Tuesday, February 18, 2014

YouGov use 100% neutral wording in a referendum poll for the first time ever - but was it for internal consumption only?

I know many of you like to be kept abreast of the latest intelligence on what the pollsters are up to, so I thought it might be a good idea to repost this little exchange from a couple of threads ago -

TheeForsakenOne : Thought you might be interested. Just did a YouGov poll. Amongst the many many questions it asked the following about Independence:

"As you may know, a referendum on independence will be held in Scotland on 18th September 2014. Voters will be asked, "Should Scotland be an independent country?" Do you think you will vote "Yes" or "No"?

"Will vote "Yes"

"Will vote "No"
"Will not vote"
"Don't know"

TheeForsakenOne : Sorry for double post. I can't edit my other one.

A second odder question is asked later on: "Now, on a scale from 1 (should definitely stay in the union) to 7 (should definitely become independent), which number best reflects your own position on what Scotland should do?"

Me : That's fascinating. On the actual voting intention question, it's the first time YouGov have used wording that I would describe as 100% neutral - even the reference to "tomorrow" has gone, with respondents instead being asked how they will vote on the actual referendum date (in line with ICM, TNS-BMRB and Panelbase).

Unfortunately, though, the way you describe it has the feel of either a 'testing' poll not intended for publication, or an internal poll for one of the campaigns or political parties. So we can't be at all confident that the new neutral wording is here to stay - but it certainly means that YouGov have no more excuses left if they go back to their bad old habits.

Patrick Roden : Yes, the 1-7 line shows that whoever commissioned the poll, wants to know how soft their own, or the other sides vote is.

The SNP already use this type of system using the doorstep conversations and they have a very clear idea of how soft votes are, so I doubt it will be from the Yes side of the campaign.

Perhaps BT have done a few similar internal polls, so this explains is why they are so panicked?


  1. The latest Sunday Times poll and the SNP poll last year had a 1-10 scale question as well actually, but results haven't been released.

  2. The interesting thing about 1-7 or as the SNP use it 1-10 is it gives a clue as to how or of people are moving from one position to another.
    If you remember Nicola Sturgeon released a statement saying that the SNP had noticed women and young people were moving along the grid, from No to Yes.
    This would not show up on polling numbers because these people were still No or Don't Know, but it did show that if this continued women and youngsters would start breaking for Yes.
    I think the polls are already showing this has started happening.