Saturday, September 6, 2014

Good evening, Scotland. Yes takes the lead.

Tonight's breathtaking findings from the traditionally No-friendly pollster YouGov...

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 51% (+4)
No 49% (-4)

Most media outlets are reporting the figures which take Don't Knows into account as Yes 47% (+5), No 46% (-2), although the YouGov website says Yes 47% (+5), No 45% (-3).  I would guess the former is most likely to be correct, in which case the lead on the unrounded figures with Don't Knows excluded is probably only just over 1%.

Nevertheless, a Yes lead is a Yes lead, and there was certainly nothing inevitable about us seeing one of those at any point before polling day.  Strictly speaking, this is actually the second time in the long campaign that a polling firm affiliated to the British Polling Council has shown a Yes lead, although it has become part of the orthodoxy to more or less disregard the previous occasion (a Panelbase poll from just over a year ago), because it's assumed that an unusual question sequence distorted the result.  Apart from that, we have to go back to well before the start of the campaign to find a poll from a BPC firm that showed a lead for independence - the most recent one was a TNS-BMRB poll in the late summer of 2011.

So does tonight's poll mean that Yes are 'really' in the lead?  Not necessarily.  Even before you take account of methodological mistakes that a pollster might be making, and also the fact that pollsters can't legislate (or not without difficulty) for respondents sometimes lying to them, there's a standard 3% margin of error that applies to every poll because of normal sampling variation.  So tonight's result is still consistent with No having a modest lead, and because of the almost unbelievable scale of the swing YouGov have reported over the last few weeks, you'd have to assume that's actually the most likely scenario.

But then again, even after the last YouGov poll on Tuesday, the significantly lower swing we were pondering at that point seemed implausible to me, and I was therefore fully expecting some kind of reversion to the mean in tonight's poll.  That hasn't happened, and that's what really matters, regardless of whether Yes are being slightly flattered by sampling variation.  Unless this is an out-and-out rogue poll (only a 5% chance), the worst position for Yes that the margin of error allows is Yes 48%, No 52%, which would still be better than the headline numbers in the previous poll.  So we can now say with almost absolute confidence that what we saw on Tuesday was not a fluke, or a fleeting post-debate "Salmondgasm" - it was a real and very hefty swing to Yes.

There is of course an important piece of supporting evidence tonight which might lead us to suspect that Yes are more likely to be on the lower end of the range allowed by the margin of error, and that's the new Panelbase poll commissioned by Yes Scotland -

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 48% (n/c)
No 52% (n/c)

With Don't Knows taken into account, the position is -

Yes 44% (+2)
No 48% (+2)

On the unrounded numbers in the last published Panelbase poll (we know there's been an unpublished poll conducted by the firm in the interim), Yes were actually on 47.6% after DKs were excluded, so it's possible that when we see the datasets we'll find that they've gained a little and have narrowed the gap to the lowest level since Panelbase changed their methodology - but even if that's the case the movement will obviously have been very slight.

If this was a normal campaign, you'd look at the two polls tonight and think they were perfectly consistent with each other, both in terms of the headline numbers and the trend - you'd imagine there has maybe been a 2% swing to Yes, and that due to sampling variation Panelbase have underestimated it and YouGov have overestimated it. But the situation looks very different when you bear in mind the huge disparity there has been between various firms throughout this campaign, and the fact that YouGov have until the last few days been firmly on the No-friendly end of the spectrum, and that Panelbase have been firmly on the Yes-friendly end.  So it's an astounding paradox that YouGov have become the first pollster to put Yes in the lead in a credible poll, and that they've done it on the same night that a Panelbase poll still shows No in the lead, albeit only by a very narrow margin.

Let's try to take in the sheer extent of the gulf between the trends shown by Panelbase and YouGov that has been necessary to move us to the unlikely position where YouGov are, as of this moment, the more Yes-friendly of the two.  Just over a year ago, YouGov published a notorious poll which purported to show that Yes were on 33% and No were on 67% - that means there has been an 18% swing to Yes since then.  By contrast, in late August/early September of last year Panelbase were showing Yes on roughly 44% and No on roughly 56%, which would imply a far, far smaller swing of just 4% to Yes between then and tonight's poll.  One month ago, in a poll that partly took place immediately after the first leaders' debate, YouGov put Yes on 39% and No on 61% - meaning there has been a 12% swing to Yes in the space of a few short weeks.  The swing suggested by Panelbase over roughly the same timescale is just 2%.

To be fair, part of this disparity can be explained by methodological changes, and especially by YouGov's imperfect moves over the last year-and-a-bit to put their house in order.  They ditched their Dodgy Preamble, they moved away from weighting by Westminster-centric target figures for party identification (although that dreadful practice was directly succeeded by the No-friendly "Kellner Correction"), and much more recently they introduced weighting by country of birth. All of those changes are likely to have boosted Yes somewhat.  Over the same period, Panelbase have also made some modest methodological changes, the net effect of which may well have been slightly of assistance to No.  But even these moves to promote a degree of convergence can't explain the bulk of the extra swing to Yes reported by YouGov.

