Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Make that fourteen/fifteen in a row: Ipsos-Mori shows yet another huge majority for Scottish independence

I wasn't sure if we'd see any more independence polls before the end of this calendar year, but today brings word of something really important - it's only the second telephone poll conducted in 2020, and it's another cracker.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Ipsos-Mori/STV)

Yes 56% (-2)
No 44% (+2)

This is the fourteenth poll in a row which has produced a Yes majority on the standard independence question - although many people will say it's the fifteenth by adding in one poll with a non-standard question.

Unionists will of course point to the apparent small swing back to No, but the fact is that this is the second-highest ever Yes vote recorded in a telephone poll, and indeed the joint second-highest ever Yes vote recorded in any sort of poll.  What's more, the previous Ipsos-Mori poll in October contained significantly too many respondents who recalled voting Yes in 2014, and the new poll doesn't, so there's a genuine case to be made that the 56% in this poll is as good as, or better than, the 58% in the last one.  

The latter point makes it hard to read the general trend, because the last two polls from other firms gave a contradictory indication - YouGov suggested a small drop for Yes, while Panelbase reported a small increase, taking Yes to a new high watermark.  It still looks entirely possible that nothing much has changed since independence support reached its peak in the summer, but we'll have to await further polls to be sure.

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:

SNP 55% (-3)
Conservatives 22% (+3)
Labour 14% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-2)
Greens 1% (n/c)

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 47% (-1)
Conservatives 22% (+4)
Labour 16% (+2)
Greens 7% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-2)

Seats projection (with changes from 2016): SNP 73 (+10), Conservatives 27 (-4), Labour 19 (-5), Greens 5 (-1), Liberal Democrats 5 (n/c)

So a small apparent recovery for the two largest unionist parties since the last Ipsos-Mori poll, but again that can perhaps be partly explained by the fact that there were too many 2014 Yes voters in the sample for the previous poll.  Either way, the SNP remain on course for a comfortable overall single-party majority of 17 seats, with pro-independence parties in combination taking more than 60% of the seats.

More details and analysis to follow...

Tuesday, December 1, 2020

A quiet revolution inside the SNP

Just before Tony Blair invaded Iraq, something which he had plainly already made up his mind to do, he sent out junior ministers to claim they were making a "last push for peace".  It was the ultimate Orwellian linguistic trick - framing the warmongering government as peace-lovers, and the anti-war resistance to the government as the obstacle to peace.  I was reminded of that episode the other day when Alyn Smith started his rather brazen crusade against "factionalism" within the SNP - which was really a pitch for people to vote for his own diehard faction in the name of anti-factionalism.  And yet we know that one or two souls were naive enough to be impressed by his words and to take them at face value.  So the question was whether enough people would be hoodwinked to change the trajectory of the SNP's internal elections over the weekend.  Judging by Mr Smith's own result, his gambit failed.

Policy Development Convener Election (first preferences):

Chris Hanlon 43.3%
Alyn Smith 37.5%
Graeme McCormick 19.3%

Final count:

Chris Hanlon 54.8%
Alyn Smith 45.2%

That really is an astounding result when you consider that Mr Smith is far, far better known than Mr Hanlon.  OK, conference delegates are perhaps a little less likely to be 'starstruck' than the rank-and-file membership, but even so.

I've lost count of the number of times over the years that it's been suggested that SNP members might use an internal election to push the party in a more radical direction.  Usually nothing materialises, which makes this batch of results all the more remarkable.  Perhaps delegates could sense that independence was on the ballot this time, and that it was now or never if we were to get back on track in terms of strategy.  Take a look, for example at the contest for President - everyone knew that Mike Russell would win, but what we were waiting to see was whether Craig Murray would secure a big enough minority of the vote to send a message about members' unease in regard to the lack of urgency on an independence referendum. I think it's fair to say that he exceeded expectations.

SNP President election:

Mike Russell 61.7%
Craig Murray 24.5%
Corri Wilson 13.9%

The headline result is Joanna Cherry's triumphant return to the NEC - a body that has lost its way to such an extent that, under the control of Alyn Smith's anti-faction faction, it made a botched attempt to bar Ms Cherry from standing in last year's general election.  Her unofficial running-mate Neale Hanvey was well off the pace on the NEC vote, but managed to win a place on the Conduct Committee - quite an achievement for someone who was himself suspended from the party until only a few months ago.

Arguably the most important results symbolically are the oustings of Rhiannon Spear and Fiona Robertson as Women's Convener and Equalities Convener respectively.  Both had narrowly won their positions last year in the face of a fierce challenge, and I had thought they might hold on with a bit more to spare this time due to Colette Walker and others decamping to a new fringe party.  Their unexpected defeats will surely make it a lot harder for the leadership to press ahead with plans for self-ID.

But in a sense this outcome poses a dilemma for one or two of the rebels too - having won the party back to some extent, won't it be harder to justify sabotaging the party next May by splitting the vote on the list?

Sunday, November 29, 2020

It's hard to defend the BBC on a day like today

The BBC always innocently claim to be scrupulously impartial on the Scottish political debate and independence in particular, but they really do make it hard for themselves to hold that line when they attempt stunts like the one we've seen today.  An article on the BBC news website is titled "Sturgeon defends handling of the pandemic", framing her from the start as being on the back foot and having something to defend.  The opening paragraph states that Scotland's death rate is higher than England's - but then we discover that what is being referred to is not the overall duration of the pandemic (which has of course seen a much worse outcome in England than in Scotland), but "the week to 15 November", in which the per capita death toll was slightly higher in Scotland.  Such figures are scarcely surprising, given that England went into a nationwide lockdown when Scotland did not - which was made possible by the fact that Scotland has had the virus under better control in preceding months.  And we know from past experience that the BBC would have been the first to hammer Nicola Sturgeon if she had imposed extra restrictions any earlier than she did.

The rather pathetic impression is given of a state broadcaster just eagerly waiting for months until the first opportunity came along to claim on a thin technical basis that Scotland is performing worse than England, and then pouncing in a less than subtle manner.

SNP vote surges in two Perth by-elections

So just a brief round-up of a couple of local by-election results I overlooked the other day... 

