As I pointed out a few days ago that the rounding in the ICM poll had flattered No slightly, I should in fairness also point out that the reverse has happened in the new TNS-BMRB poll. For the whole sample, Yes have been rounded up from a position of Yes 43.6%, No 56.4%. Once again, though, a significant difference is made if you simply remove the 3% of the sample who say they will definitely not be casting a vote in September, which strikes me as an eminently sensible thing to do - that in itself is sufficient to take us up to Yes 44.3%, No 55.7%.
Among the 74% of the sample who say they are certain to vote, Yes have also been given a little boost in the published figures by the rounding - on the unrounded numbers it's Yes 44.6%, No 55.4%. However, for the second TNS poll in a row, the highest Yes percentage of all is found among the 85% of the sample who say they are either certain or very likely to vote - on that measure it's exactly Yes 45.0%, No 55.0%. That may be significant, because if I was going to hazard a wild guess as to what the turnout will be, I think I'd plump for something closer to 85% than 74%.
I couldn't resist a little peek at Political Betting last night, to see what inventive forms of denial the dark hordes were coming up with to explain away the apparent swing to Yes. I've identified a couple of particular favourites. First up is one from a certain Aberdeenshire Conservative activist...
"Deep breath, and relax. Scotland is on holiday."
This presumably implies that it's only affluent No-voting Scots who are on holiday, and that TNS are utterly incapable of coping with that problem by means of their weighting scheme. It's worth pointing out, though, that exactly the same Aberdeenshire Conservative activist once dismissed the results of a bad poll for the Tories on the grounds that "it's Christmas", even though it was in fact late November. By the same token, I'm guessing that any bad poll conducted during any part of spring is an irrelevance because "it's Easter", and as for January or February - forget it. Lovers are far too busy gazing into each other's eyes in anticipation of Valentine's Day.
And this was the other one -
"The Don't Knows are also Nos."
Hmmm. That would have been a much better line if this poll hadn't specifically asked Don't Knows which way they are leaning, and found that they are breaking slightly more for Yes. Adding in undecided leaners to the voting intention numbers has a small but significant effect across the board, although on some measures it would be disguised by rounding. All of the figures below exclude the hard-core of undecideds who are unable to give an answer even when pressed.
Should Scotland be an independent country?
Whole sample, includes undecided leaners :
Whole sample other than the 3% who will definitely not vote, includes undecided leaners :
Respondents who are certain or very likely to vote (equivalent to 85% turnout), includes undecided leaners :
Respondents who are certain to vote (equivalent to 74% turnout), includes undecided leaners :