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Wings Over Scotland

Still looking

Posted on October 27, 2013 by

In our previous poll, we discovered that the public overwhelmingly thought its politicians were a bunch of liars. Not a single one of them scored a net positive trust rating for truthfulness, although Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon had the small consolation of being well out in front of the competition as the least distrusted.


We felt a little bit sorry for the nation’s elected representatives, so we thought we’d give them a better chance this time around.

The question we asked was this:

From what you’ve seen and heard of the independence debate so far, and regardless of whether you agree with their views or not, do you feel that the following people and organisations have been acting with the best interests of the people of Scotland at heart?”

Pretty fair, right? Even if you support independence, a reasonable person could accept that Willie Rennie, say, genuinely believed it was best for the people of Scotland to stay in the UK, albeit that you might not agree with his belief.

Now, as with our previous poll, a disturbingly high proportion of Scots had no opinion at all regarding many of the people we picked, very likely due to not knowing who they were. Anas Sarwar, Ruth Davidson, Willie Rennie and Patrick Harvie all scored more than 50% “Don’t know”.

So for the most equal comparison possible, we’ve stripped those out and simply calculated the net rating of Yes and No responses, which gives us this league table.



Alex Salmond +15
Nicola Sturgeon +12
Alistair Darling -11 
Willie Rennie -13
Patrick Harvie -14
Anas Sarwar -18
Ruth Davidson -18
Johann Lamont -19
Michael Moore -20
David Cameron -42


The fun, though, was in the detail. Alistair Darling’s relatively high rating was almost exclusively down to Conservative voters, who thought their recent conference guest had Scotland’s interests at heart by a whopping margin of +62. Labour supporters, on the other hand, rated the “Better Together” chairman at a genuinely startling -3.

(A generous 12% of SNP voters gave Darling a Yes for this question.)

Among Lib Dem voters Willie Rennie barely did any better, with a net rating of +9, while Ruth Davidson actually managed to command the confidence of Scottish Tories (at least the ones who knew who she was), scoring +21.

On the Yes side, 12% of SNP voters were unconvinced that the First Minister was looking out for Scotland, against 82% who felt that he was, a net +70. Nicola Sturgeon picked up 73 vs 15 for an overall +58.

(The FM’s much-alleged gender approval gap put in something of an appearance here, though not an enormously dramatic one – he rated +21 with men but just +10 with women, while Sturgeon got +10 from men and +13 from women.)

Michael Moore scored +18 from Conservative voters for his actions as Secretary of State for Scotland, but just +13 from his own fellow Lib Dems.

And this one’s going to sting – among Labour supporters who expressed an opinion, the net rating for Johann Lamont in terms of whether she was acting in what she felt were the best interests of the people of Scotland was -12. Tory and Lib Dem voters were both far kinder to her than her own people, at +13 and +10.

In the same question we also included a list of media outlets, mainly newspapers. Given falling circulations and the fact that most people only read one or two papers, we were expecting very high “Don’t know” stats in this category, and so it transpired, with every single publication getting DKs in the 60s or high 50s.

But what we really wanted to know was whether readers saw any particular paper as being better or worse in this regard, and we got an answer, if a quite unexpected one.

The Scotsman -6
The Sunday Herald -9
The Herald -9
Scotland on Sunday -9
Daily Record -11
Sunday Post -11
Sunday Mail -13
Scottish Sun -14
The Times -18
Scottish Daily Mail -18
Scottish Daily Express -21

We must admit we were expecting the Record, Sunday Mail and Sun to do rather better, but there you go. The only positive ratings went to broadcasters, with STV top on +12 and BBC Scotland getting +9.

It looks like the Scottish electorate is still enormously cynical about the people who claim to speak on their behalf and in their interests. We can’t say we blame them, but it’s a dismaying state of affairs all the same.

Lastly on personalities, we thought we it’d be nice to solve a problem for the No camp.


If there were to be a live televised debate about independence and Alex Salmond was the person making the case for an independent Scotland, who do you feel would be the most appropriate person to make the case for the UK?

David Cameron: 37
Alistair Darling (chairman of “Better Together”): 25
Alistair Carmichael (Secretary of State for Scotland): 9
Someone else: 10
Don’t know: 19


Pretty cut-and-dried, we’d say. The Prime Minister gets 50% as many votes again as the former Chancellor. But the most revealing and entertaining aspect of the responses comes when you see whose votes arise from where.

