Should Scotland be an independent country? (Savanta ComRes)
Yes 58% (+5)
No 42% (-5)
Even if this poll proves to be an outlier, it's pretty much impossible to reconcile it with a situation in which Yes is moving backwards. At worst it means that nothing much has changed since the summer, and at best it means we've taken another big step forward. It's also, of course, the sixteenth poll in a row to put Yes ahead on the standard indy question, and the seventeenth in a row if you add in a Progress Scotland poll that used a non-standard format.
Today's results are from a new series of monthly polls commissioned by The Scotsman - and whatever you think of that publication, it's a very welcome development. Scotland, at this stage in its political story, is crying out for regular polling, and yet the monthly Herald/System Three series that ran for decades is now a long-distant memory. Curiously, The Scotsman have opted to slightly blunt the impact of their first poll by billing the 58% Yes vote as merely the joint highest ever - which is true, but only if you count a poll that used a completely different data collection method (an Ipsos-Mori telephone poll in October).
I'm on record as saying many times that if Nicola Sturgeon intends to wait until Yes hits a sustained 60% in the polls before doing anything, she'll wait forever and Scotland will never become independent. I was asked this morning if the ComRes numbers have changed my mind about that. As ever, the answer is no: we still haven't reached 60%, and even if we eventually do in the occasional poll, it's unlikely to be on a sustained basis. But hopefully now we've actually reached these giddy heights, the penny may have dropped with the leadership that we don't need anything over and above this. And Keith Brown's repeated use of the words "settled will" would appear to support that interpretation.
Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:
SNP 55% (+5)
Conservatives 20% (-3)
Labour 16% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)
Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:
SNP 42% (+1)
Conservatives 20% (-1)
Labour 17% (-1)
Greens 12% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-)
Again, these numbers contradict most recent polls which have shown modest movement against the SNP. However, I would still guess the SNP might be underestimated on the list vote (and the Greens overestimated) due to the Survation-like way in which ComRes pose the list question, which may lead to some people replying as if they were being asked for a second preference vote.
In fairness to Douglas Ross, his net favourability rating of -9 isn't quite as poor as in other polls, but it's still miles behind Nicola Sturgeon's, slightly behind Patrick Harvie's, and no better than Willie Rennie's. This is plainly not what the Tories hoped for or expected when they defenestrated Jackson Carlaw. They'll be particularly perturbed that just 16% of respondents regard Ross as "charismatic". Presumably he would never have been hand-picked unless he had been expected to be seen as charismatic, so the experiment really isn't working out.