Monday, March 21, 2016

Bungling Sunday Express left red-faced after catastrophically misinterpreting research which shows a massive surge in support for independence

As long-term readers of this blog will know, the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey generally shows much lower support for independence than standard opinion polls.  That may be partly because of the data collection method, but the most obvious explanation is the fact that a straight 'Yes/No' question isn't asked - instead, respondents are invited to choose between independence, devolution, and no Scottish Parliament at all.  The reason that's done is to make the results comparable with surveys from previous years, but it inevitably has the effect of steering some respondents towards the "default middle" option of devolution.

Given the difficulty of obtaining a positive result for independence in this format, it's hugely encouraging to see that the latest Scottish Social Attitudes Survey shows support for independence surging by 6% over the last two years, and reaching its highest level ever in the series (and by quite some distance).  That's almost certainly a legacy of the Yes campaign's success.

Independence 39% (+6)
Devolution 49% (-1)
Full London Rule 6% (-1)

As you can see, the number of Don't Knows has also fallen significantly - again, that might be explained by the level of engagement during the referendum, although to be fair the undecideds were unusually numerous in the last survey.

So an all-round good news story for the pro-independence movement.  Spare a thought, however, for poor old Greg Christison of the Sunday Express, who humiliated himself yesterday by going through various contortions of pseudo-logic to try to portray the survey findings as somehow dreadful for both independence and the SNP.  His basic approach was to strip out the Don't Knows and lump together supporters of devolution and full London rule, and then treat them as if they were all directly equivalent to "No voters" in a straight Yes/No opinion poll on independence.  This voodoo method produces a split of Yes 42%, No 58%.  What Greg mysteriously fails to tell you, however, is that the equivalent figures in the last survey were roughly Yes 37%, No 63% - which means there has been an enormous 5% swing in favour of independence over the last two years.  The best result for independence appears to have been eleven years ago, when the equivalent figures were roughly Yes 38%, No 62%.  So, quite literally, the new survey shows that support for independence is higher than ever (or at least higher than at any point since the series started in 1999).

Greg's readers, however, may have taken away a somewhat different story.  They were presented with a fatuous apples-and-oranges comparison between the multi-option SSAS question and straight Yes/No public opinion polls, and were invited to believe that this means that support for independence has fallen to its lowest level since August 2014.  What's particularly nonsensical about this claim, of course, is that the SSAS figures are always way out-of-date by the time we see them - some of the fieldwork dates back to last summer, and all of it was completed by January.  That means we already have several independence polls that were conducted more recently than the SSAS - and the most recent one with a 'real world' methodology (either telephone or face-to-face) produced figures of Yes 52%, No 48%.  That was the Ipsos-Mori poll conducted in early February - just six or seven weeks ago.

I particularly love the bit where Greg hilariously claims that the supposedly awful results for independence in the SSAS came about in spite of the "selection process favouring the SNP", who had 543 of their supporters in the sample.  Er, Greg, I don't know how to break the news to you, but those 543 people made up just 42% of the sample of 1288.  That's considerably less than the 50% of the electorate who actually voted SNP in last year's general election.  As you'd expect, there are some people in the sample who don't identify with any party at all, but the breakdown between the parties looks pretty much bang in line with how people voted.  So no get-out clause for the unionists there.

My suggestion to Greg would be two weeks in a Buddhist retreat.  There's no better way of reminding oneself that the universe is actually a pretty simple sort of place, and that (outside the offices of the Sunday Express) two plus two does not equal eight hundred and seventy-three.

Explanatory note : As a fond tribute to the mainstream media's restrained take on the GERS report, Scot Goes Pop headlines will contain 50% added hysteria for an indefinite period.

94 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  2. Thanks for doing the grunt work and explaining things like this James. As someone with a limited grasp of polling i've found it useful.

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  3. "Er, Greg, I don't know how to break the news to you, but those 543 people made up just 42% of the sample of 1288."

    I noticed that too. Could they maybe be thinking in terms of total voting electorate by including non-voters, like that mad site that claimed 60%+ not voting for the SNP?

