Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Pro-independence parties on course to win combined 56% share of the vote on the Holyrood list ballot - and Alba are still registering

Today's astonishing Ipsos-Mori / STV poll, which showed 55% support for independence, also had encouraging news for all three of the major pro-independence parties in the Holyrood voting intention numbers...

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:

SNP 52%
Conservatives 19%
Labour 17%
Liberal Democrats 5%
Greens 3%

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 43%
Conservatives 20%
Labour 15%
Greens 12%
Liberal Democrats 6%
Alba 1%

Seats projection (with changes from May 2021): SNP 68 (+4), Conservatives 24 (-7), Labour 20 (-2), Greens 12 (+4), Liberal Democrats 5 (+1)

So Alba continue to register in the polls - and it can't be underestimated how important it is for the party to retain that toehold of credibility when it's trying to establish itself and is being starved of media publicity.  The fact that the Greens are so close to matching Labour on the list vote would have been a matter of huge concern for unionists if it had happened five or ten years ago, because it would have opened up the possibility of the main left-of-centre opposition to the SNP being a pro-independence party in the future.  However, that *ought* to be an academic consideration now, assuming the promise of a referendum by the end of 2023 is honoured.

As for the SNP, these numbers suggest they'd improve on May's result markedly in any new election and win an overall majority.  However, as mentioned in the previous post, Ipsos-Mori don't weight by recalled vote, and also overestimated the SNP's support back in the spring.  So it could be that a systemic error simply hasn't been corrected yet.

This rips up everything we thought we knew: Ipsos-Mori TELEPHONE poll shows massive majority support for Scottish independence

Before today, there had been eleven polls since the Holyrood election showing a No lead (albeit for the most part a slim No lead), one showing a tie, and just one showing a slim Yes lead.  The big majorities for independence that we got so used to in 2020 had begun to look, at least for the time being, like a thing of the past.  And yet, all of a sudden, today brought word of a poll that wouldn't have looked at all out of place one year ago.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Ipsos-Mori / STV, 22nd-29th November 2021)

Yes 55% (+5)
No 45% (-5)

Can one extremely good opinion poll negate the previous thirteen? (Or, to be more precise, eleven of the previous thirteen?)  In usual circumstances, the answer would be no - the suspicion would be that this is probably an outlier result caused by random sampling variation.  At the very least, we'd be cautiously waiting for one or two more polls before jumping to the conclusion that the new trend is real.  But with Ipsos-Mori, in general the only firm to conduct Scottish polls by telephone, it's a different story.  There's still no consensus on whether telephone polls are superior to online polls, or vice versa, and the only reason the vast majority of polls are conducted online is to sharply reduce costs.  If the only telephone poll you have shows a picture that is wildly out of line with the sea of online polls, there are very good reasons for seriously considering the possibility that the telephone poll is actually the accurate one - or closest to being the accurate one.

To be clear, there's no great surprise in Ipsos-Mori showing a Yes lead - in recent years they've been on the Yes-friendly end of the spectrum, so a slim No lead with Panelbase or YouGov might be expected to translate into a slim Yes lead with Ipsos-Mori.  But what is genuinely startling is that Ipsos-Mori are showing a completely different trend from the online firms.  The No leads in the online polls have generally represented little or no change since the latter stages of the Holyrood campaign, whereas today's poll suggests there has been a massive Yes resurgence since the election.  That seriously calls into question the story we have been telling ourselves, and more importantly the story the media have been telling us, about the state of public opinion over the last few months.

Having said all that, the slight health warning that needs to be added is that data collection by telephone is not the only thing that sets Ipsos-Mori apart from other polling companies - they also have a different attitude to weighting by recalled vote.  So in theory that could be an alternative explanation for the disparity.

As Marcia has pointed out in the comments section below, there is a clear Yes majority in today's poll even if Don't Knows are left in: Yes 52%, No 43%, Don't Know 4%.  It's to be hoped that the SNP leadership don't repeat the mistake of last year by treating this Yes lead as a precious piece of china that might break if anyone so much as sneezes, and instead use it to loudly demonstrate that there is a strong appetite for a choice on independence in the near future.

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

This must be the line in the sand - Nicola Sturgeon's promise of a referendum by the end of 2023 must be honoured to the letter

Nicola Sturgeon: "In the course of next year, I will initiate the process necessary to enable a referendum before the end of 2023."

