Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Pro-independence campaign close the gap to just 5% in sensational new Survation poll

Based only on some very insubstantial straws in the wind, I've had a slight feeling that the direction of travel in the aftermath of the European elections may have been in the favour of Yes.  Last night's TNS poll didn't really offer any clues because the fieldwork mostly predated the announcement of the European election results, and although last week's Ipsos-Mori poll was conducted during the right period, it was hard to interpret because it was the first poll from the firm for three months.  But the latest monthly poll that has just been released from Survation may - and I do emphasise the word may - be the first proper indication that something has indeed been happening.  It shows the No lead at just 5% - that's a 5 point drop on last month, and is 3 points lower than Survation have shown at any point in the campaign to date.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 39% (+2)
No 44% (-3)

With the Don't Knows stripped out, the No lead has been cut in half from 12 points to 6 -

Yes 47% (+3)
No 53% (-3)

Survation have thus joined ICM and Panelbase as one of three BPC-affiliated pollsters that have shown the No lead at 5 points or lower (ie. close to what the Americans call a "statistical tie") at some point during referendum year so far.

It's important to stress at moments like this that one swallow does not a summer make.  We know that there will be another ICM poll in a few days, and there's a rumour about a Panelbase poll in the works as well, so if those polls fail to replicate tonight's trend then it's possible we're just looking at a poll that is unusually flattering for Yes due to margin of error effects.  But if one or both of those upcoming polls show something out of the ordinary, then we may just be in business.  And I can't emphasise enough that last night's TNS poll in no way contradicts Survation, simply because the fieldwork took place considerably earlier.

At an absolute minimum, this poll represents the final nail in the coffin for the idea that the increase in the No lead suggested by the last ICM poll was in any sense real.  It's clear now that, at worst, the position has been static in recent weeks, and at best there has been sufficient movement towards Yes to take us to the brink of victory with more than three full months to go.  The latter point is naturally contingent on the belief that relatively Yes-friendly pollsters like Survation and Panelbase are closest to the truth - if by any chance Ipsos-Mori are the most accurate then Yes will still require significant gains (although of course even Ipsos-Mori are saying that the No lead has slumped from 28 points to 18 since last September).

Tonight's poll was commissioned by the Daily Record, who are actually making a bigger splash about one of the supplementary questions. When people were asked how they would vote in the referendum if they were sure that David Cameron would remain Prime Minister, this is how they responded -

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 44%
No 38%

With Don't Knows excluded, that works out as -

Yes 54%
No 46%

That finding is an absolute hammerblow for the No campaign.  Doubtless John Curtice will caution us that people are generally bad at accurately answering hypothetical questions, but in a sense that's not the point.  What these numbers prove is that there are sufficient people out there who are at least open to the idea of voting Yes without requiring any implausible financial guarantees (ie. "if you could be sure that you would be X amount of money richer per year").  There's a path to victory for us here.

And as it happens, this linkage of David Cameron's future with a possible majority for Yes coincides with a dramatic improvement in the Tories' fortunes at Britain-wide level.  Perhaps helped by the Newark by-election result, they seem to have regained the ground they lost to UKIP in the aftermath of the European elections, and have been just 2% behind Labour in both of the last two YouGov daily polls.  If that trend continues, it won't be long until there is unequivocal polling evidence that Cameron is heading for another five-year term as Prime Minister - and then we'll see if Survation's respondents mean what they say about opting for independence in those circumstances.

A final important detail - the fieldwork for this poll took place entirely after President Obama's rather half-hearted (or should that be quarter-hearted?) "endorsement" of the No campaign.  So it appears that Cameron's latest desperate attempt to enlist the help of a world leader has either had no effect at all, or has catastrophically backfired.  But I'm sure all of us are far too mature to even dream of finding that highly amusing.