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  4. Standing in Beauly on Sunday observing the paper-stand while waiting for my better half; no one bought the Express.

    Paper buying habits in Beauly are interesting and I like to think they tell a story.

    Older folk with a certain profile selected the Post.

    Some the Sunday Heil (although I suspect that its the free mag and human interest guff that is the attraction).

    Sports pages are looked at by those picking up the Scottish Sunday Labour/Tory/Rangers/Mailwhatsit.

    No SOS or Sunday Heralds picked up despite big colour covers featuring Kezia.

    The big meaty stuff e.g Sunday Times is ignored by the sample shoppers I observed.

    What's the story? I don't know but no one even looked at the Express.

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  5. Lovin the headlines James, keep it up!

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  6. So Cameron is a 'dictator' according to Tory MP and former minister Bernard Jenkin. I already suspected this, but good to have it confirmed.

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    1. He's kind of not, though.

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    2. It's not me that's saying it, it's Tory MPs.

      Are you saying that Tory MPs are liars?

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    3. Cheerfully. And in this case I'd add stupid, hyperbolic and lacking a grasp of basic English.

      You normally don't believe them, why the change of heart?

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    4. Who should I not believe. One side or both?

      Where's your sense of humour.

      Anyway, do you agree with IDS that the Tories are being cruel by giving tax breaks whilst targeting the vulnerable with cuts or is he a liar?

      Just about every paper is leading with this civil war today. This is just the initial skirmish too. Glorious.

      Think of one half of the Tory party as being as passionate about indy as the SNP, and the other half as passionate about the 'union' as Scottish Labour. It's not going to work out well on the blue benches...

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    5. Anyway, do you agree with IDS that the Tories are being cruel by giving tax breaks whilst targeting the vulnerable with cuts or is he a liar?

      I agree with what he says. I'm less than convinced about his sincerity, given his record on this issue. In fact I believe you expressed some disbelief about his motives yourself on another post not long after he resigned.

      Skepticism is a good trait to apply to anything said by a Conservative politician (or indeed any other party), Mr Jenkins included.

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  7. Whit, yoan Sunday Express nivurr sent awe yurr insomniac commenturrs tae sleep?

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  8. I like to see comments from trolls and unionists. The bitterness, anger and navel gazing on display helps to remind me why I'm a Yes supporter.

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    Replies
    1. I find their splenetic anger therapeutic and relaxing.

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2March 21, 2016 at 7:26 PM

      No you are a sad Nat si loser. The Express is as bad as that Nationalist paper. There are usually bundles lying in my Co-op at night. I am sure you were relaxing on 20 Sept 2014. Aye.

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    3. (sounds the Daily Wail reader Klaxon)

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    4. Hmmmmm was it not the Co-OP that sacked a high ranking member of staff for even suggesting she supported independence. No wonder you know the Nat si's so well I am sure you must be card carrying Nat si with a union jack swastika

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    5. (sounds the deluded Kipper bootlick Klaxon)

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    6. Actually, that chap above has a point, when it comes to insomniacs.

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  9. I'm on first-name terms with around 50 million people in Scotland and England; I don't know one person who reads this 'Express' publication

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    1. My local Co-op regularly sells One copy so there must be a reader out there. Either that or he uses it to help light his coal fire in the mornings.

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    2. My local Co-op regularly sells One copy so there must be a reader out there. Either that or he uses it to help light his coal fire in the mornings.

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  10. That’ll be the Express with its crusading knight [top of front-page] expressing the “sword of truth and trusty shield of fair play”.

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  11. Two can play at that game. This survey can be read to show that only 6% of people support the Union. Why didn't the Sunday Express print that headline?

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  12. Well, isn't this just another little tell of the screaming insecurity going on the average Unionists pretty little head.

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  13. Actually, who cares?

    No one reads that pile of chimp wank anyway.

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  14. I think they're clutching at straws.Desperately.

