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Independence: Trends, Hopes and Fears John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)

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Presentation on theme: "Independence: Trends, Hopes and Fears John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Independence: Trends, Hopes and Fears John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)

2 Three Questions Has support for independence increased? How consistent are people’s views? What are people’s key hopes and fears about independence?

3 A Much Asked Question Which of these statements comes closest to your view? Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK and the European Union Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK but part of the European Union Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has some taxation powers Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has no taxation powers Scotland should remain part of the UK without an elected parliament

4 How Scotland Divides

5 Constitutional Preferences

6 A New Approach Which of the statements on this card comes closest to your view about who should make government decisions for Scotland? The Scottish Parliament should make all the decisions for Scotland The UK government should make decisions about defence and foreign affairs; the Scottish Parliament should decide everything else The UK government should make decisions about taxes, benefits and defence and foreign affairs; the Scottish Parliament should decide the rest The UK government should make all decisions for Scotland

7 The Response

8 The Heart of the Matter? Thinking about the institutions on this card, which do you think ought to make most of the important decisions for Scotland about defence and foreign affairs? The Scottish Parliament The UK government at Westminster Local councils in Scotland The European Union

9 Westminster’s Role

10 Three Questions, One Answer?

11 Consistently So? - 1

12 Consistently So? - 2

13 A better tomorrow?

14 A calamity?

15 What matters most? Independence 2009 Devolution 1997 Economy.64 (.09)1.67 (.28) Voice.45 (.12)1.50 (.28) Pride.38 (.12)1.01 (.40) Say-.89 (.39) Taxation--.80 (.34) Nagelkerke R 2 29%73%

16 As you can see % support independence Make better/higher/ more Make no difference/ worse Gap Economy Voice Pride391524

17 A question of class and identity too Support independence vs. Not Economy.56 (.09) Voice.36 (.12) Pride.36 (.11) Scottish vs. British Identity.57 (.09) Employer/Manager-.58 (.16) Nagelkerke R 2 32%

18 Emotional Reactions If in the future Scotland were to become independent and leave the UK, would you be sorry, pleased, or neither pleased nor sorry? IF SORRY/PLEASED: Is that very or quite sorry/pleased? If Scotland were to become independent, would you feel confident about Scotland's future, worried, or neither confident nor worried? IF CONFIDENT/WORRIED: Is that very or quite confident/worried?

19 Emotional Reactions - 2

20 Emotional Reactions - 3

21 A little changed reaction?

22 The power of emotion? - 1

23 The power of emotion? - 2 Stage 1Stage 2 Confident/Worried (.08)-1.23 (.08) Scottish vs. British Identity 0.74 (.09) Employer/Manager (.18) Nagelkerke R 2 38%45%

24 The Power of Emotion? - 3 % support independence Positive Evaluation Neutral/Negative Evaluation Gap 2009 Economy Voice Pride Confident/Worried621349

25 Middle Class Fears

26 Conclusion No sign that three years of SNP government has been accompanied by increased support for independence The practical consequences of independence are not widely feared – but fear itself appears to be widespread.

27 Ready to take another leap? Attitudes towards Scotland’s constitutional future John Curtice & Rachel Ormston December 2010

28 Independence: a pocket book issue?

29 Trading economic blows “There is no point in being a pocket money parliament when the pocket money stops” (Salmond, October 2010) "Everyone knows we would have tipped over the edge on which Ireland teeters today.” (Iain Gray, September 2010)

30 The Nationalist case for Only independence can: Provide necessary levers to grow the economy Make best use of natural resources Protect from spending cuts

31 The Unionist case against Scotland’s level of public spending impossible to sustain post- independence without big tax hikes Union provides stability and prosperity Scotland couldn’t have bailed out banks

32 Who is winning the argument? Perceptions of the Union Expectations of independence

33 Whose economy benefits from Union?

34

35 Scotland hard done by on spending?

36 Expectations of independence

37 Tax - a critical issue?

38 Expectations of tax matter a bit

39 But less than other things

40 Less than other things 2 Support for independence, 2010 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Impact on taxes (up vs. not up) Who benefits from union Scotland’s share of UK spend Confident/worried re. independence Nagelkerke R2 4%12%41%

41 Higher taxes needed to fill gap post-independence?

42 A more specific proposition Say that it was clear that if Scotland became an independent country, separate from the rest of the UK, taxes would be the same as now. In those circumstances, would you be in favour or against Scotland becoming an independent country?

43 Variations (order randomised) – people would pay an: extra £500 a year in tax on average? £500 less a year in tax on average? A more specific proposition

44 Instrumental reactions?

45 Taxes up £500

46 Taxes down £500

47 By current views

48 Principled supporters

49 And potential targets

50 And the rest

51 Committed to the party line?

52 Potential targets 1: Under 40s

53 Potential targets 2: Lower supervisory/routine occupations

54 Conclusions Nationalist arguments not convincing that union is not delivering People expect tax would be higher under independence Especially those who think Scotland gets more than its fair share of UK spend

55 Conclusions In general, belief that taxes would rise doesn’t seem to be main deterrent But when faced with more specific tax consequences, less than half ‘committed’ to their current position That said, tax still unlikely to be only factor they consider

56 So who should decide – and what? John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)

57 Who make key decisions for Scotland about? Scottish ParliamentUK Government Health6626 Schools6214 Welfare benefits6225 Taxation5737 Defence/Foreign Affairs3163

58 A settled will?

59 A Reminder

60 A consistent will? - 1

61 A consistent will? - 2

62 Not necessarily a case of either/or? Which of the following comes closest to your view about who should decide the level of taxation and government spending in Scotland? The Scottish Parliament alone should decide… The Scottish Parliament and the UK Government should both have the power… The UK Government alone should decide…

63 Not indeed!

64 How the both camp divides 51% say the Scottish Parliament should make most of the important decisions about tax 44% say the UK government should do. (while everyone else is reasonably consistent in their answers)

65 Same as UK – or SP allowed to vary?

66 Not a new mood Same everywhere SP allowed to vary Same everywhere SP allowed to vary Dole Tuition Fees

67 Who and What? - Pensions

68 Who and What? - Dole

69 Who and What? - Taxes

70 Who and What? – Schools/Tuition Fees

71 The Real Demand for Difference?

72 An uncertain note - 1 PensionsIndependenceDevo MaxStatus QuoNo Parliament SP & Vary SP & Not Vary UK & Not Vary UK & Vary2332

73 An uncertain note - 2 TaxIndependenceDevo MaxStatus QuoNo Parliament SP & Vary SP & Not Vary UK & Not Vary UK & Vary3751

74 Conclusion There appears to be a considerable and consistent appetite for Scotland to have more devolution than at present, including on taxes and welfare benefits. But people do not easily embrace the idea of taxes and benefits being different from the rest of the UK – including those who want ‘devolution max’ or independence. Holyrood may be the place where domestic decisions should be made – but not necessarily different decisions.


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