By now you may have already seen the headline numbers for our latest Panelbase poll. We hope you don’t mind that we gave the Sunday Times a couple of hours’ lead time in return for some major coverage, but we’ve always said that at this stage the headline numbers are the least interesting findings.
(That’s why our first poll didn’t even bother asking the referendum question.)
We’re actually still waiting on the final full tables for the other 10 questions – we should have them tomorrow – so for now let’s just have a dig around in the top line.
NB The +/- figures below are in comparison to our last poll, in October 2013. As ever, due to rounding all figures may not necessarily add up to exactly 100%
SHOULD SCOTLAND BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY?
Yes: 41% (+4)
No: 46% (+1)
Don’t Know: 14% (-3)
And with don’t-knows excluded:
That 41% is – with the exception of a single poll in August 2013 that was criticised for preceding the Yes/No question with two arguably leading ones – the highest Yes figure ever recorded for the actual referendum question.
While it shows increases for both camps, the Yes one has made up three points on the No side. Were the remaining 14% of Don’t Knows to split 2:1 for Yes, the final result would be a nailbiting 50.3% Yes, 49.7% No.
With the DKs excluded, the figures come out at Y47 N53, a position that still requires just a 3% swing for Yes in the last six months of the campaign.
There are other striking findings too.
Among men, Yes now leads by a healthy 9% (Y48 N39 DK13). The news isn’t so good on the other side of the gender divide, with No 18% ahead among women (Y34 N52 DK 14). However, both of these stats do still represent progress for Yes – last time around the corresponding numbers were 4% and 20% respectively.
The real weak spot in the Yes ranks is specifically women aged 16-34. The gap there is a vast 36% (26 vs 62), compared to just 6% among 35-54 women, and 17% among women aged 55 and over. On the other hand, the 16-34 vote among men is Yes’s strongest suit, with a thumping 27% advantage. The 55+ group is now the only male one where No still leads (by 13 points, with Yes 14 points ahead among 35-54s).
(Our last poll had different age groupings so can’t be directly compared, though it did also suggest that the youngest voters, of both sexes, were the most inclined to No.)
Were we to idly speculate on the reason for such a huge discrepancy between the age groups, we might note that the youngest women are the ones least likely to have children or grandchildren, and therefore less easily swayed by things like the Scottish Government’s childcare pledge. But we don’t know.
Moving onto party loyalty, there are some significant Yes gains too. 27% of the Labour voters in our sample said they’d be voting Yes, compared to just 19% last time. Lib Dem Yeses were unchanged at 17%, but the most spectacular change was among Conservatives – 12% now say they’ll vote Yes, against just 1% five months ago.
The number of Tory undecideds was almost the same, so that’s a straight 5.5% swing from No to Yes, and links up intriguingly with the surprise findings of a recent survey on Conservative Home. (Though it should be noted that that wasn’t a scientific poll.)
Finally, the numbers across different social grades are fascinating and surprising. No leads in both – by 8% among ABC1 voters and 2% among C2DE voters. Last October the figures showed a huge 24-point No lead in ABC1 but a 6-point Yes lead in C2DE.
That means there’s been a huge 8% swing to Yes among the better-off, but also a 4% swing to No among poorer voters – the exact opposite of what you might expect after months of dire warnings about independence from billionaire executives and a lot of grassroots work in deprived areas by left-wing groups.
People are contrary. It never hurts to remember that.