What do you think will be the result of the Scottish independence referendum? Your predictions, please…

by Stephen Tall on September 17, 2014

st Andrews flag saltire scotland Some rights reserved by Fulla TAlmost all the polls have now been published and election day is tomorrow – so the time has come to put your pundit’s reputation on the line and say what you think will be the result of the Scottish independence referendum.

A quick reminder for those who’ve been fogged by the blizzard of polls in the last couple of days:

    Ipsos MORI: Yes 49%, No 51%
    Panelbase: Yes 48%, No 52%
    ICM: Yes 48%, No 52%
    Opinium: Yes 48%, No 52%
    Survation: Yes 48%, No 52%

    (via UK Polling Report, excluding Don’t Knows)

If you’re interested in the polls, by the way, do read John McDermott’s terrific analysis in the Financial Times, Why a Yes vote would confound pollsters (free, but registration required). He cites an analysis by Anthony McGann of the University of Strathclyde which shows that, at 48%, “support for Yes is the highest it has ever been”. However, he adds, “the margin of error using this method is 0.9 percentage points, smaller than the usual 3 percentage points because it is an average of lots of data. Therefore, victory for Yes is outside the margin of error according to this method. In other words, using this analysis, the race is not “too close to call”; No is likely to win.”

I’m an unashamedly data-driven chap, so I’m going to place my faith in the pollsters (for all that this is a one-off event with a likely unprecedentedly high turn-out which might just upset all the standard calculations). I’m calling a No win.

But I’m going to add a pinch of my own gut instinct, too, and reckon the Don’t Knows will break in the No’s favour and there will be a slight swing back to the No camp among Labour voters in the final 24 hours. So my final prediction is 54%-46% against independence.

There, that’s my colours pinned to the mast. Over to you…

* Stephen Tall is Co-Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice, and editor of the 2013 publication, The Coalition and Beyond: Liberal Reforms for the Decade Ahead. He is also a Research Associate for the liberal think-tank CentreForum and writes at his own site, The Collected Stephen Tall.