The Scottish party political conference season kicks off this weekend, and that together with the fact that it will be ‘six months to go’ until polling day next Wednesday means there is likely to be another intense round of media speculation and commentary on the state of the referendum race in the next few days. The latest polling intelligence on how voters are actually reacting to the endless speeches and stratagems comes in the form of a poll from Survation published in today’s Daily Record.
As has so often has been the case in the last twelve months, the message that emerges is that for all its sound and fury the campaign has changed little or nothing.
Conducted at the back end of last week, when a number of companies were advising their shareholders of the risks to their business as they saw them of any move to independence, the poll puts Yes on 39%, No on 48%. Both figures are up one point on Survation’s previous poll conducted just over a fortnight earlier. Once the Don’t Knows are excluded the Yes tally is wholly unchanged at 45%.
Although its interpretation was made difficult by a change of weighting methodology, that previous poll was the first piece of polling evidence that the currency intervention had not brought about any immediate widening of the No side’s lead. This latest poll would seem to confirm that judgement, while also indicating that the intervention has not begun to have some impact now that there has been more time for the message to sink in.
Still, we should bear in mind that Survation is emerging as one of the more optimistic pollsters so far as the Yes side is concerned. Only last week Ipsos MORI were telling us that its tally stood at just 36% once Don’t Knows are excluded. The average Yes vote may have edged up from 39% before Christmas to 42% now, but there is still considerable uncertainty about exactly how close the referendum race is.
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.