The world's most-read Scottish politics website

Wings Over Scotland

Making the difference

Posted on October 27, 2013 by

Both of our polls so far have been far less concerned with HOW people intend to vote in the independence referendum, and much more concerned with the WHY. So in the second one, we decided to have a bit of a dig around in their reasons, see what it was they really wanted, and what might change their minds.


We had no idea what to expect, but our respondents still managed to surprise us.


Which of these will be the MAIN factors in deciding how you vote in the independence referendum? (Tick up to two.)

The future of the economy: 50
The prospects for my children/grandchildren: 43
Ensuring Scotland always gets the government it votes for: 31
Maintaining the UK’s international standing/influence: 25
My own prospects: 19
Emotional reasons (national pride etc): 8


Looks like that old jibe that Scots can be bought next September for £500 either way might have some truth in it. Questions like this, of course, are always susceptible to dishonest answers, because nobody likes to come out and say “I’m doing it for myself”. We’d hoped to cancel that out a bit by letting people tick two answers, but the theory may have backfired slightly.

We’re slightly disappointed that only 31% of people care much about Scotland getting governments it’s rejected at the ballot box for six years in every 10.

We’d imagined Labour voters as well as SNP ones would object to the one-way street that is England forcing Tories on the rest of the UK while never suffering the reverse, but as it gets harder and harder to tell Labour and Conservative (and Lib Dem) policies apart we suppose a cynic could understand why they weren’t all that bothered.

In the end just 21% of Labour voters chose as a priority that Scotland should be governed by the party Scotland chooses, compared to 53% from the SNP.

(In this question, incidentally, there was very little difference between the sexes.)


If all other things were equal, and it was purely a matter of personal preference, would you LIKE Scotland to be an independent country, or would you prefer it to remain in the UK?

Independent country: 44
Remain in the UK: 48
Don’t know: 9


This is quite a sobering result for the Yes camp, but not as depressing as it might first appear. It doesn’t mean that people can’t be persuaded – see the previous question – but it does mean they need to be convinced that there’s something in it for them other than just a change of flag, otherwise they don’t fancy all the hassle. (52% of men would do it on principle alone, whereas 51% of women would stay as they were.)

There was some encouragement for the Yes camp, too, in the number of people who could be swayed by Scotland simply being no worse off. 29% of Labour voters and 29% of Liberal Democrats (along with 9% of Tories) would prefer Scotland to be independent deep down, so long as they didn’t lose out as a result. As we’ll see later, “We cannae dae it!” is still the biggest obstacle the independence movement has to overcome.

So what about a couple of more specific scenarios? First up, our longest question.


The Scottish Government’s annual budget (like those of Wales and Northern Ireland) is determined by a block grant from Westminster calculated according to the ‘Barnett formula’, which is unpopular with many English voters and MPs.

Labour, the Conservatives and the Liberal Democrats have all recently said that they want to abolish this system and replace it with a ‘needs-based’ alternative, which would give Scotland a smaller share of UK spending than it receives at present.

If you knew that the Barnett formula was going to be abolished after 2015, how would it affect your vote in the independence referendum?

Much more likely to vote Yes: 18
Slightly more likely to vote Yes: 9
No difference – I’ll vote Yes anyway: 21
No difference – I’ll vote No anyway: 33
Slightly more likely to vote No: 2
Much more likely to vote No: 3
Don’t know: 15


Nicola Sturgeon’s speech at the SNP conference was attacked by the Unionist parties and media, with no apparent sense of irony, as negative and fearmongering. But the assertion in the question’s preamble is a fact. All three Westminster parties desperately want to scrap Barnett and free up more money for England, and with the threat of independence removed by a No vote there’ll be nothing left to stop them.

If that message gets through to Scots, a highly significant 27% might switch their vote, and that’s more than enough to completely turn around even the worst opinion polls. In particular, it could be the nudge that SNP-voting indy-sceptics need: 35% of Nats would be more inclined towards Yes if they though Barnett was on the way out, along with 26% of Labour voters.


David Cameron has pledged that the UK will hold an in/out referendum on membership of the European Union in 2017. If you believed the UK was going to leave the EU in the next few years, how would that affect your vote in the SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE referendum?

Much more likely to vote Yes: 14
Slightly more likely to vote Yes: 6
No difference: 53
Slightly more likely to vote No: 3
Much more likely to vote No: 7
Don’t know: 16


Earlier we found Scottish people to be pretty ambivalent about Europe, but when you put the question in starker and more direct terms, they’re not keen on the thought of leaving. 20% would be tilted towards Yes by the thought of finding ourselves outside the EU, although for 10% it’d be a positive.

Overall, then, the prospect of an exit could yet be a significant factor, especially if UKIP do well in the European elections in May 2014 (as they’re widely expected to) and put more pressure on the Tories at Westminster. Only half of Scots say it definitely won’t make a difference to their vote.

We’re keeping these posts down to 1000 or so words so as not to overwhelm you with data, so that’s all we’ve got time for here. Join us again later, when you’ll hear Nurse Piggy say “Now THAT’S some good news for the Yes campaign.”

Print Friendly

    78 to “Making the difference”

    1. Murray McCallum says:

      If we maybe think of at least 3 strands to the Yes campaign
      – The positive case for change
      – Rebutting unionist myths and fears
      – The fears and uncertainties of a “No” vote
      Seems to me that there is more of an appetite to get stuck into the third strand (while of course doing the other two – they are not mutually exclusive).
      The Barnett formula, EU withdrawal, tuition fees, NHS privatisation, Trident (WMDs in principle and spend thereon during the economics of austerity), UK state pension and national debt, … all provide ample examples of unanswered questions from the union.

    2. Desimond says:

      they don’t fancy all the hassle.

      True Dat!
      Apathy – the official religion of Scotland.

