The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Behind the front lines

Posted on February 13, 2013 by

In coverage of the latest Ipsos-MORI Scottish Public Opinion Monitor poll, the media will likely focus as usual on the not-particularly-dramatic headline figures, showing a welcome but not enormously relevant (so far away from the vote) swing of 3.5% to Yes. What we find much more interesting is the data a couple of pages down.

These two images cover the same responses from the company’s last poll (October 2012) and today’s. Click to see larger versions.



There are some pretty striking changes between those two graphs. The first section is unspectacular – Yes support among men and women both up four points, opposition among men down six – but the next bar is stunning. In the 18-24 demographic, backing for independence has just more than DOUBLED, from 27% to 58%. That 31-point increase appears to have mostly come straight from the No camp, which has lost 25 points, rather than the previously undecided.

Those are astonishing numbers in just four months, though they reflect an anecdotal trend that’s been very noticeable in recent weeks. And it seems to be present solely among the young, who of course have the biggest stake in Scotland’s future. Other age demographics are broadly unchanged (25-34 down two points, 35-54 up three, older voters unchanged). But there’s one other notable trend.

This site has long highlighted the common media folly of overlooking support for independence among voters of parties which oppose it, and the latest poll shows some significant movement in that regard backing up the previous findings of other pollsters.

Among Labour voters support for independence has shot up by 36% (or four points, from 11% to 15%), among Tories by 20% (admittedly only amounting to a single percentage point), and among Lib Dem voters by a staggering 171%. Meanwhile SNP-voter opposition holds firm at just 17%, but some previous waverers have moved to the Yes camp, increasing the pro-independence faction by three points to 70%.

In other words, there are now proportionally more Lib Dem voters in favour of independence than there are SNP voters opposed to it (strongly contradicting the media line on the subject), and almost as many Labour ones.

We’ll be watching the next Ipsos poll intently to see if any of these results are freak outliers, or whether they represent a trend. If we were the No camp, though, we’d be fidgeting nervously in our seats.


Print Friendly

    66 to “Behind the front lines”

    1. Malcolm says:

      Might as well get in first with a devil’s advocate comment. Every time a poll shows poor support for yes, the mantra is “polls so far away from the date are meaningless”. I’d suggest nothing much has changed on that front, and it is good to see you say as much early in the article.
      I must admit I think the results following the question change, following the “SNP forced into climbdown” hue and cry are most satisfying.

    2. heraldnomore says:

      But what happened to the 25-34 year olds?  And that vital sector of those not yet 18 – are they too young for polling?  Do we know how that may pan out?  Will they mirror their elder siblings?

      It’s a good breakdown though Stu, especially with the ‘concession’ on the wording of the question taken into account.  Now can we have another one after being told that we were just part of England anyway?  

    3. Tris says:

      I wonder how much of the change is due to the wording of the question (and the humiliating climbdown!!) and how much is due to four months of ridiculous claim after ridiculous claim from the No Campaign.
      Obviously some may be due to margin of error, but the dramatic increase in the Yes votes in the younger age group can hardly be attributable to that!

    4. Doug Daniel says:

      Isn’t it funny that, having removed the “leading” part of the question, support for independence has gone, erm, up?
      Perhaps if we still had “Do you agree” in there, we’d have 100% Yes across the board. Alternatively, all the fuss about it being a “leading question” was just utter bullshit.

    5. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @ Malcolm
      Of course we should be balanced and treat polls – good and bad – with equal caution. However, as I’ve said before (and I know others disagree) polls do matter, psychologically if in no other regard.
      All you have to do is listen out for Brewer’s first question every time someone from Yes Scotland is on Newsnight – it is always a taunt about poll figures along the lines of ‘So, at what point will you start to panic?’ or ‘You can argue all you like but it seems the vast majority of Scots still think you’re talking pish.’
      I’m afraid we really DO need the polls to move in our direction. I hope to fuck they finally are.

    6. Doug Daniel says:

      heraldnomore – “But what happened to the 25-34 year olds?”
      People who turned 25 these past four months are notoriously anti-independence. Conversely, those who turned 35 are all Cybernats.

    7. Maureen Wright says:

      Interesting about the Labour vote. I’ve long had a gut feeling that the position the STUC takes will be crucial. 

    8. Cuphook says:

      The poll is welcomed news and I think that it’s findings can be backed up by observation: look at the new Liberals for Independence for instance. An impressive jump in the 18 to 24 age group but why are they not polling the 16/17 year olds? We will also have to watch out for this demographic having its mind changed to 99% NO by the Unionists’ secret weapon.

