YouGov released a new Scottish poll last night, their first poll on Scottish Independence since the EU referendum. Voting intention in another Independence referendum stands at YES 47%(+1), NO 53%(-1). Changes are from May and don’t suggest any significant difference from before the EU referendum (tabs here).

There were several polls before the European referendum suggesting that a Brexit vote would push a majority of Scots towards supporting independence, but people are not necessarily good judges of how they would respond to hypothetical situations.

On the weekend straight after after the EU referendum there were snap Scottish polls from Panelbase and Survation that had suggested a majority in favour of independence. That may be down to methodological differences, or may simply be down to timing – one can easily imagine that a poll taken in the immediate aftermath of the unexpected EU result would produce different results to one taken a month later when the news has sunk in (and indeed, that we might well see different results once British exit has been negotiated and its full impact is clear to the Scottish electorate)

610 Responses to “YouGov Scottish Independence poll”

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    I wonder if you would see a connection between the “jeremy is unelectable” narrative and a media-Parliament alliance which also exists in Scotland and which – for example – tends to erode the influence of the trades unions in politics, e.g. in the context of Trident, seen by Labour as primarily a question of the immediate and supplier labour force.
    In this and in the management of immigration and of its impact on local communities in areas of migrant concentration both the UK and the Scottish Parliament are adrift of opinion in the concerned and informed non-Parliamentary organisations which Corbyn and McDonnell look to to reignite a more democratic socialist UK, and the support for that and for both a UK and EU remain position seen in the Scottish Labour Party.

  2. I rarely have time to actively moderate the comments here, but please, can people attempt some self-control. I’ve logged on this morning and most of the comments are “Why I personally think this policy is good/bad”, “Why people agree with me that Osborne was shit”, “Why Corbyn is good and the rebels are nasty, grr”, etc, etc.

    And all from people who have posted comments for years and *know* what the comments policy is and that such comments aren’t welcome. I mean, I could put them on pre-moderation and manually approve your comments, but you are grown adults, you should be able to follow a policy without that.

    Anyway. Brabarzero – EU citizens are NOT excluded from the sample in Westminster polls. Some polls had questions that asked people if they were registered/eligible to vote in the general election and excluded people who weren’t from the Westminster VI question, but they would always have been there in the sample to begin with.

    Interestingly enough, because EU citizens are there on the marked electoral register but with a line though/a letter to indicate they are ineligible it was one of those things we could check with absolute certainty in the post-mortem. Generally speaking EU citizens did not falsely claim they would vote in the general election, they said they definitely would not. For all the worries about “shy Tories”, etc, etc, most people do answer surveys honestly.

  3. HIRETON @alec
    re hard and soft brexit and a possible reformed EU, this paper is an interesting analysis.

    Thanks for the link. Very interesting indeed and well worth a read.

    However you got the link slightly wrong. Should be:


    Thanks for the clarification. So if I understand correctly it’s just the 16s and 17s who are excluded from the poll.

    And as I say to everyone, please use BZ if you don’t/can’t use copy and paste.

  5. @ OLDNAT

    Catalonian independence would be resisted by France as well remember, they have significant areas of Catalonia in their South East, as well as large areas of the Basque Lands in their South West.

  6. @AW – please accept my apologies. I have drifted in recent weeks and will limit my comments to polling matters in future.

  7. @Barbazenzero. Good morning
    “the UK accepted the right of the self-determination of Scotland and will do so again if needs be.”
    So it did – and Scotland voted freely in the 2014 referendum to accept a status in which certain matters (eg foreign policy) were to be determined in concert by the Westminster parliament of the UK, which involves the elected representatives of Scottish constituencies (but not of Scotland as a whole).
    The Scottish electorate rejected the status of an independent state.
    You refer to the “Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples”
    Why is that relevant? When has Scotland been a colony?

    Catalonian independence would be resisted by France

    True. But sadly and oddly, it would however remove the Spanish/Catalan enclave of Llivia.


    Cameron had three referenda in his period as PM – two of these were forced on him by the Lib-Dems and SNP respectively, and those results went his way. Unfortunately, the third one was his own initiative, in the hope of silencing the right wing of his party, and the result went disastrously wrong. This does not mean that the concept of a referendum is always wrong; what it does mean is that it should not be used by a weak government as a crutch with which to justify its policies.