    3. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      I think the answers to all these questions merely confirm what most of us suspect. Our people are confused to a greater or lesser extent about most of the important stuff and if we can illustate to them clearly that we are comfortably self supporting the fear factor which is as a result of the confusion is abolished.
      If we can vividly expose deliberate unionist lies as we do so we greatly strengthen our position and destroy the unionist position. 
      It looks like in general terms males and the online generation are in favour of independence as of now and we’ve got enough time to get the rest. 

    4. handclapping says:

      whereas 51% of women would stay as they were.
      Is this the proof of my assertion that women are agin the referendum as they find it irrelevant?
      If we put it to them that child benefits are next on the Tory hit list to pay for their £200 tax break for being married, it might make the referendum more relevant.

    5. Ghengis says:

      According to the latest GERS, Scotland received £800 million from the EU but paid £1.2 Billion. We therefore made a net contribution to the EU of £400 million.
      So Westminster takes our £1.2 Billion and gives it to the EU. The EU return to us £800 million
      If we remained in the UK, and the UK came out of the EU. What would happen to that money? I think Westminster would take our £1.2  Billion and that would the last we would ever see of it.

    6. The Water Beastie says:

      Great sign off, Stu!!  😀
      As much as one knows that it will be derided with howls of ‘now who is scaremongering’, the angles of Barnett and EU can be fairly categorically worked, given that statements to support they are going to happen are widely public domain (well, the EU one will be after May, one suspects…).  And although it may go against the grain of the campaign thus far, it may be that a vivid picture of the ‘NO’ alternative has to be painted, on the basis of similar convergent statements by the Westminster parties.
      Not pretty – but may ultimately be necessary.  Whether you do it before or after May is another question….  [as also is – when is best for the next poll?  Before or after Xmas?? 😀 ]

    7. PickledOnionSupper says:

      Rev, thanks for a great series of articles and for all your hard work on this poll. Hope you are enjoying your much-deserved day off (and Happy Birthday!). This one is particularly interesting, as finding what makes people vote why they do will, I think, be key to turning No to Yes. I wonder how I would’ve answered the first question. I voted SNP for the first time at the last Holyrood election, because they’d provided a competent government over the previous few years and none of the opposition looked likely to do the same, but I wasn’t convinced on independence. What moved me over to Yes was a realisation that independence gave Scotland the best chance of being a more equal, more caring society. So I suppose I’d have answered ‘the prospects for my children & grandchildren’ or possibly ‘my own prospects’, though the latter in not the way most would understand it, I expect!

      With this and previous posts, it will be interesting to compare these results with another poll following release of the White Paper. My hunch is that once more details are known, there will be a shift to Yes, and the male-female split in particular will become less pronounced, as it will be less of a ‘leap in the dark’ then. Time will tell I suppose.

      Now, only 90 mins to wait til the next installment. ‘Bring it on’, as someone once said….! 

    8. Slaughterhouse says:

      I really don’t know why you are surprised that the economy scored the highest. The only thing the Yes camps needs to do is convince people that there will be no difference to their wage packet, or that we will be better off. This is what will tempt the undecideds and some ‘No’ voters.
      This is what they should have been doing from the start of their campaign. Nobody else really gives a shit about the Iraq war, etc.

    9. david says:

       Nobody else really gives a shit about the Iraq war, etc
      i would disagree with that

    10. Dave Steele says:

      Rev, thanks for all your work this weekend: it has been very insightful as to what is going beneath the surface of the Scottish voter.  Although, from the view of a Scot living in England, the Yes campaign has been very effective in the way it has campaigned, I am really stunned that so many people seem to still want to stay shackled to a political union that is not serving the best interests of their country.  Hopefully they will be swayed to vote Yes, there is still enough to get those minds changed.

    11. JLT says:

      That is very interesting stats, Rev.
      Personally, I am on my bending knees and praying like f***, that the ‘Yes’ campaign have got definite answers from everywhere.
      If they say in that White Paper, that they have a ‘DEFINITE YES’ to being in the EU,  a ‘DEFINITE YES’ to NATO and a ‘DEFINITE YES’ to using Sterling, then it might just make folk sit up more.
      When I mean a ‘DEFINITE YES’; I mean that the ‘Yes’ camp have been told, without a shadow of a doubt, that they will remain in the EU and not worry about having to use the Euro for the moment, that NATO would be delighted to have Scotland on board, and that the BoE have agreed that Scotland will retain Sterling as its main currency.
      If …the White Paper says ‘PROPOSES’, then the ‘No’ mob will leap on that, and tear everything that the ‘Yes’ camp says to shreds. The argument to me, at that point, dies! How can I persuade people when it is just a proposal. Give me a DEFINITE, and I PROMISE YOU …that I will hammer away at everyone until the 19th of September.
      My belief is that Alex Salmond and Co will have this in the bag. I can’t see him making a dog’s dinner of this. I believe that he does have the ‘DEFINITE YES’s’ in the White Paper. If he has all these DEFINITE’s, then the ‘No’ mob are in serious trouble.
      If the DEFINITE’s are there, it give the ‘Yes’ camp new ground now, based on this Poll’s results, and it means they can now chase the ‘No’ mob on new fronts. Once they people have the DEFINITE’s, they will be horrified to learn that the EU membership will be TAKEN AWAY if they remain in the Union and worse still, that they will be RIPPED OFF if the Barnett Formula is changed.
      Darling, Lamont, Sarwar, and the whole of the ‘No’ camp, along with their arguments, will die at that point!

    12. alexicon says:

      “The prospects for my children/grandchildren: 43″
      This to me is one of the key facts we should be hammering away at.
      They/we (the older generation) have given the unionists parties their chance to make life better for us for around 50 years now and what has it done for our future generations?
      It’s about time we gave the younger generation a clean start and better prospects by voting YES.
      Vote YES for our future generations.

