Today’s Sun has two parallel polls on Scottish Independence – one of Scottish adults, one of English & Welsh adults.

In Scotland 29% of people support Independence, 58% of people were opposed (this survey asked a generic support or oppose independence question, but the result was almost identical to when we asked questions on how people would vote in a referendum on independence for Scotsman prior to the election).

Asked if Scotland or England & Wales benefited more from the Union, Scottish respondents tended to think it was quite even – 40% thought both partners benefitted equally, 32% that England and Wales benefitted more, 21% that Scotland benefits more. Scots also tended to think that both sides of the Union would be worse off if Scotland was independent. 43% thought England & Wales would be financially worse off without Scotland (only 14% thought they’d be better off), and 47% thought Scotland would be financially worse off if it became independent (28% thought Scotland would be better off). In Scotland, while a large minority support independence and think Scotland would be better off independent, the general view seems to be that the Union is a partnership that benefits both sides, roughly evenly.

Compare this with England and Wales. English and Welsh respondents are pretty evenly split on Scottish independence – 41% would support Scotland becoming independent, 40% would oppose it (meaning, of course, that Scottish independence is actually somewhat more popular with the English and Welsh than with the Scots). Perceptions amongst the English & Welsh are that Scotland currently gets the better deal from the Union – 54% think Scotland benefits more, compared to 27% who think it is equal and 8% who think England and Wales get the better deal.

54% of respondents in England & Wales think that Scotland would be worse off financially if it became independent (15% think Scotland would be better off), and 40% think that England & Wales would be financially better off without Scotland (14% think England & Wales would be worse off). Overall, English and Welsh respondents think that the Union favours Scotland far more than it does England.

Finally YouGov asked if the future of Scotland should be up to Scottish voters alone, or if there should also be a referendum of English and Welsh voters. In practice this would raise some tricky questions anyway – exactly what would you do if Scotland voted for independence and England and Wales voted no – try and keep Scotland against its will? (Or indeed, vice-versa, if Scotland rejected Independence, but England and Wales wanted Scotland to go?) As it happens, there does not seem to be any great demand for England & Wales to have a say anyway – 34% of English and Welsh respondents said there should also be a vote in England and Wales, but 42% said the decision should be made by Scottish voters alone.


198 Responses to “Opinion on Scottish Independence… in Scotland AND England”

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  1. As I pointed out on the previous thread, it’s interesting to note how differently the Scottish Sun handles the same story in their Dis-United Kingdom.

    Both have the same remarks from Cameron and Sturgeon. But with remarks from Prof James Mitchell, reactions from Moore and McKechin plus the latest odds from McBookie.com, they almost treat their Scottish readers as adults.

  2. I hope these english scottish yougov independence polls become a regular feature as that support for independence from england is not going to go un-noticed in scotland and will have quite an effect over time. ;-)

  3. One link per post to avoid modding.

    Otherwise I would have included STUART DICKSON’s link to the “main” Sun’s We want Scots independence more than they do

  4. Not sure why English and Welsh responses are taken together. Just guessing but there may be marked differences between the 2.

  5. Full details are now published on YouGov’s website.

    Wot, no Northern Ireland?

    Scottish independence – Scotland (Sun)

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-scotindp-scotlanmd-120511.pdf

    Scottish independence – England+Wales (Sun)

    ht tp://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-scotindp-engwal-120511.pdf
    Scottish independence – Summary (Sun)

    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-sun-scotindp-summary-120511.pdf

  6. What is the point of an English and Welsh referendum on Scottish independence? Much more interestingly, can anyone clear away the fog surrounding the Barntt formula – does it really benefit the Scots?

  7. If English voters continue to be fed the Subsidy Junkies lie that Scotland costs significantly more than it benefits the British finances then of course there will be English support for Independence.

    After all, changes in finances will be the main impact on English life – English people are presumably sanguine about the democracy idea, and won’t have to face the changes (positive or negative) of living in a new country.

  8. STUART DICKSON

    Thanks for the links

    Anthony,

    I see that none of the PDFs show the weightings. The E+W poll has Westminster VI and so was presumably on standard political weighting.

    But the Scottish poll has 2011 actual vote recall and no Westminster VI is shown. Would you know if the standard, pre-general election Scottish weightings were used or will new weighting for Scottish polls be based on 2011 actuals?