*  *  *


In spite of the fact that the Poll of Polls sample still includes what increasingly looks like a rather questionable poll from ICM, the No lead has practically returned to its all-time low on the average that takes account of Don't Knows (the second batch of figures below).  Incidentally, I had a brief discussion on Twitter yesterday with Ipsos-Mori's Steven Hope about the merits of various averaging methods.  He felt that the FT's methodology is the best one, although he did go on to add that no method is perfect, and that it's important to look at various different averages to get the complete picture.  Frankly, my own view is that what we're seeing tonight illustrates perfectly the misconceived nature of both the FT and the Curtice averaging methods.  Over recent weeks, the FT Poll of Polls has seen the No lead increase from 7 points to 14 - and that's happened without the slightest scrap of evidence from any individual pollster (with the possible exception of ICM) that a trend towards No was actually underway.  It came about simply because a sample full of polls from Yes-friendly firms like Panelbase was gradually replaced with a sample featuring a greater number of polls from No-friendly firms like Ipsos-Mori.

Only the method used to produce the figures below is more or less guaranteed to reflect the real trends, because the respective weighting given to Yes-friendly and No-friendly firms does not change from one update to the next (except in the rare circumstance of a new firm entering the fray).

MEAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 43.2% (+0.4)
No 56.8% (-0.4)

MEAN AVERAGE (not excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 36.0% (+0.3)
No 47.3% (-0.5)

MEDIAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 42.3% (n/c)
No 57.7% (n/c)

(The Poll of Polls is based on a rolling average of the most recent poll from each of the pollsters that have been active in the referendum campaign since September 2013, and that adhere to British Polling Council rules. At present, there are six - YouGov, TNS-BMRB, Survation, Panelbase, Ipsos-Mori and ICM. Whenever a new poll is published, it replaces the last poll from the same company in the sample. Changes in the Poll of Polls are generally glacial in nature due to the fact that only a small portion of the sample is updated each time.)

Here are the long-term trend figures, with the updates prior to Easter recalculated to exclude the inactive pollster Angus Reid...

The No campaign's lead in the Poll of Polls mean average (not excluding Don't Knows) :

Sep 2013 - 21.6%
Sep 2013 - 21.4%
Sep 2013 - 19.4%
Oct 2013 - 18.8%
Oct 2013 - 18.4%
Oct 2013 - 18.2%
Nov 2013 - 18.4%
Nov 2013 - 18.0%
Dec 2013 - 17.0%
Dec 2013 - 16.8%
Dec 2013 - 16.4%
Jan 2014 - 14.4%
Jan 2014 - 14.2%
Jan 2014 - 14.2%
Jan 2014 - 15.2%
Feb 2014 - 15.0%
Feb 2014 - 15.5%
Feb 2014 - 15.5%
Feb 2014 - 13.7%
Feb 2014 - 13.3%
Feb 2014 - 14.2%
Mar 2014 - 14.2%
Mar 2014 - 14.5%
Mar 2014 - 14.5%
Mar 2014 - 14.7%
Mar 2014 - 13.8%
Mar 2014 - 13.0%
Mar 2014 - 12.5%
Apr 2014 - 12.5%
Apr 2014 - 12.7%
Apr 2014 - 12.7%
Apr 2014 - 12.3%
Apr 2014 - 11.4%
May 2014 - 11.2%
May 2014 - 11.2%
May 2014 - 11.5%
May 2014 - 13.3%
Jun 2014 - 12.1%
Jun 2014 - 12.1%
Jun 2014 - 11.3%

*  *  *

Why the hell didn't anyone bother to tell me that STV's former current affairs show Scotland Tonight has been relaunched as a comedy series?  If only I'd known I would have tuned in long before tonight.  It really is the freshest, most rib-tickling new comedy to appear on our screens since Bonjour La Classe made its triumphant debut back in 1990.  In case you missed tonight's episode, the hilarious plot concerned a woman who was on the brink of tears because someone had accurately pointed out that she's a member of Labour's Shadow Cabinet, and had also inaccurately suggested that she's the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally.  In spite of the fact that the "wrong-doer" had for some inexplicable reason issued her with a grovelling apology for doing practically nothing at all, she continued to ramp up the victimhood for the cameras and told the nation that it felt more like an insult than an apology.  It seemed that nothing short of Campbell Gunn committing a Japanese-style ritual suicide would have sufficed.

