The referendum: How changing the question affects response

February 2nd, 2012

Ashcroft poll on Scottish Referendum For independence Against independence
Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” 41 59
Do you agree or disagree that Scotland should be an independent country?” 39 61
Should Scotland become an independent country, or should it remain part of the United Kingdom? 33 67

Which of the above is the fairest?

Michael Ashcroft has funded some polling (I assume by Populus) on the way that changing the words in the Scottish referendum can change the response.

The overall sample size of 3,090 was split randomly into three and one of the options for the different wording was put to each. Fieldwork was carried out between 26 and 31 January 2012. Results were weighted to be representative of all adults in Scotland.

Clearly suggesting that the change would involve leaving the UK has a big impact and no doubt London would like that to feature in some form.

The Electoral Commission will play a big part in this and I’m hoping to have an article written by a former senior official there in the next day or so.

Mike Smithson @MikeSmithsonOGH