  9. As if by magic – a thread on Scotland.

    @Barbazenzero – from the last post, no, it really was me. I didn’t find the BBC to be biased in Paxman’s treatment of independence and Nicola Sturgeon at all. The piece seemed a fair item looking at the practical implications of separation, with some talking heads from the unionist campaign, some academics and a lengthy slot for an SNP spokesperson.

    It highlighted the problems Sturgeon had in answering specific questions on how independence would be structured. This is now the battleground, and the SNP have to be very clear that they know exactly what an independent Scotland would look like. Questions like the size of the army, which currency is used, is it a monarchy or republic, how the national debt is allocated etc are now the issue. It’s no use just saying ‘oh come on Jeremy’ when someone asks how big a Scottish army would be and how much it would cost. It’s a valid question.

    If the SNP cannot provide simple and bomb proof answers to every question relating to what an independent Scotland looks like than the No campaign will fill the vacuum by making up the numbers. This is why I predict a quite nasty campaign. [Someone on the last thread quoted Cameron as calling for an optimistic Unionist message – you’re aving a larf? This was the man who wanted an end to punch and judy politics and is now known as Flashman. All politicians call for a positive debate and you should believe none of them].

    The bit from Newsnight that I found most illuminating (and frightening, as a Scot) was the news that the SNP proposes to keep sterling as their currency, possible then moving to the Euro.

    To be independent while using another countries currency (especially in such a regionally unbalanced economic zone like the UK) means that you are subject to all the economic decisions, good and bad, taken in Westminster, but with none of the protections in terms of automatic stabilizers (welfare payments) and capital flows. You’re not independent. Scottish unemployment would become the only stablizing mechanism, similar to the current Eurozone. And you would no longer be able to blame the English.

    The BoE wouldn’t have the faintest concern over inflation, debt or unemployment in Scotland and in practical economic terms it means you would not be independent. The key asset Scotland currently has – oil – would be subject to vagaries of London based economic decisions and you wouldn’t be able to build the intricate balance of interest rates, currency levels and government spending that would make full use of a large asset base in global demand.

    The Euro would be even worse. When it was established I predicted it would be a disaster because it is a paper currency without a proper economic basis, and so it has turned out.

    There is some very hard thinking ahead for the nationalists. The future is always uncertain and this means the defenders of the status quo can always raise fears and threats to frighten people back into the no change camp.

  10. Barbazenzero – we weighted the Scottish poll to the actual 2011 results (constituency vote) for the time being.

  11. Anthony,

    Thanks. I suspected that to be the case and seems the best option for now.

    ALEC,

    Thanks also. We’ll have to agree to disagree on Newsnight. The intro was brazenly pro-union to the point of breaching the BBC charter while the questions asked of Sturgeon were premature to say the least.

    But I do take your point that “the No campaign will fill the vacuum by making up the numbers“.

    Off out now but back later, I hope.

  12. As has already been said it would be interesting to split the Welsh and English views.

    While it is debatable who would gain financially if Scotland split, there is no doubt that many English are unhappy with the the legislative arrangements for English only matters, and one way of resolving this matter is for Scotland to have independence. Another would be for democratic reform, but as has already been shown with the attempt toreform the Lords and the AV referendum, reform appears difficult.

  13. Henry – the disparity in population size between Wales and England is huge… essentially, the English results will be almost identical to the English & Welsh results; the Welsh results would have a sample size too small to draw meaningful results from.

  14. @Barbazenzero – “… while the questions asked of Sturgeon were premature to say the least.”

    I disagree entirely. The SNP have had since 1934 to work out the details or independence. It’s time to get cracking, in my view.

  15. “Someone on the last thread quoted Cameron as calling for an optimistic Unionist message – you’re aving a larf?”

    True, he would have to understand scotland and it’s previous elections to realise how futile a negative camapign would be after the incredible success of the unioinist parties negative campaigning resulted in an SNP landslide.
    So he might be lying, or he simply knows that this won’t be the AV referendum and anyone who thinks it will is going to be in for a shock.

    This isn’t an easily bamboozled and naive Nick Clegg Cameron and the unionists are up against, it’s someone who has been on the receiving end of torrents of negative campaigining for over a decade longer than Cameron has even been an MP.

    I dearly hope the No campaign do make the mistake of running this like the AV referendum but I doubt we’ll get that lucky.