I think what made the production work so brilliantly was the utter seriousness with which many of the participants treated the woman's complaints - there wasn't even the slightest hint of a giggle at the fact that the "hate attack" upon her largely consisted of being wrongly called Pat Lally's daughter-in-law.  The highlight of the episode (which is already assured of its place in the pantheon of iconic TV comedy moments alongside Del Boy and Rodney dressing up as Batman and Robin) was the horrified intake of breath from a former Labour aide when Stuart Campbell accurately described the woman as being a "hard-core political activist".  The exquisiteness of the comic timing was, I felt, rather reminiscent of the "even if he does say Jehovah" moment in Life of Brian.

Question - in the brave new Scotland unveiled by our mainstream media today, shouldn't the Labour party be issuing a grovelling apology to Pat Lally for suggesting that being called the daughter-in-law of Pat Lally is something that requires an apology?

*  *  *

This is a real conversation that occurred just a few hours ago -

Family Member A : Is it true that people have been attacked on the streets just for being No supporters?

Family Member B : No, no, I think they were talking about verbal attacks.

Family Member A : I was sure I heard something about physical attacks...

Moral of the story : It's high time that journalists stopped using such irresponsibly inflammatory language when they refer to minor (and sometimes non-existent) Twitter spats.  Not everyone hangs around to hear the details.


  1. A good question will be, are more DK's leaning to Yes or No?

  2. This is real 'Yes is in the lead' territory.

  3. No movement my arse! Eat that poll Mr Curtice.

    We can look forward to yet more utter desperation and full on negativity from the No campaign like today then.

    So be it. It is hardly unexpected and it will backfire on them soon enough.

  4. Gap narrows by 5% in a month and only 5% to go... Fantastic, Thanks Marcia for the news over on wings, I'm not getting too excited yet but it's cheered me up no end!

    I read that the SNP private polling was suggesting that 7 out of 10 people leaning to yes with only 3 leaning to no... Hope it's true!

  5. Panelbase is in the works, I took part in it. The client was obviously pro-independence too.

  6. James

    The Record have the poll here - majority for Yes if they thought Cameron will win again:

  7. Nice.

    Shows the problem even if there was a No win. What happens if the Tories are elected again in 2015? Well, another referendum...

  8. "But I'm sure all of us are far too mature to even dream of finding that highly amusing."

    I feel that comment might be construed as applying to me in particular.. all too accurately. :D

    First they deployed David Bowie and there was much rejoicing in the No camp, yet the polls continued to narrow. Then they deployed the President of the USA Obama and there was much rejoicing in the No camp, but somehow the polls just kept right on narrowing. Now they deploy Rowling and her fictional boy wizard and there is much rejoicing in the No camp.

    I surely can't be the only one noticing a pattern here?


    In othe polling news, calamity Clegg has somehow managed the impossible. The lib dems have been stubbornly flatlining on about 10% since late 2010. Not any more. He now has them down to a fringetastic and deposit destroying 6% while the all polls average trend for Westmister VI quite clearly shows the lib dems dropping from their 10% and heading down towards the green vote and 'others'.

    It's something to factor in to how the tory and labour voteshare are moving just now. Hard to say where those previously ultra loyalist lib dems are going. (let's face it, if they put up with Clegg destroying his party this long they can hardly be anything other than extraordinarily loyal) It's a few percent but they have to go somewhere if they don't all stop voting altogether in protest.

    I just hope Clegg stays where he is. Problem is there's no way on earth Clegg's ostrich faction of loyalists can keep those few remaining lib dem members from spotting what looks increasingly like a death spiral for them in 2015. (Which we all saw play out in scotland in 2011) He likely will cling on since no other lib dem wants to become a toxic coalition shit magnet right now. Understandably enough.

