I've just arrived in Brussels, and I've barely had a chance to catch breath, but this is how I see tonight's polling situation. If the embargoed Panelbase poll turns out to have the figures that were prematurely tweeted earlier, it could be - pound for pound - the best Panelbase poll ever for Yes. That's because the firm's methodology has radically changed since the last time they produced a 48/52 split. But it's certainly one of the two best Panelbase polls ever (excluding the famous one from a year ago which is generally set aside because of the question sequence). That's problematical for the No trolls who are trying to play this down, because we're not supposed to be in "Yes have failed to make even further progress from their all-time high" territory, but instead in "Darling bounce helps No to decisive lead" territory. So much for all that, eh?
It may seem bizarre that Blair McDougall, the No camp's embarrassment of a campaign chief, has apparently been going out of his way to remind people tonight that Panelbase actually showed a Yes lead in a poll last year. The reason he's doing it is presumably to make the new one seem relatively unimpressive by comparison, but in reality it's highly unlikely that the two polls are directly comparable. Neither the SNP nor Yes Scotland have insisted upon the unusual question sequence that generated that Yes lead in any subsequent poll.
Judging from Twitter Kremlinology, it's probable that the ICM poll shows some kind of reduction in the No lead, although it's difficult to know what to read into that because the last poll from the firm was on the good side for No.
Kenny Farquharson has once again been rather catty tonight, suggesting that the ICM poll for his publication is the only "independent" poll of this evening, as compared to a Yes Scotland poll that was passed on to a "pet" paper. Does he have a point? The short answer is "no", and the longer answer is "mostly no". As long as there was no jiggery-pokery with the question sequence, it makes no difference whether the paying client is "independent" or not - the results of the headline question are equally credible. The supplementary questions may be leading, but because they're asked later they can't affect whether respondents say 'Yes' or 'No' to independence. The only problem with having a partisan client is that they may only publish polls that are particularly favourable, so over a period of time we would only get a partial picture. But if the Yes campaign have indeed been withholding less favourable Panelbase results, that would just make tonight's numbers look even better.
And if there has been a Yes bounce, does that mean that once you cut away all the spin from the unionist media, Alex Salmond actually defeated Alistair Darling in the debate? Not necessarily. It seems to me that Salmond was in a no-lose situation, because the debate will have made people think - and we all know which way voters tend to swing in this campaign once they actively start seeking out information for themselves.