Scottish independence

I’ve been working on a little interactive of the Scottish independence vote and how it correlates with a few other variables. It’s pretty simple – some correlations of the proprtion voting Yes in each local authority and some of the characteristics of that LA. Here’s where I’ve go to so far. If I can think of any other variables which are distinct enough (e.g. not just breaking down the benefits data, or adding another age group) I’ll pop them in.

Some interesting points (IMO)

1 A really strong link between the Yes vote and the proportion of people on means tested out of work benefits. There’s been analysis elsewhere looking at the links between deprivation and the Yes vote. The deprivation index draws quite heavily on the benefits figures, so I’ve just used the latter

2 A pretty strong link with the proportion of people who live in urban areas. And actually, it was interesting to see that even in the Highlands, half the population lives in an urban area. Presumably that’s Fort William and Iverness.

3 Not a terrible strong link between age and Yes, at the local authority level. Huge caveat needed here. The opinion polls said over 65s were by far the most likely age group to vote No. The reason the effects are weak in the graph is that most LAs have a similar (or at least similarish) age distribution. The proportion of the population aged over 65 is between 14% and 24% everywhere, which doesn’t give us a lot of variation to analyse.

At the moment (and possibly always, I’m not sure) there is data at the local authority level but no lower. Interestingly, Glasgow Council is going to publish data for each of its Holyrood constituencies (there are 8), which would allow us to dig a little deeper, but Edinburgh is not. Using LA level stuff is OK up to a point, but the conclusions you can draw are bound to be weaker than for, e.g., ward level data, never mind individual voters.

More importantly, all we’re doing here is drawing a correlation. It doesn’t prove that e.g. people on benefits were more likely to vote Yes. For what it’s worth I’m pretty sure they were, but all we can say for sure is that people in areas with high proportions of people on benefits were more likely to vote Yes. We can’t say more unless/ until we get a bit more data about the individuals themselves.

The data comes from a few different sources, mainly via Nomis, but I got the urban rural stuff from the Scottish Government here . The work of pulling the voting data together was very helpfully done by Alistair Rae, from Sheffield University. He’s done some similar analysis which is well worth a look, as is this piece in the FT by John Burn Murdoch and Aleksandra Wisniewska

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