In fairness to Ms Sturgeon and the rest of the SNP leadership, that's a reasonably clear and specific promise compared to some we've heard in the recent past - which means it will be possible to objectively determine on certain cut-off dates whether the promise has been kept or broken.  If, by 31st December 2022, action has not been "initiated" that would "enable" a referendum to take place, then the promise will have been reneged upon - and that initiated action will clearly have to go significantly further than simply sending another letter requesting a Section 30 order, because it's abundantly clear by now that would only result in a firm "no" from London and a dead end.  Realistically, the minimum required for the promise to have been kept will be the tabling of referendum legislation in the absence of a Section 30.

If you read carefully, the promise does not, strictly speaking, require a referendum to have been actually held by 31st December 2023, but from Ms Sturgeon's other comments it's clear that the only reason envisaged for delay beyond 2023 would be the continuation of the pandemic.  So if normal life has more or less resumed by 2023 but no referendum occurs by the end of that year, it'll also be reasonable to conclude the promise has been broken.

If words and promises were enough to get the job done, we'd all be able to relax on the basis of what Ms Sturgeon has now said.  But unfortunately, there have been very similar promises made in the past about the dates by which action would be taken, and those were not honoured.  Even after we were marched back down from the top of the hill in the wake of - ironically - the SNP's landslide victory in the 2017 general election, we were still being told that there would be a referendum once the terms of Brexit became clear, but before Brexit actually occurred.  That simply did not materialise, and no, Covid is not an alibi for that.  Brexit Day was at the end of January 2020, and the threat of Covid was not being taken seriously in this country until late February 2020.

I totally understand the desire to give Ms Sturgeon the benefit of the doubt and assume she means what she says, because I fully shared that desire myself in 2017.  There are still hardcore Wings devotees who excoriate me for my supposed "naivety" back then, but I would strongly argue that it was rational to cut the SNP leadership a little slack at that point.  Less than three years had passed since the first indyref and there was not yet any track record of broken promises.  It would have been wildly premature to assume bad faith - but it's certainly not premature now.

Some people retrospectively justify the lack of a referendum before Brexit by saying "it would have been suicidal to hold one" - well, I'm sorry, but that's just nonsense. The results of referendums are decided during referendum campaigns, not before, and the idea that Yes in the mid-to-high 40s was not a good enough starting position to make victory a possibility is just so ludicrous as to be, frankly, not even worthy of serious consideration.  In any case, there were no conditions attached to the promise of a pre-Brexit referendum.

So I really urge people who have remained loyal to the SNP leadership to make this latest promise your line in the sand.  Believe it to be genuine, by all means, but if it turns out not to be, admit to yourself what has happened.  Don't pretend to yourself that the promise was never really made or that it somehow didn't really count, or that the next promise to hold a referendum in 2030 or 2035 or whenever is somehow the 'real' promise.

This is it.  A referendum by the end of 2023, and certainly the start of a referendum process by the end of next year - or it'll be time for the current SNP leadership to make way for people who are actually serious about independence.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

IPSO is a sham regulator which knowingly issues rulings that endorse lies as the truth - and THIS is the press regulation system that Lady Dorrian thinks justifies bloggers not enjoying equality before the law with journalists? Seriously?!

As mentioned in my previous post, Craig Murray is expected to finally be released from prison on Tuesday morning. One of Lady Dorrian's eyebrow-raising justifications for incarcerating him was a novel principle that mere bloggers should not enjoy equality before the law with mainstream journalists - and her excuse for that was the observation that mainstream journalism, unlike blogging, is "regulated". That means she was according a tremendous amount of significance to the jurisdiction of the press regulator IPSO - an entirely voluntary body which "enforces" an entirely voluntary code. For the new Dorrian Doctrine to have any credibility, then, and certainly for it to have sufficient credibility to even begin to justify imprisoning someone for writing internet articles, it would have to be assumed that the voluntary IPSO system is working exceptionally well. 