    9. Marcia says:

      This poll more or less mirrors last month’s Panelbase poll voting intention for the Scottish Parliament vote which is near the 2011 vote. The Coalition will be rather envious seeing that their support in Westmister polls way down.

    10. muttley79 says:

       Evidence of growing support of Lib Dems voters for independence is perhaps unsurprising given the No campaign have made it clear from the 2011 election that there will not be more major powers devolved to the Scottish Parliament and also the Lib Dems theoretically being the closest to the SNP in terms of independence and federalism.  I believe that the Labour voters supporting independence will be more vital (unless it is a very close result where obviously every vote will be important) as Scottish Labour are still a major party in terms of a voter base. 
      A question that springs to mind on viewing that graph is: If 5% of Conservative voters support independence, why is there not a Conservative Voters for Independence group?  If the result is really close and No sneak a win, would it have been a mistake for Yes Scotland not to have supported such a group?  The independence movement is already a broad movement. From the right wing there is really only Peter De Vink at the moment.

    11. Cuphook says:

      I hadn’t actually realised that Jeremy Purvis and his Devo Plus wheeze was a part of the BT gang. If he is a speaker for them why is this not highlighted when he’s on TV pushing his Devo Plus agenda?

    12. balgayboy says:

      Do not underestimate the 16-24 age, they are the age group which will make the difference between a  YES or no vote come 2014. They are more aware of the referndum situation than most people give them credit for, also they do not read the usual MSM newspapers or listen/watch the unionist BBC, but they do talk among each other and are aware where their future depends on and their aspirations.

    13. raineach says:

      Supporters of Yes promised us that last year was always going to be a Brit-fest and that come 2013 the polls would begin to move. And now we have one clear electoral group giving us a lead. I like it when people keep their promises.

    14. mrbfaethedee says:

      I wonder how parts of the age breakdown maps on to the balance between tv | newspapers | internet & social media use? It would be interesting to know if online ‘activism’ ‘is having a measurable impact among those who use social&web as their primary channel and gateway to info.

    15. Laura says:

      Would I be correct in saying the over 55’s are the ones more likely to be still reading the herald/scotsman etc and taking the BBC as gospel and maybe not use the internet so much.
      As for the under 25’s I reckon they will be on FB/Twitter 24/7 so they will be more aware of the lies & obuscation from the No camp.
      Just a thought…

    16. Keef says:

      So those positive poll Results for the Yes campaign will be headlines in all the newspapers/ news bulletins/ radio shows then.
      More chance of seeing the pope making a come back.
      Or the new McDonald’s Machorse burger catching on.

    17. FreddieThreepwood says:

      @ Laura 
      Spot on. As a 50-something myself, that’s maybe why I’m depressed most of the time …

    18. CameronB says:

      @ Laura
      I have been trying to get some feedback as to whether I should continue with the idea of a petition, given the Campaign for Balanced Broadcasting in Scotland is also collecting signatures. Do you have an opinion?

    19. Albert Herring says:

      And they’re being treated utterly appallingly by the present system.

    20. Ron Burgundy says:

      Would love to know who the 17% of SNP supporters who are likely to vote NO.
      Are they really SNP supporters?
      Is this is a massive typo?
      Had they had a liquid lunch before being surveyed?

    21. CameronB says:

      Following the legal opinion that Scotland does not exist, there must be lots of Wikipedia entries for unionist politicians and institutions that need to be amended. Anyone know how to do this?

    22. muttley79 says:

      @Ron Burgundy

      Would love to know who the 17% of SNP supporters who are likely to vote NO.
      Are they really SNP supporters?
      Is this is a massive typo?
      Had they had a liquid lunch before being surveyed?
      Yes, a small section of SNP supporters are against independence, and a small group of Scottish Labour voters support independence.  I think this has been a fairly long-term phenomenon.  Voting for the SNP in elections is not the same as supporting independence.


    23. cath says:

      “Do not underestimate the 16-24 age, they are the age group which will make the difference between a  YES or no vote come 2014.”
      I agree with this. They’re the age group with most energy, and are likely to kick off debates with friends and family more readily than older groups might. Also there will be some older, on-the-fence types who may well be swayed by the thought that “this is about the future and if it’s what the young folk want, we owe it to them.” That happened to an extent in Greece recently, and was especially powerful (according to a Greek colleague) among older people who had voted the same way all their lives and were just expected to go along with their party. But when it came to the elections after the crash, they went with what their young folk were shouting about and campaigning for.
      Here, I’ve already spoken to one friend a while back who said she was “against separatism” but indicated she’d vote more for what the young folk wanted as it was really about them. That’s the kind of thing that could make a huge difference, even on the eve of the referendum.

