Ipsos MORI today released a new Scottish poll for STV, showing a 50%-50% tie between YES and NO were there to be a second independence referendum. This is the first poll not to show NO ahead for some time – there were a couple of snap polls immediately after the EU referendum that showed YES ahead, but apart from that you need to go back to February 2016.

As ever, one shouldn’t get too excited about one poll. Looking at other recent Scottish polls there’s a mixed picture. While a BMG poll at the end of January still showed a narrow lead for NO, it suggested a significant drop in the NO lead compared to BMG’s previous polls. In contrast two Panelbase polls this year haven’t shown any significant movement and still had NO well ahead. The MORI and BMG polls suggest there could be some movement in attitudes to Scottish Independence, but we probably need some more polls before we can be sure.

MORI also asked whether people thought an independent Scotland should be a member of the EU – 48% thought it should be, 27% thought it should be a member of the single market but not the EU, 17% supported neither.

Finally there was a question on voting intention in the Scottish local elections – or at least, people’s first preferences. Topline figures were SNP 46%, CON 19%, LAB 17%, GRN 8%, LD 6%. Full details of the poll are here.


130 Responses to “Ipsos MORI show Scotland split 50-50 on independence”

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  1. I think both the EU & SNP (if this actually happens which I seriously doubt) negotiations will end up as dirty & vindictive political fights, nothing held back. There may be just too many sneering faces looking over from t’other side of La Manche for any sort of acceptable deal to be done, history repeating itself.

  2. With the EU employment and environmental law out of the picture, Scottish voters now have a different choice to make: from here on Scotland is run from London by a seemingly entrenched Tory party with their own views on labour laws and the environment… or Scotland can be run by Scotland, for Scotland.

  3. Scotland used to be a Labour fiefdom,now an SNP fiefdom,all told what to do by Herr Juncker and his mob.

    Yet it’s all the Tories fault !!

    Wake up , Hamish !!

  4. Jasper22

    I find your post hard to understand. My best guess is something like:

    “Scotland has been run by Labour, and then by the SNP, both of whom took their instructions from the European Commission. So why are its problems being blamed on the Tory government of the UK?”

    Is that a fair summary? If so, I find your suggestion that the EC has more power over Scottish affairs than Westminster, absolutely ludicrous. But perhaps you have evidence to the contrary?

  5. David in France

    I think it’s a little more complicated than that nowadays.

    Most Scots are unionists – in that they recognise that we are a wee country, and that some form of pooling and sharing with neighbouring countries makes a lot of sense.

    Remember, only 17% in this poll thought that were Scotland to be independent, it should be in neither the EU nor the single market.

    Being an independent member of the EU, with E&W also part of the Union ticked a lot of boxes for a lot of people.

    But the UK told us in 2014 that we wouldn’t get into the EU – and then they made sure that they wouldn’t be!

    Other than those that want a Scotland outwith UK and EEA and those that want Scotland to be adrift in rUK’s boat, the rest of us can’t have our ideal answer (whatever that was) so there are hard choices to be made.

  6. Bantams

    “There may be just too many sneering faces looking over from t’other side of La Manche …..history repeating itself”

    Jeez! What kind of history did you learn?

  7. @ Old Nat

    I’m only talking about French politicians here, not the people. Macron will win the election and he and others in their political class will do anything to prevent a reasonable deal, he’s the latest in a very long line of awkward so and so’s over there.

  8. Seems Tories too low or Labour too high, on instinct, compared to previous polls.
    Either there’s been a remarkable recovery coinciding with the fall in No support, or I’m tempted to say it looks like an off sample a little outside of MoE…
    … Then again Theresa May did go to Scottish Tory Conference with Brexit on the brain. So it could be legit.

  9. Bantams

    That’s OK then. There have never been a bunch of “sneering faces” of “awkward so and so s” in London!

    What’s the point of using that kind of language?

  10. I wouldn’t trust that Cooncil opinion poll. Last time round Independents got over 10% of the vote and I’d expect them to do so again. Hardly a soul votes for political parties at Cooncil elections in some Local Authority Areas, e.g. na h-Eileanan an Iar.

