Alastair Darling emerged as a semi-clear winner of the Scottish Independence debate, convincing 56% of the 512 survey participants that he was the better man on the night. 44% opted for Salmond.
Darling performed more solidly among No supporters – securing 93% of them who told us their man won, compared to only 82% of Yes supporters who said Salmond won.
And Darling won on the arguments – a majority (51%) said so, with 40% saying Salmond had the better ideas. On the other hand, Salmond’s undoubted personality helped win over viewers, with 47% saying the First Minister had the better personality compared to only 39% who said so for Darling.
But the question is how does this impact on Indyref vote intentions? The answer is “not much”. Of the sample who participated after the debate, views did not move – 53% said they intended to vote No beforehand, and the same figures emerged afterwards. So Darling won on the night, but voters remain steadfast in the way they plan to vote.
ICM pre-recruited a sample of 1130 people who said they would be watching the debate live and who agreed to complete the survey immediately afterwards. These 1130 people were sent the survey immediately after the actual debate part of programme on STV ended at 9.40pm. All participants were recruited recruited from ICM’s own online panel plus those of two of the biggest suppliers of Scottish panel in the market research industry.
The post-debate survey data is based on 512 completed interviews.
The sample was weighted to be representative of the Scotland population by Age, Gender and Region. We also weighted the results by previous voting behaviour (2011 Holyrood past vote). This allowed us to assess how the debate was received by people from a range of political viewpoints.
It should be stated this this sample was pre-recruited on the basis of watching the debate and being willing to answer questions on it immediately after the debate ended. While we have ‘forced’ it via weighting to be representative of all Scots, it SHOULD NOT be seen as a normal vote intention poll as it is premised on a different population type i.e the profile and nature of Scots who watched the debate is different to a fully nationally representative sample of Scots.