    24. douglas clark says:

      Bit of anecdotal stuff. One of my daughters friends was playing at King Tut’s a month or two ago. I went along with a shed load of young folk. Chat around the table at aprés gig refreshments turned to politics. I showed my SNP key fob, expecting a discussion. There wasn’t one. We had around fifteen youngish people who will vote YES. Thinking about it, I don’t know anyone under say 30, that isn’t going to vote YES.

    25. cath says:

      That said, this is only one poll and it’s still only 58%, of that age group, and 34% in total, so not enough to get excited about yet. Right direction though.

    26. Jimbo says:

      So, if the young have their way, lesser England will break from Greater England.

    27. Cuphook says:

      I’m quite confident that we have the commitment and passion needed to deliver a YES vote; but I do fear the prospect of having to listen to some heuchter teuchter anthem for the rest of my life. Call it jumping the gun but are there any musicians out there who can collaborate on an anthem like this, maybe with pipes in it? I want to live in a modern chilled country.

    28. Insch74 says:

      Just been outside.
      Today at Glasgow Uni it’s the ‘NO’ students turn to campaign for the Uni’s Independence referendum. And get this, they actually do have T-shirts on saying UKOK!
      I suppose that must make them students for tuition fees?

    29. Craig P says:

      I guess that younger folk are less likely to read a newspaper and more likely to go online, and that the rise of sites such as this have decisively tipped the online argument in Yes’s favour.
      I don’t watch the TV news myself and hardly ever read a newspaper, and it often strikes me when people make arguments that have been disproved years ago (e.g. Scotland too poor) that it is probably the only information on the subject they have seen or heard, so why wouldn’t they believe it? It is always a privilege to point people in the direction of pro-indy sites and the McCrone report. As soon as people stop trusting the BBC, etc, the fearmongering from the No side stops working.

    30. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “I’m quite confident that we have the commitment and passion needed to deliver a YES vote; but I do fear the prospect of having to listen to some heuchter teuchter anthem for the rest of my life. Call it jumping the gun but are there any musicians out there who can collaborate on an anthem like this, maybe with pipes in it? I want to live in a modern chilled country.”

      How about a nice bit of Mogwai?

    31. jake says:

      I would caution not to underestimate the effect of the change of wording of the question.

      Consider, for example:

      Do you agree the BBC is biased in it’s presentation of the independence debate?
      Should the BBC be biased in it’s presentation of the independence debate?

    32. cath says:

      “Following the legal opinion that Scotland does not exist, there must be lots of Wikipedia entries for unionist politicians and institutions that need to be amended. Anyone know how to do this?”
      That could be a fun job 🙂

    33. CameronB says:

      @ cath
      I would be more than happy to get started, if someone would be kind enough to tell me how. A suggested “hit list” might also be useful as I might not chose the most appropriate targets.

    34. Keith B says:

      Someone has already been having a go a wiki – all be it on a different topic.

    35. Megsmaw says:

      @ Laura
      I agree with you there. My in laws are both 50+ and take the BBC and Lamont as gospel and as a result are unionists who think big fat Eck is going to build a castle (wtf?) and crown himself king. We visited them the other day and they were going on about the EU, trying to tell us that an independent Scotland would have to take the Euro as our currency. I looked up all the evidence to the contrary on my ipad and said “here’s the proof that we don’t. Read it”.  “Naw” they said. “We shouldnae huv tae, the SNP should be telling us that”. Well I nearly chucked that ipad at ma father in law’s heed! They want the SNP to chap the door and hand them all the answers instead of looking on their computer.   Scottish Labour folk eh! All huffy bairns the lot of them!

    36. scaredy cat. says:

      Has anyone asked people what changed their mind? I have gone from ‘don’t know’ to ‘yes’ and think it is worth noting why. Different things will sway peoples’ opinion. For me it started with the McCrone report because it made me question the motivation of Westminster to keep the Union. I am well educated or so i thought. I had never heard of McCrone. I shared it with people and they were swayed too. We need to understand what is changing the hearts and minds and build on that information.

    37. Laura says:

      I don’t know if a petition would get enough signatures to make any real changes at the moment.  I mean how many would you need to have them say ‘ok I’m listening’ , I really have no idea, but I reckon it would be a minimum of six figures (an multiples thereof)
      I’d sign anything to help the cause, but not everyone are diehards like us.
      Perhaps have a word with YesScotland?

