Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


Salmond says he’s ready to put his job on the line and even disband the SNP to help secure a YES vote

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014

Just ten days before the first postal ballots arrive

In the wake of polling suggesting that Alex Salmond himself might be hurting the YES case it has been made known that the First Minister is saying publicly that if the price of winning independence is his job then he’s ready to step aside.

This comes after YouGov found that 45% of Scottish voters polled thought he was the wrong man for the job and just 57% of YES voters backed him.

This is how the Scotsman is reporting Salmond’s comments this morning.

“Referring to Greek mythology and the 17th-century Scots prophet the Brahan Seer, he said: “If I had the Delphic oracle, or a soothsayer, the Brahan Seer, was sitting in this audience and the Brahan Seer said to me, ‘Listen, you retire from politics tomorrow and I guarantee you Scotland will be an independent country in the spring of 2016’, I would shake hands on that right away – absolutely….If the Brahan Seer said to me, ‘And the other cost of getting independence is the SNP has to be abolished’, then I would agree to that as well, because this is about the people of Scotland for the first time in democratic history having the ability to determine the government of their choice.

“It’s the choice of the people of Scotland that’s the important thing.”

To me this is a smart move because inevitably the campaign is being portrayed in personal terms between Salmond for YES and the Alistair Darling for NO. To many observers Salmond’s big mistake in the first TV debate was to make personal attacks on Darling and I think the SNP leader realises that. This will help defuse it.

Yesterday’s YouGov/Times Scotland poll found that as Darling’s stock is rising Salmond is falling. Just 35% of those sampled said they trusted the First Minister with 58% saying they didn’t – a net negative of minus 23.

Darling’s figures were 38% “trust” to 52% “not trust” a net negative of minus 14.

There is a lot left in this election and time is running out.

  • IndyRef betting. Prices have barely moved since my post yesterday afternoon. Twice as much has been matched on Betfair on the IndyRef in the past 24 hours as the total since the market was established on UKIP GE2015 seats.
  • Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Even though the last 3 polls have edged a touch to an IndyRef YES the betting is still strongly on NO

    Tuesday, August 19th, 2014

    Apart from a little pre-debate burst the markets remain stable

    Given the spate of polls over the weekend all showing that YES was edging up I was half-expecting a rally in the YES price on Betfair. It did move a touch but it is now back in the 6.8-7 range which in percentage terms converts to a 14-15% implied probability.

    The next event that could move things is the BBC TV debate next Monday. Salmond, surely will have learned from his first experience and have developed a better strategy. No doubt Darling and his team will be giving serious thought to their approach.

    Betting remains buoyant. As I write a total of £1.716m has been matched on Betfair which is very high for any political market four and a half weeks out.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Yes hits an all time high with YouGov

    Monday, August 18th, 2014

    The third poll this weekend shows the momentum is with Yes.

    With a little over four weeks to go it would appear the momentum is with Yes, as one of the pollsters that has had traditionally had the largest leads for No, shows significant movement towards Yes.


    What appears to be shifting the votes

    Peter Kellner says

    “There does seem to have been a real shift in opinion, especially among Scots under 40.”

    At the time of writing, the best odds of a Yes vote is 9/2



    Indyref polling round up – Could the NHS be what wins it for Yes?

    Sunday, August 17th, 2014

    Tonight sees two Indyref polls out.

    First up Panelbase for Yes Scotland, historically Panelbase have produced some of the smallest No leads. The fieldwork was this week, between the 12th and the 15th, The first question asked was the referendum question, in the past some Panelbase polls have not done this.

    Whilst the figures are the same as Panelbase produced in June with a slightly different methodology, politics is often about momentum, and the smallness of No’s lead, that could be wiped out with a swing less than the margin of error, will cause all sorts of anguish at Better Together HQ and lots of joy at Yes Scotland HQ (this is why it is would be silly to dismiss this poll as just a margin of error change.)

    Other salient points from the polling

    Among Labour voters, 37 per cent intend to vote Yes – which equates to over Labour 230,000 voters, in terms of their constituency vote in the 2011 Holyrood election.

    Men are 52 per cent Yes and 48 per cent No; women 43 per cent Yes and 57 per cent No. This 9-point gap in Yes support between men and women represents a significant narrowing of the gender gap compared to previous Panelbase polls – in July it was 14 points and in January 18 points.

    To me, the most interesting bit of the polling are these findings, the NHS could turn the tide in favour of Yes.

    Does the prospect of an increased role of the private sector in the NHS in England having an adverse effect on the Scottish budget which funds NHS Scotland make you likely or unlikely to vote for an independent Scotland in the referendum?

    Very likely to vote for an independent  Scotland: 37%
    Quite likely to vote for an independent Scotland: 9%

    Quite unlikely to vote for an independent Scotland: 9%
    Very unlikely to vote for an independent Scotland: 26%

    Don’t know: 18%

    Excluding ‘don’t know’ would give these figures:
    Likely to vote Yes: 57%
    Unlikely to vote Yes: 43%

    Compared to the headline figures, the NHS argument generates a 9% swing in favour of Yes.

    What will give Yes even more confidence is the following polling.

