A 38% probability the story is about nothing

February 21st, 2014 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

Stuff has a story from Reuters which says:

Support for Scottish independence rises

I got excited. There must have been a big movement in the . So I read the story.

The first opinion poll since Britain’s rulers warned Scots they would lose the pound if they voted to leave the United Kingdom showed a slight increase in support for independence ahead of a referendum on the issue scheduled for September 18.

Slight? So it wasn’t 5%. Maybe 4%? I presumed it a significant amount as Reuters has done an entire story on this.

A Survation/Scottish Daily Mail poll carried out on February 17 and 18 of 1,005 people found 37.7 percent support independence, which it said could be compared to 36.9 percent recorded in a PanelBase/Sunday Times poll carried out on January 29-February 6.

First of all comparing the results of one company to the results of another, to declare a change is bad enough. But even if the results were from the same company, is an increase of 0.8% significant?

My probability calculator tells me the two results mean that there is a 61.6% chance the second poll is actually higher than the first poll To turn that around, there is a 38% chance there has been no increase at all.

Hardly worth a story.

Personally I don’t think voting for independence would be a bad thing for England. But anyway the point is that Reuters have written a story about pretty much nothing.

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24 Responses to “A 38% probability the story is about nothing”

  1. Harriet (4,502 comments) says:

    “….Personally I don’t think Scotland voting for independence would be a bad thing for England…”

    Well it would be bad for Scotland, therefor the UK, therefor England.

    Scotland has no industry at all. It does have oil fields, but they have been pumping for over 20yrs now so I cannot see that being of much future hope.

    The three Scottish bank currencies still in circulation – which are currently valued the same as the pound – would collapse if Scotland became independant.

    In other words it’s broke. And the UK GDP is just a pall of smoke covering the fact.

    Truthfully – A good mate of mine was going to stand for the Scottish independant party – he decided it was a waste of time – and now drinks with me in QLD! :cool:

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  2. Elaycee (4,299 comments) says:

    So Reuters used a dodgy headline to try and get subscribers to read a non event story.

    Were the Reuters people trained in NZ, by chance?

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  3. kowtow (7,591 comments) says:

    Scottish “independence” hahahahaha.The separatists want to break from Britain and join the EU,that isn’t independence.

    They’ve also got 16 year olds on the ballot!(Talk about gerrymandering)

    Complete bollocks.

    The majority of Scots won’t go for it.

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  4. mandk (818 comments) says:

    Given the margins of error, the two polls might actually conceal the fact that support for independence is falling.

    I lived in Scotland for 12 years, and I don’t believe that the Scots have the courage or will to vote for independence. It’s too easy to remain part of the UK and blame the English for everything.

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  5. EAD (585 comments) says:

    I think Peter Hitchens has the best take on the Scottish independence vote:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2560410/PETER-HITCHENS-We-ask-Scots-loyal-ones-betraying-Britain.html

    “The departure of Scotland will alert the whole planet to how much we have in fact declined in the past 50 years.

    You would be amazed how many people abroad still think we are the well-educated, well-governed, economically successful civilisation we were five decades ago. A border at Berwick, and the compulsory redesign of our national flag and our Royal Standard, will make them look again, and see what we have now become.”

    The most successful nation in the world, inventor of modern civilization, the rule of law, liberty and every sport worth playing to a mulit-culti, £1 trillion+ indebted with no moral backbone.

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  6. Andrei (2,499 comments) says:

    They are both vassal states of the new European Empire anyway – so what does it matter?

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  7. Harriet (4,502 comments) says:

    Edit: I might actually be wrong on the details with regards to Scotland remaining within the United Kingdom. Presumably it would be fully independant and not part of it at all.

    The better option I think, is for Scotland, England, Wales and most of Ireland becoming States of the UK with a Federal parliment – the same way as Australia is governed.

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  8. itstricky (1,542 comments) says:

    How come you roll out your ‘probability calculator’ for this one, but you’re quite happy to go a search for the phrase ‘labour dotcom’ and conclude from the results that there is 100% chance that there’s a massive underhand behind the backs dodgy conspiracy going on?

    Quite picky about the statistics, aren’t we?

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  9. James Stephenson (2,018 comments) says:

    Presumably it would be fully independant and not part of it at all.

    Well yes, but Salmond thinks he can pick and choose which bits he wants.

