Sunday 5 February 2012
Alex’s Salmond’s proposed referendum question – “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” – is hopelessly biased because it is asking people to positively agree, not to choose from neutral options. It is well established in countless studies (Solomon Asch’s is the classic) that humans prefer to agree and say ‘Yes’ rather than disagree and say ‘No’. Mr Salmond’s question fits into this bias beautifully as it requires a ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ answer.
Saying ‘No’ can make us seem negative and confrontational and that is risky.
A neutral question would contain two choices: “Should Scotland remain within the UK?” and “Should Scotland be an independent country?” with a box against each. The voter would be invited to put a cross against one or the other. To preserve even greater neutrality, you could have a third box which offered ‘Neither of the above” for those who did not know or wished to abstain.
[Adapted with thanks to Robert Henderson, London]
Posted by roy at 11:03 am. No comments
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