Perth City South: 

SNP 32.9% (+5.2) 
Liberal Democrats 31.6% (-3.1) 
Conservatives 29.4% (+4.2) 
Labour 3.5% (-2.9) 
Greens 2.3% (-0.8) 
UKIP 0.3% (n/a) 

This is one of those bonkers results that can only occur due to the STV system, and which we know from past experience that poor old Mike "impartial Lib Dem election expert" Smithson struggles to get his head around. The Lib Dems topped the poll in the ward in 2017, and the SNP have overtaken them this time. The SNP vote has gone up, and the Lib Dem vote has gone down. The net swing from Lib Dem to SNP is a very healthy 4%. And yet technically the result of the by-election is a Lib Dem gain from the SNP. How is that even possible? Well, it's because STV is a proportional system with multi-councillor wards, and the by-election was caused by the death of an SNP councillor who was elected in 2017 after finishing in third place in the ward on the first preference vote. However, as soon as a vacancy occurs, STV suddenly stops being a proportional system, and all the voters of the ward get to choose a replacement, which naturally gives an in-built advantage to whichever party topped the popular vote in the ward last time around.

But hang on, didn't the SNP top the popular vote in the by-election? So how come it's a Lib Dem gain? That's because STV is also a preferential system, and the lower preferences of Tory voters will have broken heavily for the Lib Dems. A tight head-to-head between the SNP and the Lib Dems on first preferences when there are lots of Tory transfers sloshing around is essentially an unwinnable scenario for the SNP. 

Perth City North: 
 
SNP 61.0% (+12.5) 
Conservatives 22.9% (-2.7) 
Labour 9.5% (-6.3) 
Liberal Democrats 3.9% (+0.4) 
Greens 2.6% (n/a) 

Not much need to worry about transfers when you have 61% on first preferences! The SNP's average increase across the two by-elections is more than 8%, which tends to suggest the mildly underwhelming recent result in Clackmannanshire was - as we suspected at the time - an aberration caused by local factors.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

So where are all the good guys? You could be looking at them...

I was amused yesterday to see that someone had set up a website called "the SNP Good Guys", a name given by some Twitter users to Denise Findlay's list of preferred candidates for this weekend's set of internal elections. Cheekily, the site purports to have been created on behalf of the candidates in question, who it portrays as a sort of collective. That's highly unlikely to be the case - it's more like a 'fan site' intended to drum up support. A harmless enough wheeze, you might think, but if you listen to certain hysterical voices on Twitter you'd think it was somehow akin to Mussolini's March on Rome. The TV actor David Paisley (nope, me neither) penned a risible 'Sherlock Holmes' thread, and obviously expected everyone to gasp with astonishment when he pointed out the blindingly obvious connection with Denise Findlay, who he described darkly as "a former SNP member who resigned from the party following antisemitism accusations" and "an outspoken anti-trans activist attempting to influence SNP NEC elections". Well, perish the thought that any female activist should be "outspoken", eh, David? And I'm not sure it's really all that surprising or outrageous that someone who was an active SNP member for years and was on the Conduct Committee until only twelve months ago should still take a keen interest in the party's internal democracy. Needless to say, the antisemitism allegations against her were hotly disputed, and she also questioned whether the narrative that she had "resigned" was actually accurate - she felt she had been pressured in the heat of the moment into saying she would resign and that the proper resignation process had not in fact occurred.

Sherlock Paisley's investigation then uncovered the 'shocking' information that SNP Good Guys, ForWomenScot and the LGB Alliance all share the same internet hosting, that Denise Findlay follows ForWomenScot, LGB Alliance, WomensPledge and TransgenderTrd, and that - get this - they all follow her back. And that's pretty much it. Yes, I know what you're thinking - with this standard of cutting-edge investigative journalism we could have the makings of the dullest episode of Panorama ever. (And it would still only last twenty seconds.) 

Not to be outdone, the MP John Nicolson then ratcheted up the absurdity to a whole new level by claiming that the entirely circumstantial link with the LGB Alliance means that the SNP Good Guys literally are the LGB Alliance, and are therefore a "sinister far right" organisation. He then urged his followers not to vote for anyone endorsed by the "far right" - including several of his current and former SNP colleagues in the House of Commons, even though a) by definition no-one has any control over whether someone else endorses them, and b) the whole "far right" characterisation is a pile of nonsense anyway. Essentially Mr Nicolson is making a dog-whistle attempt to (deniably) paint highly respected fellow parliamentarians such as Joanna Cherry and Neale Hanvey as quasi-Nazis. I think he's jumped the shark on this one, and that SNP members aren't nearly as stupid or as gullible as he seems to imagine. 

Where does the "far right" accusation come from? Presumably the idea is that the LGB Alliance and the SNP Women's Pledge are "transphobic" and therefore "bigoted" and therefore "far right". Which is odd, because the standard term of abuse chucked at alleged transphobes is "TERF", in which the "RF" stands for "radical feminist". And whatever other criticisms might be legitimately levelled at radical feminists, it's a bit of a stretch to argue that they're on the right of the political spectrum, let alone the far right. Denise Findlay makes no secret of why she backs the candidates she does - she wants people who put independence first, and who will prioritise the rights of women and girls (ie. sceptics on GRA reform). I'm not as preocuppied as she is with the trans debate, but I'm certainly on the same page as far as putting independence first is concerned, and I do worry that some current SNP office-holders are culture warriors first and independence warriors second. It's ironic that the likes of John Nicolson, David Paisley and Alyn Smith should characterise "SNP Good Guys" as the work of "entryists", because to me and to many others it looks like the entryism has actually been in completely the opposite direction, and that there are now an awful lot of people in positions of influence within the SNP who care a hell of a lot more about their own identity politics zealotry than they do about independence. 

For that reason, if I had a vote this weekend, I'd probably end up voting for quite a few of the people on Denise's list. Not necessarily all of them, because I don't know enough about some of them, but it goes without saying that I'd vote for high-quality and high-profile candidates such as Douglas Chapman, Joanna Cherry, Neale Hanvey, Amanda Burgauer, Corri Wilson, Roger Mullin, Catriona MacDonald and Chris McEleny. (Far right, John? Really?!) I'd also give serious consideration to Denise's recommendations for the Women's Convener and Equalities Convener votes, because frankly I think the incumbents in those two positions have been far too divisive. Here's a suggestion - why not ignore John Nicolson's silly slurs and make up your own mind by checking out Denise's list of endorsements HERE. Whether you vote for them or not, I think you'll agree with me that they're impressive people and that there's not a Nazi amongst them. 

