Following the success of Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics and Andy Murray’s amazing Wimbledon win in 2013, we ran ‘Britishness’ surveys to see how patriotic people felt. We found that sporting events were much more likely to increase patriotism across the UK than royal occasions such as the Queen’s Jubilee or the birth of a royal baby.
Following the result of the Scottish referendum last Friday a re-run of our national online ‘Britishness’ omnibus therefore seemed like too good an opportunity to miss. The omnibus surveyed a total of 2,000 adult respondents across the country.
Firstly, we saw a slight increase in the number of respondents in Scotland who feel ‘Very Patriotic’ (15%), even against their Olympic peak in 2012 (when Scottish athletes took a good haul of medals).
For those of us in England and Wales, there was no change in the level of patriotism we felt following the success of the ‘No’ campaign. It was virtually the same level of patriotism amongst this group as recorded on the weekend of Andy Murray’s victory – which was almost half that of the Olympic high.
However, the ‘Very Unpatriotic’ vote doubled amongst Scots with 18% saying they now felt ‘Very Unpatriotic’ towards Britain (up from a previous 7%). The rest of GB was virtually unchanged in its levels of patriotism however; 40% feel patriotic and 30% feel unpatriotic.
So, with an increase at both ends of the spectrum for Scots, it would seem that the referendum has energised and politicised the population around how British they feel. Indeed, the level of ‘middle ground’ opinions (i.e. those who feel neither patriotic nor unpatriotic) dropped significantly from 43% to 29%.
I heard a statistic which said that only around half the Scottish population voted in the general election of 2010, whilst a staggering 84% voted in the referendum. It certainly fits that more people have an opinion.
Our omnibus looks only at the views of those aged 18 years or above and so it will be interesting to see what official statistics can tell us about the views of the 16-17 year olds, voting for the first time in their lives in what was described as a ‘once in a lifetime’ opportunity.
With a general election due in 2015, we wait and see whether the people of Scotland return to an apathetic political stance, feeling they have to “choose between Tweedledum and Tweedledee” (John Curtice Radio 4’s ‘Today’ programme) or whether the referendum has lit a political fire which is there to stay…Subscribe