Saturday, June 13, 2020

Who or what is "tone deaf"? Perhaps it's mainstream journalism - which has misread the public mood on independence so completely in recent weeks

There's a deeply puzzling piece in the  Herald today by Tom Gordon.  He refers to the finding from the Panelbase poll commissioned by this blog that a large majority of the public (if Don't Knows are excluded) are supportive of the 'Plan B' option for seeking an independence mandate - ie. if an indyref is blocked by Westminster, the SNP and Greens would simply go ahead and put an outright commitment to independence in their manifestos for a scheduled election.  Tom notes that the SNP's two leading proponents of the idea have seized on the poll results and are pushing for the proposal to be considered at conference - a reaction he considers to be "tone deaf". In fact it's worse than that, what he actually says is...

"There's tone deaf, and there's this."

The implication being that Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny are out of tune with the public mood, and that what voters really want is for the SNP to kick independence into the long grass for a considerable number of years.  Tom thinks the party should use that time to "develop a new prospectus", whatever that means, rather than doing what they were actually elected to do - ie. giving people an urgent choice on Scotland's constitutional future due to the material change of circumstances brought about by Brexit.  

All of this begs an extremely obvious question - one that Tom mysteriously doesn't even attempt to address.  If voters don't want Plan B to be explored, why have they just told a leading polling company that they do?  Do they not know their own minds?  Did they somehow misunderstand the question?  As a reminder, here's the exact wording -

If Boris Johnson and the UK Government manage to block an independence referendum, do you think that pro-independence parties such as the SNP and the Greens should consider including an outright promise of independence in their manifestos for a future election, to give people an opportunity to vote for or against the idea?

That seems pretty difficult to misconstrue.  Remember that a large part of the reason the poll showed such a strong majority in favour is the overwhelmingly positive reaction from both SNP voters and people who would currently vote for independence.  Less than 1% of Yes supporters think it's a bad idea, while 86% give the thumbs up.  You don't have to be much of a mystic to work out what's going on here - a sizeable chunk of the electorate (a majority in this particular poll if Don't Knows are stripped out) want independence, and they're actually serious about it.  They're unhappy that Westminster is using undemocratic means to thwart a referendum, and want a way to be found of overcoming that obstacle.  That shouldn't be any great surprise, given that it was only six months ago that Scotland gave the SNP a landslide majority of seats on a manifesto pledge to hold a referendum this year.  The pandemic has pushed the timing back - no-one in their right mind still wants action to be taken imminently.  But people do want a sense of urgency once the crisis is over, rather than years and years of unproductive thumb-twiddling.

At the start of the pandemic, unionist journalists (Deerin, Massie, et al) were almost unanimous in their assessment that fate had dealt the independence movement a crushing blow, and that the British 'family' was coming back together in a time of adversity.  An avalanche of polls since then - from YouGov, Ipsos-Mori, Survation and Panelbase - has told a radically different story.  Having misread the public's instincts and mood so completely, you'd think these individuals might have the humility to ponder whether it's actually mainstream journalism in this country that has yet again proved itself to be "tone deaf".  But, as per usual, it's doubling down that we're seeing.

Thursday, June 11, 2020

In numbers: the year-on-year increase in support for independence

Let's return briefly to the false claim that was made the other day that public opinion on independence hasn't budged for years.  It's probably best to demonstrate in precise terms why that isn't true, before any myth is allowed to take root.  I've calculated yearly averages for all independence polls in 2018, 2019, and 2020 to date.  As you can see, there has been a clear increase in the Yes vote year on year.

Should Scotland be an independent country?


Yes 45.5%
No 54.5%


Yes 48.5%
No 51.5%


Yes 50.4%
No 49.6%

The only polls I've excluded are the notorious Scotland in Union propaganda polls that were sometimes portrayed in the media as "independence polls", but in fact were nothing of the sort, because independence wasn't even mentioned in the question.  On the other hand, I've included the YouGov / Hanbury poll from earlier this year, which used a non-standard question but with neutral wording.  (If that poll is excluded, the Yes vote for 2020 is even higher.)

So if there has been a gradual increase for Yes, why is it possible to dredge up headlines from past years about Yes being in the lead?  Basically there were a couple of previous purple patches where Yes appeared to be ahead - one was just after the 2014 indyref, when the positivity of the campaign was still fresh in people's minds and when David Cameron appeared set to betray The Vow.  The second was just after the EU referendum, but it didn't last long at all.  There was then a prolonged slump in 2017 and 2018 when both YouGov and Panelbase were consistently showing Yes hovering somewhere between 43% and 45%.  Self-evidently, the situation has improved markedly since those days.