    38. pmcrek says:

      Speaking of petitions, does anyone know if there has been any further info from SNP or Yes Scotland on the number of yes declarations since the last announcement?

    39. mark piggott says:

      @Cameron B, Hi Cameron, As far as I know, and I should, Campaign for Balanced Broadcasting in Scotland haven’t yet set up a petition, We will have one in place to take out on the rally on the 23rd. If you have any suggestions as to topic/ wording for this please feel free to get in touch pigsy68 [at] hotmail [dot] com
      @Rev Stu please email with your email address, I want to discuss something/ send you pdf’s

    40. CameronB says:

      Well that was remarkably easy to edit, so that’s SLAB, Captain D and the Lamentable one taken care of. Any requests, as I’ll probably get stopped some time today?

    41. Boorach says:

      Bloody iPad doesn’t know what a teuchter is!

    42. FreddieThreepwood says:

      Still looking for a report on the improved poll showing for the Yes Campaign on the BBC Scotland website – can I just not see it for looking at it? … Aye, thought so.

    43. CameronB says:

      Bugger, the changes aren’t lasting long. You’ll have to hurry if you wasn’t a laugh. Captain D’s has already reverted back to Scottish references. I’ve “sorted” Ian Davidson though.

    44. pmcrek says:

      Good stuff, we should get on the talk pages and start an edit war, your changes are backed by two legal experts in an officially published UK Government report.

    45. CameronB says:

      The Captain D entry was changed back by another user. He is calling me a vandal, and I don’t know how to return a message to him. Can anyone please advise?

    46. pmcrek says:

      You can edit your talk page with a response or click on the user who is calling you a vandal and click on their talk page, editing is just like an article, alternatively you can go to the talk page for the article and protest there, editing again is just like an article.

    47. CameronB says:

      @ pmcrek

    48. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      The referendum question should be changed to: Should Scotland be a country rather than a region of the UK?
      On a more serious note I think labour voters will play a large part to deliver the YES vote.

    49. Laura says:

      I too am interested in what changes peoples minds.
      I’m going to get hung on here for saying this, but I was a tory voter – for me it was ‘anyone but labour’ – sorry folks but to me and my limited knowledge at the time, labour were always the nasty party. What did they really do for the working man, people blame Thatcher, but she wasn’t alone, you just have to look at the labour heartlands to see that.  Anyhow, before I get thrashed, I’ll move on.
      The McCrone report was ‘what dun it for me’, then went on to look for more, then came the ‘Big Lie’ and ‘The Great Decepton’ Niall Aslen. Then I started to take an interest in politics – read up on some Scottish History (which was almost non-existant at school).
      I have always been very patriotic about Scotland even although I spent much of my youth working abroad. However I am utterly ashamed that I have fallen for all the lies, by successive UK governments. never again will I trust them with a pound of mince (or Cuddieburger) 

    50. scaredy cat. says:

      I have been a bit of a political strumpet to be honest. My parents have always been SNP supporters my ex husband campaigned for labour and my brother is a tory. My current partner isn’t British so he’s a bit bamboozled by the whole thing (hope he doesn’t get chucked out when we get thrown out of the EU, but I’m willing to risk it.  
      I have chopped and changed over the years and (whispers) sometimes didn’t even vote! Suddenly I have become obsessed with the independence debate and I am furious at how i was duped. I have vowed to read everything i can get my hands on to make sure i am informed (both sides) but so far i have heard nothing that makes me want to vote ‘no’. Like you i had little Scottish history at school so the historical debate about 1707 goes over my head. Just trying to keep up to date with what’s going on but it’s hard to find enough time in the day to get up to speed.

    51. CameronB says:

      @ scaredy cat
      Its good to welcome you on-board, or even just for a visit. If you’re not already aware of it, the Independence Fact Sheet at newsnetscotland is always a good one to have in the back pocket. There’s nothing to be feart of except for a No vote. 🙂

    52. scaredy cat. says:

      Thank you, thank you, thank you. This is wonderful stuff. I am going to share it on my Facebook page right now ! 😀

      p.s.the Scaredycat tag is not a reference to my fear of voting ‘yes’ rather a fear (as a public facing UK civil servant) of being identified. We have been well warned!

    53. CameronB says:

      @ scardey cat
      That is disgusting, but I know the scene as I used to be a civil servant. Have the unions not kicked up, if there is any representation where you’re working?