    Wants to keep the pound? No way that’s happening, all three components of the LibLabCon have said so.

    Thinks Scotland will just become part of the EU? No. It only takes one country to veto that, and Spain will do so otherwise it will give encouragement to the Basques and Catalans who want their own independence.

    The go-it-alone Porridge Wogs are up a creek with their campaign, and they know it. You only have to see the feral reaction to David Bowie’s “Please stay with us Scotland..” to see that.

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  10. thePeoplesFlag (172 comments) says:

    The English ruling class might like to affect they don’t care about Scotland but they do. Scotland leaving the union will be a blow to their fairy tale fantasy that the UK is still a great power. but they don’t deserve to be called”Great” anymore. The ruling class have shafted the Scots for over a hundred fifty years to prop up their fantasies and lifestyles.

    The U.K. economy is completely dominated by an Eton/Oxbridge mafia that has sacrificed industry not just Scotland but in the Midlands in favour of a near cult like obsession with retaining the power of the city of London’s finance sector. It is the same ruling elites grandiose fantasy that Britain is still a great power that fuels the entire distortion of the UK defense budget in order to maintain an “independent” nuclear deterrent that means the finance sector must be protected at all costs.

    The British economy is run by a tiny elite from the South East of England, for a tiny elite from the South East of England. It is increasingly obvious that the United Kingdom’s tragedy is it never had the revolution required to liquidate it’s exhausted and decadent ruling elites and replace them with a social structure that is more modern.

    Free of the yoke of the economic domination of the London/home county based toffs who is to say that Scotland might not thrive, that shipbuilding might not return to the Clyde, and industry to the Scottish Lowlands? The real threat of an independent Scotland to the English ruling elites is not that Scotland will fail, but that it will succeed – and the message that success might send to Midlands of England itself.

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  11. justmy opinion (8 comments) says:

    Great to see the proper calculation for comparing the two polls. Could you do something like that with some of the NZ polls

    Another bugbear of mine is that polls don’t have margins of error but particular figures do. Eg to say that someone is polling lower than the margin of error is statistical bs.

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  12. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    ‘The U.K. economy is completely dominated by an Eton/Oxbridge mafia that has sacrificed industry not just Scotland but in the Midlands in favour of a near cult like obsession with retaining the power of the city of London’s finance sector. It is the same ruling elites grandiose fantasy that Britain is still a great power that fuels the entire distortion of the UK defense budget in order to maintain an “independent” nuclear deterrent that means the finance sector must be protected at all costs. ”

    Truest, truest statement I ‘ve seen on this blog in over five years. Stephieboy take note !

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  13. wikiriwhis business (3,883 comments) says:

    At long last, Matt Taibbi’s highly readable and extremely long attack on Goldman Sachs in Rolling Stone is online in full. Now you can read it without having to wrestle with teenage girls who want to read about the Jonas Brothers.

    As you almost certainly already know, Taibbi describes Goldman as “the great American bubble machine” and, more colorfully,writes: “The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com.au/matt-taibbis-vampire-squid-take-down-of-goldman-sachs-is-finally-online-2009-7

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  14. unaha-closp (1,111 comments) says:

    The Scots should get out now, the UK GDP is dependent on the willingness of the Germans to pay the debts of the PIIGS forever. If the Germans should stop, the sovereign debt held by British banks will be worthless and the banks will be broke – the UK will be broke.

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  15. EAD (585 comments) says:

    @ Peoples Flag 10.01am,

    I gather with a name like that you are probably a raving mad communist which makes you the opposite end of the spectrum from an Austrian School, Libertarian such as myself but in this point I agree with you nearly 100% although I think you’ve missed the target and solution. The real ruling class are all Fabians and they want to destroy Englishness via mass immigration and handing over the reigns of power to the EU. That’s why if you vote Tory, Labour or Lid Dems, nothing changes.

    George Orwell who is probably every “righty’s” favourite “lefty” because he spoke the truth and actually gave a stuff about the poor rather than use them as a means to obtain power had the following to say about that small cadre of English who think it is their divine right to rule (the ones that so hated Thatcher). Here is what Orwell had to say of them:

    “It has its private language and its common memories, and at the approach of an enemy it closes its ranks. A family with the wrong members in control – that, perhaps is as near as one can come to describing England in a phrase.”

