Daily Archives: August 15, 2014

What Do People Know About Scottish Politics and the Independence Referendum?

Updated to reflect the publication of a new report by Ailsa Henderson, Liam Delaney and Robert Liñeira here – http://www.futureukandscotland.ac.uk/sites/default/files/papers/Risk%20and%20Constitutional%20Attitudes%20Full%20Survey%2014%20Aug.pdf

Paul Cairney: Politics & Public Policy

Maybe people can agree on one thing about the Scottish independence referendum: we need a well informed electorate to make the Yes/ No choice. So, how well informed is the electorate?

Ailsa Henderson, Liam Delaney and Robert Liñeira address this question in two ways: first, by asking 2000 people about their perceived knowledge of politics (p9), going from a 0-10 scale, with 0-3 representing ‘very little’, 4-6 some, and 7-10 ‘a lot’. The proportion with a perceived ‘lot of knowledge’ was quite high in general (44%) but higher in relation to the issues raised (56%) and the consequences of independence (56%) and, perhaps surprisingly, the consequences of a No vote (59%). It rises to over 80% in each category if we include people who think they have some knowledge.

This perception contrasts somewhat with a separate measure. Henderson et al ask people ten true/false questions to test their knowledge of the Scottish Government’s White…

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