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Why the SNP is playing down the consequences of YES

June 25th, 2012

How changing the question added 16 points to NO’s lead

There’s new polling out from TNS-BMRB into the form of wording for the Scottish Independence referendum due to take place in October 2014. The firm effectively carried out four separate polls of Scottish voters putting different wording to each.

The SNP’s proposed question received the highest level of agreement with independence:

Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?

Yes 40% No 60%

Exchanging the word ‘agree’ for ‘think’ had no impact on response:

Do you think that Scotland should be an independent country?

Yes 40% No 60%

The proportion supporting independence fell by eight percentage points when both options were presented in the question:

Do you think that Scotland should be an independent country or do you think that it should remain part of the United Kingdom?

Scotland should be an independent country 32%: Scotland should remain part of the UK 68%

The order in which the two options appeared within the expanded question had negligible impact upon response:

Do you think that Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom or do you think that it should be an independent country?

Scotland should be an independent country 34%: Scotland should remain part of the United Kingdom 66%

This polling comes out on the day the NO campaign is being launched. Its head, Alistair Darling, picks up the fear factor with a warning that there is “no way back” if the country votes YES.

Mike Smithson @MSmithsonPB