  11. AdvisablyAnon

    The polling was specifically about the council elections in May – and only the 2nd poll ever for that election – so it’s hard to draw conclusions.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_local_elections,_2017#Opinion_polling

    The Unionist parties are sharing less than half of the Scottish vote in these polls (and in reality Independents will get more than 10%!) so I presume the moe is quite high for these parties’ VI anyway.

  12. @ Old Nat

    Possibly a different description applies to our own beloved, only the French political class fall into the “sneer” category.

  13. aldo_macb

    It’s hard to know why those polled, respond to questions which are clearly of no possible significance in their area.

    My guess would be that many will respond “as if all of these parties were standing here, who would get my 1st pref vote?” – but who knows?

    Including “Indepent” as a choice might have helped – and STV should have known better than to ignore them.

    Mind you, they might have known that MORI wouldn’t be asking anyone in any of the island groups or the Western Highlands anyway!

  14. Good evening all from a very mild rural Hampshire.

    I’m not sure Brexit will have been the defining issue when Scots vote to leave the UK. You just have to look at the different policy directions between Edinburgh and London. Polar opposites to put it mildly.

    Thatcher was and still is hated in Scotland and some of the older voters might see TM as Thatcher mark 2. There is no point beating about the bush….The Tories can’t stand the SNP (Who are the Scottish government and the SNP can’t stand the Tories who are the UK government…I will say it now….Scotland is heading for full independence and you can blame TM. She didn’t budge an inch over any of the proposals Nicola Sturgeon put forward and that has just ignited indy ref 2.

    And I have to say it, independence will be a lot easier sell this time around. The Yes side have a whole dossier on broken promises and pledges from the No side.

  15. Bantams

    How pathetic to think that way.

  16. ALDO_MACB
    I wouldn’t trust that Cooncil opinion poll. Last time round Independents got over 10% of the vote and I’d expect them to do so again. Hardly a soul votes for political parties at Cooncil elections in some Local Authority Areas, e.g. na h-Eileanan an Iar
    ___________

    A&B, Highlands, D&G, Borders, Na h-Eileanan an Iar and Orkney and Shetland are bound to return a majority of independents as they always do. I’m more interested in the big urban councils in West Central Scotland where Labour look set to be booted out after decades of unchallenged rule.

  17. @ Old Nat

    No problem. Watch this space & we can revisit our conversation towards the end of the year.

  18. Either the Tories have dropped several % in a few weeks straight to the SNP/Grns or this poll is unusually Nat heavy. We’ll have to wait and see with other polls.

  19. @ Stephen W

    That’s exactly what I was thinking, the whole poll is an outlier for me until it gets backed up, it was carried out over a longish period as well.

  20. Britain Elects? @britainelects 3h3 hours ago
    More
    A couple of council by-elections tonight: one UKIP, two Labour, four Conservative.

    https://twitter.com/britainelects

    The UKIP one should be interesting.

  21. For anyone interested in local council by-elections, “Andrew’s Previews” are always worth a read. This is the link for this week:

    http://election-data.co.uk/andrews-previews-09-03-17

    Also, with a full round of (English) county council elections and other councils up in Scotland and Wales, see his “election index” for an astonishingly comprehensive set of electoral history stats.

    http://www.andrewteale.me.uk/leap/elections-index/

  22. There will be blood. Brexit will not be a ‘get out of jail free’ card to play on the Monopoly board of international diplomacy. May’s block headed crusade will not make any headway and will end up dividing the nation. Ultimately that’s what I want as the price of Brexit, so that the fools who voted for it are made to see and feel the price of all this. the end of the UK will the right price for Brexit.

  23. Reports that 100 ory MPs have signalled their displeasure with the self employment changes in the budget, leading to May delaying the legislation on this part. I did mention the O word within an hour of the budget yesterday.

    All the attention is focused on the NI changes, but again as I mentioned yesterday, the far greater impact is on the dividend tax changes. I think what is interesting here is the political isolation within the party that Hammond and May seem to have stirred. It doesn’t smack of a confident, tightly disciplined and well organised party, where the leader is in touch with MPs and the wider party.

    Beneath the facade of a useless opposition and a towering poll lead, May’s position seem much less solid than it did 24 hours ago.

