ICM poll

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I AM wondering if your most recent ICM poll merits the headline, editorial and highly favourable Yes campaign cartoon that you have provided us with (“Scotland on the brink of independence”, News, 20 April).

Martin Boon’s critique of the poll is most insightful, possibly the most interesting Scrutiny column I have seen in your paper yet, and actually what such a column should be used for, namely to provide a bit of critical analysis. He confirms that the poll is weighted towards the outcome of the 2011 Scottish election, hence lifting the SNP and therefore the Yes vote. Given that this is a referendum and not an election, there is surely no reason to do this. We simply need to get a representative sample of Scots across the country, age and social groups. Previous politics does not come into it. That analysis suggests a 77 per cent turnout at the 2011 election as opposed to the real turnout is a further distortion, and the manipulation of the data required to try and correct this simply muddies the water further.

Finally, I was unaware that these polls appear to be online only. People who sign up for these type of surveys are not representative of the country as a whole. Pollsters are sampling over and over again from a relatively small pool of voters who are disproportionately disposed to wanting us to have their views heard, and not the population as a whole.

Whatever happened to phoning up people and asking their views, or speaking to them in the street with a clipboard? This type of poll may be convenient, but is it really telling us what is going on?

Victor Clements, Aberfeldy

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