    There's also almost nothing that can make a leader of one of the current westminster parties resign, no matter how bad it is. It's simply not in their nature. They really are a trio of insubstantial lightweights comically unsuited to leading their own parties, never mind a country.

    That is, after all, why the kippers rose so far and so fast in England. The voters sure as hell aren't using that protest vote to signal how happy they are with the current incompetent and out of touch Westminster establishment.

    We've probably not yet seen all the effects of the 'shake out' now that the kippers are no longer flavour of the month and not plastered across the media all day. I still think there is going to be more tory voters returning home now that they have got their protest out of their system. That's not to say all of them will. We know from last year it won't be all of them. However, we also know from last year that once the kippers get relegated to the odd novelty piece in the media their VI does indeed start to head way back down with a concomitant rise in the tory vote. I see no reason why that won't be repeated.

    Nor do I see any sign of little Ed suddenly becoming a formidable force in politics. The EU elections were a very sharp reminder to Labour MPs that the more little Ed appears to the public before a vote, the less well Labour do at that vote. That's too late to change now and when labour MPs get nervous they usually start to refight the Brown Blair wars with "just how tory can we be to win over middle england?" becoming the predominant theme to the infighting.

    That it will hardly play well in scotland matters not a jot to those Labour MPs. They have their own seats and expenses claims to worry about after all.

  9. Mick, you'd be far more entertaining on the BBC than Prof. Curtice.

  10. There HAVE been physical attacks.

    A couple of YES supporters attacked by NO supporters.

    An old guy last year and a shopowner yesterday

  11. James you should report the VI data.

    A quick check (at work) has SNP on 46% for Holyrood and 40% for Westminster. Into majority territory on the latter.

  12. Survation though over-egged the SNP's projected vote in the euro elections (37% vs 29% actual), and under-estimated the tory vote

    It means either their methodology is flawed or the don't knows are much more likely to be conservatives than nationalists.

  13. Anonymous,
    or of course, maybe SNP voter's were simply (over) relaxed about winning and didn't bother to turn out, in what is after all traditionally a low turnout election.

    You should also realise that YES voters are not simply the equivalent of SNP voters.

    This is a one off referendum with the potential for a very high turnout indeed and to that extent I feel all the polling companies are, to a great extent, fumbling in the dark with their methodological weighting procedures.

    Procedures, tried and tested on regular party political elections for which copius amounts of up to date, as well as historic, voting intention data is available in order to uncover trends.

    Very little of that is available in the case of this referendum and simply assuming their party political information for past party political elections is effectively transferable, may lead to a few surprised and red faces among the polling companies come the 19th.

    What info do they have on VI of the million or so folk intending to vote in the referendum but that normally stubbornly sit out party political elections (for example)? Just one of many examples I am sure you yourself could add to.

    This is why I only take any notice of the cross polling universal trend, which is towards YES and away from NO. Even then, just as a morale booster before the final push during the weeks that will really decide the matter, those before the actual vote.


  14. @braco

    Yes, a simple excel calculation shows that very large number of extra votes compared to 2009 (2014 turnout was 117.5% of 2009) just largely went to the main UK parties + UKIP in varying amounts but with a lot less to the SNP.

    SNP voters lazy. Told the pollsters they'd vote then didn't because the SNP were set to win. Which they did. Those most motivated against SNP and Europe turned out more.

    Not rocked science.

    Almost impossible to predict as ICM and Survation had to trust people's word on turnout.

    The bigger the turnout of course, the lower the likelihood of this happening of course.

    Oor own wee Skipper is a warning on laziness.

  15. You took the words out of my mouth on the first point, Braco - I was going to say that although the European election result opened up the possibility that Survation's methodology is wrong, it may equally have been that it's just particularly hard to poll for a low turnout election, and that a lot of people who said they were going to turn out didn't bother to do so. It's not hard to imagine Tory voters being particularly likely to turn out come hell or high water.

