I was asked by someone yesterday (or possibly the day before) to cast an eye over the latest propaganda poll conducted by Survation on behalf of anti-independence pressure group Scotland in Union. There's actually a good news story here for the independence movement, or moderately good anyway - not that you'd have noticed that from the reporting of the poll in the mainstream media, which as ever just lazily followed whatever was in Scotland in Union's own press release. However, before I get into that, I must just note yet again my genuine astonishment at the total lack of balance in some of the questions Survation have approved, and the blatant nature of the leading wording used. Survation sometimes give the impression of wanting to be seen as having much stronger standards than other polling firms, but that high-mindedness seems to conveniently go out of the window whenever Scotland in Union pick up the phone - perhaps because these polls are repeat commissions that presumably generate an awful lot of ongoing revenue.
First of all, as ever, we have the "independence question" that quite simply is not an independence question. Instead of asking "Should Scotland be an independent country?", Scotland in Union always get Survation to ask "Should Scotland remain part of the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?", and then present the results as if they are about independence - which they are not, because if Scotland left the United Kingdom, that would not automatically result in independence. Scotland could "leave" to become a crown dependency like Jersey, or to become part of another state. (For example, if Northern Ireland "leaves the United Kingdom", it almost certainly would become part of a united Ireland, rather than an independent country.) Such a hopeless lack of clarity is precisely why the Electoral Commission would never approve the Scotland in Union question for an independence referendum - and yet a question that would never be good enough for the Electoral Commission in a million years is apparently good enough for Survation. I'd gently suggest that's something Survation should reflect on - and if they're not prepared to simply say no to Scotland in Union's requests for an inappropriate wording, they should at least put out a disclaimer on each poll, stating that however interesting the results on this question may be, they do not directly relate to the issue of independence.
The reason that Scotland in Union always insist on such an ambiguously-worded question is, of course, that it almost always produces a "Remain" figure that is several points higher than the "No" vote in genuine independence polls. No-one knows for sure exactly why that happens. It's been speculated that because the question mimics the wording of the EU referendum question, some respondents may not read it properly and assume they're being asked about the EU rather than the UK. That may be happening at the margins, but my own personal view is that the word "kingdom" is making a significant number of people wrongly assume they're being asked about leaving the shared British monarchy.
Anyway, let's get to the good news. In the latest poll, 38% of respondents say they want to "leave" the United Kingdom, and 52% say they want to "remain" - thus a 14-point lead "for "remain". That's a two-point narrowing of the gap from the previous poll in the series, which had "remain" ahead by 16 points. In fact, four of the previous seven polls in the series had a "remain" lead of more than 14 points, and none had a gap smaller than 10 points. That would suggest support for remaining in the UK is a tad on the low side at present - and that's consistent with recent Panelbase and ComRes polling on independence which by recent standards showed a relatively high Yes vote.
Other examples of leading or unbalanced questions in the poll:
"For each of the following please say whether it is or is not a reason for why you have you changed how you would vote in another referendum on Scotland's future - the stability of the UK economy." What "stability"? Yeah, exactly. That's a subjective assessment, and yet it appears to be one that Survation are more than happy to endorse in the question wording.
"For each of the following please say whether it is or is not a reason for why you have you changed how you would vote in another referendum on Scotland's future - Scotland exporting more to the rest of the UK than it does to the rest of the world combined." Seriously, guys? What's next - "the fact that we are better together and our union is so vewy vewy pwecious"?
Last but not least, there's the appallingly sneaky wording of the question on whether a referendum should be held next year, which is deliberately designed to draw supporters of a referendum towards backing an option that is later presented as anti-referendum. "Another referendum on leaving the UK should not be held before the end of next year" - that's literally the only 'anti-referendum' option offered, and yet if you support a referendum in 2024 or 2025, that's the one you'd be forced to pick. Oh, and let's not forget the unbalanced and inaccurate wording about "another referendum on leaving the UK", which implies we've already had a referendum on "leaving the UK". The 2014 referendum was in fact about something far more specific - it was about whether Scotland should become an independent country.
What about the question that concludes that 58% of Scots want to retain the UK nuclear deterrent? That is surely one enormous pile of steaming manure. How did that happen??ReplyDelete
How about ‘Should Scotland Leave the United Kingdom and become an independent country?’ for any future referendum, to keep both sides happy?ReplyDelete
Nope - not accurate. There is no leaving the UK just ending the UK.Delete
A good point that needs constant repetition.Delete
Why couldn’t the UK continue if Scotland left?Delete
The a Treaty of Union 1706/7is a bipartite political union between Scotland and England. Therefore if England or Scotland decide to terminate the union then it no longer exists. England could call itself the UK of Fascists or the UK of Disneyland or whatever it wanted.Delete
A very good analysis that shows money can influence the integrity of polling companies. An anonymous poster said Alba was lacking credibility. Scotland in union and Survation are lacking in credibility.ReplyDelete
Point of detail - " shared monarchy" should be shared monarch.