  16. These results don’t surprise me in the least. The prime beneficiary of Scottish independence will be England, beceause we’ll be rid of Labour once and for all.

  17. Under Article 23 of the Charter of the United Nations, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is a permanent member of the Security Council.

    If Scotland were to achieve independence, I wonder what effect this would have with regard to maintaining a permanent seat – either directly in the case of would the England and Wales and Northern Ireland have some sort of legal right to inherit GB’s seat, or indirectly in the case of would other member’s of the UN be happy for England and Wales and Northern Ireland to inherit the seat in its reduced capacity?

    And how might this play out in the run-up to a referendum? There is some talk that the Conservatives would not necessarily be too upset to see the back of Scotland and its non-Conservative MPs but I doubt that Cameron would want to be known as the man who lost the permanent seat.

    Any thoughts?

  18. I’d support independence if it meant we didn’t have to talk about Scotland all the time on UKPR.

    The Channel 4 poll of Lib Dem members is far more interesting, especially its final two questions. Only 45% of LD members think Clegg should lead them into the next GE.
    http://today.yougov.co.uk/sites/today.yougov.co.uk/files/yg-archives-pol-channel4-libdemmembers-120511.pdf

  19. @Sergio
    In your dreams.

  20. AW

    “the disparity in population size between Wales and England is huge”

    Of course the same can be said of England and Scotland- the whole of bonnie being less than 50% the population of greater London !

  21. @phil

    “I’d support independence if it meant we didn’t have to talk about Scotland all the time on UKPR”

    ;-)

  22. @Mick Park – “….how futile a negative camapign would be after the incredible success of the unioinist parties negative campaigning resulted in an SNP landslide.”

    I’m not quite sure you get the full drift of what I’m saying. The negative campaign in Scotland failed this time because it didn’t chime with reality – the SNP are pretty good in Holyrood and saying a vote for them would be a disaster was silly and counter to the observed reality of the last 4 years.

    Independence is different. It’s an unknown quantity currently rejected by the majority. It’s currently very easy ground for negative campaigning to sow readily promoted ideas that it could all go wrong. Essentially I think even the SNP would admit that it is a leap of faith and this means plenty of fertile ground for negative campaigning.

    I used the NO2AV campaign as a topical example. Neither referendum campaign was very good or particularly honest, but the idea that AV would kill babies sounds ridiculous when you put it like I have just done but it worked. People didn’t know the cost of AV and a simple implied connection between an assumed cost of the unknown and future dead babies was highly effective.

    Without nailed down plans that are easily understood and widely accepted as honest, I think the SNP will really struggle to counter false or only partially true ‘facts’ thrown at them, let alone true statistics and accurate projections. They’ve never really been keen on putting separation to the Scottish people and I think I know why.

  23. I agree with SERGIO and ROB SHEFFIELD (heaven help me). Like Sergio I am not surprised by anything in AWs
    report and enjoyed reading much of what I had already supposed. The only caveat I would make to Robs comment is the terrific significance the recent results in Scotland have on UK politics.

  24. “It’s an unknown quantity currently rejected by the majority.”

    It’s hardly entirely unknown since the unionist parties scaremongered against it in the 2007 and this election. There are some areas that will be finalised once the shape of the new powers and the devomax option become much clearer but Salmond isn’t starting the campaign today no matter how much the unoinist parties wish he was. There’s plenty of time to turn around the polls as the Landslide proved.

    Like I said if you seriously think this can be won with negative campaigning and scaremongering feel free to do so and I urge you if to presuade the other unionist parties to do so too if you can. Some think negative campaigning is all powerful, I say otherwise.

    “but the idea that AV would kill babies sounds ridiculous when you put it like I have just done but it worked.”

    In your opinion. Others might point to the fact that a certain Nick Clegg was the biggest and most lethal weapon the No to AV campaign had.
    He is on the No to Independence side this time along with Cameorn isn’t he ? That should work out well if they really did decide to go negative. ;-)

  25. So, if the SNP actually want to win the referendum, they’d be advised to hold it in England, not Scotland?

    It’s a bit like how (if I remember correctly) support for the departure of Ulster from the UK is much stronger on the mainland than in Ulster itself. Although, to be honest, I can better understand wanting to do without the problems of Ulster than than Scotland.

    As for Labour’s fortunes without Scotland, they would be much diminished, but 1997 and 2001 proved that there are circumstances in which a (centrist and liberal) Labour party can win anywhere in Britain.

