Is this what will determine whether it’s YES or NO?
There’s some new polling from Ipsos-MORI that’s just been published that, I believe, goes right to the heart of the Scottish independence referendum – whether voters will feel assured about their financial prospects if they vote for the big change.
The overall conclusion was that the prospect of Scotland becoming an independent country leaves people feeling less optimistic about their personal financial situation and about economic conditions in Scotland.
That is about now – the big question is how they’ll feel in October 2014.
At the beginning of the survey respondents were asked about a range of personal and national economic issues and whether they thought they would improve, stay the same or get worse in the next five next years. At the end of the survey they were then asked what would happen to the same measures if Scotland were to become an independent country.
On each measure, optimism fell and pessimism grew once the concept of independence was introduced.
Thus when asked about personal finances 34% thought they would improve in the next five years while 30% thought they would get worse, a net rating of +4%. This net rating fell to -14% when we asked what would happen to personal finances if Scotland were an independent country.
When those currently working were asked about their job security in the next five years, there was a net rating of -1%, which grew to -7% when respondents considered what would happen if Scotland were independent.
A third of respondents (34%) thought that economic conditions in Scotland would improve in the next five years, compared to 39% who thought they would get worse, a net rating of -5%. This net rating became -11% when we asked about economic conditions if Scotland were to become independent.
Amongst those who currently oppose independence the gaps, as you’d imagine are much much greater. Thus among this group the net rating for personal finances falls from -4% in the next five years to -58% if Scotland were independent.
The pessimism was particularly evident among those with mortgages living in affluent areas who currently appear more nervous about the economic consequences of independence. This is a section of the electorate, I’d suggest, who are likely to turnout.
The poll highlights the challenges facing Alex Salmond and his team in convincing voters to make the jump.