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Wings Over Scotland


Looking ahead

Posted on August 09, 2013 by

We didn’t just go for big blockbuster revelations with our Panelbase poll. We thought it’d also be interesting to delve a little deeper into voters’ party affiliations, since the referendum isn’t a party political issue (despite the determined attempts of the No camp to make it all about the SNP rather than independence).

rosettes

Given the gulf between how Scotland votes in Westminster elections and Holyrood ones, we were particularly curious to find out to what degree the constitution was colouring party loyalties, one way or another. Here’s what we discovered.

———————————————————————————————

Q: If you currently know how you plan to vote in the referendum, how does that intention compare to the official position of the party you voted for in the WESTMINSTER general election of 2010?

(ie Yes for SNP/Green/SSP, No for Labour/Lib Dem/Conservative.)

———————————————————————————————

I plan to vote Yes and the party I supported backs a Yes vote: 27%

I plan to vote Yes but the party I supported backs a No vote: 7%

I plan to vote No but the party I supported backs a Yes vote: 7%

I plan to vote No and the party I supported backs a No vote: 29%

I don’t know which way I’ll vote in the referendum: 30%

———————————————————————————————

Now that’s a whole big heap of interesting. This was as close as we came in the poll to directly asking people the referendum question (as Panelbase had asked it for the Sunday Times just a week before, we didn’t see any point in repeating the exercise), and it shows an almost even split of Yes and No – 34% to 36% – with an unusually high number of Don’t Knows.

(Which divide quite intriguingly – Tory and Green numbers are too small to be useful, but 35% of Labour voters, 30% of Lib Dems and 20% of SNP ticked “Don’t Know”.)

That may be because it’s a more complicated question, or because it excludes people who didn’t vote in the general election but might vote in the referendum, or for other reasons. But most polls before now have shown a greater percentage of SNP voters intending to vote No than Labour, Lib Dem or Tories planning to vote Yes, and it’s fascinating that when we asked the question in a specifically party context the numbers were neck and neck at 7% each.

The breakdown of “disloyal” voters came out like this:

SNP: 12%
Labour: 14%
Lib Dem: 11%
Conservative: 4%

(Greens/others excluded as their numbers responding to this question were microscopic – just nine people, compared to over 800 for the other parties.)

It is, however, yet more evidence supporting the growing realisation that a non-trivial proportion of, how shall we put this, Labour voters are For Independence (or at the very least not willing to back their party’s kneejerk No stance).

Our next question tackled another side of the subject:

———————————————————————————————

Q8: There will be a SCOTTISH Parliament election in 2016 regardless of the outcome of the referendum. Thinking about how you are CURRENTLY most likely to vote in that election, might your voting intention change depending on whether Scotland was independent or not?

———————————————————————————————

My current intention might change if there is a Yes vote in the referendum: 20%

My current intention might change if there is a No vote in the referendum: 5%

I do not think my current voting intention will change: 53%

Don’t know: 22%

———————————————————————————————

We all know which party’s voters are most likely to change allegiance if Scotland becomes independent, right? Wrong. Bizarrely, the highest proportion of voters who told us they might switch sides in an independent Scotland were those who voted Conservative in 2011, at 25%. The SNP were, however, close behind at 24%, with Labour on 18% and the Lib Dems the most faithful at 15%.

(The total numbers of those who might change sides in the event of independence were almost an exact dead heat between the Yes and No parties.)

Frankly, we’re not sure what to make of that information. The only conclusion we can think of is that some super-hardline Unionists are voting Tory purely because they think the Conservatives the most staunch defenders of the Union. We can’t think of another reason a Scottish voter would back the Tories but think about changing their minds if Scotland was independent. (Then again, as pro-independence non-Tories we’re not the best people to ask.)

Much the same goes for the Labour and Lib Dem voters – it being, of course, fairly easy to understand why people who might not normally back the SNP would lend them their votes to achieve independence, then go back to voting for someone else.

What we CAN say is that barely half of voters are definitely committed to their current party, and independence could herald a radical realignment of Scottish politics.

A No vote, on the other hand, is far less likely to make anyone change their minds in 2016 (the actual numbers were teeny), which will come as a particular blow to Labour supporters and politicians pinning their hopes on an SNP implosion in the aftermath of a defeat. A No vote will be a vote for the status quo in more ways than one.

