We had a couple of questions in our poll that were quite complex and involved, so to give people a wee bit of respite we threw in a little light-hearted one as well.
Q: If this was the referendum ballot paper, how would you vote?
That made some quite odd stuff happen.
Don’t know: 10%
That gap was not-insignificantly smaller than the one the actual referendum question produced. Once you strip out the Don’t Knows, it turns the 47-53 of the real question into a 49-51. That’s a 2% swing simply by replacing six words with two little flags meaning the same thing – or, perhaps, forcing people to confront the cold reality of what they’re choosing as their nation and their identity.
It was also intriguing to see what difference it made in various categories.
PERCENTAGE-POINT CHANGE IN VOTE (+ means towards Yes)
Conservative voters: -4
Labour voters: 0
Lib Dem voters: -3
SNP voters: +8
And then the really weird one:
Yes voters: -5
No voters: +5
Yeah, us too. But that’s what the stats say: 5% of people planning to vote Yes would switch to a No if you made the referendum question a picture of flags instead, but 5% of No voters would also switch to Yes.
You could take that as a word of caution against taking opinion polls too seriously if you like. You could interpret it as meaning some Scots are easily confused. Or you could say it meant that they didn’t like to feel as if they were being emotionally manipulated. Or that nationality is complex, and putting the question in such a simplistic way rendered it meaningless or offensive to Scottish citizens who were born somewhere else. Or that, as we noted earlier, people are just contrary.
Frankly, folks, your guess is as good as ours.