Just by complete chance, a truly dreadful example of Scottish political journalism came along recently to give us a golden opportunity to assess whether IPSO is regulating the press as effectively as Dorrian would have us believe - or indeed whether it is regulating the press in any real sense at all. On 20th September 2021, the Daily Record published an article entitled "Scottish independence support drops in new opinion poll on constitution". Both the headline and the main thrust of the article was a downright, deliberate lie. The opinion poll being referred to was a Redfield & Wilton survey showing Yes on 44% and No on 47%, which represented no change whatsoever from the firm's previous poll which also showed Yes on 44% and No on 47%. As a technical justification for the lie, presumably intended as a shield against any complaint to IPSO, the eighth paragraph of the Record article hinted (but didn't state directly) that the claim of a drop in support for independence was based on a comparison with an Opinium poll which had showed a slim Yes lead - but any such implied comparison was an utter nonsense and an insult to the intelligence of every reader. Not only was the Opinium poll conducted by a completely different firm with a completely different methodology (thus meaning that the numbers from the two polls cannot be directly compared), it wasn't even the most recent poll by any firm. Nor was it the second most recent poll by any firm. There were in fact two polls prior to the Redfield & Wilton poll that had fresher fieldwork than the Opinium poll - one conducted by Savanta ComRes and one conducted by Panelbase. The Record had essentially delved back into history with the intention of cherry-picking any poll they could find that would artificially produce the "drop in support for Yes" they wanted to report, but that inconveniently didn't actually exist. 

If it's journalistically acceptable for a newspaper to behave in that way, the reporting of polls becomes an anything goes funfair. Any poll can be reported as showing any trend the journalist wants. A pro-independence journalist, for example, could claim that absolutely any poll shows an increase in support for Yes, as long as they chuck in the disclaimer "oh and by the way I'm making the comparison with a System Three poll published in 1994". Fortunately, however, the IPSO code makes clear that sleights of hand of that sort are not a valid excuse - not only are outright inaccuracies forbidden, but so are "distortions". There was therefore no doubt whatsoever that the Record article was in breach of the code - it was a cynical attempt to hoodwink readers into falsely believing that independence support had fallen. 

But do IPSO actually enforce their own code? You probably won't faint with amazement at the revelation that they don't. A Scot Goes Pop reader lodged a complaint with IPSO, and it was summarily dismissed without even being considered by the Complaints Committee. What was truly staggering, though, was not so much the dismissal itself but the stated reasons for dismissal, which read like the judgement from a show trial in an authoritarian state. They brazenly turned reality on its head by accusing the complainant of doing the exact thing that the Record had done in the offending article - ie. of cherry-picking a poll for comparison.

"While we understand that you considered this inaccurate, as you had found another poll with identical figures preceding the one reported on by the article, where the article made clear on what basis it reported that “independence support drop[ped]”, we found no possible ground to investigate a possible breach of Clause 1."

"As you had found"?  "As you had FOUND"? What?!  What in the name of mercy do these people even think they are talking about?  The complainant hadn't "found" anything - he was simply making a statement of indisputable fact that the poll showed no change from the previous poll conducted by the same firm, which is the universally accepted way of accurately reporting opinion poll trends.  It was the Daily Record that had gone on a mission to "find" a poll that they could use to make the new poll show something it did not show.  What IPSO did was the rough equivalent of playing a piece of CCTV footage backwards to make it look like the victim of theft was the perpetrator.  "Cynical" doesn't even begin to cover it.

On the basis of IPSO's rules, the complainant had a right to appeal, which he naturally did, just on the off-chance that IPSO somehow didn't understand any of the above and had made a catastrophic mistake in good faith.  But no go.  The appeal was summarily rejected as well, and this time they didn't even bother offering reasons, beyond the generic and content-free "your complaint did not raise a possible breach of the Code".

Make no mistake - IPSO is a sham regulator conducting sham investigations. The intent is not to correct lies and to punish journalists who are guilty of them, but instead to buttress lies and glorify them, and effectively provide lying journalists with "truth-teller of outstanding integrity" certificates.  This is the sort of thing you'd expect to happen in a cultish one-party state, not in an allegedly mature western democracy.

Perhaps none of it would matter if we all just pointed and laughed at IPSO as a joke regulator run by the press for its own self-interested purposes.  But once you have a High Court judge praying in aid this nonsense as part of her reasoning for sending a writer to jail, we are into very sinister and dangerous territory.

Friday, November 26, 2021

News on Craig Murray's release, plus a weary reply to Ipsos-Mori's in-house identity politics extremist

I've been meaning to post this since an email I received about it four days ago, so I hope the information isn't out of date by now!  Craig Murray is expected to be released from prison on St Andrew's Day (next Tuesday) at around 10am.  There's an open invitation for all independence supporters to attend a rally at that time outside Saughton.  Craig will hopefully get an opportunity to make a statement for the media.

