Public Opinion Polls
No survey of public opinion within the United Kingdom covers the whole of the United Kingdom equally, because of the geographical and political difficulties of organising fieldwork in Northern Ireland. British public opinion polls are normally confined to the island of Great Britain excluding the territory north of the Highland line in Scotland. To interview sufficient people to generalise about Scotland or Wales requires a specially designed sample for Scotland and Wales, or a massive (and uneconomic) number of English interviews. Moreover, different questions are sometimes appropriate in Scotland and Wales, especially when the party alternatives are different from those in England. The decision of the Westminster government to hold a Border referendum in Northern Ireland in 1973 and devolution referenda in Scotland and Wales in 1979 is evidence of the Crown’s recognition that there is a multiplicity of publics within the United Kingdom.
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