  24. @BANTAMS

    “I think both the EU & SNP (if this actually happens which I seriously doubt) negotiations will end up as dirty & vindictive political fights, nothing held back. There may be just too many sneering faces looking over from t’other side of La Manche for any sort of acceptable deal to be done, history repeating itself.”

    There will be sneering faces all over the place, you can be sure. But it is Britain who started this and Britain who will pay the highest price – unless of course the nation finds its brain cells and gets rid of this nauseating government – I don’t live in hope.
    My sincere hope is indeed the hardest and nastiest possible Brexit and also the departure of Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UK, so that May’s crowning achievement will be to the PM who has broken up her country in a fit of pique. I wonder of she will like to have that as her epitaph.

  25. Stephen W

    “Either the Tories have dropped several % in a few weeks straight to the SNP/Grns or this poll is unusually Nat heavy. We’ll have to wait and see with other polls.”

    Obviously any poll can be an outlier, and MORI are unusual in using purely demographic data and not previous political identification.

    So the “in a few weeks” bit is inappropriate since any comparison would have to be made with a previous MORI poll using the same methodology for the same election.

    Of course, there isn’t one. The nearest comparison would be the question on indy – which MORI asked 6 months ago.

    On that question, the comparison shows Yes up 2%, and No down 2% – hardly a massive change.

    Whether the MORI or Panelbase methodologies are more accurate on measuring 1st preferences (or whether they are both total mince!) we’ll need to wait till May.

    Perhaps Lucid Talk who (in 2 successive polls) got the actual result of the election to within 1% should be invited to give some lessons to GB pollsters?

  26. Larry Elliot from the Graun with a couple more aspects of the Budget, impact of housing on productivity, technical education etc.

    “There were a few curious omissions. In the autumn statement, Hammond said the shortage of affordable homes was a barrier to productivity growth, yet there was not a single mention of housing in the speech. Nor does the environment appear to feature high on his list of concerns given the lack of any immediate measures to reduce the use of diesel cars.

    Carolyn Fairbairn, the director-general of the CBI, hailed the announcements on technical education as a “genuine breakthrough” that would help the economy adapt to the demands of the fourth industrial revolution. “Whatever happens with Brexit we know we have to get the economy into a strong competitive position,” she said.

    That’s a fair assessment. Brexit or no Brexit, the UK economy displays some serious structural weaknesses that need fixing. Productivity is one. A comprehensive skills strategy is another. Poor infrastructure is a third. Employer investment in training, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research thinktank, has fallen by more than £5bn since 2010-11, which puts the extra £500m promised for technical education from 2019-20 into perspective.

    As in the late 1930s, the government has belatedly woken up to the challenges ahead. It wants to put the economy on a war footing. It is a long way from doing so.”

  27. I so want Scotland to go. Let’s see how they do in the Euro with full monetary union. lol.

  28. @ALEC

    “Reports that 100 ory MPs have signalled their displeasure with the self employment changes in the budget, leading to May delaying the legislation on this part. I did mention the O word within an hour of the budget yesterday.”

    I actually quite like Hammond. He is one of the few people in the cabinet with a sense of humour and a good head on his shoulders. The decision to increase NI for the self-employed was justified in my view, and in fact long overdue. As for the tax free allowance on dividend income, the reduction should have gone all the way to zero – it’s a tax fiddle only the rich benefit from it, not ordinary people. The next step should be to abolish capital gains tax allowance and lower the 45% tax threshold to £100k.

  29. @RICH

    “I so want Scotland to go. Let’s see how they do in the Euro with full monetary union. lol.”

    If Scotland does go I’ll probably go there as a political refugee from the English la-la land.

  30. @CARFREW

    ” Nor does the environment appear to feature high on his list of concerns given the lack of any immediate measures to reduce the use of diesel cars.”

    I’m a proud user of a diesel car and many millions of people use them, let alone the haulage industry. Taxing diesel users more would increases costs that would be passed on to consumers – a loony idea. Diesel usage will go down naturally over time, once we finally get affordable and practical hybrid and electric cars, which will take several years. I once had a Toyota hybrid and it was an undriveable piece of junk – I was glad to go back to diesel.

  31. @Tancred – “As for the tax free allowance on dividend income, the reduction should have gone all the way to zero – it’s a tax fiddle only the rich benefit from it, not ordinary people.”