So what in the name of Foulkes is going on?  The most likely explanation is that the huge swing to Yes is something that is specific to YouGov, and that won't be fully replicated by other pollsters - or at least not by the other online pollsters.  The reason is that YouGov are effectively measuring something different to the others.  Specifically, there are two factors that set them apart from their three online rivals.  Most obviously, there's the Kellner Correction, which in practical terms leads to a sharp upweighting of the small group of respondents who voted Labour in 2010 but switched to the SNP in 2011.  In Tuesday's poll, that group was upweighted two-fold.  If the pro-Yes swing is concentrated in that group, the Kellner Correction will obviously be magnifying it, and therefore nothing on the same scale will be seen in the findings of the other online pollsters.  The other factor is that YouGov just seem to have far more Labour supporters on their books than the other firms do - that was one of the points Survation made in response to Peter Kellner's infamous diatribe.  So, again, if the swing is particularly significant among Labour supporters (as it seems to be), it would look bigger in YouGov's results.

The fact that Panelbase and Survation have published polls since the second debate which have been very good for Yes but haven't shown anything like such a big shift is consistent with the above theory.  However, there is an alternative possibility - which is that it's Panelbase which is different, and that we can therefore expect the other pollsters to be more in line with the trend shown by YouGov.  On the face of it, it's much harder to make the case that Panelbase are measuring something different to the others, because their methodology and the composition of their panel is much more in line with their online rivals ICM and Survation.  But in fact there is quite a bit of evidence that Panelbase have in the past produced trends that don't tally up with the overall picture.  In retrospect it's absolutely clear that there was a significant swing to Yes over the winter, and yet Panelbase were literally the only BPC pollster that didn't detect that at all.  Even when they did belatedly show movement in the spring, it wasn't on anything like the same scale that ICM and TNS-BMRB had picked up during the winter.  OK, it could be argued that the other firms were just catching up with a strength for Yes that was factored into Panelbase's figures from the word go - but why would that have been the case?  What makes Panelbase's sample so distinctive?  Whatever it is, that could - I only say could - be the explanation for why Panelbase are failing to show further progress for Yes this evening,

One other point intrigues me - why did Yes Scotland actually release this poll, given that it didn't show any further clear-cut breakthrough?  I can think of four possibilities -

1) They felt under pressure to do it, after the conspiracy theories started to mount about why they hadn't published last week's poll.  (And unfortunately we have to take our share of the blame for that.)

2) They were keen to highlight the swing to Yes among women in the poll.

3) They had heard about the YouGov poll, and decided to use the Panelbase poll to dampen down the hype, because being seen as a slight underdog works in their favour.  If there's any truth in that, it would mean Kenny Farquharson missed the point in the most deliciously ironic of ways - when he first heard about the poll results, he wrote a tweet accusing the Yes campaign of poor expectation management.  It could be that the fact that he heard about it in the first place was in itself part of a clever expectation management strategy.

4) They knew that the simple act of releasing the poll would help Yes in the Curtice Poll of Polls, which is based on a crude average of the last six polls to be conducted, regardless of which firms conducted them.  I haven't been able to get onto Professor Curtice's blog so far this evening, but I would expect to find that he'll have Yes at 47% in his new Poll of Polls - a higher figure than in the Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls, which uses only one poll per firm.

*  *  *


Swing required for 1 out of 6 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 0.0%

Swing required for 2 out of 6 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 2.0%

Swing required for 3 out of 6 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 3.0%

Swing required for 5 out of 6 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 4.5%

Swing required for 6 out of 6 pollsters to show Yes ahead or level : 7.0%

* * *


I've got a slight problem in calculating this update of the Poll of Polls, because of the two different versions I've seen of the YouGov numbers with Don't Knows taken into account.  For the time being, I'll assume it's a one point lead for Yes, but obviously if that's wrong I'll have to correct the figures tomorrow.  (UPDATE : It turns out the Yes lead was two points, not one, so I have indeed had to correct the figures below - the average No lead is now 0.2% lower still.)

MEAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 45.9% (+0.9)
No 54.1% (-0.9)

MEAN AVERAGE (not excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 40.5% (+1.2)
No 47.8% (-0.2)

MEDIAN AVERAGE (excluding Don't Knows) :

Yes 45.7% (n/c)
No 54.3% (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.)


  1. Is the "Kellner Correction" still being used James?

  2. This is great news, especially considering its from YouGov, but I'd really love to see a second poll backing this up.


  3. Great news.

    I wonder if finally the phrase "statistical tie" will be used to describe close poll results in this country.

