Exceptional participation of working people anticipate...

New poll: Exceptional participation of working people anticipated in Scottish referendum

11 September 2014

Nine in 10 working people across Scotland will be casting a vote next Thursday according to a new poll conducted by the country’s biggest union Unite released today (11 September).

With one week to go until the referendum, the vast majority of Unite members have already made up their minds about how they will vote; again, nearly nine in 10 voters across all age groups have decided how they will vote on September 18.

The results come as it is reported that record numbers of Scottish people - some 4.25 million - have registered to cast their vote next week, the largest number ever recorded.

However, Unite members are evenly spilt over the quality of the information provided by both official campaigns with equal number either satisfied or dissatisfied with the information provided by both camps.

The poll of nearly 9,000 Unite members in Scotland, conducted over the weekend of 5-7 September, supports official figures on high participation with turnout rates across all age groups and sectors of more than 90 per cent expected.

93 per cent of Unite members polled said that they will be voting, with 92 per cent of male Unite members and 96 per cent of female Unite members stating that they will vote next week. 88 per cent of male Unite members have made up their minds about how they will vote compared to 86 per cent of Unite's women members.

By a tiny margin, voter participation looks to be higher among Unite's older members: 94 per cent of the over forties will vote compared to 92 per cent of 16-39 years olds.

Across the industrial sectors represented by Unite participation is expected to be high: 82 per cent of workers in the chemicals sector told Unite that they will vote compared with 98 per cent in the ministry of defence and government departments.

In nearly all the sectors where Unite has members, over nine in 10 say that they will vote. The highest levels of participation are expected to come from Unite community members, who are members presently out of work or in study, 100 per cent of whom said that they will be voting.

Unite itself has a position of `positive neutrality’, agreed after extensive consultation with its sectors. However, when asked if the Yes and No campaigns had provided sufficient information to help members make up their minds, with concerns expressed at the often inadequate or partial information.

Unite deliberately did not ask members how they will vote.

Pat Rafferty, Unite's Scottish regional secretary, said: "Working people across Scotland look set to shape the outcome of next Thursday's historic vote by participating in astonishing numbers.

"Our members - the majority of whom are in work as well as sizeable numbers of community members - are fully engaged with the referendum debate on Scotland’s future.

"Unite members told us very clearly that they do not want their union taking a stance one way or another, but instead wanted us to help them find the information that they needed in order to make up their minds, which is why this union has been striving to help our members in their deliberations, holding meetings across the country to allow our communities to debate the profound decision before us.

"However, members are split over the quality of the information from both the yes and no campaigns. This reaffirms our view that whatever the outcome next week, we urge both camps to pull out all the stops to focus on uniting our country in delivering the future the people of Scotland want.”


The full tables are available from Pauline Doyle and Peter Welsh and for further information contact the Unite Press Office on 020 3371 2065. 

  • Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest trade union with over 1.4 million members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.