Saturday, October 31, 2020

A bit more on that incredible JL Partners poll

Just a quick note to let you know I have a piece in The National about yesterday's JL Partners poll, which showed the pro-independence vote at an all-time high (in online polling) of 56%.  You can read the article HERE.

Friday, October 30, 2020

History made again as Yes vote soars to 56% - the highest ever in an online poll

Today brings word of something of an oddity - the first ever poll on independence conducted by a firm called JL Partners, which doesn't seem to be affiliated to the British Polling Council (or not yet, at any rate).  However, the pedigree of the people running it appears to be beyond question.  How and why the poll was commissioned is unclear, because the fieldwork took place well over a month ago, meaning it is less recent than the Savanta ComRes poll that put Yes on 53%, or the legendary Ipsos-Mori telephone poll that had Yes on an all-time high of 58%. For some reason the results have been held back until publication today in Politico, who don't appear to have been the clients.  

Should Scotland be an independent country?  (JL Partners, 17th-21st September 2020)

Yes 56%
No 44%

As far as I can see this is the highest ever Yes vote in an online poll, slightly exceeding the 55% recorded in a Panelbase poll commissioned by Business for Scotland in August.  I would usually add the caveat that it's difficult to find records of polls conducted in the early days of devolution, when TNS/System Three quite often reported pro-independence majorities.  However, to the best of my recollection those were all face-to-face polls, and I don't think there was anything quite like this anyway.

I think there may well be something in the suspicion that has been expressed in the comments section that this was originally an internal poll - maybe for the UK government, maybe for a political party, or maybe for a very well-financed unionist organisation.  The giveaway is the sheer number of supplementary questions that were asked.  I can imagine a pollster self-funding a poll on independence to advertise its services, but there's no way it would go to quite these lengths.  So the million dollar question is: why would a unionist client want to belatedly publicise some extremely negative results? Perhaps there's some kind of internal battle going on, and someone wants to change the narrative.  The poll has been framed as reflecting very badly on Boris Johnson's leadership (and in fairness it objectively *does* reflect very badly on Boris Johnson's leadership), so that may be a little clue.

Scottish voting intentions for next UK general election: 

SNP 56%
Conservatives 18%
Labour 15%
Liberal Democrats 7%
Greens 3%

This appears to be the SNP's best ever vote share in a Westminster poll - even in the run-up to the 2015 election they didn't exceed 54%. It's also the Tories' worst showing, and their first sub-20 showing, in a Westminster poll since last year's election.  Labour, meanwhile, have equalled their lowest share since last December.

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions: 

SNP 58%
Conservatives 18%
Labour 12%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Greens 2%

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 54%
Conservatives 18%
Labour 13%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Greens 5%

Those are obviously catastrophic results for the Tories, but it gets worse.  There's also a question on public attitudes towards the Conservative party, and it brutally unmasks the extent of hatred among people who don't vote Tory.  73% have a negative view, and only 22% have a positive view - just barely above the actual current Tory vote, which is already down to the abysmally low levels John Major was receiving in the mid-to-late 90s.  The whole Ruth Davidson circus might as well never have happened.

Thursday, October 29, 2020

Starmer foolishly chooses the path of internal division

It seems a very long time ago now that the Labour leadership contest was underway and Paul Mason was describing Sir Keir Starmer, seemingly with a straight face, as one of the "left" candidates.  That looked a bit of a stretch even at the time, but it's true that Starmer was presenting himself as reasonably equidistant between Corbynism and Blairism, and as someone who wouldn't trash either period of the party's history and who could bring different factions together.  Today that pretence has been cast to the wind.  There has clearly been a pre-planned drive, straight out of the Blair play-book, to demonstrate to the public by some theatrical means that Labour has "changed".  The sacking of Rebecca Long Bailey and the suspension of Jeremy Corbyn wouldn't have been precisely mapped out in advance, but there can be little doubt that the new leadership were just waiting for even the slenderest of opportunities.

In my view this is a terrible strategic misjudgement from Starmer.  You don't suspend the person who was leader of your party only six months ago (and at the general election less than a year ago) on such feeble grounds, or if you do, you can expect to reap the consequences.  This is how you entrench intra-party warfare, and the electorate generally punish parties perceived to be divided.  Blair got away with it in the 1990s because the left had essentially already been vanquished by Neil Kinnock and John Smith.  That is not the situation just now - Corbynism remains a strong force within Labour, and research shows that a large proportion of the Labour membership regard Corbyn as having been one of their party's best ever leaders.  One extreme outcome could be a Corbynite exodus to a new party, which would be a lose/lose for all concerned - a new left-wing force would be highly unlikely to win any seats at the next election, but it could well knock a few percentage points off Labour's own vote and help keep the Tories in power.


Wednesday, October 28, 2020

Housekeeping Note

Apologies to everyone for switching pre-moderation on, then off, then back on again.  I'm afraid this Hokey Cokey routine may be the pattern of things to come, because I'm simply no longer willing to tolerate our resident troll, and he just doesn't seem to have got the memo.  I know people will say "oh but you put up with GWC for years", but this latest character is much darker - he's profoundly racist (against Scots and others), homophobic, and just about every other facet of bigotry you can think of.  A fair proportion of the Jockbashing trolling is directed at me personally ("Hey Scotty the Scrounger, Get Bedxit Done", etc, etc) and I make no apology for saying that has played a part in my decision.

Of course there are also troll comments from other directions, and I was particularly bemused by a lengthy anonymous comment yesterday from a chap who pompously informed me that he was going to stop reading the blog because I had failed to apply any critical thought to the story about my sister's phone being found under twenty feet of sand on Gullane beach.  Honestly, if you feel the need for a self-important rant of that sort, take it elsewhere.  I simply related the story as I had picked it up, and no, I didn't stop to consider whether the twenty feet thing was feasible.  I now gather it was actually twenty centimetres.  A shout-out to Latvia, by the way, because at least one of the couple who found the phone is Latvian.  They go metal detecting in different locations every weekend and are hoping one day they might find a Roman coin.

Turning to another subject, the fundraiser for the next Scot Goes Pop poll has reached its target - in fact as things stand it's exceeded the target by precisely £1!  A million thanks to everyone who donated - both large and small donations were absolutely crucial to getting us there.  I had a real blast from the past earlier today - my old 'friend' from the 2014 indyref, Lap Gong Leong, contacted me from Hong Kong with a couple of suggestions for poll questions.  In fairness they were perfectly reasonable suggestions, and I'll consider them with all the other great suggestions that you've left in the comments section.  Hopefully we'll get some more good results from the poll - but, as always, remember there are no guarantees.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Viva Metal Detectors

Those of you who follow me on Twitter may recall that, several weeks ago, I mentioned that my sister had lost her phone on Gullane beach.  I tried all the obvious things - apart from Twitter, I also posted on several East Lothian buy & sell groups, and a couple of days later we went back to Gullane and retraced her steps.  It became painfully obvious at that point that high tide covers most of the beach, and the place where she thought she had most likely dropped the phone was submerged in water.  So we pretty much abandoned hope of getting it back.

But a few days ago, she was contacted by a couple in Edinburgh with a metal detector.  They had found it buried under twenty feet of sand.  They then dried it out with rice for three days, managed to get it charged up, and found my sister's contact details on it.  We've just received it back from them.  Almost unbelievable.