By Dave Taylor
On Wednesday, the Times released the results of a question asked in the January Scottish Public Opinion Monitor, on attitudes to the Scottish economy, and Scotland’s standing in the world, separately “over the next 5 years”, and under independence.
“Do you think economic conditions in Scotland will improve, stay the same, or get worse if Scotland were to become an independent country?”
Overall, 45% thought economic conditions would be worse, 34% that they would improve, while 13% felt there would be no change.
As would be expected, attitudes differed hugely according to people’s voting intention in the referendum.
“Yes” voters were positive and confident about Scotland’s future economy. 75% expected improvement, 16% that things would say the same, 5% worse, while 3% didn’t know.
“No” voters were negative, and much more concerned about the future – whether Scotland becomes independent or not. 81% expected things to get worse in an independent Scotland, 9% no change, with only 5% expecting improvement.
When asked about their expectations of the Scottish economy over the next 5 years within the UK, a similar pattern emerges.
45% of “Yes” voters expected improvement, as opposed to 26% of the “Noes”.
33% of “Yes” voters expected the economy to get worse, as opposed to 44% of the “Noes”.
They also asked “Do you think Scotland’s standing in the world will improve, stay the same, or get worse if Scotland were to become an independent country?”
Among all respondents, 42% thought our standing would be improved, 33% that it would get worse, while 21% felt there would be no change.
Again, there is a gulf between the positivity of “Yes” voters, 82% of whom expected Scotland’s standing to improve, as opposed to “No” voters of whom only 12% expected that.
Similarly the expectations “over the next 5 years” as to Scotland’s standing in the world differed. 65% of the Yes camp expected an improvement, while only 19% thought that would happen.
The two sets of questions were differently phrased. To make a meaningful comparison between them, the first set should not have asked about “the next 5 years”, but “if Scotland were to remain in the UK”.
Despite that, it seems that there is a gulf within Scotland. Primarily, it isn’t on independence as such, but between those who are confident about the future, and those who fear it. As it happens, these positions line up very closely with attitudes to independence.
SNP Campaign Director, Angus Robertson MP, said:
“These are positive poll findings – the combined figures for those who believe things will improve or stay the same in an independent Scotland show majorities across the issues of up to 69 per cent.
“We are extremely confident of winning the economic and financial case for independence, since with access to all of our resources Scotland would be the sixth-richest country in the developed world in terms of GDP per head – compared to the UK’s 16th place.
“Year-on-year, Scotland is in a stronger financial position than the UK as a whole – taking all Scottish revenues and all spending in Scotland into account, the Government Expenditure & Revenue Scotland (GERS) figures show that, in the five years to 2009/10, Scotland was in a stronger financial position than the UK to the tune of £7.2 billion – or over £1,400 for every person in Scotland.”