    To add a note of caution of my own, though, I've had a look at the Survation datasets, and 16-24 year olds have been upweighted massively (almost three-fold). Because they're the most Yes-friendly age group this month, that makes it somewhat more likely (albeit not certain by any means) that the higher than usual Yes vote in the overall numbers has been partly caused by random sampling variation. On the plus side, though, it's very striking that the unweighted sample produces almost exactly the same Yes/No split as the weighted results - and that's in spite of the fact that Survation started with far too few 16-24 year olds, and significantly too few men.

  16. Some good points being made about the EU elections since, as James rightly points out, there are few other elections that would motivate tory voters like the EU one. Cameron was forced to cave in to his own backbenchers on an IN/OUT EU referendum for a reason. It's the same reason the tory grass roots always get so animated on the subject of Europe.

    Fact is the Independence Referendum is bound to have SNP and Yes supporters determined to turn out and campaign simply because so many of us have been working all our political lives to see it. Of course there should always be a caution against complacency but you only need look at the grass roots events that have already happened and that are still ongoing to see that on the ground it's certainly not the Yes campaign that are the ones guilty of complacency and taking their vote for granted.

    Agree with you totally about the Pat Lally-gate farce James. It's so wildly out of proportion to the facts and the mindless shrieking about it being done by the unionist supporting media, labour and their tory chums.

    However, it and the utter bollocks being talked about Rowling by 'better together' are part of the precise same strategy that they went down with the nagativity and scaremongering. They seem utterly incapable of learning from past mistakes.

    The scaremongering from better together reached utterly farcical levels which is why it's laughed at so much now. Whether it be tins of beans costing you more in an Independent scotland or cars being forced to drive on the wrong side of the road in an Independent scotland or any other scaremongering bullshit. That was the inevitable result of stupid politics from No which they still haven't grasped. It's also why, in one of his rare moments of lucidity, even Better Together's favourite pollster Curtice had to admit in the Times that..

    "the 'no' campaign would appear to be at risk of becoming an irritating background noise to which nobody listens any more'."

    Curtice had to admit that because the negativity was so relentless and reaching such ridiculous levels. Now the tories, labour and unionist media doing the precise same thing by attacking and villifying Yes supporters at every turn for usually comically feeble reasons. It's not hard to see how seriously the public is going to take that after a few more weeks of this.

    I'm using this Pat Lally nonsense as an example when I get asked as it proves just how desperate and untrustworthy the No side are when since it is such palpable nonsense.

    I have to admit though, that's not the real subject of conversations I'm hearing right now. It's Iraq. I have friends and family in the forces and even applying for jobs so the Iraq bloodbath is of considerably more importance than J.K. Rowling or not being related to Pat Lally. You'll also find that up and down scotland those who marched and protested against Iraq are paying very close attention to the bloody nightmare we all predicted and warned about playing out.

    Bit hard for the No campaign to convince scots just how 'better together' we would be with another westminster war from Blair, Brown Cameron and the other Iraq cheerleaders.

    I saw this retweeted by Wings and it did get to the heart of the matter.

    Mark Steel @mrmarksteel

    MPs who supported the Iraq war should be allowed to comment on events there, but only if they start "Bear in mind I'm a fucking imbecile."

  17. Since I know some are finding the tory/labour and unionist media's relentless attacks and negativity a bit wearying.. this should make you laugh.

    By god it made me laugh for all sorts or reasons.

    Witness this 'evil' nationalist flouting his jingoistic propaganda hate-paper for all to see. (except for viewers in scotland who saw a curiously different edition in the newsagents this morning)

    The Sun @TheSunNewspaper

    This Is Our England: Labour leader @Ed_Miliband backs today's special edition. #DoUsProud

    3:15 PM - 12 Jun 2014


    That is not, I repeat NOT a spoof. Just think about the timing for a second once the sheer awe at little Ed's formidable charisma has abated.

