Saturday, March 27, 2021

Find Out Now that yet another poll shows a majority for independence

Thanks to Marcia for pointing me in the direction of the latest independence poll, which appears on the Express website.  She billed it as "not by a traditional firm", which is true, but I've just checked and incredibly it turns out that Find Out Now are members of the British Polling Council.  God-awful name, but who are we to quibble when the numbers are as good as these?

Should Scotland be an independent country?  (Find Out Now / Express)

Yes 48%
No 44%

Obviously the above figures are before Don't Knows are stripped out.  I can't find the numbers without the Don't Knows, but a crude recalculation suggests they'll be roughly Yes 52%, No 48%.

In trying to kill the Alba Party, the SNP are actually demonstrating its value

The SNP essentially had two options in responding to the creation of the Alba Party yesterday.  They could have more or less ignored it and just carried on serenely towards their own electoral objectives.  Or they could have flapped around, tried to strangle the new party at birth, and thus sent a signal to the world and his uncle that they regard this as a crisis.  They've taken the latter course, and I really do have to question the wisdom of that, both from their own point of view and that of the movement.

However, the paradox is that by trying to kill the Alba Party, they're already demonstrating the value of the Alba Party, because they're having to put themselves in the mind of a potential Alba voter and work out what could deter that person - and of course the answer to that will always be bound up with prioritising independence and making an independence referendum happen.  The SNP having to compete for votes with a credible party that is actually stronger on independence than they are themselves changes the dynamic completely.  It's sometimes said that Labour turned itself into the SDP to defeat the SDP, and if the same effect happens in this case, the SNP will have recovered its soul and its core purpose.

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I was quoted about the new party yesterday in an article for Al Jazeera by Alasdair Soussi - you can read it HERE.  I've also written two more constituency previews for today's edition of The National - Edinburgh Northern & Leith and Edinburgh Pentlands.  (I can't find an online link for the latter, but it's in the print/digital edition.)

Friday, March 26, 2021

Alba Party FAQs

So I'm not in any way setting myself up as a spokesperson for the Alba Party, but as people have been firing questions at me (some genuine, some vexatious) all afternoon about my own tentative declaration of support, I can at least answer those.

Are you certain this party will do good to the pro-independence cause rather than harm?

No, I'm not 100% sure of that, it's a calculated risk - but it's not the first time in his career that Alex Salmond has taken one of those.  For example, standing in a Liberal Democrat-held seat in 2007 was a gamble, and it paid off handsomely.  Unlike previous proposed or actual list-only parties like RISE, AFI or ISP, the balance of probabilities is in favour of this one succeeding in winning seats, simply because of Mr Salmond's personal profile and following.  However, very well-known and popular politicians have failed to make an impact with new parties before - two examples are Robert Kilroy-Silk and Tommy Sheridan.  So there are no guarantees, and yes, it's possible I'll look back on this in a few weeks and say it was all a terrible mistake.  However, in this life you sometimes have to jump one way or the other, and my considered judgement at present is that the Alba Party is more likely than not to at least win some seats, and that it would be a good thing for the independence movement if it did.

But don't Mr Salmond's personal poll ratings prove that the party is doomed?

No, that's a common misconception.  In a proportional respresentation system, it doesn't particularly matter if the majority of people don't like you, as long as a big enough minority like you enough to come out and vote for you.  Mr Salmond's ratings are sometimes compared with Boris Johnson's - well, do you think the Tories aren't going to win any seats in May?  Of course they are.  I suspect those numbers may recover somewhat as the campaign progresses in any case.

Aren't you contradicting your previous belief that you can't game the system?

No.  The fundamental point I've always made about the Additional Member System is that the list vote is the more important vote, it's the banker vote, and you should vote for your first-choice party on it.  That's exactly what I will be doing.

But even if you personally aren't trying to game the system, is it possible the Alba Party could succeed in doing that?

Maybe.  And that doesn't actually contradict what I've said in the past, because I've gone out of my way on a number of occasions to say that Alex Salmond is the one and only person who might just about be able to pull it off.  The reason is that he's so synonymous with the SNP brand - he'll be able to persuade significant numbers of people that voting SNP in the constituencies and Alba on the list is a natural extension of their normal party choice of the SNP.  

Are there any potential downsides that could occur even if the Alba Party succeeds?

Yes, one theoretical possibility is that it could increase the overall number of pro-indy seats while denying the SNP a single-party majority.  That does worry me, but sometimes it's not possible to get absolutely everything you want, and you have to decide what is most important.  If I had total faith that the SNP would deliver an independence referendum over the next couple of years, the calculation might be different, but as things stand, if you forced me to choose between a) 65 SNP seats and no Alba seats, and b) 64 SNP seats and 5 Alba seats, I'd be inclined to say that b) would be a better outcome for independence.

What challenges will the Alba Party face?

Lack of airtime is probably the most significant.  The broadcasters will use the lack of previously established support as an excuse to give the party far less coverage than the five major parties, and if it fails to win seats, we may look back on that as the reason why.

Should AFI and ISP stand aside in Alba's favour?

Yes. They'll actually harm their own stated objectives if they don't.

"But what about the company you'll be keeping, James?  Sheesh!"

Actually only one person has said that and she's a troll.  (She used almost identical language when I committed the unspeakable crime of - gasp - having Denise Findlay as a guest on the podcast!)  But the bottom line is that any party worth its salt is a broad church.  In supporting Alba on the list I'll be a co-belligerent of Stuart Campbell, in supporting the SNP on the constituency ballot I'll be a co-belligerent of Fiona Robertson.  In both cases all I can say is "it's a funny old world".

Should all independence supporters vote SNP on the constituency ballot?

Yes, without exception or hesitation.  If you don't, you're helping the unionists to win.

Who should I vote for tactically in Region X or Y?

I don't personally believe in tactical voting on the list.  Alba may well make that case, but that's not the reason I'm supporting them.  I think you should vote for your first-choice pro-indy party on the list, and the only thing that should give you any pause for thought about that is if you think the party in question is too small to win any seats in your region at all.  Whether the SNP has "too many constituency seats" in a region is always a red herring, because you don't actually know how many constituency seats they'll win until after you cast your vote.

Are you SNP 1, Alba 2?

I beg people: please, please, please stop using that shorthand.  AMS is not a preferential voting system, and if people write numbers (as they do with STV) they'll risk spoiling their ballot.

How should the SNP react to today's news, if they're sensible and if they care about independence?

Stop wasting time and energy trying to destroy Alex Salmond, and get on with making the positive case for an SNP vote.

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I have two more constituency previews in The National today - Perthshire North and Perthshire South and Kinross-shire.

It 'as to be Alba

I've been in quite a tricky position, because I've known for months from what I've been told privately that a new credible list-only party was a real possibility, but not a certainty - which meant as a long-standing SNP member and supporter, and as someone who also thinks Alex Salmond has the right strategic prescription for delivering independence, I had no idea until a few minutes ago whether or not I was going to be backing the SNP on the list as usual in this election.   That was starting to make me feel slightly queasy.  I still want to know a few more details before making a final decision, but based on what I heard of Mr Salmond's statement, my gut feeling is that it 'as to be Alba.  Ironically, that will put me on the same side as Stuart Campbell, but that's actually a good thing - we desperately need all Yes supporters to be building a pro-independence party up at this election, not spending every minute trying to destructively tear the SNP down.  

I'm not saying there are no dangers at all in this development, but if Mr Salmond continues to strike the right tone, and if the SNP keep the heid by training their fire on unionists rather than fellow independence supporters, we could now have the recipe for a genuine Independence Parliament after May.

