“It’s the economy, stupid”


By Dave Taylor

Bill Clinton’s political strategist hung a sign in the campaign headquarters, in the run up to his decisive 1992 defeat of George Bush, which read:

  1. Change vs. more of the same
  2. The economy, stupid
  3. Don’t forget health care.

Last week’s YouGov Scottish poll suggests that the Yes campaign could benefit from using the same sign.

To the question “do you think Scotland would be financially better or worse off if Scotland became independent from the rest of the UK?”, 27% said “better off”, 47% “worse off”, 13% thought “it would make no difference”, while 13% “didn’t know”.

More critically, 74% of those wanting independence thought that Scotland would be better off independent and only 3% worse off, with 20% thinking there would be no difference.  Of those opposing independence, only 2% thought that Scotland would be better off independent and 80% worse off, with 9% thinking there would be no difference.

Putting it another way, 90% of those thinking that we will be better off support independence.  97% of those fearing that Scotland will be worse off oppose it.

For some, on both sides, the economic arguments are irrelevant, but the economic prospects are clearly a very (perhaps, the) significant factor for the majority.  Win the economic argument, and the referendum result will be decided.

YouGov asked their own version of a referendum question – “do you agree that Scotland should become a country independent from the rest of the UK?”

To this, 33% responded Yes, 57% No.

In Holyrood voting intention, the SNP continues to lead Labour.  Changes in support for these parties since 2011 for constituency seats are within the statistical margin of error, although Labour has made enough of a recovery on the list to ensure that the SNP would lose its overall majority – though remaining the largest party.

For Westminster, Labour’s lead over the SNP has fallen by 17% to only 5%, although FPTP voting would still ensure that Labour still occupied most seats.

The demise of the Lib Dems is confirmed as they receive only 4-5% support.  Tory support is also marginally less that the previous election on all three measures.