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Wings Over Scotland


Them and them and us

Posted on August 30, 2013 by

A curious facet of the independence debate in recent weeks has been the rise in – mostly, but not exclusively, Unionist – commentators rubbishing the idea that Scots are significantly different in their social attitudes from people in the rest of the UK.

It’s been pointed out that a majority of Scots support the benefit cap (glossing over the fact that it applies to basically nobody in Scotland), it’s been claimed that most Scots back Trident, and most recently that contrary to popular belief, they’re no less Eurosceptic than their English neighbours.

passports

So we were curious when Saga recently conducted a large-sample poll of its members (people aged 50 and above, generally considered to be the most conservative demographic) about their attitudes to the EU, and the Scottish press reported it without mentioning the Scottish results.

Armed with our recently-acquired knowledge of British Polling Council rules (specifically the one that says full data tables should be made publicly available within 48 hours of headline findings being released to the media), we started searching for the data tables on the website of Populus, the BPC member who conducted with the poll.

A week after the results were being reported by newspapers, we’d still drawn a blank. Tweets and emails to Populus were ignored, but after chasing them up by phone yesterday we finally got hold of the tables today. The total sample size of the poll was 11,211 people, with a Scottish sub-sample of a very respectable 815 – slightly less than you’d want for a proper, fully-legitimate poll, but still a decent guide.

The results were straightforward.

IF THERE WAS AN IN-OUT EU REFERENDUM, HOW WOULD YOU VOTE?

Whole UK

Stay in the EU: 33%
Leave the EU: 45%
Don’t know/won’t say: 22%

Scotland

Stay in the EU: 42%
Leave the EU: 36%
Don’t know/won’t say: 22%

England/UK excluding Scotland

Stay in the EU: 32%
Leave the EU: 46%
Don’t know/won’t say: 22%

(As whole numbers, figures for England and the rUK are the same. Of the other UK constituent nations, Wales also wanted out – by 45% to 35% – and Northern Ireland, on a tiny sample of 99, wanted to stay by the smallest possible margin, 39-38. England likes the EU the least, Scotland the most.)

The UK, even with Scotland in it, would vote to leave the EU, by a clear 12% margin, while Scotland would vote to stay in by a margin of 6%. The 18-point margin is large, but the simpler key fact is that on an in-out vote, the UK wants out of the EU and Scotland wants to stay in.

Now, with sizeable numbers of uncommitted voters, and bearing in mind the audience was a narrow demographic of older people, these results obviously aren’t a conclusive picture. But the broad findings do tally with several other polls of various sizes which show Scots in favour of the EU and the rest of the UK against.

ukeu

ukeupoll

scotlandeu2

So we can’t help wondering why that fact didn’t make it into any Scottish newspapers.

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    51 to “Them and them and us”

    1. Angus says:

      This is what should be front page news.
       
      It blows the alleged “similarity in social attitudes” of the better together or the uk political clique of labour/tory/libdems apart and it is just one difference, you could easily cite attitude to nuclear weapons, nuclear power, education made free at source by prioritising our taxes etc etc as also being major differences.
       
      Cool as

    2. Crag Evans says:

      I expect that last sentence was rhetorical!?

    3. jim mitchell says:

      Angus, surely you don’t mean that the NO side should actually start to tell the (gulp) truth?
      speaking of which does anyone know if the Daily Record actually got around to printing that correction regarding who first introduced the bedroom tax?
      Would love to know.

    4. pmcrek says:

      Hmm Ipsos Mori Dad’s Army-esque arrows had no bearing whatsoever on the result…?

    5. M4rkyboy says:

      I think the question for Scotland is EU or EFTA given our geography.

    6. Angus says:

      Crag Evans says:I expect that last sentence was rhetorical!?
       
      Only slightly Crag. 😉

    7. Juteman says:

      Just an observation, Rev.
      If someone did a quick scan of this article, they might just see the graphics and the headlines, and think ‘we’ want to leave?

    8. Murray McCallum says:

      Would we ever have found out about this?  Well done for following this up.
      I remain a pro EU person and glad to see most Scots expressing a view continue to feel the same way.
      I don’t see any attraction to EFTA, especially their members Switzerland and Lichtenstein.