By the way, a bonus point for anyone who correctly identifies the episode of Blake's 7 that I took the title of this blogpost from.

Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Backing Joanna Cherry's slate for the NEC elections

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may be aware of my confusion a couple of weeks ago at a cartoon that had seemingly been created and shared by the so-called 'woke' tendency within the Yes movement. It contained people who were presumably meant to be gay, trans and from ethnic minorities, looking dubious and alarmed as they were asked by a couple of well-meaning Yessers to "let's all just be friends" with people from the movement who are apparently supposed to be beyond the pale - including Wings supporters, feminists with concerns about GRA reform, and most oddly of all the SNP Common Weal group. I can't pretend to know much about the Common Weal group - I'm not sure if they're a full part of Common Weal itself, or if they're just inspired by the same principles. But given that those principles are firmly rooted in the radical left, you'd think the 'woke' faction would see them as natural allies rather than as mortal enemies. A clue to what is going on is that the Common Weal group are supporting a slate of candidates for the upcoming NEC elections who have given their backing to a 'Manifesto for Democracy' - and that slate includes Joanna Cherry and Neale Hanvey, who are hate figures for a small minority of young activists due to the trans issue. Some of them openly wanted unionists to defeat Ms Cherry and Mr Hanvey in last year's general election, and boasted on social media about campaigning in any constituency but those two. 

For my own part, I think both Ms Cherry and Mr Hanvey would make ideal members of the NEC, and I can't see much to disagree with in the Manifesto for Democracy - which includes an urgent push for independence, a fairer complaints process, and a long-overdue reform to give all party members (rather than just delegates) the right to vote in internal elections, such as NEC elections. Of course this runs into the age-old problem with reforming electoral processes - to get changes through you first have to win a vote among the existing franchise, which is often weighted towards those who may have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo. 

It's unlikely anything I say will have much influence on conference delegates, who are highly politically engaged and will know their own minds. But for what it's worth, I would urge anyone with a vote at the weekend to back change on the NEC. Let's democratise the party and make independence our number one priority going forward.


Monday, November 23, 2020

The SNP's defence submission is a 'modernisation' too far: it's time to reaffirm the long-standing commitment to *unilateral* nuclear disarmament

Saturday, November 21, 2020

Pro-indy parties make progress in Clackmannanshire East by-election

A rare advantage of being forced to have pre-moderation switched on is that I was able to intercept a comment the other night by a well-known unionist propagandist who was attempting to portray the Conservative hold in the Clackmannanshire East by-election as some kind of glorious, game-changing victory for unionism. In reality, the vote share for both pro-independence parties actually went up slightly, and it looks like the unexpectedly sharp increase in the Tory vote can be explained mainly by an intra-unionist swing caused by yet another Labour collapse. 

Clackmannanshire East by-election result: 
 
Conservatives 51.2% (+9.7) 
SNP 32.0% (+1.8) 
Labour 8.1% (-12.1) 
Greens 5.8% (+2.0) 
Liberal Democrats 2.9% (-1.4) 

If we'd seen this result in late 2017 or 2018, I might have interpreted the Tories' relatively strong performance as being of wider national significance. But at the moment we have tonnes of polling evidence, and indeed evidence from other recent local by-elections, that the Tories are struggling across Scotland and that the Douglas Ross experiment is failing. So the Clackmannanshire East outcome has got 'local factors' written all over it. It was a reasonably solid Tory ward in 2017 anyway - it contains Dollar, so it's very much the posh end of the county.

Thursday, November 19, 2020

To only focus on "disaster" would be our "biggest mistake"

Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Scottish public think Nicola Sturgeon has outperformed her fellow world leaders in her handling of the pandemic

Last but not least in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, we have an opportunity to see how Nicola Sturgeon shapes up in a league table of selected world leaders - and we all know how thrilled our unionist friends always are to see Ms Sturgeon receiving her due recognition alongside her fellow world leaders.  Bear in mind that this is a poll of voting-age respondents in Scotland.  

How good or bad a job do you think the following leaders are doing in their response to the coronavirus/COVID-19 outbreak?

DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT OF THE USA:

Very Good: 2%
Good: 5%
Bad: 13%
Very Bad: 68%

Neither Good Nor Bad: 9%

Total Good: 8%
Total Bad: 82%

Net Rating: -74

I know there appears to be a small discrepancy in the numbers, but that'll be due to the effect of rounding.  As you'd expect, Trump has an abysmal reputation across all demographics and partisan loyalties, and interestingly there's no difference between Yes and No voters on this one - he has a net rating of -75 among people who voted Yes in 2014, and -74 among people who voted No.  There is, however, a slightly bigger difference between people who would currently vote Yes and No, which is logical enough, because the No coalition has shrunk in recent months and has presumably been left with a bigger percentage of right-wingers.  Trump's least-worst rating is among Conservative voters, but that's not saying much - exactly half of Tories say he's done "very badly".

NICOLA STURGEON, FIRST MINISTER OF SCOTLAND:

Very Good: 29%
Good: 37%
Bad: 9%
Very Bad: 12%

Neither Good Nor Bad: 12%

Total Good: 66%
Total Bad: 21%

Net Rating: +45

What leaps out at me here are the differences between voters for the various unionist parties.  Ms Sturgeon has won over both Labour and Liberal Democrat voters, who give her net ratings of +28 and +51 respectively.  The die-hards who will presumably always say she's performing badly no matter what she does are mostly to be found among Tory voters, who give her a net negative rating of -21.

BORIS JOHNSON, PRIME MINISTER OF THE UK:

Very Good: 5%
Good: 14%
Bad: 21%
Very Bad: 43%

Neither Good Nor Bad: 15%

Total Good: 19%
Total Bad: 65%

Net Rating: -46

Ouch.  Would it be tactless of me to say these figures are a "disaster" for the unionist cause?  In a reverse mirror image of the results for Ms Sturgeon, only Tory voters give Mr Johnson a positive rating - although there are plenty enough Tories who hold him in disdain.  28% of them think he's handled the crisis badly or very badly.  The only other group where he gets even close to respectability is current No supporters, who give him a net negative rating of 'only' -13, but of course that'll be largely because such a significant percentage of current No supporters are Tories.

