We have actual research on the flag hypothesis, and it's definitely true:
Overall, 30.5% of National Party voters and 27.5% of Labour Party voters moved away from the position they originally reported in 2013 to become closer to, or consistent with, the position endorsed by their party leader.
Was just thinking this morning that the referendum is pretty much fucked the moment the opponents cotton on to the strategy of highlighting the connection between any kind of smoking and respiratory impairment, in an age where harm minimization is at the most ascendant I have ever even conceived, particularly in that respect.
the flag referendum was an awkward (stupid?) 2-way split - people who wanted vs didn't want change (most people I know were open to change) and people who like/preferred the lockwood thing vs people who thought it was ghastly.
the reeferndum risks something a bit similar, with those resistant to any change being augmented by those who are unfamiliar with/put off by the detailed option for change, and those swayed by negative advertising, 'celebrity' naysayers, and negative 'news' reports.
any idea what the rules around advertising for this are? so far the antis have already spent a bit. (and the seemingly massive 'drug driving' campaign also may have been influential.) can they spend overseas money? eg US$? if so, might someone like the (rightly reviled) Peter Theil come in with millions for the pro-change side?
reasonable argument is great, but this is a 'hearts and minds' issue, and most people are likely to vote on not much more than 'how they feel about it'. .
Mistakes to learn from? The Canadian experience.