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    1. 10 08 13 11:24

      And There’s Polls | laidbackviews

    2. 13 08 13 20:28

      Scottish Voters Split On Independence Question | An Sionnach Fionn

    60 to “Looking ahead”

    1. Malky113 says:

      34% YES
      36% NO
      30% D/K
      That’s pretty much where we are I reckon from canvassing since last Sep in Glasgow.

    2. handclapping says:

      A No vote is not a defeat, its just we haven’t won yet.

    3. Murray McCallum says:

      Great questions.  Very clever way of coming at it.
       
      Wonder if the Tory switchers in event of Yes are simply giving up the ghost – their Tory vote in an independent Scotland looking totally wasted!

    4. kininvie says:

      I imagine many Tory voters are thinking their party would be an absolute dead duck after a Yes vote, and the more perceptive ones among them are already thinking about how to start afresh.

    5. FreddieThreepwood says:

      I can almost feel you fighting the urge to blurt out: ‘WTF people of Scotland! Get a grip, will ye?’
      Basically you can ask the great unwashed the same question three different ways and get three different answers. I always thought Plato got it spot on in The Republic. Let’s just elect a panel of the brightest and best to make all our hard decisions for us.
      I nominate me, obviously, Eck, Dennis Canavan and Wee Jimmy Krankie.

    6. handclapping says:

      A No vote is not a vote for the status quo. There will be another 3 and a half years of austerity still to come in Sept 2014, unless UKIP win in 2015, and all the Westminster parties including UKIP are promising constitutional tinkerings. That is not the status quo and we must stop allowing the No people off the hook for not shewing what wares we can expect after 2014 as we’ll be voting for their strawman status quo. Its not Independence against the status quo so you nats will have to make the case. It is one vision against the other so both need to present their case.

    7. KraftyKris says:

      It might be that people would start to vote for smaller parties post independence with the hope that they would be better represented (each vote would carry more weight). My hope is an independent Scotland would have more smaller parties having a say and sharing power, offering the public more choice.

    8. Thinkingscottish says:

      You can almost hear BT’s panic.

    9. scottish_skier says:

      Instead of asking people what they think currently, your question has asked people to look forward. 

      Yup, and doing that makes big differences. Just like that poll where people were asked how they’d vote in 2014 if the Tories were coming back (Yes in likely majority) or it looked like the UK was leaving the EU (yes shoots up)…

      Polls tend to take the ‘What would you vote tomorrow’ approach. The referendum is not tomorrow and people answer the question asked.

    10. ScottishThinker says:

      Polls tend to take the ‘What would you vote tomorrow’ approach. The referendum is not tomorrow and people answer the question asked.

      Exactly. Up until now almost all pollsters have asked how people would vote tomorrow. And of course, the media paints those figures of being the overall one. 

    11. Doug Daniel says:

      “Yes and No – 34% to 36% – with an unusually high number of Don’t Knows.”
       
      If I put this through my Scottish Mainstream Media Journalist Translator, it comes out as “two to one against independence”.

    12. Angus says:

      These polling questions are absolute indicators of how we need to move forward to achieve a Yes vote as they demonstrate the weakness of no and the weakness (and apparently strengths) of Yes in putting across the argument…….it is the lack of media coverage on such an interesting polling result in all questions thus far that is preventing the confidence within the ‘don’t knows’ to establish their hopeful inclination towards a Yes vote.
       
      I believe that with just more than a year to go, we can deliver that Yes for Scotland and bring home the don’t knows/not sures and there are important encouraging signs of that (in spite of the project fear bollocks) being displayed within these posts.  

    13. weedoug says:

      Anything significant in the party affiliations of the 30% undecided? (I suppose I’m looking for further signs of Labour voters not just following the party line).

    14. Cath says:

      “Just like that poll where people were asked how they’d vote in 2014 if the Tories were coming back (Yes in likely majority) or it looked like the UK was leaving the EU (yes shoots up)…”
       
      Interestingly, the figures also went up when people were asked to think about Labour getting back in. They shot up to a massive win when people thought the Tories might get in, and up to almost even when people were asked about Labour getting back in.
       