ANGELA MERKEL, CHANCELLOR OF GERMANY:

Very Good: 18%
Good: 34%
Bad: 5%
Very Bad: 4%

Neither Good Nor Bad: 23%

Total Good: 52%
Total Bad: 9%

Net Rating: +43

You wouldn't think there'd be such an ideological and/or partisan element to people's appreciation of Ms Merkel's assured response to the crisis, but in fact it appears that anti-European prejudices are rearing their ugly head here.  No supporters are more grudging than Yes supporters, and her least good numbers are to be found among Tory voters - although even they give her a positive rating of +18.  

WORLD LEADER LEAGUE TABLE:

Nicola Sturgeon: +45
Angela Merkel: +43
Boris Johnson: -46
Donald Trump: -74

I'm sure Douglas Ross and George Foulkes will gladly confirm that this outcome makes us all feel incredibly proud to be Scottish.  

* * *

You can read my comment piece in The National on the BBC results from the poll HERE.

Remember that the Scottish people were fearful about the future of devolution even *before* Boris Johnson called it a "disaster"

Alex Massie in the Spectator: "Speaking to his northern English MPs last night, Johnson declared that devolution has been 'a disaster north of the border' and was the biggest mistake Tony Blair ever made. The implication, quite obviously, is that in a better ordered world the Scottish parliament should be abolished." 

Just a reminder of how fearful voters were about the future of the Scottish Parliament before our beloved Prime Minister called devolution a "disaster"... 

If Scotland does not become an independent country over the next ten years, and if the Conservatives remain in power at Westminster, which of the following three outcomes do you think is most likely? (Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, 5th-11th November 2020) 

The UK Conservative government will substantially increase the Scottish Parliament's powers: 23% 

The UK Conservative government will substantially reduce the Scottish Parliament's powers: 55% 

The UK Conservative government will abolish the Scottish Parliament altogether: 22% 

TOTAL REDUCE/ABOLISH: 77% 

And of the potential electoral consequences of those fears... 

If the UK Conservative government substantially reduces the powers of the Scottish Parliament or abolishes the Scottish Parliament altogether, would you be more likely or less likely to support Scotland becoming an independent country?

More likely: 69% 
Less likely: 31% 

Incidentally, Alex Massie went on to say this: "Arguing that devolution has failed because Nicola Sturgeon is first minister is the same as arguing that Britain has failed because Boris Johnson is Prime Minister...A rotten government in Edinburgh no more makes devolution a disaster than Johnson proves the Union’s bankruptcy. (The answer, in each case, is to elect a better government.)" 

Which is fine, if you actually have the capacity to do that in each case. The Scottish people can certainly elect the Scottish government that they most want, but I'm at something of a loss to explain how Alex thinks they can elect the UK government they most want, given that Scotland only has 59 of 650 seats at Westminster.

*  *  *

Later today I'll publish the final batch of results in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll - watch a preview below.

 

Monday, November 16, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Staggering three-quarters of voters think the BBC have failed to make the public aware of how the Internal Market Bill will reduce the Scottish Parliament's powers

As I mentioned the other day, one of the difficulties of polling about public attitudes to the Westminster power-grab contained in the Internal Market Bill is that most people aren't even aware of it, due to the mainstream media's abject failure to report it.  No-one would expect anti-independence newspapers to go out of their way to draw attention to something that would be unhelpful for their side of the debate, but what of the public service broadcaster that so many people look to and trust to give them impartial information?  I thought it might be worth asking respondents what they think about the BBC's non-reporting of the power-grab.   

Do you think the BBC have done enough to make the public aware of the changes to the Scottish Parliament's powers proposed by the Internal Market Bill?  

Yes 23%
No 77% 

I was actually quite staggered by that result - I thought we might see an even split, with independence supporters being critical of the BBC and unionists more content.  But in fact this is a rare example of literally every demographic or political group mentioned in the datasets reaching the same conclusion.  89% of SNP voters, 68% of Labour voters, 74% of Liberal Democrat voters, 62% of Conservative voters, 86% of Yes supporters, 63% of No supporters, 77% of people born in Scotland and 76% of people born in England all agree that the BBC have failed to properly inform the public. 

My guess is this will have happened because of a straightforward logical process.  Having been just asked a question that summarised the changes to the devolution settlement that the Internal Market Bill entails, respondents will have come to the inescapable conclusion that what is happening is important enough that the public should know about it, and will also have realised that they've heard very little about it on the BBC.  Even for many Tory voters, that will have left only one possible answer to the question. 

So to summarise what we've learned from this poll: when the public know about the power-grab, they think it breaches The Vow and shouldn't happen without a referendum, but many of them don't know about it because the BBC haven't told them, and they think that's wrong.  I'm not sure that's a great look for the state broadcaster.

*  *  *

There's still a little bit more to come from the poll - if you'd like to be the first to know, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.

*  *  *

You can read my piece in The National about last night's results HERE.

VIDEO: Preview of tonight's question in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll suggests strong backing for a Plan B: Almost two-thirds of voters want the Scottish Government to take decisive action to circumvent Westminster's attempts to 'veto' an independence referendum

Quite a number of you specifically asked me to use the new Panelbase poll to ask about support for a Plan B option for securing an outright independence mandate if the UK Government continues to refuse a Section 30 order. I was initially sceptical, because I had posed questions about the two main Plan B ideas in the earlier polls this year. The January poll found backing for the Scottish Parliament going ahead with legislation for a referendum, and allowing the courts to decide whether the vote can take place. And then the June poll found even stronger support for the option of using a scheduled election to obtain an indy mandate. I wasn't sure there was much to be gained from repeating those questions. However, it was pointed out to me that with big votes coming up very soon at the SNP conference, it was important to have up-to-date information about the public's wishes. So on this occasion I decided to simply ask about the general principle of pressing ahead with a Plan B. 

Imagine that the pro-independence parties win a majority of seats in next year's Scottish Parliament election, but the UK Government still refuses to agree to an independence referendum. In that scenario, do you think the Scottish Government should ensure the Scottish people are given a choice on independence over the course of the next parliamentary term, or should it accept that the UK Government has a veto on an independence referendum? 

