First Minister’s Questions today (featuring stand-in FM John Swinney in a theatrical mood) was one long howl of “TOO WEE AND TOO POOR!”, with both Ruth Davidson and Kezia Dugdale using all of their questions to hark back to oil revenue forecasts from 2013 and insist that an independent Scotland would face economic apocalypse.
It was a dispiriting spectacle, and we found ourselves experiencing (not for the first time) pangs of sympathy for the remaining tiny rump of Scottish Labour voters, who must surely watch in broken despair at the antics of the hapless pack of squawking diddies representing their views in the Parliament.
But on the day that a new Ipsos MORI poll for STV found support for independence leaping to fractionally over 50%, we wondered how big a deal the economy really was for voters. And fortunately, we already knew the answer.
Because our Panelbase poll last month asked respondents how important the size of Scotland’s budget deficit was in terms of their support for independence, and the number who said it was “Extremely important” (38%) was only fractionally bigger than the number who considered it either not very important or completely irrelevant (36%).
The remaining quarter of the electorate – what one might reasonably consider the “battleground” voters who will decide the outcome – felt that the economy of an independent Scotland was only “moderately” important.
We suspect that as the details of Brexit increasingly unfold over the coming months, with the attendant disastrous effects on the economy of a Scotland within the UK, the Yes campaign will be very excited indeed about a starting position of 50%.