Student politics on the NEC comes back to haunt the SNP leadership

So I've been catching up with the news that the Airdrie and Shotts by-election for the newly vacant Westminster seat will apparently take place the week after the Holyrood election because of safety concerns.  This is potentially the nightmare scenario.  The reason this needless by-election is happening at all is of course student politics on the SNP's NEC, designed to scupper Joanna Cherry's hopes of switching to the Scottish Parliament by creating an artificial rule that would have required her to prematurely abandon her Westminster seat and trigger a by-election.  Ms Cherry was successfully deterred, but the rule applied to other MPs too, and here we are, staring down the barrel of losing one of the seats that was so hard-won in the 2019 general election.  It might not have been so bad if the vote had taken place on the same day as the Holyrood election, because it wouldn't have been a by-election in any real sense - it would have been subsumed into the national election, probably with very similar trends.  But a week later the dynamics will be totally different.  Firstly the turnout will be much lower, and in a North Lanarkshire seat there's a fair chance that'll favour Labour.  And secondly momentum will play a part.  If the SNP perform more poorly than expected in the Holyrood election, their supporters will be demotivated a week later, which could magnify any swing against them.  

If the SNP have pointlessly thrown a seat away and allowed Scottish Labour back into the game at Westminster, some individuals may want to take a long hard look at themselves.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

Back The Backstabbers

I'm not entirely sure whether Stuart Campbell is morphing into David Koresh or Erich Ludendorff.  Yesterday, he was using doomsday cult language about how we must all "pray for fire" to come and cleanse the world - which I take to mean that he wants the SNP to lose the election so he can have his revenge against Nicola Sturgeon, even if that means there is a unionist majority for the next five years, thus killing any hope of independence in the near-term.  Today he's nursing a deranged Ludendorff-style 'stab in the back' theory by publishing a long list of people who he's supported in the past and have supposedly joined a "lynch-mob" against him (I'm one of them, needless to say).  Well, it cuts both ways, doesn't it?  Scot Goes Pop is actually several years older than Wings Over Scotland, and I remember being quite supportive of Stuart in the very early days and sending traffic his way - I certainly wouldn't have foreseen at that point that he'd be emailing me out of the blue to call me a "c***" or getting his solicitor to send me legal threats in the dead of night as an intimidatory tactic.

As for his point that he's backed my fundraisers in the past - yes, he has, and that did make a significant difference on occasions, although he's exaggerating the extent of that.  I would imagine perhaps 5-10% of the funds I've raised over the years can be attributed to Wings' support, and I was very grateful for that, and I said so at the time.  But the idea that nobody can do it without him doesn't stack up, as can be seen from the fact that I've successfully run fundraisers since I was officially designated a "c***", as have so many others.

I must admit there's one thing that really does anger me about Stuart's post, and that's the way he's continuing to pursue a vendetta against iScot magazine for something that doesn't really have anything to do with iScot magazine.  As a freelancer, I've written a monthly column for iScot since 2017, and I choose my own topics - Ken, the editor, has never told me what I can and can't write about, and other columnists are given exactly the same freedom.  Around a year ago I wrote a piece that did not personally attack Stuart, but did express scepticism about the wisdom of setting up a Wings party.  Because that bruised his ego, Stuart whipped his fans up into a hate campaign against iScot for the terrible crime of not censoring me, and as a result a small number of people cancelled their subscriptions.  Stuart is, I think, familiar with the words "chilling effect", and that's what he's trying to achieve with these bully-boy tactics.  He wants people to self-censor (or be censored) on the basis that they know the penalty they'll incur if they don't.

I gather that since Stuart published his post, Paul Kavanagh has received several hundred pounds in donations from people showing solidarity in the face of an unwarranted attack - not quite the effect that was intended.  I can't afford to miss such a golden promotional opportunity, so if you want to #BackTheBackstabbers, don't forget that Scot Goes Pop is currently running its own fundraiser HERE.

But above all else, you might want to consider taking out a subscription to iScot.  Believe me, you won't regret it - it's a beautiful publication, and it's a real treat when it arrives in the post each month. A quality pro-independence magazine is a vital asset for the movement, and it deserves our support.

