Hearts and Minds in the MORI poll

0
485

By Dave Taylor 
 
One of the unique aspects of the Ipsos-MORI polls is that they regularly carry the question “Which of the following best describes your national identity?”

The options are given in a standard format, and below we list the percentages of those certain to vote, opting to describe themselves in that way.

By Dave Taylor 
 
One of the unique aspects of the Ipsos-MORI polls is that they regularly carry the question “Which of the following best describes your national identity?”

The options are given in a standard format, and below we list the percentages of those certain to vote, opting to describe themselves in that way.

Change from the September figures are shown in brackets:

  • Scottish not British  23% (0%)
  • More Scottish than British  24% (-4%)
  • Equally Scottish and British  35% (+1%)
  • More British than Scottish  7% (+3%)
  • British not Scottish  8% (0%)
  • None of these  3% (0%)

This list will include the disparate identities of some EU and Commonwealth citizens, and those whose national identity lies solely in another part of the UK.

Now, these results showing a slight shift from Scottish to British could mean a shift of identification away from “Scottishness” to “Britishness”, or it might mean that the December respondents were a wee bit more “British” than those who took part in the September poll – or a mixture of both.

Regardless of which explanation is true, that the question on independence showed a move of 3% towards Yes, 2% away from No, and 1% fewer undecided, would seem odd (given the move to Britishness), so it is worth delving deeper into the shifts, within each group, on the referendum question.

  • Within the “Scottish not British” people (23% of certain voters), there is an 11% shift from No to Yes.
  • Among the “More Scottish than British” cohort (24%), the No percentage drops by 9%, with 6% moving to Yes, and a further 3% to undecided.
  • Those “Equally Scottish and British” (35%) show little change – a 1% shift from No to Yes.
  • The small “More British than Scottish” group (7%) move significantly to No by 7% – of which 5% is from Yes, with the rest from undecided.
  • “British not Scottish” voters (8%), surprisingly show a 2% move from No to undecided.
  • Those who are “Neither Scottish nor British” (3%) split fairly evenly.  9% from undecided to No and 7% from undecided to Yes.

These figures do suggest a degree of polarisation beginning to develop in the debate.

Among those whose identity is at least half Scottish (82% of respondents), the last month has shown a 5% drop in No support, with 4% of that moving to Yes.

In the group whose identity is primarily non-Scottish (18% of respondents), there has been a 5% rise in the No vote, with 3% coming from Yes and 2% from undecided.

Needless to say, 5% of 82% is a lot more people than 5% of 18%, giving a net gain to Yes.

Everyone has recognised that most voters in Scotland will vote with their heads as well as their hearts.  Other polls have shown that a belief that Scotland can be a successful independent nation is closely linked to a Yes vote, and that the converse is also true.

However, there is unlikely to be a definitive set of statistics, agreed by both sides, that will give voters a guarantee of what the Scottish economy, in or out of the UK, will look like in 50 years time.  At the end of the day, voters will have to determine what is most likely, and make their minds up on that.

It’s in that context, that we might read the somewhat severe criticism of the Better Together campaign, and its “comatose” leader Alastair Darling, from many in the Westminster establishment.  Unveiling that long hidden “positive case for the Union” would seem to be something of a necessity for the No camp. 

The problem of course, is that in doing so, would mean that the No campaign would then be subject to the close scrutiny that the Yes vision is currently being subjected to.

Party Support

The party political polling for the constituencies at Holyrood, shows that voters seem well able to distinguish between the referendum vote, and the party that they would prefer to govern Scotland.

While the SNP maintains a small lead over Labour, more than half way through their second term in government, there is an intriguing contrast between poorer and richer areas.

In the wealthiest parts of Scotland support for independence is lower, but the SNP has a 10% lead over Labour.  In the poorest parts, support for independence is highest, but Labour has a 2% lead over the SNP.