Scottish independence: Economy matters most, says social attitudes survey

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The Scottish social attitudes survey was conducted between June and October

The authors of a survey on Scottish social attitudes said economic factors mattered most to voters ahead of the independence referendum.

Issues such as EU membership and the pound were a much lower priority, the ScotCen Social Research found.

Its consultant, Prof John Curtice, said voters wanted to hear about the economic and financial consequences "of the choice that they make".

People in Scotland vote in an independence referendum in September.

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

The survey, by the not-for-profit research group, involved interviewing 1,497 adults between June and October.

It found:

  • 52% would support independence, and 30% would oppose it if they thought they would be £500 a year better off.
  • 15% would support independence and 72% would be opposed if they thought they would be £500 a year worse off.
  • 71% of those who think Scotland's economy would be "better" under independence say they "will" or "think they are most likely" to vote "yes".
  • and 86% of those who think the economy would be "worse" are inclined to vote "no".

The survey's authors also found that topics, such as the EU, the pound and welfare, made little difference to their sample group's voting intentions.

Prof Curtice said: "The referendum campaign is at risk of short-changing the people of Scotland.

"So far it appears to have done little to help them be clear and confident about the decision they have to make.

"Many of the issues that preoccupy those campaigning for and against independence are apparently of peripheral interest to voters.

"Voters want to hear about the economic and financial consequences of the choice that they make, and it is on the outcome of that debate that the result of the referendum is likely to turn."

The leader of the Yes Scotland campaign, Blair Jenkins, said the survey demonstrated that momentum was "very much with yes".

He added: "This research was, of course, carried out last year before publication of Scotland's Future, the Scottish government's detailed guide to independence and we know that the more people learn about the benefits of independence the more likely they are to vote yes. The survey confirms that.

"We also know that the economic argument is key in this debate and if we win the economic argument we will achieve a yes majority in September.

Better Together's Blair McDougall said he was encouraged by the survey's findings.

He added: "People who have still to make up their mind are leaning towards remaining in the UK and are rejecting separation.

"The reason for this is clear. The economic uncertainty of leaving the UK has become the defining issue of the referendum with fewer than one in 10 Scots believing they would be better off outside the UK."

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