    13. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

      Well done young Stu for all your hard work. Puts me to shame!
      I don’t think our countrymen/women have been influenced by all of the scaremongering. Just a bunch of politicians talking a lot of shite as usual? What they appear to be saying is Independence is going to be a hastle, so what’s in it for me and family?  
      Here’s some suggestions to deliver a YES vote.  
      1. reduce the basic rate of income tax to 15% from 20%.  Cost £1.5bn?
      2. provide  £1bn a year for free child care.
      3. provide £500 a year for a fuel allowance for every household.
      As well as abolishing the bedroom tax, re-nationalising the post office and increasing the minimum wage.
      Total cost circa £3.3bn
      Paid for by:
      1. cutting defence costs – £1.2bn?
      2. imposing a wealth tax – £500m
      3. defining tax avoidance, everything else is tax evasion and imposing a transfer tax (during life) – £1bn
      4. restricting tax relief on pension contributions to basic rate tax. £400m  
      5. introducing a land tax with exemptions for crofters etc £200m    

    14. bunter says:

      We have  to expect that the Whitehall machine will be applied to the white paper with the sole purpose of tearing it apart. I would be surprise if they dont have a draught copy at the moment if you know what I mean. We can only hope that its robust enough to withstand this.

    15. Paul Docherty says:

      For me, there’s a whole discussion missing and it’s around the process to be followed in the event of a Yes vote. I’ll come back to a No vote in a minute.
      People find it difficult to vote for something that has not been fully explained and so much of the polling is revealing people’s default position of ‘If I can’t understand what’s going to happen, I’ll vote against making the change’.
      I think the process of negotiating and becoming independent needs to be discussed and shown to people. It will also reveal to voters why the No campaign are so keen to avoid engaging in constructive dialogue prior to the vote.
      More people need to understand that they are voting for a negotiation to begin between the Scottish Government and rUK Government that would address such things as:

      what Scotland’s defence force would look like in detail
      what our diplomatic presence would be around the world and how much of the UK FCO real estate would be allocated to Scotland (since we own part of it already)
      what currency will be used and how it will be managed
      border controls (if any) with rUK.

      You’ll note that these are all of the issues but are just a few the No campaign has made big noises about recently, but they do this in the full knowledge that the pro-independence movement can only every give a proposal for these things and establish a starting point for negotiations. It can’t be a fixed picture until after a negotiation, illustrating why the No campaign see it is on their interests to shout so much but talk so little.
      The process should also highlight how general elections could work in Scotland post-Yes. This would help with the No voters who mistakenly believe that a Yes vote is a vote for the SNP in government in perpetuity, when in actual fact, committed Labour voters SHOULD be crying out for independence as they would be likely to be in power and able to enact their policies for the vast majority of future Scottish Parliaments, given historical voting trends.
      Going back to a No vote; there needs to be more discussion on what will happen post-No. My personal opinion is that Westminster will mistakenly argue that this a No vote is a mandate to stamp out any remainder of Scottishness, ultimately resulting in erosion of power in Holyrood rather than expansion.
      Again, the No camp chooses not to enter dialog on this subject in general, implying that there will be no difference at best, but at worst they may choose to assert what I mentioned above.

    16. Atypical_Scot says:

      If all other things were equal.
      If that were the case, there would be no referendum and very little need for one if any. 
      However, if it were the case that everything was equal, and the power lay equally between nations of the UK as the question suggests – but Scotland could be better off out with the union – it would be likely the Scottish Tories would be the first in line to hold a referendum.

    17. Ken Johnston says:

      Well, seems like I am in tiny minority in that it’s independence for good or bad because we are a nation.
      Truly Jim Sillars 90 minute patriots writ large in this survey. So if rUK promise £600 PA more, we’re stuffed.

    18. benarmine says:

      Genuinely surprised by the “all things being equal” result, quite depresses me. We really are a unique people, and not in a good way. I hope something can be found to change their thinking.

    19. Paul Docherty says:

      I also think the SNP have to look to the bigger objective and start telling people that a vote for independence is a vote for people and future generations, and NOT a vote for the SNP.

    20. Yodhrin says:

      It’s tempting to tell yourself “ah but they just dinnae understand what you meant” or “ah but if they had all the facts they’d answer differently”, but frankly I’m starting to get a bit depressed at just how deeply neo-liberalism has integrated itself into the public consciousness, and how deeply selfish it appears to have made us.

      If these death penalty-loving, benefit-hating, me-first-I-got-mine-Jack types are the “don’t knows” who’re going to swing the referendum, I’m not sure we can win it without giving up the things that make independence appealing in the first place for many in the Yes camp.

    21. Ronnie says:

      Me too.

    22. Paula Rose says:

      I don’t know that we should generalise about Scotland on the basis of 1000 self-selected people, who probably signed up in expectation of financial gain.

    23. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      “Nobody else really gives a shit about the Iraq war, etc.”
      The Iraq war and the sight of almost the entire elected Labour Party voting for it accelerated the destruction of the Labour Party and its morphing into nothing more than a ideal free and principle free election machine.
      It proved to be the best recruiting agent ever for fundamentalist Islamic terrorists.
      It made the UK even more hated in many parts of the world than it already was
      It blew Iraq, the Middle East’s best functioning and secular state (no matter what you think of Saddam) back into the middle ages.

      It killed several hundred thousand people , most of them innocent women and children
      Obviously a fair selection of those who keep voting Labour (and Tory) don’t give a shit about Iraq. They don’t give a shit about Scotland either in many cases
      But most Scots I know remain appalled about Iraq. Maybe I know the wrong people 

    24. jim mitchell says:

      So far this poll has been pretty good for us, I also think that it is a far more honest poll than the unionists would ever commission, that’s why there are one or two things that most of us would rather be different, but in the main , I think that there are folk out there waiting to be convinced and that they can and will be.
      I can’t see how the NO lot can come up with anything other than to continue with project fear and the lies, unless it’s to try something more concrete in the way of bribes, rather than just empty promises. 