The Bathtub Admiral ( Indyref2yespleasenicola) loves your article because he says you do not mention Alba. The Admiral really disnae like Alba and says it would be good to see you back on track. By back on track I guess he means be a nicophant like all of the WGD numpties.ReplyDelete
In fact to distract themselves from all the Scotgov problems and lack of progress on independence they all just love slagging Salmond and Alba. The truth is that the SNP need to get back on track by ridding themselves of all the devolutionalists (unionists) in the SNP.
Looks like John REDACTOR MAN Swinney has been wielding his black felt pen again. Has Swinney been trying to redact his involvement in the ferry shambles? Personally, I would prefer it if he was redacted completely from the Scottish government as he has always been a devolutionalist and that means a Unionist.ReplyDelete
Well according to Dross at FMQs he is incompetent at redacting now as he managed to read the blanked out lines and it said legal advice was not to proceed with contract as it could be legally challenged and deemed unlawful. So business experts and the lawyers said do not proceed but they went ahead anyway.Delete
WGD numpties like mad liar Irish Skier actually think this is why people vote SNP. " ,endless coverage of ferries by the Unionist media helped the SNP win yet another election...." More utter pish by Skier. People vote SNP against a corrupt union and for Scottish independence. They don't vote SNP because of their incompetence.
What difference does it make - there's not going to be any vote on independence while Sturgeon remains in power, so quibbling about the SiU bigots is utterly pointless.ReplyDelete
A CRITICAL FRIENDReplyDelete
Sandy Brindley, Rape Crisis Scotland the "critical friend" of the Scottish government. Lord Advocate James Wolfe, when leaving his position last year requests a phone call with Sandy to thank her for being a critical friend in the past five years. The job spec of a critical friend obviously entails never being off the telly defending the alphabetties, questioning the verdict of a jury and slagging off Salmond. Rape Crisis Scotland is of course given a lot of money by the Scottish Government but that is supposed to be for providing a much needed service for women who have been sexually assaulted. This organisation has been politicised and as such is not fit for purpose. Bought and paid for by the Scottish government. Oh and Wolfe also thought that the Solicitor General would probably want to thank her as well. Sandy portrays herself and the organisation as independent.
I'd place a bet that the reason for the higher Q1 'Remain' (in the UK) than Q2 'No' (to being an Independent country) is that a percentage of folk are either confused by the answer options or assume they are answering Q1 rather than Q2.ReplyDelete
That is, for some people, answering 'Remain' in the "EU question" means 'Yes' when in fact it means 'No' (in the conventional "Indy question".
A 2 x 2 'Confusion Matrix' would highlight this.
It is, of course, deliberate distortion for propaganda effect by SiU and Survation are hurting their own credibility by carrying out a survey on this basis.
Glasgow March TomorrowReplyDelete
On the eve of the march in Glasgow nasty WGD numpty Dr Jim decides to attack independence marches as a waste of time at best and counter productive at worst.
He says this about marches re indyref1: " .... what difference did hundreds of thousands of us march up and down towns make in the end it made no difference to the result."
and this: "Much of the marching style actually galvanised the opposition into stronger opposition because independence was portrayed as some sort of rabble gang, plus the media most of the time ignored the marches...."
So according to Jimbo the marches were both ignored and portrayed as a rabble.
Also according to nasty Jimbo indyref1 was lost due to Salmond, nothing to do with Sturgeon who negotiated with Scottish sec of state Moore and signed the Edinburgh Agreement. In the nicophant mind it is as if Sturgeon wisnae even there in 2014.
The real reason Jimbo is against the marches is that being an arch Nicophant he needs Sturgeon to give them the nod of approval. Nasty Jimbo, of course, does not criticise the Sturgeon/ National rally in George Sq in 2019.
It is not the marches that harm independence it is the WGD site and I will ignore Jimbo and his sour comments about the marches and will continue to attend.
Obviously the Dear Leader doesn't agree with the good doctor that marches are a waste of time. Show her a Pride March and she can't get her rainbow flag out quick enoughDelete
Felix, very good point.Delete
I note that the Bathtub Admiral joins in criticising the AUOB marches as well.
Funny how the Bathtub Admiral who is always prattling on about his love and knowledge of warships and other weapons of war has nothing to say about the Ferry shambles. Is it because there are no big guns on ferries?