In one of the least surprising – but most important – pieces of news this week, the independent Electoral Commission has rejected the SNP’s proposed independence referendum wording.
Instead, is recommending that the question be:
Should Scotland be an independent country? Yes/No
Alex Salmond and the SNP had been pushing hard for:
Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?
However, the Electoral Commission concluded that:
The [SNP’s] formulation ‘Do you agree…’ was commonly felt by research participants to be biased towards a ‘yes’ outcome and potentially leading people towards a ‘yes’ vote . These issues were identified by some participants spontaneously in their discussion of the question, and by others when prompted to consider the neutrality of the question or when comparing this wording with the alternative versions …
We recommend that the question is redrafted to ensure that it is asked in a more neutral way that avoids encouraging voters to consider one response more favourably than another.