The headline publicity informed us that voters supported a Cornish Assembly, with powers over the NHS and social welfare similar to those in Wales. And by a clear margin of 49-31, the rest being don’t knows or don’t cares. It’s when we drill down into how this breaks down by gender, age, locality and voting intention that things get a mite interesting. And not a little puzzling.
The following table breaks down attitudes to an Assembly by various groups.
Attitudes to a Cornish Assembly with similar powers to Welsh Assembly
Men are slightly more likely to support an Assembly than women. While younger and middle-aged voters are much more likely to support it, older voters aren’t (reflecting the result of the Scottish referendum), although even they too come out in favour of an Assembly.
Locality makes little difference. Although, somewhat surprisingly, the rural south of the constituency shows greater support for an Assembly than the urban north. However, this difference is still within the margin of polling error, just.
Much more confusing is the link to voting intention. Tory voters stand out from the crowd as being overwhelmingly opposed to an Assembly, by two to one. Yet, for those thinking of voting for other parties, more than half were in support – including Ukip voters.
Labour voters are keenest on the Assembly, maybe reflecting working class support for devolution, but Ukip voters are also very keen, as were the undecideds, who are the most pro-Assembly of the lot. (You can’t read very much into the Lib Dem score as only 13 people are thinking of voting for them – as opposed to 19 for the others).
As a Cornish Assembly is most definitely NOT Ukip policy (or Labour’s either for that matter), we must conclude that Ukip voters either haven’t got the faintest idea what Ukip policy is, or don’t give a fig what it is.
It’s a great pity that the Exeter University team didn’t ask Survation to collect data on the missing social variables however – ethnicity and place of birth. In Scotland the group most opposed to independence were those born in England. Is it the same in Cornwall? And who are all these Ukip voters in Cornwall? Are they disgruntled incomers? Or ‘left-behind’ natives?
I suspect it’s both.