Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Historic Polling on Independence

 
A chap I know sent me this information on historic polling on indpendence and said he thought people might find it interesting so I thought I'd post it here.

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Friday 14th September 2012 and Tory MEP Struan Stevenson says on Radio Scotland that no opinion poll had ever shown support for Scottish independence. It’s a similar line from others such as RuthDavidson, SarahBoyack, IainGray, and AlistairDarling - that “for more than 40 years, the numbers … haven't really shifted, every opinion poll”, “poll after poll makes that clear”.
 
As the following opinion polls show there have been several and, on two occassions, over a sustained period – June 1998 to April 1999 and April 2006 to February 2007.
 
Poll - Date
Positive
Negative
Mori – Jan ‘92
51%
25%
ICM – Jun ‘98
52%
41%
ICM – Jul ‘98
56%
35%
ICM – Jul ‘98
49%
44%
ICM – Sep ‘98
51%
38%
ICM – Sep ‘98
48%
37%
ICM – Nov ‘98
49%
43%
ICM – Jan ‘99
49%
42%
ICM – Apr ‘99
47%
44%
YG – Apr ‘06
44%
42%
YG – Sep ‘06
46%
39%
ICM – Oct ‘06
51%
39%
YG – Nov ‘06
45%
41%
ICM – Nov ‘06
52%
35%
ICM – Jan ‘07
51%
36%
ICM – Feb ‘07
46%
44%
TNS – Apr ‘08
41%
40%
TNS – Aug ‘11
39%
38%
 
With two years to go before the referendum and recent polls showing independence around a third what was the support for independence two years before these polls were taken.
 
In the case of the April 2006 to February 2007 such polls do not appear. However there are some polls in the June 1998 to April 1999 we can make comparisons albeit with caveats. Because the polls took place before the 1997 devolution referendum between June 1996 and April 1997 they are not binary polls and asked about three options. Also we are not comparing the same polling companies.
 
However they can give a sense of how far and fast opinions can shift in two years as we saw in the
 
 
 
Two Years Before 
 
 
Poll - Date
Pos.
Neg.
D.K.
Poll & Date
Pos.
Neg.
D.K.
Ind. Inc.
Ind.
Dev.
S.Q.
Dev+SQ
ICM – Jun '98
52%
41%
7%
S3 – Jun '96
25%
51%
21%
72%
3%
27%
ICM – Jul '98
56%
35%
9%
S3 – Jun '96
25%
51%
21%
72%
3%
31%
ICM – Nov '98
49%
43%
8%
S3 – Dec '96
34%
44%
18%
62%
4%
15%
ICM – Jan '99
49%
42%
9%
ICM – Jan '97
31%
40%
27%
67%
2%
18%
ICM – Apr '99
47%
44%
9%
ICM – Apr '97
26%
48%
24%
72%
2%
21%
TNS – Apr '08
41%
40%
19%
YG – Apr '06
44%
42%
14%
-3%
TNS – Aug '11
39%
38%
23%
YG – Aug '09
28%
57%
15%
11%
 
And when we exclude Don’t Knows the following results can be seen:
 
 
 
Two Years Before
 
 
Poll - Date
Pos.
Neg.
 
Poll & Date
Pos.
Neg.
Ind. Inc.
Ind.
Dev.
S.Q.
Dev+SQ
ICM – Jun '98
55.9%
44.1%
S3 – Jun '96
25.8%
52.6%
21.6%
74.2%
30.1%
ICM – Jul '98
61.5%
38.5%
S3 – Jun '96
25.8%
52.6%
21.6%
74.2%
35.8%
ICM – Nov '98
53.3%
46.7%
S3 – Dec '96
35.4%
45.8%
18.8%
64.6%
17.8%
ICM – Jan '99
53.8%
46.2%
ICM – Jan '97
31.6%
40.8%
27.6%
68.4%
22.2%
ICM – Apr '99
51.6%
48.4%
ICM – Apr '97
26.5%
49.0%
24.5%
73.5%
25.1%
TNS – Apr '08
50.6%
49.4%
YG – Apr '06
51.2%
48.8%
-0.5%
TNS – Aug '11
50.6%
49.4%
YG – Aug '09
32.9%
67.1%
17.7%
 
As we saw in the weeks leading up to the Scottish Parliament election opinion can change quickly. In early March 2011 TNS put the SNP at 29% and Labour at 44%. Two months later (and three days before the election) TNS had the SNP at 45% and Labour at 27%. The final result of the election? SNP 45%, Labour 32%.
 
LEGEND:
 
Pos. = Positive - Answered 'Independence', 'Yes' or 'I agree' on constitutional preferences or Scotland being independent
Neg. = Negative - Answered 'Devolution', 'No Change', 'No' or 'I disagree' on constitutional preferences or Scotland being independent


D.K. = Don't Know (or Won't Vote)
Ind. = Independence
Dev. = Devolution
S.Q. = Status Quo
S3 = Systems Three Polling
YG = YouGov

2 comments:

Doug Daniel said...

Interesting stuff. I actually had no idea there were so many polls genuinely showing independence as the favoured option. Makes you wonder what would have happened if the devolution referendum had been an independence referendum instead...

I'm paying no attention to polls just now, and I find it quite amusing that unionists think polls just now will have any bearing on the result in 2014. Even without this analysis, you simply have to look at the last election to see how meaningless polls can be even a few months before a vote.

Edward Dow said...

like dougie says, polls are not worth paying attention to any more, polls in the past said we would never have a devolved parliament, the SNP would never get elected, then they would never win by a majority, such are the value and wisdom of polls.