Almost 50 per cent of survey respondents say media won’t influence referendum voting intentions

THE ‘mainstream media’ is unlikely to have any influence on the way people will vote in next year’s referendum on Scottish independence – according to 49 per cent of respondents to a survey.

Commissioned by the pro-independence website, Wings Over Scotland, the survey also had 27 per cent of respondents saying the mainstream media is biased against independence and eight per cent saying it’s biased in favour.

Wings Over Scotland describes itself as a “Scottish political website, which focuses particularly on the media – whether mainstream print and broadcast organisations or the online and social-network community – as well as offering its own commentary and analysis”.

It adds: “The site is edited and maintained by Rev. Stuart Campbell, a Liberal Democrat voter at every election for the last 22 years. It advocates Scottish independence, but is not affiliated or connected in any way to the SNP, and neither gives to or [sic] receives money from the party, or indeed any other party (including membership fees).”

Says the site, the survey was commissioned from researchers, Panelbase, and involved questioning 1,015 adults. It’s not defined exactly what newspaper titles and other media outlets comprise the ‘mainstream media’.

Respondents were asked to tick as many of the following statements they considered to be true about the mainstream media:

* It’s biased against independence: 27 per cent

* It’s biased in favour of independence: eight per cent

* It’s not biased either way: 13 per cent

* It gives me enough solid, reliable information about independence to make a decision: six per cent

* It just reports what the two sides say, but doesn’t find out what the truth is: 33 per cent

* It gives disproportionately large coverage to negative/scare stories: 29 per cent

* It balances negative and positive stories well: five per cent

* The same pundits appear too often on TV: 22 per cent

* A wide range of voices are heard: six per cent

* It will significantly influence how I vote: six per cent

* It will not significantly influence how I vote: 49 per cent

The survey also asked respondents to identify which of the Scottish political websites they had heard of, and the figures were as follows:

* ThinkScotland: 19 per cent

* Labour For Independence: ten per cent

* The Jimmy Reid Foundation: ten per cent

* Newsnet Scotland: nine per cent

* Wings Over Scotland: seven per cent

* Bella Caledonia: six per cent

* National Collective: six per cent

* Labour Hame: four per cent

* Five Million Questions: two per cent

* Open Unionism: less than one per cent

* None of the above: 68 per cent

Several other questions were asked in the survey – including about voter intentions, views on the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ campaigns, etc – and elsewhere on the site there is dismay that the wider survey results were not picked up by the media.