    “In intention, at any rate, the English intelligentsia are Europeanized. 
They take their cookery from Paris and their opinions from Moscow. In the 
general patriotism of the country they form a sort of island of dissident 
thought. England is perhaps the only great country whose intellectuals 
are ashamed of their own nationality. In left-wing circles it is always 
felt that there is something slightly disgraceful in being an Englishman 
and that it is a duty to snigger at every English institution, from horse 
racing to suet puddings. It is a strange fact, but it is unquestionably 
true that almost any English intellectual would feel more ashamed of 
standing to attention during ‘God save the King’ than of stealing from a 
poor box”

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  16. James Stephenson (2,018 comments) says:

    Truest, truest statement I ‘ve seen on this blog in over five years. Stephieboy take note !

    It’s a big bunch of sweaty bollocks, that’s what it is.

    The City is still the worlds premier financial centre and should absolutely be protected from the jealousies of France and Germany. Flag also completely ignores the resurgence that places like Birmingham, Leed and Liverpool have seen in recent years.

    Edinburgh is a massive high tech centre
    Sunderland is Nissan’s most efficient factory
    Derby is close to that for Toyota
    .
    .

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  17. Alan (1,056 comments) says:

    To go a bit factual and not rely on the story on Stuff.

    The headline figures on this poll as No 47, Yes 38, DK 16. This is a direct transfer 5.4pts from No to yes, from the last poll by the same company, Survation, which was carried out 3 weeks ago. Have no idea why stuff would referenece another polling company, that’s just stupid.

    On the face of it there is a reduction in the “No” lead by 10.8% from No to Yes, this is huge, DK is static at 16%. However they changed their weighting methodologies between the two poll, the previous poll weighted on 2010 general election affiliation, the new one on 2011 Holyrood affiliation.

    This weighting change accounts for 6.5% of the 10.8% change. Regardless of if you think the new weighting is correct, and most people do, this poll represents a major drop in the No lead from the last poll by Surrvation 3 weeks ago.

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  18. Ed Snack (1,734 comments) says:

    Wouldn’t the departure of Scotland from being part of the UK just about permanently consign the Labour party to minority status ? I think without Scottish seats Labour has had fewer seats than the Conservatives at Westminster for a very long time. These things do tend to even out over time, particularly if Labour got rid of those Scots gits that litter the party at present and started to represent England (and Wales) more effectively, but initially this would possibly give the Tories (and this is a proper place to call a party “Tories”) an absolute majority in parliament. Surprised that as a result they aren’t pushing for it to happen.

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  19. peterwn (3,148 comments) says:

    Interesting thought abut the Scots losing the ‘pound’. What would Bank of England do? – cancel the ‘titans’ (special one hundred million pound banknotes used for internal banking controls) that back Scottish banknotes?

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  20. Alan (1,056 comments) says:

    “Wouldn’t the departure of Scotland from being part of the UK just about permanently consign the Labour party to minority status ?”

    No, not at all.

    Labours dominance of Scottish westminster results is a relatively new thing. Blair would have won all three of his elections without Scottish MPs.

    Scotland was gone from having 72 mps in ’97 to ’59 now, heading to 52 next time round. It’s the trade off for devolution, fewer Westminster mps.

    Labour has 41 mps north of the border delivering a net plus 24. It’s a few, but history shows it’s not going to be decisive.

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  21. big bruv (13,227 comments) says:

    “Personally I don’t think Scotland voting for independence would be a bad thing for England”

    I disagree, as others have said Scotland getting independence would be bloody great for England. It would mean the loss of many Labour party seats.

    Having said that, I do hope that the Jocks are not dumb enough to fall for the shit that pours from the mouth of Alex Salmond. Salmond makes Russel Norman look like a Tory, for decades Salmond has traded on the whole Braveheart bullshit in an effort to turn Scotland into some sort of socialist paradise.

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  22. b1gdaddynz (279 comments) says:

    So you wrote a story about a story about nothing? Sorry someone had to say it :-)

    I think it would be very strange if Scotland didn’t vote for independence given the years of bloody conflict between Scotland and England. However I can’t really see any benefits for Scotland?

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  23. Grant Michael McKenna (1,156 comments) says:

    If Scotland does become independent, where will England get an Olympic curling team from?

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  24. Ben Dover (526 comments) says:

    It is time England learned to stand on it’s own two feet.

    It is time for England to grow up.

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