Tuesday, September 3, 2013

McDougall still in no particular rush to find a leg to stand on

I've just spotted this truly extraordinary tweet from the anti-independence campaign troll-in-chief Blair McDougall -

"he [Salmond] is refusing to debate against anyone in Scotland! We choose Alistair Darling on our side..."

OK, so the No campaign affirm the right to put up whoever they want for a public debate, and they have chosen Alistair Darling. So what happens if the Yes campaign say "yes, fine, it's not quite the Cameron v Salmond showdown that everyone wants to see, but nevertheless we'll happily put up Dennis Canavan to debate against his direct counterpart Mr Darling"? Does that second-string debate go ahead, because the No campaign respect the fact that Yes have exactly the same right to put up whoever they like? Er, no. Apparently not. Apparently No get to pick whoever they want, but Yes can only pick anyone who happens to be called Alex Salmond.

Remind me - who decided these rules?

* * *

UPDATE : You can breathe a sigh of relief - this TNS-BMRB poll that No campaign insiders (and a certain Mr Smithson) have been licking their lips about all day has essentially turned out to be a no change affair, albeit with both Yes and No curiously losing a significant amount of support to the Don't Know column. Usual rules apply - if "support for independence is waning", then by definition "support for the United Kingdom is plummeting". I'm afraid you can't have your cake and eat it, chaps.

Yes 25% (-5)
No 47% (-4)

This means of course that TNS-BMRB have rejoined the ranks of pollsters showing that fewer than half of Scots actively support continued membership of the UK. The 22-point No lead is also a full eight points lower than the YouGov poll with the dodgy preamble. Does this mean that YouGov are, to use Alex Massie's line about Panelbase, an "extreme outlier"? No, but it does mean that they remain at the extreme end of a very broad spectrum which ranges from a No lead of thirty points to a Yes lead of one point.


  1. I hadn't realised until spotting it elsewhere but TNS don't weight by past vote, although they did show recalled 2011 vote in the tables.

    Looking at that, this poll sampled -amongst other things - more 2011 lab voters than snp, which would suggest possible skewing of the results. I had a go at reweighting them to the actual 2011 list votes and the results were slightly closer: 27% yes, 42% no, 31% DK (so a 15 rather than 22 point no lead).

  2. Yes, the weighting issue alone makes this poll somewhat questionable. But, to be fair, weighting by past vote isn't an exact science - you can almost guarantee that a good few people will get their Holyrood and Westminster votes mixed up.