  4. BANG! goes the last refuge of the Britnat unitrolls.

    There have been previous polls showing a majority support for independence but they can pretend they never happened.

    They can't lie their way out of this one.

  5. This is phenomenal news. Will a Panelbase poll also be released tomorrow?

  6. I treat it with the same skepticism as I've treated other polls. There are plenty of reasons to be worried. The No Campaign have tried all the tricks in the book. And now we see them launch proposals with no proper scrutiny (and after postal votes have been cast). They should be crucified for this. The "Save the Union" mantra will be on full blast now.

    But it gives me confidence that I am not operating in a "Yes Bubble", but we need to keep at it.

    We need to keep thinking we are one vote behind. Every vote matters. The one on 18 September the most.

  7. Feet firmly on the ground but this surely has to be a breakthough that Yes can only build on. All we can do is keep knocking doors, gentle persuasion and encouragement. Its worked up until now so keep it going. Just duck when the barrage of of even more scare stories and smears start flying.

  8. Panelbase is still 48-52

  9. So in the last month Yes has made gains of 12% per YouGov and 1% per Panelbase. Very very very odd...

  10. Agreed, this is just plain bizzare. A Panelbase Yes lead would have surprised nobody, but a 12% YouGov swing in such a short space of time is weird when it doesn't seem to have been picked up by other polls.

  11. Congratulations. Didn't think Yes would do it. Shocking swing in the polling. That said polls are valuable so always had faith in them when they showed a No lead and now believe them with Yes on course to win.

  12. Apparently Brown is blaming everything on the tories tomorrow in an interview in a paper.

    That'll be the same Gordon Brown who tried set up his own No group "United with Labour" well away from the tories, then decided to ditch it and pal up with Darling and 'Better Together'.


    The blame game is now well underway. Real panic and complete and utter desperation from the No campaign is also self-evidently taking hold, exactly as predicted.

  13. Scottish correspondent on Sky News also mentioned a 4 point lead for No in Panelbase poll...still work to do folks!

  14. Where are you getting the Panelbase numbers from? Everything I've seen suggests they are not out until midnight?

    If it was static McDougall would be tweeting it. So far only Peter Murrell has mentioned it which would point to more movement to Yes?

  15. If Anonymous is right and Panelbase still puts No ahead (though in fact of course these figures are both statistical ties) it does seem very
    weird that YouGov has put Yes ahead of Panelbase.

    Even weirder (though sicker) is Murdoch's intervention, the guy sees this as revenge for losing the BSkyB bid and the hacking trial etc. But is this who Yes want as their friends?

    Murdoch wrote tonight, relishing its contents, SIX HOURS before we got to see his poll and added:

    "Scottish independence means huge black eye for whole political establishment, especially Cameron and Milliband."

    And boy how he hates them.

  16. Got to love that Mail on Sunday headline...

    Miliband: We'll put guards on Scottish border

  17. re Expat:

    Who do the public dislike more, really? Murdoch or Cameron / Miliband / Clegg?

  18. It is utterly bizarre so I look forward to James getting his teeth into these polls. Bear in mind though, in 2011 all we saw were polls belatedly struggling to catch up to the reality on the ground which they only did at a very, very late stage and still never fully did even by polling day.

    The polls are most useful for trends and a very broad brush snapshot. The campaigns on the ground are driving almost everything at this point and the No campaign are being annihilated by the groundswell from a diverse and massive grass roots Yes campaign. That Yes campaign has been building momentum for years and is only growing stronger with each passing day.

  19. A simply outstanding poll for yes, and not remotely qualified by the Panelbase poll, except to the very limited extent that it serves as a reminder that when things are on a knife edge they can land either side. Momentum very clearly with yes, no left hoping that the grey vote carries the day and/or that this is a case of yougov exaggerating a trend, as it does sometimes. It is often the first to pick a trend, so expect other polls and the odds to narrow still further.

    No campaign has been disastrous for the last ten days, and if Mick's post above is right it will only get worse. Brown is just toxic - pathologically incapable of accepting responsibility and twisted in his partisanship.

  20. Miliband: We'll put guards on Scottish border


  21. Gordon Brown, automaton Alistair Darling, Skeletor Jim Murphy etc etc will be bricking it, they're going to miss their snouts in the Westminster trough, oink, oink. They've never really cared much for Scotland.

  22. More detailed Panelbase numbers are 44Y, 48N, 8DK

  23. So how is the psychology of this going to play out?

    Scenario 1: No voters will heed Alan Cochrane's bizarre fight-them-on-the beaches call-up call to the "silent majority" in the Telegraph, and they'll be emboldened to give us a good skelping on the 18th. Perhaps. If there's enough of them.