    9. DougtheDug says:

      “A curious facet of the independence debate in recent weeks has been the rise in – mostly, but not exclusively, Unionist – commentators rubbishing the idea that Scots are significantly different in their social attitudes from people in the rest of the UK.”
       
      It’s not that curious. The myth that there is no Scottish identity and that it was all made up by Sir Walter Scott and more recently by the SNP is an idea that used to be common in the media, both above and below the line. The argument claimed that there is only a British identity and that a separate Scottish identity was artificial created and cannot be used as a reason for independence.
       
      Now they’re trying to say the same thing in a different way. There’s no difference between Scotland and England in terms of social attitude and that independence is therefore pointless.
       
      The denial of Scotland as both a nation, an identity and now a distinct social grouping is all about trying to keep Scotland in the Union.

    10. Adrian B says:

      It must be yet another of those polls that isn’t really a proper poll and gets answers that the unionists don’t like 🙂
       
       

    11. HandandShrimp says:

      Yes, our social attitudes are just the same that is why we return so many Tory MPs, value public services, elect a Government that thinks education is the greatest gift a society can give its people and is trying to stem the tide on privatisation of Health.
       
      No difference at all…

    12. Archie [not Erchie] says:

      @ Jim Mitchell – Aye, if you go to a previous topic dated 28th called Quick Work and scroll down to Rev Stu’s post 10:27 am there is a link to the Record correction.

    13. Taranaich says:

      it’s been claimed that most Scots back Trident
       
      Oh WOW. That is particularly craven.

    14. Douglas Thomson says:

      The Scottish people have always been more outward looking toward our European partners. Not only since the formation of the Common Market ( EU ) but going back hundreds of years. From Sir William Wallace in Germany to Scottish traders in Russia and Poland. Scotland has a lot of goodwill worldwide and in Europe. Scots want to work with our European partner and are not interested in wanting to be the country ” That shouts louder at the top table ”  That is not the way I want my country to be. The big mouth bumming about how important they used to be and still think they are. See ” Grand Panjandrum ”  Hailsa

    15. Marcia says:

      You can listen to Stephen Noon from Yes Scotland- he is doing a PHD on the European Union. he is the guest in this broadcast:
      http://tinyurl.com/q7ejexo
       
       

    16. Malcolm says:

      Even if it were true, what difference would that make? Social attitudes today are as relevant to independence as social attitudes 10 years, 50 years, 100 years from now.
       
      The vote is about self determination, even in the (unlikely) case of that meaning we wanted to do everything the same as its done in England.

    17. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Oh WOW. That is particularly craven.”

      That was the Ashcroft poll. Meant to put a link in.

    18. Iain Fraser says:

      Nothing here factual or with full and referenced sources

    19. Boorach says:

      Apologies o/t
       
      Farage on any questions radio 4 now

    20. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Nothing here factual or with full and referenced sources”

      Pardon? I linked to the full data tables.

    21. Tearlach says:

      Oh – bad move Mr Fraser. One may not like what the Rev says, but he always does it with full, referenced sources, unlike – one may say – many in the Scottish Media.
      Quick tip – click on the blue links.

    22. Alabaman says:

      Hey Rev,
      I know this is o/t, but I have just received an e mail from Fife N.H.S entitled “Better Together”
      and it is informations regarding the medical services offered ect, with a questionnaire,
      but it is the title of “Better Together” which got me ready for some searching questions,for you know which mob, only to
      Realise it was not THEE Better Together bugger, bugger!.

    23. Doug Daniel says:

      Oooh, looks like we’ve got a new one…

    24. Angus says:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B9G7craJ-c
       
      Syria.
       
      The man. (or Woman).

    25. Roger Mexico says:

      Oh dear.  I’m afraid your new found enthusiasm for polls is running away with you.
       
      It looks as if this is an unweighted sample made up of all those Saga members and Populus panel members who responded.  The give-away is loads more men in the sample than women (6600 v 4611) while there are actually far more women in this age group of course.  As a result this isn’t much better than one of those ‘voodoo polls’.  where the gullible ring a newspaper to give their ‘views’ which are then represented as being those of the population at large.
       