The Scottish Government should ensure the Scottish people are given a choice on independence: 63% 

The Scottish Government should accept that the UK Government has a veto on an independence referendum: 37% 

If I had been writing the question a week later than I did, I might have worded it slightly differently, because 'accepting a veto' closely echoes language used in the SNP leadership's draft motion for conference, which is based on the questionable assumption that simply saying "we don't accept the veto" will by some metaphysical means force the UK Government to grant a Section 30 order. It's important to stress that the result of this question indicates that the overwhelming majority of the public want the Scottish Government to actually take action to circumvent the veto, rather than continuing to talk impotently about how "unsustainable" the situation supposedly is. 

60% of Labour voters think that there should be a democratic choice on independence, regardless of Downing Street's wishes, as do a very healthy 46% of Liberal Democrat voters. However, I couldn't help but think it's richly ironic that a slender majority of people who vote for a party with the words "liberal" and "democrat" in its name think there should be a Westminster veto on the democratic process in Scotland! (Admittedly the subsample of Lib Dem voters is pretty small.)  As you'd expect, the strongest support for the veto comes from Tory voters (86%), people who voted No in 2014 (61%), and people who would still vote No in a second indyref (82%). 

Tonight's second question is a little different from the others. When I ran the poll in June, Dr Tim Rideout of the Scottish Currency Group asked me to add on a question about currency, and offered to provide funding to cover the additional cost. It was already too late in the day by that point, but he made the same request this time, and I agreed. So this question was written by Tim (or at least he was the one that sent it to me), although I did tweak the wording just slightly before submitting it to Panelbase. 

The SNP's policy is that if Scotland becomes independent, a new Scottish currency would be introduced as soon as practicable after Independence Day, to ensure that Scotland has control over its own monetary and fiscal policy, and interest rates. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this policy? 

Completely agree: 30% 
Somewhat agree: 29% 
Somewhat disagree: 12% 
Completely disagree: 29% 

TOTAL AGREE: 59% 
TOTAL DISAGREE: 41% 

Bear in mind that what is described in the question as the SNP's policy is what was passed at conference last year, and is somewhat more radical than the leadership's own wishes in calling for a new currency "as soon as practicable". Naturally the strongest backing for the policy comes from current Yes supporters (89%), people who voted Yes in 2014 (86%), and SNP voters (87%). But intriguingly half of Labour voters want a Scottish currency in the event of independence, as do a significant minority of 2014 No voters (37%). 

You'll doubtless have spotted that this result appears to directly contradict the recent Survation poll for Progress Scotland, which showed support for retaining Sterling in the long-term. The reason for the difference is probably that the new question briefly explained the rationale for a change of currency. It looks like respondents were convinced by the need for Scotland to be able to control its own monetary policy and interest rates.

Speaking personally, I'm a tad ambivalent on this subject, because polls that specifically mention the pound (as the Progress Scotland poll did) tend to find there's an emotional pull for voters towards retaining a currency they're familiar with.  But the experience of 2014 suggests that having a credible policy that doesn't depend on Westminster acting reasonably may ultimately be more important than having a policy that is superficially popular.  So on balance I'm inclined to think that moving towards a new currency with a degree of urgency is the correct approach.

*  *  *

There's still more to come from the poll over the coming days - if you'd like to be the first to know, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.

*  *  *

You can read my piece in the Sunday National on last night's results HERE.

VIDEO: Preview of Sunday night's questions in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: More than three-quarters of voters expect the Tories to take more powers away from the Scottish Parliament or abolish it completely - and if that happens, almost 70% will be "more likely" to support independence

Last night's results from the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll suggested that voters think the removal of powers from the Scottish Parliament that is currently underway is in breach of "The Vow" that was so pivotal to the No side in winning the 2014 indyref.  But what of the future?  Do voters have confidence that the UK Government will nobly draw a line after the current power-grab and leave Holyrood in peace after that?  Unsurprisingly, the answer is no.

If Scotland does not become an independent country over the next ten years, and if the Conservatives remain in power at Westminster, which of the following three outcomes do you think is most likely?

The UK Conservative government will substantially increase the Scottish Parliament's powers: 23%

The UK Conservative government will substantially reduce the Scottish Parliament's powers: 55%

The UK Government will abolish the Scottish Parliament altogether: 22%

TOTAL REDUCE/ABOLISH: 77%

What ought to be of greatest concern to unionist strategists is that the fears over the future of devolution very much extend to the coalition of support that delivered the No vote in 2014, presumably including many voters who were swayed by the bogus assurances that the Scottish Parliament was permanent and would become much more powerful.  74% of Labour voters, 77% of Liberal Democrat voters, 67% of No voters from 2014, and 59% of people who are currently minded to vote No again, expect that Holyrood will be diminished or abolished over the coming decade. 

To me, this speaks to the strategic blunder that the Conservatives made in abandoning the so-called "respect agenda" under Ruth Davidson's leadership.  Having spent years trying to convince voters that Tory rule was not a threat to the Scottish Parliament, they suddenly noticed that devolution - or at least devolution under SNP control - was unpopular with a militant core of unionist support, and that it was therefore possible to win a few extra Tory seats by reverting to the old anti-devo or devo-sceptic posture.  But they've lost sight of the fact that the militant core of unionism is only a minority of the Scottish population, and that the pro-devolution majority are listening to the rhetoric as well.  

If the UK Conservative government substantially reduces the powers of the Scottish Parliament or abolishes the Scottish Parliament altogether, would you be more likely or less likely to support Scotland becoming an independent country?

More likely: 69%
Less likely: 31%

Once again, it's not just the Yes die-hards who are saying they would be more likely to back independence in that scenario - so are 71% of Labour voters, 59% of Liberal Democrat voters, 50% of people who voted No six years ago, 32% of those who would currently vote No, and even 27% of Conservative voters.  

Put these results together, and what have you got?  Voters believe the UK Government is likely to follow a course of action - either abolition of Holyrood or a further significant power-grab - that would clearly make a bigger Yes majority much more attainable.  That expectation may be all that is really needed, if Yes campaigners can constantly remind voters of the ongoing threat to devolution and point to the power-grab in the Internal Market Bill as an example of what may be yet to come.