    15. No SNP rosette in the picture, I note, Rev! 😉
       
      It would be interesting (although possibly a little difficult to word the question) to find out in what way people’s vote would change, for those who said it would. Perhaps folk think that there could be entirely new parties in a post-independence election?
       

    16. Alan says:

      On these poll results [I never trust any polls] it could be argued that the SNP would prefer a no vote…

    17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “It would be interesting (although possibly a little difficult to word the question) to find out in what way people’s vote would change, for those who said it would.”

      Aye, sadly it’d be a bit of a nightmare technically.

    18. Jeannie says:

      So, we know from recent polling that around 48% of Scots intend to vote SNP for Westminster as well as for Holyrood and that Labour is trailing a considerable distance behind at, I think, around 30%.  Right?
       
      Now our own polling suggests that a No vote will bring very little change to current voting intentions for Holyrood which means that Labour will lose the 2016 Holyrood election. Right?
       
      So, I have to ask again, why would any Labour Party member see a No vote as being in the interests of the Labour Party in Scotland if it won’t lead to more people voting for them.  The message they’re giving out is that they’re not really that interested in Scotland at all.

    19. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Anything significant in the party affiliations of the 30% undecided? (I suppose I’m looking for further signs of Labour voters not just following the party line).”

      Ooh, actually there is – good catch.

      PERCENTAGES OF VOTERS BY PARTY TICKING “DON’T KNOW”
      Con: 7%
      Lab: 35%
      Lib: 30%
      SNP: 20%
      Grn: 53%

      Caveat: Tory and Green figures based on very small numbers of actual people (<10)

      Edited a line in.

    20. naebd says:

      Re: the krypto-referendum-question.
      I think in part this shows the more-easily befuddled are more likely to say they’ll vote NO. If you befuddle them, they’ll get confused and say ‘don’t know’.
       

    21. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Have previous polls been adjusting don’t knows to No?

    22. naebd says:

      Have previous polls been adjusting don’t knows to No?
       
      None that I’ve seen have done this.

    23. Holebender says:

      Have previous polls been adjusting don’t knows to No?
       
      The polls don’t make the adjustment but the reports of the polls usually do. That’s why we keep getting the “30% support yes” nonsense and even the occasional outright “70% against” lie.

    24. A favourite interpretation of Alistair Darlings is “the majority of people don’t wan’t independence” despite the fact that the same interpretation could be applied to support for the union.
       

    25. Ron Burgundy says:

      Will not attempt to re-hash the statistical points from others but Question 4 hits the nub of the issue and the basic message conforms to my experience on the street stall.
      The 7% of voted SNP but are no are basically Tory tactical voters so they are lost in respect of the referendum, but many of the 29% of No’s are in my view soft and we need to peel more of them away to add to the 7% who are going to vote yes knowing that their party affiliation supports no. These are LFI and LDFI supporters but mainly LFI
      This is why Allan Grogan and LFI are a mortal threat to the Labour and Tory alliance in Bitter Together and explains the hatchet job which has been done on them by the Unionist press and BBC Scotland. The LFI message is vital for a YES win.
      Question 5 offers encouragement to these Labour voters by pointing to a new political environment in the event of a YES vote. One in which their ideas and priorities will have full voice – compared to the collapse of the Left in the Union State. As a thinking Labour voter I would be signing up for LFI now

    26. Piemonteis says:

      Jeannie:
       
      Although it’s true that recent polls have had the SNP ahead on Holyrood voting intention, I’m not sure there’s evidence of this at Westminster. I might be wrong, but I don’t remember any recent Scottish-only polls asking for Westminster voting intention, and the Scottish cross-breaks in the UK-wide polls have had the SNP and Labour neck-and-neck between 30 and 40 percent. That’s without taking into account some of the more “centralist” pollsters that don’t put the SNP in their main list of options and therefore produce higher Labour figures.
       
      Regarding the 25% of Conservatives who are looking to migrate their vote after 2014, I would imagine these are the Murdo-Fraserites who would be banking on the emergence of a new centre-right.