It'll be a tremendous relief if Craig gets back home more or less in one piece.  The big concern was always that he has several health conditions and that he might not make it through a few months in prison, particularly in the context of a pandemic - and some would argue that was the whole purpose of inappropriately incarcerating him in the first place.

Yes vote holds up in new YouGov poll

As you may have seen, YouGov's first full-scale Scottish poll for six months was published yesterday, and it showed no change on the independence question.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (YouGov, 18th-22nd November 2021)

Yes 47% (-)
No 53% (-)

There's no cause for concern that Yes are holding steady at 47% rather than the 48% or 49% that has been typical of other firms, because YouGov have consistently been on the No-friendly end of the spectrum in recent times.  In fact, the last three YouGov polls, in April, May and November respectively, have all shown an identical 53-47 lead for No, and you have to go back to March for the last narrower No lead of 51-49. That gives the impression that Yes slipped back a bit in the run-up to the Holyrood election but have since held totally steady.  The pattern shown by other pollsters is for the most part consistent with that, even if they show Yes holding steady at a slightly higher level.

Although it's frustrating to be talking about a no-change scenario which maintains a slim No lead, especially after the giddy heights that Yes hit last year, the current position of a persistently even divide in public opinion is actually an excellent starting position for any referendum campaign, and a good platform on which to build a Yes victory if that campaign is well-judged.  The real problem is that we appear to have an SNP leadership that is privately opposed to holding an indyref in anything like the foreseeable future, so an ongoing modest No lead may be eagerly seized upon as a bogus excuse for further inaction.  That said, they weren't exactly short of excuses even when there was a huge Yes lead, so perhaps it doesn't make all that much difference.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election:

SNP 48% (-)
Conservatives 20% (-2)
Labour 18% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)
Greens 3% (-1)
Reform UK 2% (+1)

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:

SNP 48%
Conservatives 21%
Labour 19%
Liberal Democrats 7%
Greens 2%

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 38%
Labour 19%
Conservatives 19%
Greens 11%
Liberal Democrats 7%
Reform UK 2%
Alba 1%
UKIP 1%
All for Unity 1%

David Clark said the other day that the only way for unionist politicians to get their way by having us "move on from the independence debate" would be for Scotland to actually become independent.  And on these numbers you can see what he means - after a decade and a half the SNP's 'honeymoon' is still ongoing, and they're on course to actually gain yet more seats at Westminster.  For as long as that's the case, simply remaining in the UK will not make the issue of independence disappear in a puff of smoke.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

My all-time favourite thing on the internet has finally arrived: a Medium article about the dateability of Scot Goes Pop blogger James Kelly

Yeah. I know. This is the sort of thing that normally happens to Selena Gomez. The author of the world's unlikeliest internet article is someone called Katy Montgomerie, who - entirely uncoincidentally - also appeared to be the instigator of the Twitter pile-on that led to me suffering 24 hours of sustained abuse and harassment on Tuesday and yesterday (at least two people were suspended from Twitter as a result).  I know very little about her other than that she has just over 50,000 followers on Twitter and is a keen participant in the ongoing trans debate.  Her Medium profile identifies her as a trans woman herself, and she appears to be based somewhere Daan Saaf, judging both from her accent on her YouTube videos and the hesitant way she refers to the Scottish political scene as if the words she's using are unfamiliar and foreign. 

Basically Katy was livid about the wording of one of the questions in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll on GRA reform and related gender matters, claiming that it portrayed trans women as sexual predators.  She's wrong about that, but judge for yourself...

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (a representative sample of 1001 over-16s in Scotland was interviewed by Panelbase between 20th and 26th October 2021)

Some people argue that it is bigoted or transphobic for lesbian women or heterosexual men to refuse to consider dating individuals who have changed their gender from male to female.  Others argue that being attracted only to individuals who have been biologically female since birth is a normal part of how sexual attraction works for many lesbian women and heterosexual men, and that it is wrong to pressurise people into dating individuals they are not attracted to.  Which point of view do you find more persuasive?