Sizzling Survation survey suggests SNP are up FOUR POINTS - and that pro-independence parties will take 60% of the seats at Holyrood

I mentioned in the previous post that the new Survation poll shows the SNP on course for an overall majority, but I didn't realise at the time quite how good the figures were.  It's a bit startling to see such a big jump in the SNP vote at a time when the media narrative is about how much the party is supposedly struggling.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot voting intentions:

SNP 50% (+4)
Conservatives 21% (-)
Labour 20% (-2)
Liberal Democrats 8% (-)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot voting intentions:

SNP 39% (-)
Labour 20% (-)
Conservatives 19% (-2)
Greens 11% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)

Seats projection (with changes from 2016 election): SNP 67 (+4), Labour 24 (-), Conservatives 22 (-9), Greens 11 (+5), Liberal Democrats 5 (-)

SNP: 67 seats
All others: 62 seats


Pro-independence parties: 78 seats (60.5%)
Anti-independence parties: 51 seats (39.5%)


This offers some corroboration for the even more recent BMG poll, which also suggested that the SNP were doing a bit better than might have been expected.  The Tories must be tearing their hair out, because they seemed to have moved decisively back into second place in recent weeks, but now there seems to be considerable doubt once again over who will be the largest opposition party.

As ever, the Greens' showing in any Survation (or ComRes) poll should be taken with a hefty dose of salt due to the way the regional list question is asked.

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I have two constituency profiles in The National today for the forthcoming election - Shetland and North-East Fife.  You can also read my national predictions for the five main parties, along with the predictions of Mark Diffley and Mark McGeoghegan, HERE.  

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If you find Scot Goes Pop's coverage of polls helpful and would like it to continue, I'm currently running a fundraiser HERE.

Survation poll provides more evidence that the Yes vote has stabilised

A new Survation poll on independence is out today, and seems to have been commissioned by the Courier.  It shows only margin of error changes from the last Survation poll.

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 49% (-1)
No 51% (+1)

Whether or not this poll shows No "moving into the lead" is in the eye of the beholder, because No had a slight lead in the previous poll before Don't Knows were stripped out, but on the headline numbers the result was rounded to 50-50.  The sequence of results for Yes on the last three Survation polls (the first of which was commissioned by this blog) has been 51-50-49, and although that could be indicative of a genuine decline, it's also consistent with a stable position, with the apparent minor changes being caused by sampling variation.

Survation have been a relatively No-friendly pollster since the 2019 election, so it's encouraging that neither they nor YouGov have shown Yes falling below 49%, and it may be that we've bottomed out at around that level - which is good, because that's only four or five points below the all-time highs with those firms.  The only recent poll that purported to show a figure of less than 49% was the notorious #Matchettgate fake poll in Scotland on Sunday.

It should be stressed, incidentally, that today's poll is not the most recent poll on independence.  The BMG poll had slightly more up-to-date fieldwork, and showed Yes ahead by 52% to 48%.

It looks like there's a 53% to 47% lead for independence in the Survation poll on a hypothetical question assuming that an independent Scotland would rejoin the EU - which, let's be honest, is a pretty reasonable assumption.  The Holyrood numbers have the SNP on course for an overall majority, with Labour overtaking the Tories to move into second place - although that has to be put in the context of Survation being more favourable of late to Labour than other firms have been.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Scot Goes Pop Poll of Polls has Yes ahead on almost 51% of the vote

The last time I published an update of the Poll of Polls, I was startled to receive a series of mildly abusive messages from the Ghanaian Tourism Authority, dismissing any averaging of polls as "bull****".  I must say my past experience of Ghanaian government officials is that they're not usually so psephologically illiterate, so it came as a complete bolt from the blue.  However, I think I managed to reassure them that averaging polls is a long-established practice that generally offers a more accurate sense of the state of public opinion than any individual poll - which might turn out to be an outlier or a rogue poll.  

Here's the latest update now that three more polling firms have joined the fray...


Should Scotland be an independent country?

Yes 50.8% (-0.8)
No 49.2% (+0.8)

(Based on an average of the most recent poll from each firm - one from YouGov, one from Panelbase, one from Savanta ComRes, one from Survation, one from Ipsos-Mori, one from Hanbury Strategy, one from BMG and one from Opinium.)

