New poll fails to ask the big question but is still fascinating

Before Scottish vote on independence

In one of the first full-Scottish polls for some time, respondents were asked how they had voted in 2014 but not how they might vote in another independence referendum. It’s an obvious missed opportunity, unless your funder has reason to fear the result. Anyhow, there’s still a lot to ponder over and to influence future strategy by both the SNP and the Yes movement.

1 011 Scots, 16 plus, were surveyed by Survation for the Scottish Daily Mail, online between on 1-4 March 2019. As with the six or seven recent sub-polls, support for the SNP was in the 41% to 44% range. I suppose that confirms the actual level of support unless there is something dodgy in all of their sampling. We’ll find out soon enough.

Of particular interest were the answers to questions 8 and 13.

8: If the election were tomorrow, which party would you be most likely to vote for with your first constituency vote?


Remember when female support was supposedly being held back by dislike of Salmond’s macho, bantering style? It certainly looks as if Sturgeon is more appealing to women than to men. Given their longer life expectancy and thus great presence in the older more engaged population, that seems positive for the future. Further related evidence of this has already been identified in a 2018 survey on referendum voting intentions:

‘9.7% of people questioned in the poll who voted No would now vote Yes. This figure rises sharply for women aged under 44 – 24.3% of this group who were No voters would now vote Yes.’

Both these polls suggest a major change since the 2012 study by Strathclyde University which concluded:

‘Women are less inclined to support and to join the SNP because they are markedly less supportive of its central objective of independence for Scotland.’

Let’s hope Prof Curtice is up-to-date on this.

With regard to sustaining the male support, perhaps pushing Swinney and Russell forward more often would help? Both have a pleasingly combative style when demolishing opposition representatives including, of course, Gordon Brewer.

Confirming something we’ve known, for some time, the results illustrate the strong correlation between aging and Unionism. The SNP has well over half of the ‘34 and under’ voters but barely a third of the ‘over 55’ voters We really need to get the former out and, perhaps, ??? the latter?


The regional breakdown is not too surprising but the relatively high figure for South Scotland might suggest that the current Tory incumbents are not safe.


For some time, I’ve been repeating the story that SNP support correlates inversely with income – the more you earn the less likely you are to vote SNP. On the basis of this, it’s not true anymore, and support is fairly evenly spread other than for the Lib Dems who appear more popular with the better paid. I’m sure there’s something there for SNP strategists.

The final two columns, correlating party support with 2014 voting, is interesting in many ways. Some Tory and Lib Dem supporters voted Yes! Quite a few Labour supporters voted Yes and, astonishing to me, 15.5% of current SNP supporters voted No. I’m going to react optimistically and suggest that, after all we’ve watched recently at Westminster, the former are now going to float into the SNP camp and the latter will have become solid Yes.

13: Which of the following best summarises your view on the timing of another independence referendum?


Just as they did not ask the obvious question about how respondents might vote in Indyref2, they cunningly split the support for a future referendum taking place. Leaving out the DKs, 65% of Scots want a second independence referendum.




9 thoughts on “New poll fails to ask the big question but is still fascinating

  1. gavin March 17, 2019 / 10:29 am

    Mostly good, on the face of it. And an election may be sooner rather than later, given the shambles in Westminster. England might be unpredictable, but Scotland’s result should be positive.
    The SNP should stand on a manifesto of independence if a majority of Scottish Westminster seats are gained (the Thatcher Gambit), given the refusal to grant a Section 30 order. Ask the EU to monitor the election and media campaign, to ensure fairness and that international election standards are adhered to.

    John, you reference the South Scotland figures, but polling in North East Scotland will see the Tories phoning the @Mayday Helpline.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Contrary March 17, 2019 / 11:51 am

    I would like to see some measure of education matched with age indicated against voting intentions as well. Always the age thing shows such stark differences, but is this related to educational attainment – it is a fairly recent phenomenon for youngsters to be expected to go to university or college – just a thought.

    This is a must watch for everyone, Dr Craig Dalzell giving a talk about GERS and economic things, he is simplifying things and has some good graphics, and shows how shockingly unfair the uk is:


    • johnrobertson834 March 17, 2019 / 1:55 pm

      Thanks. Age with gender too so we can see if the older guys are more or less agin it than the older gals?


    • Contrary March 17, 2019 / 8:25 pm

      Meh, gender is over-done; I mean, it’s interesting that women were more likely to be no voters, but we’ve seen that hundreds of times. I am curious to see if the age demographic is actually the same (statistically speaking) as educational attainment, or even it would be more interesting to see how education in schools has changed over the age bands as well. Are the people most likely to vote Yes within each age band the more educated – it’s obviously a lot more complex than that, but for older people constantly being the biggest No group (I think the EU vote breakdown puts paid to the myth that they are against change?) if you can identify the why of it, you are more likely to be able to change minds (or know that it’ll be impossible).

      More years of indoctrination makes older folk more likely to unthinkingly support the union? Not sure about that. Mind the piece you did about the Union Jack and evidence to suggest that exposure to ‘national’ flags in childhood can have a profound and lasting impact throughout your life. My childhood exposure to the Union Jack was very negative (and only brief, so it wasn’t a constant event during childhood), and I still feel offended at the sight of it. But if you had positive reinforcement during childhood (more likely back in the 50s, 60s? Ww2 fresh in people’s minds etc.) And – Poorer level of education? – No help for folk with learning difficulties. – Less social mobility (if your father didn’t go to university, then you wouldn’t too). Higher education can go some way to opening your mind more, helps you become more likely to think critically about things you are told, and may help you throw off the shackles of childhood indoctrination (though I suspect that depends on how strong the indoctrination was).

      Anyway, if the reason for not wanting independence was something simple like ‘not liking change’, there are lots of arguments to help change minds, reassurances etc. But if the reason is more closely aligned to something like education (I.e. Something that has already happened) then only a brute force persuasion approach would be useful ( they will be doomed and no more pensions if we stay part of the union).

      I don’t think any differences in voting intentions by gender has any real surprises, you have your classic gender roles and different things appeal to each group. The only issue is if one is excluded from the ‘group’ – but in general the Yes movement is inclusive – though there are tendencies to the more prominent figures being men and then there’s a risk of a boys club atmosphere where the most important thing to be discussed is football. But men tend to be pushier and more confident (so are more likely to take prominent roles), so this isn’t a surprise either. If the discussions are kept on subject, the constitutional question, then surely neither gender would be alienated?

      RevStu has written an article linking his production of the little blue book to increased Yes voting intentions back in 2014 – what I think is the most important thing there is that it was the printed version that had the biggest influence. People still want to read printed material. Leaflets through doors must still be a major influence. (Hmmm, just thinking there about the huge leafleting the unionist parties did at the last GE).

      Liked by 1 person

      • johnrobertson834 March 17, 2019 / 9:02 pm

        Yes, agree about the likely effect of the printed version.


  3. Me Bungo Pony March 17, 2019 / 6:15 pm

    Its a bit of a stretch to lump in households earning £40k+ with the Duke of Buccleuch and JK Rowling. Average earnings are in the mid £20k’s so a household with just two average earners is suddenly “rich”. I would reckon that sub-dividing the high earners further would probably give you the correlation between earnings and Tory support you’ve always suspected.


    • johnrobertson834 March 18, 2019 / 8:18 am

      Yes, agreed. That crossed my mind too but as is often the case I ran out of steam.


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