It's more or less exactly two years since Scot Goes Pop commissioned its first opinion poll. It was a very successful exercise, showing that the impact of the December 2019 general election result had taken the pro-independence vote to its highest level since just after the Brexit referendum in the summer of 2016. Several people said to me afterwards that they'd like me to continue with regular monthly Scot Goes Pop polls on independence - which would have been a nice idea in theory, but I think I can now say beyond a shadow of doubt that it was never feasible. I seem to have done little else but fundraise over the last two years - I'm sure at times it's been tiresome for readers and it's certainly been embarrassing at times for me. And yet in spite of that I've only barely raised enough to cover the cost of the six polls I've commissioned, which have averaged out at one every four months or so. To have commissioned monthly polls, I would have needed to raise well in excess of £100,000 since January 2020, which simply isn't doable for the likes of me. Stuart Campbell is probably the one and only person in the Scottish political blogosphere capable of pulling it off.
Bearing that in mind, I regard the six polls Scot Goes Pop has actually managed to commission so far as quite a feat, and it's difficult to know whether to laugh or cry when I hear that people on another high-profile pro-indy blog have been making snide comments essentially implying that I am a grifter. Even just the three polls I commissioned in 2021 had a cumulative cost that was well into five figures. To pay for that required not just the funds from the dedicated polling crowdfunders, but also a significant percentage of the funds from the Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser for 2021, which was initially intended to supplement my own income and help keep the website going. The idea that I've been pocketing the money and sailing off in a luxury yacht is absolutely laughable. Things have actually been really tight recently.
I also ran into a number of specific problems in the middle of last year. As you might remember, a former long-term commenter on this blog was so angry that I had joined "the wrong sort" of pro-independence party that he made determined efforts to sabotage the ongoing poll fundraising efforts. He vexatiously demanded refunds of ancient donations that had been long since spent in exactly the way promised, and loudly broadcast what he was doing to the world (or to the readers of Wee Ginger Dug, at any rate). He even left lengthy comments on newspaper websites giving a list of spurious reasons why people shouldn't donate to Scot Goes Pop fundraisers. Those were petty and profoundly cynical stunts that simply redoubled my determination that I would get the third poll of the year done one way or another - and I did. But I don't think there's much doubt that our old friend's interventions made the exercise far more challenging than it otherwise would have been.
The third poll of the year was a comprehensive poll on GRA reform and related gender issues, with voting intention questions and a few supplementary questions about independence also added on. Because of the controversial subject matter, I had to make sure that I only used funds that had been donated specifically with a GRA poll in mind. By the time we were well into the autumn, not enough had been raised, and yet I had people on Twitter getting restless and saying: "Where is the GRA poll you promised, James? The women and girls of Scotland are waiting and watching!" To which I could only reply with some bemusement that it was a bit difficult to commission a poll without enough money. Nevertheless, the GRA issue was clearly time-sensitive due to the promise of the Scottish Government to legislate for reform in the very near future, so I had to break the logjam somehow. I eventually went ahead and commissioned the poll, using my own money to cover the shortfall, and then I set up a dedicated polling crowdfunder to both compensate me for that and help pay for the next poll. So far that's raised £4175 of a £6500 target (there have also been a number of additional donations via Paypal).
As it's no longer 2021, it's also time to draw the curtain on last year's general fundraiser, and start afresh with a Scot Goes Pop general fundraiser for 2022. So that's what I've done, and you can visit the new GoFundMe crowdfunder page HERE.
I want to once again thank everyone who has donated to Scot Goes Pop over the years - when you stop and think about it, it's amazing what we've achieved together. By commissioning and publishing full-scale polls from reputable BPC-affiliated firms, we've done something that is normally the preserve of the mainstream media, or of political parties and think tanks. And that has allowed us to set the agenda with the questions that actually interest us, rather than passively look on as unionist media outlets ask unionist-flavoured poll questions.
As I said at this time last year, I expect the fundraising to continue to be a slowburner. So please bear with me as I promote the crowdfunder at the end of each blogpost for the foreseeable future. I do intend to run another poll, but this time I'm going to do my best to avoid crisis-points. Fundraising takes as long as it takes, so I'll just wait until the moment arrives when the funding is fully nailed down. We'll get there, have no fear.
To reiterate, here are the options for donating:
Via the Scot Goes Pop polling fundraiser for 2021-22, which I set up in the autumn and is part-funded.
If you prefer to donate directly, that can be done via Paypal or bank transfer:
My Paypal email address is: email@example.com
Or email me for my bank details. (My contact email address is different from my Paypal address, and can be found in the sidebar of the desktop version of the site, or on my Twitter profile.)
You can also view the promo film for Scot Goes Pop that I made with the amazing Phantom Power...