It is wrong for lesbian women or heterosexual men to refuse to consider dating individuals who have changed their gender from male to female: 7%

It is wrong to pressurise lesbian women and heterosexual men to consider dating transgender people they are not attracted to: 65%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 28%

It's difficult to get into an in-depth discussion about the reasons for choosing a certain wording when you're faced with a 280-character limit on Twitter, and especially when the people you're speaking to are not engaging in good faith.  However, the point they're missing (almost certainly intentionally) is that the reference in the poll question to people being pressurised is not some gratuitous add-on extra, it's actually the logical, utterly inescapable flip-side of the suggestion that it is bigoted or transphobic to refuse to consider dating trans women (for the avoidance of doubt, that was a suggestion that several of Katy's fan club explicitly made during the pile-on).   Telling someone they're transphobic, which in the current climate carries similar gravity to allegations of anti-Semitism, is a very dramatic thing to say, and self-evidently constitutes very considerable pressure for that individual to change their position and to consider dating trans women in the future.  If you want to say that nobody is under any pressure to date trans women, that's fine, but in order to make that claim with any credibility, you first have to remove the pressure that is in itself being caused by the unambiguous statements that some people's sexual orientations are "transphobic".  You really can't have it both ways.

A common refrain during the pile-on was that I had been "transphobic" myself by singling out trans women in the poll wording - "why not ask whether it's wrong for fat people or Asian women or whoever to pressurise people into dating them?"  And the answer to that is straightforward - it's because there is simply no equivalent to the allegation of transphobia that would apply to other types of sexual preferences. Women don't usually accuse gay men of misogyny for refusing to date them, and men don't usually accuse lesbians of misandry for refusing to date them.  (I say "usually" because some do, but the point is that nobody takes them remotely seriously when they do it.)  If Asian women occasionally feel that men refuse to date them because of racism, that's a very different sort of issue, because - and I can speak with some authority here - Asian women are just as attractive to heterosexual men as any other women.  If racism does sometimes get in the way, there will always be any number of other men out there who will be interested.  There's no natural barrier that requires people's entire sexual orientation to be reinvented or restructured.

Heterosexual men and lesbian women are, at least in certain circumstances, attracted to women of all ethnicities and of all body shapes and sizes.  In most cases, however, they are not attracted to people who are physically or biologically male.  That's a feature, not a bug - it's at the very core of heterosexual male / gay female sexual orientation.  The discriminating factor in that orientation is not personal identity or 'spirit' - as a heterosexual male I might very well be attracted to a woman with a 'masculine spirit' but I wouldn't be attracted to a man with a 'feminine spirit'. Label that as transphobia if you want to, but it's just who I am and how I was born. In the same way, lesbian women are who they are. Telling lesbians that they must consider dating trans women is in many cases tantamount to telling them they must renounce their sexual orientation - and if you also say they'll be branded as bigots if they don't do that, then yes, that undoubtedly constitutes pressure.  

A possible alternative version of the poll question, which might have attracted less ire from the Katy Montgomerie Fan Club, would have been "is it bigoted or transphobic to refuse to consider dating trans women?" with simple "yes" or "no" answers.  But that would have been a cop-out, because it quite simply wouldn't have been a balanced question.  There are two very robust stances taken by each side of this debate - one side says "you won't consider dating trans women and that makes you transphobic bigots" while the other side says "you're calling us transphobic bigots and that's putting intense and unreasonable pressure on us to widen our dating pool to include people we'll never actually be attracted to".  The softer question would have offered respondents the opportunity to give direct backing to the robust stance taken by one side of the debate, but not to the equally robust stance taken by the other side.  Essentially what we're being told is that only one half of the debate can be referred to in poll questions - well, that type of censorship and self-censorship might be the way we're headed, but don't try to tell me it's the way to poll public opinion fairly and accurately.

Katy's Medium article is about a joke Twitter poll she ran on Tuesday, asking "is it wrong for James Kelly to pressure people into dating him?"  She imagined this would goad me into "admitting" that her question portrayed me as a predator, and therefore by extension that my own poll question had done the same to trans women.  To her dismay, though, I was far more concerned about her cavalier approach to polling methodology.  She announced that if her self-selecting poll exceeded 1000 votes, it would be just as "representative" as mine - whereas of course it would still have been infinitely less representative than a properly-conducted poll even if it had hit 100,000 votes.  Some of the usual suspect "trendies" from Scottish political Twitter then thought they could rescue her by dipping into the lengthy dossier they keep on me, and produced a screenshot to support their claim that I "had changed my tune about the validity of self-selecting Twitter polls" .  I warned Katy that she wouldn't exactly be dispelling the impression that she's clueless about polling if she placed too much reliance on that - but, alas, that warning has gone unheeded. 

