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.


  1. Dear Nicola, can we bring the election forward a bit please?
    Asking for a few million friends.

  2. On a matter of principle, do you think the UK govt should engage on another independence referendum if a party/parties that promise another referendum get a majority of seats, but not a majority of votes?

    I don’t want another referendum unless it’s clear that that’s what most Scots want, in which case I’ll concede there should be one.

    1. If a majority of MSPs vote it through, iref2 happens. Democracy couldn't function otherwise. How parliaments are elected in terms of PR etc is another matter.

      If Scots don't want indy, they can just vote No anyway. It's not as if it's some sort of heinous torture to pop along the local polling station and put an X in a box. In fact, you don't even have to bother if you can't be ersed.

      I've never understood the fear that unionism seems to have about voting. I've always enjoyed it myself, even if my side lost.

      If Scots want indy, they should have it. If they don't, they'll say no like they did last time. There's really no harm in it.

    2. This "majority of votes" idea only works in binary choice referendum. It has no place in a parliamentary democracy. The democratic principle and the claim of right means that if a parliament is elected with a majority of representatives who have been elected on a manifesto commitment to hold a referendum then that referendum should happen because we live in a functioning democracy.
      If you support the blocking of the referendum even when a parliament is elected which supports then you are no longer a supporter of parliamentary democracy.

      I realise this is tough for you....but be careful what you wish for. The only righteous course of action for someone in your position is to support a manifestoed referendum (because you believe in parliamentary democracy) and then work your socks off to persuade folk that the union is the best option and win your point at the ballot box..

    3. But the governing Westminster party can enforce a hard Brexit with less than 50% of the popular vote. Somewhat hypocritical no ?

    4. Fair points. I’d like to comment on some of your statements if I may (not a criticism, just an argument):

      ‘ If a majority of MSPs vote it through, iref2 happens’

      That didn’t happen last time though. Why should the UK govt agree to it this time if a majority of votes go to unionist/anti-referendum parties?

      ‘ If Scots don't want indy, they can just vote No ayway.’

      But then you could have a referendum every week. How much time would you give it?

      ‘In fact, you don't even have to bother if you can't be ersed.‘

      A good reason for the UK govt to require a majority of the entire electorate to vote yes.

      ‘ I've never understood the fear that unionism seems to have about voting’

      The fear of loss. The more frequent the referendums, the greater the chance of a loss, especially if it’s 51%-49% and the thought that unionism would have won a month before/after.

    5. Ok, I meant 'should be allowed to happen'. It's up to a government to choose whether to progress with a policy. The SNP chose not to push hard for iref2 in this term because it was kind obvious they'd lose, again. The electorate gave them a fairly decent warning on this in 2017.

      So they pursued the 'right' to hold it, and that seems to have done the trick in terms of getting a majority for Yes. English toff wankers calling Scots 'vermin owned by England' was always going to be a vote winner. Of course if they electorate were really angry at the SNP for not actually holding iref2, they can punish them in May 2021.

      Yes, a vote every week is perfectly acceptable. That's democracy. People can vote No every week and then make any unhappiness with the SNP known in May 2021. Which is why such a scenario is fantasy, and in fact the SNP have held off, trying to get majority support before actually pushing hard again for iref2, much to the retrospective annoyance of (concern troll) unionists, who now are demanding an iref be held back in 2018 when they'd have won.

      No, a terrible idea and very anti-demoractic. in a true democracy, I can:
      1. Vote for A, B, C etc
      2. Spoil my ballot to oppose A, B, C and make my unhappiness known
      3. stay in bed and say 'I'm fine with what others decide'.

      Also, it would be the Scottish government deciding the franchise, so they could say 'The Union needs a majority of the electorate to win', which I'd also oppose as anti-democratic. And anyway, you can't lose elections then decide franchises; if the Tories win an election in Scotland, they can hold a referendum here, deciding for example that unionism needs a majority of the whole electorate to win. If they win a UK election, they can hold a UK referendum.

