The National: ​​​

ON Monday, the Lord Ashcroft poll placing Yes at 52% was the biggest story of the day, but the BBC News website didn’t cover it. The broadcaster featured polling expert John Curtice talking about it on Good Morning Scotland, and then failed to mention it anywhere else until about 9pm when an article about the First Minister’s Edinburgh Fringe appearance was posted. 

The BBC told us they don’t report on individual polls in isolation, and instead wait for patterns to emerge in polling and report on that instead. A BBC spokesperson said: “The results of this poll were covered in an extensive analysis of polling trends from Professor Sir John Curtice on Good Morning Scotland.

“This is in keeping with our editorial guidelines which advise that the result of an individual poll in isolation should not be published as a headline story.”

We wrote an article providing five reasons why this wasn’t a good enough excuse, and one of those points was that the BBC has certainly reported on individual polls before. What we didn’t realise at the time was just how many times the BBC has reported on individual polls.

Reddit user u/bottish compiled a list of 27 times the broadcaster has in fact reported on individual polls in recent times. Some of the surveys had smaller sample sizes than the independence poll – and one was even a Lord Ashcroft survey on independence.

The BBC didn’t respond to our request for comment on how this meshes with their claim.

READ MORE: BBC 'losing relevance' in Scotland as viewership plunges

THE release of the poll sparked a flurry of debate online.

Among those with the harshest words for the BBC was Scottish actor Alan Cumming, a vocal supporter of Scottish independence.

The Good Wife star wrote: “News alert! @BBCScotlandNews is biased and suppressing news about Scottish independence!”

Meanwhile, BBC presenter Andrew Neil questioned the SNP’s mandate for indyref2.

Economist columnist Jeremy Cliffe wrote: “Hard to fault this. SNP stormed to victory in 2016 Scottish election pledging 2nd referendum on independence if a) major shift in opinion or b) “significant and material change” to post-2014 circumstances. Both now fulfilled.”

Neil disagreed: “Explain how a minority government ‘stormed’ to victory.”

The SNP did lose six seats in 2017, falling to 63 MSPs and two short of a majority. However, the Holyrood system is set up in such a way as to make it extremely difficult to secure a majority, as we’re sure Neil himself knows.

The SNP won lead over the Tories, who had 31 seats, sounds substantial to us – though not a “storm”, perhaps.

However, the results of the constituency seats paint a very different picture. The SNP won 59 of those. No other party reached double figures. In fact, the Tories won only seven constituency seats. And with six Green MSPs, Holyrood has a pro-indy majority.