish parliament but then Westminster MPs will be told to let it go ahead.

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  14. Theresa Trumpette and her revolting kipper toriesMarch 13, 2017 at 4:44 PM

    Huffington Post UK‏Verified account @HuffPostUK 7h

    Liam Fox denies sending tweet whilst sitting in front of massive picture of it http://huff.to/2mihQNN



    #PlayingPolitics #NotAGame #BrexitIncomptetentsAreShitAtThisGame :D

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  15. Walked through George Sq tonight and the Joke Fasists were out with their flags flying and a large poster saying end London rule. It has started now.
    Unionists will be ready to face the fascists that have no respect for democracy....
    The British Parliament should oppose these fascists whether or not the fascists use IRA Nazi type violence.

    ReplyDelete