    Scenario 2: No voters, being more conservative, ontologically anxious and concerned with fitting in quietly in the background (hardly any No posters in windows), will fear suffering from post-vote anxiety and an unsettled sense of belonging if they vote No, and either shift to Yes, or, more likely, have diplomatic cause for abstention on the day.

    I was at an event last week with a lot of middle class No voters. At one point I said to a titled gentleman, "This is a challenge to their identity." He replied. "No, it's a challenge to their money." If that is true the problem for No is that it reflects pragmatism ruling over principle, which is why I wonder if Scenario 2 might counterpoint 1.

  24. Fraser Nelson is begging Spectator readers to send letters appealing for a no vote.


  25. On a lighter note, if I had a time machine, went back a month and told everyone here that YouGov were going to poll 51% Yes, you'd all think I was a nutjob!

    Strange times.

  26. Anonymous asks in response to my post who the public hates more: MIlliband, Murdoch, Cameron or Clegg?

    It's a good question but Murdoch is far more toxic and far more POWERFUL than any of them. He smells victory and even better a smack in the face for those who crossed him. You can be quite certain, when Salmond's usefulness expires, he will get exactly the same treatment.

    Note his amazing earlier tweet when someone asked him if his daughter was a friend of Cameron's. "Asked is my daughter friend of David Cameron? Don't know, but hope not."

  27. So YouGov give a yes lead but panelbase stay static?

    Did Yes Scotland release the PB poll to dampen excitement?

  28. Anent Fraser Nelson, Anon, they'll be asking how come the Scots are allowed to leave the Union without them getting a vote on whether we are allowed to do so.

    My reply to that one is: Are you saying that if rUK votes to leave the EU in 2017, the French and the Germans should be allowed a veto over whether you are "allowed" to do so?

  29. Before people get carried away, I think that we need some evidence that other pollsters are picking up some of the movement that YouGov has detected recently. We really need to wait and see what a Survation finds when it publishes on the 11th...

  30. It's a unionist plot to make sure the NO vote turns out :-)

  31. It's a unionist plot to make sure the NO vote turns out :-)

  32. Alastair, I still have a great deal of respect and cognisance for the scottish_skier type scenario.

    Which is (if he'll forgive me for being broad brush about it and likely not doing it justice) that there hasn't really been any truly massive swings but instead as the 18th gets closer voters are gradually becoming more honest and 'forthright' where previously they held their cards close to their chest.

    Myself I'm inclined to think it's a mixture of the two with a combination of a swing and momentum to Yes (which I have seen with my own eyes) as well as the 'shy Yes' phenomenon coming into play at this late stage.

    That's not to say I totally rule out those two scenarios you outline Alastair, but I am truly skeptical of 'Shy No' as the Nos I encounter are not shy even though they are not great numbers of them.

  33. An interesting statistic I have seen punted by Plaid Cymru people recently:

    In the 11 "northern" EU states (UK, Ireland, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Germany, France, Austria, Benelux), of the 10 poorest regions, 9 are in the UK. Mostly in N England, but also West Wales, N Ireland and Cornwall.

    Of the 10 richest regions, only 1 is in the UK. No prizes for guessing where.

  34. If it was a "unionist plot" to show 39-61 in early August then 51-49 in early September, it was a pretty cackhanded one.

  35. If it was a "unionist plot" to show 39-61 in early August then 51-49 in early September, it was a pretty cackhanded one.

  36. Expat, worth bearing in mind that both Murdoch's grandfather and great grandfather were Free Church ministers in Scotland. Remember, too, that in 1975 Australia suffered the ignominy during its constitutional crisis of having the UK's Governor General step in and dismiss Gough Whitlam, the elected but embattled Australian prime minister. I was working in nearby PNG at the time and progressive Australians felt very bitter about "Mother England" usurping their political processes.

    Who knows, but there may be some complex psychohistory in Murdoch that runs even deeper than the spat with the Westminster establishment.

    What happened in 1975 is what could happen again so long as Scotland's sovereignty remains legally vested not in the people, but as A.V. Dicey summed up in 8 words, in a settlement whereby "What the Queen in parliament enacts is law." As Devo Max gets offered to us in the coming week (see Guardian/Observer lead item), we might remember Australia, and beware of Greeks bearing gifts.

  37. As a no man I have to admit I'm beginning to believe that we may be stuffed. The problem is that the yes campaign on the ground is just so much more driven and passionate than no. The stock and currency markets will go nuts on Monday with this poll. Yes is at 2/1 at the bookies!

  38. Mick Pork (and when are we who are regulars on this list all going to meet up for a dram?) ... you say: "but I am truly skeptical of 'Shy No' as the Nos I encounter are not shy even though they are not great numbers of them."

