Much has been said about the Yes campaign, much has been written about its vibrancy and excitement, openness and inclusivity. It was planned to be the biggest grassroots campaign in Scotland’s history, it has been said that it brought new people to politics and represented a departure from the type of campaign seen when political parties fight for our vote. Yes was said to have been positive and Better Together was supposed to have been negative.
This report provides detailed results of what we believe to be the largest and most comprehensive survey of those who said they took part in the Yes campaign. It examined who the volunteers were, what they did, what they thought of the campaign and their experience of it and the results from it provide evidence to support, refine or debunk ideas held about the campaign.Credits—
Dr Iain Black
Sara MasdenDownload Now
Dr Iain Black and Sara Marsden’s survey of Yes campaign volunteers is the biggest and most comprehensive dataset on activists in the independence movement produced so far, with 993 activists filling out 64 questions and scales (totalling 402 individual items).
This report details the results from an online survey designed to capture the Yes Scotland volunteer movement and to understand participation in what was planned to be the “the biggest grassroots campaign the country has ever seen” (Denis Canavan, Chair of Yes Scotland, 2013).
Focusing on those who actively campaigned for yes, it aims to understand who campaigned, what they did, what motivated them to take part, their assessment of both the Yes and No campaigns and how they experienced being part of it.
In the summary, we examine a number of claims made about the campaign: Was it successful at bringing new people into political campaigning? Can participation be understood as an expression of civic or ethnic nationalism? Was it the biggest grassroots campaign in Scotland’s history (though we can only examine if volunteers thought this to be the case)? And finally, did it represent a different form of campaigning than seen in elections?
― 993 Yes volunteers responded to an online survey and to collect their views, we contacted a wide range of Yes supporting groups.
― It aims to understand who campaigned, what they did, what motivated them to take part, their assessment of both the Yes and No campaigns and how they experienced being part of it.
― The survey ranges over 64 questions with many multiple item scales and seeks to provide a detailed account of the results including notes on question wording, order and response formats.
― The Yes campaign was successful in bringing new people into political campaigning and many of them expressed an interest in continuing in organised politics afterwards.
― Overall, we can conclude that volunteers believed that the 2014 independence referendum campaign was the largest ever political campaign seen in Scotland and the campaign culture and leadership appears to have been strongly grassroots orientated.