    27. naebd says:

      “The 7% of voted SNP but are no are basically Tory tactical voters”
      Not necessarily. I see no reason why having voted SNP shows that you’re an especially not-convertible No voter. In fact I’d have thought voting SNP makes you less likely to be a die-hard No.
      “so they are lost in respect of the referendum”
      See above.

    28. HandandShrimp says:

      At the end of the day 30%+ will not vote. It will be a bun fight between those who have made up their mind and these two groups are much closer in size than BT are prepared to admit. They do not have it in the bag. There is every possibility they will lose and then we will be back to the you didn’t get an absolute 50% of the electorate.

    29. NorthBrit says:

      The SNP is effectively a social democrat party doing a competent job of running Scotland.  Post indy it’s not quite clear what will happen to it but it’s possible that it could die completely leaving SLab the main party.

      Which would you prefer?
      1. Devolved Scotland run competently by the SNP (with the expectation that in the fullness of time independence will come.
      2. Independent Scotland “run” by SLab.

      I’m very unenthusiastic about 2 – some of the 7% may feel the same way.  I’d still vote yes but it would be a perfectly logical position to take.

    30. Jeannie says:

      @Piemonteis
       
      Yeah – had a look and you’re right.  I can’t find the Westminster VI info I was thinking of, so I think I must just be confusing it with the Holyrood VI poll by Panelbase, which was quite recent – on Scot Goes Pop.  Still looks as though losing at Holyrood is seen as collateral damage though and the only prize worth fighting for, as far as Labour is concerned, is power at Westminster.

    31. david says:

      isnt it incredible that man (and woman) can take men to the moon and return them safely,, split atoms and create power and devastation that only stars should be able to do,, fly a mile high at twice the speed of sound,, take another persons heart and make it work in another persons body, create communication systems that travel as fast as the speed of light,, to look millions of light years away and discover new planets and galaxies,, etc etc etc, but cannae find jimmy krankie, what is going on here ?

    32. Jiggsbro says:

      I see no reason why having voted SNP shows that you’re an especially not-convertible No voter.
       
      People who voted SNP but intend to vote No seem likely to be those voters who voted tactically: mainly Tory voters who voted SNP to keep Labour out. There’ll be no tactical voting in the referendum, so there will be a percentage of (nominally) SNP voters who will be fiercely Unionist. Whether it’s the entire 7% is debatable.

    33. Piemonteis says:

      Jeannie:
       
      I think your point about collateral damage at Holyrood is certainly true, and with the Labour party’s focus as it currently is, I can also see them taking their foot of the gas for the European elections next year. The BBC bounce Labour usually benefit from in UK-wide shouldn’t take effect either, since the London media’s attention will be on UKIP, and if anything this will cause defections from Labour to UKIP.
       
      What a bonus it would be to have the pro-independence parties with a majority in Holyrood, with the biggest share of the vote in the European elections (the Greens are in with a shout, too) and edging Westminster voting intention as we go into the second half of next year.

    34. Ivan McKee says:

      When the dont knows are excluded then this  converts to Yes 49 No 51. Which is a pretty powerful headline in itself. Adding together bits of a multi choice is legit. Thats where the 23% for indy a few months back came from adding up some similar multi choice options from the Social Attitudes Survey. 

    35. naebd says:

      Jiggsbro – okay, if you’re now saying that some SNP/Nos are diehard No Tory tactical voters then fine. Originally it was a statement that they all were.
      IMO it’s much more likely that the majority of them are people who agree with the SNP’s centre-left policies and think they are a competent government, but don’t want independence. Everyone knows examples of these kind of voters.

    36. AllyPally says:

      Rev, you said yesterday that everything you write on this has to be checked by Panelbase. Does that mean the person commissioning the poll is restricted in what they can say, and everyone else can tell whatever lies they like? Very odd.
      Also, what are the statistical error figures in the results? ±3%? More? Less?

    37. Cath says:

      For all those who still favour more devolution, despite it being clearly not on offer, and increasing numbers of people discussing abolishing parliament altogether, some serious education about the history of the Scottish independence movement is needed.
       
