September 18th 2014 | Scotland

Doubt most powerful force for No vote

By Liam Kirkaldy

The risks associated with independence were a more powerful motivation for No voters than a sense of affection for the UK, according to polling conducted by Lord Ashcroft.

The survey found that 47 per cent of No voters said the biggest factor in their decision was that the risks of becoming independent looked too great when it came to things like the currency, EU membership, the economy, jobs and prices.

Meanwhile attachment to the UK and its shared history, culture and traditions came second in ranking motivations for No – at 27 per cent – while the third most powerful factor was the offer of extra powers for the Scottish within the UK.

In contrast by far the most powerful motivation for Yes voters – at 70 per cent – was the belief that the decisions which affect Scotland should be made by those living in the country.

Just ten per cent of Yes voters said their primary motivation was ridding Scotland of Conservative Governments.

Nearly three quarters cited “disaffection with Westminster politics” as in their top three reasons for voting Yes (74 per cent), before concern over the NHS – at 54 per cent – followed by the attraction of controlling tax and spending powers in Scotland.

The findings show that 52 per cent of Yes voters made up their mind over the course of the last year, with 18 per cent saying they decided in the last month. In contrast 62 per cent of No voters said they always knew how they would vote.

Yes voters were also more likely to make up their minds on polling day, at eight per cent, versus three per cent of Nos.

Both Yes and No voters were generally comfortable telling friends and family how they voted, at 89 and 67 per cent respectively.  

While 16 and 17 year olds far more likely to vote Yes than No – with independence support at 71 per cent in the demographic – the No campaign’s strongest support was in people aged 65 or over, with 73 per cent support in the demographic.

Lord Ashcroft also asked voters how long they felt it would take for the issue of independence to arise again after a No vote, with 45 per cent of Yes supporters saying just five years, versus 20 per cent of No voters, who were more likely to expect the issue to be buried for a generation.

One quarter of No voters responded to say they felt the outcome would settle the matter forever.

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