Dear Professor Curtice, about your poll …


By Dave Taylor

Thanks for appearing on STV’s Scotland Tonight, to confirm what we [1] were already pretty sure of – that at the tail end of 2012, around two-thirds of people in Scotland supported the Scottish Parliament having responsibility for almost all matters (including taxation and welfare spending), and that 35% want the Scottish Parliament to have all powers, but that fewer than that number supported your 1997 questions which offered independence.

Weel, we kent that last bit!

We had already seen a number of polls published close to the date of the actual surveys, unlike the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, that told us about the likely level of a Yes vote, if the referendum was held tomorrow (which it won’t be).

The SSAS is always welcome, due to the quality of the analysis. We look forward to seeing the full report.

Academia should really conform to recognised processes like publishing the report and its associated tables first, rather than releasing embargoed press releases [2], and creating yet more opportunities for TV appearances.

Glad to hear you point out that the use of questions from pre-devolution times relevant to the 1997 referendum is academically interesting, though not useful now. Doubtless, if a realistic prospect of Westminster devolving the powers to Scotland, that most Scots wish, emerges then appropriate questions (though not these) will become relevant again.

Yours sincerely

[1] “we” in this letter is not the royal We, but a reference to myself and all three regular readers of the column.

[2] ScotCen probably should have been a little bit clearer to the Guardian, that a press release that is “embargoed” means that they shouldn’t publish details from it. Not all media outlets are as professional as NNS.


[Edit] Thanks to Barbazenzero (below) for the link to the new NatCen tables for the 2012 survey. They provide detailed confirmation that, last year, the strong preference of Scots was for greater devolution. Only 32% of Scots would worry about Scotland’s future under Devo Max.