Darling 52 Cameron 27 Carmichael 11

Cameron 25 Darling 24 Carmichael 12

Darling 47 Cameron 23 Carmichael 6

That’s right – Tories want the Labour guy to do it, Labour voters want the Tory guy to do it, and the Lib Dems want anyone but the Lib Dem, in whom they have less confidence than anyone else’s voters do. Everyone, in short, is volunteering the other team’s man to take the public shoeing they expect them to get from Alex Salmond.

You’d need a heart of stone not to laugh.

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    51 to “Still looking”

    1. Jingly Jangly says:

      How can the Sunday Herald, the newspaper which is beyond question the most neutral of all get -9 and the hootsman which is just a BT spokesrag get -6
      Im confused

    2. Desimond says:

      That is simply glorious. True team-work!
      Did no-one suggest Johann Lamont to argue, she loves debates!

    3. Dinnatouch says:

      That cheered me up after the last lot of results, though I’m very surprised at the positive showing for The Scotsman. Perhaps it’s got such a small readership now that none of the respondents know much about it and are only basing their answer on the fact it has Scot in the name. 

    4. Onwards says:

      I suspect many folks will be ticking the box for the Scotsman just on its name alone.

    5. Marcia says:

      Jingly Jangly
      I doubt if many read any of the papers they volumteered as either good or not so good. Many older folk might still think that the Scotsman is still the Liberal paper of old.

    6. Murray McCallum says:

      Well one thing seems clear, a popular leader for the Conservative Party in an independent Scotland would be Alistair Darling. It’s a bit ironic for a bloke who used to favour the politics of international permanent revolution.
      Someone else (=10%) to debate AS must be Edwina Currie? I personally think Edwina would be a good representative for the Union and Westminster.

    7. The Man in the Jar says:

      I feel sorry for Alex Salmond it must be like throwing a party and no-one turns up. Never mind Alex I am sure the reason they did not attend was that they are feart that you will pull their burd and drink their kerry oot! Pull more than their burd I suspect!  🙂

    8. Doug Daniel says:

      Some cracking results there. Seems to me Darling is a natural Tory anyway. Given his family background (was it his grandad who was a Tory MP?), I wonder if the only reason he ever joined the Labour party was because they were the party you joined if you wanted to get elected?
      Anyway, the people of Scotland have spoken: step up to the podium Cameron, or butt out.

    9. handclapping says:

      Don’t you just love how that beacon of public service forcibly funded by you and me broadcasting scores lower than Roy Thomson’s licence to print money? What’s the tune from Les Mis “Look down …”? Perhaps the same ending to look forward too as well?
      Seeing that the BBC’s own Saville investigation was organised / managed by Kenmore Quarry I wonder if there are more relevations yet to come out of the woodwork.

    10. Dcanmore says:

      It goes to show you that there isn’t a fag paper between the unionist mob, and A. Darling crops up as the biggest Tory of them all lol!

    11. BeamMeUpScotty says:

      No sign of the Torygraph.No surpises there!

    12. jim mitchell says:

      o/t but i see that nice JL has been caught out telling porkies, she claimed on the lunchtime politics show that she never used the phrase ‘Something for nothing’, however,
      I am sure that she will apoligise sometime soon, like when Hell freezes over! 

    13. Cheryl says:

      That last part is hilarious!

    14. Craig M says:

      I think that this poll is revealing the conservative (small “c”) nature of Scotland and Scottish thinking. To win the referendum the Yes campaign need to take baby steps. People are resistant to change.  I think that progressive Scots probably think that they are representative of the majority of public thinking and I believe that this is actually not the case. A large proportion of the Scottish population simply don’t think outside the box and that is to be expected; it’s human nature after all.
      I’ll put money on the fact that this is fully understood by the Yes campaign architects. When it comes to the contents of the White Paper, these will be presented in a format that is targeted to the Don’t Knows. The proposals will be in friendly, bite sized chunks. Easy to digest.
      If it’s at all possible, then take the Don’t Know information from this poll, chop it up, and turn it into non patronising proposals, as if you wished to win them over. You’ll have the next 11 months Yes campaign in a nutshell.

