People who are more willing to take risks are more likely to vote Yes in Scotland’s referendum, researchers at Stirling University have found.
A paper, published today by Professors David Bell and Liam Delaney, and researcher Michael McGoldrick, looked at how a representative sample of Scottish voters was likely to vote and how this related to other attitudes, beliefs and personal characteristics. Catholics and those with no religious affiliation had the highest support for independence. While people in higher income households were more likely to vote No.
The paper claims that people’s acceptance of risk is “highly predictive” of voting intention. It said those who displayed “lower levels of risk aversion” were more likely to state that they would vote Yes in the referendum.
The researchers said: “Our survey showed that a majority of respondents were in favour of retaining the Union. The difference between the support for a No vote and that for Yes partly reflect the situation in December 2013, when the survey was carried out: since then the margin has narrowed.
“Consistent with previous research, males are more supportive of a Yes vote than females and there is somewhat less support among older voters. Around 18 per cent of the gender effect is explained by higher levels of risk aversion among female voters.
“Support for independence is related to a wide variety of economic beliefs and preferences, including beliefs that an independent Scotland will have better debt and inflation outcomes. However, there is strong support for Scotland keeping the pound among those who intend to vote Yes.”
Prof Delaney said: “The upcoming referendum poses a difficult choice for Scottish voters and one that requires consideration of many complex economic and political factors.”