If a second referendum result is too close to call for the polls then it’s more than likely to be a win for the Yes campaign

© conservativehome.com

It looks from the polls that support for Scottish independence is at worst 44% and at best 49%. You might have been dismayed by the poll that reported only 44% and a wee bit excited by the 49% but it doesn’t really matter as much as the fact that support is being polled as solid from 44% up to 49%. I say this because the polls have a built in conservatism and a tendency to predict a status quo outcome. I’ll come back to why that means the real level is probably clearly above 50% for Yes.

First though, even within that 44% to 49% range, we have no idea which end of it is more likely to be the more accurate point upon which we can then add our confident if approximate supplement. Why? Well Scotland’s top psephologist said in his blog Polls Swing High, Polls Swing Low on 17th March:

‘But, of course, we always have to remember that even when there has been little or no change of opinion, polls can sometimes swing high and then swing low simply as a result of the chance variation to which all polls are subject.’

I’ll translate. He doesn’t know. They only poll about 1 000 people typically. The polls are all in that range but he has no idea what is the most accurate figure. No one does. Again, it doesn’t matter as even 44% is close enough.

Here’s the point: 14% of UK adults live in a mobile-only house with no landline and so cannot be auto-dialled by the polling companies.  They are also more likely to be young or poor. We know already that support for yes is at 72% for the under 24s and at 65% for those living in the 20% most deprived areas in Scotland.

So, in landline-telephone-polls, 14% of the electorate is being missed, they are mostly young and/or poor and mostly Yes-supporters. At worst if we only took half of them to be yes-supporters, the entire 44% to 49% Yes support in the polls turns into a majority of between 51% and 63%. If we reasonably assume around 65% of them are Yes supporters. Then that adds another 2% pushing the range up to between 53% and 65% for Yes. Remember the 44% figure was a bit of an outlier. Now we’ve seen how the polls failed to predict the last Tory win, Brexit and Trump. We know the campaign has not even begun and that the last one took Yes support up nearly 20%. We know the Tories will do something stupid soon. We know the No campaign are divided and have no credible leader. We know the bookies say Yes.






9 thoughts on “If a second referendum result is too close to call for the polls then it’s more than likely to be a win for the Yes campaign

  1. Kevin Murray March 23, 2017 / 8:06 pm

    Even starting at 44% is fantastic!
    It was 27% at the start of the last independence referendum
    We are on our way out of this disgusting unfair union!
    May it die a painful death!


  2. macgilleleabhar March 23, 2017 / 8:13 pm

    Very few people call me on my landline nowadays and if it rings I generally leave it as if it’s something important the caller will leave a message.If not I check the number that called and if don’t recognize it I just ignore it.
    How many others do the same?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. John March 24, 2017 / 6:49 am

    I voted yes for independence from the UK. I will be voting no for independence from the UK and entry to the EU. I want an independent Scotland not one propping up the fascist state the EU has morphed into since its terror campaigns in Yugoslavia and where three years ago it helped the US overthrow a democratically elected government in Ukraine for daring to say it wanted to trade with Russia and the EU. Imagine sitting at a negotiation about Scottish fishing waters or oil or wind and wave power and saying we want to trade with the English as well. Ukraine shows what would happen to us. Thanks but no thanks. I will vote to remain in the UK as I no longer trust the SNP and I’m not the only one.


    • johnrobertson834 March 24, 2017 / 8:45 am

      Sorry to hear that. I’d say the only the SNP can give the chance to do anything.


  4. Contrary March 24, 2017 / 9:03 pm

    I wanted to comment on a more recent good news article, can barely keep up these days, but this is perhaps more relevant here. Interesting statistics on the scotgov website:


    That the Scottish government was trusted less in 2016 than in 2015 – still a big majority (60%), and not even comparable to the lack of trust in the uk government – but, you have to wonder why? When you see how much they are doing to keep the economy and services going, I am not sure where the lack of trust comes from – a distrust in politicians in general, I am sure, but what was it that changed between 2015 and 2016 that caused the difference? Well, Brexit, obviously, but how does that affect the Scottish government trust ratings? Is it purely because of differing opinions on the EU – but then, ScotGov have never changed their stance on this. So, is it down to the bad press they constantly get? Interesting to see the comment by (no-second-name) John saying he is not the only one to no longer trust the SNP – it would be good to hear his reasons for the failing trust, taking into consideration the fact the SNP have not changed their EU stance (…and that independence would mean we get a real choice in the matter in the future) – you know, where the CHANGE happened? Why was there trust before, but not now.

    There does seem to be a general thinking that Brexit is the last chance to leave the EU, while in fact it is always a choice for any member state – when did our democratic society start believing we could not change our minds and decide a different path at any time – as long as no bridges are burned (metaphorically), surely there will always be a choice, and good relations with whoever else is involved. The EU may be upset that the UK has decided to leave, but in no way did they interfere with that decision making, and they have accepted it without blame or rancour. If only the UK treated the EU with the same respect and maturity they have shown us, the parting could be amicable and with the least harm to both parties. Unfortunately the UK government does not know the meaning of the word mature. Or civilised. Or ,,, lots of other words.

    For a healthy economy, by all accounts, we need to be a part of the single market and I believe an independent Scotland would need this in the initial stages until we have established much of the infrastructure we will need (I mean things like diplomatic service, armed services, stuff that’s reserved just now) – I have a sneaking suspicion the uk government won’t be particularly helpful. We do need to remember that the larger countries of the EU have all had their empires and have certain imperialistic nature, just as we (UK) have, but it does not mean to say they cannot change. And the EU as a whole is trying to change. Where does Scotland want to be in all this? I believe that is best debated as an independent nation that actually has a choice in the matter, the SNP are just a political party, they do not rule, their word is not final, they are doing a job and working for the majority of the Scottish population, they do not need to be lauded or hated because of their political views. Just appreciated for what they do that is good, or criticised for a rubbish performance. It’s not a cult, they are a political party that works for us when they are voted into government. I have never understood the hatred and fear people have towards politicians and political parties – I certainly did not cheer at Maggie Thatchers death even if I resent her actions while prime minister (she had obviously lost it well before she was removed from power, but that means the establishment needs to change, to put in safeguards, checks and balances, she should never have got to that position) – I hate the system we have, not the people.

    Excuse me for getting so far away from my original purpose,,,

    Also, good stats for people’s faith in the Scottish NHS, and those that say the service has deteriorated also say it is mainly due to the uk government. I need to read it more thoroughly to make any more analysis – but it is good news that there appears to be a lot of rationality in Scotland and folks aren’t falling for the ‘we are a disaster’ headlined every day by the news services.


    • Contrary March 24, 2017 / 10:49 pm

      Apologies, I only gave one number above, and still managed to get that wrong! The figure for people who trust the Scottish government most to work in Scotland’s best interests was 65% (the 60% figure was for the people satisfied with how the Scottish NHS was being run, not that high in retrospect)

      This was a most interesting statistic:

      “Three quarters (75%) of people said that the Scottish Government should have most influence over the way Scotland is run. 14% said the UK Government should have the most influence.”

      Hmmm, well, well.


    • Contrary March 24, 2017 / 11:18 pm

      My point above about political parties was that they are ephemeral – their components change, their policies and opinions change, they are not static – while our political systems barely change: our system of government is near static and should be used to put in the safeguards we need to ensure that the best interests of the country is ALWAYS at the heart of government. As it stands, the uk system of government is open to corruption, and there is little to stop a fascist dictatorship taking over. Though not terribly well structured, the EU system means that it cannot be ruled by a fascist dictatorship.


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