CND poll shows some shifts on independence – but who? and which way?

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By Dave Taylor

Many will have seen the results of the poll commissioned by CND from TNS-BMRB.  When given the question, “The UK Government plans to replace the existing Trident nuclear weapons with a new system, at a cost of £65 billion. Do you support or oppose the UK Government buying a new nuclear weapons system to replace Trident?”

The results showed that 60% were opposed, 17% took no view either way, 8% didn’t know, while only 14% supported the option.

The result is difficult for the No campaign given that Labour and the Tories are currently in favour of Trident renewal – the Lib Dems are currently awaiting the result of a review that most expect will come out against renewal, but they also said they were against tuition fees and we know what happened there.

Inevitably, though everything is viewed through the prism of the independence debate, and views on the independence question were also sought in this survey.

Unsurprisingly, opposition to Trident renewal was stronger among independence supporters with 70% against, compared to 55% opposition among No voters and Undecideds. 

On the independence question, 9% had shifted from undecided – 5% going to the Yes campaign, taking them to 33%, with 4% going No, raising their percentage to 52%.  While sub samples of the whole poll have a wider margin of error than the poll itself, they provide some interesting shifts within particular groups.

While across social groups* C1 to E opinion had moved from undecided to No, rather than Yes, by a factor of 3:1, the AB group saw a 13% rise in Yes support – including 5% who moved directly from the No camp.

Among those aged 45+, there had been a small shift from undecided, favouring the No camp.  However, previous undecideds in the 25-44 age group broke equally Yes and No, while 16-24 year old undecideds moved 11% to Yes, and only 2% to No.

In a surprising turn of events, among male undecideds 10% had moved to No with only 3% to Yes – while all the 6% of females no longer undecided had switched to the Yes camp.  The Yes campaign has had difficulty persuading women of the merits of their argument, perhaps this is a sign that they are making inroads.

It seems likely that there will be volatility within every group over the next 18 months, as different issues dominate in the debate.  This survey though is another interesting snapshot of a dynamic that is likely to oscillate as we head towards the Autumn of 2014.

*Social groups

  • AB – Managerial, administrative or professional
  • C1 – Supervisory or clerical and junior managerial, administrative or professional
  • C2 – Skilled manual workers
  • DE – Semi and unskilled manual workers : Casual or lowest grade workers, people who depend on the welfare state for their income.