Sunday, May 30, 2021

Two weeks late, here's some analysis of the first post-election independence poll

I'm not entirely sure how I missed this, but I've just routinely checked the Wikipedia list of independence polls to see if there's anything new, and it turns out there was one a couple of weeks ago - the first post-election independence poll.

Should Scotland be an independent country?  (Savanta ComRes / Scotsman)

Yes 47% (+1)
No 53% (-1)

However, it appears that rounding may have disguised a slightly bigger reduction in the No lead, because before Don't Knows are excluded the figures are Yes 43% (+1), No 47% (-3).

I wondered aloud after the election whether the feel-good factor from the SNP's landslide win would produce a boost in the Yes vote, and whether that might put Yes into an outright lead.  On the face of if, the answer to the first question is 'yes' and the answer to the second question is 'no'.  However, I'm just going to be slightly cautious until I see a poll from a firm other than ComRes, who have produced some very weird numbers in the last few months.  They had to retrospectively change some of their headline results due to a calculation error, and of course they were also caught up in the notorious #Matchettgate fake poll scandal - although that was almost certainly Scotland on Sunday's fault, not theirs.

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A few housekeeping notes -

* I received an email about a week or ten days ago saying nine more people had donated to the Scot Goes Pop fundraiser and between them had contributed around £300.  That didn't make any sense, because I haven't been promoting the fundraiser for a few weeks (I thought I'd better wait until the election was out of the way), and there's no sign of the donations on the crowdfunder page.  It was probably just a rogue email, but if anyone did donate at around that time, let me know so I can check for any discrepancies.

* I've finally found the setting on Soundcloud that makes the Scot Goes Pop podcasts "proper" downloadable podcasts.  So if you'd like to download any of the nine episodes so far, you can now do so HERE.  (Go to an individual podcast, and look for a drop-down menu with a 'download' option.  It appears to only be there on the desktop version of the site, unless I'm still missing something.)

* For ages now, people who post Scot Goes Pop posts on Facebook have complained about bogus warnings of graphic or sensitive content.  Someone suggested to me that it may be my profile photo that's causing the problem, because the bots may be misinterpreting my raised finger as something else.  So when I have a moment, I'll try changing the photo to see if it makes any difference.


  1. What is disheartening is that so many years after 2014 Yes are still not showing a healthy lead, even after the shit show of the last 3 years or so. How bad do Westminster and the Tory/Labour cabal have to do before people want to take back control? Nothing seems to make a difference, and despite all the rhetoric from Yes supporters, and even taking into account the SNP's slowly slowly attitude I feel that should another referendum be held, even in 2 years time, the figures will still be showing the same result.

    1. That doesn't really matter, though, because we know that any big changes are likely to occur once the campaign is underway, not before. (Or to put it another way, it only matters in the sense that it might give the SNP leadership a bogus excuse for yet further delay.)

    2. That's what everyone has been saying in response to the never never party and wet pishfart. There's not going be any real sustained lead for Yes until people are motivated to choose.
      Still, we now have absolute proof that there isn't any money to fight a referendum so the point is mo

    3. Comres were the least accurate pollster ahead of the election. Final poll had the snp on just 42% for the constituency when they actually got 48%. That's way outside MoE.

  2. Prof Poltice has added some data showing a 50/50 post election poll to his WST site.

    Some outfit I didn't know.

    1. Stak data is one of Hanburys brand names

      Hanbury's last poll was end of March 53/47 in favor of yes

    2. Thanks, so no change then (with MoE).

      Remains absolutely neck and neck.

      I suspect it will continue to do so until Scots feel the time is right for the vote.

      After all, these polls ask about a hypothetical snap poll held 'tomorrow', so if you don't want that, but are fine with say one in Spring 2022 where you'd vote Yes, the correct answer is No. And that is how people answer as if they were not doing so, the question would be flawed! It's also the best way to say to the government 'haud yer horses!'.

      So our ~50% for indy are now our baseline who will vote Yes no matter what, even first thing the morn. They don't need a plan. They don't care about currency. Scotland is their country and the union is dead to them. But the 5% or so that took us higher previously are not there yet, for them events dictate things and we see ebb and flow. SNP need to work to their timetable if it wants them to vote Yes and ensure a clear victory.

      This is why I'm on the cautious side here. I think we could win a snap referendum, but at the same time we might not actually be 50% baseline yet, but slightly under. What a mess it would be if we got 49.9%.

      In a Year, natural demographics will take the baseline above 50% for sure and for good. Then we can hold a vote at our leisure.

  3. Ok, here is what I mean by 'baseline Yes' and why I think we are pretty much there, but maybe just a little below. I want to win and have good reason for my views. They are my own; not from English Yes party hating blogs or ‘SNP central’.

