Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Clueless Sun newspaper left red-faced after being caught wrongly telling readers that support for independence has "dropped"

A couple of nights ago, someone left a comment on this blog asking me to write about the numbers from the new Progress Scotland poll on support for independence.  I wasn't sure what he/she meant, because none of the reporting I'd seen on that poll mentioned any direct question about independence.  I checked the Progress Scotland website and there was no clue there (and frustratingly there was no link to any datasets).  The mystery deepened when The Sun started reporting that the poll supposedly showed Yes support had "dropped below 40%".  At that point my propaganda detector started buzzing very loudly and I was fairly convinced that things were not quite as they seemed, but obviously it was hard to comment until I actually saw the relevant part of the poll.  I was finally pointed in the right direction by Denise last night - the datasets had been on the Survation website all along.  (In fairness to myself I had already looked there, but the archive section is a bit confusing.)

And the verdict?  You probably won't faint with amazement upon learning that The Sun have been telling you porkies.  The lie is not the suggestion that the poll shows support for independence at below 40% - that can just about be justified at a stretch, albeit it's somewhat misleading.  No, the lie is the claim that Yes support has "dropped" in the poll, and that there are serious implications for Nicola Sturgeon, indyref2, etc, etc.  This implies that there are comparable polls from the recent past which showed much higher support for independence - in fact, there haven't been any such polls.  The Progress Scotland poll asked respondents about their views on independence in a novel way, and also asked them to give their answers in a novel way by rating their support or opposition to independence on a scale of 0 to 10.  There is nothing to compare the results to - which means that support for independence may have risen, or it may have fallen, or it may have stayed exactly the same.  The poll gives us absolutely no clues to trends whatsoever.  But what we do know is that a Survation poll a few weeks ago, which asked the independence question in the conventional Yes/No manner, showed Yes support holding steady in the mid-40s.  It's therefore not unreasonable to work from the assumption that nothing much has changed, at least until we see the slightest scrap of evidence to the contrary.  The likelihood is that a conventional independence poll conducted now would show a no change position, and that a poll with a 0-10 format conducted a few weeks or months ago would have produced much the same results as the Progress Scotland poll.

Now, let's be fair - it's theoretically possible that there has been a sudden and inexplicable drop in the Yes vote in the few weeks since the Survation poll.  But there are two possible explanations for the Progress Scotland numbers being so different from the norm - a) a real drop, and b) the use of a radically different question and answer format.  As b) is so obviously the simplest and most natural explanation, the onus must surely be on The Sun to substantiate their outlandish claims.  My own question would be whether they were deliberately pulling the wool over their readers' eyes, or whether they really were totally oblivious to the fact that they were comparing apples with oranges. I've learned from experience never to exclude the possibility of utter journalistic cluelessness.

So why might the different poll format have such a dramatic effect on people's answers?  It may be the reference to "staying part of the UK" - there are plenty of precedents for polls that use that sort of language producing much more No-friendly results.  Or it could be that soft voters in the middle, or undecided voters, react differently when they're not presented with a binary choice.  Either way, we shouldn't jump to the conclusion that the poll is picking up underlying resistance to independence in a way that conventional polls have not.  If the Yes/No polls had been that far out in 2014, the eventual Yes vote would have been nowhere near as high as 45%.  It's true that the polls did overestimate Yes, but not by much, and it's possible that some or all of that discrepancy can be very simply explained by differential turnout.

Oh, and as for Pamela Nash and Scotland in Union taunting Progress Scotland for selectively withholding the least favourable results from the poll, the words pot, kettle and black spring to mind.

*  *  *

I was contacted on Twitter last night for my views on whether SNP voters in the forthcoming Leith Walk by-election should use their lower preferences.  Answer: yes!  Your lower preferences will not be taken into account unless the SNP candidate is eliminated before the final two, but in the unlikely event that it pans out that way, I'm sure most of us would have a view on whether we'd rather have a Green councillor or a unionist councillor.  (The Greens are strong in the ward.)  The rule of thumb is always the same with the STV voting system - use as many preferences as you feel able to, because you'll never be doing any harm, and you'll sometimes be doing a lot of good.

