Poll puts support for Scottish independence at 59%

NEARLY six out of 10 Scots say they'd vote Yes in a second independence referendum.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Neil HannaFirst Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Neil Hanna
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. Picture: Neil Hanna

In a clear reflection of the growing backlash north of the Border to Thursday’s Brexit result, a ScotPulse online survey of 1,600 Scottish adults on Friday (24 June) showed that 59% of Scots now back leaving the UK.

The poll was carried out just hours after the EU result was confirmed and offers a boost to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon who has dramatically put the prospect of another independence vote back on the table.

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Nearly two-thirds of Scots believe that was the right move, according to our survey.

And even the mood of older voters - who have traditionally always been hugely more in favour of the Union than other age groups - appears to be changing, with 47% of pensioners now saying they’d vote Yes.

Anti-independence groups last night pointed out more people in Scotland voted to stay in the UK in 2014 than voted to remain in the EU.

But SNP business convener Derek MacKay said the survey was a “strong endorsement of the actions of the First Minister”.

He added: “At a time when the Government and parties across the UK are in chaos, this poll shows people back Nicola Sturgeon’s strong and stable leadership.

“It also shows they support her decision to ensure a second independence referendum is firmly on the table.

“When faced with the choice between being taken out of the EU against our will by a right-wing Tory Government or continuing as outward-looking, independent members of the EU, more and more people are open to the possibilities independence brings.”

The online survey, by research firm ScotPulse, took place on Friday and was sent to a representative sample of 1,600 adults across Scotland.

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Respondents were asked: If there was a referendum tomorrow with the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?”, how would you vote?

A total of 59% said Yes, 32% said No and the rest were undecided.

A total of 73% of those under the age of 25 backed independence, with over-65s the only age group with support for separation under the 50% mark.

People were also asked: “In light of the EU referendum result, were you more or less supportive of Scottish independence?”

A total of 50% said they were more supportive, 17% said they were less supportive and the rest said the result hadn’t changed their view on the question.

Asked if Nicola Sturgeon’s bid to stay in the EU was the right decision, 62% backed the First Minister, 33% said it was the wrong decision and 6% were unsure.

In another boost for the SNP leader, 62% of respondents said the legal power to hold an independence referendum - currently reserved to Westminster - should be handed over to Holyrood, with only 31% against the move.

Labour’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray has branded any movement towards another referendum a mistake.

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He said: “The UK leaving the EU makes the case, in economic and political terms, all the more difficult in terms of Scotland leaving the UK now.

“We need to pause, take half a step back, work together and do what is in the best interests of Scotland, rather than what is in the best interests of the lifelong goals of the SNP.”

The ScotPulse poll also asked people to rate the performance of the political leaders during the EU referendum campaign. Jeremy Corbyn and Nigel Farage came out bottom of the pile, with Nicola Sturgeon on top.

Asked what will happen to the EU in future now that England and Wales have voted to leave, 56% thought other countries would also look to quit the alliance, while 31% believed it would carry on as normal without the UK.

A further 7% thought it would expand its membership to make up for the loss of the UK, while another 7% believed the EU would collapse.

Alastair Cameron, director of Scotland in Union campaign group, said: “The prospect of another independece referendum will not be welcomed by most Scots who expressed their will less than two years ago.”