      For a truer picture you need to make sure that you are sampling from the population as whole and that you adjust that sample to match that population, weighting.  So if you have too few women you weight the views of those you do have up, in case the views of men differ from women so as to restore the balance to that of the population as a whole.  The same will apply to a whole range of other variables (age, social class, region, etc).
       
      In this case that hasn’t been done and furthermore it looks as if it was self-selecting survey.  I’m sure even you would admit that say a poll on independence based on asking visitors to this site might be a little biased for example.
       
      However even if it was a properly representative survey (as Populus’s bi-weekly surveys try to be for example), there is still the problem that if you look at a sub-set of the sample (eg Scotland) the sub-sample will not be representative of that sub-set unless it is weighted to match that sub-set not the whole.  A UK sample that contained 3% SNP voters would be fine – a Scottish one wouldn’t (nor would a South-West one).
       
      So this is a pretty useless poll for telling you how much Scotland varies from rUK in terms of attitude to the EU.  As it happens I do think that Scotland is a bit more pro-EU than other areas, except perhaps London and there are indication of this in say YouGov’s fortnightly tracker poll (though their Scottish sub-samples have their own problems).  But there may be all sort of interlocking reasons for this (for example there are fewer UKIP and Tory voters) rather than the Scots being naturally ‘more European’.
       
      Finally it has to be pointed out that being pro- or anti-EU is not necessarily a predictor of what social attitudes on other issues are.  Even if  someone is really raring to get to the continent, it might be because they want to goose-step.   To find out what people feel about x, you have to ask them about x.  Carefully. 
       
       

    26. scottish_skier says:

      @ Roger.
       
      Concur on many points on subsets etc. However, note the Feb 2013 MORI poll is a Scotland one (standard 1000 sample or so) and consistent with others for Scotland and the EU.
       
      From all the polling I’ve seen, Scotland is the opposite to the rUK, as the two lowest charts show. 
       
      It’s hardly a surprise. Tories and UKIP are the main anti-EU parties. They’re not exactly setting the heather on fire in Scotland. 

    27. Angus says:

      Well bolloxed up Mr Mexico.
       
      So much shite cited…so little time to laugh and laugh.
       
      The ‘sample’ was ‘soft’ in that the respondents were the over 55’s in the population……..and in Scotland, as the article pointed out, we are into remaining within the EU. even within this group….when you go to the below 55’s this intuitive pro EU  thought is far stronger as previous wings articles seemingly attest to.
       
      Goodbye and I think you are a troll type, so a big welcome to you mate.

    28. Iain says:

      @Roger Mexico
      “As it happens I do think that Scotland is a bit more pro-EU than other areas, except perhaps London and there are indication of this in say YouGov’s fortnightly tracker poll (though their Scottish sub-samples have their own problems).  But there may be all sort of interlocking reasons for this (for example there are fewer UKIP and Tory voters) rather than the Scots being naturally ‘more European’.”
       
      Errh, so you think Scotland is a bit more pro-EU, but only because ‘there are fewer UKIP and Tory voters’? No shit Sherlock, next you’ll be telling us there are fewer Scottish UKIP and Tory voters because Scots are a bit more pro-EU!

    29. ZenBroon says:

      Actually in the article cited Alex Massie gives figures that undermine his  argument

      (a) “It is true that Scots remain slightly more redistributionist than English voters with 43% agreeing that government should divert income from the well-off to those less well-off whereas only 34% of English people take this view”. That is a massive difference – nothing ‘slight’ about it.

      (b) “Around 40% of Scots favour increased taxation and spending versus 30% of English survey respondents. Again, there is a difference but it is not so great as sometimes claimed.” Again looks pretty sizeable to me.

      The other thing to bear in mind is the North of England is  quite different from the south. Lumping everything probably makes the English stats slightly more Scotland-like.

    30. Angus says:

      You are a fanny ‘roger’…..or a troll.
       
      No other explanation.
       
      No offence.
       
      Cheers.

