The Western Isles MP Angus Brendan MacNeil has been holding a Twitter poll over the last 24 hours on the timing of an independence referendum. The results are dramatic, with a combined total of 88% of the thousands of people who took part saying that the current mandate for a pre-2021 referendum should be used. Just 12% think the mandate should be allowed to expire.
Now of course I'm not going to pretend that a self-selecting Twitter poll is a scientifically rigorous exercise. Nevertheless I do think it's of some interest. Public opinion polls tell us about the views of the public, whereas a poll like this captures the views of the demographic that follows SNP parliamentarians on social media - ie. people who are the foot-soldiers of both the Yes movement and of the SNP. Their opinions do count for something. And at just over 5000, the sample size is impressive. Remember that Twitter only allows one vote per account, so it's unlikely that the result was distorted by widespread multiple voting. People's votes are also anonymous, so if they had wanted to quietly express a preference for letting the mandate expire, they could have done so without any fears. There just doesn't seem to be much appetite for that option within the movement.