Scottish independence: 'Economy matters most' to voters

Money The implications for Scotland's economy is the issue that matters most for voters in the referendum, according to the survey

The economy is the issue that matters most to voters taking part in the independence referendum, a poll carried out for the BBC has suggested.

The results of the poll feature in a documentary, Scotland's Top Ten Battlegrounds, which is being shown on Tuesday.

A sample of 1,008 adults, aged 16 and over, were asked which issues, from a list of 10, mattered most to them.

The economy came out top with pensions second and welfare third.

Then, in descending order, came Scotland's relationship with the rest of the UK, currency, immigration, energy, defence, the relationship with the European Union and broadcasting.

Start Quote

There is a high probability that there will be a border constructed between Scotland and England and there will be border checks”

End Quote Dr Azeem Ibrahim Scotland Institute

Research agency TNS carried out the interviews throughout Scotland between 3 and 10 January.

All interviews for the poll were conducted face-to-face, in homes, using Computer Assisted Personal Interviewing and quota sampling.

No politicians were interviewed for the hour-long programme, which is narrated by actor John Gordon Sinclair.

Instead, a range of academics gave their views on each of the 10 topics which are expected to feature significantly in the debate.

Dr Azeem Ibrahim, of the Scotland Institute think-tank, is one of the academics featured in the programme.

He claimed that the British government may build a border post to guard against the threat of terrorist attacks because independence for Scotland could lead to intelligence failures.

Start Quote

The idea of manned border posts is the most hysterical scaremongering”

End Quote Dr John MacDonald Scottish Global Forum

He told the programme: "There is a high probability that there will be a border constructed between Scotland and England and there will be border checks and this has been articulated to me from the highest levels of the MoD.

"Actually a former Secretary of Defence told me that is more than likely to actually happen because the rest of the UK simply cannot be open to any sort of vulnerabilities … if there are huge intelligence gaps between Scotland and England."

But Dr John MacDonald of the Scottish Global Forum dismissed the idea that border controls would follow a vote for independence.

He said: "The idea of manned border posts is the most hysterical scaremongering. I consider it grossly irresponsible."

The programme is the third in a series of 13 in-depth BBC documentaries on the referendum.

Voters in Scotland will decide on their country's future on 18 September.

They will be asked the straight "yes/no" question: "Should Scotland be an independent country?"

Most important Most or 2nd most important Most, 2nd or 3rd most important Mean score

Subjects

% of all adults 16+

Rank

% of all adults 16+

Rank

% of all adults 16+

Rank

Rank

Economy

32

1

48

1

58

1

1.38

1

Currency

4

8

13

5

23

5

0.4

5

Pensions

11

2

21

2

31

2

0.63

2

Scotland's relationship with UK

9

3

18

4

24

4

0.51

4

Scotland's relationship with EU

5

6

11

9

16

9

0.31

9

Welfare

8

4

19

3

29

3

0.57

3

Defence

5

7

11

8

18

8

0.33

8

Immigration

6

5

12

6

21

7

0.39

6

Energy

3

9

11

7

21

6

0.35

7

Broadcasting

1

10

2

10

2

10

0.05

10

Scotland's Top Ten Battlegrounds is being shown at 21:00 on BBC Two on Tuesday, 11 February.

Viewers outside Scotland can access BBC Two Scotland on Sky 142 (HD) & 970 and Freesat 97.

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