Saturday, April 12, 2014

What Better Together would be saying about their YouGov poll if they had just taken a truth drug

What Better Together actually said : This latest poll, which saw 1148 adults surveyed in Scotland between 8 and 11 April 2014, also confirms a drop in support for separation compared to a recent YouGov poll that showed 37% of those surveyed in favour of leaving the UK compared to 52% who backed remaining in the UK.

What Better Together would say after the truth drug : OK, we're trying it on a bit here. We're making an entirely spurious comparison with a poll that asked the real referendum question, whereas our own poll forced people to make a straight choice between independence and an option of enhanced devolution that will not be on the ballot paper in September. (And to be frank, we were a bit taken aback by how resilient support for independence was in the face of our leading question - it was almost as high as in YouGov's real referendum poll.) The most recent poll that can be considered roughly comparable to ours was one that we commissioned in December, and a comparison between the two shows that underlying support for independence has risen by 6% over the last four months, very much in line with the trend shown by YouGov in their real referendum polls.

Independence 35% (+6)
More powers 57% (-5)*
Don't Know 8% (-1)

* The December figure of 62% was made up of combined support for more powers and no change.

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What Better Together actually said : This latest YouGov poll also reveals that two-thirds of the Scottish population are clear about the implications of a vote to leave the UK, suggesting that nationalist arguments that as people learn more about separation they are more likely to vote Yes is bogus and baseless.

What Better Together would say after the truth drug : OK, we're insulting your intelligence a bit here. A large number of the people who say they are clear about the implications of independence are likely to be people who are already planning to vote Yes. The argument that the Yes campaign is actually making is that No voters are less likely to have clarity in their minds than Yes voters, and are likely to move to Yes as they become better informed. So what matters on this question is not the results for the overall population, but a comparison between the figures for Yes voters and No voters. Unfortunately, we've made it impossible to make that direct comparison, because we didn't bother asking the real referendum question in our poll, meaning that we can't separate out Yes and No voters in the sample. However, what we could have done as a second-best option is provide a breakdown of results on the 'clarity' question based on whether people prefer enhanced devolution to independence, or vice versa. Mysteriously, we failed to do that - it must have been an innocent oversight. (No, no, don't increase the dose!)

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What Better Together actually said : A YouGov survey of 1,148 Scottish adults, on behalf of Better Together, found that 59% of people in Scotland believe that the SNP should not seek another referendum in the future if people in Scotland vote No in September. In a blow to Alex Salmond, 37% of SNP voters do not want another referendum.

What Better Together would say after the truth drug : Well, it might be a blow to him if he had any intention of holding another referendum in the event of a No vote, but what he has actually said is that this referendum will settle matters for "a generation", meaning that by the time a second referendum became even a possibility, he would have long since retired and left the matters for others to decide. Incidentally, that's why we didn't specify any timescale in the wording of our poll question - it was intended to make people think about what should happen in the short-to-medium-term after a No vote, and yet still allow us to spin the responses as a verdict on what should happen in the long-term as well. If we'd directly asked people whether it would be reasonable to hold another referendum after 20 or 25 years, we'd have got a very different response.

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What Better Together actually said : This poll comes just a day after a YouGov survey of over 1100 Scots found that support for separation has dropped to 35%, whilst those backing further devolution within the UK now stands at 57%.

What Better Together would say after the truth drug : Well, we've already 'fessed up to the fact that yesterday's poll actually showed a 6% increase in support for independence, not a decrease. And incidentally, "yesterday's YouGov survey" is exactly the same one as today's. Our decision to release this particular bit of the poll comes just a day after our decision to release another bit of the poll. That's just the way us crazy guys roll.

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What Better Together actually said : SNP should ditch separation.

What Better Together would say after the truth drug : For everyone's sake we should really stop conjuring up such challenging mental images. Where will it all end? After the SNP have finished ditching separation, will we call on them to crush vacancy, and pulverise abstraction?


  1. But what are the papers and TV reporting?

    A really free press would report the truth.

  2. Given that blair mcliar was a cheerleader for blair the war criminal with his ares-licking letters to the Herald 11 years ago should we expect any better now?

  3. We shouldn't assume that BT didn't ask the referendum question, just because they haven't revealed the results!

    Since the more powers Q actually showed indy UP by 4% since YG asked a similar question (see comment on previous thread) it might well have scared the shit out of them.

  4. Hi Oldnat, I know for a fact that they didn't ask the referendum question, because I've heard from people who responded to the poll. I probably should have explained that it in the post!

  5. Thanks James. Given that YG is "the Unionist's favourite pollster" (as you pointed out) and Panelbase were producing constant 47% polls for Yes, it seems an odd decision. If they had faith that YG would burst the Panelbase poll, I'd have expected them to have asked the question.

    Of course, it might simply be that they can't afford YG prices.

  6. James - do people who are not on the electoral roll ever get called for polls? If not, has anyone looked at the impact they might have?

  7. There is some serious money going a Yes outcome check the latest odds.

    Oddschecker archives.

  8. Newsnet Scotland also picked up on this, check them out for a very good article