      This is not a flash in the pan. There have been calls for more powers, devolution, home rule etc arguably since the union came – undemocratically and amidst riots – into being. The history of endless Westminster wibbling, constant assurances they all support more powers for Scotland, endless discussion on what we can and can’t have  is one of the most depressing reads you can have. It becomes even more depressing when you think people might actually vote no believing Westminster will deliver anything more.
       
      In 1853 the National Association for the Vindication of Scottish Rights was established. This body was close to the Conservatives and was motivated by a desire to secure more focus on Scottish problems
      Shortly after this, the Liberals began to commit to home rule. In 1871, William Ewart Gladstone stated at a meeting held in Aberdeen that if Ireland was to be granted home rule, then the same should apply to Scotland.
      In 1885, the Post of Secretary for Scotland and the Scottish Office were re-established to promote Scotland’s interests and express its concerns to the British Parliament. In 1886, however, William Ewart Gladstone introduced the Irish Home Rule Bill. When many Scots compared what they had to the Irish offer of Home Rule, the status quo was considered inadequate. It was not regarded as an immediate constitutional priority however,”
      “Not a constitutional priority” is something of an understatement when you think it took 122 years, 2 world wars, the advent of votes for women and finally the EU coming in telling them they had to do it.
       
      So, for those voting no thinking there will be more powers, just how much of a “constitutional priority” do they imagine it’ll be this time?

    38. Jiggsbro says:

      Jiggsbro – okay, if you’re now saying that some SNP/Nos are diehard No Tory tactical voters then fine. Originally it was a statement that they all were.
       
      I took ‘basically’ to mean ‘mostly’ in that context. YMMV.
       
      Everyone knows examples of these kind of voters.
       
      I don’t. I should probably get out more 🙂

    39. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Rev, you said yesterday that everything you write on this has to be checked by Panelbase.”

      In so far as they check that we haven’t misunderstood or misrepresented anything, yes. It’s a service rather than an obligation. They don’t suggest jokes or anything.

    40. Vincent McDee says:

      Dear Rev: You better beware something is cooking in the Hell’s kitchen (in terms of the debate, o’course)
       
      I had to *** part of the name or it’ll not show. Good filter you have there.
       
      Dear Long***nker
      Well done for your interesting collection of Wings over Scotland wisdom.
      If Kenny MacAskill steps down, then the SNP need not look for a new Justice Minister, Wings could be appointed.
      That way we could do away with trials, Wings could get a bucket of fried chicken and 2ltr of Pepsi and dispense justice while throwing the bones on the carpet.
      Yours sincerely
      George Laird
      The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University
      long***ker
      August 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thankyou George
      The guy likes to make accusations without evidence George. He’s a piece of work.
      Tune in for my next post. It’s something I’ve been sitting on for a while due to a combination of disbelief and outrage.
      Regards
       
      I’m not exactly sure if we are supposed to be quaking in our collective boots… or just keep laughing.
      Definitely laughing, is good for the soul.

       

    41. Jenny says:

      This extra bit is really interesting… thanks for adding in
      PERCENTAGES OF VOTERS BY PARTY TICKING “DON’T KNOW”
      Lab: 35%
      Lib: 30%
      SNP: 20%
      Caveat: Tory and Green figures based on very small numbers of actual people (<10)
      I’m wondering what to make of that – especially the 35% lab. Are these old school labour voters finally coming around to the fact that many labour ideals are better represented by the indie movement than by new labour…? Dunno..
      also 20% snp = “don’t know”? huh? is that not more than just a tactical vote or am I being daft?

    42. Jeannie says:

      @Piemonteis
       
      I agree….I think the European elections will be interesting.   The Westminster parties will have to campaign against a background of a forthcoming referendum on whether to leave the European Union and the three main UK parties will also be competing with UKIP for votes.  But how will this play in Scotland especially with the referendum following a matter of months later?  Which party will Scotland trust to look after its interests in Europe over the long-term and during a period of potential change involving two referenda?
       
      I know which party I’d trust to put Scotland’s interests first.