    25. JLT says:

      To a degree, I’m still convinced that the Tories couldn’t care less if Scotland vanishes. For as long as a deal is thrashed out on Faslane, and they get the odd deal here and there, I think the Tories will quite gladly say ‘ta-ta’ to the Scots. I don’t think Whitehall may put up that much of a fight. Everything south of the border is just ‘business as usual.’
      However north of the border, and it’s our own media that lie through their teeth, or twist some answers. Labour are obviously bricking it. This is their worst nightmare!
      I can only two reasons why the ‘Yes’ camp have been so quiet on answers.
      They either DO HAVE the DEFINITE answers for the White Paper, but are quietly allowing the ‘No’ camp to shout, scream, foam at the mouth saying that Scotland isn’t getting anything; only to then be made utter fools off, when the White Paper says otherwise. At that point, the ‘No’ are dead in the water! (Hooray!)
      Or we fear the worst …and it is just PROPOSALS. To me, that could be game over for us. The backlash from the media will be incredible. However …I don’t believe this to be the case. 
      Salmond is a political master tactician. So far, I think he has played a blinder. Quiet and calm. Slowly moving the pieces into position. I mean, this is political chess! I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this in British Politics!
      Even the Tories are doing it! Cameron not getting involved, and even giving Labour rope, razor blades, suicide pills, the pistol with a single bullet …the lot! Talk about getting your main rivals to place their own head into the guillotine. Bloody impressive! How Cameron ever managed to get a Labour ‘Top Boy’ to carry the can on this, really impressive! Darling must know that he is in for tanking if this goes wrong!
      From what I can see, I think Salmond was right. He has allowed the ‘No’ mob to shout and scream during this ‘phoney war’. I think the White Paper will be the ‘real deal’, and thus allow ‘Yes’ to go on a massive offensive, from which the ‘No’ mob will never recover.
      Reverend Stuart. Go and have a beer, my man. You bloody well deserve it! Well done! Happy Birthday, my man! Put your feet up, chill and enjoy the night…

    26. Dave McEwan Hill says:

      Ken Johnston
      I’m with you entirely – and so I expect are most well informed and thoughtful people who don’t need the venal inducements. 

    27. scottish_skier says:

      If all other things were equal, and it was purely a matter of personal preference, would you LIKE Scotland to be an independent country, or would you prefer it to remain in the UK?
      Och pants. This is similar to my question, but the preamble means it is just the referendum question in a slightly different form. Hence it yields a similar answer.
      It doesn’t mean that people can’t be persuaded – see the previous question – but it does mean they need to be convinced that there’s something in it for them other than just a change of flag, otherwise they don’t fancy all the hassle

    28. Slaughterhouse says:

      Dave, people might be appalled by the Iraq war, but it’s not going to make a difference to how almost everyone votes in this referendum. All this argument has ever been about is ‘Can we afford it?’, and this is what the Yes camp needs to concentrate on.

    29. Atypical_Scot says:

      If everything is equal, what would be the motivation for changing that?

    30. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Paula rose @5:27
      What was that all about?

    31. jim mitchell says:

      Opinion polls are or can be important snap shots of what a nation, as represented by those asked, is thinking at any one time.
      This one, as I have said and still believe, has more going for us than the NO campaign, it is unfortunately illogical to expect that everything in our country will be shown to be what we wish it to be, there is room and time for change and given how much we have changed it in the past, I believe that we can change it further,
      We should also remember that within the YES movement, as there has also, always been in the SNP, differences as to what independence should actually bring,
      So long as we continue to keep the  discipline within our ranks to continue to work towards our goal and then afterwards settle any differences in a democratic way, we have no right to expect more.
      The more that we continue to work together, respecting any differences in how we view the future after independence, the more likely we  are to be able to cooperate for our countries benefit afterwards

    32. Sandy Williams says:

      You say you are dissappointed that so few opted for Scotland getting a government it chooses but to be fair Scotland’s experience of democracy has always been distorted confusing and pervert and therefore few probably realise what this means or what can be achieved with such a thing.

    33. fairiefromtheearth says:

      Well according to the SNP Scotland has paid more in taxes in the last 30 years than has got back.This should also be in the white paper,i was only 7 when the last independence referendum was held,the yes vote won i just wonder what Scotland would look like today 34 years on if they had respected the majoritys wishes?

    34. kininvie says:

      If these death penalty-loving, benefit-hating, me-first-I-got-mine-Jack types are the “don’t knows” who’re going to swing the referendum, I’m not sure we can win it without giving up the things that make independence appealing in the first place for many in the Yes camp.
      That’s precisely the same kind of short-term thinking that we complain about when we meet people who think a Yes vote is a vote for Salmond.
      It’s looking at today, not the next 500 years. I don’t give a shit if I meet someone whose views are anathema to me, provided I can persuade him or her to vote Yes.
      If that means explaining how it will benefit his pocket, so be it. If it means explaining that he may actually need horrible foreign immigrants to help him out in his old age, so be it. If it means telling him he can elect an anti-EU party in an indy Scotland, so be it. If it means explaining that how he may be able vote for a government that believes in stringing up murderers, so be it.
      There’s no point in being squeamish….we have to wrestle with this pig, and if we don’t enjoy it, we just have to thole it.

    35. Paula Rose says:

      @ BtP – still not entirely convinced about how representative these modern polling methods are.

    36. scottish_skier says:

      If everything is equal, what would be the motivation for changing that?
      Yes, that’s how I read it. Basically, it’s the referendum question in a different form. It says to me ‘barring any major changes/new complications to current independence prospects (i.e. all things being equal), would you like independence to happen?’.
      In an ideal world, would you like Scotland to be an independent country? Was what I’d like to see asked.
      The answer to the actual question asked is very interesting though in itself as it says things are actually damn close based what people know right now if you push them.