Outside of the two previous purple patches, there has also been the odd individual poll from Ipsos-Mori showing a Yes lead out of the blue.  It's probably no coincidence that Ipsos-Mori are the only firm that don't weight by past vote - although whether that makes them more accurate or less accurate is open for debate.

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: From a Remain country to a Rejoin country - by emphatic 60-40 margin, voters say "Scotland should rejoin the European Union"

When we say there's a mandate to hold a second independence referendum, we're generally (not always, but generally) referring to the SNP's victory in the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, which took place before the EU referendum, and in which the manifesto pledge was conditional on there being a material change of circumstances, such as Scotland being dragged out of the EU against its will.  Unionist parties, and in particular the Tories, have raised a number of hair-splitting objections to the notion that Scotland's democratic will is being disregarded in a way that would make the indyref mandate valid.  For example, they point out that the 62% of the Scottish public who voted Remain were voting for the United Kingdom to continue as a member state of the EU, and were not strictly speaking expressing a view on whether they would want Scotland to stay in if the rest of the UK came out.  This of course carries the wildly implausible implication that Scotland was only ever pro-EU due to the superb quality of representation we received in Brussels from London ministers, but nevertheless that's what they say.  It's also suggested that now that Brexit is a fact on the ground, rejoining the EU is a very different proposition from remaining within it, and that there's no way of knowing whether Scottish voters would really want to rejoin.  So even if Brexit was a breach of Scottish democratic wishes in 2016, that's no longer the case because Scotland supposedly might want to "move on" and make the best of it.

Opinion polls haven't often been much use in clearing away these technical (or perhaps I should say imaginative) objections, because polls showing an enormous pro-EU majority in Scotland were mostly conducted before Brexit Day at the end of January, and generally framed the choice as "Remain" v "Leave", rather than "Rejoin" v "Don't Rejoin".  A lot of them also asked about the UK's status within Europe rather than Scotland's.  And those that did mention Scotland usually tied the issue to independence, which is a cop-out in another sense because there are ways in which Scotland could be part of the EU from within Brexit Britain.  The Tory government (and indeed Labour and the Liberal Democrats) are not remotely interested in exploring that option, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible in theory.  There are three component parts of the state of Denmark (Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark proper) and only one of them is part of the EU.

To get to the heart of the democratic issue that makes the case for Indyref2, the final question in this blog's crowdfunded Panelbase poll is a simple six-word query...

Should Scotland rejoin the European Union?

Yes 60% 
No 40%

(Panelbase poll for Scot Goes Pop, 1st-5th June 2020.   Headline figures exclude Don't Knows.  If Don't Knows are included, the result is Yes 52%, No 35%, DK 14%.)

That won't be a surprise to anyone, but nevertheless it does lay to rest some of the sophistry.  Even though "rejoin" may imply a degree of upheaval to a potentially weary electorate that "remain" doesn't, a 60-40 advantage is well outside the poll's margin of error, which makes it definitive: Scotland does want to be part of the EU in a post-Brexit world, and the casus belli for a second indyref is completely intact.

60-40 is of course just slightly below the 62-38 recorded on referendum day in 2016, and along with concerns about further upheaval, my guess is that the difference can be partly explained by a small percentage of hardline anti-indy voters worrying that by giving a pro-EU response they'd be indirectly giving the green light to independence.  Among people who actually voted against independence six years ago, there's a plurality against Scotland rejoining the EU, although it's fairly narrow (47% to 41%).

The pandemic has temporarily got Labour and the Liberal Democrats off the hook of explaining to Scottish voters how it is possible to be "pro-UK, pro-EU" now that Brexit has happened.  We know what they will say - it'll be that remaining part of Britain is by far the most important thing, and if that's incompatible with EU membership, well that's a shame, but so be it.  That could leave them facing a problem with their own voters, who emphatically want Scotland to rejoin the EU -

2019 Labour voters:

Yes 58%
No 30%

2019 Liberal Democrat voters:

Yes 62%
No 23%

A few people have asked me if I have any information on the 8% of pro-independence voters from the 2014 indyref who now want to stay in the UK.  There's no way from the Panelbase datasets of pinpointing exactly who they are or what motivates them, but one clue is that 87 respondents in the poll (roughly 8% or 9% of the total sample) are Yes voters from 2014 who do not want Scotland to rejoin the EU.  By contrast, only 53 respondents (around 5% of the sample) are currently minded to vote for independence while still wanting Scotland to stay outside the EU.  The difference between those two figures may well imply the existence of a segment of voters who are in principle sympathetic to independence, but who would vote against it because they regard Brexit as a bigger priority.