Unfortunately for her, I was making a very different point in the screenshotted tweet - which was about the absolute numbers who said they were planning to vote Alba in the Holyrood election.  Although Twitter polls are self-selecting, they nevertheless restrict people to one vote per account. As we knew that roughly 100,000 votes would probably be enough to win Alba list seats, the fact that Alba could attract, say, 1000 votes in a Twitter poll did tell us something interesting - it suggested they had at least 1% of the necessary total and that there were probably more votes out there.  (In the event, Alba took around 45,000 votes and thus fell short.)  That perfectly valid point bears no resemblance whatever to suggestions that the percentage results in self-selecting polls are in any way meaningful or reliable.  They are not.  Never have been, never will be.

As for the question wording, the equivalence that Katy was inferring simply wasn't there.  It would only have been there if I had ever claimed that "people who refuse to consider dating James Kelly are Kelly-phobic, and are therefore required to change their attitude immediately".  

To deal with a couple of other miscellaneous points from Katy's piece -

"Kelly said that he spent “thousands of pounds” on this poll."

Yes, Kelly did say that.  And you'll find, Katy, that properly-conducted, full-scale polls do tend to cost thousands of pounds. But it was probably a sensible precaution to put that bit in inverted commas - I mean, it might turn out that they only cost 40p or something.  Who knows.

"If it’s not f****** obvious there is absolutely no evidence that James Kelly is pressuring people to date him, just like there is no evidence at all that there is an issue with trans people pressuring people to date them. The original question he asked was a classic example of a “have you stopped hitting your wife?” question based around one of the most popular anti-trans propaganda topics at the moment. My poll and the part of this article about him is satire of his."

Katy goes all serious and angry in her final paragraph.  Just a thought, but I can't help feeling that if you need to specify "this is a satire" in your very last sentence, it might just possibly betray a slight concern that your satire has spectacularly failed.

UPDATE: Due to her special interest in the subject, the individual formerly known as "The Random Totty From Freedom Square" has been contacted for comment on the shock revelation that a Medium article has been published about my dateability.  While we're waiting, here are her suggested "improvements" to the photo I used in the Scot Goes Pop poll fundraiser...



*  *  *

Via the embedded player below, you can watch my discussion last week with Denise Findlay about the issues raised by the Scot Goes Pop GRA poll.



Wednesday, November 24, 2021

And that's a wrap: here is the full list of results from the comprehensive Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll on reform of the Gender Recognition Act and related gender issues

We've now reached the conclusion of the latest Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll.  As regular readers will recall, the idea for the poll back in July was to try to produce the Scottish equivalent of a comprehensive poll on gender self-ID and related matters that had just been conducted in the Republic of Ireland by RedC on behalf of The Countess website.  I think we've pretty much achieved that - due to budget constraints, our poll maybe didn't have quite the same granular detail as the RedC survey, but it covered most of the same bases. I also took great care to follow the example of the Irish poll by ensuring the questions were as neutral and balanced as humanly possible, so that the results would have maximum credibility and reliability.  Indeed, I strongly suspect the reason that the poll has triggered such an abusive reaction on social media (especially yesterday) is that those with an agenda know that this was a serious exercise, meaning that the results are not as easily dismissed as might sometimes be the case with other polls on the same subject.  The numbers have at least the real potential to do harm to one side of the debate - and of course to help the other side.

The poll took far longer to commission than I had originally hoped, initially because of funding issues, and later because I went down a very long blind alley in my efforts to find a firm willing to conduct our desired poll in a reasonably recognisable form.  However, the important thing is that we managed to get it done before any final decisions are made about GRA reform at Holyrood.  MSPs will have no excuses now for being unaware of the true state of public opinion on gender self-ID. That said, we live in a parliamentary democracy, and it's entirely up to them to decide what use - if any - to make of that knowledge.  They can even, if they really want to, mischaracterise and misrepresent public opinion - but that would be the most foolish and dangerous thing of all to do, for a number of reasons.

The full data tables for the poll can now be found at the Panelbase website HERE.  And here is the full list of GRA question wordings and results, in the order the questions were actually asked of respondents.  Bear in mind there were also a number of general political questions in the poll, but those were all asked before the GRA questions.

