Wednesday, February 7, 2024

"We demand independence!": dramatic message from Scottish public as sensational new Ipsos TELEPHONE poll is FIFTH in a row to show outright majority for Yes

As I suspected from Kevin Pringle's retweet this morning, the new Ipsos telephone poll for STV News does indeed extend the unbroken sequence of Ipsos polls showing an outright pro-independence majority - it's now five in a row, or seven of the last eight.

Should Scotland be an independent country? (Ipsos / STV News, 25th-31st January 2024)

Yes 53% (-1)
No 47% (+1)

If rounded to one decimal place (a practice the Daily Express and the "press regulator" IPSO thoroughly approve of, let's not forget!) the numbers are even better - Yes 53.3%, No 46.7%.  The turnout filter has worked firmly in the favour of Yes, though - before that was applied, the lead was tighter.

Journalism is to a large extent about choosing priorities, about deciding for readers and viewers which stories and which aspects of stories are worthy of their attention, so I think a few eyebrows are going to be raised at how STV have framed this poll on their website.  The independence numbers are mentioned fleetingly, almost as an afterthought or as if they are of no great interest, and the Yes lead is dismissively described as "small".  Is a six point lead actually "small"?  Admittedly it's not overwhelming, it doesn't show a Yes camp which has surged out of sight, but I think "small" is pushing it.

STV could also have deemed the most interesting aspect of this poll to be the fact that it continues to show the SNP with some sort of cushion over Labour in Westminster voting intentions, which significantly undermines the narrative coming from practically all online polls that Labour have either wiped out the SNP lead or whittled it down to almost nothing.  But they've chosen not to make viewers aware of that context and have instead focussed almost entirely on the fact that Labour have slightly cut the deficit since the last Ipsos poll.

Scottish voting intentions for the next UK general election:

SNP 39% (-1)
Labour 32% (+2)
Conservatives 14% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 6% (-)
Greens 4% (+1)
Reform UK 3% (+2)
Alba 1% (-1)
 
Seats projection (with changes from 2019 general election): SNP 40 (-8), Labour 13 (+12), Liberal Democrats 2 (-2), Conservatives 2 (-4)

It's tempting to think that as the only telephone pollster active in Scotland at the moment, Ipsos may be more accurate than other firms, and that the above numbers may be a signal that the SNP could yet get out of jail and come through their current predicament with their status as majority party in Scotland, and third largest party in the Commons, intact.  That's certainly possible, but past history doesn't really tell us one way or the other.  The final Ipsos poll of 2019 was reasonably accurate but not really more so than other firms.  In 2017 Ipsos substantially overestimated the SNP lead - but then so did almost everyone else.

It should also be noted that even if Ipsos are right and other firms are wrong, the SNP would be left with very little in the way of a safety net.  Due to how the voting system works, any further slippage in their support would put them in line for very substantial seat losses and the likely loss of their majority.

Scottish Parliament constituency ballot:

SNP 39% (-)
Labour 30% (+3)
Conservatives 14% (-1)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)
Greens 6% (+2)
Alba 1% (-2)
Reform UK 1% (-)

Scottish Parliament regional list ballot:

SNP 33% (-)
Labour 31% (+5)
Conservatives 13% (-2)
Greens 11% (+1)
Liberal Democrats 7% (-1)
Reform UK 2% (+1)
Alba 1% (-1)

Seats projection (with changes from 2021 election): SNP 55 (-9), Labour 41 (+19), Conservatives 15 (-16), Greens 10 (+2), Liberal Democrats 8 (+4)

Incredibly, and completely out of line with what online polls have been showing of late, the seats projection suggests the pro-independence majority at Holyrood would be maintained, albeit only just.  Pro-independence parties in combination would have 65 seats, while the unionist parties would have 64.  So there's not much doubt that an SNP-led government would also be maintained on these numbers.

It shouldn't go unnoticed just how desperately bad this poll is for the Conservative party - they're in line to lose more than half of their Holyrood seats, and they've almost been overtaken by the Greens in the popular vote on the list ballot.

As you'd expect from a poll that still shows a substantial SNP lead, the data tables for the Westminster question show a strikingly different pattern of vote-switching from online polls that have reported a more even race.  The SNP have actually retained almost as big a proportion of their 2019 vote (75%) as Labour have (77%).  Just 14% of SNP voters from 2019 are now in the Labour column, which is only slightly bigger than the 13% of Labour voters from 2019 who now plan to vote SNP.  However, because far more people voted SNP in 2019 than voted Labour, that still means in absolute terms that around twice as many people have switched from SNP to Labour as have moved in the opposite direction.  

