Newsnet/Panelbase poll – more on the independence question

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By Dave Taylor
 
Inevitably, there is “churn” in any measure of public opinion on the independence referendum.  Some people will move from No or Yes to Undecided, and vice-versa.  It’s even possible that some will move directly between Yes and No – though that seems less likely.
 
Elections/referendums are decided by where people end up, so the trend in opinion polls is what helps us to understand the public mood, and the sections of the population who are shifting their voting intention.

By Dave Taylor 
 
Inevitably, there is “churn” in any measure of public opinion on the independence referendum.  Some people will move from No or Yes to Undecided, and vice-versa.  It’s even possible that some will move directly between Yes and No – though that seems less likely.
 
Elections/referendums are decided by where people end up, so the trend in opinion polls is what helps us to understand the public mood, and the sections of the population who are shifting their voting intention.

The net effect of these changes is what matters, and the trend within each individual pollster.  Yet again, another pollster shows the same pattern.  The Yes vote is rising, the No vote is dropping.

The data allows us to see within which groups, the changes are happening.

Overall, in Newsnet Scotland’s Panelbase survey the Yes vote has increased by 3%, the No vote has dropped by 2% and those undecided has dropped by 1% since Panelbase last measured Scottish opinion towards the end of February.

However, such changes aren’t a constant across every demographic group.

Unlike almost every other demographic, those intending to vote No increased among the traditionally conservative 55+ age group – where they are up 4.5% (equally from Yes and undecideds).

Numerically, they were outweighed by the 8% of 16-34 year olds who moved to Yes, from No (5%) or from Undecided (3%) and the 12% of 35-54 year olds who moved to Yes (1% from No and 11% from Undecided).

No also rose by more than 3% among those who “didnae vote/cannae remember if they did or no/couldnae vote in 2011”.  Equally from Yes and Undecided – assuming that these folk remember what they said last time!

Among males, 6% more moved to the No camp – almost all of them from Undecided.  They were more than compensated for by the 8% of females who left the No camp – a net 5% now voting Yes, while the others moved from No to Undecided.

The recent Survation poll indicated that more than a quarter of those who voted Labour in 2011 were now yes supporters, and the Panelbase poll confirms that finding.

Among Labour voters, Yes gained 9% (from 17% to 26%) – 3% from No and 6% from Undecideds. 

Even among Tory voters some indecision has crept in.  Tory No voters are down by 9% (from 93% to 84%) Yes gained 2%, while Undecideds gained 7%

Among the minority parties (Lib-Dem, Green, UKIP, SSP etc) [1] there has been a similar shift.  Yes gained 13% (from 13% to 26%) – 1% from No and 12% from Undecideds.

Confirming the shift of opinion among groups considered to be natural status quo supporters, support for Yes among the ABC1 socio-economic group rose by 5% (from 32% to 37%).

The Panelbase survey caused a bit of a media ripple, and to be honest caught the team at Newsnet Scotland by surprise.  As Professor John Curtice remarked, Panelbase had seemingly resisted the rise in support for Yes picked up by other pollsters at the turn of the year, so perhaps we shoudln’t have been surprised at the increase for Yes.

Now though, it too has ‘fallen into line’ and we can say with a degree of certainty that there is some momentum with the Yes campaign.  Whether that momentum persists in the weeks and months to come, no-one can say, and the next round of surveys will no doubt already be in the pipeline in an attempt at determining if there is ‘Devo bounce’ for the No campaign as the pro-Union parties present their menu of more powers.

 
[1] Party affiliation is categorised by how they cast their constituency votes in 2011. As only the LDs of the minority parties ran candidates at constituency level in any significant numbers, the largest number of recorded minority party voters vote.