Wings over Scotland recently commissioned a Panelbase poll and today published the results for the media questions. Here's what the poll found with regard to knowledge of some of the main websites dedicated to Scottish politics:
Which of these Scottish political websites have you heard of? Tick as many as apply.
- ThinkScotland: 19%
- Labour For Independence: 10%
- The Jimmy Reid Foundation: 10%
- Newsnet Scotland: 9%
- Wings Over Scotland: 7%
- Bella Caledonia: 6%
- National Collective: 6%
- Labour Hame: 4%
- Five Million Questions: 2%
- Open Unionism: <1%
- None of the above: 68%
This is a massive problem. It means 68% of the population are likely to get their knowledge mainly from newspapers and TV (and the associated websites) and don't know any independent websites that are likely to write about Scottish independence.
My guess is that the 68% includes the vast majority of those voters who haven't made up their mind yet, so the implication is that most waverers get their news exclusively from mainstream media. (It would be good to get this confirmed from the crosstabs once they're published.)
However, I'm sure the status quo can be changed.
Perhaps Yes Scotland (or the local groups) could select a small number of articles from a few blogs (Bella Caledonia, Newsnet Scotland, Wings over Scotland, National Collective etc.) and with the websites' permissions print them in a small leaflet and hand it out to all households in Scotland. Each article would also list the URL of the blog it's from, and the leaflet would of course have to state that Yes Scotland didn't endorse the blogs but that those particular articles seemed to be of interest to many people.
I lots of people would actually sit down and read the articles and start thinking, and then go and explore the websites themselves. If it would make waverers more likely to read the leaflet, it could even include articles from neutral and anti-independence blogs -- the main aim would be to get people to start accessing more news sources.
I'm sure a greater awareness of political websites would lead to an increase in support for Scottish independence.