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There's still more to come from the poll over the coming days - if you'd like to be the first to know, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.

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You can read my piece in The National on last night's results HERE.

VIDEO: Preview of Saturday night's questions in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll

Friday, November 13, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: Two-thirds of voters say the Internal Market BIll breaches The Vow - and demand a referendum on whether the Westminster power-grab should go ahead

You might remember that when I first floated the idea of crowdfunding another poll, my plan was to test public reactions to the Westminster power-grab that is currently underway due to the Internal Market Bill.  As it turned out, Progress Scotland had only just conducted a poll that covered the Internal Market Bill extensively, and so at that point I expected to move on to other topics instead.  However, the questions asked in the Progress Scotland poll effectively tested reactions to what people already knew about the Internal Market Bill, which obviously in most cases won't have been very much, because the mainstream media haven't exactly been falling over themselves to keep the public informed about the power-grab.  The respondents who did have a view were mostly hostile to the Bill, but there were an awful lot of people who just didn't know.  I came to the conclusion that there would be value in posing a question that briefly summarises the effect of the Bill on the devolution settlement, thus allowing us to see how people react when they're actually in the know.  I also decided to ask about the democratic principle of whether the Scottish people should get to decide in a referendum whether or not powers are removed from the Scottish Parliament - which seems to me important given that those powers are currently there because of the landslide in favour of the devolution settlement recorded in the 1997 referendum.

The UK Government is currently seeking to pass the Internal Market Bill.  The House of Lords Constitution Committee has stated that the Bill would change the current powers of the Scottish Parliament by allowing the UK Government to override laws passed in Edinburgh, by imposing new restrictions on the Scottish Government in relation to goods and services, and by removing powers from the Scottish Government on state aid.  Do you think these reductions in the Scottish Parliament's powers should only take effect if the Scottish people agree to them in a referendum?

Yes 66%
No 34%

There have been some complaints about the question wording, but I would urge everyone to read the Lords committee report and then judge for themselves whether the summary contained in the question is fair.  I would strongly contend that it is.

Support for a referendum on the power-grab cuts across the partisan divide - 87% of SNP voters, 67% of Labour voters, 49% of Liberal Democrat voters, and even 33% of Conservative voters are in favour.  Indeed, exactly half of people who voted No in the 2014 indyref think there should be a referendum before the powers are removed.

I also asked a follow-up question about whether respondents think the power-grab is consistent with the Vow that was published on the front page of the Daily Record in the week of the indyref -

Before the 2014 independence referendum, the three largest anti-independence parties issued a "Vow" promising that the Scottish Parliament is permanent.  If the changes to the Scottish Parliament's powers proposed by the Internal Market Bill take effect without the Scottish people agreeing to them in a new referendum, do you think the Vow will have been kept or broken?

The Vow will have been kept: 37%
The Vow will have been broken: 63%

The notorious unionist troll Steve Sayers loudly complained on Twitter that this question was illegitimate, on the grounds that the "permanence" part of the Vow had supposedly been honoured with wording inserted into the Scotland Act.  But the whole point is that this is a matter of interpretation - can an institution be said to be "permanent" just because it remains in existence in some form, or is it actually necessary for its existing powers to be maintained in full?  Respondents were free to express either view, and unfortunately for Sayers their interpretation of the Vow clearly differs from his.  Again, substantial numbers of non-SNP voters agree that the Vow is being betrayed - including 57% of Labour voters, 56% of Liberal Democrat voters, 34% of Conservative voters, and a remarkable 52% of No voters from 2014.

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There's still lots more to come from the poll over the coming days - if you'd like to be the first to know, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.

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You can read my piece in The National on yesterday's headline voting intention numbers HERE.

VIDEO: Preview of tonight's questions in the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: History made again as the pro-independence vote rises to 56% - the highest ever in a Panelbase poll, and in any online poll conducted by a BPC-affiliated firm

I seem to have set expectations sky-high with my video teaser this morning, so I hope you're all happy with this outcome - Yes have hit 56% in our latest exclusive Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, and that's an all-time high in Panelbase polling. 

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll)

Yes 56% (+1) 
No 44% (-1)  

(Before Don't Knows are excluded, the figures are Yes 51%, No 40%. The fieldwork was conducted between the 5th and 11th of November, and 1020 respondents were interviewed. Percentage changes are measured from the most recent Panelbase poll, which was commissioned by Business for Scotland in August.) 

It's been obvious from social media, and also from one or two posters on the comments section of this blog, that unionists have been frantically looking for some signs of hope that the Yes majority might be narrowing slightly as the autumn wears on, and as they've continued chipping away at Nicola Sturgeon over her handling of the pandemic. They certainly won't find any such hope in this poll. Technically a 1% increase isn't statistically significant and might potentially be explained by margin of error 'noise', but anything outside a polling firm's normal range ought to make us sit up and take notice, however small the movement needed to get there. This is the eighth Panelbase poll in this calendar year, and the sequence of results for Yes is 52-49-50-52-54-54-55-56. That does not look like a Yes vote that has started to drift downwards after peaking in the summer. Quite the reverse. And it also shouldn't be forgotten that until relatively recently Panelbase were actually on the No-friendly end of the spectrum, and for several years regularly showed the Yes vote hovering in the lowly 43-45% range. We've come a long, long way since then. 

This is a landmark poll in quite a few ways - 

* It's the highest ever Yes vote in a Panelbase poll. 

* It's the highest ever Yes vote in a poll conducted online by any British Polling Council-affiliated firm. 

* It's the joint-highest ever Yes vote in any sort of credible online poll (it's only equalled by the recent JL Partners poll). 

* It's the joint second-highest Yes vote in any credible poll conducted by any firm (only surpassed by last month's famous Ipsos-Mori poll, which of course was conducted by telephone). 

Drilling into the details, we see a now-familiar pattern. Yes command the support of a very impressive 42% of people who voted Labour in 2019, and 28% of people who voted Liberal Democrat - the latter can probably be explained by the impossibility of Scotland rejoining the EU if it remains part of the UK. Almost one-quarter (23%) of No voters from the 2014 referendum are now in the Yes column, whereas only 8% of Yes voters have moved in the opposite direction. And the gender gap of days gone by has essentially vanished - 56% of men and 55% of women support independence. 