  26. Also, this poll suggests that an effective unionist strategy during the referendum debate would be slogans like “Support the Union- for the sake of the English!” and “Oppose separation: the English need us!”

  27. Contrary to Sapper’s (nee Haines) comment above, Labour’s poor showing in Scotland was more to do with the destination of the ‘lost’ Lib Dem vote than a loss of votes by Labour.

  28. James Moore:

    RE UNSC seats: I can’t see there being any problem with the UK-sans-Scotland retaining its permanent seat. The RSFSR in 1991 had only a little bit over half the population of the USSR, but being the generally recognised successor state Russia kept the seat. Algeria in 1958 had about a fifth of the population of the total French Fourth Republic (and it wasn’t a colony, but an integral part of France, and had been for over a century), but there was no thought of stripping France of its permanent seat.

  29. @Bill Patrick

    Or alternatively slogans pro-independence could be

    ‘support independence and get a wad full of that funny money in your wage packet’

    Or even

    ‘support independence but keep the pound and let the English Treasury and English central bank control our economic destiny so that Holyrood has responsibility with (no-real-economic) power’

    Both these sound like real winners….

    :D

  30. Rob Sheffield,

    How about “Fiscal independence with monetary union- if it’s good enough for the Greeks, it’s good enough for us!”?

  31. Sergio “These results don’t surprise me in the least. The prime beneficiary of Scottish independence will be England, beceause we’ll be rid of Labour once and for all”.

    Why would this be the case given that the Labour Party had more seats that the Tories IN ENGLAND in 1997, 2001, and 2005?

  32. It is factually a much more accurate argument for the SNP to campaign for independence on the grounds that it will rid Scotland of the Tory Party once and for all.

    Tory seats in Scotland: 1997-Nil; 2001- 1; 2005-1;
    2010-1.

    Followed by the worst result OF ALL TIME for the Tories last week.

    If it looks like the Tories will win again in 2015 (and they then do), I would suggest that Salmond may call his referendum in the Autumn of 2015

  33. Which is of course why Salmond has indicated the referendum will be 4 years away. 4 more years to prove SNP sense in govt and standing up to Tory slash and burn polices will be his argument. He’ll be even better off if the next GE gave Cameron a return to Govt. in his own right; that would magnify the independent vote by a considerable amount.

    So an opinion poll now wondering about a referendum in 2015…

  34. DAVIDB

    “Labour’s poor showing in Scotland was more to do with the destination of the ‘lost’ Lib Dem vote than a loss of votes by Labour.”

    This comforting analysis that the Labour vote was much the same ignores the reality.

    Most LibDem voters were really anti-Cons and some went to Labour in the Northern regions while other anti-Con Labour voters in Labour heartlands moved to SNP.

    This has hollowed out the huge Labour iceberg and a few big lumps have fallen off. It still looks pretty big, but it is still melting and the next stage is catastrophic collapse.

    All Labour constitencies are now marginals. The SNP rather than Labour get well past the FPTP tipping point and win the jackpot.

    Put the 2011 constituency vote into the Weber Shandwick Westminster projection and you get :

    SNP 44, Lab 13, LibDem, Con 0

    The anti-Cons thought Labour was the best bet for Westminster. If the SNP look like winners and counter the Tartan Tories jibe, the anti-Cons may well support them.

    Anything approaching the numbers above would mean a Labour government at Westminster would be impossible without SNP support.

  35. DAVIDB

    “Contrary to Sapper’s (nee Haines) comment above, Labour’s poor showing in Scotland was more to do with the destination of the ‘lost’ Lib Dem vote than a loss of votes by Labour.”

    Try looking at the individual seats and you will see this is not the case, in fact far from it. Labour % fell heavily in some seats as well as SNP’s going up, although largely (not completely) compensated for in terms of vote share by gains from the other parties where SNP weren’t expected to win. This rough balancing out means a quick glance at the national figures leads to such false assumptions as you made.

    The truth is Labour showed the ability to haemorrhage badly in a variety of constituencies, with no region being immune it would seem, even though they did make some gains.

  36. Why would this be the case given that the Labour Party had more seats that the Tories IN ENGLAND in 1997, 2001, and 2005 @TOM

    Yes but in 2005 the tories polled far more votes than labour IN england and a lot more seats in 2010.With the proposed boundary changes which are supposed to remove the supposed electoral bias labour enjoys with the current boundaries,then I think Sergio has potentially a valid claim.

