Friday, March 12, 2021

The choice in May is simple: either keep the flame of independence burning, or extinguish it completely until 2026

The other day, I challenged Wings readers to ask Stuart what his plan was for using this election to bring independence closer, rather than push it further way.  If voting for the SNP is supposedly harmful, then who should we vote for instead, and how will that help?  I don't know if he read that post or if it was just coincidence, but a few hours later he posted this - 

"We wish we had a constructive course of action to suggest to you, folks. But we don’t, because democracy has failed you. There is no way you can vote that will fix the ruins the SNP have made of Scotland. We cannot see a way forward. It is becoming nearly impossible to evade the conclusion that all is lost. Nicola Sturgeon has destroyed it."

And, in fairness, that's a very clear and direct answer to the question I wanted posed.  He's given up on independence, has no plan for making it happen, and thinks no such plan is even possible.  The problem is, of course, that it's a dreadful and self-evidently wrong answer that his readers - most of whom still passionately long for independence - must reject.  It doesn't even make sense on the basis of Stuart's own world view.  If, as he believes, Nicola Sturgeon is the biggest roadblock to independence and that the current SNP leadership have no intention of taking the steps necessary to bring a referendum about, it surely must have occurred to him that if the SNP win this election there would be five more years of government in which a leadership change could occur - and that would be pretty likely to happen, because Ms Sturgeon has already served as First Minister for six and a half years, and ten years often proves to be the shelf-life for even the most successful leader.  If, say, Joanna Cherry or someone with similar views were to take over, they could actually do something with that power if the pro-indy parties have a majority in the Scottish Parliament - but they would be utterly powerless if there's no majority.  And the question of whether there's a majority or not will be determined in the election this May.  It's not rocket science - so why does Stuart not seem to care what the result of that election is? Actually, strike that, why does he seem to be actively campaigning to make a pro-independence majority less likely to happen?

I'd just note that Stuart has been insisting to his readers for months that Nicola Sturgeon's departure is inevitable, and is just a question of when not if.  If he truly believes that, and if it hasn't been a gigantic bluff, then even the strongest Sturgeon-sceptic should have no reservation in campaigning for a pro-indy majority in May, because the First Minister won't be around for much longer anyway.  Indeed, it would probably be better if a leadership change waits until after the election, because at that point there's more likely to be an adventurous choice of successor.  Immediately before an election, all the SNP would care about is picking a safe pair of hands to get us through the next few weeks.  (John Swinney is the name that springs to mind.)

There's also the possibility that Stuart is wrong and that a majority SNP government would deliver independence even under Nicola Sturgeon's leadership.  It's impossible to quantify the likelihood of that in percentage terms, but isn't it worth giving ourselves the chance of finding out?  All of these points boil down to the same basic choice - we either keep the flame of hope alive by electing a pro-indy majority in May, or we extinguish all hope until at least 2026.  Isn't keeping hope alive the logical thing to do, and if you don't think that, aren't you part of the problem?

Incidentally, I don't for a moment believe the conspiracy theorists, such as controversial journalist David Leask, who say that Stuart is a 'plant', put there to destroy the independence movement from within.  I think he just has an 'all or nothing' psychological disposition, which leads him to catastrophise and become destructive when things aren't going in the way he hoped.  But it's up to others to pull him out of that pit, not to jump in with him and drag this whole country in too.

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Anti-independence parties in disarray as YouGov poll suggests SNP are on course for huuuuuge overall majority

Thanks to Scottish Skier for pointing out to me that there's a second Scottish poll out today, this time from YouGov - and it's much, much better than the one from ComRes.  Not only does it suggest that the SNP are still on course to get their overall majority back, it also suggests that majority could be extremely large.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions (YouGov, 4th-8th March 2021):

SNP 52% (-4)
Conservatives 22% (+3)
Labour 17% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)
Greens 2% (-)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 45% (-2)
Conservatives 21% (+1)
Labour 16% (+3)
Greens 6% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 5% (-1)
SSP 3% (-)

Seats projection (with changes from 2016): SNP 71 (+8), Conservatives 29 (-2), Labour 20 (-4), Liberal Democrats 5 (-), Greens 4 (-2)

SNP: 71 seats (55.0%)
All others: 58 seats (45.0%)


Pro-independence parties: 75 seats (58.1%)
Anti-independence parties: 54 seats (41.9%)