      I feared losing 2014 but supported it happening. And lost. It's not fear of losing, but fear of democracy, which is very scary. If you fear voting to the extent you want it stopped or blocked, you are a fascist.

      I didn't want the UK to leave the UK, but I would never have agreed to a vote on it being blocked.

      The EU vote itself hasn't damaged the UK, it's the government's handling of it and the outcome that is trashing things. But then brits chose that shitstorm freely.

      A Yes vote will be harmless. Whether things do well or bad after it will depend on Scots and the governments they select. But then that's the idea; to have Scots politicians screwing it up rather than someone else's doing that to us.

    6. Union 2.0 - now you crossing that line of temptation (I believe in democracy except when I don't).
      No one is talking about an referendum every week - the neverendum jibe is childish nonsense. There are fresh reasons (e.g. Brexit, Westminster contempt) why the Scottish people may well express a desire in May to "think again". This is how democracy works - if you have problems with this, then you cross that line. Good luck to you on the other side.

      "Majority of the electorate". Same as above. We both know that if you don't vote, you don't count. All you are doing is loading the bases so you get the result that you want. Wrong in principle.

    7. Points accepted SS, but you won’t blame me for looking for ways to keep Britain together, at least in a loose way, and especially when polls suggest unionism is in the minority.

      Ian: Accepted but how many years would you set it at? As for the majority of the electorate, many countries require supermajorities to be sure it’s the settled long term will - e.g. the US constitution needs a 67% majority.

  3. Interesting to look at the comparison between those “born in Scotland” and “born elsewhere.

    Back in 2014, those born outwith Scotland were 16.5% of the electorate, and 2:1 in favour of remaining part of the UK.

    Now they are 21%, and there is less difference from those born here,

    As they used to say of the English in Ireland, “many have gone native”, though I suspect that part of this is the enthusiasm of EU citizens resident in Scotland to vote for indy.

    On indy 54% of those born elsewhere would vote Yes, compared with 53% of those born in Scotland. 42% of the “born elsewhere”s would vote No against 41% of the “native born”.

    54% of those born in Scotland would vote SNP in constituencies and 49% on the List. The “elsewhere’s” would vote 48% SNP in constituencies and 38% on the List.

  4. Trust in parties

    ” How much, if at all, would you say you trust [SNP/SCon/Slab] to deal effectively with …” (A great deal/quite a lot : Not very much/not at all)

    Covid : SNP 74/23 : SCon 31/63 : SLab 34/57
    Standing up for Sco : SNP 75/22 : SCon 30/66 : SLab 36/58
    NHS : SNP 66/31 : SCon 29/65 : SLab 42/52
    Inequality : SNP 65/30 : SCon 26/68 : SLab 42/51
    Economy : SNP 59/38 : SCon 32/63 : SLab 31/64
    Education : SNP 59/38 : SCon 33/61 : SLab 40/52

    Given the constant (and misleading) attacks on NHS and education by the Tories and the MSM, their lack of penetration to the electorate is encouraging.

    1. I wouldn't trust a government which tells me men can get pregnant to run a bath, nevermind deal with any sort of disease.

    2. Neither would I. Where on earth is this government? Or is this just a philosophical statement?

  5. I recall in 2013/14 the red and blue Tories demanding the SG "Call the referendum now!".
    The YES vote was around 25/30% in the opinion polls at the time.
    Now EnglandUKs best chance of hanging onto Scotland is down to chancers like Galloway, Brown and Baroness Davidson.
    They'll not trust Ross with a whistle.
    56% is great but we have to maintain unity through to May and beyond.

  6. Wonder what would be the result if the SNP warned Labour voters who want Indy that they'd scupper the chances of an Indyref by keeping on voting Labour?
    40% of the Labour vote would deliver a landslide mandate for Indyref2 if they lent their vote to the SNP.

    1. There’s always that chance. I’ve always thought we need labour onside - party or members. But a ‘warning’ won’t sway those still inclined to vote labour. It’ll need a simple clear election promise.