TNS BMRB polling on Scottish Independence

TNS BMRB polling on Scottish Independence

Support for Independence hits a new low with TNS-BMRB but support for the Union also falls as the big winner is the Don’t Knows.

The changes are from their last poll in April of this year.


The question asked by TNS was “There will be a referendum on Scottish Independence on the 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country”

Which is near identical to the question asked by Panelbase in their poll for the SNP which showed a lead of 1% for the Yes side, that question was “There will be a referendum on an independent Scotland on the 18th of September 2014. How do you intend to vote in  response to the question: Should Scotland be an independent country”

As we can see this produces a 22% lead for the no side, so it easy to say to dismiss the Panelbase poll for the SNP as an outlier, but there is an interesting observation to be made.

In this poll, support for the No side is 47%, which isn’t that far away from the 43% that the Panelbase poll showed, using near identical wording.

Recent TNS-BMRB polls have showed large leads for the no side, although prior to the Panelbase poll, TNS were the last pollster to show a lead for the Yes side, back in 2011, when yes polled 39%.

Amongst those certain to vote, the lead for the no side is 21%, although 51% will vote no, 30% will vote for independence, 20% are don’t knows.

Other salient points

Of those who voted in the constituency part of the Scottish elections in 2011

  • 55% of SNP voters will be voting for Independence
  • 14% of Labour voters will be voting for Independence
  • 11% of Lib Dem voters will be voting for Independence
  • 5% of Conservative voters will be voting for Independence


Younger voters are slightly more inclined than average to support independence: 29% of 16-34s say they will vote ‘Yes’ with 39% opposed and almost a third uncertain. But this group appears also to be the least likely to vote (45% say they are certain to vote, against 62% of the population as a whole).

By contrast, 70% of the over-55s say they are certain to vote: among this age group, only 20% intend to vote ‘Yes’, against 53% intending to vote ‘No’.

Summing up.

Tom Costley of TNS Scotland says

Both the Yes and No camps have lost ground in 2013, which suggests that neither campaign has yet succeeded in making a strong connection with the voters in Scotland.”

He continues: “The surge in the number of those who have not decided how to vote may have arisen because both campaigns have succeeded in giving rise to doubts among some who have previously backed the other side, without generating positive support for their positions. With so many undecided, there is still all to play for.”

For supporters of the Union, they can point out the 25% ‘Yes’ vote represents the lowest support for independence since TNS BMRB began polling on the issue in 2007, and this is yet another polling organisation showing No with a substantial lead, making Panelbase looking like an outlier

For supporters of Scottish Independence, with a year to go to the referendum, they will have grounds for optimism that there’s two different polling organisations showing support for the Union under 50%.

Fieldwork notes (the fieldwork was largely over the same time-frame as the Panelbase poll)

  • A sample of 1,017 adults aged 16+ was interviewed in 71 constituencies across Scotland over the period 21st – 27th August 2013
  • All interviews were conducted face-to-face, in-home using CAPI (Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing) and quota sampling.
  • To ensure the sample was representative of the adult population of Scotland, it was weighted to match population profile estimates in the analysis.


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