78 comments:

  1. The sunlit uplands are arriving it seems.

    https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy-pmi/uk-headed-for-downturn-as-brexit-worries-hammer-services-idUKKCN1RF0T5

    UK headed for downturn as Brexit worries hammer services

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s economy looks likely to shrink over the coming months, after Brexit worries caused the dominant services sector to contract for the first time in nearly three years, a survey showed on Wednesday.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A downturn is good as it is followed by an upturn and profits for us rich pensioners who invest.

      Delete
    2. "I'll be fine and to hell with the rest of you! I hope you all starve for voting Remain!"

      Delete
    3. Jacob Rees HawtreyApril 5, 2019 at 11:09 AM

      Cordelia loves a good upturn. Ooh, Matron!

      Delete
  2. Given the plunging VI's for both Lab and Con, are either of them going to be keen on a GE?

    https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/1113329282602795008

    Methinks an English nationalist government of unity draws closer.

    https://twitter.com/YouGov/status/1113127577345028097

    Wales, Scotland and N. Ireland (in particular) will be excluded from this national unity because they are not English so don't get a say. Just like the UK cabinet/shadow cabinet, it will be comprised of English MPs.

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  3. James - do we have any idea of the most resistant group(s) towards independence?

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  4. https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/1113405505496584192

    Most Britons would not mind if Northern Ireland left the UK, poll finds:

    via @IpsosMORI, 22 - 26 Feb
    GB-wide adults only, NI not polled.

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  5. Two points on why I don't trust (and reading between the lines, nor does Mark Diffley) the outputs from the 0-10 ranking Q. Firstly, the zero option represented 'Yes'which is phsychologically contrary to all other polling ever in which Yes is the most 'positive' option available. Convinced a good portion of the 17% of 2014 Yes voters who are now apparently 10/10 unionists simply mistakenly got the wrong extreme.

    Secondly, The very next table in the data directly contradicts it, saying only 9% of Yes voters have now changed their mind and would vote differently. Using the Yes/No cross-tabs of Table 2 and excluding undecideds and would not votes you can estimate that Yes support in the poll stands at 44.5% and the volume of switchers either way is practically identical.

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  6. Sounds like Progress Scotland completely fucked this poll up. What a missed opportunity. It should also be obvious to all pro Indy organisations that any poll like this is going to be used against Indy by the MSM. It is up to outfits like Progress Scotland to take that into account. Quite worrying and quite pathetic... :(

    braco

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  7. I hope they won't start dishing out Andrea Leadsom or Priti Patel fun buttons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What are they?

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    2. I know that.

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    3. Why did you ask?

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    4. I was asking about fun buttons. What are they?

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    5. Never heard of them.

      Delete
  8. I see Corbyn wants to end free movement for the young and working classes / poorest in society, but keep it for the better off / wealthy, including himself (the better off can always buy FoM).

    And he wants to agree this with the Tories.

    https://twitter.com/AdamBienkov/status/1113421567193690113

    What fake he is.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be fair to him hes not a fake, hes following what he put in the 2017 Labour manifesto:
      "Freedom of movement will end when we leave the European Union".

      Of course the Corbanistas were too busy proclaiming him as the next masiah to read things like that. Amazing how quiet they have been on social media (or just pretending nothing has happened).

      Emily Thornberry still spinning the line about a second ref being Labour policy...wonder how long it will be before the Labour faithful realise that a load of crap as well.

      Delete
    2. Spoonetta McGarvieApril 3, 2019 at 6:34 PM

      Let's be fair to Corbyn. He's struggling ceaselessly to have Pinochet extradited.

      Delete
    3. He's a fake socialist, that or he's a national socialist and not an international socialist.

      His socialism doesn't extend to my family across the channel simply because they're not blood and soil English. If it did, he'd stand down rather than do the bidding of the right wing racists.

      Delete
    4. Corbyn is a socialist and British. Your family over there is for the politicians over there.

      Delete
    5. "Serves you right for having family in other places! This is a local country for local people! Blood and soil means everything! Filthy foreigners!
      STOP LAUGHING AT ME!
      Waaaaaah!"

      Delete
    6. https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/staggers/2017/07/jeremy-corbyn-wholesale-eu-immigration-has-destroyed-conditions-british

      Corbyn said my 'wholesale immigrant wife' (using the term pejoratively) is a problem because she has 'destroyed conditions for British workers'. What does he want, the jackboots to beat her up if they hear she speaks funny?