So a very slight decline for Yes since the last update in late February, but Yes are still in the lead, and there's no obvious reason to assume that will cease to be the case, given that the last two individual polls have had a Yes majority.

Incidentally, the other thing that puzzled me about my exchange with the Ghanaian Tourism Authority is that they seemed to be excited by any poll that showed Yes down, and disappointed by any poll that showed Yes up.  Given Ghana's history as the first African country to free itself from British colonialism, I'd have expected them to be more favourable towards Scotland's struggle for freedom.  But maybe it's just that the Tourism Authority has gone rogue.

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Many hysterical predictions were made about what Alex Salmond would say today, but in the end his statement was restrained, responsible and proportionate.  He hasn't gone after Nicola Sturgeon, he hasn't quibbled about any of the findings from the inquiries that he might disagree with or be disappointed about.  Instead he's homed in on two specific points that it's hard for any reasonable person to argue with - a) Leslie Evans should not still be in office, and b) the person who leaked to the Daily Record should be identified and held accountable for their actions.

I was waiting to hear if there was any mention of Mr Salmond's plans for the election.  The fact that there wasn't probably makes it much less likely that he's going to be standing - but he's a past master of political theatre, so don't rule anything out until the deadline passes.  Even if he isn't a candidate himself, he could conceivably wield some influence by making an endorsement - although personally I doubt whether that would be enough to make any small party a serious contender for seats.  I think he would need to get actively involved himself to have a telling impact.

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I had an article in The National yesterday about the new BMG poll putting Yes on 52% - you can read it HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Has Yes stayed in the lead all along? Hanbury polling from February and March shows thumping pro-independence majorities

I normally pride myself on staying on top of all the Scottish polls that are released, but today brought word of another #Matchettgate-style episode, with the Hanbury polling numbers reported by the Sunday Times at the weekend turning out to be wrong - and I was like: "what Hanbury polling numbers reported by the Sunday Times?"  The story must have flown completely under my radar.  What seems to have happened is that Hanbury conducted two waves of polling on independence - the first mostly in February and the second in early March.  The Yes vote dropped by 3% from the first wave to the second, but the drop was originally misreported as being 6%. The issue, of course, is that a 6% drop would probably have been a sign of real changes on the ground, whereas 3% could easily just be caused by random sampling variation.  But the rather more salient point, that the media reporting of the polls seems determined to miss, is that there was a clear Yes majority on both waves.  That's fascinating, because the fieldwork took place during the period when other firms were giving the impression that No had drawn level or edged slightly ahead.  Could it be that the pro-independence majority has remained intact all along?

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Hanbury/Onward)

12th February - 1st March:

Yes 56%
No 44%

5th - 9th March:

Yes 53%
No 47%

I must say I'm extremely hazy about Hanbury's actual status as a pollster.  They're members of the British Polling Council, and yet describe themselves as a "strategic advisory firm".  Even more confusingly, they were listed as the client for a YouGov independence poll around a year ago.  I'm not sure if it's one of those set-ups where they get 'proper' pollsters to do the fieldwork for them but then put their own branding on it.

Needless to say, the "strategic advice" they offer seems, as far as Scottish politics is concerned, to be for unionist clients.  They probably do deserve some sort of industry award for somehow managing to hypnotise the media into thinking that two polls showing thumping Yes majorities are somehow a bad news story for the SNP and the indy movement.  Do a Google search for "Hanbury" and savour the Comical Ali style headlines.

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If you find Scot Goes Pop's coverage of polls helpful and would like it to continue, I'm currently running a fundraiser HERE.

Monday, March 22, 2021

We dodged a bullet today

It's fair to say I'm a touch ambivalent about today's developments.  The demonisation of Alex Salmond has been part of an inexplicably reckless pattern of behaviour from the SNP leadership in recent weeks and months, and the big downside of Hamilton's adjuducation is that it will lead them to feel vindicated and to double down on their factional actions and rhetoric.  That is not in the interests of unity within the movement.  However the alternative, if Hamilton had ruled the other way, simply doesn't bear thinking about.  Earlier today I reported on a poll that suggested Yes might be moving back into the lead after the dip of recent weeks - well, that would have been straight back out of the window if Nicola Sturgeon had been ruled to have breached the ministerial code.  At least now we have a credible chance of winning a pro-independence majority in May, and perhaps even an overall SNP majority.

