Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 47% (+2)
No 53% (-2)
So you might remember the SIF-funded Panelbase poll from a few weeks ago, which I was first to publish (a bit of a contrast from today) and which I mentioned was an eighteen-month high for Yes? Not anymore, it's not. A further two-point boost has taken Yes well above its recent normal range in Panelbase polls. 47% would not be unusually high if this was a Survation or Ipsos-Mori poll, but Panelbase have over the last couple of years become noted for being firmly on the No-friendly end of the spectrum. The last time there was a result as good as this in a Panelbase poll was way back in the autumn of 2016.
Of course it's possible that the high Yes vote may just be an illusion caused by sampling variation, although if that was the correct explanation you might expect the poll's sample to be unusually favourable towards the SNP as well, and that isn't really the case. There's no improvement at all for the SNP on Westminster voting intentions (which will be a disappointment to those who hoped recent YouGov subsamples were the first sign of a breakthrough), and although there's a 2% boost on the Holyrood constituency vote, that simply takes the party back to where they were in the Panelbase poll before last. It's only on the Holyrood regional list vote that the SNP are clearly doing better than the recent Panelbase norm.
Scottish voting intentions for the next Westminster general election:
SNP 37% (n/c)
Labour 26% (+1)
Conservatives 26% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-1)
Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:
SNP 41% (+2)
Conservatives 25% (-2)
Labour 23% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (n/c)
Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:
SNP 38% (+1)
Conservatives 26% (n/c)
Labour 22% (n/c)
Liberal Democrats 7% (+1)
Greens 6% (n/c)
Although seats projections from polls need to be taken with a heavy dose of salt, on a uniform swing these figures would give the SNP and Greens 62 Holyrood seats in combination - just 3 short of a majority. So even if the next Scottish Parliament election was a lot less than two and a half years away, there would still be a fighting chance of retaining the pro-independence majority.
It's not the headline voting intention figures from the Panelbase poll that are making the headlines, though - it's the results of supplementary questions that ask respondents to make a straight choice between independence and two different Brexit scenarios. Independence is slightly preferred to remaining in Brexit Britain even if there is a negotiated deal (and the wording doesn't specify that the deal has to be Theresa May's deal - it could just as easily mean a better Norway-type deal). But there is an overwhelming majority in favour of independence if the alternative is a no deal Brexit. Although we've seen majorities for independence on this type of hypothetical question before, a majority on the scale of 59-41 is unusual.
Do you believe Scottish independence or a no deal Brexit would be better for Scotland?
Scottish independence: 59%
No deal Brexit: 41%
Do you believe Scottish independence or remaining in the UK but outside the EU under a negotiated Brexit deal would be better for Scotland?
Scottish independence: 53%
Remaining in the UK but outside the EU under a negotiated Brexit deal: 47%
The snag, of course, is that the results of hypothetical polling questions can't be regarded as being quite as credible as the results on the standard independence question. People can very easily overestimate how big an impact a hypothetical event will have on their own voting intention. We might find that, if and when no deal Brexit becomes the status quo, people's instinctive passivity and small 'c' conservatism will kick in and there won't be much of a boost for Yes at all. However, it's interesting that people clearly feel that Brexit ought to increase their support for independence, and that might be a point of some significance in the heat of an indyref campaign.
Last but not least, there is a sizeable majority in favour of a snap general election if Theresa May's deal is voted down by the Commons - something that should happen this Tuesday (yikes!), unless the vote is cancelled.
If the Prime Minister fails to secure a majority in a vote in the House of Commons for the Brexit deal, would you favour another general election being held?
* * *