The Numbers Just Dont Add Up.

I like to think of myself as a logical type of guy that is why when at school I struggled with Algebra and Physics.

My wee daft brain just could not understand how you can add, multiply and divide letters with numbers.

So Who Voted Yes and Who Voted No?

The second day of Algebra my tiny pea brain decided ,naw not for me, and shut down.

I literally heard the shutters coming down in my head as we moved on to using letters in division.

Arithmetic I was ok with and unlike the kids nowadays I can actually add, subtract and multiply in my head.

I bet I am not the only person of my generation that shakes their head in amazement when you are in a pub and ask for 2 pints at say £3.10 a pint and the kid behind the bar has to use the till to give you the price.

That is why I just cannot understand the latest opinion polls on independence, like Algebra it just does not make any logical sense to me.

Nor am I a psephologist when any polls come out I wait for James Kelly of Scotgoespop to give his take on the numbers before I even start to try and get my head around them.

I am more and more convinced with each new poll that as Peter Hitchens suggests Opinion Polls are not so much for measuring opinion more about influencing opinions.

Looking back to September 2014 the difference in the sides was 45%-55%, put another way 2,001,926 against 1,617,989 For Independence a difference of 383,937.

I understand these numbers and indeed they are imbedded in my brain.

We were told after the Referendum that our worst demographics were the 55yr olds+, and EU expats.

(I refuse to refer to fellow Scots as immigrants, and the UK do not keep accurate records however we are told the number of New Scots is approximately 200,000.)

We were informed and are constantly told that the 16-18 year olds are our best demographic when it comes to voting Yes.

I have taken just the first quarter of 2018 as an example and it shows these facts,

The statistics show 12,713 births, and 17,771 deaths were registered between January and March 2018.

There is a link below for those of you who want to get to exact numbers I just want to lay out some basic thoughts and numbers.

There seems to be more people dying than births so “logically” there are more 55+ dying than 16/18yr olds who are also filling up the electoral register at a rate of approx. 1.5 times more than those dying off.

However to make this simpler let us just say each year since 2014 approx.1% of our population are dying meaning that some 50,000 x4 deaths since September 2014 is around 200,000 that were eligible to vote and or did vote that are no longer with us.

We have approx. 384,000 16 and 17 yr olds coming on to the register since 2014 so we have a net gain of around 184,000 in our best demographic replacing those that were our worst demographic.

https://www.nrscotland.gov.uk/statistics-and-data/statistics/statistics-by-theme/vital-events/general-publications/births-deaths-and-other-vital-events-quarterly-figures/4th-quarter-2017/births-deaths-and-other-vital-events-quarterly-figure

Then using my logical brain that the 200,000 New Scots from the EU will en masse now be switching to Yes.

Not allowing for the many that are switching their votes every day, one thinks of high- profile names like Murray Foote, Simon Pia and we have also seen the fantastic series from Phantom Power featuring No to Yes converts.

There has been no equivalent Yes to No high or low profiles and if there were any I think it is safe to assume they would be getting high exposure in MSM and Broadcasting.

Anecdotally and from the foreign owned media in Scotland and the Pollsters we are told there are Yes to No switchers I have yet to meet one or know of anybody else that has actually met any of these alleged new No voters.

However here is what Sir John Curtice wrote compiling numbers on the Referendum from among others Ashcroft polling.

According to Ashcroft just 27% of those aged 65 and over voted Yes, while only 43% of those aged 55-64 did so. In contrast 52% of Ashcroft’s 45-54 year olds voted Yes, 53% of the 35-44 year olds, 59% of 25-34 year olds and 52% of those in the 16-24 age group. These figures have led some to conclude rather indelicately that older voters thwarted the will of the under 55s.

So Who Voted Yes and Who Voted No?

We can see then that of the approximately 200,000 that have since passed away, Curtice and Ashcroft tell us 77% of 65+ Voted No and 57% of 55+also voted No.

Without being cruel in any way it is logical to assume that the vast majority of those deaths were in the 55+ age groups.

Meanwhile, pollsters are suggesting upwards of 75% of the new 16 to 18 year olds, will be Yes Voters, add to this the 200,00 New Scots that logically will now switch to YES without  even applying other Brexit converts.

Yes should be comfortably in front in every poll published yet no poll seems to ever show a shift in opinion.

