Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Scottish Independence Referendum opinion polls don't looks good for SNP

According to UK Polling Report opinion polls on referendum voting intentions held during October 2012 make gloomy reading for the SNP and other pro independence parties:

Don’t Know
Ipsos MORI/Times
Panelbase/Sunday Times
YouGov/Better Together
YouGov/The Courier

This means that even int he best case scenario the Yes campaign will need to persuade 12% of don't knows and 1% of no voters - just to get to 50%. At worst they will need to persuade 6% of the No vote to switch sides as well as gaining all the don't knows.

My prediction is that the vote will probably be NO to independence, unless the Yes campaign can come up with a compelling reason why being, in effect, a crown dependency is really independence or that having some sort of semi independence from the rest of the UK is better than the current devolution arrangements.

These are fairly fundamental issues and I don't think that the commonwealth games or another year of homecoming will make any great difference to the outcome.

So if Scotland does vote no, where do we go from there? There are a number of threats and opportunities that a No vote will bring:

  • There is a real risk that a Conservative government in London would take the opportunity (no doubt fueled by their back benchers) to slash and burn public services north of the border.
  • The SNP vote would largely collapse. Where that vote ends up will be crucial. Labour will take a lot of it but the Greens and Liberal Democrats could gain from it in some areas.
  • Talk of independence would die away for a number of years and there would be greater concentration on gaining more powers for Holyrood and possibly greater independence for the UK political parties Scottish sections. Although it could go the other way and head towards more centralisation of party structures in England.

Right now i am willing to bet on a No vote, but you can never tell what is round the corner. One thing is sure though: no matter how the vote goes things will never be quite the same again.

Update 24th January 2014

Polling figures do not seem to have improved for the Yes campaign.

The most favourable poll for the Yes campaign during December 2013 was one conducted by Ipsos MORI for STV on 5th December.

Yes             34%
No              57%
Don't know 10%

The general trend has been less favourable.

If this poll is accurate then the Yes campaign still have to persuade all of the don't knows and 7% of the No voters to vote Yes in the referendum.

See my article on how £500 could swing the result of the referendum.