Saturday, January 13, 2024

Here's the news they're not telling you: 49.4% support independence in the latest poll

In my post promoting the fundraiser for the next Scot Goes Pop poll, I made the point that one of the problems with conventional polling is that the only firm that polls regularly on independence tends to downplay good results for Yes and makes them hard to find. That's certainly true of the latest poll, because 24 hours on, how many of you are aware of just how remarkably well Yes support is holding up in the face of the Labour recovery?

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Redfield & Wilton)

Yes 49.4%
No 50.6%

I'm taking a leaf out of the Express' book here by rounding to one decimal place, because after all the press regulator IPSO decreed that was absolutely fine!  Of course the headline numbers with Don't Knows excluded are Yes 49%, No 51%, but with Don't Knows left in the rounded No lead is just 1 point (47% to 46%), and fascinatingly Yes actually has a 1 point lead before the likelihood to vote filter is applied (45% to 44%).  The bottom line, though, is that this poll is a statistical tie in which the tightness of the margin makes it impossible to know whether Yes or No has the advantage, due to the standard margin of error.

The Holyrood numbers are a quintessential curate's egg, with the SNP increasing its lead over Labour on the constituency ballot, but Labour jumping into an alarmingly significant lead on the regional list ballot.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 37% (+3)
Labour 32% (+2)
Conservatives 18% (-4)
Liberal Democrats 8% (-)
Greens 3% (+1)
Reform UK 1% (-1)
Alba 0% (-2)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

Labour 30% (+3)
SNP 25% (-3)
Conservatives 17% (-4)
Greens 11% (+2)
Liberal Democrats 10% (+2)
Reform UK 4%
Alba 2% (-1)

Seats projection (with changes from 2021 election): SNP 42 (-22), Labour 41 (+19), Conservatives 23 (-8), Liberal Democrats 12 (+8), Greens 11 (+3)

The seats projection comes close to proving my pernennial point that ultimately the regional list ballot is the more important vote, because there comes a point where the leading party on the constituency ballot does not have a big enough lead to prevent the list allocation of seats from correcting it efficiently.

Someone suggested this was a bad poll for Alba - maybe it technically is on the constituency ballot, but if Alba have any sense they won't stand on the constituency ballot anyway but will focus exclusively on the list, where this poll shows them on the same 2% they secured in 2021.  No breakthrough but no sign of them going away.

It shouldn't go without note that the party this poll is worst for is undoubtedly the Conservative party - they're down four points on both ballots, and it's probably not a coincidence that this mirrors what we've seen in GB-wide polls since Christmas.

It's hard to know what to make of the leaders' personal ratings - Humza Yousaf has rebounded to an almost respectable -6, perhaps due to his principled stance on Gaza, but as Keir Starmer has simultaneously and undeservedly jumped to +11, that may not be of much help.  Yousaf maintains his customary lead over Anas Sarwar on the head-to-head question of who would make the best First Minister, but only just - his advantage over the Scottish Labour leader is down to a barely-there two points (33% to 31%).

One thing that always grates on me about Redfield & Wilton's write-ups of their Scottish polls is that month in, month out, they gloat about how Scottish independence is "only the third most important issue" for Yes supporters, as if this is somehow astonishing or devastating.  In fact, since time immemorial polling has showed that Scottish voters rank bread-and-butter issues as the most important, but of course many people support independence precisely because they think an jndependent Scotland will make a better fist of handling the NHS and the economy.

Scot Goes Pop poll fundraiser: If you haven't already, please consider helping Scot Goes Pop commission a New Year poll so we as jndependence supporters can actually ask the questions we want asked and think need to be asked.  The fundraiser page is HERE, however if you have a Paypal account the best way to donate is via direct Paypal payment, because that can totally eliminate fees depending on which option you select, and payment usually comes through instantly.  My Paypal email address is:


  1. Are there tabs in this poll about independence support among voters of all parties? I’m interested to see the trend of how many Yessers are backing Labour especially. The long-term trend could be informative. I gather they've always been the most popular unionist party for some segment of indy supporting Scots.

    1. Annoyingly there are only tabs for how people voted in 2019, but even on that measure 38% of Labour voters from 2019 would now vote Yes, and only 62% would vote No.

    2. Thanks. That's quite a big number. Last time I looked, Tories and Lib Dems were neck and neck, deep in the No vote pool.

      Labour's support remains a much more promising target for an independence campaign. I think Labour's unionist voters are the crucial, lowest hanging fruit for pushing Yes well past 50%.

  2. Interesting to see Humza's ratings improve.

    1. One word: "Gaza."

      How I wished it was instead: "Indy."

  3. What always strikes me with these polls is that the combined unionist share of the vote is always around 60%.
    I notice an increasing number of posters speculating on what percentage of Labour voters support independence. Have we really become so desperate that we need to clutch at straws like this?
    Why would any supporter of independence, in their right mind, vote for a unionist party?

