To test his suspicion that the BBC's Scotland 2015 has a very low number of viewers (perhaps as few as 5000 per night), RevStu used his latest Panelbase poll to ask respondents which political/current affairs programmes they watch or listen to. The results are useful in giving a sense of the relative popularity of each show (and indeed Scotland 2015 turns out to be less popular than everything apart from the radio programmes), but the raw figures actually say much more about the shortcomings of polls that rely on volunteer online panels. For example, 6% of the sample claim to watch either every episode or most episodes of The Daily Politics, which would imply a 'baseload' Scottish viewership of hundreds of thousands of people for a BBC2 politics show broadcast on weekday lunchtimes (and which its presenter Andrew Neil apparently thinks isn't broadcast in Scotland at all!).
The problem is, of course, that volunteer online panels attract a disproportionate number of people who are extremely interested in politics. In theory, you can correct for that in voting intention polls with sophisticated weighting techniques, but that theory may have its limits - telephone polling came out of the debacle in May slightly less badly than online polling, and it also proved more reliable in the 2010 general election. If the inquiry into what went wrong takes us 'back to the future' and declares that real world data collection methods generally produce more accurate results, what does that mean for supporters of Scottish independence? It's mostly good news, because as of this moment, telephone and face-to-face polls are producing much more favourable results for Yes. On the other hand, it's bad news for anyone pinning their hopes on Brexit triggering a quick second independence referendum, because telephone polls are currently far, far more favourable for the 'Remain' side in the EU referendum.
Incidentally, I feel slightly vindicated by the results of another of the questions in the Panelbase poll, because a majority of respondents (including 48% of SNP voters) think that the SNP should take up the seats they are entitled to in the House of Lords. I'm a huge admirer of Pete Wishart, but I was very dubious the other night when he had a go at the Green Party of England and Wales for taking up a seat in the Lords. If both the Greens and Plaid Cymru take the view that it's important to have their voters' views represented in the Lords for as long as it exists, it's just possible that they've got it right and the SNP have got it wrong.
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Scot Goes Pop fundraiser : I'm slightly relieved to say that the fundraiser will close early tomorrow morning (Monday), so this is the last time I'll be promoting it in a blogpost! Thanks a million to the 276 people that have donated so far - £5,595 has been raised, which is almost as much as was raised over a much longer timescale in the second fundraiser last autumn.
After the previous two fundraisers had closed, one or two people got in touch to say that they still wanted to contribute, and asked where my donate button is. As it happens, Indiegogo has a new 'In-Demand' feature that allows fundraisers which have reached their target figure to remain open for contributions after the closing date (if that makes sense). So I hope to leave that switched on for a little while, just in case someone comes along in a few weeks' time with a burning desire to donate. But rest assured I won't be promoting it heavily - there'll probably just be a discreet link on the sidebar (desktop version of the blog only).
I know there are always a large number of important pro-independence causes seeking funds at any given moment, so I'm incredibly grateful and honoured that this one was deemed worthy of several thousand pounds. I really can't thank you enough.