Cultural Studies . Politics . Politics, Philosophy and Religion . Religion . Scottish Studies

From the Archives – Scottish Affairs – What factors influence the decision to support Scottish Independence?

Throughout 2014 we published a number of articles about the then impeding referendum on Scottish Independence in our journal Scottish Affairs. As we move towards a general election, the research and data contained within these articles hold as true now as they did then.

Our featured article this week examined the importance of understanding the public attitudes that influenced support for independence.

The decision to support Scottish Independence was influenced by a variety of factors including an individual’s sense of national identity, socio-demographic makeup, expectations for an independent Scotland, and political ideology. Men, younger age groups, and those identifying themselves as Scottish and not British on the Moreno national identity scale are more likely to support independence.

However, less is known about how an individual’s political values, particularly those relating to social inequality, are related to support for independence, and how these relationships differ by national identity.  Using data from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, the relationship between attitudes towards income and wealth inequality, taxation, and income redistribution and support for independence over time was empirically analysed.

Additionally examined was to what extent party identification explained the findings and the interaction between attitudes towards social inequality and national identity. Individuals who held more left-wing attitudes towards social inequality were more likely to support independence and the associations were stronger among individuals identifying as more Scottish.

There was evidence to suggest that having a positive attitude towards the government’s role in income redistribution may be becoming more important for independence support in recent years, especially among the more Scottish groups. The opposite was found for general attitudes towards wealth inequality.

The article “Attitudes towards Income and Wealth Inequality and Support for Scottish Independence over Time and the Interaction with National Identity” is available to read online now. http://www.euppublishing.com/doi/pdfplus/10.3366/scot.2014.0004

For more information on our Journal Scottish Affairs and to read more from it, including a sample edition, go to http://www.euppublishing.com/journal/scot

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