Friday, October 16, 2020
SNP's victory in Ellon & District by-election is proof that the surge has reached Tory-friendly areas
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Bloody hell, the BBC website is actually covering the Ipsos-Mori poll. So the answer to the question, how many Yes-majority polls does it take to get the BBC to report the story, is "about ten in a row".— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) October 14, 2020
It might be worth starting with a discussion of how many ''in a row" it actually is, because that's no longer such a straightforward question. The first port of call for many people will be Wikipedia's list of polls (if only because it's top of the search engine rankings), which suggests we've now had ten Yes majorities in a row - but that's including the Survation/Progress Scotland poll, which asked a "non-standard question". The snag is that it's only a few weeks since Wikipedia's inclusive policy towards non-standard questions stretched as far as Scotland in Union's notorious propaganda polls using the "Remain in the UK/Leave the UK" format. If those polls were still being included, we'd currently only be on three Yes-majority polls in a row, because believe it or not there was a poll as recently as mid-September that purported to show a majority for "remaining in the UK". For my money, the most logical approach is to only include polls that ask the standard, binary-choice independence question, and on that basis it's nine Yes majorities in a row.
The BBC website's unexpected acknowledgement of the Ipsos-Mori poll came in the form of an analysis piece by John Curtice, who surprised me somewhat in the angle he took. He suggested that we'd need further polls before knowing whether "the higher level of support for Yes" is just "random variation". I actually think it's highly unlikely that there has been a further recent increase in the Yes vote, but I don't think the 58% in the Ipsos-Mori poll is random variation either - it's almost certainly caused by methodology. If you look back over recent years, telephone polls by Ipsos-Mori have again and again stood out for producing better results for Yes than online polls conducted at around the same time. For example, the most recent Ipsos-Mori poll before yesterday was in the middle of last year's general election campaign, and showed an exact 50-50 split. Online polls during the campaign consistently had No ahead.
Incidentally, it may not be just the telephone data collection method that sets Ipsos-Mori apart - I believe I'm right in saying that they also only weight by demographics, and not by past vote recall. That probably makes it easier for Yes to poll well. The datasets show that the weighted sample for the new poll was made up of 398 people who recalled voting Yes in 2014, and only 375 people who recalled voting No. It might seem obvious that this undermines the credibility of the poll's results, but I'm not sure it's as simple as that - we're now more than six years on from the indyref, and pollsters who do weight by recalled vote are taking a big gamble that their respondents will accurately remember votes that were cast a very long time ago.
Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:
Liberal Democrats 8%
Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:
Liberal Democrats 8%
Seats projection: SNP 73 (+10), Conservatives 22 (-9), Labour 15 (-9), Greens 10 (+4), Liberal Democrats 9 (+4)
Pro-independence parties 83 seats (+14), anti-independence parties 46 seats (-14)
Those are truly abysmal figures for both the Tories and Labour - the former are down in the teens, and the latter are barely even in the teens. It's hard to say which of the two parties should feel more chastened.
I have more analysis of the poll in The National - you can read it HERE.
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Wednesday, October 14, 2020
58% Yes: Writing is on the wall for the United Kingdom as support for indy hits record high in telephone poll
Since the independence referendum in 2014, there's been a general trend that telephone polling has produced better results for Yes than online polling - an exact reversal of what was the case before the referendum. Unfortunately the recent period of Yes majorities has coincided with a total absence of telephone polls, so although I did wonder aloud a few times whether the differential was continuing and a telephone poll might produce something over and above a Yes vote in the low-to-mid 50s, there was no way of knowing for sure. Luckily STV have now resumed their long-running series of telephone polls with Ipsos-Mori, and the result is not a disappointment.
Progress Scotland poll: By 3-1 margin, voters want the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government to have control over all decisions affecting the people of Scotland's lives
Tuesday, October 13, 2020
Progress Scotland poll: Humiliation for Boris Johnson as just 12% of the Scottish public say he has handled the pandemic well
Agree or disagree that the Scottish/UK government is...?
UK Govt: Agree 41%, Disagree 34%
Scottish Govt: Agree 57%, Disagree 18%