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (a representative sample of 1001 over-16s in Scotland was interviewed by Panelbase between 20th and 26th October 2021)

Gender dysphoria is a condition where a person feels a mismatch between their biological sex and their gender identity. For example, this may mean that a biologically male individual feels strongly that they are female, or a biologically female individual feels strongly that they are male.  At present, most people who wish to legally change the sex or gender recorded on their birth certificate must first receive a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, but it is not necessary for them to have undergone gender reassignment surgery.  The Scottish Government is committed to changing the law in Scotland within the next year to allow people to legally change their gender without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, provided they make a solemn declaration that they are living in their new gender and will continue to do so.   

In your opinion, who should be eligible to legally change the sex or gender recorded on their birth certificate?

Anyone who makes a solemn declaration that they are living in their new gender: 20%

Only people who have been medically diagnosed with gender dysphoria: 18%

Only people who have undergone gender reassignment surgery: 21%

No-one: 19%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 22%

If the law is changed in Scotland to allow people to legally change their gender without a medical diagnosis of gender dysphoria, do you think biological males who legally become female under the new rules should be allowed to access female-only spaces, such as changing rooms, toilets, hospital wards and women's refuges, in exactly the same way as all other women?

Yes, they should: 22%

No, they shouldn't: 54%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 25%

If a woman requires an intimate medical examination after being sexually assaulted, do you think she should have the right to ask to be examined by a doctor who has been biologically female since birth, or should she only have the right to ask to be examined by a doctor who is legally regarded as a woman, regardless of that person's biological sex at birth?

She should have the right to ask to be examined by a doctor who has been biologically female since birth: 58%

She should only have the right to ask to be examined by a doctor who is legally regarded as a woman: 20%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 22%

Some people believe that biological sex cannot be changed, and that individuals who change their legal gender from male to female should not have unrestricted access to female-only spaces such as changing rooms, toilets, hospital wards and women's refuges.  How do you think society should treat these beliefs?

These beliefs should not be tolerated because they are bigoted or transphobic: 20%

These beliefs should be respected as a legitimate part of democratic debate: 53%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 27%

Some politicians have suggested that the result of the Scottish Parliament election in May of this year showed that voters rejected candidates who they believed were "transphobic" for opposing reforms to make it easier for individuals to change their legal gender. Thinking back to the Scottish Parliament election, which of these statements best describes how you used your vote?

I consciously rejected candidates who I believed to be transphobic: 11%

I did not consciously reject candidates due to their alleged transphobia: 57%

I did not vote: 13%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 18%

Some people argue that, in the interests of inclusion and equality for transgender people, athletes who have legally changed their gender from male to female should be permitted to compete in women's sporting events. Others argue that athletes who were born biologically male should be excluded from women's sporting events, because they would have an unfair advantage over other female athletes and might put other female athletes at greater risk of physical injury.  Which point of view do you find more persuasive?

Athletes who have legally changed their gender from male to female should be permitted to compete in women's sporting events: 19%

Athletes who have legally changed their gender from male to female should be excluded from women's sporting events: 57%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 24%

Some people argue that it is bigoted or transphobic for lesbian women or heterosexual men to refuse to consider dating individuals who have changed their gender from male to female.  Others argue that being attracted only to individuals who have been biologically female since birth is a normal part of how sexual attraction works for many lesbian women and heterosexual men, and that it is wrong to pressurise people into dating individuals they are not attracted to.  Which point of view do you find more persuasive?

It is wrong for lesbian women or heterosexual men to refuse to consider dating individuals who have changed their gender from male to female: 7%

It is wrong to pressurise lesbian women and heterosexual men to consider dating transgender people they are not attracted to: 65%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 28%

Some people argue that it is bigoted or transphobic to 'misgender' a transgender person - for example to refer to them as 'he' or 'him' if their preferred pronouns are 'she' and 'her'.  Others argue that forcing people to use particular pronouns when referring to a transgender person is an unacceptable attack on free speech.  Which point of view do you find most persuasive?

It is unacceptable to refer to a transgender person by the wrong pronouns: 30%

It is an unacceptable attack on free speech to force people to use particular pronouns when referring to a transgender person: 40%

Don’t Know / Prefer not to answer: 29%

Do you think official government statistics should record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth, or only whether they were legally regarded as male or female at the time of their offence?

Official statistics should record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth: 49%

Official statistics should only record whether sex offenders were legally regarded as male or female at the time of their offence: 26%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 25%

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Via the embedded player below, you can watch my discussion last week with Denise Findlay about the issues raised by the poll.

