Referendums

Electoral Commission rejects SNP’s biased referendum question

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By Lord Ashcroft

A year ago I wrote that no self-respecting pollster would ask the question that Alex Salmond planned to put before the people of Scotland in his referendum. The Electoral Commission has come to the same conclusion, rejecting the SNP’s proposed formulation – “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” – and ruling that more neutral wording must be used.

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Is Alex Salmond’s referendum question biased?

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By Lord Ashcroft

“Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” No self-respecting pollster would ask the question that Alex Salmond proposes to put on the ballot paper in his referendum. As Professor Robert Cialdini, the author of Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion told the Today programme last week, the question Mr Salmond wants to use is “loaded and biased”, because it “sends people down a particular cognitive chute designed to locate agreements rather than disagreements”. My latest poll suggests Cialdini is right.

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‘Fairer votes’? Remember Tiger Hewson!

By Lord Ashcroft

The campaign to change the electoral system likes to call itself “Yes To Fairer Votes”. Under the Alternative Vote, they say, “your next MP would have to aim to get more than 50% of the vote to be sure of winning. At present they can be handed power with just one vote in three”. One vote in three. That doesn’t sound very democratic, does it? Yet those who want to change our voting system to make it fairer should be careful what they wish for, and would do well to reflect on history. In particular they should heed the case of “Tiger” Hewson.

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