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  15. I remember Greg Christison trying to write a piece about the Justice for Megrahi Lockerbie allegations, about two and a half years ago. I emailed him back and forward trying to get his copy factually correct, but it was like having a conversation with a five-year-old with a short attention span. Every time I wrote something accurate, he re-wrote it in "talk the language of the readers" speech and what came out was wrong, once more.

    I formed the impression that he's as thick as mince, and his colleague Ben Borland isn't much better. I recall Ben, who has had the evidence about the Heathrow suitcases explained to him in terms a chimpanzee could understand, subsequently going on TV and saying "and of course when the bomb flew in to Frankfurt from Malta..."

    I think it's all just words to them. Write some words, someone prints them, and I get paid. But with added agenda-running and bias on occasions though.

    There is nothing be

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  16. Apparently a lot of yoons have been frothing on their sites about this Express story, with the SOARING 58% figure being taken as gospel.

    Now that the Express piece has been skewered on here and on Wings, some yoons will be feeling a little stupid today.

    Of course the low information voters who are too thick to think for themselves (hi GWC2, hiya pal) will keep believing that their masters in Westminster only want what's best for them, but surely some of the softer NO's will be wondering why their side keeps printing these lies.

    Slowly but surely Scots are waking up from their slumber and are beginning to ignore the MSM and think for themselves.

    And when they do, in at least 90% of the time, they either come directly to YES or at least become very unsure or soft NO's who are open to persuasion.

    Keep it up Express, you're doing a fine job...for us!

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 21, 2016 at 7:33 PM

      Roden, you are such a silly chappy. I only read the Herald and the front pages when in the shops. Same old drivel regurgitated year after year. I vote for the Union because I was born in the Union like my ancestors. I have never had any notion for Scottish Nationalism and no one has ever convinced me to be a Nat si and never will.

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    2. (sounds the drivel regurgitator Klaxon)

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    3. Glasgow Working class 2March 21, 2016 at 8:32 PM

      Flute, bowler hat, zombie top, zombie yoon alert!

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    4. "Like my ancestors"

      The words that only a moron would utter.

      My da always voted labour, so all always vote labour, so ah wull!

      Don't vote for your ancestors sake, vote for your children's sake!

      Haven't you saw what the Westminster elite are doing to the most vulnerable people in our society? (most of it started by Labour btw)
      Are you really this thick?

      Oh and it's not Scottish Nationalism you thick block of wood, it's the Scottish National Party.

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    5. I vote for the Union because I was born in the Union like my ancestors

      Erm, most of your ancestors would not have been born in the union. About 73% of them born in an independent Scotland in fact. Going back further is a more complicated, but you get what I mean. The UK union is a really recent thing historically.

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    6. GHlasgow, do you really work? I guess you were one of these cretins giving us the Hitler Nazi salutes the day after the vote. FFS, man put your brain into gear. Scotland has huge potential, what are you so afraid of?

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  17. Patrick
    A few young feeling a bit stupid today.

    I agree but we can't tell them that, they have to realise for themselves.


    Give them time to accept it then talk sympathetically to them, agree and accept that you can't trust Yoon journalists.


    Now that you are pals you can then work on them to show them the light.

    If that does not work just accept that they are really not worth the effort.

    Remember the rule of diminishing marginal gains. The Ar****les will eventually learn.

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  19. More hysteria from the Brit Nats. I now think the Daily Express is just a Govt Funded trap to catch raving lunatics who need to be in padded cells, the same goes for the Daily Heil.

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  20. Articles like this are why I like reading this blog. Even though I might be on a different side politically, I always appreciate a bit of psephological accuracy. I don't want somebody to tell me that a poll or survey is a good result for me when it isn't.

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    1. Pretty much.

      It's woolly thinking to assume that all 49% of the 'devolution' voters are actually Nos. Some of them, if they can't have devo, would take independence over the status quo.

      I wanted Federalism first, Devo Max second. The two options on my ballot paper (Status Quo or Indy) were far and away my two least favourite options. It would be like being forced to choose between Ted Cruz or Donald Trump, except you don't get a third option.

