Tuesday, July 16, 2013

YouGov poll : Scotland says a resounding no to renewing Trident

Here's another significant blow for journalists who like to peddle the fiction that Scottish public opinion on key issues is near-enough indistinguishable from public opinion in the rest of the UK. YouGov's latest poll on the future of Britain's "minimum nuclear deterrent" (translation : a weapons system that, if used, would extinguish the lives of hundreds of millions of innocent civilians within minutes) shows that Scotland is the only part of the UK where outright abolition is the most popular of the three basic options. Support for that option is also a full fourteen points higher in Scotland than it is across Britain as a whole.


The UK should order four new submarines to maintain its nuclear weapons system - 32%
The UK should try to find a cheaper system for keeping nuclear weapons - 34%
The UK should give up nuclear weapons altogether - 20%


The UK should order four new submarines to maintain its nuclear weapons system - 25%
The UK should try to find a cheaper system for keeping nuclear weapons - 31%
The UK should give up nuclear weapons altogether - 34%

One small consolation for the above-mentioned journalists, though - this doesn't necessarily prove that Scots hold more progressive views in general. It may have just been the effect of living with these inhuman weapons on our doorstep for the last few decades that has brought us to our senses a little quicker than others. Although, to be fair, respondents in both Scotland and the rest of the UK seem thoroughly unconvinced by the argument that the retention of nuclear weapons somehow makes us safer, as opposed to putting us at far greater risk of being the target of a nuclear attack ourselves.

Thinking about nuclear weapons, please say how persuasive, if at all, you find the following statements...

Having nuclear weapons makes the world more dangerous, not less, because we encourage other countries to get them by having them ourselves.


Persuasive 61%
Not Persuasive 25%


Persuasive 62%
Not Persuasive 30%

But unsurprisingly, the marked difference between Scottish and British opinion returns with a vengeance when we move on to the true rationale for retaining Trident - the need for a British national status symbol. (If we simply had to have one of those, couldn't we have done humanity a favour by holding onto Concorde instead?)

If the United Kingdom abandoned its nuclear weapons, then it could be seen as a less important country in the world.


Persuasive 46%
Not Persuasive 38%


Persuasive 36%
Not Persuasive 51%

The United Kingdom doesn't need its own nuclear weapons to have influence because some other countries have a lot of influence without having their own nuclear weapons.


Persuasive 41%
Not Persuasive 42%


Persuasive 54%
Not Persuasive 31%


  1. Silly question perhaps but the UK figures, are they really all UK or the Rest of UK?

    If not. how would the inclusion of Scotland in the UK figures slew the differences?

  2. Yes, you're right, the inclusion of Scotland skews the GB figures slightly. YouGov don't provide a breakdown for England and Wales or for England alone - the breakdown is by five 'regions', one of which is Scotland.

    Incidentally, YouGov don't (except for a few very rare exceptions) include Northern Ireland in their political polls, so the Britain-wide figures include Scotland but exclude Northern Ireland.