For the most part, YouGov are actually showing much the same trends as ComRes - it's just that the SNP were starting from a higher base, meaning the drop doesn't matter so much.  The one really big difference is that ComRes suggested the Greens would make substantial gains whereas YouGov are saying they're on course to lose seats - and I think that can be explained mostly by methodology.  Both ComRes and Survation use a question about the list ballot that I suspect leads some respondents to wrongly think they're being asked for a second preference vote, so for my money the YouGov list numbers are more likely to be accurate.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49% (-2)
No 51% (+2)

As far as the indyref figures are concerned, ComRes and YouGov are as one - and strange though it may seem, that's extremely reassuring.  A few months ago, ComRes were at the Yes-friendly end of the spectrum and YouGov were at the No-friendly end, with a huge 7% gap between them.  That means if YouGov had replicated the ComRes trend, Yes could now be sitting on a lowly 42%.  Instead there's been a convergence, which suggests that the swing back to No may not have been as substantial as we feared.  49% is only four points below YouGov's all-time high for Yes.

Scottish voting intentions for Westminster:

SNP 50% (-3)
Conservatives 23% (+4)
Labour 17% (-)
Liberal Democrats 5% (+1)
Greens 3% (-)
Reform UK 1% (-2)

Seats projection (with changes from 2019): SNP 55 (+7), Conservatives 3 (-3), Labour 1(-), Liberal Democrats 0 (-4)

For some unknown reason, YouGov tend to show much lower support for a second independence referendum than other polling firms, but nevertheless, there's a narrow majority in this poll (42% to 39%) in favour of holding a referendum within the next five years.

*  *  *

I've written today's online-only National Extra piece about the current polling situation (and I did it before I was aware of the indy numbers in the YouGov poll) - you can read it HERE.  

Savanta ComRes poll: Pro-independence parties on course for 57% of the seats in the Scottish Parliament

Still licking their wounds after being caught red-handed over the #Matchettgate fake poll scandal, the Scotsman have released the Holyrood numbers from yet another poll, and we can but hope that they're not telling porkies this time.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions (Savanta ComRes): 

SNP 48% (-6) 
Conservatives 23% (-) 
Labour 20% (+4) 
Liberal Democrats 8% (+3)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions: 

SNP 40% (-3)
Conservatives 24% (+3) 
Labour 18% (-) 
Greens 10% (-) 
Liberal Democrats 6% (-) 

Seats projection (with changes from 2016 election): SNP 64 (+1), Conservatives 30 (-1), Labour 20 (-4), Greens 10 (+4), Liberal Democrats 5 (-)

SNP: 64 seats (49.6%)
All others: 65 seats (50.4%)


Pro-independence parties: 74 seats (57.4%)
Anti-independence parties: 55 seats (42.6%)


The Scotsman article makes hay with the projection that the SNP would be just shy of a single-party majority, but in my view that's a red herring.  ComRes ask a Survation-like question for the regional list, which I suspect leads to a slight overestimate of the Greens' support and a slight underestimate of the SNP's support.  The likelihood on these figures is that the SNP would  actually have an overall majority - but polls are snapshots not predictions, and the real concern is that the direction of travel at the moment is not the right one.

It's interesting, by the way, that the Scotsman are presenting the seats projection as good news for the Tories and bad news for the SNP - when in fact it shows the SNP one seat up on last time, and the Tories one seat down.

If the SNP actually did end up on exactly 64 seats, although it wouldn't be an overall majority, what would probably happen is that they'd install an opposition MSP as Presiding Officer, and then it would be a 64-64 split between government and opposition.  (Either that or they'd go into coalition with the Greens and get a majority that way.)

UPDATE:  Many thanks to a commenter for pointing out the indyref numbers from the same poll - I'd somehow overlooked them...

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49% (-)
No 51% (-)

So no change at all from the last legitimate ComRes poll, and that's perhaps a further indication that the ship has steadied after a difficult few weeks.  Amusingly, if the media and unionist politicians want to keep up the pretence that the #Matchettgate poll was genuine, it means they'll have to report the new poll as showing a 1% increase for Yes!

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

The time to decide how we're going to win this election for Scotland is now - because by hook or by crook, we simply have to win it

Long-term readers may recall that, a day or two before the 2016 election, I put out a blogpost saying I was alarmed at the sudden narrowing of the SNP's poll lead and that we had to ditch the complacency about an SNP overall majority being "inevitable".  This time it's worse, because I'm going to have to put out the same warning two months before polling day.  That means there's still loads of time for the wheels to come off completely and for us to end up with the catastrophe of a unionist majority in May.  I can't foresee any circumstances in which there won't at least be an SNP-led minority government, but that's not much use to us if Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems have a majority between them and can block anything and everything the pro-indy parties try to do between now and 2026.