This makes opinion polls to me like Algebra, it just doesn’t make logical sense to my tiny pea brain.

I am probably now going to be inundated by anoraks telling me the flaws in my numbers however nobody I think will be able to deny the logic, those coming on to the register are more likely to vote yes than those heading to the polling station in the sky who were more likely to have voted NO and surely no EU Citizen is going to vote against at worst membership of EFTA F.O.M.,SM & CU, etc.?

So no I don’t believe the independence polls are accurate, as Mr Hitchen says,

14 thoughts on “The Numbers Just Dont Add Up.

  • Perhaps polling companies are pre-vetting their respondents? If you answer that you are from elsewhere within the EU, they perhaps reject you from taking the survey? Same perhaps with 16 & 17 year-olds?

  • You have just blogged what I’ve been saying for a while now.

    I was also like you at school with algebra and, thankfully, I’ve never had to use it since I left school some 30 years ago! Maybe logical thinkers don’t have to. . .

  • You’ll not find me disagreeing with anything you’re saying.

    The Pollsters use a very small number of people who are meant to represent the broad demographics of the whole country.

    I’m 70 years old and at no time in my whole life have I ever been contacted and ask for an opinion on anything.

    Perhaps I don’t fit the Pollsters demographic!

    • I was asked once by Yougov but after answering SNP
      SNP
      SNP
      YES
      YES
      I was never contacted again on any political polls,lots on insurance banking tv etc but nothing regarding my political opinions.

  • Aye, as someone who teaches algebra I can say that this analysis rings true. Broadly speaking I think you are right. Nice piece.

  • I like your logical approach.

    I’m another over 70 and I’ve never been asked to take part in a political opinion poll (other than SNP’s). In addition, I’ve never ever heard of anyone I know or have met who has done so. I’ve always thought that every poll should give a breakdown of all geographical locations, method used (face to face or otherwise), the ages, sexes and nationalities of those included in the poll.

    Yougov and Lord Ashcroft – these are names that do not exactly inspire confidence, and John Curtice is turning out to be the BBC’s political reporter than a statistician.

    What is perhaps needed are polls conducted by a local, neutral organisation, and there are lots out there in different parts of Scotland.

  • Of course, people can change their minds. Perhaps older people are likely to change from yes to no, maybe at a similar rate as new voters coming on to the register? Just a thought.

  • I don’t disagree with a lot of points you’re making but some of your calculations are wrong. EU citizens, for example, didn’t ALL vote No. A fair number are already leaving. Those things eat into the transfers. Also, plenty of older folk voted Yes, but many No voters were wealthier, meaning they live longer. All these things eat into the changes. Also, you can’t discount the idea that people see what a mess Brexit is and fear the same or worse for Scotland.

    Having said all that, I also find it hard to believe that we’re not seeing much movement yet. Maybe it’s like in 2014. A lot of polls radically underestimated Yes for a long time. I don’t think they saw what many of us did – the gradual wearing out of all the emotional bonds of the union. You could feel the groundswell happening if you were on the ground, but you can’t detect that kind of change from afar by random sampling. I think it’s the kind of thing that happens very slowly then very suddenly. I think it’s what’s happening now.

  • Btw, I agree that polls are not evidence of voters opinions. I do get asked political questions, as I’m registered with YouGov and Panelbase, but I’ve stopped responding as I don’t believe anything they publish.

    Most polling companies are in it for the money. If you haven’t read the Bloomberg report on the EU referendum, read it now.
    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-06-25/brexit-big-short-how-pollsters-helped-hedge-funds-beat-the-crash

  • I am 65 and believe like you that the polls are are more opinion formulating,the real vote is out there and I believe that it is for independence.

  • I’ve always been persuaded that it’s better mostly to err on the side of caution and as far as we of the Scottish independence movement are concerned that applies in particular to opinion poll result analysis but taking account of the fact that these polls are generally run by people who are themselves NO voters one has to take negative or stationary results with a pinch of salt. It surely can’t be too difficult for these people to cook the books as it were in order to firstly disappoint the activists of whatever campaign they’re against, and secondly dampen the ardour of it’s supporters. I don’t believe everything’s rosey in the Scottish independence garden but as the Brexit fiasco rolls on I don’t believe for a moment that the Scottish general public are happy and relaxed with the way we’re being treated by the Tories in Westminster.

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