      Delete
  21. Glasgow Working Class 2March 21, 2016 at 9:41 PM

    Those of us who voted NAW did so in a rational manner unlike the Nat si fundamentalist nutters who would have gladly imposed economic ruin on Scotland because they just hate the English. You Nat sis were asking people to vote Yes knowing they would lose their jobs. Real fanatic scum you are.

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    1. You mean like this?

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/immigration/10555158/Id-rather-be-poorer-with-fewer-migrants-Farage-says.html

      I'd rather be poorer with fewer migrants, Farage says

      Farage says lower economic growth is a price worth paying to cut immigration

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2March 21, 2016 at 10:20 PM

      I have no interest in Farage so what is your point. Farage agrees with me we should get out of the EU as millions do. We are an equal partner in the Union. If Scotland joins the EU then we will be subservient for the first time since Edward 1.

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    3. (sounds the deluded Kipper bag carrier Klaxon)

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  22. "We are an equal partner in the Union".....lol.

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  23. " If Scotland joins the EU".......thought we already had....lol.

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 12:41 AM

      Silly Bill trying it on. You know fine well that I meant an independent Scotland. We will not be in the EU if we British vote to get out. Then you nat sis would need another referendum (yawn) to leave the Union and if successful then try and join the EU who would knock us back as a liability. But hopefully by then this corrupt institution will be dead.
      Maybe you could try a Union with the ROI or Iceland with a subsidy from RuK. LOL.

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    2. (sounds the gibbering Daily Wail adherent Klaxon)

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  24. "Farage agrees with me"..........giving him the benefit of your wisdom are you?.......lol.

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  25. Devolution is 'union'.

    Direct rule is 'union'.

    So, the position is union 55%, independence 39%, with the rest presumably don't knows or refuse to answer. There's no way you can dress this up other than as a stonking result for the union. Spin all you like - facts are facts.

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    1. In early 2015. We'd need to see the 2016 results to know if these essentially linear recent trends can be directly extrapolated.

      http://wingsoverscotland.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/expresscloseup-1.jpg

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    2. No, it's well-attested that there's a middle option bias in poll responses. Facts are facts. This is why, at least initially, the Unionist parties didn't want a Devo Max option in the ref, and why the SNP did - both sides assumed that option would win.

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  26. Dear Aldo, as explained, patiently and at great length by James, I think you mean a stinking result for the union".

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 1:09 AM

      Billy Boy what a sad patronising git you are.

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    2. (sounds the Yoon troll Klaxon)

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  27. Seems pretty straightforward. really.

    This three-way poll cannot be compared to the normal two-answer polls on Indy v Union - it can only be compared to the previous SSAS three-way-poll.

    The result of that comparison is a substantial rise in the pro-Indy vote and a fall in the Union vote.

    The SSAS is also out of date, in comparison to the most recent "normal" polls - all of which show a much larger Indy vote.

    The SSAS is also completely out of kilter with both the binary question in the last IndyRef and the binary question which will be put in IndyRef2.

    Really struggling to understand why Curtice et al do not amend the SSAS constitutional question to mirror the choices offered in reality.

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  28. I think it's really really important they keep.the three way poll. Forcing a binary question on us only helps Westminster maintain power by dividing Scots. "Are you with us or against us?"

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    1. As Westminster, namely Cameron himself, explicitly ruled out a third question on IndyRef itself and would probably do so in the next one,I do not see much point in SSAS posing another "extra" question, which we cannot vote on.

      Also, SSAS's extra question - as has been amply demonstrated by the substantially higher YES support in virtually all the other recent polls - has the side-effect of artificially depressing the pro-Indy vote.

      SSAS would be better served to either scrap the third question poll, or supplement it with the usual two-question poll which would bear more resemblance to the actual reality.

      Delete
    2. We already have polls for indyref2. SSAS tries to be more informative. Public opinion about how Scotland should be governed is spread across a wide spectrum with independence at one end and complete assimilation at the other.

      How on earth can a two-question poll improve our understanding of this?

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    3. Think you are missing my point.

