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7 Fascinating Insights Into Why Scotland Voted Against Independence

An opinion poll conducted after polls closed asked people how they voted and why. This is what it found.

An opinion poll of 2,000 Scots conducted after polls closed last night gives an insight into why Scotland rejected independence.

In the absence of an exit poll, this private telephone survey, conducted by Conservative peer and politics obsessive Lord Ashcroft, is probably the nearest we'll get to knowing why individual Scots voted to stay part of the UK. The research was conducted after all votes had been cast, late on Thursday night.

1. The poll found young people were much, much more likely to have voted Yes than pensioners.

While 71% of 16- and 17-year olds voted Yes, a similar percentage of pensioners voted No.

And there are a lot more pensioners in Scotland than 16- and 17-year-olds.

(Intriguingly, there doesn't seem to be much of a gender divide, despite previous opinion polls showing that men were substantially more likely to vote Yes.)

2. The vast majority of people who said they voted No always knew they'd vote No.

Meanwhile, most Yes voters only decided to back independence this year. Over a third said they only made their mind up to vote Yes in the last month.

3. Yes voters voted for independence to protect the NHS and because they hate Westminster.

While No voters backed the union because they wanted to keep the pound and their pensions.

4. People who voted No were just a little bit more reluctant to talk about it with friends, family, and colleagues.

5. Yes voters voted for independence because they wanted Scotland to make its own decisions, rather than because they wanted to avoid Tories.

6. No voters predominantly rejected independence because of the economic risks, not because of an attachment to the rest of the UK.

7. And while No voters think the referendum should settle Scottish independence for a lifetime, most Yes voters think it should be revisited within a decade.

Scotland remained in the union because of old people, concerns over pensions, and people who wanted to keep the pound.

See you next time.

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Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at

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