    31. Roger Mexico says:

      scottish_skier 
        
      Concur on many points on subsets etc. However, note the Feb 2013 MORI poll is a Scotland one (standard 1000 sample or so) and consistent with others for Scotland and the EU.
       
      From all the polling I’ve seen, Scotland is the opposite to the rUK, as the two lowest charts show. 
       
      It’s hardly a surprise. Tories and UKIP are the main anti-EU parties. They’re not exactly setting the heather on fire in Scotland. 
       
      The MORI polls are indeed proper polls which are weighted to Scotland’s demographics, but I’m not sure that they prove Scotland is the “opposite” to rUK, with regard to the EU, just slightly different at best.  The trouble is that there are so few other Scottish EU polls to compare it with and the responses to EU questions tend to be all over the place.  There’s no GB-wide poll from MORI near to the date of their February 2013 one, but if you look at the YouGov tracker around that time, you can see that the figure vary from 40-34 in favour of staying in to 44-33 in favour of leaving.  So a baseline is difficult to establish.
       
      Now all these figures are still more anti-EU than the 53-34 in favour of staying in in the MORI poll.  That may be complicated by a lower level of Don’t Knows in MORI (13% rather than around 18%).  This may be a Scottish thing (Scots, like men, the elderly, the well-off and Conservatives seem more likely to have opinions on things) or it may be because of MORI being a telephone poll.
       
      So what little evidence there is does point to Scots being a bit more pro-EU, but there’s not really the data over time to confirm it.  What is interesting is that the MORI poll shows similar support for EU membership among both Yes and No supporters.  But again that’s just a snapshot and you need to see several polls to confirm any significance.
       

        scottish_skier

    32. Michael Granados says:

      So. According to this poll 36% of Scots want out of the EU and 22% don’t know.  While it may be close with 42% wanting to remain there seems to be no clear mandate on the EU.  Sounds like a referendum on EU membership should be on the table for Scotland after independence. 

    33. Graeme says:

      Can anybody at WOS get any info regarding the stats when the trade unions had an inhouse ballot regarding independence? Starting with ASLEF the first of the trade unions to declare their support for the TORY/Labour/Lib-Dem better together campaign.

      They stated it was unanimous with their members to stick with the union/UK, giving their 18500 r UK members a vote alongside the 1800 Scottish members who in all reality are the only ones that will be able to vote in the referendum. ASLEF Scottish branch secretary (Kevin Lyndsay)also went on to say in an unbiased take on the vote to the reporter “you didn’t get asked on your way here for a passport! You got asked for a ticket!???” (May 20 2013) Also stating no ASLEF  branch north of the border supported independence,  no stats printed of the percentage of the vote, for or against by Scottish ASLEF members and them alone?

      It’s one thing to miss-use stats like above on europe and others, but at least they can be checked and analysed and corrected, but to come out with just ‘unanimous’ without stats is piss poor,if anybody reads this blog and can get the stats for the ASLEF scottish members vote regarding independence, in the interest of fairness the final percentages would be good to see.  

    34. insch74 says:

      Funny this difference in Scottish attitudes is being downplayed as I’ve also started to see Scotland’s individual cultural achievements being diminished and linked to the Union. This week it’s the Scottish enlightenment being portrayed as a product of the Union in articles such as this from the BBC and another which I can’t remember.

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/0/23632255
      “The Act of Union, with its transference of political power to Westminster, may also have played a further role, according to Dr Catherine Jones of the University of Aberdeen.

      “Some people link [Edinburgh’s Enlightenment] to the loss of the parliament to England. The intellectual life of the capital became very important”.”

      There’s nothing really to link the Scottish enlightenment to the Union in the above statement and the reason offered seems rather tenuous given the previous 200 years of advance education on offer to Scots leading up to the enlightenment.

    35. Doug Daniel says:

      “While it may be close with 42% wanting to remain there seems to be no clear mandate on the EU.  Sounds like a referendum on EU membership should be on the table for Scotland after independence.”
       
