Monday, February 17, 2014

Do the funky Gideon

Ah, George Gideon Oliver Osborne, bless his little heart. He may have made a catastrophic misjudgement last week by being seen to bully the target electorate in this referendum just a little too blatantly, but he can draw some small comfort from having provided a new catchphrase for the die-hard believers in the old self-loathing creed that Scotland is "too wee, too poor, too stupid" to govern itself. Last night on the bus home, I overheard a 'discussion' about the referendum between a pro-independence woman who was celebrating her 69th birthday (a wee bit of trivia for you there) and a rather belligerent younger man who it is safe to say took a different view. Unfortunately I was too far away to hear what the woman was saying, so all I heard was the following, punctuated with little gaps...

"Independence is not gonna happen.

It's not gonna happen.


The day Scotland becomes independent is the day I have "I love England" tattooed on my ****.

It's not gonna happen.

It's. Not. Gonna. Happen.


If we were meant to be independent, it would have happened a long time ago. It didn't. It's not gonna happen.

It's not gonna happen.


Hmmm. It's very difficult to pick holes in something that is almost literally content-free, but a couple of points do occur -

1) Notice how once again it's the person who DOESN'T want independence that makes the moronic anti-English remark.

2) Just how long ago should Scotland have become independent to prove that it was meant to be? 1314, perhaps?

* * *

Channel 4 News are running an online survey on whether Scotland should be "allowed" to retain the pound and remain in the EU, midway down this page. As you'd expect, the key questions miss the point entirely and the wording borders on the offensive, but by all means let's make sure that the results don't fit the agenda.


  1. Yeah, those questions aren't leading at all.

    Question 4 should have been "Do you thing an Independant Scotland should be allowed to *REMAIN* in the EU?" Or possibly "Do you think an independant Scotland should be kicked out of the EU?"

    From looking at the results, there's almost no difference in answers to the first three questions (vote eligability, vote intention, sterling use), with more support for the fourth one (EU membership)

  2. Do you have any idea when the next poll is due out James?

    Any being conducted at the moment?

    I am so looking forward to seeing the first poll conducted after Gideons remarks.

    What % bounce has yes Got?

    I'd say any more than say 3% gain for Yes and say 2% or over loss for 'No' and the Tories will start to demand changes at the top of the BT campaign.

  3. TNS-BMRB said that their next poll would be out in "mid-February", ie. pretty much now - although, if true, that would probably mean that the fieldwork was wholly or mostly done prior to the Osborne moment.

    I think a commenter on WoS mentioned having received a call from Ipsos-Mori, but I don't know whether that was for an internal poll or one that will be published.

    In truth, though, we rarely get more than a few hours' notice that a poll is incoming, and sometimes not even that.

  4. Ok thanks,

    I have been fascinated by the recent revelations that polling companies have had a pre-amble statement or question, that doesn't appear in the final polling information.

    Some people say that they don't think the pre-amble will effect the outcome of the poll, but that's like saying that TV advertising doesn't work, because they get on peoples nerves.

    People wouldn't do it, if it didn't have some outcome or effect!

    Now that there's been a bit of a fuss made, have these polling companies using the pre-amble statements, given a commitment not to do this?

    It would be very interesting to see if Yes got a few extra % points from this change.

  5. Patrick : No, there have been no commitments made, but Calum's intervention does seem to have prompted Panelbase to finally put the full wording of the question they use on their results tables, so at least now we have a greater level of transparency (albeit far too late in the day).

    I cannot tell you how much I'm hoping that RevStu requests that the preamble be replaced or removed for the forthcoming Wings-commissioned Panelbase poll. To do anything else would legitimise what is undoubtedly a leading form of words (OK, the bias is subtle, but subtle is more than enough to potentially have an effect).

    With YouGov the position is as clear as mud. They seem to be running two different 'classes' of referendum poll at the moment, one class in which full and comprehensive details are provided, and a second class where secrecy rules. On the first class they've definitely removed the notorious Dodgy Preamble, but on the second class we simply have no idea. That's incredibly frustrating because we don't know whether the different polls are directly comparable or not. Even the new, more neutral preamble asks voters to imagine that they are voting in a referendum 'tomorrow', which arguably leads voters towards giving a more cautious response. But it's probably about as good as we're ever going to get from YouGov - if only we could be sure they were using the more neutral wording in every poll.

    Ipsos-Mori are continuing to act reprehensibly by failing to publish their preamble. We know they use one, because they've admitted that (like YouGov) they ask voters to imagine that the referendum is being held tomorrow, but beyond that we have no clue as to how leading or neutral the wording might be.

  6. Would someone who has been polled by Ipsos-Mori not have a copy of the preamble? Anyone out there?

  7. For clarity, Ipsos-Mori are both a telephone and online pollster. But all of their proper referendum VI polls to date (or at any rate the published ones) have been conducted by telephone only. So to be able to tell us the preamble, someone who was interviewed would need to be able to remember the wording the caller used, or to have noted it down.

  8. I'm sure you will remember how quickly (I think yougov) had a poll released after the White Paper.
    This poll was used as 'evidence' by BT that the White-Paper had not had the effect that the SNP had hoped.
    We then discovered that the field work had been done before the White Paper was released!
    Typical dishonesty from BT/MSM.

    I wonder if Ipos-Mori will rush out there latest poll, showing that Gideons bullying didn't give the Yes camp, the bounce in the polls they expected.

    I'm sure we will find out the field work was done before Gideons statement, but...only a few days after the poll is released and Alistair Darling has been on the BBC every five minutes, blinking like a mad man and frothing about how we should all just forget the referendum, and vote to keep his very expensive snout in the trough.

  9. Patrick : The first poll published after the WP was conducted by the non-BPC joke pollsters Progressive Scottish Opinion, and the fieldwork was actually done entirely post-WP. I seem to recall that the Spectator ran a trademark pompous headline of "Nobody's noticed, but the White Paper has failed to shift opinion" - which was a rather bizarre thing to do by any standards, given that what the poll actually showed was that the No lead had fallen by three points!

    The second poll that came out was the TNS-BMRB one that had been mostly conducted before the WP, but even that showed a decrease in the No lead.