      By contrast, he thinks English/British immigrants to Scotland - many of whom have been here much less time than my wife - don't do this at all, even though they 'take jobs, homes, GP appointments, use the roads, Schools' etc just like my wife. 10% of the Scottish population are English migrants; ~3 times the number of EU migrants. But if the English do it, it's fine. If furriners do it, it's a problem as far as him and his brexiters go. The only way you can distinguish my wife and and English migrant in this way is if you ultimately see one as your 'blood and soil' ant the other as some sort of 'Alien'.

      He thinks the EU single market is a problem, but the 'Blood and soil' British single market is just fine. If 'single markets' are evil, then he should want the end of the UK too. Unless he's a blood and soil nationalist and it's that what matters to him, not simple shared trade regulations.

      And to top it off, he's 'Independence for everywhere but Scotland!', while being from Islington. Total fucking hypocrite to boot.

      He's a fake. A right-wing pretend socialist. Which is why he stands shoulder to shoulder with Farage.

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    7. dude that is mental

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    8. Jacob Rees HawtreyApril 5, 2019 at 11:13 AM

      "Dude" - that is mental.

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    9. Glesga Erchie far the GorbalsApril 8, 2019 at 1:45 AM

      Nobody knows what Corbyn wants and May seems to be on uppers. She should offer Jacob Junkers and the rest of them a happy ending when she goes to Brussels again. And why is she going? She should Skype them. Unless she goes for the French food. Who knows? Even she doesn't have a clue.vshe can't read a menu in French and orders patty thinking she'd getting a burger without the bun but it's just like a jar of Shippams paste. She thinks the Frogs are taken the Mickey so she starts making life difficult for them and they don't like it. Not does she but she's got nothing to lose and they gave everything to lose. There losers.

      Delete
    10. Glesga Erchie far the GorbalsApril 8, 2019 at 9:00 AM

      I can fix the Brecit problem. May can go abroad and when they're having their round table meeting she can go round the table from one to the next one giving them a hand job. They'll all be asas hap as sixpence and we'll get our No Deal Brecit.

      Delete
  9. At tonight’s special meeting of the Shadow Cabinet, Ian Lavery said “this party could be finished by a People’s Vote” and warned Jeremy Corbyn he would be the leader who split Labour if he backed one.
    https://twitter.com/PolhomeEditor/status/1113520378117328898

    Problem is if he does not one then the Party Splits, cant see Watson or Thornburry being not to resign if there is not a second ref as part of any labour 'deal' Starnmer probably not far behind. On top of that 40% of the PLP second ref, plus some big unions (who are of course big players for Labour) the Labour party split could be bigger than the Conservative one.

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  10. Mrs Merkel is to visit ROI. She is concerned about potential Republican violence if the EU imposes a hard customs border. Do not fear Mrs Merkel the Rebublicans will be killing on your behalf as they have given up the Irish struggle for the EU struggle. Killing Protestants by the IRA is just like grouse hunting in Perthshire.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cordelia's sickening bloodlust for a return to the Troubles. Thousands of bereaved families on all sides be damned; Cordelia wants blood.

      Delete
  11. Hey James,

    Any chance you could make your shorter please?

    Ta

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I presume there's a word missing between "your" and "shorter". The mind boggles.

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    2. No, but that 'r' is silent incase were wondering.

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    3. My entry in the missing word competition is:

      name

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    4. Nope.
      It begins with H. And it's not helmet.

      Delete
    5. Hydrotherapy?

      Delete
    6. Sir, what do you call an 'R' to a 'W'.

      The bounder left all of us, on the lurch.

      Maybe, he is a Woman Centuwion. Where in Wales is that?

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    7. I split my sides laughing at the dazzling wit on display. So much so that I was rushed to hospital.

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  12. Is the whole point of Progress Scotland not that they are reaching out to No Voters and as such their sample will be heavily leaning towards that?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Then why are they presenting their findings as representative of Scotland?

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    2. Did you used to be on Elfirado?

