Collecting data from landline telephone call surveys gives conservative results and underestimates the desire for change. They got the Tory election win wrong, the EU Referendum vote wrong, the Trump win wrong and they will be getting the Scottish Referendum 2 voting trends wrong too.
The last telephone-based survey had the results largely unchanged for 2014 at only 45% for Yes while the more recent BMG online survey took the Yes figure up to 49%. Now an Ipso—MORI poll yesterday, based on 1029 adults (over 16), for the Daily Record, has the Yes vote at 50%. Remember landline polls underestimate the desire for change and overstate the desire for the status quo so it’s probably over 50% for Yes now.
Here’s what YouGov have to say about landline telephone surveys:
‘There’s a big difference between the online and telephone polls on the EU referendum – with online polls showing the sides neck-and neck and telephone polls showing about a 15% gap in favour of ‘remain’. Why? It’s striking that both methodologies right across the different polling companies give about the same number to the ‘leave’ campaign, around 40%. The difference is in the ‘remain’ number, which is around 52% from the telephone polls but only 40% for online polls.’ So, commonly, telephone surveys generate conservative, negative or status quo returns. Respondents are more likely to say no to a question about a big change of some kind……‘Now however we can reveal a real, significant and evidence-based difference between the two methodologies that explains why they are divergent and why it is online that appears to be calling it correctly.’
I’ve already explained more fully why landline-based telephone surveys get it wrong, including a bias against younger and more deprived groups who don’t have landlines, at:
Note the Ipsos MORI headline:
‘Support for independence rises as referendum speculation grows’
That suggests to me that they think the possibility of a referendum is more popular than has been claimed elsewhere and that support still has scope to rise further. Here’s some more of their report:
‘As the UK government prepares to begin formal negotiations to leave the European Union and the SNP prepares for its forthcoming spring conference, our new poll for STV News shows voters split down the middle in their constitutional preference. Among those who expressed a voting preference and who would be very likely or certain to vote in an immediate referendum, 50% (+2pts) said they would support independence with the other 50% of voters (-2pts) saying they would back Scotland remaining in the UK.’
Finally, the poll shows a 54% majority of men saying ‘Yes’ to independence and a 56% majority of women saying ‘No’. On the one hand, this is remarkable given the disproportionately negative effects of Tory austerity cuts on women but on the other hand we men can perhaps console ourselves that women are less likely than men to actually vote these days:
‘In 1992, more women (78.2 per cent) voted than men (77.2 per cent). But that number has been in decline ever since. In 2005 and 2010 there were more male voters than female. 64 per cent of women voted in the last general election, compared to 67 per cent of men.’