      If and when we are asked again in IndyRef2, there will only be two questions as the UK Govt would, once again, block a third.

      We already know, that Cameron blocked the third option (Devo Max) last time, because he saw it as directly leading to full Indy.

      Westminster would block it again, for the same reason.

      Curtice and ScotCen know this, but yet continue with a poll whose choices will not be offered in reality.

      If they insist with the three-choice option, they should at least supplement it with the Real World two-choice option.

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  29. The fact is,the majority of Scots are open to the idea of independence.Among younger Scots it's a vast majority.The unionists will have to do good stuff to hang on to Scotland.Tax cuts for the rich,more money squandered on trident,benefit cuts.That ain't gonna help bind Scotland in.

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    1. Unfortunately to actually want to be independent at present requires willfully ignoring the state of our economy as shown in GERS. A £7 billion+ cut in public spending (or tax rises to compensate) isn't going to do much for anyone - and that's just to have the same deficit we have now as part of the UK.

      Fortunately for the country Sturgeon isn't stupid and knows that.

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    2. Could Scotland sustain a deficit at the same level as that of the UK? Can the UK even sustain it?

      You can't spend beyond your means. At least the tories and the British public at large appear to understand this. In Scotland it's a different matter - the money tree myth is alive and well. People - stupidly, in my opinion - vote for independence out of a desire for some kind of social nirvana. Such a thing would be like me jumping off the roof of a building and flying like superman instead of falling to the ground and going splat.

      Aldo

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    3. (sounds stupid Heathite toryboy Klaxon)

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  30. So while GWC2 and people like him struggle to make ends meet and worry where the next fish supper is going to come from, the people he has trusted to stand up for socialist principles have been selling him and all others like him down the river.

    Wonder what Tony Blair Gordon Brown Alistair Darling are doing now?

    Oh look! working for the big financial companies as advisors (being paid for services rendered)

    https://michaelgreenwell.wordpress.com/2016/03/21/ill-just-leave-these-here/

    Couldn't make it up!

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    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 7:19 PM

      Paddie, who exactly is stuggling is it you? My Irish ancestors who got on the boat after the Famine struggled and worked hard. We are living in luxury now because of them. But there always will be Scottish moaners with their hard done to stories expecting a meal ticket and shying from work. I wonder how many Nat si politicians lived in the tenements.

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    2. GWC

      I'm a Conservative campaigner, so possibly not your favourite type of person.
      Anyway I was born in the second poorest street in Falkirk during the war years, the thing is that we never thought of ourselves as poor because because we were all equally poor together
      I must admit to my shame that we did look down on the peoplr who lived in the poorest street as real toe rags

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    3. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 9:25 PM

      Jimmy. My ma used to take me to primary everday and came back at lunchtime with the tea and pieces. The tea was in one of those old caddies. We all lived in the same shithole and no one to my knowledge looked down on anyone. My granda was a Conservative and Unionist my Da was Commie and worked in a a few hydro projects. Very hard graft. Apparantly according to my older brother they had vociferous arguments! We do have a cushy life now.

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    4. This reminds me of the Monty Python Four Yorkshiremen Sketch.

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    5. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 10:12 PM

      More like Rippin Yarns and the shovel.

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    6. (sounds the trolling Yoon omnishambles Klaxon)

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  31. GWC 2

    I did say'to my shame' I looked down on some people, I certainly don't look down on anyone now.
    My Dad was a moulder in the local foundries and he also was a communist, we hsd a large photograph of Marshall Joe Stalin hanging on our wall and I thought it was a photograph of King George 6th until he died in 1952. We didn't have a television in these
    days.
    That's the end of my reminiscing you will be pleased to hear

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    Replies
    1. We have working folk going to food banks,folk sleeping rough,disabled people threatened with benefit cuts and an old Etonian in London presiding over it all.It seems to me like we are going back to Dickensian times.

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  32. Glasgow Working Class 2March 22, 2016 at 10:50 PM

    Jimmy, never forget history and do tell it. The joke Nat sis will do their best to change it just like ISIS.