      Delete
  13. The indy question is totally flawed as an 'undefined independence', with 'undefined date (tomorrow?)' is pitting against a fully defined UK (the status quo). Respondents are also asked to commit 'completely' to this undefined option. Commitment to the UK is by contrast normalised as it is the default status quo. This would invariably lead to more pro-union answers.

    Having said that, if most of the No votes last time came from fully committed unionists, the number of those fully committed has dropped.

    Also the base looks flawed. Firstly, there are far too few Don't knows / Don't cares. There should be at least 15%. This means the sample is not representative from the outset.

    Also, the unweighted (not random but closely demographics matched) base claims to have voted 37% leave - which is pretty much spot on - yet 50% for independence. Right-oh. The first of these is the truth, the second has loads of liars or false recalls. 2014 is too long ago to be weighting to, with high levels of regret it seems. This is a cross-poll problem; people say they voted Yes in 2014 when they didn't.

    Survation then compound the problem by weighting to Westminster intention; something they previously concluded was inherently flawed for Scotland on the advice of Mr Curtice. In their own polling they consistently find Scots recall 2016 fine, but overestimate the support they gave to the SNP in 2017 (just like 2010 vs 2011). This is due to tactical voting (for Labour, but saying they 'supported' SNP) and people saying they voted SNP when they didn't vote at all (turnout fell in SNP voters). All results in a decent pro-union bias to the sample.

    Unfortunately, you cannot fix false recall or white lie answers with weighting. Weighting needs the truth to work. All you do with weighting if you have false recall/lies, is make the problem worse.

    Anyway, this is why the flawed indy support assessment seems very much at odds with a lot of the other answers.

    Also suggest this poll isn't in any way out of line with Survation's more standard recent efforts.

    You are not going to see serious poll movements, particularly on indy, until the brexit stalemate reaches some form of conclusion.

    ReplyDelete
  14. What this poll doesn't show is a rise in support for yet. Given the considerable incompetence of may and Corbyn and the splits in their parties the fact that this poll shows either a drop or no change is worrying.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It could actually show a large rise in support. However, without p previous poll with exactly the same question weighted in the same way it's impossible to conclude if there has been any change at all.

      And we are seeing polling changes; Tory and Lab votes are falling quite rapidly in the past few weeks.

      The indy question is likely to remain largely unchanged however as it is very dependent on a brexit outcome. If someone says 'I support independence if brexit happens', then they remain a polling 'no' until brexit actually happens.

      I'm afraid that if you want a 'Yes due to brexit', then you need to wait until people conclude that brexit is actually, definitely happening. At the moment, that isn't the case. This is why the same poll gets a 'No' for indy tomorrow, but a 'Yes' in the event of brexit (e.g. panelbase).

      If I was a unionist, I'd hope to god there's some sort of massive can kicking down the road with brexit delayed by 6-12 months. That will buy them some time.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the response Skier - hope you are right!

      Delete
  15. Off the topic, but related to a comment from JK.

    One may wonder how much the recent court case involving JK Plagiarist and her sticky-fingered employee cost. On a pro-rata basis the former employee helped herself to the equivalent of £5 from the average Scottish earner.

    Respect for the law is important but the self-entitled old hag could have just written off the loss of some loose change and paid more attention to her underlings in the future. She really does fit in with the SIU archetype.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Sorry but trying to spin Rowling as being the 'bad one' just because you do not agree with the her views on Independence is not a good look. She was defrauded of over £18k and has a right to take civil action against the person who did this. Got no sympathy for her former employee, if you commit crimes then you have to be prepared for the consequences if you get caught. Think she should be thankful that criminal charges were not pressed otherwise she would now have criminal record and possibly even be in prison.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Adalbert Moga (no issue)April 5, 2019 at 9:45 AM

      Jakey Rowling looks a bit like Dr Gillian McKeith but also a bit different.

      Delete
    2. It's strange that your two posts seem to be in direct contradiction to each other.

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    3. Adalbert Moga (no issue)April 6, 2019 at 9:57 AM

      In fact Jakey Rowling looks like two different people at the same time.

      Delete
  17. So English Labour are now in direct brexit coalition talks with the hard right English Tories to take Scotland out of the EU.

    At the same time, the DUP are being sidelined.

    Brexit becomes 100% English for all to see.

    I wonder what 'Scottish' Labour think about 'BetterTogether#2: The Faragist Coalition'.