    As I’ve said previously, the NI changes are technically correct, in the narrow sense that the self employed get nearly the same benefits as employees now, but this misses the point that self employment doesn’t bring paid holidays, redundancy payments and employee pension contributions. While these aren’t state benefits, the poorer working conditions of the self employed have traditionally been recognized through a lower tax regime. There is some merit in this.

    As for your quote above, I am an ordinary person who left salaried employment to set up a company that now employs three people (including myself). I have earned between £30,000 and £40,000pa over the last six years – good, but in the ordinary range, I would say – but depend on dividends for some of that as I have to wait for the profits so I know how much I can pay myself, after paying fixed salaries to my staff.

    I now face a significant and painful tax increase, because I tried to set up a new business and employ people. While there are clear abuses of dividends, the solutions given are affecting many like me.

  32. Rich

    Wise of you to put “lol” after your comment, so that we can all know you were joking, and that you aren’t one of those ignorant buffoons who imagines that new members of the EU need to (or are allowed to) apply for adoption of the Euro.

    Phew! Till I saw that, I thought for a moment that you were actually that ignorant!

  33. It’s interesting how everybody wants more money for the NHS, but nobody wants to pay for it do they. I heard a hysterical protestor on LBC scream at Nik Ferrari that the NHS was grossly under funded, implying like £50bn under funded. I bet she wouldn’t give a penny to pay for that though. The Daily Mirror leading on the NHS every day, but when NI goes up to pay for social care, it’s NI betrayal on the front page….

  34. @Tancred: I am intrigued to know what fit of pique Theresa May has acted on?

    I assume you are aware of the referendum result, so working for Brexit is hardly a fit of pique. Remain savaged the EEA option, and almost everyone in Leave other than Christopher Booker dropped it, so that is hardly a fit of pique on her part. She has not demanded a hard Brexit – it is the EU who are currently saying that there is no compromise possible, even in terms of trading relations that the EU already has with many non-EU/EEA countries.

    The fits of pique are on the other side of the negotiations. And those wanting to take refuge in a Scotland which presumably will have achieved a hard Scexit from its biggest trading partner (England). Maybe they want us to give them a very, very soft Scexit, until the EU lets them in?

    ————————-

    On Scotland the poll, the intriguing thing is that support for EU membership in an independent Scotland is not that high. 48% for actual full EU suggests a greater degree of ambivalence than you’d think to listen to the SNP. Yes, a further 27% would go for EEA membership only, but that 27% by definition want to keep the EU to a degree at arm’s length.

    Given the lack of real movement in the independence polls, my guess is that independence is very much a Scotland vs England identity issue, rather than “Scotland ‘hearts’ EU” identity issue.

    I would be interested to know how much in Scottish debate it is understood that Scotland staying in the EU or “independence + EEA” means a hard border with England, and that Anglo-Scottish trade would be subject to all the disadvantages that hardline Remainers are hoping the EU will impose on the UK.

  35. Arrr @oldnat I forgot you were still about. Still racing to pick up anything remotely criticising the Scottish nationalists. Sadiq Khan was right on the money about the SNP. No wonder it hit a nerve.

  36. Britain Elects? @britainelects now32 seconds ago
    More
    Red Horse (Stratford on Avon) result:
    CON: 53.4% (-9.0)
    LDEM: 29.8% (+20.3)
    UKIP: 10.3% (-4.8)
    GRN: 6.5% (+6.5)
    No Labour as previous.

    Britain Elects? @britainelects 1m1 minute ago
    More
    Hailey, Minster Lovell & Leafield (W. Oxfordshire):
    LD: 46.7% (+34.0)
    CON: 41.5% (+3.8)
    LAB: 5.8% (-4.5)
    GRN: 3.1% (-2.8)
    UKIP: 2.9% (+2.9)

    Britain Elects? @britainelects 11m11 minutes ago
    More
    Hertford Castle (East Hertfordshire) result:
    CON: 49.0% (+8.2)
    LAB: 17.1% (-2.9)
    LDEM: 15.5% (+15.5)
    GRN: 13.0% (-4.7)
    UKIP: 5.4% (+5.4)

    Britain Elects? @britainelects 14m14 minutes ago
    More
    Exton (Rutland) result:
    CON: 59.5% (+6.5)
    LDEM: 30.8% (+11.6)
    UKIP: 9.8% (-5.0)
    No Ind as previous.

