There's an encouraging new poll out tonight from TNS-BMRB, which essentially backs up the trend suggested by the PSO poll the other day of a small swing to the pro-independence campaign since the publication of last week's White Paper. Here are the full figures -
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Yes 26% (+1)
No 42% (-1)
What's particularly significant is that this is now the third TNS-BMRB poll in a row to show a shrinking lead for the No campaign. In the late September/early October poll, the lead dropped from 22 points to 19. In the late October poll, it dropped from 19 points to 18. And now it has dropped from 18 points to 16.
Like the proverbial broken record, John Curtice and certain others have reacted to every single recent poll, regardless of whether it shows a static position or a small swing in favour of independence, with a "no change" narrative - the suggestion being that any apparent setback for the No campaign is merely an illusion caused by margin of error "noise". I'll be fascinated to see if he tries the same line when his analysis of this poll is released (presumably in the morning), because frankly I don't see how he can sustain it this time. It's quite true that, on their own, any of the changes in the last three TNS polls can be plausibly dismissed as "margin of error stuff", but taken together they add up to something more important - a clear six-point drop in the No lead over the last three months.
I noted last time round that the No lead had dropped to its lowest level in a TNS-BMRB poll since early 2012, and for obvious reasons the same thing has just happened again. And if anything, the news is even better if we turn our attention to the figures for those respondents who say they are certain to vote in the referendum, with the Yes vote back above 30%, and the No lead dropping by three points -
Yes 31% (+2)
No 46% (-1)
Oh, and yes. Just like last time, the first clue I had that this was a good poll for the pro-independence campaign came from what Blair McDougall didn't say in his tweet about it. In amongst all the complacent, self-congratulatory waffle, there wasn't the slightest trace of any mention of the Yes vote having fallen or the No vote having risen, so it was fairly obvious that the opposite had happened!
* * *
SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS
And now, drumroll please. It's only a couple of days since I unveiled the Poll of Polls, and already I can announce its first post-White Paper update. Just to reiterate, the Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of six polls - the most recent one from each of the British Polling Council members that have been running referendum polls (TNS-BMRB, Panelbase, ICM, Ipsos-Mori, YouGov and Angus Reid). The update simply replaces the last TNS-BMRB poll with the new one.
MEAN AVERAGE (not excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 32.2% (+0.2)
No 49.3% (-0.2)
MEAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 39.5% (+0.2)
No 60.5% (-0.2)
MEDIAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :
Yes 38.9% (+0.1)
No 61.1% (-0.1)
Obviously with only one-sixth of the sample having changed, the movement in the figures is glacial in nature. But if the No campaign had been entertaining any hopes of getting themselves above the psychologically-important 50% threshold on the headline numbers, they've suffered a blow tonight.
* * *
UPDATE : John Curtice's analysis is now out, and to be fair he has indeed changed the record somewhat. He also notes that the fieldwork for the TNS poll largely took place before the release of the White Paper, which leaves open the possibility of an even bigger shift of opinion since then.