    15. mr thms says:

      BBC Scotland covered Wings Over Scotland’s poll this morning
      40 minutes in..

    16. Gillie says:

      Johann Lamont is a liar.
      The Scottish Labour leader claimed on the BBC today she never said the words “something for nothing”

    17. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Many of the slow of thinking probably believe that no student tuition fees, no prescription fees, free personal care, bus passes for senior citizens and Scottish Water being in public hands are benefits of being in the Union.
      I still believe that a very significant proportion of the NO vote wont vote 

    18. jim mitchell says:

       Jl’S use of the English language is spellbinding!
      She said: “I want a discussion not where the parties get dividing lines between each other but come together and address the challenge of how do you properly build a confidence in the way you raise taxes locally?”

    19. Desimond says:

      Johann Lamont basically wants to put the Council in Council Tax, or more the Tax in Council and get more control away from SNP led Holyrood. She’s kidding no-one and no-one trusts her.

    20. Seanair says:

      Jingly Jangly
      Sunday Herald (editorial and contributors) today praising AS for his actions over Grangemouth.
      Don’t expect The Scotsrag on Sunday to do the same!
      Very strange figures in the poll.

    21. muttley79 says:

      It looks like the Scottish electorate is still enormously cynical about the people who claim to speak on their behalf and in their interests.
      I am afraid this looks like decades and decades of Westminster misrule has taken a severe toll on the Scottish electorate.  Not really surprising, given we did not vote for Thatcher’s privatisations and industrial vandalism.  Neither did we vote for Cameron and his continuing society wrecking Conservatism.  It is a warning though that politics needs to change in Scotland if we get a Yes vote.  There is far too much apathy around.   

    22. gerry parker says:

      Yes it’s English Jim but not as we know it.

    23. msean says:

      No,no, after you,sir!That last one was the funniest.

    24. Alex Grant says:

      Lamont’s tortured comment sounds like local income tax to me? Another SNP policy which Labour attacked!

    25. Alex Grant says:

      Is the positive rating for the Scotsman significantly different when split by party?

    26. liz says:

      Can you believe that this woman was let loose in classrooms to teach English?

    27. Smudge says:

      Thank you for cheering up my Sunday 🙂

    28. HandandShrimp says:

      I am not sure a positive score for the Scotsman is the right way of looking at it. It has a negative score and is marginally less negative than its nearest rivals but within the 3% margin of error that such polls have. The surprise is how cynical people are regarding the tabloids which have a much larger readership.
      All the rest is perhaps not all that surprising.

    29. Andy-B says:

      Ha ha ha.
      So their all running feart of facing Alex in a head to head, brilliant.
      Could it be because Alex Salmond has the truth on his side, and BT camp have nothing but scare stories on theirs.
      As for the question who’s got Scotlands best interests at heart, apart from Patrick Harvie’s lowly position due to possibly his unknown status, the public got it bang on.
      The rest of the BT orators remind me of Grima Wormtongue.
      Will this be Alistair Darling or David Cameron.
      “Late is the hour in which this conjurer chooses to appear,
      Lathspell I name him, I’ll news is a ill guest.”
      Grima Wormtongue.

    30. call me dave says:

      Sunday politics show BBC:      Starts 38mins in.   Grangemouth & Unions.
      Canavan & Cochrane  43 mins .    Lamont 54 Dunfermline &  Grangemouth. 

    31. Macart says:

      Oh Jeez, pretty much all of that lot is going to leave a mark. Brilliant Rev – Kudos. 🙂

    32. Brian Powell says:

      Watching Johann Lamont on the BBC a couple of days ago, on what Labour would do about free care for the elderly, prescription charges, tuition fees etc I an still looking for anything other than complete waffle.
      I can see that Labour are trying to get through beyond Sept 2014 without making any policy statements. She must have mentioned the SNP 30 times without saying what Labour would actually do.
      She kept saying she wants a debate with the Scottish people but not a single Labour activist has been round my door asking me! She has been saying this for the last year.
      Come on Johann, send somebody to talk to us.

    33. HandandShrimp says:

      On Johann Lamont, I find her attempts to not commit herself or fall into bear traps so painful as to be incomprehensible. It is like something from In The Thick Of It. However, I can clearly remember her Something for Nothing speech and so can many others and so can the video tape it is on. 