SCOT GOES POP / PANELBASE POLL: Scottish public want official crime statistics to record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth

We've discussed on this site before whether the number of female perpetrators of certain crimes, such as domestic violence, may be significantly underestimated by the official statistics due to the unwillingness of male victims to come forward, or the unwillingness of the authorities to believe them.  However, there's a big difference between addressing that type of under-reporting, and artificially producing a big upsurge in the number of female criminals by reassigning some offenders from the male column to the female column.  Many advocates of gender self-ID would argue that "trans women are women", and that therefore crimes committed by self-ID-ing trans women should be accurately recorded as committed by women.  But if taking that step is in itself sufficient to substantially increase the female crime rate, especially for sexual offences, doesn't that suggest there is in fact a fundamental difference between trans women and other women, and that biology may be playing a part in that? And if so, doesn't that in itself say something rather interesting about the credibility of the self-ID / "trans women are women" ideology?

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (a representative sample of 1001 over-16s in Scotland was interviewed by Panelbase between 20th and 26th October 2021)

Do you think official government statistics should record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth, or only whether they were legally regarded as male or female at the time of their offence?

Official statistics should record whether sex offenders were male or female at birth: 49%

Official statistics should only record whether sex offenders were legally regarded as male or female at the time of their offence: 26%

Don't Know / Prefer not to answer: 25%

It turns out that the public are not on board anyway - which may mark the first and last time that Priti Patel finds herself closer to the centre of gravity of Scottish public opinion than Nicola Sturgeon does.  There is no significant gender gap on this question - 51% of men, and 48% of women, want the birth sex of offenders to be recorded.  SNP voters themselves are actually not far out of line with the overall result - 47% want birth sex in the statistics, and just 29% only want legally-recognised gender at the time of the offence.

*  *  *

Via the embedded player below, you can watch my discussion last week with Denise Findlay about the issues raised by the poll.


*  *  *

SCOT GOES POP POLLING FUNDRAISER: I'm having to partly cover the costs of the current poll with my own funds, so if we're going to run further polling in the future, we'll need to reach the £6500 target in the fundraiser (or get very close to it).  We're close to 60% of the way there so far, with more than £2500 still required.  So any donations, large or small, would be greatly appreciated and will make all the difference.  Don't risk leaving public opinion polling exclusively in the hands of the mainstream media, with all the bias that entails!  Here are three ways in which you can donate...

1) Paypal payments to the email address:  jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Paypal is the preferred payment method because money is transferred immediately and without fuss.  All you need to ensure is that the above email address is entered correctly (note the .co.uk ending), and add a note with the word "poll" or "fundraiser".  (But don't worry if you forget to do the latter bit, because it'll still be obvious what the payment is for.)

2) Payments to the Scot Goes Pop GoFundMe Fundraiser page, which can be found HERE.

or

3) Direct bank transfer.  Contact me by email if you prefer this option.  My contact email address is different from my Paypal address above, and can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version of the site only), or on my Twitter profile.

Thank you all once again for your amazing continued support, and in particular many thanks to the more than 160 people who have already donated. 


Tuesday, November 23, 2021

VIDEO PREVIEW of Tuesday night's result in the Scot Goes Pop GRA poll: the subject is crime statistics


SCOT GOES POP POLLING FUNDRAISER: I'm having to partly cover the costs of the current poll with my own funds, so if we're going to run further polling in the future, we'll need to reach the £6500 target in the fundraiser (or get very close to it).  We're just over halfway there so far, with the best part of another £3000 required.  So any donations, large or small, would be greatly appreciated and will make all the difference.  Don't risk leaving public opinion polling exclusively in the hands of the mainstream media, with all the bias that entails!  Here are three ways in which you can donate...

1) Paypal payments to the email address:  jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

Paypal is the preferred payment method because money is transferred immediately and without fuss.  All you need to ensure is that the above email address is entered correctly (note the .co.uk ending), and add a note with the word "poll" or "fundraiser".  (But don't worry if you forget to do the latter bit, because it'll still be obvious what the payment is for.)

2) Payments to the Scot Goes Pop GoFundMe Fundraiser page, which can be found HERE.

or

3) Direct bank transfer.  Contact me by email if you prefer this option.  My contact email address is different from my Paypal address above, and can be found in the sidebar of the blog (desktop version of the site only), or on my Twitter profile.

Thank you all once again for your amazing continued support, and in particular many thanks to the more than 160 people who have already donated.