Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Whom to believe?

From The Scotsman:

SUPPORT for an independent Scotland has fallen to an all-time low, a new opinion poll claimed today.

Just 19 per cent of people said they would vote for independence in a multi-option referendum on Scotland's future. Nearly three-quarters of those questioned backed keeping the Scottish Parliament as it is or increasing its powers.


But I'm not going to crow; here's something I've written previously when there was a rather different result to a similar question:
These figures show the volatility of the support for Scottish independence and this volatility would seem to indicate that such support is dependent very much on external factors as opposed to an increase or decrease in sentiment for actual separation.

There is no discernible trend moving for or against Scottish independence at the minute- that's what these various polls are really telling us.

11 comments:

Michael Follon said...

'There is no discernible trend moving for or against Scottish independence at the minute - thats what these various polls are really telling us.'

This is from an article in 'The Herald', Monday April 14, 2008 -

Salmond 'is starting to win the argument for Scots independence'

...The latest tracker poll by TNS System Three suggests a narrow majority in favour of independence by 41% to 40% over those who would prefer to remain in the UK, but, as in the case of another poll last week, it is the trend that tells the real story...The point about the TNS polls is that they now show a trend.

They have asked the question a Salmond government would wish to put to a referendum in 2010, a straight yes or no to the proposition: "The Scottish Government should negotiate a settlement with the government of the UK so that Scotland becomes an independent state."

Commissioned by the Sunday Herald, the first poll last August showed 50:35 support for the Union over independence. By November that had narrowed from 15 points to just four, 44:40.

Now the latest poll, conducted in the last days of March and the beginning of April puts independence support ahead.

Last week there was a similar trend in a second snapshot by Scottish Opinion. Last August, support for the Union led by 18 points, a 49:31 lead, but by this months that had narrowed to just two points, 43:41...'

The Aberdonian said...

Agree with the last paragraph of O'Neil's article.

There is a "hardcore" for independence of 25-33% with the rest being "soft" depending on the political circumstances - leading to figures such as 40% etc.

O'Neill said...

Michael
Just because the Herald says it, doesn't make it necessarily true...the poll I've quoted is (I believe) the most recent-is it just a glitch, or the proof of that volatility I mentioned?

Anonymous said...

I've said it before, on this blog: the recorded support for "independence" varies hugely, according to the wording of the question. Use "state" or "separate" or "outside" if you want a low figure in favour. Or, if you are as mendacious as the Telegraph (have you read the gloating op-ed pieces?), combine the three for a triplle whammy. The Telegraph asked about those in favour "of a completely separate state outside the UK". I'm just surprised they didn't have a follow up for those brave enough to say yes: "Are you sure? Completely separate? A state? Outside?""

You say there's no trend. There is. You can find a trend if you have the answers to the same wording over a period of time. It's pretty simple.

O'Neill said...

You can find a trend if you have the answers to the same wording over a period of time. It's pretty simple.

1.How far back to you take that period of time?
Eg what were the figures for any of the relevant polls showing for 2006, 2005? (I did ask this before, but no one answered).

2. So, if different polls with differing wording are showing different trends, then how do you ascertain the overall *real* trend for or against independence?!
Short of an election/referendum you can't can you- unless that is all the polls, regardless of wording, are moving in broadly the same direction.

Abdul-Rahim said...

Interesting that with all the self-loathing and economic down-turn decried by Britain that more of Scotland now support the Union.

Christopher said...

I have been reading this blog for some time now, mainly out of curiousity, but I must ask this question. What right does a Unionist have to deny a certain people the right to self determination? Even if you can name 100,000 different reasons as to why it would make no sense economically, socially, or militarily for Scotland, United Ireland, or any other country to desire independence; what gives any other people the authority to decide that they should not. Let's just say some day in the future, a poll indicates that 100% Scots desire an independent Scotland. Would you honestly deny such a request? I understand that such a scenario would never happen, but I am just curious as to how far you would go to deny self determination.

Christopher said...

I just want to add that I am from the United States and have no real stake in any of this. Plus the fact that you probably consider me an idiot anyway for just being from America.

O'Neill said...

I just want to add that I am from the United States and have no real stake in any of this.

You’re still entitled to your opinion and welcome to post it on here.

Plus the fact that you probably consider me an idiot anyway for just being from America.

