Using data to create a personality test that will tell you how to vote in the Scottish referendum

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The Scottish referendum is happening today.

The date was set two years ago but it feels like the British public (English, Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish alike) only just sat up to take notice in the past 10 days.

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The political debate has all of a sudden erupted into noise and confusion and it made me wonder how people should vote.  

I used the latest opinion poll data to create a personality test that tells people how they should vote in the Scottish referendum.  If you have not done so already, you should take the quiz now and share your result.

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There are nine questions in the quiz covering gender, age, place of birth, socio-economic status, party political affiliation, the economy, public spending, taxes and currency.  The answer to each question determines whether you end up being told that you should vote Yes or No.

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If you have taken the test and are wondering how you ended up with your result, the graphs below should help you.  Each graph represents the data that sits behind each of the nine questions.  By quickly scanning through the graphs you should be able to work out how your result was calculated.  And remember, all this data is real and is based on the very latest opinion poll.


  • Men are more likely to vote Yes
  • Women are more likely to vote No

  • Younger people are more likely to vote Yes
  • Older people are much more likely to vote No

  • Scottish residents born in Scotland are more likely to vote Yes
  • Scottish residents not born in Scotland are much more likely to vote No

  • People of a higher socio-economic group are more likely to vote No
  • People of a lower socio-economic group are more likely to vote Yes

There are six NRS Classifications based on the occupation of the head of the household.  In order to simplify things for the quiz I just made it about whether you work in an office or not.


  • People who voted for any of the three major parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat) in the 2011 election are much more likely to vote No
  • People who voted for either the Scottish National Party or other minority parties in the 2011 election are much more likely to vote Yes
  • People who did not vote, did not remember who they voted for or were not eligible to vote in the 2011 election are more likely to vote No

  • People who think that an independent Scotland will be economically worse off are much more likely to vote No
  • People who think that an independent Scotland will not be economically worse off are much more likely to vote Yes
  • People who don’t know whether or not an independent Scotland will be economically worse off are more likely to vote Yes

  • People who think that an independent Scotland will cut public funding are much more likely to vote No
  • People who think that an independent Scotland will not cut public funding are much more likely to vote Yes
  • People who don’t know whether or not an independent Scotland will cut public funding are more likely to vote Yes

  • People who think that an independent Scotland will raise taxes are much more likely to vote No
  • People who think that an independent Scotland will not raise taxes are much more likely to vote Yes
  • People who don’t know whether or not an independent Scotland will raise taxes are more likely to vote Yes

  • People who believe that an independent Scotland will be able to keep the pound are much more likely to vote Yes
  • People who believe that an independent Scotland will not be able to keep the pound are much more likely to vote No
  • People who don’t know whether or not an independent Scotland will be able to keep the pound are more likely to vote No

What is clear from the opinion poll data is that economic issues are the key factor in determining how people will vote.

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I have been using quizzes and personality tests a lot in my recent work here at Import.io.  They are a great way of sharing and using data to inform and educate an audience because they change the relationship that the audience has with your data and your message.

Usually when we talk about data we are using it to tell big stories about general concepts and aggregate trends.  As an individual these big-concept stories can sometimes be quite difficult to relate to.

A personality test changes that.  It uses aggregate data to create something that is very personal to the individual.  And the individual is left with something that they will want to share, which will help to spread your message further.

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