What makes this situation even more dangerous is that, unlike in 2016, we have the largest pro-independence website actively campaigning against the SNP.  Now, I understand the argument that the SNP is not independence, and that you can support independence while opposing the SNP, but the way you would do that is by backing a viable pro-indy alternative.  Apart from the Green party and possibly Andy Wightman, no such alternative currently exists.  OK, there's still time for an Alex Salmond-led party to emerge, and if that happens Stuart and I will presumably end up on the same side in support of it.  But with every passing day the chances of that probably recede.  If no such party appears, what is Stuart's plan for using this election to make independence happen?  I honestly, truly do not believe he has one.  I think he'll spend the next two months campaigning for the SNP to lose without offering a credible alternative.  And if in doing so he contributes to a unionist majority in May, he'll celebrate that and say it's all for the best because independence wasn't going to happen under Nicola Sturgeon's watch anyway, and at least her political demise has been brought closer.  Well, that 'strategy' might be fine for anyone who is only hoping for independence in 2028 or 2030.  Not so great for the rest of us.

Seriously, what are people doing? There are currently two tiny pro-indy "game the system" parties planning to stand against each other on the list, which simply makes the chances of anyone successfully gaming the system even more absurdly remote.  I could understand ISP's argument a few months ago that it was ridiculous to ask them to come under the AFI umbrella when ISP were a registered party and AFI were not.  But now that both are registered, surely common sense should prevail and an electoral pact should be agreed to ensure that only one of the two parties stands in each individual region.  And it ought to go without saying that neither party should be standing in the South of Scotland or Highlands & Islands, where the SNP currently hold list seats.  Make no mistake: the SNP have a very real chance of winning list seats in every region, so the intervention of ISP and AFI could cause harm everywhere.  But the risk is particularly high in South of Scotland and Highlands & Islands.

The bottom line is that, as far as the list vote is concerned, we need to jump one way or the other.  We either need a single, credible pro-indy alternative to the SNP with big name backing and broad support - or we need to forget the whole idea and get behind the SNP (or the Greens, or Wightman).  Either is fine, but it needs to be one or the other, it needs to be wholehearted, and the choice needs to be made very soon.  If there are discussions going on behind the scenes, I hope there's a sense of urgency to them.

On the constituency vote, it's even more straightforward: the SNP are the only game in town.  If you abstain or vote for any other party (and that includes the Greens) you are causing harm to independence, because literally the only alternative to an SNP constituency MSP is a unionist constituency MSP.  I genuinely understand how infuriating it is when an SNP politician who has been ignoring or belittling your legitimate concerns about self-ID or the Hate Crimes Bill tells you "but you've still got to vote for us, you've got no choice".  But please just forget about the politicians and think about your own hopes for your own country.

A challenge for Wings readers.  The next time Stuart tells you that voting for the SNP will do no good, even if you agree with him, ask: "So who do we vote for instead, and how will that help?  What's the masterplan, chief?"

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Savanta ComRes poll finds opinion on independence almost evenly split - and the public want an independence referendum within the next five years

You'll be (sort of) relieved to hear that this one isn't yet another fake poll or misreported poll - but what it is, however, is a slightly out of date poll.  It was conducted between the 26th of February and the 4th of March, which presumably means that the overwhelming majority of the fieldwork preceded Nicola Sturgeon's evidence to the Holyrood inquiry.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Savanta ComRes)

Yes 49%
No 51%

I think one thing we can draw comfort from is that the Panelbase poll, which was marginally better than this one in that it showed an exact 50-50 split, was conducted later.  OK, Panelbase and ComRes polls aren't directly comparable, but there's no reason to think Panelbase's methodology is more Yes-friendly than ComRes - indeed, if anything there's a little bit of evidence to the contrary.  So although there was clearly a small-to-medium-sized swing back to No in the early weeks of this year, it's possible that the position may have stabilised more recently.

It looks like there was only one other question in the ComRes poll - on when or whether a second independence referendum should be held.  By a narrow margin of 47% to 45%, voters want a referendum within the next five years.  Only 19% of voters don't want a referendum to ever take place.