    34. Jimsie says:

      I was looking at the Whats On list for the City Halls Glasgow and one of the events is Just Say Naw, an evening with George Galloway. The blurb states that you may interact with the bold George as he slates the ” grudge ” politics of the nationalists. At £12 + 50p booking fee + at least £1 transaction fee it is not cheap. George must be the ultimate capitalist. It will be interesting to see if anyone turns up.

    35. seoc says:

      If we could see a table showing how ‘our representatives’ (lol) performed in the expenses rush – and how many also had extra outside jobs while ‘working hard for us’, it might assist in forming a fairer opinion of them.

    36. Caledonalistic says:

      Like it or not, the Herald and the SH are conflated, unfairly I might add.  While, overall, I consider the Herald to be much more balanced than the Hootsmon, Gardham has been by far the most blatant in spinning headlines to suit his editorial line.  It only takes one guy to pee in the water to make it taste funny.

    37. Boorach says:

      Someone linked to a satirical song tribute to Ian Davidson in an earlier thread either last night or earlier today. My musical ear being what it is I think it was to tune of ‘Mrs Robinson’.
      Anyone got any idea of where I can find it?

    38. velofello says:

      I’d have liked to see John Swinney listed on the Acting In The Best Interests of Scotland. A most entertaining Sunday.
      Liz, I expect/hope that, that woman, was teaching at the A for apple, P for pipe graphics level.And did she really say on TV “I didn’t say Something for Nothing”? Let the archive cameras roll!

    39. Brian Ritchie says:

      Here you go Boorach. 🙂

    40. Barontorc says:

      Just what biological elements is George Galloway made of? He is now a traveling showman, pitching his tent to sell snake oil remedies, all in the country he was raised in, but chucked for greener pastures and now returning to gain a supporting few bob from the unionist rabble he says he loathes.
      To think I used to rate him and  Billie Connolly now passed onwards to luvvie-land. Still you picks your bed and makes your choice!

    41. Ron Burgundy says:

      Gary Robertson did OK at trying to pin Lamont but can you imagine the carnage that would have happened if Andrew Neil had been handling the interview.
      # Are you in favour of the Council Tax freeze Mrs Lamont your election leaflet says so
         Repeat after evasion repeat after evasion.
      # So you claim Local government is underfunded – so you would spend more then
         Repeat after evasion repeat after evasion.
      # You want a debate or cross party talks on local government funding – what what is your policy now
         Repeat after evasion repeat after evasion.

    42. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Michael Settle is the equal of Gardham but a little less obvious

    43. sionnach says:

      I can clearly remember her Something for Nothing speech and so can many others and so can the video tape it is on
      Any possibility of posting such a video on YouTube (if it’s not already there)?

    44. Boorach says:

      Many thanks Brian. That’s the one… brilliant!

    45. Alex Taylor says:

      Really tempted to go and engage with George. Our case is bomb proof: he has nothing except FUD. 
      He wants freedom and equal rights for every country on the planet bar Scotland. I don’t get it.
      George (and Tommy Sheridan) are enigmas wrapped up in a mystery inside a riddle within a paradox. Alex  

    46. Doug Daniel says:

      velofello: “I’d have liked to see John Swinney listed on the Acting In The Best Interests of Scotland. A most entertaining Sunday.”
      The thing is, where do you stop? And I dare say Stu didn’t want it to seem like just a list of SNP politicians. I know what you mean though – Swinney seems to have been an integral part of the saving of Grangemouth.

    47. Martin Nelson says:

      Superb reading

    48. Spansco says:

      Simply put. Alec Salmond and Nicola sturgeon are the best we have. Scots should give them the tools they need to make our country a safer more prosperous country free from Westminster domination.
      Vote YES next year and see it happen.

    49. cjmasta says:

      If the public thinks that polititions are liars then why not make more of pointing out the real liars?

      The SNP and YES campaign proclaiming that even Alistair Darling doesn`t think Scotland couldn`t become a successful independent Nation still doesn`t  address the fact that a huge number of the countries population still thinks we`re too poor to be independent due to a lifetime of propaganda through Brit Nat Scottish media.

      Address these two points and relish in a YES victory, downplay their importance and watch this country crumble!

    50. Seems a bit strange that only SNP politicians get a positive rating here, while everyone else gets a negative one.

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