    As you can see, since the prospect of indy became real in 2011, the bigger picture is that Yes has grown every year steadily by about 1.3%/yr. There is a clear baseline present, which deep down is being driven by demographic changes and associated national identity. Scotland is becoming more Scottish every day. Young people are just not British, but Scottish only. They are the children of Thatcher (me – she broke Britishness in Scotland) then devo. They are like normal people from other countries; Scotland is their country as France is for the French. The older generation have a split relic identity associated with the post war consensus Britain. A land of British industry and institutions. Of the birth of the NHS. Of a post-war economic boom that first created an idea of Britishness.

    On top of our baseline, between it and the 'upper bound', you have people who are more definitely more Scottish than British, but tied somewhat the to the latter, and more cautious (this includes new Scots, including English Scots etc). Their support for indy comes in waves, such as in reaction to events. But it can reverse as they get could feet or want to haud a wee bit.

    The good news is that these 'above baseline' people do tend to swing our way it seems. They did so ahead of 2014 and gave us our 45% rather than ~40% data suggests. In 2015, with no prospect of a referendum, even more jumped on board I suspect, to try pressure the UK into better devo. As a result, I think the 2015 point is a bit anomalous in terms of being so high. It's a 'no referendum going to happen any time soon' point.

    Anyway, 2016 saw indy back on the table with brexit, but after our wavering folks initially backed it right after the vote (prompting Sturgeon to push and seek an S30), they then retreated and we stayed at baseline 2017-2019 as you can see. Yes slowly edged up, but it was always consistently at the lower bound; only our 'Solid Scots who would always vote Yes' were saying Yes. The wavering ones were saying 'now is not the time' which is why London used that line. They poll Scots too; they had reason to choose that approach. Maybe Yes would have won if a vote had occurred, but data suggest only by 2019 did this look narrowly possible, even with all the wavering jumping on board.

    By 2020 the pandemic caused another surge to yes. Just like Brexit, this is a response to the electorate feeling out of control wanting to counter that with Scotland having more control through indy. But as the pandemic has receded, so has the surge. However, the underlying demographics are eating away at the union by around 1.3% per year as noted, and that has now, it seems, caused baseline yes to hit 50%. Actually ever so slightly below at face value. Hence my own caution.

    Looks like 2022 will be 51-56% yes on current decadal trends. Certainly, the evidence says it looks like it's guaranteed if we are patient. But if we move to early and things go wrong, it may be another 5 years / parliamentary term.

    The good news though, as noted, is that it seemed our wavering folk came good in 2014. So we can be hopefully they do next time. That should carry things from a narrow Yes to a ‘once in a lifetime’ 55% say.

    The Brexit s**t is now hitting the fan. The UK is in meltdown over it, Scotland and N. Ireland. Johnson is an imbecile who will be turned on by his own soon enough. This is why everything is being plastered in union flags while Wills and Kate desperately do the tartan thing in an attempt to win over the peasants. Last days of Rome.

    I think we'll be good to go in 2022.

    1. This is a sensible analysis. The 45% to 50% that simply are committed to independence come what may seem to be rock solid, to the extent they are prepared to vote SNP in the last Holyrood election despite the last SNP Government's shambolic, dispiriting and probably corrupt last innings. But the 45%-50% are hanging in there solid in their ongoing support for independence almost despite everything the SNP conspires to do to discourage them. Frankly the SNP don't deserve them.
      What should happen is that the SNP now transform themselves into an efficient radical administration (a la 2007), get on with implementing policies that are important to the people of Scotland and preparing and campaigning for indy on a permanent basis. An essential first step is to get rid of Murrell and allow the finances to be made transparent. Murrell is an absolute dead-weight.

    2. Thanks. I hope it makes folk realise we are really so close.

      In terms of SNP accounts; these are all online on the Electoral Commission Website if folk want a look. All parties must do this, and at some point we'll get to see Alba's too.

      Also, I read that the police have followed up some unionist complaints and found no evidence for any 'missing cash' in the SNP accounts. This is hardly a shock of course.

      Given the SNP have an income of more than £5m a year, they can call on a lot of cash as needed for a Yes push. The cash from Westminster due to the high number of Yes MPs is particularly nice. Must really f off the English government that they are funding an indy party :-)

      But then it's Scots taxes, so we deserve it!

    3. Why don't the SNP explain fully how the £600k has been accounted for? Stating that it has been "woven through the accounts" is utterly ridiculous.

      The accounts received an unqualified audit report, which indicates that that auditors were happy with the treatment of the funds, so why not just tell us?