Presentation on theme: "Independence: Trends, Hopes and Fears John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)"— Presentation transcript:
Independence: Trends, Hopes and Fears John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)
Three Questions Has support for independence increased? How consistent are people’s views? What are people’s key hopes and fears about independence?
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
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
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
As you can see % support independence Make better/higher/ more Make no difference/ worse Gap Economy511833 Voice491930 Pride391524
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%
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?
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.
Ready to take another leap? Attitudes towards Scotland’s constitutional future John Curtice & Rachel Ormston December 2010
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)
The Nationalist case for Only independence can: Provide necessary levers to grow the economy Make best use of natural resources Protect from spending cuts
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
Who is winning the argument? Perceptions of the Union Expectations of independence
Less than other things 2 Support for independence, 2010 Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Impact on taxes (up vs. not up) -.80-.77-.37 Who benefits from union -.57-.39 Scotland’s share of UK spend -.15.12 Confident/worried re. independence -1.24 Nagelkerke R2 4%12%41%
Higher taxes needed to fill gap post-independence?
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?
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
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
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
So who should decide – and what? John Curtice Scottish Centre for Social Research (ScotCen)
Who make key decisions for Scotland about? Scottish ParliamentUK Government Health6626 Schools6214 Welfare benefits6225 Taxation5737 Defence/Foreign Affairs3163
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…
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)
An uncertain note - 1 PensionsIndependenceDevo MaxStatus QuoNo Parliament SP & Vary584062 SP & Not Vary3845437 UK & Not Vary3114889 UK & Vary2332
An uncertain note - 2 TaxIndependenceDevo MaxStatus QuoNo Parliament SP & Vary594871 SP & Not Vary30272113 UK & Not Vary8186785 UK & Vary3751
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.