Monday, May 23, 2022

Is there survey evidence of a surge in Scottish national identity?

Someone emailed the other day to ask if I'd write a blogpost about the New Statesman's report on survey evidence apparently showing a surge in Scottish national identity, and a decline in British national identity in Scotland.  I actually saw the article when it was published and I was going to comment on it, but the trouble was that I couldn't entirely make sense of what I was looking at.  We're very used to seeing the annual figures on national identity from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, but the numbers in the New Statesman piece were apparently from the British Social Attitudes Survey and were being compared with data from ten years ago, rather than last year.  So I'm not entirely sure how to fit them into the wider jigsaw.  (Although it's rather typical that a London-based publication is only viewing Scotland through the lens of a Britain-wide survey.)

What I can say with confidence, though, is that the commentary in the New Statesman piece was very misleading.  It suggested that the independence referendum produced a flourishing in Scottish national identity at the expense of Britishness, but we already know from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey results from the time of the long indyref campaign that, if anything, the opposite is true.  There was a sudden change between the 2011 and 2012 surveys, with the percentage of respondents saying they were "equally Scottish and British" jumping from 23% to 30%, and with corresponding reductions in the percentage of respondents saying they were "Scottish not British" or "more Scottish than British".  In fact "equally Scottish and British" became the joint most popular option at that point, after years of "more Scottish than British" being on top.  Nor was this a blip - by referendum year in 2014, "equally Scottish than British" had jumped even further to 32% and had moved into the outright lead.

I think this phenomenon is pretty easy to explain - many people who had previously identified as "more Scottish than British" knew they were going to vote No in the referendum, and began to feel that "equally Scottish and British" was a better way of reconciling their national identity with their indyref allegiance.  A cynic might argue that any recovery in Scottish identity since then could therefore indicate that the prospect of a new referendum feels much more distant to potential No voters, but in fact that's pretty unlikely given the way that unionist parties have obsessively talked up the "threat" of Indyref 2. 

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I ran an informal Twitter poll yesterday, and these are the results after a whopping 1375 people voted...

Do you believe the SNP's promise of a 2023 independence referendum will be kept?

Yes 42.8%
No 57.2%

Of course the sample isn't representative of anything apart from people who follow me on Twitter, or in some cases of people who follow my followers.  So there'll be a disproportionate number of Alba members and supporters in there, but what I find more interesting anyway is the substantial minority of people who voted "yes".  Someone actually left a comment to say in all apparent seriousness that he had "never been as sure of anything in his life" as he is of a 2023 indyref.  I hope the SNP leadership are aware of how sky-high expectations are among their own supporters.  These are not people who "play the game" and pay heed to the nods and winks given to journalists that the 2023 promise isn't really intended to be taken seriously.  They simply expect the promise to be kept, and heaven only knows how they'll react if in a year's time they realise they've been led up the garden path.

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  1. James, your two anti-fans on WGD (thicko Hamish100 and nasty Dr Jim ) aren't very pleased about you running your poll. I guess they think everyone should believe everything their idol Sturgeon says and that's why they are numpties. Like football fans who say Rangers till I die they should get a tattoo saying Sturgeon till I die. Prize numpties the pair of them.

  2. No doubt the mad Irish fool liar Skier will be peddling pish on WGD about how he's the expert on Scottish identity because of his French wife and Irish granny.

  3. The nasty nicophant WGD numpty Dr Jim thinks a poll about whether Britnat Sturgeon will call a referendum is written by a foot stamping infant at a checkout demanding sweeties and the thicko numpty Hamish100 thinks Hell hath no fury than an Albanista scorned.

  4. I hope the SNP leadership are aware of how sky-high expectations are among their own supporters. These are not people who "play the game" and pay heed to the nods and winks given to journalists that the 2023 promise isn't really intended to be taken seriously. They simply expect the promise to be kept, and heaven only knows how they'll react if in a year's time they realise they've been led up the garden path.

    I'd be surprised if most SNP supporters were as naive as that. My anecdotal impression is that most of them don't really expect a referendum next year. They're okay with that because they think we would probably lose at this point, but believe that demographic changes will put us in a winning position in the medium-to-long term.

    1. What you actually mean is they're *more* naive than I thought, not less. They've bought into the Demographic Inevitability Delusion, and also apparently believe that the SNP will be in power forever, and that there's therefore no need to bother making use of a precious mandate when you have one. Just how many more mandates are they content to squander, as a matter of interest?

  5. Recent polling on public attitudes to the monarchy, prompted by the Platinum Jubilee and the upcoming Pyongyang style “celebrations”.
    Excluding don’t knows.
    January, Ipsos Mori, England, monarchist margin of victory 50%
    February, Statista, UK, monarchist margin of victory 44%
    May, FocalData, Scotland, monarchist margin of victory 10%
    Clearly there’s a gulf between Scotland and rUK. If growing support for a republic is a reliable proxy, Scottish national identity is on the up.

  6. Sadly I can't see much evidence of a growth in a sense of 'Scottishness' in the Sturgeon era. From the base of 45% in the 2014 referendum, support for Yes has crept along at a snail's pace to the upper 40s despite Brexit and that clown in Downing Street providing us with an open goal. I believe Sturgeon's lack of enthusiasm for independence has left the electorate with a sense of ennui, just as Alex Salmond's boundless enthusiasm energised the voters during his time in office. The recent AUOB march in Glasgow, for example, was significantly down on numbers. Today's indy movement is limping along on the Dear Leader's empty promises of jam tomorrow.