    54. commenter says:

      I became a Nationalist (after being mainly a Labour voter) because in the years before the 2008 crash I was becoming increasingly annoyed by the constant drip drip of anti-Scottish rubbish that was being published in the English press, both quality and Red Top. I lived in England at the time, and this petty animosity in the press was beginning to trickle down into every day living. Nothing bad enough to really take offence to but it was there. Then just after the 2008 crash the English press began to blame the Scottish Banks and Brown and other Scots in Government for it and there was a lot of racist comments made in the media and comments sections. I entered the arguments on the Scottish side and I wasn’t nice about it either. I then found out about and read The McCrone Report and that was the last straw. The perfidy of the UK Government including the Labour Party in keeping the Scots in the dark about North Sea Oil sickened me and I became a strong Nationalist supporter.

    55. CameronB says:

      @ commenter
      Its good that you saw the light. My experience of the south was at the end of the ’80s. I didn’t really notice anything over and above the usual London sense of superiority, though I was once assaulted by a barman simply for asking him the total of my round. Guess he didn’t like the Scotch getting uppity.

    56. Laura says:

      Scaredy Cat
      p.s.the Scaredycat tag is not a reference to my fear of voting ‘yes’ rather a fear (as a public facing UK civil servant) of being identified. We have been well warned!
      How awful for you – however nothing surprises me anymore. You can bet your sweet cat that there are more than you in your workplace who feel the same – time will tell.
      In the meantime, chin up, more power to you seeking the truth than sitting on your behind being dictated to.

    57. scaredy cat. says:

      @Cameron B.
      There is a union, but it is concerning itself with other stuff (pay and conditions). Our local rep is pro-union and I wouldn’t want to raise the issue. The message is  that we support the government and they support the union. It’s all in the Civil Service Code but I think it’s unfair because this is not a party political issue (although it looks like one sometimes). Anyway I’m trying to keep a low profile, although as you see I”m getting braver. I suppose I could be considered to be quite influential because of my job although to be honest I don’t think I am. I suppose they fear that it looks like you are speaking on behalf of the department. There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in general at the moment.

    58. CameronB says:

      @ scaredy cat
      Careful now, don’t give the game away. 😉

    59. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      Welcome to the independence cause – Its not about where you’ve come from, but about where we want to go as a country.
      An independent Scotland will need conservatives (and will also find many willing to vote for them), just not the type of raging neo liberal tories we have in Westminster at present.
      There is nothing wrong with old fashioned small ‘c’ conservatism and it may indeed flourish if unshackled from the more unsavoury, extreme permutations eminating from the South East. 
      Its not about ridding Scotland of conservatives, its about ridding Scotland of conservatives WE didnt vote for!
      I hope you continue to comment.

    60. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

      @Scaredy Cat
      You need not explain your need for anonymity. Many people have public facing jobs and need to maintain a “separation” between private views and professional conduct.
      “There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty in general at the moment.” – Seems to be the idea.

    61. @Scott Minto – Many people have public facing jobs and need to maintain a “separation” between private views and professional conduct.
      Surely you mean, keep their public persona independent of their private doings?
      Or perhaps ensuring that their public persona is not subsumed within their private self?
      Or that there needs be a dissolution of the union between the public and the private self, creating two successor personae, each independent of the other and yet forever allied because they share the same living space?
      Though on its face it may seem that the two entities would be Better Together, they actually gain a greater degree of autonomy if they Say YES to being masters in their own house.

      Now those who would deny us privacy on the internet will use the coercive power of the state to enforce their diktats, but we shall not yield to their intimidation and brutality. 
      They may take our lives but that will never take our FREEDOM !

    62. Hetty says:

      What about the younger voters, is it 16 or 17 at the referendum, either way, it would be interesting to know how they see things and how their future will be determined. Great to see 18-24’s YES vote going up, after all they are one of the main sections of society at the brunt of the austerity measures unleashed since the last UK election and they are seeing exactly what’s happening as a result.

    63. CameronB says:

      @ Christian Wright
      Help, help, I’m being oppressed. Come and look at the brutality inherent in the system. 😉

    64. CameronB says:

      That should have read, “Come look at the violence…” Doh.

    65. Cyril Matvech says:

      I have one major concern over this poll’s loaded question. I much prefer the one used by the Scottish Select Affairs Committee that found 77% of Scots will vote NO;
      “Should a Seperatist North Britain ever be allowed it’s old name back?” no/NO

    66. KOF says:

      @ Cyril Matvetch
      I liked this line from section 4 of the introduction.
      “None, however, has been remotely as significant as this proposed Order, which invites Parliament to delegate the legislative power to hold a referendum on whether there should be an end to the United Kingdom.”
      I really really liked that last bit, “end the United Kingdom”, not ‘separate from the United Kingdom’.  🙂

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top