Primarily we are interested in exploring whether and how individuals decide to vote, how this process might be shaped by factors distinct from UK general elections, and also whether previous models of voting behaviour in devolved elections are still able to account for partisan preferences after the referendum.
We will not only link preferences in the 2016 election to past voting behaviour in devolved and UK elections but also probe opinion on two wider issues: constitutional change in the UK (in England as well as Scotland) and the possibility of British exit from the EU. In each case, we can examine how this relates both to partisan preferences and campaign strategies in the 2016 SP elections.
Throughout we will locate Scottish findings within a comparative context through our collaboration with the 2016 Welsh Election Study team, with whom we will conduct a Massive Open Online Course on the devolved elections. We will also include a core of questions from the comparative Making Electoral Democracy Work project, which to date has conducted sub-state surveys in five states .
Our project will provide the first UK data for analysis within this comparative project. Our research questions, discussed in detail in the case for support, relate to contested theories of voting behaviour in elections. We focus on the extent to which voting behaviour is a function of identity, issue positions (especially on the independence question), ideology, evaluations of government performance, and leader preferences. We draw on a rich body of research on Scottish voting behaviour, much of which has been generated by previous Scottish Election Study data.