Of course the explanation is simple enough - Mr Campbell is treating his readers as mugs who have the attention-span of goldfish. But let's take a moment to put this new poll in a more appropriate perspective. Somewhat ironically, in order to make his bogus point today, Mr Campbell had to give Scot Goes Pop an indirect plug, because the February 2020 poll he's using as his baseline was in fact a Panelbase poll commissioned by yours truly. I remember it well, because on the Friday before publication I was told by Panelbase that the Yes vote would most likely be 49%. This was a major disappointment for me, because my hope had been to demonstrate that the December 2019 general election (which made Brexit inevitable but also produced an SNP landslide) had pushed Yes into the lead. So I spent the weekend trying to work out how to put a brave face on 49% - only to be told on the Monday that the preliminary figures had been wrong and it was actually 52%. Suddenly it was front page material for The National after all.
But the fact that it was Panelbase I commissioned is the first clue as to where Mr Campbell is misleading people. Panelbase and Redfield & Wilton are different firms with different methodologies, and you can't directly compare a poll from one with a poll from the other. I'd be all over any mainstream media outlet that attempted a stunt like that, so there's no reason why Mr Campbell should be held to a lesser standard. This in fact appears to be only the third Scottish independence poll Redfield & Wilton have ever conducted. The previous two were both in the second half of 2021, and both showed Yes on 48% and No on 52%. So by that measure, 52% for Yes represents substantial progress.
Across all firms, this is the twenty-second independence poll to be conducted since the start of 2022. It's produced a higher Yes vote than all but two of the previous twenty-one - and those two exceptions were Ipsos-Mori polls which used a non-standard question. So although it's not possible to make direct comparisons between polls conducted by different firms, this pattern could potentially suggest that Yes support is currently higher than it has been at any previous point during the year, with by far the most likely explanation being the Supreme Court's ruling that Scotland is a prisoner in an involuntary union.
Furthermore, 52% is significantly higher than the polling average for Yes in all but one calendar year in the past. It's much higher, for example, than the average of 45.3% in 2017 or the average of 45.5% in 2018. The only year in which the average was slightly higher than 52% (indeed the only year in which it's been higher than 50%) was the 53% recorded in 2020.
So whichever way you cut it, 52% is an unusually high Yes vote. That doesn't mean, of course, that the vote will necessarily hold up at that high level, but it does mean that anyone who looks at 52% and shouts "flatlining!" is not being intellectually honest.
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