Alert readers can’t have failed to spot that we’ve been devoting quite a bit of attention on Wings to Labour’s devolution proposals, chiefly because they’re by default the closest thing to the “more powers” option that’s so conspicuously missing from the referendum ballot paper at the insistence of the Unionist parties.
We’ve established that the party itself doesn’t seem to have the foggiest idea what its own proposals are, and we’re still in the process of trying to get to the bottom of it. But as our latest Panelbase poll was “in the field” fairly hot on the heels of the launch of the “Devo Nano” paper, we thought we’d see what the Scottish people made of it.
Q: At its recent conference the Labour Party announced its proposals, called “Powers for a Purpose”, to extend devolution (in the event of a No vote) if Labour wins the UK general election in 2015. Are you aware of these proposals?
Ooft. Breaking down those Yes responses raised a smile, though:
Yes, I am aware of the proposals:
SNP voters: 63%
Conservative voters: 59%
Liberal Democrat voters: 56%
Labour voters: 47%
Yes, you’ve read that right – despite the plans being revealed at the Scottish Labour conference, Labour was the only party for which less than half of its supporters said they’d heard of them.
We then asked a follow-up question, only to respondents who had answered yes. Firstly we asked whether people had seen the document itself (either a physical copy or online), rather than just hearing about it in the media. A mere 5% of people who’d heard of the report said they’d actually seen it, in which light we’d invite readers to view the following responses.
Q: Which of the following statements regarding the proposals would you personally agree with? (Tick as many as apply.)
– I fully or mostly understand the proposals: 17%
(Lab 20%, Con 18%, LD 17%, SNP 15%)
– I think the proposals are coherent and well thought out: 10%
(Lab 22%, LD 6%, SNP 5%, Con 1%)
– I think the proposals go far enough: 13%
(LD 26%, Lab 19%, Con 13%, SNP 7%)
– I think the proposals DO NOT go far enough: 29%
(SNP 38%, Lab 31%, LD 9%, Con 7%)
– The proposals make me more likely to vote Yes to independence: 10%
(SNP 15%, Lab 8%, LD 2%, Con 0%)
– The proposals make me more likely to vote No to independence: 10%
(Con 17%, Lab 13%, SNP 7%, LD 6%)
– The proposals have not changed my opinion on independence: 48%
(Con 60%, SNP 51%, LD 51%, Lab 41%)
– I believe the proposals would be implemented in the event of a No vote: 16%
(LD 27%, Lab 24%, Con 19%, SNP 10%)
– I DO NOT believe the proposals would be implemented after a No vote: 34%
(SNP 47%, LD 28%, Lab 25%, Con 16%)
Readers may have noticed several things from that data:
1. That the number of Labour voters who thought the plans were “coherent and well thought-out” was higher than the number of Labour voters who claimed to “fully or mostly understand” them. We’ll just leave that one there.
2. That although only 7% of Tory voters didn’t think the plans went far enough, the Tories are being widely tipped to offer a more extensive increase in tax powers when their Strathclyde Commission publishes its report in May.
3. That Lib Dems are surprisingly reluctant to see Holyrood get stronger powers.
4. That more Labour voters believe “Devo Nano” would NOT be implemented in the event of a No vote than believe it would, a trait they share with supporters of all the other parties. The Lib Dems actually have the most faith in it ever happening.
Curiously, the exact same percentage of Yes and No voters (17%) thought the plans WOULD be implemented, but the numbers saying they WOULDN’T differed radically, at 42% of Yes and 24% of No. Just 1% of Yes voters said the plans made them more likely to vote No, and not a single No voter said they’d nudged them closer to a Yes.
We’re putting that down as “not a game-changer”, then.