  37. Bill Patrick

    “Also, this poll suggests that an effective unionist strategy during the referendum debate would be slogans like “Support the Union- for the sake of the English!” and “Oppose separation: the English need us!””

    I’ve heard that argument from a Labour ex-MP. It’s true.

  38. SoCalLiberal

    FPT

    St Andrew’s Castle is in Fife

    http://www.undiscoveredscotland.co.uk/standrews/standrewscastle/index.html

  39. DavidB,

    – “Contrary to Sapper’s (nee Haines) comment above, Labour’s poor showing in Scotland was more to do with the destination of the ‘lost’ Lib Dem vote than a loss of votes by Labour.”

    Wrong.

    The SLDs lost votes to all 3 other main parties, and concurrently, Lab and Con lost votes to the SNP.

    Have a look at Cunninghame South for example (or many other Central Belt seats:

    SNP +15.2 points
    Lab – 4.6
    Con -4.7
    LD -6.0

    LAB to SNP swing = 9.9%

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/special/election2011/constituency/html/36086.stm

    The SNP gained many seats directly from Labour, because of a strong LAB to SNP swing. The Lib Dem collapse helped, but it was not the main story.

  40. @THE REAL John B Dick.
    I get myself in trouble when I confront/debunk this Labour are wonderful, Labour will win everything mularky. Therefore may I thank you for your comment, which is from an individual who understands Scotland rather than a party machine voice over.

  41. @TOM ROBINSON
    Also in 1945 Tom. However, the years you mention were the Blair landslide years, to para phrase the Scottish anthem “when we see their like again”. Not for a very long time I think.

  42. @APOLOGIES TO ALL SCOTS
    “When will we see their like again”

  43. I’m not an expert on International Law, but I believe that if Scotland voted “Yes” and the rest of the Union voted “No”, to prevent Scotland from seceding purely on that basis would be a violation of the Scots’ right to self-determination.

    An interesting point: if England held a referendum, and voted “yes” to secede from the Union, would England be in a position to declare independence and leave Scotland and Wales (and NI) in a de facto and de jure Union with each other?

  44. JAMES MOORE, on your point, when the Soviet Union dissolved, the general concensus amongst the successor states was that the permanent seat should be inherited by Russia, I imagine that this required the agreement of the General Assembly, but I’m not sure.

  45. Michael C

    “if England held a referendum, and voted “yes” to secede from the Union, would England be in a position to declare independence and leave Scotland and Wales (and NI) in a de facto and de jure Union with each other?”

    England has exactly the same rights as any other nation. I have seen nothing in any of the documentation that suggests the largest partner can’t declare independence.

    At the same time, I have seen nothing to suggest that some of the partners can vote to expel a member of the union, against their will (but there will be international lawyers on here who can correct me if I’m wrong.)

    The internationally recognised right is the right to SELF-determination.

  46. Michael C

    IIRC Russia’s succession to the Soviet Union’s place had the support of the former USSR’s members (as part of the succession negotiations in the former SU) and no other country objected to their UN membership or Security Council seat.

    As always in international politics, there is little clear wording on such situations, and a legal case could be made against what happened.

    Realpolitik usually kicks in.

  47. Anthony why did YouGov give the option

    “Voters in England and Wales should also have a vote on whether Scotland remains part of the UK” and not

    “Voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland should also have a vote on whether Scotland remains part of the UK”

    Has Northern Ireland been thrown out of the Union?

  48. Scots voted against independence when they gave Labour a landslide victory in Scotland at the 2010 general election.

    The SNP’s victory in this year’s Holyrood elections was merely a blackmail vote designed to extort more money from the UK government for Scotland.

    As independence for any nation affects the whole of the UK, all of the UK should being given a independence referendum. Each country should vote on its own independence, not just Scotland.

    This should be done this year, not at the SNP’s choosing.

  49. @OLD NAT & Michael C
    I personally find it very hard to see the English wishing to keep the Union knowing full well the Scots don’t wish to be part of it. What are we going to do, go to war?
    Realpolitic would simply have to apply.

  50. OLDNAT:

    Exactly. My point was that if Scotland votes for independence, then the views of the English and Welsh are largely irrelevant because the Scot’s would be exercised their right to self-determination.

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