    I agree. The ones I meet likewise are mostly not shy. But similarly, I meet very few of them so by definition, given the polls and given that I mix with a wide cross section of Scottish society, they're playing shy. Whenever I hear a "don't know" it sounds to me a bit like "vote no". (sorry, that fine line's not original)

  39. Let's all keep our eyes on the prize. Keep focussed with a spring in the step. The biggest bundle will win, still lots of work to do!

  40. Will this cause "silent majority" No's to come out and fight?

    Or will we see the nutter element of No (UKIP, BNP etc) to engage

  41. If it was a "unionist plot" to show 39-61 in early August then 51-49 in early September, it was a pretty cackhanded one.

    Unless it reverts to the mean next week, and then the bubble's burst etc. If I were a Unionist with total control of the polls, that's what I might do.

    Not that I believe it isn't a genuine poll, of course. But as Stoat and others have observed, something utterly weird has happened with YouGov this week. Were I a conspiracy theorist, I'd now be more suspicious of them, not less!

  42. Well, I'm a Better Together activist (I was amused when someone on here said they were 100% sure I've never canvassed before, teehee). Rest assured, I'm going to use this poll to try and hammer home just how close this thing is.

  43. No "Shy No" but definitely "Disengaged, dont even want to talk about it No". So we might see an upswing in people arguing against independence on our social media. Maybe an increase in home made No posters, a la Cochrane. Could get messy.

  44. @Stoat
    Naturally. And we'll be using it to emphasise that we really can win this.

    But I agree that it could be a more useful weapon in your arsenal, since your lot probably have the turnout problem.

    In other news, this new re-re-relaunch of the Unionist parties' devolution proposals - by the sounds of things dreamed up literally after Murdoch posted his tweet today - has got to be some kind of autumn April Fool joke, right? I mean they can't actually be intending to do this.

  45. commentor, I would agree with that. I think a lot of Yes supporters have a hard time imagining that there's a huge amount of people out there who simply aren't engaged by this campaign. When I've (Gently, and without letting on my position) raised the issue of the independence with friends and acquaintances, so many of them simply aren't interested in discussing the issue at all.

    cynicalHighlander, you're a Yes supporter. You and I both know that it would be a waste of time for me to try and convince you, just as it would be for you to try and convince me. Angry online arguments won't get us anywhere.

  46. The credibility of this panic move by westminster politicians is smashed to pieces by the simple fact that postal votes are already out.

    Think about that for a second then weigh up just how seriously the scottish public are going to take this 'jam tomorrow' nonsense. These westminster proposals are so 'serious' the No campaign don't even care that they are being made after a huge number of scots have already voted. It's simply laughable.

    Proposals which are, incidently, a million miles away from being anything close to DevoMax. As even the most cursory examination of them will reveal to everyone.

    Far too little, far too late.

  47. Stoat and one of the Anons - isn't it great on this site - Yes and No parties both discussing strategy quite openly and reasonably respectfully together.

  48. @Stoat

    Was just interested as no one will answer in public!

  49. I am hoping James will note the really extraordinary nature of the movement of YouGov, rightly much commented on here, compared to everyone else, especially Panelbase. Since he was the first to question them, they surely now need questions more than ever. I say this because in an incredibly short time they appear to have produced a swing that is just not being duplicated by other polls and not even by Panelbase.

    If it was that violent and that quick why aren't others showing it? How much more likely some tweaking has gone on? Did they become worried by the discrepancy with other polls that was there, especially when they underestimated in 2011? And it is surely much much more likely they were underestimating before than that there has been such a massive swing unverified as yet by any other poll. Of course it may be verified but if it is not, there are real doubts.

    And what a reversal eh? So many on this site moaning about YouGov and I defended them and now they deliver for you and I am the one doubting.

  50. Expat, although I never really discussed YouGov's huge No leads, I was always slightly suspicious. I wanted it to be true but at the same time I had that niggling little voice in my head telling me that it was all a bit too good to be true. Now I'm left with the suspicion that they might have gone to the opposite extreme.

  51. And I would agree with that, Alastair. I like this site because you don't get the usual venom that has pervaded much online discourse throughout this campaign (From both sides).

  52. On Milliband and border guards, I think this is a massive blunder. This will be loved by Scottish Labour unionist diehards. But any moderate Scottish Labour MP, MSP or activist must feel very let down by this, as this will not go down well with ordinary Scottish Labour voters who will see it as Labour siding with UKIP and Tories against Scotland.

    It also shows that he is out of touch because he doesn't understand how little support there is for this unionist diehard position and he shows that, in chasing after populist opinion on something as serious as this, he is completely not suitable to be Prime Minister.

    On the cross party offer of a constitutional convention to bring about devo max in the Observer. I think this could be a real challenge to a yes victory, but I have various questions about this.