    Britain is a parliamentary democracy, not a ‘direct democracy’ along the lines of Switzerland. We do not need to hold referenda repeatedly – they need to be held sparingly and future PMs should remember that. Having said that, on issues like Scottish independence there is no alternative, as the referendum basically serves as a plebiscite.

  10. DAVE
    Why is that relevant? When has Scotland been a colony?

    That would apply in the Greater England situation some English academics posited at the beginning of the previous referendum process. The alternative “union” scenario was that either Kingdom could declare the Treaty of Union void. Sadly the relevant documents seem to have been removed from the Scotland Office website. I’ll post a link if I can figure out where they are archived.

  11. ‘… but people are not necessarily good judges of how they would respond to hypothetical situations.’

    I think this one succinct sentence just about sums up the nonsense which is the polling industry.

  12. @ AW

    The biggest disappointment to me of posts on the site over the last few months has been the lack of civility amongst some posters. So people get called “idiots” or called out for “stupid comments” or being “fools” or whatever.

    I know after years of modding you’re probably just fed up with herding cats to the end of your days but it would be nice if posters could recognise that respect for other posters is what has made this site so successful. We used to see more self policing from the people who had been around a long time and would make a comment about the rules if a newer poster stepped over the line. These days it seems like some of the older posters are now just joining in with (mildly) abusive posts back at the perpetrator.

  13. Old Nat

    The 2.5% part of the pensions “triple lock” is somewhat arbitrary; replacing it eventually with a double lock of “inflation of wages or prices whichever is higher” is probably sensible in the longer term if we continue in a zero inflation world. (Once we feel we are being generous enough, in terms of state pension whether that is now I don’t think so).

  14. Oops. Sorry my last post had nothing to do with polling matters. I apologise.

  15. @Carfrew

    Some great sets of data there. The similarities in inflation patterns between a large number of different countries operating different economic policies really rather brings home how little governments can individually affect such things.


    The argument here appears to favour a ‘hard’ Brexit, on the rather dubious basis that a ‘soft’ Brexit would fail to satisfy the demands and concerns of most of the Brexit voters. Whilst this may have an element of truth, from a practical perspective it would also be hugely more challenging to deliver a ‘hard’ Brexit. I also do not believe that, given the 52/48 vote split, there is a true mandate for ‘hard’ Brexit, which is demanded by UKIP but not necessarily by all pro-Brexit groups. The premise for the ‘hard’ Brexit stance is that Britain would be given a five year negotiating period, which I think highly unlikely. Without such a period there is a real risk that Britain could be ejected from the EU without any legal basis for carrying out trade, which would be catastrophic – something not properly addressed in this analysis. And I believe that even a five year period may not be sufficient, given the complexity of Britain’s trade relationship within the EU.

    My great fear is that the path towards ‘hard’ Brexit is now in place and the appointments of Fox and Davies reflect that. May is a clever politician – she has managed to be both a soft and unconvincing ‘remainer’ as well as a closet ‘leaver’, thereby satisfying both halves of her party. She has also appointed a mixed bag cabinet which opens up the possibility of replacing individuals who fail to live up to her expectations, enabling her to deflect any blame for possible failure to them and away from her.

    I do not believe a ‘soft’ Brexit is difficult to achieve, but it will require strong leadership and compromise. The issue of free movement is not necessarily difficult to manage – what is needed is to ensure that people cannot move without either firm offers of employment or evidence of high financial solvency beforehand, and that adequate criminal checks are undertaken before people are allowed to move. In addition, the benefits waiting period could be lengthened further. This would be enough to prevent mass people movements and alleviate most of the concerns around the concept of free movement within the EU. In terms of immigration from outside the EU, this needs to be tightened up further and no EU/EEA nation should be able to implement an ‘open door’ policy without full agreement from other members.

    Whichever route is taken there will be a lot of head banging and hard negotiations. Maybe Brexit is exactly the kick up the backside of the EU that was needed to enable it to sort itself out once and for all – we shall see.


    The triple lock was an excellent idea, but it failed to select the right criteria. Rather than introduce this 2.5%, it should have added RPI inflation, thus making it: CPI, RPI or average earnings. This would be make more sense than having an arbitrary percentage figure.

  18. DAVE

    I finally found a working link to the document I mentioned in my previous post to you on the Westminster parliament site in a bibliography of indyref1. It’s HMG’s Scotland analysis: Devolution and the implications of Scottish independence> published in February 2013.

    The key status stuff is in Part IV: The status of Scotland and the remainder of the UK in international law starting at p73 of the PDF.