    37. Brian Ritchie says:

      @ Paul Docherty 5.14
      If you listen to Alex Salmond’s latest conference speech, the very concerns you highlight are the very ones he says WILL be addressed in the White Paper.;)

    38. DougtheDug says:

      If all other things were equal, and it was purely a matter of personal preference, would you LIKE Scotland to be an independent country, or would you prefer it to remain in the UK?

      Independent country: 44
      Remain in the UK: 48
      Don’t know: 9
      Strangely enough I find this an encouraging result.
      After 300 years of being told we’re British by the institutions of society and with all the media, radio, newspapers and TV (which includes the British state broadcaster) hostile to independence then it’s quite startling that nearly half of Scots still think independence is best.

    39. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      Paula Rose @ 5:58
      Voodoo sums as we used to say in Garrioch Primary, but it all helps to pass a day, out of the pub.
      I think they make interesting debating points and if we had a set of the same questions posed over a period I would guess that we could deduce a lot about changes in attitude, correction factors being the same and applying the relevant confidence limits.

    40. Ken says:

      I’ve repeatedly told friends, who lament the state of the polls, that Scots are a hard headed, pragmatic bunch. Show them how better off they will be and the referendum will be won. It’s not romantic or idealistic but there you are. I would vote for independence even if I thought I’d be worse off and I’m sure many of us here feel the same, but we have to be realistic. The case for YES is there, at every level. It won’t be easy but get it out there at every possible opportunity.  

    41. Juteman says:

      I wish folk would stop exaggerating the effects of the White Paper.  If I was part of Better Together, I would be posting on Yes websites saying it has to be a gamechanger, or it’s all over.
      To most of the undecided/low information voters, it will have little immediate effect. The media will not promote anything good in it, and twist anything that can be used against the Yes campaign. Look at Lamont today denying her ‘something for nothing’ speech. How much coverage will the media give to that tomorrow?
      A YES win will come from folk on the streets spreading the truth, not from statements from the top.

    42. Paula Rose says:

      @ BtP Aye, such polls show trends etc in intentions, I’m more thinking about social attitudes, I wonder if people who sign up for these polls should maybe get out more!

    43. Atypical_Scot says:

      I’m not being facetious, just curious, if I found myself in my ideal world, I wouldn’t be changing anything. What would be the benefit in leaving an ideal world behind?

    44. Adam Davidson says:

      My concern is that the majority of the Scottish population are not politically active as is backed up by so many of them not having heard of Ruth Davidson, Rennie, Harvie etc. Therefore they only get their information from the newspaper headlines. They probably don’t even read the political articles or not all the way through otherwise they would have heard of these minor politicians.
      Some will become more active closer to the referendum but where I’ll they get their information? Online media? Buy a newspaper? Ask friends? 
      Will many any vote based on their existing preconception?
      There is a pattern that when people hear the pro independence arguments they move towards Yes in some degree. We need to spread the word.

    45. Scaraben says:

      Paula Rose,
      You are not the only one with a suspicion that a poll of people who have put themselves forward to be polled may not be truly representative, particularly on issues which do not correlate well with, for example, how people voted in the last election. If people receive even a small financial reward for participation, this could mean that respondents are slightly more greedy than the average; alternatively, people may choose to take part because they think their opinions are of particular importance, in which case respondents might be slightly more arrogant than average. Any resulting bias towards more self-centred views would presumably not be corrected by weighting for factors such as voting record, age, socio-economic status, gender etc.
      Perhaps scottish_skier could shed more light on this.

    46. Jingly Jangly says:

      This is the first time ever that the people of Scotland have had a vote on whether to be Independent. or indeed to join/continue with the Union.
      We didn’t get asked in 1706/07 nor did we in 1979. That was a referendum on Devolution. Which incidentally was won by the YES side but due to Labour a clause was inserted which said that over 40%  of the electorate had to vote YES, by the time of the referendum the electoral roll was several months out of date so recently dead people votes counted as NO.  However the majority voted YES.

    47. scottish_skier says:

      Perhaps scottish_skier could shed more light on this.
      Every polling methodolgy has potential flaws. The amount of money you get for filling out online polls is about minimum wage if you take your time and answer thoughtfully and carefully. You are not asked that often either so don’t plan to try an live on it; £20 a month if you are lucky. If I was a greedy sod after loadsamoney, then answering online polls would be the last thing I’d do.
      Panelbase is as good as ICM, AR, Comres, TNS (at least for No numbers as TNS has shy factor problems for yes) etc. Yougov even now look similar after they conceded their UKGE weighting was wrong and changed to Holyrood. Only MORI remains out on a limb due to them using outdated landline telephone methods which results in them being too skewed to ‘British’ in terms of sample Moreno identity.
      The most important thing is to appreciate that it is a poll and understand how people have responded to questions in terms of what was asked. People were miffed at the work for benefits results, suggesting a lack of compassion. However, the bedroom tax got a massive thumbs down. It’s because the first question on the benefits doesn’t explain exactly what was meant (the bedroom tax has been all over the headlines, but workfare less so) and implied it was asking about cases where people were not interested in working / needed to be forced. The bedroom tax one was clear; people know what exactly is meant here. 
      Polls give us hints, that’s all. A snapshot. Should be interpreted with care.
      Rev’s done a good job on this one. Some very interesting things to mull over.

