"A new and awful low in Scottish politics" – Margaret Curran

Wings Over Scotland

The cart and the horse 99

Posted on January 18, 2016 by

One of the most frustrating things about the independence campaign was when people tried to put policies before principles. The point of Scotland being independent, as we pointed out in the Wee Blue Book, isn’t so that it can install any particular political party in government or pursue any particular political direction. It’s simply for Scotland to be able to choose those for itself, not have them imposed on it against its will by the people of another country.

To that end, we’ve often published poll findings that show Scots holding views that are at odds with our own (eg on the death penalty or workfare), because it’s always worth remembering that you have to persuade the electorate you have, not shout angrily at it in the hope it’ll become the electorate you WISH existed.


If you insist that independence must mean Policy X, you run the risk of needlessly and wrongly alienating people who support independence but might not back Policy X. It’s something that’s always worth keeping in mind.

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Crunching the numbers 151

Posted on January 15, 2016 by

For ages now it’s been nagging at us that there wasn’t a quick and easy reference point for all the opinion polls we’ve commissioned, listing all the subjects covered by each poll and linking to both our own analyses of the figures and the raw data tables for people who wanted to go delving in amongst the stats themselves.


So now there is – it’s here. (And in future you can easily locate it under “Polls” in the menu bar running across the top of the front page.) We’re off for a bit of a lie down.

Ten more years 115

Posted on November 16, 2015 by

Here’s a very quick one from our latest poll:

“From 0 (absolutely no chance) to 10 (a certainty), what do you currently think is the likelihood of Labour winning the 2020 UK general election?”


Above the midpoint (ie people who DON’T think Labour will win): 56%
Below the midpoint (people who DO think they’ll win): 28%

Get ready for Tories until 2025 at least, folks.

The axe-persons cometh 114

Posted on November 16, 2015 by

When we commission polls we don’t like to just ask people easy questions like who their favourite member of One Direction is. We like to put them on the spot and make them actually think about stuff, and this time was no different:

The UK government is imposing severe cuts to tax credits and benefits in order to save £12 billion from its budget. Scotland’s per-capita share of the cuts would be around £1 billion.

The Scottish Government will in future have the power to compensate those who lose out, by creating new payments it’ll have to fund itself.

Which of the following is closest to your view?”

Because we thought it was unlikely any Scottish Labour MSPs would be taking our poll, we decided to discount the “magic lots of extra money out of thin air” option and only allow respondents to pick from intellectually-coherent choices.

Their answers were enlightening.

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Brick walls and open doors 234

Posted on November 15, 2015 by

The task facing the Scottish independence movement is to change the minds of just 6% of Scots. That’s all it would take to turn September 2014’s defeat into a victory if and when another referendum comes around, and when you put it like that it doesn’t sound like an impossible job.


The question for Yes supporters is where to focus their energies. A proportion of people who live in Scotland will never vote for independence no matter what, for a variety of reasons we don’t need to go into here. But we’ve always wondered exactly how big that proportion was, so in our latest Panelbase poll we just asked straight out.

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Lords and ladies 60

Posted on November 15, 2015 by

The House of Lords has been in the news quite a bit recently, one way and another. So in our latest poll we thought it might be fun to ask a few questions about it.


We decided to have something for everyone.

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Dead air 132

Posted on November 15, 2015 by

A few weeks ago, we were told by a source that BBC Scotland’s flagship weeknight current-affairs show Scotland 2015 was recording some truly shocking viewing figures, in the region of 5,000 people a night. When we sent the BBC an FOI request for the stats, it was rejected, like almost all FOIs to the Corporation are.


We also looked into trying to get the data from BARB, but they weren’t very helpful either. So the only option we had left to get any sort of idea at all was to ask in our latest Panelbase poll.

When the results came in, we understood why the BBC wanted it kept quiet.

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A deliberate vagueness 91

Posted on November 14, 2015 by

This one rather speaks for itself.


(Data below from our latest Panelbase poll.)

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The march of time 147

Posted on November 14, 2015 by

As alert readers will know, we’ve just done another Panelbase opinion poll. You’ll be hearing more about the results over the next couple of days, but we thought we’d give you the headline finding first.


The most interesting thing about those numbers is that as far as we can make out that’s the highest Yes figure Panelbase has ever returned for that question. (The last two times, for the Sunday Times in September and July, both came out 47-53.)

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The abusers and the abused 101

Posted on July 29, 2015 by

There’s been something of a resurgence recently in pundits bemoaning online abuse and saying “Yes, there are bad apples on both sides but the overwhelming majority of offenders are Yes supporters”.

The authors of such articles oddly choose to ignore the only statistical data so far in existence, which shows the opposite:

“In a worrying development for the Better Together campaign, 21 per cent of those planning to vote Yes have received abuse or threats compared to just eight per cent of those planning to vote No.”

It also seems not to occur to them that their own experience of abuse may be a result of their particular – real or perceived – partisan position. (Ours, for example, is that 98% comes from No voters, but then that WOULD be our experience because on the whole you tend to get abused by people who disagree with you, not your own side.)

So we expect they’ll ignore this inconvenient statistical data from our latest Panelbase poll too, but we’ll put it out there anyway, alongside the Express poll, for reference. It’s pretty much all you can do.

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A state of dependence 72

Posted on July 28, 2015 by

On last night’s surprisingly feisty Scottish Labour leadership debate, one thing the two candidates firmly agreed on was that Scottish Labour should NOT become a fully autonomous party able to form its own policies. So it probably won’t come as any great shock to find that they’re both out of step with public opinion.


In fairness, it should be noted that a narrow majority (40% to 28%) of Labour’s own voters still want the Scottish branch office to be ultimately controlled by the UK party, as do Tory and Lib Dem supporters. More disturbing is probably the 29% of all Scots (including 13% of Labour voters) who think it doesn’t matter either way.

Whoever wins, we suspect they shouldn’t get their hopes up.

The unconvinced 227

Posted on July 27, 2015 by

With David Mundell and Ian Murray both having appeared on today’s “Good Morning Scotland” singing the praises of the wonderful Scotland Bill and how it would deliver all a nation could ever dream of, it seems a good time to publish the results of our recent Panelbase poll on the subject.


The nation, it seems, has rather more ambitious dreams.

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