The 2024 Big Indy Movement Survey - Thoughts on the Grassroots Campaign

During February and March, Believe in Scotland ran its annual big Indy Movement Poll and a massive 4,623 of you responded. 

Over the next couple of weeks we will share the result and our analysis in 4 short reports. In this one we will concentrate on what the respondents thought of the grassroots campaign and how involved they are. 

First let’s be clear, this is an online poll where respondents select themselves and so it tells us what dedicated Indy supporters are thinking and not what Scotland is thinking. However, as an exercise in taking the pulse of the movement, that's a useful group to survey.

Local Indy Group Involvement 

Only 31% of respondents were involved in their local Indy Group and we think it needs to be higher. Sure not everyone has a local group, but most will. We hope that our Creating Scotland events that take the discussion away from politics and focus on culture and shared values and our Indy Campaign days will encourage more people to join in with localised campaigning but unless the most dedicated Yesers are willing to do the work, we can’t move the polls.   

We feel that politics divides and culture and values bring us together. People often say we will campaign when there is a referendum or a de facto election but we need to move the needle now. We need to raise indy support into a sustained majority position and then demand the politicians give us that date to aim for, knowing that we've already won. We need politicians to do their job but we cant leave it all to them

BiS is a collaboration between 142 Local and National indy Campaign Groups. We think that covers about 85%+ of all active campaign groups, you can find your local BiS affiliated group here and join the Believe in Scotland family.

Supporting the Independence Movement. 

67% promoted independence via social media and we thought that would be higher, especially given that this is an online poll. A few left comments that they can't deal with the trolls but mainly it seems they don't want to get political online. In speaking to indy supporters we have found that when people are put off being political online it isn't by opponents of independence it is independence supporters attacking one another online that causes reluctance to post. 56% said they had taken part in a march or demonstration over the last two years which seems high as numbers at such events took a dip post Covid. Only 23% took part in leafleting and given the lack of funding and activists, this is arguably the most effective way of getting our message to the undecided. The feedback we get from the local indy groups using our materials is that leafletting works very well if the leaflet is by BiS and not a political party. Political party leaflets trigger political tribal responses and that makes it harder (sometimes impossible) to get the message through. 

Prioritising Indy Campaign Activities 

We asked Which of BiS's campaigning activities would you like us to prioritise in 2024. OK, you want billboards, you’ll get billboards. We've been holding back on this given the expense but as a result of this poll we've booked a couple of weeks of drive-time electronic billboards in prime sites ahead of our Big Indy Weekend - Glasgow March and Rally for Independence on Sat April 20th and our Indy Campaign Day on Sunday April 21st. We will do this again ahead of our next Edinburgh march and rally. 

There were loads of answers to this one but here are the Top 5.

Our National Days of Action remain very popular and as the only nationally coordinated grassroots activity we will do a few of those but we will be concentrating on the targeted Indy Campaign days which have already been a big success in Perth and Linlithgow with Glasgow Southside coming up on April 21st. Our March and rally in Edinburgh received fantastic feedback and delivered a fun, family friendly atmosphere and with positivity not politics from the platform and we have two of those planned this year. 

The Importance of Grassroots

We know that there has been a lot of political infighting between the Pro-Indy parties and the arrest of several leading SNP figures (we delve deeper into later in this series of reports on this poll). So we thought we would ask how important people thought Belive in Scotland was becoming as the national umbrella group for the indy campaign in the current political climate.

88% said it was more important under the circumstances and we can see that in the attendances at our events and the fact that our fundraisers still do well when that's not the case across the board.

Conclusions

BiS will keep pushing and keep reacting to the needs of the movement and supporting the local indy campaign groups but we need more people to join local groups and get active. Yes, the grassroots are more important than ever but that's always been the case despite the movements dependency on politicians. Don't get me wrong, the political arm of the movement has a vital job to do but too much is expected of them. The efforts of the grassroots was what really moved the polls in 2014 and politicians don't make waves they ride them, so please get involved. Join BiS, join a local Group - Let’s make waves.