  19. @Tancred – the triple lock probably was an excellent idea, in polling terms. There was a clear decision to protect pensioner incomes not just via the triple lock, but also through the limiting of the welfare cap to exclude pensions and the refusal to consider reforms to additional pensioner benefits.

    Pollingwise this seemed to be effective, even if there appeared to be support within the pensioner cohorts for moves to limited additional benefits for well off pensioners.

    Arguing the merits of the triple lock is something AW has just warned us about, but I think most would agree that this was a policy led more by polling, and one that did seem to be successful in this regard.

  20. BERT
    I think this one succinct sentence just about sums up the nonsense which is the polling industry.

    You’re way OTT there. Most polling for the EU ref was within MoE. AW was spot on in his remark about hypothetical situations in the context that we know nothing more than May’s Brexit means Brexit.

    Obviously many will be interested in the outcome of indyref2, should it prove necessary, but there are quite a few steps needed both in Holyrood & Westminster before that can be put into practice.

  21. Anthony has only given the headline Y/N figures, but as ever with referendum polling questions it’s important not to ignore WNV and DKs unless you’re on an actual polling day.

    For independence these were:

    Yes 40% (-1)

    No 45% (-3)

    Would not vote 4% (+1)

    Don’t know 10% (+1)

    (changes from 2-4 May) There have been YouGov methodological changes since then, which presumably apply to Scottish polls as well, and a lot more since the actual Scottish Referendum, but the picture is very similar since September 2014. Yes quickly went up a bit on the 45% of polling day but stuck below 50%.

    Changes from poll to poll are much crowed about by the appropriate side – or in the case of this one by both with some creative misrepresentation. But they are basically MOE stuff.

    Of course many individuals have changed their minds since then – only 77% of Yes voters and 76% of No voters have stayed firm. Interestingly these are both lower percentages than in the last poll when both were 86% and much lower than we have seen for either in previous polls. This may suggest growing uncertainty even if the nett result is the same.

    Independence campaigners seemed to have hoped that the threat to remove Scotland from the EU might tip the balance, but the reason this didn’t happen is suggest by the responses to the two new questions in response to Which of these statements do you tend to agree with more? the first set are:

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a member of the European Union but not a part of the United Kingdom 37%

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a part of the United Kingdom but not a member of the European Union 46%

    Don’t know 17%

    and the second:

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a part of the United Kingdom but not a member of the Single Market 40%

    I would rather live in a Scotland that was a member of the Single Market but not a part of the United Kingdom 34%

    Don’t know 26%

    The important thing here is the figures for DK – many people are waiting to see what will happen and the details of what is on offer. This explains the lack of movement in the IndyRef figures – which after all is about how people would vote “tomorrow”.

    But while we know what the situation will be then we don’t know what will be on offer when and if Brexit negotiations are completed. Even those giving a non-DK answer may be doing so because then envisage a particular outcome that may not be on offer.

    In that context the answers to the Single Market question is particularly revealing[1]. Only 40% prioritise staying in the UK over it. So choosing between the UK and the EU is very much still an uncertain question.

    It’s also worth pointing out there is another complication, often ignored. There is a group of voters (about 10% in this poll) who are both for Independence and against the EU. As with those who want both the UK and the EU they may not be able to have both options and which they would think more important is another unknown. I suspect many would prefer Independence, but it’s not sure how they will split.

    [1] There’s an interesting gender difference with women more willing to say DK – a perfectly reasonable response given that we’ve discovered over the last month that for most politicians ‘Single Market’ means whatever they want it to mean and it’s different in each case. Men are nearly evenly split.

    (Edited version of my comment on this poll on last thread)

  22. The Triple Lock is an unaffordable relic of the 20th century, financially unviable and will undoubtedly be scrapped in the coming decade. More pandering to pensioners by the Western under parties and Tories in particular