    48. scottish_skier says:

      I’m not being facetious, just curious, if I found myself in my ideal world, I wouldn’t be changing anything. What would be the benefit in leaving an ideal world behind?
      You simply highlight the problem of perception. For me, I imagined what an ideal world would be like and that would included Scotland being independent….
      The perfect poll question doesn’t require those being asked to think ‘what are they asking me here exactly’. That can be very difficult to do sometimes, especially when the matter is complex (e.g. on welfare in terms of who deserves what). Often you need to add a preamble. But then by adding that you might lead them, even if just by giving them information they didn’t know, ergo making them no longer ‘representative’ in theory…

    49. Morag says:

      i was only 7 when the last independence referendum was held,
      As someone else already mentioned, there has never been an independence referendum in Scotland.  Next year’s will be the first.
      I’m quite confused by how often I encounter people on the internet who think there was such a referendum in 1979.  There wasn’t.  How does a false fact like this gain such traction, I wonder?

    50. Atypical_Scot says:

      Rev points out the surprise of how badly the Daily Record fared earlier – is there a link to your suspicions? One would have to accept that pollsters are by nature opinionated, but a flip of the same coin, more likely to vote.
      On a lighter note, the yellow and black icon on this sight has a waspish vibe – distressing – I think Rev should omit that colour variation…,      …not on his B’day of course.

    51. Atypical_Scot says:

      There in lies the problem, if the union wasn’t as disparate as it obviously is, there would be little necessity in a referendum. The notion that an independent Scotland is ‘better’ than one in union is only pertinent to those that understand ‘our’ perspective of the history. To the ‘not so bothered’, this would appear as the base question – if you are happy, would you change that? 
      Strangely, I feel more inclined to accept the not so favourable notion that the undecideds may need to be ‘bought over’ in this case. what do you think?

    52. scottish_skier says:

      Undecideds want to vote Yes.
      If they were for the union, they wouldn’t say ‘DK’.
      No and DK show zero correlation. When Yes has polled ahead of the No (e.g late 2011), it’s largely due to the undecideds saying Yes; when DKs swing, it is to Yes.
      The No should fear the fact that the strongest correlation is between Yes and No, i.e. No move directly to Yes, combined with the fact they can’t get any DK’s on board as DKs tend to Yes when pushed.

    53. JLT says:

      Hi Juteman,
      ‘A YES win will come from folk on the streets spreading the truth, not from statements from the top.’
      I can see what you are saying, but I think you are wrong in part of your analysis.
      The White Paper must NOT be a ‘proposal’ paper. It MUST be a ‘definite’ paper. Definite in the sense that it has clear, hard, definite answers. Pure Black and White. No grey areas. If we need to convert people, I can’t do it on hunches. I need definite answers, and they need to come from the Top.
      That is why the White Paper is extremely important, and it has to be a game changer. I can’t convert folk with ‘guesses and hunches’.
      If the paper is vague, then what will be the game changer in the future? The Tories? They will just sit tight on any future policies and annihilate Scotland after a ‘No’ vote. Same with Labour. They will all sit quietly, letting the ‘Yes’ camp kill itself with unsure answers.
      None of us can walk into the 18th of September 2014, still saying, ‘we intend to propose this. We intend to propose that.’ That won’t wash with the people, and even less so, with the media. 
      ‘Fury!’ That one word will be the mood of the people if we still don’t have definite answers in that Paper.
      This biased media of ours will slaughter the ‘Yes’ group if there is still hints of doubt over several key issues within the White Paper! You would be giving them a ton of ammunition to use. It will be pure carnage on the ‘Yes’ camp. The ‘No’ mob will be in raptures. 
      This ‘unbiased’ media of ours, will scream out to all who will listen, that Scotland has just wasted 3 years of its life on a ‘wish list’ that ‘Yes’ knew they could never provide! If the media are given a chance, then they will eat us alive. It would be a feeding frenzy.
      Personally …for me; yes, I believe the ‘Yes’ camp have done their homework and got confirmation on a ton of things. Yes, I believe the White Paper will have Definite answers on EU membership continuation, Sterling as currency and being in NATO. Yes I believe that the White Paper will give me the ammunition to finally sit down with people and convert them. Yes, I believe that the ‘No’ mob are bricking themselves on this paper.
      Make no bones about it, I think we will ALL be bricking it the night before the paper is released. Both camps! Bricking it in the sense, in wondering whether the White Paper stands up or not.
      For me personally …the White Paper IS the game changer. I can’t see where else it can come from. Without definite answers, there will be no real change in the percentages.

    54. Juteman says:

      I think you are 100% wrong JLT. You are setting up the Yes campaign for a fail. The White Paper CAN’T answer all the questions.

    55. Atypical_Scot says:

      Agreed. The white paper will be misconstrued, misinterpreted and binned by the MSM as soon as you can say “here is the white paper we have slogged over”.

    56. Murray McCallum says:

      “Definite answers on EU membership continuation”
      That is impossible unless the UK government asks this specific question of the EU themselves. Only they have the authority to ask this question. The legal opinions I have seen in the press (as well as recent TV statements by Michael Moore) show it very unlikely that Scotland would be excluded from the EU and have to re-apply.

      “Sterling as currency”
      The UK government will never confirm that they desire a shared currency. However, that is not relevant to Scotland retaining the pound. Scotland can have whatever currency it chooses, though a formal shared currency would be beneficial to all parties.

      No NATO member is going to step out and say, on the record, that Scotland will be a member (without the UK government first approving it).
      I agree that the White Paper is very important though, especially over areas that the Scottish government has control over, or areas they can set out detailed regulatory frameworks.
      Regardless of how good the White Paper is, it will be relentlessly targeted by BBC better together and all the press. They will relish rubbishing the White Paper – even if it is the best written document ever produced in the history of mankind!

    57. muttley79 says:

      If you knew that the Barnett formula was going to be abolished after 2015, how would it affect your vote in the independence referendum?
      Much more likely to vote Yes: 18
      Slightly more likely to vote Yes: 9
      No difference – I’ll vote Yes anyway: 21
      No difference – I’ll vote No anyway: 33
      Slightly more likely to vote No: 2
      Much more likely to vote No: 3
      WTF!  38 per cent of the Scottish electorate would still vote No if they knew the Barnett formula was going to be abolished after 2015, and we would have less public spending (with a fair chance that it would be significantly less at that).  What is that all about?   