    I'm trying hard to think of more poorly timed endorsement... NOPE! little Ed has pretty much hit the Jackpot as far as that's concerned (unless an O.J. Simpson style shocker somehow occurs which is theoretically possible always keep in mind)

    It has of course inspired many amusing internet spoofs and this one is also hilarious on more than one level.

    Miliband hostage crisis worsens as photos of captive discovered.

    GENIUS! :D

  18. like it Mick Pork!

    On this Clare/Claire Lallygate. If she really was a 'normal mum' just speaking her thoughts like everyone else on the indy ref, there simply would not be this hooha about it.

    It's only a shadow cabinet member who launched the leader of the opposition's successful leadership campaign and is heavily networked within the Scottish political village (she's had Salmond in her front room FFS) that could ever muster the kind of personal outrage from Labour (and BT unionist in general) politicos and their placemen in the media.

    This kind of media storm only occurs for those that matter and are part of the club.

    Had to laugh last night at the sight of the (Scottish) daughter of ex labour leader and baroness in the HoL as 'normal' BBC interrogator of another 'normal (Scottish) mum' with equally innocent connections to the Labour party (only a member of the shadow cabinet) expressing her outrage on the national broadcaster, at how she had been completely misrepresented by some tweeters on the internet!

    The whole thing is a kind of mirror held up to show us plebs exactly who and what matters to those in our media and political village. A wee clue, it isn't 'normal mums' or normal anyones.

    Lallands Peat Worrier has a great post on the mindset.


  19. You're not wrong braco.

    Media manufactured and politically instigated 'scandals' have an extraordinarily poor track record of breaking through to the ordinary punter. Fact is unless the scandal in question is actually shocking and has ordinary (not members of the labour shadow cabinet 'ordinary') people up in arms they soon die a quick death no matter how many times the media and politicians keep trying to shriek about it. It also works on the law of diminishing returns whereby the more times a party cries wolf over trivial bullshit the less attention the public will pay to them every time they do it.

    Not to mention the proximity of BIG political events that matter (like Iraq right now) and actual massive scandals reaching their conclusion. (like Brooks and Coulson)

    Excellent Peat Worrier article too. I'm fairly sure it hasn't escaped most scots attention that the No campaign that keeps whining about being 'shouted down' is somehow still plastered across the media and papers every single day.

    BTW lest anyone think it's just little Ed that has taken leave of his senses when it comes to poor timing he is far from alone.

    Stop City Airport ✈ ‏@StopCityAirport 4h

    This Is Our England : Three white middle aged multi-millionaires ass kissing an Australian media mogul. #DoUsProud

    I can only wonder at the 'negotiations' that resulted in little Ed, Cameron and Clegg doing this. It's very strange indeed.

  20. This poll shows the following for Westminster voting intention:

    SNP 42% Lab 33% Con 15% UKIP 6% LD 5%

    Which would lead to SNP: 34 Lab: 21 Con: 2 LD: 2.

    I'm very cautious about this poll. Those figures are surely too good to be true.....

  21. SNP voters lazy. Told the pollsters they'd vote then didn't because the SNP were set to win. Which they did. Those most motivated against SNP and Europe turned out more.

    Not rocked science.

    Never really understood this argument. If people thought the SNP lead was unassailable, wouldn't that equally depress turnout among the SNP's opponents?

    I also share Calum's scepticism about the poll. The implausible Westminster figures sour the rest of it for me.

  22. Anon,
    the same thing happened before the 2011 campaign for Labour.

    IE. When reporting voting intentions between UK and Scot Parly elections, folk seem to stick with their voting preference for the last election that they took part in, right up until faced with the actual decision and context of the new election they face.

    I think this is part of the controversy over some pollsters weighting on recalled voting from either 2010 or 2011. Which is more likely to be recalled accurately?