At the start of the year, Stuart Campbell had a meltdown because I said I was bemused by his apparent belief that he was going to bring down the wildly popular First Minister.  I can't deny there have been one or two moments since then when I wondered if he might just be proved right - but what I could never understand was his certainty that Ms Sturgeon's resignation was inevitable.  That always looked like wishful thinking on his part, and so it has proved.  He's tacitly admitting that tonight by saying (and I paraphrase) "I only didn't see this coming because I didn't consider the possibility that Hamilton might turn out to be an idiot". I think the pretence has now gone - not only does he no longer want independence if he can't get rid of Nicola Sturgeon, he's now actively urging Scots to emigrate to other countries.  Who knows where this remarkable political journey may end.  Will the Wings site end up endorsing Labour and/or the Tories? Could a seat in the House of Lords as Lord Campbell of Bath be on the cards? I'm being semi-facetious, but he's already travelled a long, long way, and sadly some of his readers have been taken along for the ride.

Support for independence boomerangs back in brilliant BMG poll: Yes in the lead for second consecutive survey

Just in case the unionist parties were labouring under the misapprehension that the Yes lead in the Opinium poll the other day was a mere blip within a new normal of No majorities, today's edition of the Herald brings word of a second consecutive poll with a Yes lead - and this time there's a little bit of a cushion.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (BMG/Herald)

Yes 52%
No 48%

There's no real point in giving percentage changes, because as far as I can see the last BMG poll on independence was way back in 2017.  For what it's worth that poll showed a slim No lead - but it wouldn't have been directly comparable with the new poll anyway, because presumably BMG have now updated their methodology to bring in weighting by recalled 2019 vote and so forth.  So here's the slight problem - both of the two new polls are from firms who haven't polled in Scotland for many years.  As a result there aren't any baseline figures to measure the trend from, and we can't strictly speaking say that the Yes vote has increased.  It's theoretically possible, albeit unlikely, that the methodology of both Opinium and BMG is more favourable to Yes than other firms.  So to be more confident that there has been a genuine bounceback in Yes support, we'll want to see these figures replicated by a firm that polls more regularly.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 48%
Conservatives 21%
Labour 20%
Liberal Democrats 8%
Greens 1%

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 42%
Conservatives 22%
Labour 17%
Greens 8%
Liberal Democrats 8%

Seats projection (with changes from 2016 election): SNP 66 (+3), Conservatives 27 (-4), Labour 20 (-4), Greens 8 (+2), Liberal Democrats 8 (+3)

SNP: 66 seats
All others: 63 seats


Pro-independence parties: 74 seats
Anti-independence parties: 55 seats


The Herald article quotes a BMG spokesman as saying that 66 seats would give the SNP "the slimmest majority" of just one seat.  As you can see above, that's inaccurate - 66 seats is a majority of three.  I presume he was thinking that, because the target for a majority is 65 seats, 66 must be a majority of one, but that's not how it works.

The mainstream media are trying to weave a narrative that current Holyrood polling is bad for the SNP and bad for the indy camp, but that's going to stretch credibility for as long as the seats projection has the pro-indy parties up on the 2016 result, and the anti-indy parties down.  Paul Hutcheon of the Record displayed some electoral illiteracy yesterday by claiming that, although the projection from the latest Survation poll pointed to a pro-indy majority, there would have been a unionist majority if the voting system was "PR".  Er, newsflash, Paul, the voting system is indeed PR.  If what he means is that it isn't perfectly proportional, that's true of every other PR system around the world too.  Even Israel, which traditionally has the purest proportional system, has a minimum threshold for representation, meaning that parties that win seats will often be slightly over-represented.

