Friday, February 17, 2023

Unionists and doomsters in despair as two out of three new polls show Yes on almost 50% of the vote - and one of them is a POST-RESIGNATION poll

Hopefully the great many people who spread defeatist propaganda about the Lord Ashcroft poll have learned a very important lesson today, because three new polls later the position for the independence campaign looks much healthier than even I would have predicted.  You just cannot write off decades of progress towards independence on the basis of a single poll, no matter how bad it seems to be (and in truth the Ashcroft numbers were nowhere near as catastrophic as they were being portrayed), because it might be an extreme outlier, it might be a rogue poll, it might just be picking up a very fleeting dip.  And it now seems that any or all of the above may have been exactly what was going on.

Here is the first poll to be published with fieldwork carried out after Nicola Sturgeon's resignation -

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Savanta / The Scotsman, 15th-17th February 2023)

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

Given the absolute pummelling the independence cause and the SNP have been taking in the media, especially the London-based media, these are frankly wonderful numbers.  Let's take a step back and remind ourselves of what it all means - if there was an independence referendum right now, this poll is suggesting Yes might well win, because it shows a statistical tie.  Due to the standard margin of error, either side could be ahead.

It's even possible the Yes campaign may now enjoy an extended post-resignation honeymoon, if that isn't a contradiction in terms, because people always see the outgoing leader through rose-tinted glasses, and the SNP will now enjoy unprecedented attention as the beauty pageant of potential leadership candidates gets underway in earnest.  And then even after the election is over, the new leader can probably expect a honeymoon of sorts for at least a few weeks (unexpected events permitting).

There are also voting intention numbers in the Savanta poll, which offer considerable reassurance that YouGov may have been wrong in suggesting Labour were on the brink of overtaking the SNP on the Westminster ballot.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election:

SNP 42% (-1) 
Labour 32% (+2) 
Conservatives 17% (-2) 
Liberal Democrats 6% (-) 

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot: 

SNP 43% (-) 
Labour 30% (+2) 
Conservatives 17% (-1) 
Liberal Democrats 8% (-) 

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot: 

SNP 32% (-) 
Labour 27% (+3) 
Conservatives 16% (-2) 
Greens 14% (+1) 
Liberal Democrats 9% (-1)

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  1. James - given you must be sitting on a decent chunk of polling data perhaps you might have an idea. Is the gap between independence polling (i.e. Yes) and headline voting intention for SNP (either WM or HR constituency) widening over time in a way that can be attributed to something more than statistical noise?

    I don't mean just on the basis of the polls today, but over a longer run than that. I've no idea if it is or not, I was just interested in the notion that Yes is sitting on 49% and the SNP down at 42%. Obviously the Greens, Alba and even some Labour supporters of Indy will explain the gap etc. (depending on exact comparison), but just curious if there's any long-run trend in there or absolutely not.

  2. Of course James is right the right wing media are jumping the gun (and I always liked his anti-tabloid spoofs in his headlines) but I am not sure anyone can pretend these are anything but very troubling results for the SNP. As for Alba it is obvious the splits not helped the cause of independence, merely added to a sense of split.

  3. wouldn't it be sweet if more people came round to indy because Sturgeon has gone, as the last 4 weeks have been very negative

  4. A bit of a cold shower for those commentator's wishful thinking that lots of voters will decamp to Labour.

  5. Anas Sarwar is starting to sound just like Jim Murphy.

    1. Irn Bru crate at the ready. I doubt Sarwar is a member of the Henry Jackson Society like Slim Jim is.

  6. funny the herald crying tears of joy thinking that labour are caching up with the SNP. no I think it will get back up to early 50's for yes in the next few weeks, especially if Kate Forbes keeps ahead,

  7. On the question of Independence there has been plenty of fluctuation in recent years but no real change in the underlying level of YES support

    YES support in the 7 surveys across all polling firms carried out in 2023 is up by around 3% on average since the Referendum they are also around 3% lower on average since the peak support registered in its immediate aftermath in the final quarter of 2014.

    We really need a target to aim at, a focused campaign and a united movement with a single goal and common purpose in order to attempt generate sustained increase in YES support as evidenced by the enormous momentum produced during the pro-Independence surge of the 2012-2014 period.

    That's not looking likely given the state of flux (to put it generously) that the SNP is currently in.

    1. "On the question of Independence there has been plenty of fluctuation in recent years but no real change in the underlying level of YES support"

      Not true. (I think we've had that conversation before.)