Theme: Political Ideas | Content Type: Journal article

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Independence is not Going Away: The Importance of Education and Birth Cohorts

Lindsay Paterson


Scottish Government

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Support for Scottish independence has remained stable since the change in the leadership of the Scottish National Party in March 2023, despite the fall in support for the party. The article analyses the sociological basis of independence support since 1979, using data from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey and recent opinion polls. The recent stability reflects three main changes: the pronounced growth in support among people born since the 1970s; the growth of education in these same cohorts; and the shift to the left of the independence campaign. These long-term trends suggest that the level of support for independence, and of opposition to it, are unlikely to be affected strongly or permanently by the transient fortunes of the SNP.

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