Steady as she goes from YouGov

There is a new poll from YouGov in today’s Scottish Sun. Its publication also allows us to play catch up with another reading of referendum voting intention that the company slipped out largely unnoticed last week.

Neither poll provides anything like as much evidence of a swing to Yes as did the TNS BMRB poll last Sunday, let alone ICM’s the previous week.  The first put Yes on 33%, No on 52%, exactly the same as in the company’s first post-White Paper poll before Christmas, though with Yes up a point on September. The second estimates that Yes are up another point to 34% (actually their highest tally in any YouGov poll yet), but with No still on 52%.

Once the Don’t Knows are excluded both the latest polls put Yes at 39%, the same as in December, and up only one pint on September. Mind you, all of these polls are much better for Yes than the 33% YouGov registered in August.

Clearly these two readings suggest we should be careful not exaggerate the progress that Yes have made in the last few weeks. But the whole run of recent polls still gives them some grounds for encouragement. Between them the last eight polls have put the Yes vote at 40% (once the Don’t Knows are excluded). When these same companies polled between August and October last year they were on average only putting Yes on 36%. And while not all of those recent polls have detected a significant strengthening of Yes’ position, not one has uncovered a decline.

Today’s poll has a couple of other questions of interest. First as many as 47% feel that Scotland would be economically worse off under independence, while only 25% believe it would be better off. The figures are almost identical to those the company reported in December in response to a question with almost exactly the same wording. Once again the poll shows that Yes and  No supporters are poles apart on this issue.

Second, only 13% reckon that Scottish MPs should be voting on English laws – at least once the West Lothian question has been spelt out to them. As many as 39% (including 34% of No voters) believe England should have its own imitation of Holyrood. Apparently even unionists reckon the two countries should be living aside each other rather than getting involved in the other’s affairs. Trouble is, at the moment at least there is little sign that those living on the other side of the border are keen to take up this invitation to enjoy devolution too.

Topics: The Scottish independence referendum

About the author

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