Another key difference with online polls is that the raw number of respondents who have moved from Conservative to Labour since the last general election (26) is almost as many as those who have moved from SNP to Labour (33).  Additionally, the percentage of 2014 Yes voters, and also of current Yes voters, who plan to vote Labour is smaller than online polls suggest at 17% and 14% respectively.  All in all, then, Ipsos are suggesting Labour's coalition of support remains a touch more unionist in character than we've seen in data tables from online polls.

Among Remain voters from the 2016 EU referendum, the SNP still lead Labour but only by 45% to 34%.  That's a bafflingly small gap given that Labour are now a firmly pro-Brexit party, and perhaps points to an area where the SNP could gain some traction if they change their campaign priorities and start aggressively reminding voters of what Labour's stance on Europe actually is.

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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.

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:

jkellysta@yahoo.co.uk

19 comments:

  1. A good Yes lead always brings a smile! 53.3 is a superb place to be in without any campaign or the slightest whiff of interest from the parties. Imagine where we could push it up to if we had the electoral event.

    Not too surprising the media aren't leading with the Yes lead, of course. It's not in their interest, and seeing as the SNP's not exactly leading with independence either, it's arguably irrelevant to the election. An "argument" they'd gladly jump on.

    That's the bind we're in: without a major party pushing for action on independence, independence itself has no leverage on the result.

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    1. Indeed. We need one strong party pushing for independence, without that we’re going nowhere. This is why it’s so important the SNP gets it’s act together quickly, unless Alba is going to replace it as the dominant pro Indy party, this however seems unlikely in the short or even medium term.

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    2. Similar problem in England for those who wish to rejoin Europe. The parties disagree with you so you’re out of luck, mate.

      You’d think that would provide a political opening for a new party or the like, but voters respond well to the concept of the “wasted vote” and the better the devil they know.

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    3. Steve P: agree 100% re the need for a strong SNP. Encouraging poll from an SNP pov.

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    4. Strong as in "on independence" or as in "firmly ensconced in westminster"?

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  2. Very encouraging poll for SNP going forward.

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    1. "Settling into the role nicely", "we can all agree", etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

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    2. Hey, that's my line!

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  3. I hope the projection's accurate. I'd love, love, love to be free from my MP: Christine Jardine. Can't see it, but, with all the Tories here who'll surely swing for her.

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    1. I think she's pretty secure, I'm afraid.

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    2. Aye. There’s plenty of unionist voters here to rally round. (Ironically my neighbourhood is nothing like that but the rest of the seat is Outer Bungalowlia.) They returned that proud Hammer of the Scots Alex Cole-Hamilton with an overall majority, and I can only see the same for his fellow hard British Nationalist Jardine.

      Even in 2015 we won it with under 40%. It takes a great heave to shift the Brits out here.

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  4. So the numpties who keep on saying it is Sturgeon who got yes high in the polls are now saying what?

    What's stopping you Yousaf going for independence? I'll answer that one - none of Sturgeon's gang want independence they are all happy with just devolution - and that means they are Britnats.

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    1. 👏👏👏#SnpGreensRDestroyingScotlandDaily .

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  5. I would not set too much store on approval ratings changes from one poll to another. Approval ratings are known to be a particularly volatile series, in part because it is a difference between two series each of vhich varies depending on recent news events. Humza is definitely growing in sureness-of-touch and the underlying trend across time across the full set of polling indices is upwardly.

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    1. If you're going to astroturf, could you at least do it on the correct post?! It's the Redfield & Wilton poll where Yousaf's rating has plummetted.

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    2. Anon is definitely growing into the role. Don’t know about his sureness of touch yet though…

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  6. Results like these would be great for the SNP but being realistic for a moment it is worth pointing out that they are above expectation.

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    1. That depends on whether you're basing your "expectation" and your "realism" solely on the results of online polls, just because there are more of them than telephone polls. If so, it's worth bearing in mind that polling accuracy is not decided by majority vote. (If it was, Theresa May would probably still be Prime Minister.)

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  7. no mention ALBA dire results

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