    As far as I understand it the Electoral Commission's protocol says neither side can make a fresh proposal inside the designated period. Not only is this a fresh proposal, but it is being made after a large number of people have already posted their vote. Does anyone know what happens if the protocol is broken by one side. Can the Electoral Commission intervene or is it down to one side to call out the other for a breech in protocol.

    I personally think that this is a classic British State stitch up. Any convention will have a unionist biased because its remit will be to further devolution while strengthening the union. The SNP is supposedly invited to take part but wouldn't under these terms.

    This stinks of all the negativity and dirty tricks characteristic of the no campaign. They want to put the SNP in this position to say that it isn't interested in further powers, just its pipe dream of independence. If, having seen that they have been hood-winked, Scots were to take to the streets they will engineer a showdown with the Scottish Government to restore order and re-introduce direct London rule if necessary.

    Even if this convention went ahead it could not tie Westminster's hands. Any proposal that was deemed to be incompatible with the British constitution which enshrines the sovereignty of parliament would merely be rejected. Parliamentary sovereignty means all talk of federalism is vacuous because parliament cannot bind any future parliament, therefore no Scottish parliament could ever have the entrenched powers that are the hallmark of federalism. Devolution is power retained.

    1. If this transpires, then Salmond will challenge Cameron to a debate and this time the Etonian won't be able to avoid.

  53. Alastair Mackintosh

    "Expat, worth bearing in mind that both Murdoch's grandfather and great grandfather were Free Church ministers in Scotland"

    Yes that is interesting as is the outrageous patrician treatment of Australia you mention but that was in another age, impossible to imagine now. And any idea that Murdoch is motivated by patriotism or nostalgia or any kind of 'home country' stuff is I fear completely absurd. This is man who changed nationalities to become an American purely to further his own business interests and who is overtly fuelled by a hatred of the UK 'establishment' , though in fact that term serves only to cover those politicians who oppose him. (And any kind of regulation of course). I am not remotely surprised that his papers are the first to feature a Yes leading poll, in fact I saw it coming but the big one will come later next week. And that's when the Sun will go yes. Alec Salmond is currently Murdoch's only political ally in these islands (though the Tories would probably welcome a chance to get back in his favour even if right now they don't have much chance) . Indeed taking Scotland and removing Scottish Labour MPs from Westminster might well prevent a Westminster Labour government who will try to curb Murdoch's interests. This is a very important part of his calculation.

  54. Even if it's a No vote, it doesn't really matter because there will be another referendum in 20 years time and that will be successful, we just have to wait for the elements in Scots society who hanker after the 'Bwitish' Empire to fade away. Independence is inevitable.

  55. David Brims, very little in this world is inevitable. Especially in politics.

  56. "Alec Salmond is currently Murdoch's only political ally in these islands"

    Your rampant hysteria has pushed you over the edge yet again expat. I fear very few people on here will ever take you seriously if you persist with such obvious bullshit.

  57. Hi Mick

    No arguments I see, just denial. Who else has he said he likes recently>

  58. Expat - I think you might be mistaken about old nostalgias with Murdoch. I take a particular interest in the religious dynamics of neoconservative thought. Consider the following as reported in the Daily Telegraph from Murdoch's Levenson inquiry testimony, and remember that the Free Church was established in the 1843 "Disruption" as a protest against patronage (the appointment of church ministers) by landlords. What follows is quoted from the Telegraph, and if this system will accept it, I'll link the page below that. I'll also add a link to subalternism anent one of my posts above - and then it's goodnight folks, before Wife (not to mention, the Lord) catches me sinning by being on my computer in what is now the Sabbath morning.

    "Before then, they had been guests at each others’ houses and their wives had even enjoyed a slumber party together, though Mr Murdoch himself was not present. “I think it was just a bunch of women,” he said.

    "Mr Murdoch said he believed the had a “personal connection” with Gordon Brown, adding that he hoped the friendship would one day be repaired.

    “He is Scottish, as was my grandfather, and we spent time discussing the fact that we are both descended from a long line of Presbyterian ministers,” he said.

    “He gave me a lovely gift, a book of his father’s sermons. My wife and his also developed a friendship, and my children and his played together. For some period of time, I contributed to Mrs Brown’s charity. I certainly thought we had a warm personal relationship.”

    and subalternism:

  59. And Mick please no ranting about Coulson, he was cut loose by Murdoch (who only had distant dealings with him anyway ) years ago now. The fact is Salmond is the only one in favour right now and if you deny this, please produce evidence and not just a lot of LOL.

    But I wont be replying immediately as I'm off for now,

  60. Expat
    I agree with you and I don't care because I am a Yes. I also think that Cameron and Clegg may be seeing an upside of a Yes. 41 less Lab MPs make them staying in government easier. Then boundary changes next parliament. Ok Cameron loses Scotland but can blame Labour for that and go all BritNat.