    As I say, not sure how this info helps prove or disprove the indy voting intention numbers though.


  23. Calum/Anon : There are two separate issues here - a) are the headline figures accurate, and b) is the reported trend accurate? We've known for ages that the Yes-friendly pollsters tend to show very handsome leads for the SNP, so people who find those figures hard to believe may well conclude by extension that the headline referendum figures are untrustworthy. But that doesn't tell us anything one way or another about whether the trend in this poll is wrong - it could be that Survation are overstating the Yes vote but are still accurately picking up a recent trend towards Yes. As I said earlier, I think a bigger question mark relates to the radical upweighting of 16-24 year olds - a group that in every previous Survation poll (as far as I can see) have shown a No lead, but have now become the most Yes-friendly group.

    Personally, I don't find it inherently implausible that the SNP might be holding a lead over Labour in Westminster voting intentions - there were polls in the last parliament (including Ipsos-Mori polls) that showed a similar picture, before SNP support melted away as a result of the rigged leaders' debates.

    There are also many potential reasons for differential turnout, and you don't have to buy into one particular theory to accept that it's at least possible that SNP voters were less likely to turn out in the European elections than supporters of other parties. Anti-EU voters are particularly highly motivated in European elections, and they won't have been voting for the SNP.

  24. STV News not even bothering to hide their unionist bias as they froth pointlessly over the PatLallygate nonsense.

    Meanwhile Better Together spokesman "no-brainer" McTernan is is demanding UK troops go back into Iraq.

    Curious that STV didn't think Iraq an important enough issue to cover and have McTernan back on tonight, isn't it?

  25. The particularly good results for Westminster could be nothing more than because they are weighted to 2011 past vote (Westminster elections have higher turnouts than Scottish ones)

    Survation's first referendum poll was weighted to 2010 and that showed a much higher Labour vote for Holyrood and Westminster voting intentions (but there is the possibility that a lot of respondents' got their different votes mixed up)

    Weighting to either election has problems and could introduce a bias either way.

  26. In theory I'd agree with that, but in practice there is fairly compelling evidence that people are better at remembering how they voted in 2011 (and intuitively that seems more likely anyway given that it was the more recent election). Also Survation have had to do much, much less radical weighting by recalled vote since they switched to using 2011, which might be a clue that they're closer to the mark now.

    I think we're just going to have to live with the uncertainty. The likes of Ian Smart made a big song and dance about the significance of the whopping pro-Labour swing in the Cowdenbeath by-election at the start of the year, but if we had taken that as evidence that the polls were wrong about the SNP having a national lead, there shouldn't have been any sort of SNP victory in the European elections (even a relatively narrow one).

  27. I agree James, weighting by 2011 past vote is more likely to be accurate because there is less chance of confusion.

    Another point I would make is how non voters are handled. Pretty much all of the "swing" back to NO in the ICM poll was among non voters.

    Although I believe weighting to 2011 behaviour should in theory give the most representative results, non voters have to be up weighted so much it introduces volatility into the headline figures. On the other hand TNS non voters are very consistent.

  28. They are relatively consistent, but I wish I could understand the logic TNS used to come up with their split between "can't remembers" and "didn't vote". There's also the possibility that non-voters are being upweighted too much by ICM and TNS because a significant minority of people are claiming they voted when they didn't.

  29. I have noticed that TNS's unweighted tables often show more Labour voters than SNP ones, although that could just be down to the fact that a large part of the unweighted sample are over 55 and C2DE which you would imagine be the best ground for Labour.

    There is something I've just noticed between different pollsters that I don't understand, and that is that they seem to disagree on what percentage of the population fall into which economic grade:

    TNS BMRB ABC1: 50% C2DE: 50%
    YouGov ABC1: 47% C2DE: 53%
    Panelbase ABC1: 45% C2DE: 55%
    ICM ABC1: 44% C2DE: 56%
    Survation ABC1: 41% C2DE: 59%