Sunday, August 21, 2022

IN LIZ WE TRUSS: Stunning new Panelbase poll shows Scotland will be on course for independence as soon as Liz is Leader

Perhaps nothing speaks volumes about the SNP's failure to start a suitably intensive campaign for a referendum / plebiscite election quite like the recent dearth of independence polling.  There's been a wait of the best part of two months since the famous Panelbase poll that unexpectedly showed Yes back in the lead.  OK, it's summer, but clearly the media don't think anything of note is happening - although in fairness they'd probably be pretending nothing was happening anyway, because they're largely unionists and are perfectly capable of weaving their own fictional reality.

Many thanks to Marcia for alerting me to the fact that the drought has finally been broken - and, once again, it's a Panelbase poll.  On the face it, the headline numbers look mildly disappointing, because the modest Yes lead has been replaced by a modest No lead.  However, you have to bear in mind that the Yes lead was very unusual by recent Panelbase standards, and the new Yes figure is thus still on the high side, relatively speaking.  The changes are also small, within the margin of error, and continue to leave us with a 'statistical tie'.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Panelbase / Sunday Times)

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

Curiously, the headlines generated from this poll have been less about the headline numbers, and more about the hypothetical numbers in the highly likely event that Liz Truss becomes Prime Minister next month.  Yes would supposedly move into a 52-48 lead in that scenario.  As is always pointed out, results from hypothetical questions have very little credibility - we've seen that in the past with results predicting there would be a decisive swing to Yes if Brexit occurred, or if a particularly Hard Brexit occurred, or if Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.  The problem is that by asking how people would vote in an indyref, and then asking how they would vote in an indyref if Truss is PM, you're drawing attention to the Truss Factor and implying it's the sort of thing that could change people's votes, which might in itself be enough to nudge certain respondents in a particular direction.  It's worth noting that the hypothetical question about Sunak being PM also shows a lower No vote - which makes no sense, because voters should already be factoring in the certainty that either Truss or Sunak will shortly be in Number 10.

Nevertheless, the poll is still extremely valuable because it helpfully feeds the narrative that a Truss premiership will be a gift for the pro-independence campaign (as indeed it probably will be in the long run).

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We've already seen since Nicola Sturgeon's announcement that the overwhelmingly unionist mainstream media are attempting a 'shock and awe' campaign to try to kill off independence - and the misuse of polling is playing a key part in that.  If you'd like to balance things out with polling commissioned by a pro-independence outlet and which asks the questions we want to see asked, one way of doing that would be to help Scot Goes Pop's fundraising drive - see details below.

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  1. Its getting hard to stay optimistic about independence, at least for me. I mean, all the SNP has to do is deliver a few concrete proposals about currency, the economy, the military after independence, and I think they'd have a Yes vote in the bag.

    But they're not. And for all my earlier optimism, I'm finding it hard to work out why they haven't.

    1. And some sort of positive statement about the state pension in an independent Scotland rather than the confused mess they have served up to this point in time.

    2. During recent SSRG conference viewed on youtube Richard Murphy highlighted that Scottish pensions would be paid from NI contributions, and as Scottish NI contributions total some £11.5bn and pension load is £8.5bn, then pension situation will not be a concern.

    3. But please save us from stupid, reality-denying, unsubstantiated statements like, and I don't know who said it but remember somebody in authority in the SNP doing so, or at least being reported as saying so; "There will be seamless trade between England and an Independent Scotland".
      If we're in the EU and rUK is not, how can there possibly be "seamless" trade between us? That does not make sense and
      it's counter-productive to make such crass statements. Trade might not be seamless, but it need not be insurmountable either.
      Matters such as these have to be faced up to frankly and honestly, if credence is to be maintained.

  2. Hard to stay optimistic? Have a look here:

    1. There's no buy-in from the SNP on this way forward, they shunned the SSRG / Salvo conference at the end of July

  3. Agree with Fitzyfan. We saw the problems in 2014 over a less than credible position on these very issues. To win the referendum or the Election plebiscite we need to have a tightly drawn prospectus. In my own opinion we also have to appeal to the over 65 demographic who have consistently been the most opposed to Yes. pointing out the guarantee of pension provision and possible improvement in pension levels may assist as well as NHS and continuing free prescriptions.

  4. There was a Survation poll last week that also had Yes: 48% (+1) No: 52% (-1). The headline wasn't published but they were included in crosstabs. So we seem to be looking at a narrow No lead at the moment.

  5. James, I would welcome your thoughts on the possibility of Truss calling an early GE and what this would mean for the SNP plan to use the next Westminster election as a de facto Indy vote.