  61. ''very little in this world is inevitable. Especially in politics.''

    Stoat my simple soul, Ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt fell, it took several hundred years to fall but fall they did and so will 'Bwitain', it was ever thus !

  62. Why weren't the Leveson proposals implemented after one of the most comprehensive Judge led inquiries ever seen in Britain?

    Why were the radically watered down Royal Charter proposals (made by Cameron and endorsed by little Ed and Labour) for the press booted till well after the 2015 general election after Murdoch and Dacre objected vehemently to them? (with almost zero fuss from Cameron and Miliband when they were quietly booted into touch)

    Where has the Irish model for press regulation (in most ways far more effective and definitely less palatable to the media barons than even Leveson and one most of the UK the papers operate under RIGHT NOW) been praised and proposed as a model to implement?

    Is David Cameron's spindoctor and close friend Andy Coulson still in Prison?

    You are operating under the amusing delusion that you know more about Murdoch and indeed the press in general than anyone else on here. You could not be more wrong.

    The most pertinent point though is this. ANYONE who thinks a couple of Murdoch tweets or even an endorsement from the Sun matters more than the massive and diverse grassroots Yes movement has their head stuck firmly up their arse and trapped in the westminster bubble.

    The Yes ground campaign are winning this and always have been.

    Nor do we have to look far for the truth of why Murdoch is doing what he is. He likes his papers to back winners as you admitted yourself.

  63. Sad Britnat Scotland hating trolls, flamers and assorted shills for Blair McBloated.

    Still the smears about the Fm being in the pocket of Murdoch.

    "You'll read it first in the Sun". That was Millipede.

    Swilling champagne at the Murdoch's garden party. That was Millipede, Bollocks, Mrs Bollocks, and the rest of the Shadow Cabinet.

    Pictured looking like a constipated ferret while proudly holding a copy of The Sun before apologising for doing so. That was Millipede. Saviour of The Union and Mallorus Scotorum Rex in waiting.

    You really must try harder. Why not repeat the Trump lies? Your fellow Scotophobes on Cif are busy with that failed stratagem.

  64. Any truth in rumour Panelbase Poll out on Monday showing YES in front by 5 points?

  65. Rod : I very much doubt it - that would mean they've been conducting two polls simultaneously, and I haven't picked up any indications of that.

  66. James - great post as ever. But are you really suggesting that, after all this time, it could be that it is Panelbase is the outlier, rather than YouGov?

  67. When was the fieldwork carried out for the panelbase poll?

  68. Expat said at September 6, 2014 at 11:55 PM
    “Alec Salmond is currently Murdoch's only political ally in these islands.”

    What on earth gave you that idea? Murdoch is absolutely no-ones ally, ever. At the moment, Alec Salmond is the enemy of his enemy. It will last for as long as it suits Murdoch's agenda. It is that simple.

    Alec Salmond and SNP do not do the cosy relationships and private deals that are commonplace down south.

    As for the change in the polls, I have always been extremely skeptical of them. While they may want to please their London clients, they can't be seen to be totally off the mark as that would damage their credibility. They have used the last minute surge before.

  69. @Chalks
    'When was the fieldwork carried out for the panelbase poll?'

    2-4th Sep I think.

  70. The polls are simply beginning to confirm what we have all known for a long long time. When people have to actually choose between whether Westminster or Holyrood really represents them the choice is obvious. That doesn't mean we should pause our work now or even after September 18th, it's up to us to make sure our governments remain ours.

  71. As someone who has been quick to demean YouGov polls in the past, because they did not reflect what we could see and feel 'on the ground' I have to hold my hand up and say that this past few weeks they have been bang on the money!

    Anyone who goes on Twitter will have saw the surge of tweets saying that people who were staunch No's have switched to Yes, with previous members of the No campaign also publicly coming out for Yes.

    The Wee Blue Book seems to be converting almost everyone who reads it and there has been something like 300,000 hard copied printed off as well as over 400,000 digital versions downloaded.

    Scotland is practically bouncing and that one thing that the BT campaign feared the most (hence the negative campaign) is happening...

    A Positive momentum!

    No complacency, but the trend to Yes is palatable and in my opinion unstoppable.

    Mondays market reaction will be interesting, but Cameron Osborne's reaction will be even more interesting...I wonder if Ed Balls is working on his resignation letter today?

  72. @Expat,

    I saw a few articles recently in which Ed Milliband was holding up a copy of the Sun Newspaper. Not just one picture or one solitary mistake but the article had a whole range of different photos, the most recent taken during the recent World Cup.

    So c'mon bud, just stop with your Salmond loves Murdoch crap, because it is moving your posts from reasonable poster, to silly trolling, and I'm sure you are keen to avoid that.