But remember that there's a pro-independence majority in this poll, and that's come about because a significant number of Remain voters have become converts to independence.  There's a danger of throwing the baby out with the bathwater if we dilute our pitch on the EU in pursuit of the smaller number of Brexiteers we've lost in the other direction.

* * *

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

VIDEO: Preview of tonight's final results from the Scot Goes Pop poll

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: By overwhelming 3-1 margin, Scottish voters say they would be "more safe" if the UK Government's decision-making powers about the lockdown were transferred to the Scottish Government

It's fair to suggest that the Scottish Government has been on something of a 'journey' (as Davina McCall always used to say about Big Brother contestants) over the course of the pandemic.  To begin with, Edinburgh was so much in lockstep with London that Nicola Sturgeon was practically functioning as the Secretary of State for Scotland, with her role being as little more than a (very eloquent) spokesperson for the 'herd immunity' policy that had essentially been decided in Westminster.  Devolution must have looked like a pretty fiction to the public at that point.  But as the horrific consequences of herd immunity became clear, the Scottish Government swung in completely the opposite direction, and demonstrated to the public just how extensive its legal powers are, and how effective they can be in keeping citizens safe.  I'd argue that Scotland has 'felt' more like a self-governing country over the last few weeks than it has done at any time since (at least) the Jacobite rising of 1745-6.

But of course there are limits to the Scottish Government's powers, and the public have also been given a vivid life-and-death demonstration of what those limits are and what practical effect they have.  In the past, voters may only have had the dimmest of ideas of what it would mean for them if the Scottish Parliament had "more powers", but they're now in an excellent position to judge what the impact would be if, for example, Holyrood had control over borders.  I decided to use our crowdfunded Panelbase poll to find out exactly what they think.

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll (1st-5th June 2020):

Some decisions about the lockdown in Scotland, such as whether to keep schools and shops closed, are the responsibility of the Scottish Government.  Other decisions, such as whether to introduce airport checks and border controls, are the responsibility of the UK Government.  Do you think people in Scotland would be more safe or less safe if the UK Government's decision-making powers relating to the lockdown were transferred to the Scottish Government?

More safe: 58%
Less safe: 21%

That result would have been truly staggering until a couple of days ago, but of course it's bang in line with the roughly 3-1 majorities who are now "less convinced" that Scotland is safer if it remains part of the UK, and "more confident" that Scotland will be well-governed if it becomes an independent country.

The pandemic really does seem to have had a transformative effect on underlying attitudes towards constitutional matters.  To see the full extent of that, take a look at some of the surprising groups who feel that the Scottish public would be "more safe" if all decision-making powers relating to the lockdown were transferred to the Scottish Government -

2014 No voters:

More safe: 46%
Less safe: 28%

2019 Labour voters:

More safe: 59%
Less safe: 24%

2019 Liberal Democrat voters:

More safe: 41%
Less safe: 24%

2016 Leave voters:

More safe: 49%
Less safe: 29%

And now we come to what, in my opinion, is the most extraordinary detail from this entire poll.  Conservative voters can normally be relied upon to be absolutely scathing towards any suggestion that Scottish self-rule might be preferable to being run from London, but on this occasion they're evenly divided -

2019 Conservative voters:

More safe: 35%
Less safe: 38%

Perhaps there's nothing quite like a threat to the safety of one's family and friends to help shake off deep-rooted political prejudices.

When you look at these figures, it can be no surprise at all that there is now a pro-independence majority - indeed, perhaps the only puzzling point is that the Yes vote has only risen by 2%.  But it's not hard to see how it could rise further unless the UK parties are able to swiftly restore faith in London rule.

*  *  *

There's one more result to come from the poll, and if you'd like to be the first to know about it, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.  You can also read my piece in The National about last night's 'Plan B' poll results HERE.

