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Trident polls

The Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament has questioned the way in which the results of a new poll have been presented.

John Ainslie, Coordinator of Scottish CND said "Opinion polls, including the Social Attitudes Study, show that more Scots oppose British nuclear weapons than support them and that opposition in Scotland is stronger than in England and Wales.  Our street work and the many meetings we have taken part in across the confirms this.  The latest study is wrong to conclude that people here want Trident to stay while those South of the border want it to move, if Scotland is independent. People in Scotland were asked a different question, in a different context, from those in the rest of the UK and this has distorted the results."

The results of opinion polls on nuclear weapons are sensitive to the way that the question is asked. This is very apparent from the recent Social Attitudes study.  On the basic question of “Are you in favour or against Britain having its own nuclear weapons” the views in Scotland were the opposite of those in England and Wales. In England and Wales 43% were in favour and 36% were against.  In Scotland only 37% were in favour, while 46% were against. This is consistent with similar questions in previous polls.

In two further questions the survey then appears to indicate that Scots would be willing for Trident to remain after independence, while those in England and Wales would want in to be moved somewhere else. This result is unexpected. The explanation lies in the different wording used. The survey asked those in Scotland “If Scotland becomes independent, Britain’s nuclear submarines should continue to be based here”.  The response was that 41% agreed and 37% disagreed. The different question asked to those in England and Wales was “At the moment, Britain’s nuclear weapons submarines are based in Scotland. Regardless of whether you support or oppose Britain having nuclear weapons, if Scotland became an independent country, separate from the rest of the UK, should Britain’s nuclear weapons remain in Scotland or should they be moved to somewhere else in Britain?”  26% said they should remain in Scotland, while 63% said they should “definitely” or “probably” be moved elsewhere.

It is wrong to interpret the results of these two questions as indicating that Scots would be happier for Trident to stay in an independent Scotland those those living South of the border. It is far more likely that the different responses are due to the different way the questions are phrased. The inclusion of the word “continue” and the reference to “nuclear weapon submarines” rather than “nuclear weapons” in the Scottish question is likely to result in a higher degree of acceptance. The more detailed wording in the England/Wales question is more likely to result in a greater call for the weapons to be moved. The context in which the questions were asked should also be taken into account.

The survey was wrong to ask two different questions to those living in Scotland and the rest of the UK, and it is wrong to make a conclusion by comparing the two results. The basis question on British nuclear weapons, which was asked to both sections of the population is a better guide and it reaffirms that Scots are opposed to nuclear weapons.




#1 james scott 2016-07-17 20:11
58 out of 59 Scottish MPs at Westminster represent the Scottish peoples wishes and reject WMDs
The overwhelming majority of the Scottish Parliament's MSPs reject WMDs this is the representation of Scotland's will

By not removing these weapons from Scotland Westminster has yet again proven we do not live in a democratic Union but a dictatorship by an unrepresentative Westminster parliament

This is no different to North Korea propaganda to say that Scotland is not against these weapons
We are forced against our will to accomodate them in our country and forced to pay for them
Plus subjected to them being driven by trucks through our most populace city by night while radioactive leaks are at an all time high of over 100 incidences into our coastal waters

Better for who?

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