We also have voting intention numbers for both Westminster and Holyrood. The SNP remain in an utterly commanding position, although understandably the figures don't quite match the almost absurd heights that were recorded when Panelbase last asked these questions for the Sunday Times in the early summer.

Scottish voting intentions for Westminster: 

SNP 50% (-3) 
Conservatives 21% (n/c) 
Labour 20% (+1) 
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1) 
Greens 2% (n/a) 

Westminster seats projection (with changes from 2019): SNP 56 (+8), Conservatives 2 (-4), Labour 1 (n/c), Liberal Democrats 0 (-4) 

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot: 

SNP 53% (-2) 
Conservatives 21% (+1) 
Labour 18% (+3) 
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1) 
Greens 3% (n/c) 

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot: 

SNP 46% (-4) 
Conservatives 20% (+2) 
Labour 17% (+2) 
Greens 8% (n/c) 
Liberal Democrats 6% (n/c)  

Scottish Parliament seats projection (with changes from 2016): SNP 71 (+8), Conservatives 25 (-6), Labour 19 (-5), Greens 9 (+3), Liberal Democrats 5 (n/c) 

So in contrast to the recent Survation poll, the Tories are clinging on to second place, but it's reasonable to suggest they're now in some danger of ceding their position as the largest opposition party next May. 

A few days ago, you might have seen a rather amusing meltdown from several hard-core unionists on Twitter, who had taken this poll and were angrily brandishing screenshots of the 'shockingly biased' supplementary questions (most of which were written by me, but Panelbase also added on a few questions for a different client). I'm totally comfortable with the wording of those questions, which you'll be seeing over the coming days, but for now what I'd say is this: regardless of your opinion of those questions, it makes literally no difference whatsoever to the credibility of the headline Yes/No results, because Panelbase - like all reputable pollsters - always ask the main voting intention questions before any of the other questions. So respondents cannot be skewed or influenced in any way.

You may have seen that, just by chance, YouGov conducted an independence poll with almost identical fieldwork dates, and showed a slightly different result, with the Yes vote dipping a little from 53% to 51%.  The fact that we have two polls conducted at the same time, with both showing minor margin of error changes in different directions, suggests to me that the situation on the ground has remained pretty steady since Yes reached its new high watermark during the summer.  So as enjoyable as it is watching the likes of Andrew Bowie 'celebrating' a poll showing a Yes majority, they're probably barking up the wrong tree.

There are plenty more results to come from the Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll - if you'd like to be the first to hear about them, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.

VIDEO PREVIEW: Scot Goes Pop poll on independence incoming

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Who is still betting on Trump to win an election he's already lost?

Just a quick update on my earlier post about the inexplicable fact that the betting markets were still implying that Donald Trump had a 5% chance of winning an election he's already lost.  I would have expected common sense to kick in at some point, but incredibly it's gone the other way - at the time of writing, Trump is now implied to have around a 9% chance of winning.  Which begs the question, who on earth is placing these obviously doomed bets on Trump, and why are they doing it?

Someone suggested on Twitter that it might simply be that people who successfully bet on Biden are closing out their position, which effectively counts as bets on Trump.  That's technically a possibility, but it doesn't really make sense, because any such phenomenon will have been balanced out (perhaps more than balanced out) by people who placed pre-election bets on Trump and now think it's Christmas because they were somehow able to retrieve some of their stake by cashing out long after the election result was known.  

It must be that there are an awful lot of true believers out there who actually accept the fairy-tales about industrial-scale fraud and who think the Supreme Court will overturn the election results in three, four or five states and that Trump will be inaugurated for a second term in January.  When people are behaving as irrationally as that on betting markets, there's a golden opportunity to cash in.  To pretty much remove any risk, the thing to do would be to place a lay bet against Trump (as opposed to a positive bet for Biden), and that will cover any unlikely scenario in which something happens to Biden.  All you'd need is for Trump not to be declared winner of the election, which he won't be, and you'll have locked in a 9% profit.  I'm still not tempted to do it, simply because a huge stake would be required to get a half-decent return.  But this is just about the closest thing you'll ever see to free money.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Return of the Poll of Polls shows an average Yes vote of almost 55%

Long term readers of the blog will recall that in the run-up to the 2014 indyref, I regularly updated the Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls, which differed from other Polls of Polls in one key respect - it only included the most recent poll from each individual polling firm.  Because there were such wide disparities between the No-friendly and Yes-friendly firms, it seemed obvious to me that you'd get wildly misleading trends if you went back and forth from a sample that was 75% comprised of YouGov polls to one that was 75% comprised of ICM or Panelbase polls.  I eliminated that problem by ensuring the balance between firms remained exactly the same in each update.

Since 2014, it's rarely been feasible to apply the same method, because there usually haven't been enough independence polls from a broad enough range of pollsters.  But for obvious reasons, the last few weeks have seen a flurry of polls, and they've come from no fewer than six different firms - two of which (Savanta ComRes and JL Partners) had never polled on independence before.  Here's what the average of the most recent poll of each of the six shows...

SCOT GOES POP POLL OF POLLS

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 54.8%  
No 45.2%

There's no longer the chasm between Yes-friendly and No-friendly firms that we used to see a few years ago.  But for what it's worth, the most No-friendly firms at the moment are YouGov and Savanta ComRes (both of which have Yes on 53%) and the most Yes-friendly firm is Ipsos-Mori (which has Yes on 58%).  Curiously, Survation are currently closer (54%) to the No-friendly end of the spectrum, even though we've always tended to regard them as a relatively Yes-friendly firm.

Monday, November 9, 2020

Why don't the media hold the Tories accountable for *their* past statements on when and how a second independence referendum can be held?

We all know why the claims that the 2014 indyref was a "once in a generation" vote are bogus. The words were not contained or implied in the Edinburgh Agreement, and whenever Alex Salmond used them, he was always at pains to point out that he was only expressing a "personal view" about likely timescales, rather than making a commitment that the SNP would be bound to for decades to come. Indeed, on one occasion when Jeremy Paxman pressed him to go further, he pointed out that no government can bind its successors, and added "don't be daft". And as no less a person than Professor John Curtice pointed out just the other day, it's also not possible for an SNP leader to bind the electorate - it's up to voters to decide how often they want to have referendums, and their democratic rights cannot be curtailed by a personal opinion that one particular politician happened to hold six years ago. 

