I drew a blank when I initially looked for the Norstat data tables last week, but I've just found them, and the headline result is the one we were hoping for.
Should Scotland be an independent country? (Norstat / Sunday Times, 22nd-25th January 2024)
Yes 50% (+2)
No 50% (-2)
Rounded to one decimal place, the figures are Yes 49.6%, No 50.4%.
I also couldn't find any sign of percentages for Alba in the Sunday Times write-up, which I had assumed meant that Alba weren't even offered as an option to respondents. However, it turns out they were offered as an option on the Holyrood list question, and were on 3% of the vote. It's difficult to know how to interpret that, because Panelbase typically produced more favourable results for Alba than other polling firms, often as high as 5% or 6%, so if Norstat have continued with exactly the same methodology as Panelbase, 3% should arguably be seen as a slightly disappointing result for Alba. However, that's a very big "if".
Also of interest in the data tables is the further evidence of how complex Labour's coalition of support has become, which may prove to be a major problem for them either before or after the general election. Among likely voters, no fewer than 25% of Yessers from 2014 are now planning to vote Labour, as are 19% of people who would vote Yes in a new referendum right now, and indeed 20% of people who voted SNP in the 2019 general election. In terms of raw numbers, 54 respondents have switched from SNP to Labour since 2019, compared to only 28 who have switched from Tory to Labour. We know from the independence question that many of those SNP-to-Labour switchers must still be pro-indy, which means Labour are actually more reliant on Yes voters than on unionists if they wish to make progress in this election. That puts them in an awkward position given that their default setting is to pump out relentless Brit Nat propaganda which would be far more likely to appeal to former Tory voters.
Amusingly, it looks like the Sunday Times asked for a downright leading question to be asked as one of the supplementaries, but still didn't get the result they wanted or probably expected. Respondents were asked if they would support the reintroduction of university tuition fees or a graduate tax "if it led to more university places for Scottish students", but even with that extremely strong nudge they still said no by a margin of 43% to 33%.
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Before we finish, a reminder that the Scot Goes Pop opinion poll fundraiser urgently needs a boost - let's not leave it in limbo for months. It's important that not all Scottish opinion polling is commissioned by anti-independence clients - we need to make sure that occasionally questions are asked that Yes supporters want asked. Donations can be made via the fundraiser page HERE.
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