  73. James

    My own view is that Kellner has been involved in ferocious push polling from the start, but it has become plain to him that the result was going to be so far from his own No friendly efforts as to do serious damage to YouGov's reputation, so he was obliged to call it off?

    I think you are too kind in accepting the history of methodological peculiarity and the preponderance of Labour voters in the sample as innocent.

  74. Even more comedy today as 'Stormfront lite' continues to bolster it's reputation as being hilariously out of touch and a complete irrelevance to the scottish independence referendum.

    "stuff the jocks" Smithson is trying to compare the Independence referendum to Clegg's short lived debate bounce. Not a joke. These idiots are so trapped in the westminster bubble they haven't the faintest idea just how decisive and overwhelming the massive grass-roots Yes movement is proving to be.

    It's all the more amusing since there used to be a time when the lib dems had a reputation for having efficient ground campaigns. Not any more thanks to calamity Clegg decimating the lib dems in scotland and elsewhere.

    This also helps explain the petulant shrieking from some of Clegg's obsequious spinners. It is patently obvious the lib dems have never and will never come close to the kind of broad-based grass roots movement the Yes campaign have nurtured and grown over the past few years. A grass-roots movement which has swept across scotland and covers all ages and backgrounds.

    Clegg's few remaining yellow tories are little more than a political irrelevance in scotland. (with a taxi full of MSPs) The unmistakable signs of the huge, positive and dedicated groundswell for Yes is obviously taking it's toll on the more delusional of Clegg's ostrich faction. They have to watch this referendum from the sidelines with barely concealed envy and bitterness.

    They were warned long, long ago what the toxic Clegg would do to their party but they simply refused to listen and still do. Most decent lib dems rejected Clegg just as long ago and are a valued part of the Yes campaign. They want a better scotland where Trident and endless bloody and pointless quagmires in the middle east will become a thing of the past. A scotland where every vote counts and the persecution and westminster attacks on the disabled, the vulnerable and the poor will not be tolerated.

    The contempt the tired and corrupt westminster establishment has for the people of scotland could not be more stark today. After a huge number of scots have already voted westminster tries to trick the scottish public with worthless promises of jam tomorrow.

    At the same time the ridiculous little Ed shrieks about Border Guards while the out of touch Osborne is still banging away dementedly about currency.

    They are doubling down on the negativity exactly as predicted and the results for No will be just as 'effective' as they have been for the past few months and as they were in 2011.

  75. Are we certain the Panelbase poll was carried out between 2 and 4 Aug? Where can I see details of it?

    I think reason 3 is most likely as to why YES held back/published Panelbase poll:

    "It (YES) had heard about the YouGov poll, and decided to use the Panelbase poll to dampen down the hype."

    Last thing YES wants is slackening off of enthusiasm and canvassing and a...we have it won attitude. Just remember last Quebec poll 2/3 days before vote showed 53% Y 47% N while result was 50.3% N 49.7% Y. And that happened because on the eve of the poll the Canadian Gov 'promised' much greater powers if NO vote. Needless to say such promises were not delivered; in fact Quebec's powers were diminished afterwards.


  76. There is another panelbase poll, fieldwork finished yesterday or friday.

  77. I suspect YouGov dirty tricks Initially their polls were meant to kill off Yes before they could get started. But they have had to quickly catch up. What I don't understand is why is Panelbase not picking up the momentum.

  78. No offence guys, but I think you are reading too much into panelbase showing no swing. There has very obviously been a swing. Yougov has shown it and I am certain the next polls will too. Go onto the street, there is very evidently a swing to yes. Panelbase will show it soon enough. God only knows what Labour voters will think of milibands latest....35% soon to be 40%

  79. Sorry if this has been already asked.

    Would this poll possibly reflect an upweighting of the Labour voters to a more realistic higher Yes voting intention?

  80. No offence guys, but I think you are reading too much into panelbase showing no swing. There has very obviously been a swing. Yougov has shown it and I am certain the next polls will too. Go onto the street, there is very evidently a swing to yes. Panelbase will show it soon enough. God only knows what Labour voters will think of milibands latest....35% soon to be 40%

  81. YouGov say their next poll will be published this coming Friday...can't wait!

  82. No offence guys, but I think you are reading too much into panelbase showing no swing. There has very obviously been a swing. Yougov has shown it and I am certain the next polls will too. Go onto the street, there is very evidently a swing to yes. Panelbase will show it soon enough. God only knows what Labour voters will think of milibands latest....35% soon to be 40%

  83. There is another panelbase poll, fieldwork finished yesterday or friday.

  84. Chalks : I don't think that's right - Ivor Knox is saying Panelbase only did one poll this week.

  85. Rupert Murdoch just tweeted that Yes internal pols showing 54Y 46N.

    Not sure what to make of this as old rupert is a very shady character.