But even if it wasn't a lie to say that the SNP closed off any possibility of a second indyref for the next twenty years and that they aren't allowed to change their minds, it's reasonable to ask: why aren't the Tories held to the same standard? Here are clear statements that Tory politicians have made since 2014 - 

* Ruth Davidson, in her capacity as Scottish Conservative leader, said that it would be constitutionally improper for Westminster to block an independence referendum if pro-independence parties won a majority of seats in a Holyrood election on a manfesto commitment to hold a vote. 

* Alister Jack, in his capacity as Secretary of State for Scotland, said that the 2021 Scottish Parliament election would determine whether a second independence referendum is held. Just to leave us in no doubt about what he was getting at and the full implications of it, he specified (absurdly) that only an overall single-party majority for the SNP would be deemed a trigger for a referendum, and that a combined majority for different pro-independence parties would not be sufficient.

Why wasn't it the end of history when the Tories made those statements? Why do the media allow them to continue making up the rules as they go on, without holding them accountable for crystal-clear undertakings they have already given? Why, in a nutshell, is it only SNP politicians who aren't allowed to change their minds? 

*   *   * 

Talking of glaring contradictions, I was bemused by this summary of Pete Wishart's reasoning for rejecting a 'Plan B' - 

"SNP critics of Plan B argue the strategy of holding out for a Section 30 order is working with support for independence at record levels. They contend if the PM is not going to grant a Section 30 he is unlikely to enter independence talks." 

The same is true in reverse, surely - if you believe that the PM is unlikely to enter independence talks even if there is a mandate for independence, it's also phenomenally improbable that he will grant a Section 30 order simply because there is a mandate for a referendum and a pro-indy majority in the polls. That makes the case for Plan B unanswerable - if you're conceding that you're going to be facing a brick wall of intransigence in Downing Street, you'll plainly be much better equipped if you have an outright mandate for independence in your pocket, rather than merely a 79th mandate for a referendum. 

*   *   * .

Sunday, November 8, 2020

I'm not tempted, but just for your consideration...

Friday, November 6, 2020

Day of despair for Douglas Ross as the Tories go backwards in Aberdeen by-election, and are on course to lose TWELVE SEATS in next year's Holyrood vote

I didn't get round to updating my post about the Survation poll yesterday, so for the sake of completeness here are the party political voting intention numbers, with more good news for the SNP and the Yes movement.

Scottish voting intentions for Westminster: 

SNP 52% (+1) 
Labour 20% (-1) 
Conservatives 18% (-2) 
Liberal Democrats 8% (+2) 

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 54% (+1) 
Conservatives 19% (-1) 
Labour 18% (-) 
Liberal Democrats 8% (+1) 

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 43% (+2) 
Labour 19% (+1) 
Conservatives 17% (-1) 
Greens 10% (-) 
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1) 
Brexit Party 2% (-) 
UKIP 1% (-) 

Holyrood seats projection (with changes from 2016 result): SNP 69 (+6), Labour 25 (+1), Conservatives 19 (-12), Greens 11 (+5), Liberal Democrats 5 (n/c)

For anyone who still doubts that the list vote is generally the more important ballot, please note that the Tories are in second place in the constituency ballot, Labour are in second place in the list ballot, and that translates firmly into Labour being in second place in the seats projection.  The exact reverse occurred in 2016 - Labour clung onto second place in the constituencies, but were pushed into third place in terms of seats due to what happened on the list.  

The phenomenon of the Tories' status as the largest opposition party being seriously threatened should perhaps be seen as a 'house effect' of Survation's methodology, because the last Survation poll showed something similar, but other firms have not corroborated those findings in the meantime.  That said, there's no doubt that the Tories are now performing much more poorly than at the peak of the revival under Ruth Davidson.  The new leader Douglas Ross must take his share of the blame for that, because the position seems to have worsened slightly since he took over, and that's coincided with dire personal ratings for him being reported in a couple of polls.

The situation the Tories now find themselves in is arguably reminiscent of where the SNP were just after they elected John Swinney as leader twenty years ago.  They had it all worked out - Alex Salmond, for all his qualities, had supposedly been too abrasive to make the ultimate breakthrough, whereas John Swinney was more like a friendly older brother, impossible to dislike, a bit of a reassuring bank manager figure in the mould of John Smith.  There was just one snag - the voters didn't react to him in the way they were supposed to react, and polls consistently showed that he commanded less confidence than all three of the other main party leaders.  The SNP weren't deterred - they thought the public just hadn't had enough of a chance to get to know Swinney, and he would become popular with time.  But after four years they finally had to admit to themselves that the dial wasn't moving, resulting in the unexpected comeback for Alex Salmond that changed Scottish politics forever.

Same story with Douglas Ross - the public are supposed to like him, but the public haven't read the script provided for them, and my suspicion is they won't change their minds.  How long will it take for the penny to drop?

More evidence that the tide has gone out on the Conservatives can be found in the result of the Kincorth, Nigg & Cove by-election, which although a routine SNP hold, showed a swing of approximately 4% from Tory to SNP.

Kincorth, Nigg & Cove by-election result (first preferences):

SNP 47.4% (+6.7) 
Conservatives 20.2% (-1.3) 
Labour 12.2% (-5.3) 
Independent - Finlayson 10.5% (-0.4)
Liberal Democrats 3.6% (-1.6)

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Sparkling Survation survey sustains the sequence: eleventh poll in a row to show pro-independence majority

Survation have traditionally been one of the most Yes-friendly pollsters, but oddly that hasn't really been the case during the current spell of sustained pro-independence majorities - they haven't been showing a Yes vote even higher than that reported by other firms (in the way that Ipsos-Mori did, for example).

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 54% (+1)
No 46% (-1)

54% does equal the all-time high for Yes with Survation - but that high was previously recorded long before this year.

In some quarters you'll see this being billed as the twelfth Yes majority in a row, but in my view it's the eleventh - I think to be consistent you really need to only include polls that ask the standard question.

More to follow...