Your birthplace/nationality doesn’t determine your intelligence.

Regarding your original comment:

What right does a Unionist have to deny a certain people the right to self determination?

I’m a democrat, if that’s what the majority vote for, that’s what the majority will get. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with their choice and in a democracy, I’m entitled to express that view.

Even if you can name 100,000 different reasons as to why it would make no sense economically, socially, or militarily for Scotland, United Ireland, or any other country to desire independence; what gives any other people the authority to decide that they should not.

. If the people of Scotland or Northern Ireland decide to separate from the rest of the UK, that’s their choice. But are you arguing that because the prevailing political,orthodoxy disagrees with me, then I’m no longer entitled to give an opinion?

Let's just say some day in the future, a poll indicates that 100% Scots desire an independent Scotland. Would you honestly deny such a request?

See the answer to the previous two points, unionists can also be democrats, you know.

I understand that such a scenario would never happen, but I am just curious as to how far you would go to deny self determination.

I’m interested to discover what you think I would (or be capable of doing). In the event of either Scotland/Northern Ireland breaking away, then Unionism’s job would then be to ensure that our fellow British citizens stranded there still have their political and cultural rights safeguarded- eg I was born and will die British citizen, I want my children and grandchildren to have that same right to a British passport

Christopher said...

I’m a democrat, if that’s what the majority vote for, that’s what the majority will get. Doesn’t mean I have to agree with their choice and in a democracy, I’m entitled to express that view.

Indeed.



If the people of Scotland or Northern Ireland decide to separate from the rest of the UK, that's their choice. But are you arguing that because the prevailing political,orthodoxy disagrees with me, then I'm no longer entitled to give an opinion?

Everyone is intitled to an opinion, my mistake for implying otherwise.



I'm interested to discover what you think I would (or be capable of doing).

I did not mean to imply that you would lead any grand crusade to quell any such movement. I'm just saying that all the arguments in the world do not overcome the idea of a people democratically deciding they want an independent state. In the United States, Puerto Rico lives under a considered protectorate status with the USA. There have even been ballots to add the island as the 51st state of the Union, and some believe that statehood is a likely outcome at some point down the line. If voted for, Puerto Rico will become a state. The same principle stands for those wishing to leave a union. The door swings both ways.




In the event of either Scotland/Northern Ireland breaking away, then Unionism's job would then be to ensure that our fellow British citizens stranded there still have their political and cultural rights safeguarded- eg I was born and will die British citizen, I want my children and grandchildren to have that same right to a British passport

I disagree with the idea that "stranded" British Citzens should have any type of special protection or safeguard. We both agree on the idea that majority rules. Let's use Scotland as an example. If a majority of citizens living in what is considered "Scotland" vote to achieve free and full independence from the United Kingdom, then the minority who oppose such a measure must accept the outcome. I'm not trying to harken to the "Love it or Leave it" slogan that gets used again and again in my country. However, if and when an this theoretical Independent Scotland occurs, those British Citzens will have every right to voice their disagreement with such an outcome, but they would nevertheless have to accept it and become fully independent Scots due to the fact this is the desire of a majority of individuals living in what is considered Scotland. It it really no different then what occurs every four or eight years in Washington DC. If a republican wins the Presidency, then the Democrats who opposed him nevertheless accept it the outcome and wait another four years to attempt to re-claim the White House. No promises are given to the Democrats or any other party that their ideas or agendas will be considered or pushed through to Congress. Again, it is up to the minority to accept and conform to the will of the majority. Now obviously the story is different if this "independent Scotland" decided to treat those in the minority in any way that infringed upon their civil rights, denied them jobs, or in any way treated them as second class citizens. I would assume that this independent Scotland would extend all the rights and privilages to all of its people, no matter their background.

O'Neill said...

Now obviously the story is different if this "independent Scotland" decided to treat those in the minority in any way that infringed upon their civil rights, denied them jobs, or in any way treated them as second class citizens.

That's exactly what I was getting at. in the event of the Doomsday Scenario, our job as Unionists would be to ensure that our British culture and identity is allowed A place in any new set-up. And if you ever doubt that there would be those who'd deny us that right, I suggest you read The Scotsman comments column or some of the more rabid Irish nationalists on a blog like Slugger O'Toole.