A new full-scale YouGov poll has appeared in today's Scottish Sun...
Scottish voting intentions for the May 2015 UK general election (YouGov, 26th-31st March) :
SNP 46% (n/c)
Labour 29% (+2)
Conservatives 16% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 3% (-1)
In respect of the SNP lead, this looks like yet another 'no change' poll - the gap of 17% is firmly within the narrow range of 16-21% that YouGov have reported since the referendum. To be fair, though, Labour's own share of 29% is higher than the 27% they've received in all four previous YouGov polls. That could still easily be a meaningless margin-of-error effect, but if you were being ultra-generous, you might interpret it as Labour's vote strengthening very slightly, perhaps due to tactical voting from Tory supporters. As you can see, there's no evidence at all that they're winning anyone back from the SNP.
The fieldwork dates mean this poll does not take us closer to finding out whether the smearing of Nicola Sturgeon has had any effect on the state of public opinion. It's a bit hard to understand why the poll was held back for several days - OK, no-one could have predicted what happened in the interim (well, apart from the out of control civil service), but everyone knew the debate was coming up on April 2nd, so commissioning a poll before that and waiting to publish it afterwards seems a bit odd.
The independence question was also asked -
Should Scotland be an independent country? (Don't Knows not excluded) :
Yes 46% (+1)
No 48% (n/c)
I haven't seen the figures with Don't Knows excluded yet, but it looks like they'll most probably be Yes 49% (n/c), No 51% (n/c).
In real terms, this may well be the best showing for Yes in any YouGov poll since the referendum. Although Yes were reported to be in an outright lead by the first two post-referendum polls, that was under a different methodology (ie. without weighting by recalled referendum vote). If those polls had used the new methodology, it looks as if they would have shown Yes on roughly 48% with Don't Knows excluded. So the new poll is a continuation of the well-established pattern of the Yes vote having increased markedly since the referendum, and it may even be that it has crept up still further since the start of this year.
Not that you'd be aware of that if you follow the Twitter account of good old Mike Smithson. Naturally, he's pretending that the methodological change never happened, and that the Yes vote has slipped over the last few weeks. Great to see Smithson spending Easter Monday doing what he does best - misleading the Westminster bubble about Scottish politics. (By the way, he's also done what he does best by blocking me on Twitter since I last checked - I'm quite sure he'd block me from using the whole internet if he could.)
* * *
While we await the appearance of the full YouGov datasets (although that may not be until tomorrow), here's another random photo. I went on a long Easter walk yesterday, and saw plenty of wildlife, including lambs and rabbits. But I wasn't expecting to see this in my own back garden when I got back -
Incidentally, what I also spotted on the way back was a couple of Yes posters in windows that have gone back up. I'm 99% certain they haven't been there continuously since September.