    Do you think that's what Scots Labour voters were hoping for when they backed Corbyn in 2017?

    ReplyDelete
  18. Pretty clear that short of some sort of miracle agreement in the next few days Brexit is not going to happen (if it ever does) until late 2019 or spring 2020.

    Once the 'Flexitension' is sorted (probably til lasting for a year) Con and Lab will pretend to continue to try and find an deal that can pass to pacify the Eurosceptics in their parties and then essentially give up. UK take parts in EU elections and then go off on holidays with the bickering resumed at the Autumn party conferences.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. With UKIP rising like a phoe... sweaty racist gammon from the flames.

      Delete
    2. I got a flextension from a website in Amsterdam. My bird loves it.

      Delete
  19. Little Miss Prissy PrimApril 5, 2019 at 10:11 AM

    I'm glad people didn't commit crimes in Nazi Germany, Apartheid South Africa or the Soviet Union. That would have been horrid of them.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Why can't British unionists just accept the 2016 result and move on?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Tories utterly shite at managing the economy Part 2.

    https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-47826195

    UK productivity continues lost decade

    All they've done is sanctioned a larger number of people into the same number of 'gig economy' jobs. They've not created any new jobs proportionally. So more workers doing the same total amount of work = rubbish productivity and no wage rise in a decade.

    This isn't a 'puzzle'.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Scottish Subsample average after todays Yougov poll:

    Con:19
    Lab:18
    Lib Dem:6
    SNP:47
    UKIP:4
    Green:2

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aye, Yougov Scottish sample is:
      48% SNP
      20% Con
      18% Lab
      5% Lib
      3% UKIP
      1% Green

      Con and Lab do seem to be both taking hits in Scotland just as they are UK-wide. SNP benefiting strongly from Lab, UKIP a tad from Con.

      Neither of these two are going to be keen on an election soon, which will make a grand English nationalist Corybn-May-Mogg-Bozo coalition all the more attractive to them.

      If that happens, the backlash Scottish labour faced on the doorstep following BetterTogether will seem like the halcyon days to them.

      Delete
    2. Scots sample again:

      How well or badly do you think the Government are doing at negotiating Britain's exit from the European Union?
      2% Well
      88% Badly


      Ooft.

      Delete
  23. It looks like the Euro elections will take place on 23rd May as May wants an Article 50 extension to 30 June.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 30 June is the new 22 May which was the new 12 April which was the new 29 March.
      Any advance in 30 June?
      My money's on 37 Neverember, but it all depends on the House of Comics.

      Delete
  24. The tories are handled brexit absolutely woefully. Which begs the question why labour aren't hammering them in the polls and the snp vote share has dropped from the 50% of 2015?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Labour voted for Article 50 and committed to standing shoulder to shoulder with the Tories to deliver brexit in their 2017 manifesto (hence the current coalition talks).

      Ergo, the public blame them both for the mess.

      Delete
  25. We've started calling the Algerian President Mr Butterflicker.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've been calling him that since Prince George was born. You are actually stealing our son's idea. That's a shocking thing to do and may be illegal.

      Delete
    2. Frostie, you should get that rat arrested. The thieving beast.

      Delete
    3. Good idea. I shall call the police today. I'd like to see all thieves arrested and charged. This is worse than nazi Germany.

      Delete
  26. No, but he is a wascal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm going to Selkirk on Tuesday. Just me and Phyllis in what I call out gypsy caravan. Be there or be square, as the much missed Jimmy Savile used to quip.

      Delete
    2. We're off up to Selkirk tomorrow and we'll let you know all our adventures up in the Wilds. Exciting stuff. Will they let us leave without a random?

      Delete
    3. Hectorina McFuddApril 9, 2019 at 8:23 PM

      No, they won't. They'll give you a random one in your caravan. Could be any of them. Win win.

      Delete
  27. It's great to see The For Britain Movement standing in candidate in the Leith Walk by-election. Let's hear it for free speech!

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You make more sense than Cordelia ever has.

      Delete
    2. I make a lot if sense when I go into a quiet room or down a lane in a bush town when there's no passers by near. They shout " Look at that weird bitch". So I say to them to big right off and buy a bucket of blood and a badge saying "Quinky"

      Delete