On September 18th, Scottish voters will decide whether their country will be the first to secede from a Western-European state in recent history. After two years of campaigning it would seem that politicians, academics, and journalists would have a good understanding of the public sentiment. Using very recent data from the only large-scale, representative, and comprehensive attitudes surveys in Scotland, however, this talk will highlight where the general “wisdom” about Scots’ attitudes towards the referendum may be empirically wrong. After showing where the polls stand and what we may expect as polling day approaches, this talk will focus in particular on how the attitudes of Scottish people towards international affairs have often been misrepresented, in particular in relation to the European Union, Scotland’s role in the world, and nuclear weapons in Scotland. The talk will also identify issues that may still move people, in either direction, before casting their vote.
Dr. Jan Eichhorn is a Chancellor’s Fellow in Social Policy at the University of Edinburgh’s School of Social and Political Science. He is the principal investigator on two Economic and Social Research Council funded projects in the “Future of the UK and Scotland” programme, investigating the attitudes of Scots in relation to the referendum on independence.