    Liberal Democrat GAIN Hailey, Minster Lovell & Leafield (West Oxfordshire) from Conservative.

    Conservative GAIN Waltham Cross (Broxbourne) from Labour.

  37. In local council by-election results so far tonight, Conservatives take one (Waltham Cross, Broxbourne) off Labour, LibDems gain one (Hailey, Minster Lovell & Leafield, W. Oxfordshire) off Conservative.

    LD also get big increases in share in Stratford on Avon, East Hertfordshire, and Rutland.

  38. Britain Elects? @britainelects 15s15 seconds ago
    More
    Waltham Cross (Broxbourne) result:
    CON: 41.0% (-3.5)
    LAB: 40.8% (-14.8)
    UKIP: 12.6% (+12.6)
    LDEM: 5.6% (+5.6)

    Con gain from Labour.

  39. Britain Elects? @britainelects 47s47 seconds ago
    More
    Now awaiting Derwent (Derby) and Roxbourne (Harrow). Roxbourne’s counting in the morning; Derwent looking like a Tory gain from the Kippers.

  40. Britain Elects? @britainelects now23 seconds ago
    More
    Derwent (Derby) result:
    CON: 37.1% (+28.1)
    LAB: 28.7% (-2.4)
    UKIP: 25.2% (-7.2)
    LDEM: 9.0% (-15.4)
    0 replies 2 retweets 1 like
    Reply Retweet 2
    Like 1
    Britain Elects? @britainelects now1 minute ago
    More
    Conservative GAIN Derwent (Derby) from UKIP.

  41. SAFER

    “LD also get big increases in share in Stratford on Avon, East Hertfordshire, and Rutlan
    ________

    Aye but they got a real boot up the arse in Derwent -15.4% and are being minced in the Scottish local elections.

  42. and another poor night for the Kippers:

    https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/839986630740049924

  43. @Tancred

    “If Scotland does go I’ll probably go there as a political refugee from the English la-la land.”

    I am now praying for that. Good luck with the haggis production job.

    G’night all.

  44. I haven’t a clue what Britain Elects is getting at with this, at 23:10pm:

    Copeland, result:
    CON: 59.5% (+6.5)
    LDEM: 30.8% (+11.6)
    UKIP: 9.8% (-5.0)
    No Ind as previous.

    https://twitter.com/britainelects/status/839976758720024577

    “Copeland?”

  45. @ALLAN CHRISTIE

    “Aye but they got a real boot up the arse in Derwent -15.4% and are being minced in the Scottish local elections.”

    The LibDems are an irrelevance in Scottish politics as their position is similar to the SNP in a lot of areas. And Derwent is in the heart of Brexitland, so surprises there. But they did cream the Tories in Cameronland.

  46. Joseph1832

    “than you’d think to listen to the SNP”

    Well, you could try actually listening to the SNP, and not what your press say about them. That would help.

    Ever since the EU referendum, the SNP (initially with the support of all other parties in Scotland) focussed on how we could retain membership of the Single Market and EEA membership was the central compromise proposal.

    75% of Scots think an indy Scotland should be in the EEA. Whether, that is best done by having voting rights etc in the EU or by an EFTA style arrangement is a matter for discussion.

    I wonder what would have happened in E&W if that choice had been offered to voters?

  47. @PETE B

    “I am now praying for that. Good luck with the haggis production job.”

    I like haggis. I did a haggis with whisky sauce and pasta the other day – delicious. I strongly recommend it.

  48. Rich

    I do apologise for offending you, when I said that you weren’t an ignorant buffoon.

    Thanks for correcting my wrong impression.

  49. Tancred

    “The LibDems are an irrelevance in Scottish politics as their position is similar to the SNP in a lot of areas.”

    They would furiously deny that! So would SLab.

    Yet the SNP policies are very mainstream, and exactly the kind of things that SLab/SLD did when they were in power – and would do again, if they ever got back to that happy state.

  50. Britain Elects tweet

    “Conservatives have a 19pt lead over Labour in tonight’s YouGov (taken post budget).
    Largest w/ the pollster in eight years.”

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