For our final instalment of poll data, we’re going to look at two groups of results that at first don’t appear to be connected, but which are more linked than you might imagine.
We’ll do the housekeeping first, to build the tension a bit. No skipping ahead.
There’s no real way of measuring the reach of the mainstream media against that of websites like this one. Sometimes for fun we compare our readership figures with newspaper sales figures, but that’s apples against oranges. Equally, though, when newspapers give out their online reach stats they’re completely meaningless in terms of telling you whether anyone’s actually reading their politics coverage, rather than just browsing the football scores and lonely-hearts ads.
So we thought we’d ask how often people used newspaper sites, campaign sites and unofficial ones like Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet Scotland, Bella Caledonia and National Collective specifically for the purposes of finding out about, or discussing, independence/the referendum. To keep it short, we’ve squished the results together.
USE OF MEDIA OUTLETS IN CONNECTION WITH INDEPENDENCE
(Regularly or occasionally)
Official campaign websites (Yes Scotland, Better Together): 26
Free-to-access commercial media sites (Daily Record, Scotsman, BBC etc): 47
Pay-to-access commercial media sites (The Sun, Herald, Times etc): 9
Other websites and blogs: 37
Now that’s pretty interesting. “Unofficial” sources like ourselves are already being used almost as much as the mainstream media (and MORE than either paywalled media or official campaign sites). Newspapers are generally held to be in an irreversible decline, which although it refers chiefly to print sales also has an effect on how much money they can invest online, whereas social media is very much on the up. So that gap will continue to narrow, then close, and before too long will reverse.
More to the point, social media is massively dominated by pro-independence voices. So those figures can only be good news for Yes supporters.
Do we have any evidence backing that up? As it happens, we do.
The official campaigns have now been running for roughly 15 months. Regardless of whether your voting intention has actually changed or not, how would you describe your feelings now compared to 15 months ago?
Much more in favour of independence: 18
Slightly more in favour of independence: 12
Slightly more against independence: 6
Much more against independence: 9
Those are interesting numbers for a couple of reasons. Firstly, they show us that twice as many people (30%) now feel more favourable towards independence (to at least some degree) than have moved the other way (15%).
But secondly, they show that the constant media narrative of “nothing much has changed for years” just isn’t true. Fully 45% of Scots have had their feelings altered one way or the other by the last year and a quarter’s campaigning (60% of them by a large amount), and up until now we’ve only been in the “phoney war”.
We’ve said for a long time now that people won’t really start paying attention until late spring next year, probably after the European elections. And as pro-independence campaigners never tire of saying, we haven’t even had the white paper yet. If 45% of people have already been open to some level of persuasion, it’s really all to play for.
As for which direction it’s going to play in, here’s the last question we asked.
What is your opinion regarding the following statement?
“The Scottish people would make a success of an independent Scotland.”
Don’t know: 15
At first glance, that answer is a disappointing display of the Scottish Cringe. 30% of Scots think their own countrymen and women couldn’t make a go of an independent state – something that almost every other nation on Earth, including those vastly less well blessed than Scotland, has managed fine.
8% of gloomy SNP voters, 32% of Labour supporters, 42% of Lib Dems and a truly sickening 76% of Conservatives think Scotland is too wee, poor and stupid to thrive on its own, despite even the official No campaign regularly insisting the opposite. (Just 8% of Tories agreed with the proposition.)
But here comes the science bit.
Because this poll started by asking the referendum question directly, we were able to cross-reference it against all the other questions. The “undecided” column puts an intriguing slant on pretty much every question (as you’ll see when the full tables are released shortly), but it comes into play most extraordinarily on this one.
Here’s how the responses to the question above broke down by referendum intention.
Agree 96 Disagree 3 Don’t know 1
Agree 17 Disagree 62 Don’t know 21
Agree 68 Disagree 3 Don’t know 29
Look at those numbers again. And again, and then a couple more times, because the story they tell is a spectacular and uplifting one for anyone in the Yes camp.
People who vote No are doing so because, overwhelmingly, they think Scotland simply doesn’t have what it takes to be independent. The people who haven’t made their mind up yet, by an absolutely crushing margin, think it does. It’s clear which way they’re leaning, if only they can have their questions answered.
Among the undecideds, 36% are more in favour of independence than they were a year ago, compared to just 10% who’re more against. 42% of them would like Scotland to be an independent country if everything else was equal, compared to just 20% who’d rather remain in the UK.
They care more than either Yes or No voters about the economy and the future of their children. They don’t give a monkey’s about the UK’s international status and influence. (It’s their second-lowest factor, above only “Emotional reasons”.)
These are the people on whom the referendum will swing, and they really, really want to swing towards independence. The Yes camp has 11 months to make their dreams come true. Those 11 months start here.