From our latest Panelbase poll.
We’ve done another poll in conjunction with our dear chums at Panelbase, readers, which we think will be the last full-size Scottish one before the polls open. You may already have seen their headline voting-intention stats, but if not they’re below.
Those numbers suggest, depending which electoral forecaster you feed them into, over 50 seats for the SNP. The poll delivered some extremely interesting results, but we’re going to tease you and hold most of them over until tomorrow, because it’ll actually be a really slow news day.
(September 18 last year was one of the most miserable days of our lives, and we’re not talking about the result. It just seemed to drag on forever and ever, with nothing happening until past midnight. This way there’ll at least be something to read.)
But as a little taster, here’s a fascinating info-nugget.
Some readers have been a bit dispirited by the findings of our Panelbase poll this week, which revealed a few quite socially-conservative views among the Scottish population and also found fairly small differences of opinion between Scots and the rest of the UK on a number of issues.
But to be downhearted about the findings is to miss a whole series of points.
So far in our twin social-attitudes polls of Scotland and the rUK we’ve found that while there can be very sizeable gaps between Scottish public opinion and that elsewhere, it mostly tends to be within the same side of the debate – for example, rUK citizens are much keener on retaining the monarchy and nuclear weapons than Scots are, but Scots do still favour both.
Our final round-up off the poll findings, though, focuses on the three questions we asked where the differences DID cross the divide.
Depending on how you choose to look at things (and where you live), this next tranche of data is going to either cheer you up a little bit or make you feel even worse.
Having found to our dismay that both Scots and the rest of the UK want to see people prosecuted for offensive but non-threatening comments on Twitter and Facebook, it seems a good time to reveal the rest of our findings on matters of law and justice.
Freedom of speech has been a very hot topic across the world in the wake of the brutal murder of 12 editorial staff at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and other related killings. So in our latest poll we thought we’d find out how committed people were to the principle, even in much less deadly situations.
The results were sobering.
Keen students of politics can’t have failed to notice a fascinating situation coalescing in the last few months. On current polling, it looks very much like no two of the UK’s four constituent nations will vote for the same party at the forthcoming general election. The Tories are miles ahead in England, in Scotland the SNP lead by even more, Wales is still a Labour stronghold and Northern Ireland continues to do its own thing, split roughly half-and-half along, well, let’s call them “cultural” lines.
So when we decided to conduct another poll with our left-over fundraiser money (start saving now for 2015’s annual grand appeal next month, readers!), we thought it might be interesting to do something that we’re not sure has ever been done before.
We commissioned TWO full-sample polls, one of 1000 people in Scotland and one of 1000 people in the rest of the UK, and we asked them the same questions.
The results we got were fascinating – sometimes predictable, sometimes surprising, sometimes pleasing and sometimes dismaying. But we’re going to start off with one we really didn’t see coming at all.
As the Smith Commission continues its fundamentally pointless and impossible deliberations, in which it’s expected to digest and consider many thousands of submissions (including hundreds of detailed ones from political organisations and “civic Scotland”) in around three weeks, the Scottish and UK press is still casually and inaccurately tossing around the term “devo-max”.
There seem to be essentially two competing interpretations of the term – the previously-understood meaning (also known as “Full Fiscal Autonomy”) in which all powers are devolved to Holyrood except foreign affairs and defence, and a new one which simply refers to whatever devolution Westminster is prepared to grant. (Justified semantically by the claim that it’s the maximum devolution Scotland’s going to get.)
So when we commissioned our latest Panelbase poll, we decided that rather than the usual checklist of “which powers should be devolved”, to which the answers have remained the same for years, we’d ask some slightly different questions about the relationship between Holyrood and Westminster, and the process of devolution itself, to see if we could determine what it is that the people of Scotland really want from their Parliament.
When we commissioned our latest poll, the candidates for the Scottish Labour sort-of leadership hadn’t yet been finalised. In fact, we’re not even sure whether the post of deputy “leader” was up for grabs at that point, with Anas Sarwar having said that he had no intention of stepping down, shortly before stepping down.
But in any event we thought it’d be much more interesting to see who people actually thought should be the leader, rather than just who they regarded as the least-worst option out of whoever put their head above the parapet and took on the least attractive job prospect in Scottish politics.
As part of our latest Panelbase poll, we wanted to explore the so-called “2017 Scenario” hinted at by new SNP leader and First Minister-elect Nicola Sturgeon, whereby the Tories control the UK parliament, the SNP have another majority at Holyrood, and the UK holds a referendum on the EU where England/the rUK votes to leave and Scotland votes to stay in.
To that end, we asked two key questions. Our findings are below.