    43. kininvie says:

      And here are the tables:
       
      http://www.panelbase.com/news/

    44. Caroline Corfield says:

      “IMO it’s much more likely that the majority of them are people who agree with the SNP’s centre-left policies and think they are a competent government, but don’t want independence. Everyone knows examples of these kind of voters.”
      They’re the people who tell you they have the best of both worlds just now, because they vote one way in Holyrood to protect their standard of living and the  opposite for Westminster to again protect their standard of living (at least this is what they believe, though it patently isn’t the truth). They used to do it at a council level before devolution, they probably vote differently at council level to Holyrood nowadays too. They think they’re being smart playing political sides off against each other and since there is little difference between red and blue they use SNP to try and mitigate the worst excesses of the Londoncentric parties. I have little sympathy for them, now that it has brought about something they profess not to want but was in the manifesto.

    45. Scaraben says:

      Perhaps some of those who say they voted SNP but expect to vote No, are not against independence in principle, but simply too nervous about the prospect. In other words, they believe BT’s scare stories, and might yet be persuaded to vote Yes.

    46. Brian Ritchie says:

      Yeah – had a look and you’re right.  I can’t find the Westminster VI info I was thinking of, so I think I must just be confusing it with the Holyrood VI poll by Panelbase, which was quite recent – on Scot Goes Pop.  Still looks as though losing at Holyrood is seen as collateral damage though and the only prize worth fighting for, as far as Labour is concerned, is power at Westminster.
      The latest Westminster VI had SNP 40% Lab30% – enough for an SNP majority. But I believe the gap could be even larger.  S_S has the lowdown on this one. 😉

    47. Morag says:

      I was quite amused last night to realise that L*********r’s only supporter is the absolutely barking George Laird.  Talk about them deserving each other!

    48. Jeannie says:

      @Brian Ritchie
       
      Maybe I read something by Scottish Skier right enough.  I did think there was quite a gap between SNP and Labour.

    49. Dcanmore says:

      Don’t Knows going to the polling station on 18th September next year will be voting purely as an emotional choice. They will make their mind up when they see the ballot and the two powerful words that will make their decision for them will be Scotland and Yes. Think about 1979, we only had three television channels and a pro-union Press. So how many people went to vote in the referendum of 1979 thinking that they were informed? Yet out of that, the majority of Scots still voted for Home Rule even though it was kiboshed by Labour’s 40% rule. I would think that the majority of DKs would vote for independence.

    50. Just a wee technical comment: Q7 assumed you voted in the last Westminster election — there wasn’t a “didn’t vote/don’t remember” option.  I was one of the people polled, and I answered it as if I had voted, but it wasn’t clear what to do in this case.

    51. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Just a wee technical comment: Q7 assumed you voted in the last Westminster election — there wasn’t a “didn’t vote/don’t remember” option. I was one of the people polled, and I answered it as if I had voted, but it wasn’t clear what to do in this case.”

      Yeah, will word that one (or similar ones) a bit better in future. It’s because we put a Westminster question in – normally it would have been cross-referenced and caught by the preliminary questions about how you voted (or didn’t) in 2011.

    52. The Flamster says:

      Vincent McDee – that guy Long******* posts on the Daily Record and always puts Vote No after every comment. 

    53. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “and always puts Vote No after every comment”

      Really? I gather that on his nasty little hateblog he still claims to be “undecided”.

    54. The Flamster says:

      Just had a look at his hateblog – I see what you mean – won’t be going back. At least his Wangs page re-directs you to the old page.

    55. Jeannie says:

      @Brian Ritchie
      Thanks Brian.  Knew I’d seen something recently but just couldn’t place it.

    56. Morag says:

      I note in a recent tweet he is “…. just hoping my indifference about the whole thing [the referendum] goes away.”

      That’s priceless.

    57. With regards to tactical voting perhaps the first question gives the answer.

      2% of SNP voters think Holyrood should have less powers.

    58. Reuben Thomas says:

      “We all know which party’s voters are most likely to change allegiance if Scotland becomes independent, right? Wrong.”

      It would be helpful for the interested-but-less-informed reader like me if you’d make “what everyone knows” explicit. My guess, when I clicked on to this page, was “Conservative”, but that turns out to be the correct-but-surprising answer. I still have no clue what the “obvious” answer was.

    59. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I still have no clue what the “obvious” answer was.”

      It’s widely agreed in the press that the SNP would splinter if independence was achieved, into left and right factions which (it’s said) are currently united only by that common goal.



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