In light of the increasing role that offensiveness plays in Scottish politics (both causing it and being a perceived victim of it) the No Thanks! blog decided to undertake a professional poll on the subject to determine the extent of the phenomenon. NT Research Ltd. was commissioned to carry out the survey. Following pre-pilot and pilot exercises, a self-selected sample of Twitter subscribers was sought to answer the question ‘What do you find most offensive?’ Four options, based on recent traffic on social media, were presented to respondents – Jock, Yoon, Dyke, and SNP MP. The results, when polling closed after 24 hours, were as follows:
It will be observed that the results were conclusive. By far the greatest proportion of our scientifically-chosen sample was offended by ‘SNP MP.’ This might be explained by the fact that at the time of the fieldwork two SNP MPs were in the news – Joanna Cherry for unwise comments at a pro-separation event (see ‘Dyke’ below) and Carol Monaghan for objecting to the allegedly offensive use of the word ‘Jock’ on the BBC website. We also hypothesise that what we call ‘contextual memory’ of other SNP MPs may have played a part in respondents’ choice, including Messrs. Wishart, MacNeil, Monaghan (Paul), Hosie, Nicolson, Thomson, McGarry and so on.
It is notable that very few respondents found the words ‘Jock’ (4%) or ‘Yoon’ (2%) offensive. In the latter case it is possible that, although the word ‘Yoon’ is sometimes regarded as offensive, for many years unionists have self-referenced as yoons. As one respondent added, ‘now it seems we [unionists] must apologise to others for no longer finding the word offensive.’
It is surprising that even 1 in 25 respondents believed ‘Jock’ to be the most offensive of the four survey options, given its long tradition in popular culture. In an irreverent side-note one respondent, a Mr H Lauder, urged our researcher to ‘Stop yer ticklin’’.
Finally, it is perhaps inevitable that the word ‘Dyke’ with its pejorative sexual overtones was found most offensive by a substantial minority (16%) of respondents who may, however, have believed they were taking part in a different survey. A healthy corrective was administered by one self-confessed lesbian contributing to the survey who advised other respondents ‘mansplaining’ what homophobia is not to bother because ‘I’m gay.’
Nevertheless, to reiterate the overall conclusion of our survey, the vast majority of respondents to this poll, 78%, believed that SNP MPs are the most offensive of the options offered. Further in-depth research may be needed to establish why the remaining 22% of respondents did not.
A statistical note:
As usual with sample surveys of this sort, a standard error of estimate may be calculated to define the range within which the true value of any estimate would be found. This has been calculated for our poll as ±3 percentage points for any estimate. At the extremes, this could mean that the true proportion of respondents offended by ‘SNP MP’ could be as great as 81%, the lowest proportion of respondents offended by ‘Yoon’ as little as -1%.
© NT Research Ltd. for No Thanks!
This poll was inspired by the high standards of integrity and objectivity demonstrated by the N56 think tank.