  23. @BZ
    Thank you for the links. Clearly I have not had time to absorb their entire contents, but based on 25 years experience of writing abstracts of complex technical documents, I offer the following:
    The document consists largely of legal opinions pointing to alternative interpretations of how past decisions might be or have been interpreted in later times up to the present day. Usually these have been chosen on the basis of what has already been agreed or seen as convenient to parties concerned, or what might simplify ongoing negotiations. They have not been determined by any process corresponding to a ‘trial’ in which the precise legal position is ascertained by argument in any national or international court of law.
    The document is advisory before the 2014 referendum. The result rendered further discussion of the standing of an independent Scotland in international law irrelevant for the time being, though the general thrust of its arguments seems to be that rUK would assume the rights and duties of present UK in international law, while Scotland would be a new state needing to make afresh its own treaties.
    So far as the current issue of Scotland in or out of UK and/or EU is concerned, the key point is whether a Scottish independence referendum takes place before or after the terms of the Lisbon Treaty cease to apply to UK (whether by a negotiated settlement under Article 50, or by the 2 year lapse of time without agreement. Before that happens it will be hard to be sure what a negotiated package actually entails, with some uncertainty on what Scotland would be voting for in an independence referendum. Afterwards, unless such a negotiated settlement had already set out the position of an independent Scotland, (a hypothetical question at that stage) Scotland would be approaching the EU from outside as a new independent state.

  24. The Baroness Ros Altman may be a well-known economist however her views on State Pension are dubious to say the least for someone who is supposed to fight for the elderly.
    The new National Living Wage all workers aged 25 and over are now legally entitled to at least £7.20 per hour or £14,976. That’s a £910 per annum increase in earnings for a full-time worker on the current National Minimum Wage. Average Salary UK 2015/2016 is £27,600.
    Compare this to the increase in the average state pension for the elderly is £7,852 of about £500 per annum for a pensioner.
    It is true that under the coalition and the Conservatives the basic State Pension is now at it’s highest relative to average earnings at any time since 1992.
    What Ros and others should remember is that pensioners paid towards the pensioners of their day and today’s workers are just doing the same.
    The problem is that Pensioners are living longer and more are surviving into old age therefore Government needs to raise the retirement age over time.
    There are now 1,103,000 workers aged 65 and over in work.
    An average earner working a year longer has the potential to boost their pension pot by around £4,500, in addition to earning an extra year’s salary.
    Research shows if everyone chose to work 1 year longer, gross domestic product could increase by 1% – the equivalent of £16 billion this information was produced by Baroness Altman’s own department.


    No. We have in the UK the lowest state pension in the industrialised world and the triple lock is needed to ensure that even our pathetic pension is protected.
    What is needed instead is to tax the richer pensioners more to ensure they pay their fair share.
    With the end of final salary pensions the issue of pensioner poverty will become an issue once again.

  26. @John Smith
    “The Triple Lock is an unaffordable relic of the 20th century, financially unviable and will undoubtedly be scrapped in the coming decade” … by whichever party is confident of election without the votes of those already receiving pensions, or likely to become dependent on a state pension for the next 20 or 30 years.

  27. @ OldEnglish

    This is a nice comment. There are bits that are missing, but essentially yes – there is no real pension crisis. We can create it though.

  28. @Robin

    Thanks. Yes, the more global data does indicate it was governments at the mercy of external forces. I have pointed this out to Bill before as it trounces many quibbles…

    There was in principle summat – not unknown to Keynesians – that governments could do to mitigate the effects of such price spikes in essential commodities like oil: commodity buffers. Where nations build up reserves of oil which can ensure supply and stabilise prices.

    We did have oil buffers but Nixon and other ended the policy, leaving us more open to a crisis. Dunno that that we had enough stocks to last the duration of both oil crises though. In the end the problem was solved by business progressively becoming more energy efficient and governments moving away from such a dependence on oil, which had other ramifications. Eg Japan went for nuclear…

  29. I really do think we all need t move on from the Scottish Independence question and the EU question.
    Both have been put to the people and the people have spoken on both issues.
    Scotland voted to stay in the Kingdom.
    The Kingdom voted to leave the EU.
    The country needs to exit the EU in the best possible way and the Labour Party needs to start providing a decent opposition to HMG ! …and narrow the gap in the latest polls.
    Let’s stop fighting the battles of yesterday- there’s a bright future ahead of us if we put our best British foot forward.

  30. @ Carfrew

    The whole thing is much more complex than generic Keynesian policy (I really don’t want to go into it. Theoretically is completely flawed, not more than common sense what is worth in it, and apart from store state socialist countries, like Hungary, has ever attempted to implement it).

    Here is an interesting example. Countries with man-made fibre textile industry based on gas rather than oil flourished in the 1970s …

    Anyway, there are more interesting things in international business right now, like relocation of manufacturing from China in a massive scale especially in s gents where robots are pretty efficient. As capital right now is free, it makes sense.