Panelbase datasets confirm it's 50-50 on independence

In the unlikely event that anyone from Britain Elects is reading this, could I just point out that you still have a tweet up from Saturday night wrongly suggesting that the new Panelbase independence poll showed figures of Yes 49% (-4), No 51% (+4). The correct figures, which have now been confirmed with the publication of the Panelbase datasets, are in fact Yes 50% (-2), No 50% (+2). I know the mistake will have been made in good faith, but the frustration is that large sections of the London media treat whatever Britain Elects post as gospel, so until there's a correction journalists will continue to wrongly believe and claim that Panelbase was a No-majority poll. 

I don't pay the Murdoch Levy, but I gather that the article from the Sunday Times (who commissioned the poll) didn't even mention the headline numbers with Don't Knows excluded, which is highly unusual, so it's difficult to escape the impression that all this 'confusion' has come about partly by design. The datasets show that, after weighting, 415 respondents said they would vote No, and 412 said they would vote Yes. You can hardly get much closer than that - it works out as Yes 49.8%, No 50.2%. With Don't Knows left in, it's Yes 46.4%, No 46.7%, so it was just bad luck that those numbers were rounded to Yes 46%, No 47% - but the figures with Don't Knows excluded are generally regarded as the headline numbers anyway. So, just like the recent Survation poll, it's a genuine 50-50 outcome.

The #Matchettgate fake poll scandal: what have we learned?

As you may have seen last night, Business for Scotland published an interview with a Savanta ComRes research director in an attempt to get to the bottom of Scotland on Sunday's decision to publish poll numbers that hadn't been turnout weighted in the normal fashion, and which were then parrotted without any disclaimer by Sarah Smith and Sophy Ridge on the Sunday morning politics shows.  The ComRes explanation is quite hard to follow and in one sense appears to be contradictory - initially it's suggested that the normal weighting couldn't be applied because of the shortage of time (it was a snap poll to capture the impact of Nicola Sturgeon's evidence to the Holyrood inquiry), but then it turns out that it would have been impossible to apply the weighting because respondents weren't even asked the likelihood-to-vote question, and the reason they weren't asked was that it had already been decided not to apply the weighting and therefore the information wasn't needed.  That doesn't make any sense unless ComRes have made a general decision to abandon turnout weighting for their independence polling, and they clearly haven't done that.  Quite the reverse, in fact - the explanatory note on the ComRes website yesterday made clear that the numbers published by Scotland on Sunday shouldn't be treated as a proper independence poll because of the lack of turnout weighting.

When an explanation doesn't entirely make sense, it's likely that there's a crucial piece of the jigsaw missing, ie. something we haven't been told.  There are at least two possibilities that are consistent with the known facts -

1) This was never meant to be a Yes/No independence poll, and therefore the turnout question wasn't needed.  The independence question wasn't intended for publication, but was nevertheless asked to provide more detailed data on the other questions - for example, to show what percentage of Yes voters had lost trust in Nicola Sturgeon, etc, etc.  The unweighted indy numbers appeared in the datasets as a matter of routine, but Scotland on Sunday got excited when they saw the No lead and insisted on publishing them.  ComRes were understandably reluctant to denounce their client, so instead a compromise was dreamed up - Scotland on Sunday would publish a disclaimer in the small print about the numbers not being directly comparable to other polls, while ComRes themselves would make clear that the numbers were merely an "indication of current Yes/No support" and not a proper independence poll.

2) The cock-up theory.  Even pollsters aren't infallible, so it's not impossible that the turnout question was left out by mistake.  Scotland on Sunday had been promised an independence poll by a certain time, so a decision was taken to plough on regardless, but to then make clear that it wasn't a proper independence poll.

In the Business for Scotland piece, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp suggests that the turnout question may actually have been asked but was then left out of the data at the request of Scotland on Sunday.  That's possible, but my guess is that it's less probable than the above two explanations, because if Scotland on Sunday had played silly buggers to such an extreme extent, it's much more likely that ComRes would have drawn a line at that point and insisted on the correct voting intention numbers being used.

UPDATE: Having only just written this blogpost, I'm now going to have to undermine its central conclusion, because Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp is right - there's one key point that simply doesn't add up.  A significant percentage of respondents are missing from the independence results in the ComRes datsets, and the most likely explanation for that is the use of the basic turnout filter (as opposed to turnout weighting) - ie. anyone who is less than 60% likely to turn out to vote was excluded.  But it wouldn't be possible to apply that filter unless the turnout question had been asked - and if it was, why is it missing from the datasets?  Why wasn't it used for turnout weighting?  Why are ComRes saying it wasn't asked?  We may never be entirely sure what's happened here.

