No devotee of the Express, I managed to miss the poll which the paper commissioned from Angus Reid last week on Scottish independence. The first Scottish constitutional headcount of 2013, the Express poll sampled a relatively small selection of folk (just 573 respondents) on the national question, and on a second (to my mind, rather poorly framed, muddled) series of preferred constitutional alternatives, from the status quo, to "some powers", "more powers", and "full independence". Since devo-something is realistically off the table until after 2014, I intend to focus solely on the substantive findings on independence.
The pollster's January findings more or less echo trends we've seen a number of times before in offerings from YouGov and Ipsos-MORI: evidence of a substantial gender gap, and an age-taper in support for independence, from young 'un to auld yins. Overall, Angus Reid found support for independence held steady at just under a third of the electorate, with half of their respondents preferring to remain in the United Kingdom, leaving 16% as yet undecided on the constitutional question.
No great shakes in the gendered column either. Polls have consistently shown a gender gap in support for independence of 10% or more. This Angus Reid poll is no exception. Voting intentions vary 10% between men and women questioned, some 37% to 27%, with a slightly larger cohort of Scottish damsels (+6%) declaring themselves undecided.
Angus Reid avoid the thorny domain of correlating voting intention to social class, but they do disaggregate their results by the antiquity of their respondents. Even more so than is usual, the pollster has sampled a tiny number of folk in each bracket. Despite this small sample size, the company's findings aren't exactly a revelation. With the odd bump and hump here and there, support for Scottish independence tapers off as respondents get older, with the oldest cohort of respondents (over 65s) recording the lowest level of support for independence (24%) and highest levels of opposition (65%). Exhibiting the estimable contrariness of youth, the youngest group of respondents (18 - 24 year olds) again recorded the highest levels of support for (39%) and the lowest level of opposition (41%) to the idea that Scotland might be better off independent.