The task facing the Scottish independence movement is to change the minds of just 6% of Scots. That’s all it would take to turn September 2014’s defeat into a victory if and when another referendum comes around, and when you put it like that it doesn’t sound like an impossible job.
The question for Yes supporters is where to focus their energies. A proportion of people who live in Scotland will never vote for independence no matter what, for a variety of reasons we don’t need to go into here. But we’ve always wondered exactly how big that proportion was, so in our latest Panelbase poll we just asked straight out.
The number of voters in the middle category was interesting:
Conservative voters: 20%
Labour voters: 34%
Lib Dem voters: 51%
SNP voters: 15%
(Fascinatingly, 3% of SNP voters say they’d never vote for independence.)
In terms of absolute numbers rather than percentages, Labour and SNP voters tied with the most, with Tories and Lib Dems both trailing a considerable distance behind. Women were significantly more staunchly opposed – 35% say “never!” (compared to just 25% of men), with 29% willing to be persuaded (vs 27% of men).
Readers probably won’t be surprised to hear that older voters are even less fertile ground, with 37% of the over-55s firmly in the “no way!” camp, compared to only 25% of 16-24s who are totally deaf ears. And among the wealthier ABC1 demographic 36% absolutely don’t want to know, against just 26% of the less well-off C2DEs.
So statistically speaking, Yes supporters looking to win over converts from among the ranks of No voters would be best advised to spend their time talking to young men in poorly-paid jobs, and steering clear of rich old ladies. But perhaps less expectedly, they could have almost as much luck at an SNP conference as a Labour one.