    1. Because for them it's not such a key issue.

    2. I point it out because it's key to understanding what's going on now.

      As anon@9:29 says, indy/union isn't the primary motive of all voters. Not all of us are so easily herded into one party or another based on just this one question. I’m an ardent Yesser, too, so I’m not joining those voters but understanding them is vital to winning the majority we need for independence: the overall majority of *votes*, in either a referendum or a plebiscite election.

      And then there's the public's perception of just how far the SNP's pushed Indy to the back burner. You don't need to be highly politically engaged to feel the mood music on Indy has faded to "someday, hopefully, fingers crossed, eh?"

      All that may change when we have the reality of a Labour government that's just as fiercely anti-Scotland as the Tories. Then those numbers could well move. This is the "shoogly peg" the union is hanging from. To win independence, we and our leadership must snap it.

    3. When the Labour vote collapsed in Scotland it coincided with the rise in support for the SNP so I guess people are hoping that there is still a residue of independence supporters there who could be won over. A leader like Starmer might be just the type needed to 'scunner' those voters into abandoning Labour. We still need a much more indy-focussed SNP than we saw under Sturgeon though.

    4. @Felix: Exactly. Circumstances still favour Scotland's cause. Starmer's Labour is just the kind of government that'll scunner unionists the way Nicola's SNP scunnered us.

      Labour's going to be tough on Scots and tough on the causes of Scots. That's their schtick, advised by every consultant and focus group since the Tories won in 2015 with the visual of Ed Miliband in Nicola's pocket. They can't win the English votes they need without squeezing us and being seen to be "intensely relaxed" while doing so. After 2016's shock to the system, you don't get to be the UK Government any more without pandering to English, above all else. Their grievances are going to be our problem in a big way, under both colours of government.

      What we must provide, as you say, is a party of independence for scunnered Scots to turn to; with a plan and with the electoral event to prove the majority of Scots want to leave the union.

  4. Encouraging figures, support for independence at more or less 50%.
    Maybe when the people of Scotland realise Starmer and Labour are no better than the Tories this can give a significant boost to support for independence. If we can drive it up towards 60%, and it was way above 50% for a sustained length of time, Westminster would have to bow to pressure. It could lead to unrest if they didn’t.

    1. I agree. I think a couple of terms of a Labour government and folk realising their no better than the Tories would really scunner folk. I honestly think we could be independent in 10 years time if that happened

    2. “Westminster would have to bow to pressure.”

      No it won’t. You’ve seen the international pressure they’re under for the Chagos islanders right to return to Diego Garcia.

      The UK gov was also playing with fire, internationally, in their treatment of Northern Ireland in 2016-2020 when their openly stated policy was to renege on the Good Friday Agreement to escape the EU’s “backstop.”

      When they feel something is vital to them, the UK will pursue it, whatever the “international community” protests.

      “It could lead to unrest if they didn’t.”

      Well, that would be a very different ballgame. I don’t see us Scots playing it. But you’re right there would be a lot of *internal* pressure, from us. Ultimately, power can never be given, only taken.

    3. Anonymous at 11.52pm. You say " Westminster would have to bow to pressure" - that nonsense has been totally discredited. If you still believe it then you truly are a numpty. On the other hand you are just trumpeting one of the SNPs tired old beliefs that nobody believes to try and get them to vote SNP. Happy to read your case why they would bow to pressure. Always up for a laugh. Is it the same sort of pressure that Blowhard Blackford applied to retain our EU citizenship - all the pressure of a big burst balloon.

    4. Well whether we like it or not independence for Scotland, it’s our only hope, get independence support up well above 50% for an extended period and try to secure a referendum.
      Nothing else will work and sturgeon’s de facto referendum idea is obviously a non starter.

  5. Sunak says:- " Because this war is about Ukraine's right to defend itself and to determine your own future and the Ukrainian people's historic choice to be an independent democracy at the heart of Europe."

    So Ukraine wants to join the EU and Sunak says it will be an independent democracy. Yet Sunak and the other Brexiteers said you weren't an independent country if you were in the EU.

    Sunak, of course, cares nothing about Scotland's right to determine its own future and it's own voted for preference to be in the EU.

    Quite an achievement by Sunak ( unelected as PM by Scots) along with his unelected by anyone Lord Cameron, Foreign Secretary to put us on the front line of two wars after both of them only being in office for short periods. Britnats are warmongers who never have problems finding money to bomb people even when at the same time saying there is no money for other things.

    Scots in the British armed forces being used to defend other countries rights to self determination but no such right in Scotland.

    As if the British Empire was all about letting peoples determine their own future. The UK still gives out honours CBE MBE OBE honouring the Empire and Scots living in a colony accept these honours. What a shithouse the UK is, run by the shittiest politicians. Oh mustn't forget charlieboy.

  6. I'm so glad you keep showing Independence for Scotland's posts
    it gives this site all the credibility it deserves