The Scotch Numpty Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond’s proposed referendum question “‘Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” is strongly biased. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/9040988/Alex-Salmonds-independence-question-is-loaded-and-biased.html).
The question is biased because it is (1) asking people to positively agree not merely choose from neutral options and (2) it would require a positive yes or no by the voter. It is well established that humans are predisposed to agree and say yes rather than disagree and say no, because both of the latter seem negative and confrontational.
A neutral question, as far as any can be devised, would be something like this:
Scotland to remain within the UK?
Scotland to be independent ?
With a box against each question and a cross put in one box. That would remove the need to vote Yes or No directly.
There would still be the problem of putting one question before the other which tends to make more people go for the first question. This could be obviated by printing half the ballot papers with one of the questions first and the other half of the ballot papers with the other question first.
A question in the form proposed by Salmond would never be used by a mainstream polling company or in academic research because of its slanted nature.