    Do you trust x to stand up for Scotland’s interests? As we can see out of these four, only people from the Yes side have a positive net rating on this question, and Salmond has a 33% lead over Darling, which going into the debate a week on Monday should give Salmond confidence, and expect the NHS to get many mentions.

    Meanwhile an ICM poll also looks good for yes.


    At the time of writing, the best odds on a Yes vote is 11/2, in light of this Panelbase poll, in my opinion that represents value.



    Unique all female sample IndyRef poll finds 20% lead for NO

    Thursday, August 14th, 2014

    The front page of Thursday’s Daily Record is dominated by a new Survation poll confined to Scottish women only. This is the first time such a survey has been carried out and the figures, after the exclusion of the don’t knows, show a 20% NO lead.

    Because the poll is unique we have little to compare it with apart from the gender splits in previous Survation polls.

    It has been clear for sometime that the biggest hurdle for those campaigning for Scottish independence has been women who have generally been much more negative about the change than men.

    My reaction on looking at the raw numbers is that this isn’t quite as bad as it might have been for YES. But still the message comes over strong as can be seen by the way the paper is treating it.

    The part of the poll which the Record is highlighting are the views of the sample of Salmond, Sturgeon and Darling who is leading “Better Together”. 55% described the First Minister as arrogant compared with 31% for Darling.

    Although the notion of a women only poll is interesting it would have been good to have some male data as well for comparison. Whatever an interesting survey from the innovative Survation firm and more bad news for YES.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    YouGov’s IndyRef NO lead grows even though the firm’s tweaked its methodology to make it more favourable to YES

    Monday, August 11th, 2014

    Fieldwork straddled last Tuesday’s Darling-Salmond debate

    There’s a new IndyRef poll out from YouGov – the firm which has generally been showing bigger NO leads and which has been critical of the way some other pollsters have been surveying this election. According to YouGov’s Anthony Wells on UKPR the firm has made adjustments to its approaches.

    “There are two slight changes in YouGov’s Scottish methodology since the previous poll. The first is that the sample is extended to include 16 and 17 year olds – though this didn’t actually make any difference to the result.

    The second is that YouGov have added an extra weighting variable, weighting according to people’s country of birth. For some reason raw samples seem to contain too many respondents who were born in England, and English born people are more likely to vote NO (Panelbase found the same, and also adopted place of birth as an extra weighting variable in their latest poll). This additional weight does makes a slight difference to final result, making the results slightly more “YES”. Under the old weighting scheme the results would have been YES 38%, NO 62%, a slight shift towards NO.

    Including 16 and 17 year olds is clearly the right thing to do and it is a bit strange that it is only now, with five weeks to go, that they are being polled by YouGov.

    Dealing with the issue if English born respondents seems sensible because the data has been showing that they have a very different view of the referendum and for some reason are being over-represented in samples.

    This poll would have been much more useful if it had, like Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail, all been carried out after the debate. In fact just over half the fieldwork took place before.

    I’m hoping that the coming week will see the latest ICM referendum polling.

    Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


    Huge blow for Salmond and the Scottish Independence campaign in first full post TV debate referendum poll

    Saturday, August 9th, 2014

    NO lead moves from 6% to 14% in less than a week

    A new poll by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail has just been published and sees a big post-TV debate reversal for YES. Fieldwork was carried out on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Survation, it should be noted, has been one of the pollsters that has until now been recording the best figures for YES and in recent months has hardly been showing any movement. The key points:

  • If the referendum were held today, Scots would vote to remain in the UK – by a large margin: 57% would vote ‘No’, 43% would vote ‘Yes’
  • Lead for ‘No’ goes from 6 points to 14 points in less than a week, after months of very little change in independence referendum polls
  • This is the highest ‘No’ vote – and the biggest lead over ‘Yes’ – seen in a Survation poll since February.
  • Despite ‘Yes’ voters being more likely to have watched the debate (73% watched it compared to 66% of No voters), Darling still emerges as the clear winner - 53% of those who watched the debate thought Darling won, with 28% selecting Salmond as the winner
  • It really looks as though Tuesday night was a narrative changer and YES has a mountain to climb.

    I’m expecting other IndyRef polling during the weekend,

    Mike Smithson

    Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


    The IndyRef YES price touches rock bottom as punters give their verdict on Salmond’s failure to win Tuesday’s debate

    Thursday, August 7th, 2014

    The time for recovery is getting shorter

    The betting on the Scottish IndyRef has moved further to NO during the day even though, as yet, we have yet to see the first full post debate referendum poll.

    The latest price traded on Betfair as I write, (1420) was at the 7.4 level which converts to a 13.5% chance. In hour before Tuesday night’s event it was in the 20-24% – so the latest betting reflects a significant fall.

    YES has been lower than this on Betfair but only £36 has been matched a prices that reflect longer odds. That’s absolute chickenfeed in a market that’s already seen a total of £1.316m matched.

    The problem was, of course, was that Tuesday night had been billed beforehand by many in the YES camp as the moment when the tide would turn. Salmond was going to come out of this triumphant and his accusations that NO’s case was based on “scaremongering” would hit home.

    Yet that didn’t happen and Salmond’s personal attacks on Darling went down badly.

    But this can change. In the next debate Salmond, surely, will have learned some lessons and a victory for the SNP leader could be on the cards.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble