Ben Wray looks at the comments of the Ipsos-Mori Scotland Director who argued that class ‘is the most important factor’ in influencing the decision of voters the independence referendum

PovertyIt’s becoming increasingly evident that class is the big determining factor in how Scots are going to vote in the referendum. Don’t just take my word for it, the Scottish Director of the polling company Ipsos-MORI, Mark Diffley, said in the Sunday Herald today:

“When you put all the variables that we collect together – where people live, their age, their gender – then neighbourhood deprivation is generally the most important factor.”

Unsurprisingly, it’s the most deprived neighbourhood’s – abandoned by the British state over the past forty years and with little to lose – who are voting yes, and the richest Scottish communities voting no. Diffley added:

“Those who live in neighbourhoods that are neither very affluent nor very deprived lean slightly more towards independence than the population as whole, but they are still opposed. The problem, though, is that because those in affluent neighbourhoods are so utterly opposed, they almost weight the population against [independence]. They make it an even tougher proposition.”

ChartChartThe ideological weight and reach of elite Scots are acting as a pressure point on those socio-economic groups that are below them but still within their sphere of influence. This is what the Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci meant by ‘hegemony’.

As the two graphs show, the richest tenth of Scots’ have fared well over the past decade, whilst incomes for the rest of us has been static or in decline. No wonder the rich want to stick with the status quo.

The problem the rich and Better Together have is there are much more of us than them. The majority of Scots of working age earn below £21,000. Plus, most people of higher incomes will have made up their mind; the tendency is for wealthy people to be more confident and sure of themselves. So the votes that are up for grabs will tend to come more from those constituencies that are more instinctively inclined towards yes: the poor.

Perhaps this factor is why new polling evidence today from an ICM survey shows a 5% swing towards Yes. The Scotsman reports:

“Were the progress recorded over the last four months to be replicated in the eight months remaining until the September 18 referendum, the first minister could succeed in his dream of creating an independent Scotland.”

The statistician John Curtice added that “it is the best news on polling the yes side has had”.

The clear evidence that Yes can win will be sending a shudder through Bearsden and Morningside, whilst a chink of light may be on the horizon in Springburn and Sighthill.

From Communiqué

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