As far as I can see, the Survation numbers that Mr Hutcheon was talking about came from the Scotland in Union propaganda poll and are therefore slightly out of date.  That also means there are unlikely to be independence numbers from that poll, because Scotland in Union have to maintain the fiction that their 'Remain/Leave' question is an independence question (it categorically is not).

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UPDATE: One point I overlooked earlier is that 52% appears to be the highest ever Yes vote in a BMG poll.  I've scoured the lists of polls and I can't find any previous BMG poll that even had Yes in the lead.  Of course that's partly because they haven't polled for years - but nevertheless we've noted when Yes reached an all-time with other firms such as YouGov and Panelbase, so this latest landmark should not go unmentioned.

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If you find Scot Goes Pop's coverage of polls helpful and would like it to continue, I'm currently running a fundraiser HERE.

Scot Goes Pop Fundraiser 2021

Click here to go straight to the fundraising page.

Someone asked me on Twitter the other day why I had stopped promoting the Scot Goes Pop fundraiser, and I said I was a bit conflicted about the whole thing, because there are a number of important SNP election crowdfunders ongoing and I don't like deflecting attention or funds from them. However, this is the first general fundraiser I've run for almost two years (the ones in the interim have been earmarked solely for our exclusive opinion polling), and with the unusual circumstances of lockdown my financial circumstances have been tightening alarmingly. I really, really wanted to wait until after the election before pushing hard to reach the target figure, but I've been having a hardheaded think over the last few hours and realised that is simply no longer an option. I've incurred some unexpected expenses in recent weeks, and that's been the final straw. So with apologies for the atrocious timing, this is the official launch of the Scot Goes Pop General Fundraiser 2021

There are two pieces of good news: firstly, we've already made a great head start since I quietly set the page up in late January, so a million thanks to everyone who has donated so far. And secondly, I'm going to try to kill two birds with one stone this time - the original target figure was £10,000, but I've changed that to £14,000 so that this is now a dual purpose fundraiser, with up to £5000 of whatever is raised set aside for further polling. My hope and plan is to commission the next poll during the election campaign proper in April (ideally from Panelbase, although I can't guarantee that), so hopefully with some carefully chosen questions we can have a real impact and influence the trajectory of the campaign by putting the unionist parties on the spot. 

As for the rest of the funds, I'm sure by now you know what you'll be getting: I try to cover all Scottish opinion polls as fast and as extensively as possible, and having an independent source of income helps me to do that, because otherwise I wouldn't have the time or the flexibility to drop everything when I see that a new poll is out. (However, just to stress for the benefit of passing trolls, the blog is not my sole income: I do freelance writing elsewhere, and until lockdown interrupted it, I also did some other work that thankfully had nothing whatever to do with writing or politics.) And of course, I also regularly provide general political commentary. The last few weeks have been bruising for me, especially on social media, but hopefully they've proved one thing: that I'm a genuinely independent voice within the movement, and I'm not a slave to any particular faction. Pretty much every grouping has lambasted me at some point, because I've just been calling things the way I see them. 

Additionally, I've started a Scot Goes Pop podcast and I hope to keep that going. My free storage allowance on Soundcloud will run out after Episode 4, so at that point I'll have to make a choice between paid hosting or moving to a free platform. 

On the whole GoFundMe has proved to be a good fundraising platform. However, I know a small number of people have run into payment problems, and others don't like the fact that there are processing fees (they're fairly minimal, but they do still exist). So for anyone looking for an alternative means of payment, my Paypal email address is: 

That's different from the contact address listed in the sidebar, simply because I joined Paypal long before I had a Gmail account. 

One or two people have encouraged me to make my bank details publicly available in the way that Craig Murray has done. It may be irrational of me, but I don't feel comfortable doing that. However, if anyone feels strongly for whatever reason that they would rather donate by bank transfer, by all means contact me privately. 

Lastly, I'd just like to reiterate that the SNP election crowdfunders are absolutely vital and shouldn't be overlooked. Keeping a blog afloat is all very well, but it's winning the election that really matters.