Monday, March 8, 2021

It's official: Savanta ComRes confirm that the Scotland on Sunday "poll" should not be treated as a proper independence poll. Time for (another) correction and apology from Sarah Smith and the BBC.

Savanta ComRes have published the datasets from the now-notorious #Matchettgate "poll", published in the Scotland on Sunday and jubilantly recited by the legendarily "impartial" Sarah Smith on the Marr show.  (In fairness Sophy Ridge and Sky were even worse than the Beeb - they apparently put the numbers up on a big screen!)  There's a very interesting explanatory note provided on the ComRes website

"The voting intention was not weighted by likelihood to vote and should not be treated as a headline Savanta ComRes voting intention.  The voting intention was asked to give The Scotsman an indication as to current levels of Yes/No support." 

You can hardly get more direct and explicit than that.  This should not be treated as a proper independence poll and anyone who was initially duped - and that includes myself - should correct the record.  I've already done so, and I hope we can now look forward to the same from the BBC and Sky.  It's particularly important that the BBC issue a prominent correction, because they've been telling us for years that they have a policy of not reporting on voting intention polls, and have used that as an excuse for not keeping viewers and listeners updated on the recent run of Yes-majority polls.  If that policy was casually tossed out of the window because a reporter couldn't contain her excitement at No being back in the lead, and that poll then turns out to be bogus...well, something has self-evidently gone very badly wrong, and it needs to be put right.

Incidentally, this development also puts beyond dispute the observation I made yesterday.  Right now, the last twenty-six legitimate polls have all shown Yes on 50% or higher, after Don't Knows are stripped out.  That may not be the case within a few short hours, because apparently more polls are due tonight.  But as of this moment, the remarkable run of Yes success continues.

*  *  *

I also took a quick look at the Panelbase website to see if the datasets from the Sunday Times poll are out yet, but they're not.  However, what I found instead were datasets for a poll commissioned in January by an organisation called 'Scotland Unhyphenated'.  They may well have been there for several weeks.  This solves the mystery of the unionist propaganda poll with the insanely biased questions that I blogged about at the time.  The results are, to be honest, a mixed bag - with such leading questions it was almost inevitable that they'd at least get some 'hits'.  However, rather amusingly, there are two questions in particular that backfired on the client horrendously...

Should Scots living in the Rest of the UK be allowed a vote in a future Scottish independence referendum?

Yes 44%
No 56%

That'll be a useful one for pro-Yes politicians to have in their back pocket whenever Andrew Neil starts banging on about one of his favourite topics.  Perhaps surprisingly, there's no real difference between Yes voters and No voters on this - 56% of No voters think ex-pats shouldn't have a vote.

Do you consider the SNP contingent of MPs at Westminster to be...

Representative of the Scottish character: 52%
An embarrassment: 48%

Of course the only real embarrassment here was the question.  Whoever this 'Unhyphenated' dude is, he doesn't seem to do shades of grey.

Sunday, March 7, 2021

#Matchettgate: The story of how unionist newspaper Scotland on Sunday attempted to deceive the nation with a fake poll

So now that the fog has cleared a bit, let's recap on what we know about the stunt that Scotland on Sunday and its self-styled "award-winning reporter" Conor Matchett attempted to pull last night. The datasets from Savanta ComRes polls on independence typically present various different versions of the Yes/No figures, and one of those versions does not use turnout weighting - in other words, unlike the headline numbers that are normally used for publication, it does not give greater weight to the people who are most likely to actually cast a vote. Sometimes the unweighted numbers are extremely similar to the published numbers, but on other occasions there's a significant disparity. In two polls so far this year, the published ComRes numbers have been dramatically better for Yes than the unweighted numbers... 

January ComRes poll before turnout weighting: 

Yes 47% 
No 43% 
Undecided 10% 

January ComRes poll after turnout weighting, published numbers: 

Yes 51% 
No 38% 
Undecided 10% 

February ComRes poll before turnout weighting: 

Yes 43% 
No 46% 
Undecided 11% 

February ComRes poll after turnout weighting, published numbers: 

Yes 47% 
No 42% 
Undecided 10% 

So as you can see, there's no automatic significance to the unweighted numbers showing a small No lead - it has already happened this year, and is perfectly consistent with the possibility of a Yes lead on the headline numbers. And yet, last night, Scotland on Sunday published the unweighted numbers from a new ComRes poll and presented them as if they were headline numbers. They tried to make out that the No lead was a significant departure from previous polling and had been caused by the Sturgeon-Salmond controversy, when in fact the numbers were literally identical to the February poll that had Yes ahead by 53% to 47% once undecideds were excluded. That doesn't necessarily mean, incidentally, that Yes must be ahead on the weighted numbers, but it does mean that we simply don't know - there could be a Yes lead, a No lead, or a dead heat. 