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    1. (sounds the plumbing new depths of the sewer siren)

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working Class 2March 23, 2016 at 7:20 PM

      You are at the right part of the sewer, the end. Bigot.

      Delete
    3. (sounds the ranting Britnat troll Klaxon)

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  33. The circulation of the Scottish Daily Express in the 1960's was 650,000. Changed days.

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  34. http://www.thenational.scot/news/backing-for-independent-scotland-highest-it-has-ever-been.15395

    Going deeper into the numbers:
    Independent, Outside EU - 13%
    Independent, Inside EU - 26%
    Devolution - 43%
    Devolution, without Tax Powers - 6%
    No Scottish Parliament - 6%
    Don't Know - 6%


    Independence would be better for Scotland's economy - 43%
    Independence would be worse for Scotland's economy - 37%

    "There is overwhelming support for more powerful devolution. Just over half of all Scots now say that “the Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland”. At 51 per cent, this is a ten-point increase on summer 2014. Another 30 per cent believe in devolution max."

    There's a very clear shift in favour of additional powers for Scotland - as well as independence.

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    1. But surely sensible, right thinking, proud Scots know that 'Being bankrupt as part of the Union' ((c) Unionists) is the more sensible and pragmatic option for Scotland's future economy-wise?

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  35. So when can we expect the first Yoon funded opinion poll for the Holyrood Election? Well the Brit Nat Brainwashing Corp has its first so called debate tomorrow doesn't it. I wonder where that ahem so called balanced audience will come from?

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    1. Glasgow Working Class 2March 23, 2016 at 7:25 PM

      Is yoon meant to be a personal insult to your fellow Scots who have a different opinion from you.

      Delete
    2. You mean like 'Nat sis'?

      Delete
    3. Glasgow Working Class 2March 23, 2016 at 8:01 PM

      Just a term for an individual Nationalist. I have never mentioned Nazi unlike your fellow Nat sis. You have to admit you hate the English because you want to hand Scottish sovereignty over to the EU and ruin a good Union.

      Delete
    4. (sounds the yoon troll failing to hide behind semantics Klaxon)

      Delete
    5. I smile every time I hear the old 'You hate the English' canard stuff.

      It's probably generated more Yes votes than pro-indy people could ever have achieved with their best efforts. I do hope unionists continue using it as main campaign tool.

      -/chap chap/
      -Hello? Who are you?
      - Hi, is it Mrs McPhee?
      - Yes, hello, how can I help?
      - I'm from (insert pro-UK party), we're out chatting to voters
      - Well, hello. I still vote (insert above party), have done all my life, but I'd like devo max, so, well, I'm thinking maybe SNP this time. Although I did vote No in the referendum.
      - You're not leaning to independence are you?
      - Well, if devo max isn't on offer, then maybe. I just think it's good to have our own parliament making decisions for Scotland
      - You fucking Nat sis bitch. Anti-English scum! Scotland is too fucking poor and stupid to be a country. Union has bankrupted it LOL.
      - / Door slammed shut /

      Quality campaigning. :-)

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    6. It's why the Unionist parties are all polling below 25%.

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    7. GWC2 in his Yoon Vanity assumes I was directing two questions at him and his ilk when I was nothing of the kind. The Brit Nats seem to think everything has to do with them or be about them.

      He does seem a touch sensitive to be a Glasgow Working Class cheil!

      If I wanted to be insulting to so called Scots I would use a word beginning with Q or V!

      Delete
    8. Glasgow Working Class 2March 23, 2016 at 10:53 PM

      And what is my ilk?

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    9. (sounds the ranting Britnat troll Klaxon)

      Delete
  36. Glasgow Working Class 2March 23, 2016 at 9:07 PM

    And your point Skier? And I see your shadow Anon the Bigot is never far away.

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    1. (sounds the classic transference Klaxon)

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    2. Glasgow Working Class 2March 24, 2016 at 7:11 PM

      James, you have a permanent echo on your blog called Anonymous any idea who it is or is it they?

      Delete