  31. Store = some

    It seems that relying to Carfrew triggers spellcheck biased to storage.

  32. “What is needed instead is to tax the richer pensioners more to ensure they pay their fair share.”

    I think we actually need to tax all higher incomes more, whether they pensions or not.

  33. @Laszlo

    I know you claim it’s completely flawed, you did that last time sans any rationale, as is commonly the case.

    As I pointed out to you, the link between the oil prices and inflation in numerous countries is compelling, made more so by how those countries more exposed to oil tended to suffer more. (In our case, complicated by the coal strike…)

    Against that you got nothing…

  34. @Nick P

    I think it should depend on how you earned it. Invent a cure for cancer? Not much tax. Wreck the bank you’re in charge of? Lots of tax…

  35. @Nick P

    They could apply the same approach to polling, where your tax rate depends on how accurate your polls are. Might make AW’s life easier if they applied it to posts…

  36. “It seems that relying to Carfrew triggers spellcheck biased to storage.”


    Am not at all surprised to learn this. The forces ranged against storage are powerful and determined. But we shall prevail…

  37. Nickp

    Rather than focusing on higher incomes we should be looking at unearned income. Capital gains tax should never be lower than income tax, its morally bankrupt

  38. DAVE @BZ

    I agree with most of what you say re timing, but the quest for an HK or whatever solution allowing the UK to exist in some form or other has to be seen to have been done diligently but ultimately proved not to be viable before indyref2 is initiated, unless A50 is activated first.

    Also, before that initiation, the UK Brexit plan needs to be known, which could take 5 years if the excellent paper HIRETON linked to upthread is to be believed.

    I agree with OLDNAT that no indyref2 is likely just yet if Brexit proves to be EEA, but that it would be justified on anything significantly less. In such a scenario, which persons or bodies rejected any HK or similar deal would become relevant. If Westminster then success would be more likely; if the EU less so.

    It’s not clear how long all that will take, but assuming that the UK does leave, the best solution for the EU would be for Scotland to become the EU successor state on the day the UK leaves.

    Given that could only happen after A50 has been activated, the EU would be bang to rights in making the departure date precisely two years, with indyref2 taking place sometime in that window.

  39. JASPER22
    I really do think we all need t move on from the Scottish Independence question and the EU question.

    You’re certainly entitled to think that, but you should at least consider what the Scottish Con leader said in a BBC interview earlier this month:

    Speaking to BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics Scotland programme, Ruth Davidson said talk of a second referendum was “destabilising” in the wake of the Brexit vote.

    The Conservative leader said “constitutionally” there would be no reason to block a vote, but talk of it was premature and her opposition remained.

    Ms Davidson said: “I would argue as strong as I could that we should stay part of our biggest market and closest friend.

    “Constitutionally the UK government shouldn’t block it, no.”

    I agree with her regarding it as a bit premature, but if Brexit turns out to be less than full EEA indyref2 is very likely to happen.

  40. “Capital gains tax should never be lower than income tax, its morally bankrupt”


    Unless… you invent a cure for cancer, (or a fooproof way of getting samples properly representative on the cheap etc.)

  41. @jasper22

    “..if we put our best British foot forward.”

    This rather begs the question of whether “we” regard our foot as British or something else. Polling suggests that this somewhat extreme BritNat approach is not universal in Scotland to say the least!

  42. @TANCRED
    “What is needed instead is to tax the richer pensioners more to ensure they pay their fair share.”
    “I think we actually need to tax all higher incomes more, whether they pensions or not.”
    “Capital gains tax should never be lower than income tax, its morally bankrupt”

    I see the politics of envy is alive and well in the 21st century.


    It’s always been there. One of the political parties relies on it. Not a bad strategy by cynical.

  44. should have read but cyncical


    “I think it should depend on how you earned it. Invent a cure for cancer? Not much tax. Wreck the bank you’re in charge of? Lots of tax…”

    Nice idea but how do you administer it?

  46. TOH

    “Nice idea but how do you administer it?”

    Perhaps by some amendments to the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002?

    Iceland has jailed 26 bankers. Ireland jailed 3 the other day.

  47. OldEnglish

    It’s a little disingenuous to describe Ros Altman as “an economist”. She is described on several sites as a ‘leading UK pensions expert’, and her PhD was for research into pension income and later life poverty.

  48. @ Carfrew

    Schumpter considered Keynes to be a monetarist, and he was perfectly right.

    Anyway, it’s not particularly important.

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