      Bear in mind that people’s opinion of the EU is generally based on their experience of it as part of the UK. An independent Scotland may find things to be rather different, especially if we manage to escape the Euroscepticism of the UK media. While the UK tends to view the EU as an interfering busybody intent on encroaching upon UK sovereignty, Scotland may start seeing the benefits of being in the EU quite rapidly. As a result, it would probably be quite a good idea to leave any EU referendums until later, once we’ve had a bedding-in period.
       
      (Of course, if a party goes into the 2016 election offering a referendum on it and end up getting a mandate, then we should have it there and then.)

    36. scottish_skier says:

      @Roger
       
      Yes. again concur on various points.
       
      Note when I said ‘opposite’ I meant so. In terms of Europe, if you have 30% out in Scotland and 40% in, that’s the opposite of 40% in and 30% out in the rUK.
       
      For the two quoted polls in the article above, that’s what we have. UK = 56% out vs 30% in. Scotland 53% in vs 34% out. So, within variance, opposites. 
       
      For your yougov tracker the min and max are not useful; use the average for you baseline as normal.

      Suggests a fair majority for out in terms of the rUK. Scotland subsets in Yougov are a best a small indicator of something but should not be taken as anything more than they are…

    37. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “Sounds like a referendum on EU membership should be on the table for Scotland after independence.”

      Vote Tory in 2016.

    38. scottish_skier says:

      Vote Tory in 2016.

      Or SIP (formerly UKIP Scotland).

    39. Training Day says:

      I think it’s great that Professor John Curtice can join the debate on WoS. I’m sure you’ll agree Roger.

    40. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

      “So this is a pretty useless poll for telling you how much Scotland varies from rUK in terms of attitude to the EU.”

      Except that it delivers results in line with all the others, by some freakish coincidence.

    41. Doug R says:

      Sorry to go o/t but Better Together Ross-shire launching at the National Hotel in Dingwall at 2pm tomorrow.
      Might take a donder along to see what mince they’re spouting if I get the chance 🙂

    42. Paula Rose says:

      Aren’t all polls self-selecting these days? In that people sign up to be polled rather than being approached on the street?

    43. john king says:

      “Oooh, looks like we’ve got a new one…”
      should we call him Private Fraser? 
      we’re doomed we’re all doomed
        

    44. Albalha says:

      Talking of passports latest UKBA campaign, now here in Scotland.
      http://archive.is/j6C09
       

    45. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      OT
       
      There is a short piece on the following “European” blog by an Italian studying at St Andrews.
      She tries to map out a neutral interpretation of what is happening in Scotland and what it could mean for European democracy.
      All very fine until up pops a UKIPER and queers the message board with his bile.
      http://www.social-europe.eu/2013/08/what-the-scottish-independence-referendum-means-to-europeans/
      Anyone want to pop over and fillet this kipper. I will have a go after I get back from my morning constitutional.

    46. Macsenex says:

      O/T

      Interesting article on Norway the peace maker on monocle.com

    47. Another London Dividend says:

      Brit Nats to the fore in letters columns claiming Commons vote proves in the Union Scots can influence world events.  Even the UK can’t influence events as the US calls the shots and as independent member of the United Nations will still have a voice just like Norway etc 

    48. Albalha says:

      O/T
      The charity Hand in Hand with Syria is taking basic goods donations in Scotland today.
      Opening hours in Edinburgh and Glasgow 12 – 5pm.
      http://www.handinhandforsyria.org.uk/

    49. Murray McCallum says:

      Caesar!lha says:
      Talking of passports latest UKBA campaign, now here in Scotland.
      http://archive.is/j6C09
       
      Yes, deeply cruel, shallow and insulting. As Peter A. Bell says in his comment – “this is the action of a foreign government. Foreign to the ethos and practical needs of Scotland.”

    50. HandandShrimp says:

      Brit Nats to the fore in letters columns claiming Commons vote proves in the Union Scots can influence world events.
       
      LOL Which Brit Nats though…not the ones that are bemoaning the UK being sidelined and called tea drinking surrender monkeys. Isn’t that what they said the fate of a neutral Scotland would be?

    51. Andy-B says:

      Interesting poll, still so much to play for with the dont knows, which could sway it either way.



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