Archive for the 'Scotland' Category


NO moves up 4 to take a 14% lead in latest ICM Scottish IndyRef YES poll

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

What can YES do to reverse the trend?

There’s further polling confirmation this morning that support for a YES vote in the Scottish Independence referendum on September 18th is stalling with the July survey of voters north of the border by ICM for Scotland on Sunday.

The trend is in line with the recent YouGov, TNS-BMRB and Survation polls which all reported that the gap was remaining or getting wider.

In June ICM had, once you’ve excluded the don’t knows, a split of 45% YES to 55% NO. Today that is 43% – 57%.

The firm, along with Survation and Panelbase, has have tended to produce the best figures for YES. This is in contrast to YouGov and TNS-BMRB which have been producing the worst ones.

Scotland on Sunday quotes Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University as saying that Yes Scotland has much work to do before 18 September if it was to overturn the No campaign’s lead.

“This is not good news for Yes. According to most polling evidence including this – they have been flatlining for the last three month. “Yes obviously needs to make further progress. The question you constantly ask yourself is what are they going to do that is going to shift it?” .

Just over two months remain until polling day but much of that is the main holiday period when the opportunities for campaigning must be limited.

Latest YouGov sees LAB 5 ahead

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


New IndyRef poll from Survation sees more Scottish people making up their minds but overall picture staying the same

Friday, July 11th, 2014

Some bookies tighten the YES betting price

There’s been a flurry of betting activity on the IndyRef overnight with William Hill reporting a fair bit of money going on YES which has resulted in them tightening the price from 5/1 to 9/2.

Maybe this was driven in part by news filtering out of the latest polling, from Survation, which has the big picture remaining the same but with fewer people now saying that they don’t know.

The pollster, alongside ICM and Panelbase, is one that tends to show YES doing better. YouGov and TNS tend to have the worst figures.

Whatever the YES campaign will be cheered that they are holding their own and the gap, after excluding DKs, remains at just 6%. They do, however, need to be making progress. Time is running out.

Mike Smithson

2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


In the Quebec referendum of 1995 OUI had a 6% lead on polling day

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

NON won by just over 1%

As has been said repeatedly there is no previous UK polling experience to be able to judge the Scottish IndyRef. We do have as a reference point Quebec in September 1995 when the polls moved from NON to OUI in the final weeks and finished with margins of up to 6% for OUI.

Whether we can extrapolate anything from this is hard to say – I’ll tell you on September 19th.

    What we do know from that election is that the turnout was a massive 94% and my guess is that in Scotland it is going to be very high. I’m on 75% or more on Betfair.

In the latest ICM Scotland poll 65% agreed that “In my experience, people are much more interested in the debate about independence than they ever are in what the parties have to say at election time” 15% disagreed. Those voting YES split 79%-12%.

In Quebec there was a huge split between the Francphones and the Anglophones with the former being far more supportive. In Scotland there’s a similar split between those born there and those born elsewhere.

Jacques Parizrau, the Quebec PM and leader of Parti Québécois resigned on the day after the result. Somehow I don’t expect Salmond would do the same.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


What’s keeping YES hopes alive in the #IndyRef – the polling experience of Holyrood 2011

Wednesday, July 2nd, 2014

Whenever I take part in an event I always get asked what I think is going to happen in Scotland. Generally I say that the polls are looking good for those who want to retain the union but I have a nagging doubt based on the Holyrood elections in 2011.

Just look at the polls in the table above. Even some of the final surveys were showing the SNP with very small margins over LAB. As it turned out in the regional list section Alex Salmond’s party won by a margin of 17%.

So could that possibly happen again? The answer is probably no but I’m not absolutely certain. This is the reason that I maintain a balanced of book on Betfair that is all in the green. Whatever happens in the election I win.

This follows several months or trading when I’ve been betting on either side when I have thought that the odds were too long. Sometimes this works – sometimes it doesn’t.

Mike Smithson

Ranked in top 33 most influential over 50s on Twitter


Just 80 days to go to the IndyRef and latest YouGov has the NO lead getting bigger

Tuesday, July 1st, 2014

Time is running out for YES

The big thing about today’s Indy Ref poll by YouGov for the Times is not that there’s been a slight increase in the NO lead but that the referendum election day, September 18th, is getting closer and YES still, apparently, has a mountain to climb.

In a campaign that is increasingly being dominated by the economic implications YouGov finds more thinking that they and Scotland will be worse off if the outcome is YES. Now just 27% believe that the country would be better off if it is a YES and only 17% think that they themselves will.

Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University is quoted by the paper as saying:-

..“As ever, it is about the economy, stupid. The Yes campaign has to persuade people that Scotland will be economically better off and people are no more convinced than they were after the publication of the White Paper. Until those numbers turn around, I can’t see them making it, really.

It is going to be very, very difficult. It has looked difficult for quite a while. It needs a gamechanger, and where is that going to come from during the course of the summer?

A big qualification with all referendum polling is that there is quite a gap between the pollsters with YouGov being one that tends to have lower figures for YES.

  • I’ve been booked to speak at The Festival of Politics in Edinburgh which is being held at the Scottish Parliament from August 15-17.
  • Due to be published today is the Lord Ashcroft poll of LAB-LD marginals. I’m tied up in London and will cover this later.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble

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    England’s early exit has strengthened No

    Saturday, June 21st, 2014

    world cup logo (1)

    The World Cup will all be forgotten by September

    And so England will head home from the World Cup after the first round for the first time since 1958.  The result may be disappointing for England fans even if the standard of play – bar a few lapses – was generally better than expected.  Lapses, however, count dearly at this level.  How the results are seen in other parts of the UK is another matter.  In large parts of Wales and Northern Ireland, there’ll be some sympathy and support; in Scotland, rather less so.

    Apart from that being a cultural division in its own right, it’s also a fact of some political import given the referendum now less than three months away.  A number of Scots Nats have posted on politicalbetting their belief that a good England run would produce a natural reaction north of the border; I’m inclined to agree that it would have done.  Given the early and low-key exit, it follows that there’ll be no such response.  The exploits of Rooney and co will be forgotten by the end of the month, never mind the end of the campaign.  In net terms, that’s a win for No.

    There are of course other opportunities over the summer for Scottish patriotism to fuse with nationalism in a rather more positive way (i.e. rather than being simply anti-English), the Commonwealth Games being the most obvious.  A successful Games, however, could be used by both sides: either to assert Scotland’s ability to deliver top level events on its own or, alternatively, to show that independence is unnecessary to it being able to do so.

    Even so, come September the Games will have been over for a month and the festival fading from the public mind as the obsession with the maestros (or hoofers) of the round ball returns.

    David Herdson


    Trying to call the Scottish Independence Referendum has become a nightmare with so much variation between the pollsters

    Wednesday, June 18th, 2014

    One thing’s for sure – NO is not a certainty

    There’s a new YouGov IndyRef poll out overnght which has, after the exclusion of the DKs, NO with a comfortable 20% lead. This is exactly in line with the average of YouGov IndyRef polls so far this year.

    This latest survey is in marked contrast to the Panelbase, Survation, and ICM polls of recent days which have all shown a narrowing of the gap.

    Above is a chart based on data presented yesterday by Professor John Curtice – the leading psephologist and chairman of the British Polling Council – at a special briefing session by leading academics organised by the Political Studies Association.

    As can be seen we are getting very different pictures from each of the firms that have been carrying out regular surveys.

    As Curtice observed the fact that in recent days it appeared that the gap is closing was probably due to the fact that until YouGov the three most recent polls had come from firms which have shown YES in a better position than the other ones.

      My view remains: NO is not a certainty and I’ve been betting accordingly.

    Trying to work out which one is giving us the most accurate measure of the state of Scottish opinion is not easy. There has been no previous referendum like this and we have nothing to compare with.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble


    Two new Scottish referendum polls have the gap getting closer

    Sunday, June 15th, 2014

    And ICM finds that the vote’s dividing 42% of Scottish families

    Two new referendum polls this weekend see the gap between YES and NO getting narrower. ICM for Scotland on Sunday has, after the exclusion of DKs, YES up 3 to 45% with NO down 3 to 55%.

    The Panelbase poll for YES Scotland, reported earlier, had a 4% gap.

      A feature of both polls is that women are becoming less hostile to the notion of independence. They are still less enthusiastic than man but the gap is closing.

    The ICM poll also looked at what the whole debate and campaign is doing to Scottish society. 38% of those polled thought that divisions would remain whatever the outcome compared with 36% who disagreed.

    It also found that 42% of families are divided with 21% of those questioned saying that discussions with family and friends “had degenerated into rows.”

    The betting has edged up ever so slightly to YES which is now on Betfair a 19.2% chance.

    My position remains “all in green”. I’ve traded this for several months and win exactly the same whatever happens. I think it is going to be NO but it’ll be tight.

    Mike Smithson

    2004-2014: The view from OUTSIDE the Westminster bubble