*  *  *

You may have seen that Stuart Campbell embarked on yet another angry rant today, this time about the Scot Goes Pop poll.  I had actually already responded to his central accusation before he even posted the article, because he turned up on the comments section here late last night and made the same point (with a fair bit of abusive swearing and playground name-calling chucked in for good measure).  You can read my reply HERE. The only thing I'd add to it is that I really don't know whether to laugh or cry at the glorious irony of his claim that I have written "abusive diatribes" about him. Anyone can see for themselves that the posts he's referring to are scrupulously non-abusive. I'm more than content for the contrast between those posts and Stuart's own legendarily abusive posting style (especially on social media) to speak for itself. He similarly claimed that an iScot article I wrote a few months ago about the Wings Party was "abusive" - but rather undermined that claim by posting a screenshot of the entire article, which helpfully demonstrated there wasn't a single abusive comment in it. He really does make himself look a bit silly with this sort of nonsense.

VIDEO: Preview of Tuesday night's results from the Scot Goes Pop poll

A few points to "consider"

The Reverend Stuart Campbell is unhappy, and that makes us all sad.  His blogpost today has left a lot of people wondering in all seriousness whether he's even an independence supporter anymore, because its sole purpose seems to be to undermine the impact of the new Panelbase poll (commissioned by Scot Goes Pop) showing that Yes is back into the lead.  Why would the most-read Yes blogger make such systematic efforts to sap the morale of his own side?  It's really odd.

His basic point is that there have been "Yes surge" headlines in previous years based on polls showing Yes at 52% or higher, and therefore the "Yes surge" headline relating to this poll's 52% finding must be bogus or misleading.  But here's the thing, Stuart: the Yes vote dipped again after those previous good results.  Now it's gone back up, that's a surge.  Or an increase, or whatever word you'd prefer to use.  It really is just basic arithmetic.

His most disingenuous point is that 52% is 7% lower than the 59% for Yes recorded in a Scotpulse poll immediately after the EU referendum in 2016.  He claims he's being "generous" in "discounting" that result as an "outlier", and notes that Scotpulse are not affiliated to the British Polling Council.  But the problems with that poll went way beyond the lack of BPC membership - after all, Lord Ashcroft is not a BPC member and we still take his polls seriously.  The basic issue is that Scotpulse do not appear to weight their results properly.  The 59% result wasn't reliable, and I said that at the time.  To the best of my knowledge, the best ever Yes showing in a credible poll is 54% with both Survation and ICM.  But 52% is the joint highest ever result for Yes in a Panelbase poll.

Stuart also popped round to the comments section of this blog last night, and if I didn't know he was a fellow fan of milk I'd have concluded he was a little "tired and emotional".  He left a trademark abusive comment complaining about my use of the word "consider" in the Plan B poll question, and suggesting that made me a "hypocrite" because I had previously criticised his use of the same word in one of his own poll questions. When I deleted his comment for being abusive, he then said I was a "coward" and was trying to cover up my "hypocrisy".  Er, no, Stuart, I really did delete your comments because you were behaving like a toddler.

I'm more than happy to have a grown-up discussion with anyone about the reasons for my use of the word "consider", but it's simply a fact that I didn't use it in the same way Stuart did.  He asked whether respondents would "consider" voting for a list-only pro-independence party, and then suggested the percentage of respondents who said they would consider it represented the potential support for a Wings party (even though the Wings party wasn't even mentioned in the question).  That was grossly misleading.  If you ask respondents whether they'd consider voting for a party, they'll think to themselves "I'm a reasonable person, of course I'd consider it".  If you ask them whether they will vote for a party, you'll get a different result.

The question I posed was whether respondents think political parties should consider the "Plan B" option - and that was an appropriate use of the word, because not even proponents of the idea think it should definitely be done.  It depends on circumstances - for example on whether the courts end up closing off any legal route to a consultative referendum (and of course many legal experts don't think that will happen).

Monday, June 8, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll finds that, by a decisive margin, Scottish voters want the SNP and Greens to use an election to seek an outright mandate for independence, if Boris Johnson continues to refuse a Section 30 order

When I asked for your suggestions for questions to add to our crowdfunded Panelbase poll, a number of you wanted me to find out whether the public were in favour of the so-called "Plan B" of using the 2021 Holyrood election to seek an outright mandate for independence, if the Tory government continues to refuse to grant a Section 30 order. I was initially reluctant to ask a question along those lines, because it seemed to me that the pandemic makes the 2021 timing look a lot more ambitious than was previously the case. But it then struck me that it would be possible to ask a question about the general principle of using an election as a de facto referendum, without specifying any date. So it could be the 2021 election, or it could be another scheduled election, or it could even be an early Holyrood election held midway through the 2021-26 parliamentary term. (Nicola Sturgeon doesn't literally have the power to "call" an early election, but under the rules it probably wouldn't be too difficult to bring one about.)

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, 1st-5th June 2020:

If Boris Johnson and the UK Government manage to block an independence referendum, do you think that pro-independence parties such as the SNP and the Greens should consider including an outright promise of independence in their manifestos for a future election, to give people an opportunity to vote for or against the idea?

Yes 49%
No 29%

With Don't Knows excluded, it's roughly...

Yes 63%
No 37%

That's a much more emphatic result than I expected. The five key groups that are all in favour of the proposal are SNP voters (Yes 80%, No 4%), Green voters (Yes 61%, No 29%), independence supporters (Yes 86%, No 1%), Remain voters (Yes 57%, No 21%) and most intriguingly of all Labour voters (Yes 45%, No 35%).

You might remember that our earlier poll in January also found clear public support for the idea of the Scottish Parliament going ahead and legislating for a consultative referendum in the absence of a Section 30 order, and allowing the courts to decide whether it can take place. So we now have polling evidence that voters support both of the two main options for circumventing a Westminster veto - which suggests to me that the wider population basically agrees with the Yes movement that Scotland must have the ability to make a choice on independence and that a "no" from Boris Johnson cannot and must not be the end of the matter. It also suggests that any fears the SNP leadership may harbour about a public backlash if they seek an independence mandate by an 'alternative' means are probably not well-founded. As long as the public understand that this is about facilitating a democratic choice, it looks like voters will be on board.

* * *

UPDATE: I've just caught up with Keith Brown's response to this poll, which I think people will find frustrating, because it doesn't actually engage with the 'Plan B' idea, but nevertheless tries to shut it down in an indirect way that involves a number of red herrings -

"The process by which we choose Scotland’s future must be capable of actually achieving independence. It must allow majority support to be expressed clearly and unambiguously. It must be legal. And it must have the recognition of the international community."

The subtext is that using an election to seek an outright mandate for independence is 'not legal', but that's quite plainly untrue.  In fact it's exactly what the SNP did in every general election until the 1990s.  What would be illegal, at least as far as UK domestic law is concerned, is a unilateral declaration of independence - but that's categorically not what we're talking about here.  We're talking about a method of securing a mandate.  It's up to the UK government to decide whether to respect that mandate - if they do, there would be no question that the independence process would have international recognition.  If they don't, they would come under considerable pressure, both domestically and internationally, to negotiate with the Scottish Government to find a resolution.

*  *  *

There are a couple more questions to come from the poll. To be the first to know when they're released, you can follow me on Twitter HERE. You can also read my piece in The National about last night's Holyrood voting intention results HERE.

Sunday, June 7, 2020

Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll: SNP on course to win almost every single Scottish seat at Westminster, while the Tories and Lib Dems would be WIPED OUT - Scottish Parliament looks set for a big SNP overall majority with Labour and the Tories facing substantial seat losses

Before I saw the results of the new Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, the trend I found easiest to predict was a sharp decline for the Tories.  They've been going backwards at a rate of knots in recent Britain-wide polls, especially since the Cummings scandal, and I couldn't see any particular reason why it would be a different story in Scotland.  What I didn't foresee, though, is that this change of fortune would put the SNP in the zone of potentially winning virtually every single Westminster seat in Scotland - slightly more than they won even at their high watermark of 2015.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election (Scot Goes Pop / Panelbase poll, 1st-5th June 2020):

SNP 51% (+1)
Conservatives 21% (-5)
Labour 19% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)
Greens 2% (n/c)

Seats projection: SNP 58 (+10), Labour 1 (n/c)

(Note: Percentage changes are measured from the last Panelbase poll, which was commissioned by Wings Over Scotland and conducted in early May.  Changes on the seats projection are measured from the actual result of the 2019 general election.)