    58. Murray McCallum says:

      I reckon that is pretty much down to your your die hard BritNat, Scottish cringer as witnessed in the answer to the later question:
      “The Scottish people would make a success of an independent Scotland.”
      Disagree: 30%

    59. muttley79 says:

      I think you are 100% wrong JLT. You are setting up the Yes campaign for a fail. The White Paper CAN’T answer all the questions.
      Correct.  The White Paper is effectively the SG’s case for independence.  It is essentially the arguments for independence.  There are always two sides to an argument (well nearly all) and this is the same.  The best that the White Paper can do is use evidence to back up the SG’s claims on why voters should back independence.  The No campaign and MSM are not going to sit back and say the White Paper has answered all the questions.  However, what it can do is neutralise many of the No campaign’s scare stories and arguments.  If it is backed up by enough evidence, then the No campaign will effectively be left extremely threadbare for the 10 months before the referendum. 

    60. muttley79 says:

      I reckon that is pretty much down to your your die hard BritNat, Scottish cringer as witnessed in the answer to the later question:
      “The Scottish people would make a success of an independent Scotland.”
      Disagree: 30%.
      That nearly 40 per cent of the electorate here are willing to see Scotland suffer so much is shocking though (and suffer we will if we vote No).  That is an awful thing to be fully prepared to do, just to stay as part of the British state.  Wow…

    61. Murray McCallum says:

      I agree Mutley79. It is totally shocking. Almost self abuse in order to remain “British” (whatever that actually means).

    62. muttley79 says:

      Strangely enough I find this an encouraging result.
      After 300 years of being told we’re British by the institutions of society and with all the media, radio, newspapers and TV (which includes the British state broadcaster) hostile to independence then it’s quite startling that nearly half of Scots still think independence is best.
      It tells you everything you need to know about the power and strength of the independence case and cause.  Look how far we have come since 1967.  Look at all the barriers placed in our way, which have failed to prevent this referendum from taking place.  That is why the No campaign/MSM are bricking it. 
      I wish folk would stop exaggerating the effects of the White Paper.
      *Football style clapping*

    63. muttley79 says:

      I agree Mutley79. It is totally shocking. Almost self abuse in order to remain “British” (whatever that actually means).
      The thing is though, even after independence, people in Scotland can still be British if that is how they feel, given that geographically we would still be part of the British Isles.  However, nearly 40 per cent of the electorate are saying that they want to remain part of the British state, regardless of the fact we often get the governments we did not vote for, or the damage to Scotland that a No vote would entail.  They are effectively saying that they support all the privatisations that have happened in the UK, the massive poverty levels here, the life expectancy rates in some parts of the country being so low, the scrapping of the Barnett formula meaning less public spending in Scotland, the continuing austerity until at least probably 2020, the illegal war in Iraq, and the possession of nuclear weapons on the doorstep of our largest city.  This has all happened under the Union.  Unbelievable and no wonder it is likened to Stockholm syndrome.  

    64. Gray says:

      I think the majority of the electorate must think that the Barnett formula has something to do with George Robertson’s hairstyle. If I thought that I’m sure I’d say NO to it too 😀

    65. Murray McCallum says:

      “The thing is though, even after independence, people in Scotland can still be British if that is how they feel, given that geographically we would still be part of the British Isles.”
      I think you are right. These people can even continue to have British passports. Wouldn’t the union jack also remain the flag of the monarchy within these isles?
      In terms of the other things I think it is an instinctive tribal reaction. I am not sure they actually think things far enough ahead to understand the dire financial consequences of what they are signing up to. I don’t get it myself.
      Maybe they think these profoundly negative things will ever happen in the union, even if events are actually shaping that way. A state of mass denial? A state of comfortable dependency?

    66. Craiging_619 says:

      The ‘If all other things were equal’ answer makes no sense to me, at least on the surface. The recent census showed that 62% think of themselves as “Scottish only”, yet 18% fewer would like their country to become independent, even if nothing was lost or gained financially/structurally. That group doesn’t seem to be thinking “We cannae dae it”: it’s more a case of “Ah cannae be bothered”.

      That’s the sort of voter that the White Paper should be reaching out to, in my opinion – Scots who genuinely view their ‘country’ as Scotland rather than Britain/UK, but think it would be too much hassle with no extra benefits (quite a few of my friends/colleagues are still in this “hrmph what’s the point?” mood with the whole thing). The recent Perspectives blog on Latvia’s independence would be a great one to share with people, as that outlines how straightforward it is for normal countries to sort EU membership etc.

      The White Paper can nail all the No camp’s lies and misinformation about the ‘how’ of independence, then deal with the ‘why’ – the necessity of a Yes vote to safeguard us from the horror of future Westminster governments we don’t vote for. A No vote could end up being the green light for the end of the Barnett Formula, Scotland subsidising Westminster even more than before, no oil fund in the future, governments far more right-wing than we would wish for, departure from the EU (and the potential destruction of human/workers rights that may accompany that) and a ton of future wars to salivate over.

    67. muttley79 says:

      If there is a No vote there will be ‘no comfortable dependency’ for the vast majority of people in Scotland.  Say goodbye to free prescriptions, bus passes, the chance of using our abundant natural resources to deliver a better society, the Barnett formula.  Say hello to privatisation of the NHS, tutition fees of between £6000-£9,000 a year, no chance of re-nationalising the Royal Mail, a massive increase in poverty and food banks, as spending gets slashed.  I hope by next September people who vote No realise fully what they are voting for, and the damage to Scotland if they win. 