    It's best exemplified by a trip to the Dughoose. They are exercised only by their hatred for those not of the 'one true faith', although there is the light relief provided by the ludicrous Skier. How I miss those toilet surveys that he felt were so vital to advance the case for independence! (I've been crossing my legs for Scotland since he left😁). I only hope I'm still around to see the verbal gymnastics by the Duggers next year when Queen Nicola fails to deliver yet again. I imagine they'll blame it on Stuart Campbell, Alex Salmond and probably you James if you don't shape up and fall back into line!

    1. Hamish100 has already started to blame this blog for the yes vote not being higher - now that is laughable. Seems to me the penny is starting to drop with even the thickest like Hamish that perhaps there may not be Indyref2 next year and they are starting to get their excuses ready.

    2. Sturgeon is engaged in a war of attrition with the rest of the movement. The decline in numbers and enthusiasm for things like AUOB marches was all but inevitable after years of inaction from The Dear Leader. I think she's hoping that eventually we all get tired and give up on active campaigning completely, so then she has her excuse.

  7. Here's the perma-wise Dr Jim of WGD with a comment on a fledgling political party of his era:

    "I was born in the 1940s and following the war Scotland was not fertile ground for British nationalism, had the SNP been at their current level then Scotland would most certainly have been Independent for a very long time by now."

    But shouldn't said small party have given up and gone home (even by that time)?

  8. Have I upset nasty Dr Jim. Jimbo is happy to have a go at everybody in nasty terms but perhaps he didn't like me pointing out that, contrary to his nonsense, the people of Scotland did know about the Treaty of Union 1706/7 and did object to it. Jimbo claims I was banned from Wings Over Scotland for being a Unionist troll. Now that is a nasty lie by Jimbo. Following in the footsteps of your idol Sturgeon and lying Jimbo.

  9. The BBC this morning - " Don't panic if you have not got anything planned for the Jubilee we have an event planner on the show."

    The BBC ( Sturgeons key and valued institution) can stuff their Jubilee. Just how much money has Sturgeon given the BBC?

    1. The only good thing about the Jubilee is that it represents less years we will have to put up with the guy who has all the charisma of a wet dish cloth as King.

      My summer motto is stuff your english Jubilee.

  10. Thicko Hamish100 tells SGP posters. " The fact is you will not influence, the when and where of the referendum."

    So let's analyse that statement.

    1. When - I thought the WGD numpties say it is a certainty for next year so what is there for us to influence. Unless of course Hamish doesn't truly believe Indyref2 will happen next year.

    2. Where - well that is stupid. Where else would it be but in Scotland. What a numpty.


    " Yet a few years later Foote who allegedly had miraculously received a bigger conversion than St Paul had on the road to Damascus became the Head of SNP Communications while people like Stu Campbell, Gareth Wardell, James Kelly, patriots that worked tirelessly for Scotland in 2014 were shunned and are traduced and made hate figures by the Nu SNP. " Not surprisingly Barrhead Boy does not include the big Dug in the named patriots.

    It is even more galling to think that Footes salary is probably being financed by the Indyref2 fund. Foote the ex Daily Record editor who was involved in the infamous VOW in 2014 that was never honoured. So Sturgeon not content with giving Foote this job also gives sums of money to the anti independence MSM. Are these the actions of a national independence leader? I think not!

  12. Scotland needs a fighter who takes the initiative on independence. What we have, and have had for years, is someone who is comfortable remaining on the back foot.

    We need heart, not hesitation.

  13. Hamster100 knows who supplies his feed -

    "Met my pal and his better half from Oban in Glasgow the other day. She said that some snp councillors were given a free shoe in ( pally with people of influence) while others were forced to have 2nd candidates. Interference in local selection processes are not a good look for any party. Activists are likely to say no more."


    The WGD numpty analysis. Try not to laugh out loud.

    Capella says: " We can't take any poll in a newspaper, especially a Unionist newspaper ( which is almost all of them) at face value. They can skew the numbers in all sorts of ways. We used to be able to go to Scot Goes Pop for an analysis of how the poll was conducted and how reliable the results are. But sadly SGP spends most of the time attacking the SNP."

    NOT - MY - REAL - NAME says: " A poll via papers like the Times will always produce polls that show Yes as being lower than NO.........that's their job."

    Dr Jim says : " Probably best to pay no attention to polls whatsoever, since 2014 polling companies have never asked the question YES or NO in a direct method, ......."

    These are the people who used to boast about how high Sturgeon has got Yes in the polls. Remember all the 19 polls in a row majority for yes and some at 58%. They used the polls to bat away any criticism of Sturgeon. Now they rubbish polls when it is lower for yes - pathetic numpties.

    These are the people desperate to get Gove to release the details of his poll but they now say polls are rubbish. What is rubbish is their analysis and lack of any consistent attitude to polls. Pathetic WGD numpties.

    These are the people who have said we cannot have Indyref2 until we are 60% yes in the polls. Now they say polls are rubbish. According to them the Britnats will always fix it so we never get to 60% so what is the point in saying we must get 60% in polls before having a referendum. It is the numpties that are rubbish as using their logic Indyref2 will never happen.

    The big dog must feel like an intellectual giant compared to his numpty doggers.

  15. Sturgeon now the longest serving FM. It also means she is the longest serving FM who has not even called an independence referendum never mind actually achieve Scottish independence. If you think that makes her a success then you are just a party drone. If you put Scottish independence first then she is a failure.