#Indyref – According to Ashcroft poll, Protestants saved the Union #updated

Interesting post independence referendum poll from Lord Ashcroft (results mirrored actual referendum result).

calculated from Ashcroft’s data, makes clear, there does appear to have been a simplistic correlation between religious affiliation and referendum voting patterns. Essentially, the majority of Catholics, non-Christians, and those professing no religion all favoured independence. It was only the votes of Protestants which saved the United Kingdom. The vast majority of these affiliate to the Church of Scotland and may have been influenced by the fact that the Queen has a strong relationship with it

A quick breakdown of the vote is as follows:

  • Total:  54.6 of the Scottish electorate voted No and 45.4 voted Yes
  • 43% ofRoman Catholics voted No and 57% Yes
  • 69.1% of Non RC Christians voted No and 30.9% voted Yes
  • 36.4% of Non Christians voted NO and 63.6% votes Yes
  • 44.3% of No Religion voted No and 55.7% voted Yes

The Scottish Catholic Bishops are `in for a touch` with regards to the referendum in this weeks Spectator magazine and in another spectator blog “Professor Tom Gallagher, a Scottish Catholic historian, wrote a post here yesterday accusing the Catholic hierarchy of Scotland of covertly supporting the Yes campaign”.

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  • First ‘affiliate to the Church of Scotland’ would be a bit strong. Have a loose affinity towards might be more accurate. Then the are the percentages, 2011 census here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Religion_in_Scotland with RC 16%, ‘Christians’ at 37%, non-Christians not even a half a percentage point with people of no religion around 40% and those not stating any preference about 7% (not sure how this last one fits in). Then there would be the issue of those of no religion being culturally Protestant or otherwise.

    Perhaps for the parties seeking to target demographics this sort of polling is wonkingly interesting, but every vote is the same and each has a similar value, and Scots, from every and all communities voted yes and no and as Scots decided on balance NO. Though some continue to explain away their great disappointment by looking for a demographic to blame. Move along.

  • Scots Anorak

    There is a correlation between church attendance and being middle class, and a further correlation between both those factors and being conservative. Such links are stronger in Great Britain than they are in Northern Ireland, where many working-class Protestants still go to church, and class politics are fairly irrelevant. Presumably most of the “non-Christians” came from Protestant backgrounds.

    It’s also the case that older people are more likely to self-identify as Christian, and we know that the old rejected independence by quite a margin. Catholics are also concentrated in the post-industrial cities, particularly Glasgow and Dundee, where Yes won the day, rather than the more rural areas where it didn’t.

    Although there is still much work to do, current Catholic support for independence is a strong indicator that Scotland in general and the SNP in particular have made good progress in tackling sectarianism. As late as 1982 former SNP leader Billy Wolfe embarrassed the party mightily with his overtly sectarian behaviour.

    On the whole Scots Catholics no longer suffer any economic ill effects as a result of discrimination on the jobs market, and it’s reasonable to draw the conclusion that this has made them more comfortable in their Scotsness. Indeed, according to some commentators we may now be seeing the same phenomenon in Northern Ireland.

    While there have been desperate attempts to sectarianise the debate, not least in the Orange Order parade in Edinburgh, which may indeed have caused a few Catholics and others to move to the Yes camp, followed by the riot by Loyalists and fascists in George Square a week ago, the truth is that the independence movement has little to do with organised religion or any other form of culture. Scotland is not Northern Ireland.

  • FF42

    I think there is a degree of sectarianism in the independence debate, The Catholic Church was one of the few institutions to be partisan – in their case for independence – while the Orange Order were clearly on the side of the Union. The Kirk was officially neutral, but somewhat conflicted, I think.

  • Scots Anorak

    Most Scots Protestants have very little time for the Orange Order, and no one could mount a referendum campaign counting on the votes of Scots Catholics alone, since there are simply too few of them. Catholic support for independence is in any case a relatively recent phenomenon. The mere fact that James MacMillan claims to have detected bias in the Scots Catholic Hierarchy does not mean that any actually exists. It is well known that the man is given to self-righteous hyperbole.

  • Big Yellow Crane

    Well said SA. Just 16% of Scots are Catholic according to the 2011 census. 32% of Glawegians. Even if the poll is correct and the Glaswegian Catholic vote was 57% Yes the rest of Glasgow must have voted 51% Yes to reach the 53% average. Hardly a massive difference. The only thing I’m getting from this story is the Orange Order’s desperation to sectarianise something cross-community in order to make themselves relevant.

  • Ian James Parsley

    I’m not sure you can say there was a “simplistic correlation”.

    In Northern Ireland, we may reasonably expect 95%+ of “Protestants” to vote for maintenance of the UK, and a comfortable majority (more comfortable than above) of “Catholics” not to (though that may depend on circumstances).

    Two further notes of caution.

    Firstly, Ashcroft’s initial post-Indyref poll does not tie in with anyone else’s. He had a much more “simplistic correlation” between age and vote than any other pollster.

    Secondly, well, um, 54.6 of the Scottish electorate voted No and 45.4 voted Yes… actually 55.3% of those voting voted No and 44.7% voted Yes. On top of that, 15-16% of “the electorate” didn’t vote (not to mention the other 3% of voting-age population who were not registered).

  • Actually it was the University of Manchester @BritRelNumbers twitter account that first raised the Ashcroft polling data followed by The Spectator magazine (Damied Thompson & Prof Tom Gallagher ) and Ruth Dudley Edwards – all three from a Catholic background.