    68. Murray McCallum says:

      Yes Mutlet79 as well as spell out the positive case for independence, the glaring holes in the case for a status quo, “No” vote will need to be totally exposed for what it is – an empty promise.
      These people are not really thinking of the consequences at the moment. They do not believe these things will happen. Many will never accept it and will simply vote “No”. However, there will be enough thinking “Don’t knows” and “No” voters to see how events are moving.
      As Craiging_619 says, the White Paper could set out the “why” as well as the “how” of independence. As the referendum draws closer, Darling will increasingly have to set out clearer consequences of voting “No”. More questions will be asked of his campaign.

    69. sionnach says:

      I’m confused over one quite small point. Why would bus passes for the elderly be scrapped? We have them here in England. So much for Gordon Brown’s idea of “equalisation”.

    70. sionnach says:

      Murray McCallum says:
      Wouldn’t the union jack also remain the flag of the monarchy within these isles?
      I thought the flag of the monarchy was the Royal Standard. The flag of the Union will need to be redesigned to remove the St Andrew’s Cross. More expense!

    71. David McCann says:

      Brilliant job Stu. There is a lot in these results to be optimistic about, and with ten months to go, I really do believe that the tide is in our favour.

      One thing to remember is this.

      With days to go before the May 2011 election, YouGov predicted that the SNP would get 55 seats to Labour’s 48, the Tories on 12, Greens on 8, and the LibDems on 5.

      The actual  result. SNP 69.  Labour  37. Tories 15. Greens 2.  LibDems 5.

      The polls always seem to under represent the pro indy vote.

      With regard to the low poll for the young vote, time methinks for someone on the Yes camp in Motherwell, to knock on Nicholas MacDonald’s door!
      This 16 year old  is going to win the X Factor for sure!

    72. Murray McCallum says:

      Union Jack history
      “The origins of the flag date back to 1603, when James VI of Scotland inherited the English and Irish thrones (as James I), thereby uniting the crowns of England, Scotland and Ireland in a personal union (which remained separate states). On 12 April 1606, a new flag to represent this regal union between England and Scotland was specified in a royal decree, according to which the flag of England (a red cross on a white background, known as St George’s Cross), and the flag of Scotland (a white saltire on a blue background, known as the Saltire or St Andrew’s Cross), would be joined together, forming the flag of Great Britain and first union flag.”

    73. call me dave says:

      Hi::     I am sure the bus pass in Scotland will continue.
      As for the flag. Royal Standard. You’ll find them all here.

    74. Alan Gerrish says:

      I have mentioned before on Wings that to get behaviour change ie a move from a No to Yes, or a Don’t Know to Yes vote, or even to vote at all, people must be convinced of an element of personal or familial gain (this will probably be financial gain,  but could also include security of status, security/ improvement of future prospects etc) .  

      Therefore all the information in the world may have little impact on voting intentions if it does not spell out for each person who reads or listens to the information how they will gain from the action of, in this case, a Yes vote. The corollary of the personal gain bit is what personal pain might accrue from the opposite action to voting Yes, ie a No vote, or not voting at all, and here I’m increasingly of the view that as well as spelling out the advantages of a Yes vote, at some stage the Yes camp MUST say what will happen in the event of a No vote.

      I know that to use this approach we will  be accused of adopting  “negative” campaigning, and for sure the BT lot have given negative campaigning a bad name, but as long as the information is sound and evidence -based I  think it is both valid and essential.  On the other hand, not to inform in this way will greatly reduce the impact of our overall campaign. It is therefore essential there is a mix of both elements in the information we give out.

      As with most things, the timing of when to up the anti is crucial , and certainly it would be counter-productive to use it before the White Paper is released, but it can’t be delayed much later than next spring if it is to be effective.  Hopefully the White Paper will indeed address the main questions and give lots of useful information, but information of itself can only achieve so much in motivating individuals to pursue a particular course of action. The consequencies of the opposite course of action must also be spelled out to fully inform and motivate them.  

      Anyway, I’m 17minutes late as we’re now into Monday, but Happy Birthday, Rev., and thanks for the brilliant work you’re doing. Lang may yer lum reek!

    75. Murray McCallum says:

      “I am sure the bus pass in Scotland will continue.”
      Though not necessarily true if SLAB were to gain power in Scotland – they have yet to set out the universal benefits they intend to cease as part of ending the “something for nothing culture” and the “parallel” world Scotland is in.

    76. sionnach says:

      @call me dave:
      Thanks for the link. I hadn’t realised there were TWO variants of the Royal Standard of Scotland (one with just the Scottish lion rampant, the other with the lion occupying two quarters instead of one). We live and learn 🙂

    77. Devorgilla says:

      The biggest factor affecting support for Scottish independence has always been the economy, so I don’t know why you are surprised that comes up tops.

      More specifically, WHO controls the Scottish economy.

      Fears about loss of Scottish economic autonomy have always prompted a fierce reaction. In the 1950s, after Labour had nationalised coal, steel, and the railways, there was fierce anti-Labour reaction to the extent that the Tories reached their highest point and the highest vote for any party EVER in Scotland in an election, simply because people were horrified that nationalisation meant London control, and that something that had been Scottish was taken away and controlled from a distant parliament.

      strange, but true.

      The Union was only acceptable in the context of their being a fair amount of ‘home rule’ in the ownership and management of key assets.

    78. sneddon says:

      sionnnach – no party leaders in England are proposing to scrap them in England, however it’ll be soon that they’ll start talking about the ‘something for nothing culture’ and it’ll be put up for review.  Also as govt spending rises in England where do you think they’ll start cutting?

    Comment - please read this page for comment rules. HTML tags like <i> and <b> are permitted. Use paragraph breaks in long comments. DO NOT SIGN YOUR COMMENTS, either with a name or a slogan. If your comment does not appear immediately, DO NOT REPOST IT. Ignore these rules and I WILL KILL YOU WITH HAMMERS.

    ↑ Top