As readers will know because we always go on about it, we’re not very fussed about straight Yes/No polls this far out from the vote. We want to get right under the Scottish electorate’s skin, so for our second crowd-funded poll (as with the previous one) we asked for their opinion on all sorts of other stuff too.
But the media is boring and only cares about the simple bits. Headlines first, then.
SHOULD SCOTLAND BE AN INDEPENDENT COUNTRY?
Just an eight-point gap, which remains unchanged if you only include people who are at least 8/10 likely to vote – the numbers in that scenario move to Y37-N45-DK17. With the white paper still unpublished and 11 months to go, the Yes side needs a mere 4% swing to close the gap completely.
But that’s just about the least interesting stat in our poll.
Let’s start with an important bit of background info. As Panelbase polls have tended to deliver more favourable results for independence, Unionists and the media have frequently cast aspersions on their reliability, and a nasty little smear recently suggested that nationalists were “infiltrating” the sample base to skew the results.
We’ll pass on the fundamentally illogical nature of that, but to counter these unsupported allegations Panelbase closed their system to new entrants until after the referendum. For this poll, though, they took another step: they separated the sample 50/50 between their own respondents and those of a completely different company.
As you can see, there was very little difference between the two sets – the lead for the No camp was actually 9% in the Panelbase group, and 8% in the other group, with the main difference being a higher number of undecideds among the new group. So let’s have no more sour grapes from Unionists on that score.
(Yeah, we know, while we’re dreaming we’d also like a castle made of gold.)
NOTE: For the rest of this article and those following it, unless otherwise noted we’ll be taking our stats from the “Likely to vote” tables.
People rating themselves 8/10 or higher in that category make up 86% of the sample, which seems a very plausible estimate of the eventual turnout, so to get the most accurate picture possible we’re excluding the people who are probably going to exclude themselves from the ballot.
The breakdown of Yes/No votes by party is pretty much in line with what you’d expect:
SNP 69-17 (14 DK) +52
Labour 19-56 (25 DK) -37
Lib Dem 17-55 (29 DK) -38
Conservative 1-96 (3 DK) -95
(As always, figures might not total exactly 100 due to rounding.)
TANGENT: If, just for a bit of idle non-scientific fun on the side, you apply those figures to the constituency votes in the 2011 Holyrood election, excluding the Don’t Knows (because even though they’re going to vote, we can’t just guess which way they’ll go, although stay tuned), the numbers come out like this:
Yes: 772,377 (47.3%)
No: 858,882 (52.7%)
Squeaky bum time, there. A non-trivial proportion – 19% – of those Yes votes coming from non-SNP sources makes things pretty complicated. And what happens if you throw 2011 regional votes into the mix too, which brings the Greens into play? In that scenario, with what’s probably a realistic total number of votes, the figures are:
Yes: 1,522,162 (48.8%)
No: 1,551,299 (51.2%)
Ooft. Now, as we say, that’s just for a giggle – the turnout for Holyrood 2011 was only 50%, and all sorts of other unknown factors come into play, like other smaller parties and the differences between Holyrood and Westminster voting and a single-issue referendum. It’s an intriguing extrapolation, though, we think you’ll agree.
Of course, what it really tells us is something we already knew, which is that the Don’t Knows are going to be absolutely key to the referendum outcome. But we’ve got more (much more) coming up on them in a later post, so for now let’s tidy up the Yes/No stats before we get to the other bits.
YES/NO VOTE BY GENDER
Men: 46-42 (12 DK) +4
Women: 29-49 (22 DK) -20
With increasing consistency, polls are now showing men in favour of independence, while women remain stubbornly opposed (but also more undecided). Here the gap is a startling 24 points. If anyone knows why, they’re keeping it close to their chests.
YES/NO VOTE BY AGE
18-24: 28-68 (4 DK) -40*
25-34: 42-37 (22 DK) +5
35-44: 34-45 (20 DK) -11
45-54: 42-42 (17 DK) 0
55-64: 36-45 (19 DK) -9
65+: 32-53 (15 DK) -21
(*The size of the 18-24 sample was far smaller than the other groups, and therefore highly susceptible to error. But still, brrr.)
Jings and crivvens. What on Earth happens to young Scots when they turn 25? That’s an incredible 45-point turnaround between just two adjacent age groups, and an incredible 96% of the youngest demographic appears to have made its mind up already, with vastly lower undecided figures than any other sector.
Only the oldies come anywhere close to the weans for vehement opposition to self-determination, and even then they’re miles behind, with a net rating of -21 against the youngsters’ -40. Someone’s really put the wind up Scotland’s young folk.
The gender gap, though, shrinks with age. Compressing the age groups from six to three to even out the sample sizes, twice as many 18-34 males support independence as their female peers – 51% vs 26% – but by the time you get to 55+ that difference has shrunk from 25 points to 10 points, with 40% of older males in favour of independence but only 30% of older females.
YES/NO VOTE BY RESIDENCE TYPE
Homeowners: 31-51 (18 DK) -20
Private renters: 42-39 (20 DK) +3*
Social renters: 56-28 (16 DK) +28
(*The private-renters group was also a small sample size.)
We’ve covered this phenomenon at some length previously. Homeowners are the people who feel they’ve most to lose from change and upheaval, even if that worry is irrational when weighed against the dangers of the status quo. Scare stories about interest rates play well with those struggling to afford their mortgage, especially if “Better Together” throws in a wee fearbomb or two about lost jobs at the same time.
Homeowners make up roughly 65% of the Scottish population, so the Yes camp is going to have to work hard to win their confidence. But with only half of them planning a No at this stage, it’s not a hopeless task.
That’s probably enough numbers to digest in one go. Have a rest.