After the seismic events over the weekend when Better Together did their impression of committing hari kari by suicidally blowing their own scare stories on currency and ship building out of the water, by utilizing what the Americans described as friendly fire in the Iraq war, I am sure that both YES and No sides will be examining the next lot of polls with a fine tooth comb, to see what damage has been done.
Every political party and campaign always look to the polls to try and gather ammunition to throw at their opponents,but increasingly they prefer to do their own internal polling for a better picture of what is actually going on.
The polls make for grand headlines for the media, and often they are credited with far more reverence than they actually deserve, and provide a nice earner for opinion seekers and the likes of “The truth is” John Curtice on the BBC, making pronouncements like a prophet of old.
In a previous article I explained how polling is done, but to come back to that briefly, I would like to share something else about them that I hadn’t mentioned.
As most of you will know, In order for a poll to gain credibility, it needs to be of a reasonable sample size of the constituency it is examining, so most political polls are in the region of 1000 participants. This provides a snap shot on peoples opinions by having an equal measure of class sizes. So in your 1000 strong poll, it is split into A, B,C1,C2,D and E, with AB’s being the highest earners, C class is divided into C1 and C2, lets say the middle classes, upper middle and lower middle, D is unskilled workers, E the unemployed.
In order to achieve balance, they then make sure that each class has equal representation, so your 1000 is approximately split 6 ways evenly, this gives a cross section of opinion across all strata of class in society.
Further more the polls split by age group and gender.
Once each target number has been reached for these groups, say female group D under 24 years as an example, they cannot take any further opinion from that group for that particular poll, even if it is offered to them, such views would not be counted.
Now here is where it gets interesting as far as the referendum is concerned.
The polls have consistently told us that most group C2,D,and E are in favour of Independence, with groups A,B against independence. From their sampling they consistently tell us that men are more in favour, while women have yet to be convinced.
Over all they have consistently told us that NO are ahead, and Yes are behind, by various margins, depending on which pollster you favour.
But recently they have all also consistently said that the gap is closing, and that the NO lead has almost halved since last September.
Given that the No side is still relatively comfortably ahead according to most polls with six months to go, why then have the No side been going into meltdown like headless chickens, and even debunking their own scare stories?
Yes the trend of the polls is showing the gap shortening, but not by huge leaps,just very slowly and gradually, so surely that should not in itself cause them to have crisis meetings, and start panicking? Yet what we are seeing is the political equivalent of a nervous breakdown. What is frightening them so badly?
They have thrown everything but the kitchen sink at Scots, they have tried scare, they have tried threatening, they have tried bully, and its all failed, the polls just keep shortening.
They have tried a woeful attempt of love bombing using Bowie and Izzard and Camerons fine speech from the Olympic stadium.
They have had all their mates in Financial services threatening to desert us.
Their pals in the BBC and the press have hit us day upon day with bad news.
In fact the opposite of what they want is happening, Scots just aren’t buying it.
Yet…..The polls still tell them they are going to win, or do they?
I would say that “The Truth of the matter is” John Curtis, and his polling mates have got it wrong, and the anti Independence brigade know this fine well from their own private personal polling.
Why do I think the polls are wrong too?
The evidence is out there, it is increasingly clear that Better Together cannot get the numbers of people supporting them on the ground, the few poor souls they do get cast very lonely figures on their stalls and they cannot give away their wares, the public do not want to know. Yes stalls are full of support, and people queue up to chat, ignoring Better Together.
People in their droves across the country turn up for Yes events, a mere handful turn up for Better Together.
There are debates regularly taking place in schools, universities,village halls and consistently YES wins, by larger and larger margins, when was the last time you heard of NO winning one?
In fact the exit votes increase from the entry votes on every occasion, no wonder Better Together have pulled out of increasing number of these debates, they cannot even get a No supporting comedian to go up against a YES supporting comedian in a comedy event, despite desperate pleas by the organisers.
Yes campaigners and Radical Independence have been doing their own polling, and the results are nearly all positive in the favour of YES.
Yet still the polls show NO ahead? Why?
Quite simple I would wager, and its all to do with poll sampling.
The polling companies by taking equal numbers from each of the class bands have this wrong.
If you take the AB’s as being NO, and the DE’s as being YES, on first sight that would seem a fair balance, would you not?
You would be wrong, because in Scottish society the actual numbers of people in class AB, are dwarfed by the numbers of people in classes DE. The UK is a deeply divided society between the rich and the poor, and Scotland similarly, but to a somewhat ,lesser degree.
The numbers of those who are the poorest far outweigh by a large margin those who are high court judges etc. So if the DE’s are in favour of YES by a large margin, they far outweigh the NO’s in the self interested AB’s. If this is not taken into proper account in the calculations, then the actual polling is way out,and we could actually be looking at real figures of say 60% Yes 40% No, or something similar.
For this reason and this reason only, it is absolutely vital for YES to get as many people as possible who have previously taken themselves off the voters rolls, back on!
Despite all Better Togethers best worst efforts, where they have used everything they have used before, the media, scare stories, divisive tactics of using old fashioned bias amongst religious, football, and other strands of Scottish society, pleas to old fashioned Labour values from a neo conservative new Labour to their core support, and all the rest, they are failing badly.
What they have sorely misjudged is the people of Scotland. Historically and presently.
The people rioted in Edinburgh and Glasgow in 1707 when they had no say in the matter when Lords sold us into the union.
After the Highland Clearances, the people of Sutherland were called upon to go to war for Britain against Russia in Crimea, and they told him to get stuffed!
There are many other other examples, but the fact of the matter is Scots are thrawn!
The more they tell us, Ye Cannae Dae! The more we turn round and say we damn well can!!!
It will not be the politicians nor the media who win this referendum, it will be you and I and the people of Scotland, and day by day we are proving that.
Better Together, Westminster and all their pals have us all wrong, and so do the polls!
Yes WE Can!!
If you reall