Thursday, November 17, 2022

Panic grips Westminster as bombshell Ipsos poll shows 54% of Scottish voters want independence

It was brought to my attention earlier today that Ipsos UK (formerly Ipsos-Mori) recently published a poll relating to Scottish independence.  It's a UK-wide poll, but the results are presented separately for each constituent nation, and the Scottish sample is not only correctly weighted, it's also actually bigger than you'd get in an average full-scale Scottish poll.  What makes it particularly interesting is that it's an online poll, whereas the vast majority of Ipsos polls we see in Scotland are conducted by telephone - which we usually assume is the explanation for them showing a higher Yes vote than polls from other firms.

Frustratingly, there's no standard independence question, ie. "Should Scotland be an independent country?", but there is an indirect question that ought to be reasonably effective at finding out whether people would vote Yes or No - and the Scotland-only results suggest there is a majority who would vote Yes, at least once "don't knows" and "don't minds" are excluded.

If a referendum were held in Scotland on its constitutional future, would you personally prefer Scotland to vote for or against leaving the UK and becoming an independent country?  (Ipsos, 13th-19th October 2022, Scottish sample only)

Would prefer Scotland to vote for independence: 50%
Would prefer Scotland to vote against independence: 43%

With undecideds and those who aren't bothered stripped out, that works out as 54% in favour of independence and 46% opposed - which is strikingly similar to some of the more recent telephone results from Ipsos.  Leaving aside the issue of the non-standard question, it's also better for the Yes campaign than any other online poll from any firm for approximately eighteen months.  So maybe the factor that causes Ipsos to produce better results for Yes is specific to the firm rather than to the data collection method - or maybe it's a bit of both. 

Also very encouraging from the poll is that Scottish voters are split down the middle on whether independence would have a positive or negative effect on the economy - a far cry from the 2014 referendum, when the Yes campaign were loaded down by the millstone of a widespread public belief that indy would harm the economy.  Trying to win against that backdrop was doubly hard - of course you could attempt to direct people's attention to counterweighting considerations, but it was like trying to ascend an escalator that was going downwards.  No such problem nowadays.

Incidentally, you might remember that in the early stages of the 2014 campaign, Tories down south used to boast that Scottish independence was more popular in England than in Scotland - although why they were so happy about such an obvious threat to the Union was something of a mystery.  For better or for worse, it's certainly no longer the case - Scotland is the only country in the UK that actually wants Scotland to become independent.  England is opposed by 54% to 14% with a very substantial minority who don't mind either way, and Wales is opposed by a similar 54% to 16%.  It's a closer run thing in Northern Ireland, which is only opposed by 43% to 28% - probably because those who desire Irish unity have such an obvious point of empathy with our cause.  In fact, the Northern Ireland results could potentially be presented the other way around - because the combined total of those who favour independence or who don't mind either way actually exceeds the anti-independence total, perhaps it should be said that only a minority are in favour of the Union.

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  1. I love you for 2 reasons brother : this kind of good news and softening the bad news

  2. BTW - I like O'Neil and Blackford as leaders - nobody's Salmond (who quit the scene of his own - extremely misguided - volition) but the sensible hand wringing anger of Blkfrd and pointed argument sound biting of O'Neil is what the other half needs. Strgn is tired but she perked up last wk - I suspect SNP polling agrees with IPSOS. Strgn would be best (actually Patrick Steward/L Slater would be best if their first priority could become indy)nbut she'd have to be up for a fight. Anyway, it's a lovely fkn war...

    1. Left by his own volition? Eck was kicked out by his constituents in 2017. Official SNP candidate, before the allegations, double digit swing against him.

      I don’t dispute he’s a cut above any who represent Scotland there today, but rewriting history gets us nowhere.

    2. I presume what Stevie meant was that Mr Salmond *resigned as SNP leader* of his own volition - that's certainly how I read it.

    3. Fair enough. Hard to see how he could have continued, having lost the referendum though. Even Cameron knew to fall on his sword when he repeated the achievement. Salmond was doing well in his comeback, taking on a harder seat as Banff and Buchan was already taken. I was as gutted when he lost that night in 2017 as I was delighted to see him come back in 2015. Sadly, it proved to be a lasting effect.

    4. I always think it's a bit ironic when Nicola Sturgeon loyalists gloat about Alex Salmond's defeat in 2017, because he lost out due to a nationwide swing against the SNP. If anyone is to 'blame' for a nationwide swing, it's the national leadership, rather than local candidates. In other words, that result was actually more of an indictment of Sturgeon than of Salmond.

  3. Nice number to start a new push from. Looking forward to the polling turning to the plebiscite election we’re kicking off next week, as promised. You’ll be there with us out front of Holyrood, right Nicola?

    Kinda disappointing to see Wales so closely aligned with England re: Scots indy. Keep hearing about their own independence movement at the National, but unlike the North of Ireland there’s not a blip to be seen in favour of us, out ahead of them.

  4. I don't know whether you are aware of this, or not James. but as an SN.P member, and activist we were given definite instructions not to mention Independence during the campaign of 2017.