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Lies, damned lies and The Scotsman

Posted on November 07, 2011 by

The Scotsman presents a deeply twisted spin on the latest Scottish constitutional poll today as their headline story. Under the headline "SNP under pressure as Scots back change", they report the TNS poll for the BBC which shows the results of a three-option either-or question asking voters to pick their favourite from the status quo, devo max and independence. The poll essentially shows a three-way tie, but the paper reports it highly misleadingly, particularly in this passage:

"…independence, support for which, according to the poll, has fallen 11 percentage points from the 39 per cent backing in a survey published in September."

The September poll being referenced, however, asked a radically different question – it offered respondents just two options, independence or the status quo, with no devo-max. It's hardly surprising that independence scored higher in a two-option poll than a three-option one (the status quo did too), and as such the Scotsman's interpretation borders on an outright lie. Even by their normal standards, it's an unusually clumsy and blatant effort at misrepresenting the reality.

In fact, as quietly noted by the Herald in the middle of a piece on new Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson, "The nearest comparison with the latest poll was a three question one by Ipsos-Mori a year ago which had 22% for independence, 44% for more powers and 32% for no change." In other words, the BBC survey represented support for independence growing significantly, at the expense of both devo max and the status quo – the exact opposite of the Scotsman's spin.

It's also interesting that a poll showing devo max as – albeit narrowly – the most popular option is described by the paper as putting the SNP under pressure. The SNP have repeatedly expressed their willingness to include a question on devo max in the forthcoming referendum, while all the opposition Unionist parties oppose one. It is they, not the SNP, who are refusing to countenance offering the people the thing they continue to favour the most, and one might imagine that it would be they rather than the nats who would therefore be placed under pressure by this poll.

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    1. 06 06 18 17:21

      If it goes, it won’t be missed, well not by me | Grumpy Scottish Man

    2. 10 06 18 19:49

      If it goes, it won’t be missed, well not by me | Grumpy Scottish Man


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