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December 5, 2020

Scottish Independence

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls

BY Alessio Farhadi

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Smartphone Private Polls

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We will take you through the steps to better understand the interpretations of the results and (more importantly) the associated uncertainties. Our survey panel consists of 1296 randomly selected respondents which is  broadly consistent with standard sample sizes of most political polls (e.g. YouGov).

Are you in favour of Scotland leaving the United Kingdom (UK) Union?

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls 1
Data source: Speevr smartphone polls geolocated in Scotland between 02 to 05 Dec 2020

We see a significant shift in our survey conclusions depending on whether we use the raw survey responses or our Multi-Regression Post stratification (MRP) adjusted model. In the former ‘No’ to Scottish Independence is +13% compared to ‘Yes’, and in the latter the lead is a mere +1.5% – too close to call.

Gender split

To understand this shift we need break down the data by our age and gender data splits. Our survey panel had a slight over-representation of males by ~4%. Here is the breakdown by gender…

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls 2
Data source: Speevr smartphone polls geolocated in Scotland between 02 to 05 Dec 2020

We conclude that women are more likely to be undecided (by almost x2) on the question of Scottish Independence. It is not unusual in the more recent political polls to have females less decided.

Age split

Our survey participation was over (under) represented by the over (under) 45s. We struggled to reach under 25 year olds by approximately 14% compare to the population demography. Perhaps the internet for them all about Tik-Tok and Instagram? (A baseless joke for the record!)

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls 3
Data source: Speevr smartphone polls geolocated in Scotland between 02 to 05 Dec 2020

We see a significant divide between the under 35s and the over 55s which bridges across the age gap. Anti-Tory (Westminster), pro-EU sentiment, and pension/wealth related factors all have a contribution to play here. If history serves as a lesson, big changes are usually driven by the young.

Comparing with YouGov landline polls

YouGov run a quarterly survey on the subject of Scottish Independence. The most recent was released on Nov 10th (2020). Our results look broadly inline…

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls 4

If the Scottish National Party (SNP) wish to put forward a second Scottish Independence Referendum they must win over more support from the young and female voters… and get them to vote to stand a chance of winning.

Our next polls

We will continue to run our Scottish Independence private polls fortnightly for our members only with full access to the datasets. We believe in 2021 the question of Scottish Independence will come to the forefront of the UK political agenda and we will be a better positioned than most to express more informed opinions.



Next Director of CIA

Some of the leading candidate as Biden’s nominee Director of CIA include: Michael Morrell (Former Deputy Director of CIA), Tom Donilon, Sue Gordon (Former Deputy DNI), Justin Jackson, Darrell Blocker, Vincent Stuart, David Cohen, and Susan Rice.

Our Intelligence on the Intelligence Folks: Why not continue with the current director Gina Haspel? Her decision to stay out of the spotlight since taking over as Director may have served in the best interest of the agency rather than out of loyalty to  her appointee – President Trump.  Morrell is the current favorite, a career former (CIA) and an outstanding intelligence analysts. As is Sue Gordon who captained the Duke basketball team, and tough as nails. Cohen has a background in law and joined CIA later in his career rising to Deputy Director (a bright individual).

Whilst the Director of CIA has historically been a political appointee, the outspokenness of many formers in recent years against Trump (including Morrell) may hurt the chances of some nominees. We believe Morrell would best serve as Director of National Intelligence (DNI) – a role that will almost certainly see a change. Besides, we would miss listening to one of the best podcasts series on geopolitics hosted by Mike Morell – Intelligence Matters. A highly recommended series and how interviews are best conducted to inform the audience!

Recommended podcasts

EXCLUSIVE: Scottish Independence Polls 5

November Wrap: Record Inflows into Global Equities

Scott Rubner of Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Division breaks down the record-setting November in equity markets and talks about investor sentiment going into year-end. Filled with some great market stats and quantitative analysis.

Markets Update: What Investors Are Watching Going into Year-End

Moran Forman of Goldman Sachs’ Global Markets Division gives her take on how institutional investors are viewing market pricing and volatility going into the last few weeks of the year.  
Our Comment: Macro players frame volatility and VIX (1-month market expected volatility of the S&P  500 index) within a top-down and historical context. Forman uses economic uncertainties to explain the relatively elevated levels of the VIX from the pre-Covid era. We think a bottom-up approach is more useful to justify the new volatility paradigm.
The S&P now comprises 25% of just 5 Big Tech stocks. The combined effect of lower index diversification to constituents, the risky nature of the tech business (Apple was almost bust 20 years ago!), uncertain corporate taxation, and impending regulation serve as key drivers of risk (volatility). This creates a potential mismatch between the underlying  riskiness of businesses with the S&P against the structured flows from clients wishing to short (sell) volatility based on mean-reversion strategies.Rather analogous to the packaging of tranches of subprime mortgages which masked the underlying risks of the investments.

In other equity volatility related news, SoftBank announced this week it plans to exit the ‘Nasdaq Whale’ trades which lead to a $2.7 billion trading loss. For those familiar with the options markets… better known as option expiry.

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