Opinion-Policy Nexus

THE First Minister’s announcement that the SNP Government intends to seek a section 30 order to hold a second independence referendum contained within it a few hints about the key messages of a future Yes campaign.

In 2014 it had one key weakness – arguments about risk – and one key strength – arguments about a better society. The speech shows an effort to neutralise the weakness and play up the strength.

With surveys in the field in the final four weeks of the 2014 referendum campaign and again after the referendum the Scottish Referendum Study (SRS) sought to explain why people voted the way they did. We know that attitudes to risk and uncertainty helped determine voters’ decision in 2014 – those more risk-averse were less likely to vote Yes. We also know, however, that particular risks mattered to particular voters; those worried about the currency were less likely to vote for change for example.

We also know that attitudes to EU membership featured as possible risks for both sides of the argument. Yes voters backed an independent Scotland in part because they feared that the UK would take itself out of the EU. No voters backed the Union because they feared an independent Scotland would find itself out of the EU.

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Thursday, March 16, 2017 - 11:17