So what the hell are Scotland on Sunday playing at? The short answer is "I've no idea", but here are a few logical possibilities... 

* The poll contained both weighted and unweighted numbers, as per usual, but Scotland on Sunday disliked the weighted numbers and ran the unweighted ones instead. That would be, not to put too fine a point on it, utterly outrageous. 

* The poll was half-finished and the weighted numbers weren't available yet, so to meet a publication deadline Scotland on Sunday decided to just run the unweighted numbers. That would be downright amateurish. 

* The poll was never intended to be a Yes/No independence poll, and therefore ComRes didn't collect enough information to produce turnout weighted numbers. But when the raw data suggested a No lead, Scotland on Sunday couldn't resist retrospectively turning it into a Yes/No poll to produce damaging headlines for the SNP, even though they'd been warned the numbers were unreliable. That would be pretty cynical. 

Wherever the truth lies, it's hard to think of any explanation that doesn't involve a heavy dose of shoddy journalism.

An extraordinary weekend when the media misled the public about the polls - the ComRes poll wasn't real, and the Panelbase poll showed 50-50, not a No lead: the TWENTY-SIXTH consecutive poll to show Yes on 50% or higher

So for a second time in a few hours I'm going to have to apologise for posting inaccurate information, but in fairness to myself I was just repeating in good faith what the media was telling us.  A John Curtice tweet reveals that the headline numbers of the Panelbase poll were 50-50, not 49-51 as previously reported.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Panelbase)

Yes 50% (-2)
No 50% (+2)

So the swing is actually just 2%, not the 4% reported by Britain Elects.  And because the ComRes poll wasn't a legitimate poll, this is, astonishingly, the TWENTY-SIXTH consecutive poll to show Yes on 50% or higher.  Not the impression you'd get from reading today's newspaper headlines, or from listening to the endlessly error-prone Sarah Smith on the BBC, but facts are chiels that winna ding.

And now for the good news: Panelbase poll still has the SNP on track for an absolute majority

The second poll of the night can probably be taken a bit more seriously than the earlier ComRes one that turned out to have been conducted in a non-standard way.  Panelbase have helped the mists to clear somewhat, because there are Holyrood voting intention numbers as well as independence numbers.  As expected, the Sturgeon-Salmond controversy has had an impact on both, but it could have been a hell of a lot worse - the SNP are still on course for an overall majority in May, and No have only moved ahead by a smidgeon.  Indeed, given that No only have a 1% lead on the figures with Don't Knows included, we may discover when the datasets are published that Yes were unlucky not to be rounded up to 50-50 on the headline numbers. [UPDATE: It's even better than that - the poll was misreported, and actually shows 50-50 when Don't Knows are excluded.]

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Panelbase)

Yes 50% (-2)
No 50% (+2)

(UPDATE: The above figures have been corrected. Britain Elects also have the percentage changes wrong -  they're reporting a 4% drop in the Yes vote and 4% increase in the No vote, but in fact it's just a 2% change in each case.  The previous Panelbase poll had Yes on 52% and No on 48%.)

Scottish Parliament constituency voting intentions:

SNP 47% (-5)
Conservatives 23% (+3)
Labour 20% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 7% (+1)
Greens 2% (-1)

Scottish Parliament regional list voting intentions:

SNP 42% (-4)
Conservatives 22% (+2)
Labour 19% (+3)
Liberal Democrats 7% (+1)
Greens 6% (-2)

Seats projection (with changes from 2016 election): SNP 65 (+2), Conservatives 29 (-2), Labour 25 (+1), Liberal Democrats 7 (+2), Greens 3 (-3)

SNP: 65 seats
All others: 64 seats


Pro-independence parties: 68 seats
Anti-independence parties: 61 seats


Of course what matters on the Holyrood numbers is not where we are, but where we're travelling to.  Are we merely midway through an SNP collapse?  If so, we could very easily end up with the catastrophe of a unionist majority, which will make independence impossible for several years.  Or is this just a temporary dip caused by a period of unusually awful headlines? If so, we could still be in line for a parliament totally dominated by the Yes parties.  Time will tell.