Panelbase/SNP Poll Confirms Little Post-Currency Row Movement

As you may well have already spotted, there is a Panelbase poll conducted for the SNP out today as well as the ICM poll for Scotland on Sunday. So that means we now have three polls conducted since the currency announcement (and Mr Barroso’s intervention, though David Bowlie’s headline grabbing plea for Scotland to stay in the Union occurred half way during the fieldwork period for both of today’s polls.)

Unlike the previous poll that Panelbase conducted for the SNP last August,  the referendum vote intention question in this poll was worded in the same way as in Panelbase’s polls for The Sunday Times, while the methodology of the poll as a whole is the same also. It is thus reasonable to compare today’s findings on that question with the results of previous Panelbase/Sunday Times polls.

Today’s poll puts the Yes vote at 37%, unchanged from Panelbase’s previous poll conducted earlier this month, shortly before the currency announcement. The No tally is estimated to be 47%, down two on the last Panelbase poll, while undecideds are on 16%, up two. Once the Don’t Knows are stripped out of the calculation, the Yes tally stands at 44%, up one.

These figures represent both good and bad news for the Yes side. On the one hand we have yet further evidence that the currency intervention has not served to boost the No lead – and unlike in the case of the Survation and ICM post-intervention polls there are no complications involved in comparing this time’s reading with the previous one. On average the three post-currency row polls put Yes on 44% (once Don’t Knows are excluded). When those same three polls were conducted in the weeks immediately before George Osborne’s announcement, the average Yes tally was 42%.

Moreover, as in the case of the Survation poll, slightly more people (26%) say they are more likely to vote Yes as a result of the currency intervention than say they are more likely to vote No (19%). True, much of that appears to be the results of Yes voters saying the intervention has made them more resolute in their existing views. What will disappoint the No side more is that, again as in the case of the Survation poll, undecided voters say they are more likely to have been pushed towards Yes (23%) than towards No (17%). Along with Labour and even Liberal Democrat voters, they are also more likely to think that attacks on independence by  ‘Westminster-based politicians’ are of benefit to the Yes side than to the No side.

On the other hand, we should remember that the previous Panelbase/Sunday Times poll was rather disappointing for the Yes side. It was the first regularly published poll to be conducted since the publication of the Scottish Government’s independence White Paper at the end of November to show a fall in Yes support. Today’s 44% vote is no better and no worse than every single Panelbase/Sunday Times poll conducted since the final wording of the referendum question was agreed a year ago, all of which put the Yes side on either 44% or 45%.  So, uniquely, Panelbase are still suggesting that the No lead remains much as it  has been throughout the last twelve months, and that the publication of the independence White Paper has not made much difference.

But at least that means that Panelbase’s estimate of the state of the referendum race is no longer more or less unique, as was the case for most of last year. Perhaps the polling picture is gradually becoming a little clearer!

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About the author

John Curtice is Professor of Politics at Strathclyde University, Senior Research Fellow at ScotCen and at 'UK in a Changing Europe', and Chief Commentator on the What Scotland Thinks website.