The seats projection doesn't include the words "Conservatives 0 (-6), Liberal Democrats 0 (-4)", because why should we treat them differently to any other fringe parties?  Don't even mention parties that win zero seats and then people will forget they exist.  But, no, in all seriousness, the Electoral Calculus projection model really does suggest that both the Tories and the Lib Dems would be totally wiped out on these figures.  In reality, the likelihood is that the Lib Dems would hold Orkney & Shetland as they did in 2015, but it's not entirely inconceivable that the Tories could be removed from the Scottish map on 21% of the vote - and that says more about the absurdity of the voting system than about anything else.  But, hey, the Tories are the most enthusiastic cheerleaders for first-past-the-post, so they're in no position to complain.

Although the Tory vote share is substantially down since the last poll and also since the general election, it may surprise you to learn that they've actually been lower than 21% on a few occasions within the last eighteen months.  The lowest figure I can find is 18% in two Panelbase polls in May and June of 2019.  But that was during the brief heyday of the Brexit Party, when Farage was successfully wooing the type of hardline Tory voter that other parties don't have a hope of reaching.  There's no equivalent alibi for the Tory slump this time - their lost votes have instead gone to mainstream parties of the centre-left and the centre.  3% of Conservative voters from the general election are now in the SNP column, 8% have gone to Labour, and 2% to the Liberal Democrats.

Although Labour are not projected to gain any seats, there may be an indication here that the Starmer bounce south of the border is being partly replicated in Scotland.  19% is Labour's highest vote share in any poll (by any firm) since the general election.  However, all that means is they're back to where they started under Corbyn on polling day in December - which falls short of their current performance in England, where they're now comfortably outscoring their general election vote share.  They're plainly being hampered in Scotland by the wide appeal of the SNP.  It's telling that Labour have retained a significantly lower percentage of their voters from December (76%) than the Tories have (86%).  Roughly one-sixth of people who voted Labour are now minded to vote SNP, although those switchers have been offset by other voters moving towards Labour (partly from unionist parties).

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 53% (n/c) 
Conservatives 21% (-2)
Labour 16% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (+1)
Greens 3% (n/c)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 48% (n/c) 
Conservatives 19% (-3)
Labour 16% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 8% (+2)
Greens 7% (n/c)

Seats projection: SNP 72 (+9), Conservatives 25 (-6), Labour 19 (-5), Liberal Democrats 8 (+3), Greens 5 (-1)

The Holyrood pattern is very similar to the Westminster trends, with the Tories polling lower than they have for months.  In fact their 19% on the regional list vote equals their lowest ebb during the Brexit Party surge last year.

There's been no further progress for the SNP, but that's not surprising given that they must already have been pretty close to their absolute ceiling of support anyway.  They're on course for an overall single-party majority of fifteen seats - which would be an almost unbelievable feat under a proportional representation system.  I don't think enough has been said about just how phenomenal it is that they've been consistently polling in the mid-to-high 40s on the list ballot this year.  Throughout the whole of 2019 they never scored higher than 39% on the list in any poll from any firm.  Some of the improvement can probably be explained by the change of weighting scheme after the general election - but not all of it.

The pro-independence parties in combination would have 77 seats if this poll was replicated on polling day, and the anti-independence parties in combination would have only 52.  That's roughly a 60/40 split in favour of independence.  There's also a clear pro-independence majority in the popular vote on both ballots (56% in the constituencies, 55% on the list). Whatever type of mandate the pro-indy parties end up seeking next year - whether it's for a referendum or for independence - they clearly have the opportunity of gaining an immaculate one.

For the first time, the Conservatives will have to start seriously contemplating the possibility of dropping back significantly from the 31-seat haul they won under Ruth Davidson in their breakthrough year of 2016.  Obviously proportional representation would cushion their fall and there would be no wipeout of the sort that is a possibility at Westminster, but slipping to 25 seats would still be a humbling experience for them.

It must be dispiriting for Labour that the minor progress they've made under Starmer leaves them significantly below their performance under Corbyn and Kezia Dugdale in 2016, and thus on course to lose more seats and slump to yet another new all-time low of Holyrood representation.  It doesn't help matters for them that a full one-quarter of people who voted Labour in the general election would vote SNP on the constituency ballot - although that partly just reflects the fact that some people will always vote differently in Holyrood and Westminster elections, with Holyrood more of a "home fixture" for the SNP.

*  *  *

There are several more questions to come from the poll.  To be the first to know when they're released, you can follow me on Twitter HERE.  You can also read my Sunday National piece about last night's results HERE.

VIDEO: Preview of tonight's third installment of the new Scot Goes Pop poll