Attitudes towards income and wealth inequality and support for Scottish independence over time and the interaction with national identity

As the Scottish independence referendum is drawing near, the importance of understanding public attitudes that influence support for independence is increasing. The relationship between attitudes towards social inequality and support for independence is not well understood. Using data from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey, we empirically analysed the relationship between attitudes towards income and wealth inequality, taxation, and income redistribution and support for independence over time. Further, we examined to what extent party identification explained the findings and the interaction between attitudes towards social inequality and national identity. Individuals who held more left-wing attitudes towards social inequality were more likely to support independence and the associations were stronger among individuals identifying as more Scottish. Over time, the associations remained relatively consistent. Party identification explained some, but not all of the associations. There was evidence to suggest that having a positive attitude towards the government's role in income redistribution may be becoming more important for independence support in recent years, especially among the more Scottish groups. The opposite was found for general attitudes towards wealth inequality. Further analysis is required to investigate whether these trends continue as the campaigns for and against independence become more active.

Saturday, February 1, 2014
Niedzwiedz, C. L. and Kandlik-Eltanani, M.
Publication Type: 
Journal article
Scottish Affairs

Research Strand: