Sunday, October 30, 2011

Separation, floccinaucinihilipilification, and other words that weren't used at the SNP conference

Natural pessimist though I am, I must say I entirely disagree with Kate Higgins' assessment that the latest YouGov poll showing 34% in favour of independence and 52% opposed has "burst one of the SNP’s bubbles". If I'd known the poll was coming, I'd have practically bet my house on the figures turning out like that - there just seems to be some inbuilt reason why YouGov produces higher support for the No side than certain other pollsters, such as TNS. What really matters is the trend, which is in line with other recent polls in showing a significant boost for Yes.

The other interesting question is - what is it about YouGov's methodology that produces such different results? Is it their tendency to pose the question in a way that Alan Cochrane would heartily approve of, or is there some reason why people who join internet polling panels might be more hostile to independence than others? The latter possibility may seem fanciful, but I seem to recall that YouGov openly admitted in their early days that there were one or two questions on which their panel always produced skewed results, regardless of weighting to take account of demographic imbalances. The increase in internet usage since then may have resolved that problem, of course.

And of course no Scotsman report on an independence poll would be complete without a run-out for "Template Quote C" from the Captain of Team Scotland -

"For the first time in 20 years, the SNP held a conference where separation was the only word..."

The only word that wasn't used? Well, you're half-right, Margaret, it wasn't used, but there were many, many other words that proved equally surplus to requirements, such as "floccinaucinihilipilification" and "pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis".


  1. Well James if you were following Kate's gloomy predictions for an SNP victory in the lead up to the May election you'd understand why she's a bit of a poster girl for Labour.

    She seems to delight in taking a contrary view where the SNP are concerned to prove to somebody (maybe herself?) that she's too good to run with the nat herd.

    Frankly I find her knee jerk need to take the "contra" stance so often just for the sake of it a bit wearing.

    Wanting to be a nationalist who is warmly popular with Labour Hame is a difficult trick to pull off but it doesn't stop Kate from trying.

  2. Well, to be fair to Kate, I wasn't exactly confident of an SNP victory last May either! Or at least I wasn't until about mid-April.

  3. I agree with anon about her blog she seemed the prophet of doom at the recent election and I just think that is her personality, blows hot and cold from one day to the next. The poll does help to damped down the more excitable supporters who got carried away with the election win and conference hype thinking it will be easy. It won't, but, it is a far easier task than it was years ago. Trust me, it can be done.

  4. Mags actually said it was the only word which was used.

  5. I know, I was being ironic and pretending her comment made sense.