As exam results arrived, from 8am on the 4th August, students disappointed by the gap between the awarded grade and their teacher estimates, began to tweet about it. By that afternoon, Scotland’s MSM had sniffed a crisis and were beginning to interview them.
By the evening of the 4th, we began to see reports such as that from Daniel Sanderson in the Telegraph:
Scotland’s exam body ‘in crisis’ after decision to downgrade 124,000 results sparks furious backlash. Sturgeon and Swinney insist “moderation” was necessary as teacher estimates were not credible, but pressure mounts for a u-turn.
The face of the emerging ‘fiasco’, as they began to term it, was soon John Swinney, rather than any SQA official:
This choice echoed that in previous media campaigns such as that based on supposedly infected hospitals where a worried Jean Freeman was always preferred.
The interviewing of mostly ‘A students‘, continued into the morning of the 5th and escalated throughout that day as opposition politicians began to pile in.
At the same time, on the 4th and 5th of August, YouGov was contacting 138 adult Scots to ask how they would vote in the next Westminster election.
54% chose SNP, up from 51% in an Ipsos MORI poll on the 30th July to 4th August, 45% in a Survation poll on 31st July to 3rd August and 49% in a YouGov poll on 30th to 31st July.
These are all quite small sub-polls but there is certainly no evidence there that the exams ‘fiasco’ will have any more traction on support for the SNP than did the earlier ‘crises’ over hospitals, Derek Mackay, the Alex Salmond case, the GRA or who gets to stand in Edinburgh South.