With the second of the two debates between Alex Salmond and Alistair Darling complete (a debate which Salmond is thought to have won), the Scottish independence referendum is now only 22 days away. At present, the No campaign is still enjoying a narrow lead in the polls. Earlier this month, over 200 British celebrities signed an open letter expressing their hope that the people of Scotland would vote against independence. And just today, over 130 Scottish business leaders signed an open letter arguing that the economic case for independence had not satisfactorily been made.
Having outlined the most important argument against independence elsewhere, here I want to consider what sorts of Scottish people are most likely to support independence. This is a subject that has already been examined by The Economist (and probably others as well). But I thought it would be worth looking at the latest figures anyway. These are taken from a YouGov poll of Scottish citizens that was conducted between the 12th and 15th of August.
The first chart (below) shows support for Scottish independence broken down by gender. The difference between the genders is sizeable, with men being considerably more favourable toward independence than women. Indeed, in this poll, a majority of women are opposed to independence. The second chart shows support for independence broken down by age. The old are substantially less favourable toward independence than the young. Again, in this poll, a majority of those aged 40 and over are opposed to independence. The third chart shows support for independence broken down by social grade (a simple measure of class). Those who belong to the higher social grade are slightly less favourable toward independence than those who belong to the lower social grade. (Note that ICM polls suggest that the difference of opinion by social class may be somewhat larger than this.)
The final chart (below) shows support for Scottish independence broken down by the respondent's voting intention at the Scottish national parliament. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the differences are vast. Large majorities of Conservative, Labour and Lib Dem supporters are opposed to independence, while a large majority of SNP supporters are in favour of independence. Those who intend to vote Conservative are the least supportive of independence, with over 90% saying that Scotland should not be an independent country.