By a Newsnet reporter
A poll of over one thousand 14-17 year olds in Scotland has found over two thirds say they want more information on independence before making a final decision on whether to vote Yes or No.
The survey, which was carried out by researchers at Edinburgh University, asked young people a series of questions about next year’s independence referendum.
The results showed most remained to be convinced about independence with 60 per cent opting for No when asked if Scotland should be independent. Those who opted for Yes stood at 21 per cent, with 19 per cent undecided.
Excluding the undecided, those in favour of independence stood at 26 per cent and those against stood at 74 per cent.
However the more interesting part of the poll showed over two thirds of the respondents – 67% – admitted that their current stance could change and that more information was needed before they would make a final decision.
The interviews were carried out by telephone by Market Research UK (MRUK) in April and May 2013. 1018 interviews were carried out in total – with equal numbers for each of the eight Scottish parliament election regions and using a random digit dialling procedure.
Parents were asked for permission to interview their children and also asked a few questions themselves (5 in total). The children were asked 21 questions each.
According to the survey, those who opted for “No” were more likely to mirror the voting intentions of their parents, with three quarters giving the same reply. Those opting to vote “Yes” showed only fifty per cent agreed with their parents.
The poll also showed some puzzling results with 33% who were either ‘very confident’ or ‘quite confident’ about the future of an independent Scotland still opting for “No” against 4.4% who would opt for “Yes” even if they were ‘quite worried’ or ‘very worried’.
Prof Lindsay Paterson, from Edinburgh University said: “No survey is ever totally definitive and we would be delighted if somebody would replicate this. We need to have more surveys. No survey on its own tells us everything that there is.
“This is an indication. It is the first time it has ever been done. There has never before been a systematic, representative, rigorous survey of the 14-17 year olds in relation to the referendum.”
Commenting on the survey, SNP campaigns director Angus Robertson said:
“There have been many polls and surveys showing different voting intentions by Scotland’s young people – with the recent Sunday Times Panelbase poll showing almost equal levels of support for Yes and No among younger people; and February’s MORI poll in the Times showing a dramatic increase in support for independence among young voters.
“The Edinburgh university survey shows that Scotland’s students want more information about independence – with two-thirds looking for more information before finally making up their mind.
“In the coming months the Scottish Government will continue to publish a series of papers covering the main arguments for independence, leading to a white paper in the autumn that will set out detailed proposals for an independent Scotland.
“We believe that by September 18th, 2014, most people of all ages will agree with the positive case for an independent Scotland and choose a future that reflects their own ambitions for their country – including getting rid of nuclear weapons and Scottish control of the economy and welfare state.”
A spokesman for the Scotland Office said: “This poll shows that younger people in Scotland are thinking through the issues and taking the positive view that Scotland should stick with the UK family.
“But the UK government will take nothing for granted. We are also providing a wide range of objective and fact-based evidence to inform decisions on the referendum and will continue to do so.”