Sunday, September 18, 2022

BREAKING: The Sun quite simply LIED about their new independence poll. It does NOT show Yes on 42%. It does NOT show a 7% drop in Yes support. It does NOT suggest support for independence has fallen - let alone "plummeted" - after the Queen's death. Outright lies like this are why journalists are not respected, and they have no-one to blame but themselves.

As soon as I have time, I'm going to update this blogpost with full analysis of this shocking development (albeit a shocking development I had a sneaking suspicion might occur).  In the meantime, here are the real results from the poll that the Sun tried to conceal.  They will come as a tremendous relief to the independence movement, because they show that - far from "plummeting" - support for independence has held up remarkably well during the period of mourning for the Queen and the related wall-to-wall state propaganda from the BBC and others.

Should Scotland be an independent country?* (Deltapoll / The Sun)

Yes 47%
No 53%

* It has yet to be confirmed whether Deltapoll used the standard independence question.  There are no percentage changes listed because as far as I can see there is no remotely recent Deltapoll survey about independence on which a comparison can be based.

UPDATE: My suspicions about the reporting of the poll were first aroused because The Sun quoted a Yes figure of 42% without giving any hint or trace of the corresponding No figure.  If 42% had been accurate, the No figure would have been 58%, and it would have been entirely normal to simply report that.  When something that would normally be there is absent, there'll generally turn out to be a reason for that, and we now know what that reason is: The Sun deceitfully wanted to give a false impression that the Yes vote had "plummeted" as a result of the Queen's death, even though the results of their poll simply didn't show that.  To pull off that stunt, they gave the Yes figure from before Don't Knows had been excluded without bothering to mention that's what they were doing, and took multiple steps to ensure people would wrongly assume they were doing the opposite.  They didn't give the No figure, thus allowing people to infer that it must be 58%, even though it was actually much lower than that.  They suggested that the 42% figure for Yes was directly comparable to 49% for Yes in a recent poll from another firm - but in reality the latter figure was from after the exclusion of Don't Knows, not before.  Thus, the comparison was a deliberate distortion intended to leave people wrongly thinking that the Yes vote had dropped 7% after the Queen's death, when in fact the actual drop for Yes from one poll to the other was a statistically insignificant 2%.  (And that's leaving aside the fact that polls from different firms with different methodologies can't be directly compared anyway.)

Technically The Sun can claim that the 42% figure isn't a direct lie, even though they were undoubtedly misleading readers deliberately, and even though it's highly unusual to headline figures that don't exclude Don't Knows, especially when it's done so wildly out of context.  However, what pushes the article into outright lie territory is the suggestion of a 7% drop in Yes support by excluding Don't Knows from one poll and not from the other.  The Sun is affiliated to the press regulator IPSO, and is thus bound by the following code on accuracy - 

"i) The Press must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information or images, including headlines not supported by the text. 

ii) A significant inaccuracy, misleading statement or distortion must be corrected, promptly and with due prominence, and — where appropriate — an apology published."

With the best will in the world, it's impossible to see how The Sun's article doesn't constitute a breach of the requirement to avoid misleading or distorted information.  The same can be said about a near-identical article about the poll on the Express website.

If you're thinking of lodging a complaint with IPSO, you can find a few pointers HERE.


  1. They surveyed only 659 people, not the standard 1003. Utter nonsense poll. When Unionists have to resort to fudging figures to make them say what they want them to say then they're really only fooling themselves and the YES victory next year will come as a shock. Fooling yourself is - well, for fools.

  2. So there seems to be at least 5 major falsehoods or misleading comments contained in the Sun's report:

    1. The support for Yes is 47%, not 42% (excluding don't knows). Assuming the 42% figure is based on the inclusion of don't knows that's misleading and disingenuous at best.

    2. The comparison to 49% registered by "another firm" is likely to have been Panelbase survey where the fieldwork was carried out between 17-19 August this year.

    3. Including don't knows the result was 46% Yes in the Panelbase poll, so the 'drop' is 4% not 7% but ...

    4. ... it's not comparable anyway since the results are from two different organisations with different methodologies etc.

    5. The sample size of 659 is small, implying a margin of error of nearly +/-4% - 3.82% to be precise - whilst the standard results only have a sampling error of +/-3% and sample size of circa 1060.

    James - do you intend to report this to the Press Complaints Commission and/or Independent Press Standards Organisation as well as Deltapoll and possibly the British Poling Council?

  3. Thank you for this information I never read newspapers as I found out a long time ago the distort the truth same as most news broadcasters I do my best to research my own ways don’t trust any of the media

  4. I’m not a nationalist and I want the union to continue in some form but this is unsurprising weak reporting. They should have said something like ‘there seems to remain a small majority in favour of the union’.

  5. If those are the correct figures then the establishment can drop their objections to a referendum and see if this poll is accurate. I have the feeling that it way off in the Yes direction compared to 2014.

  6. It is squeaky bum time for the Union. The 'coffin' did not have to drive through Dundee, could have gone via the Mearns to Perth. It was deliberate to try and chip away at the Yes City.

    If they are confident they will win why the lying, smoke and mirrors? It is not the behaviour of someone who is confident in their side is it?

  7. I want to see Goves,secret poll which he refuses to divulge even after a court order

  8. The data sets of this poll have been published. No 16 or 17 year olds asked. They think the 2014 referendum was held in 2016. Looks as though they have weighted to the last referendum vote.

  9. IPSO will accept this as a valid complaint . They have done so with a DE recent poll headline that claimed that support for independence had plummeted but only 128 people in Scotland were interviewed. Investigation has been accepted and is ongoing. So everyone please report the Sun to IPSO