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. @Joseph1832

    Membership of the single market via EEA & EFTA does not mean membership of the customs union so no hard border. It is a proposal put forward to WM (and ignored by them) by the Scottish government in the Scotland place in Europe paper.

    Regarding the poll it is a telephone poll the others are panel polls. So perhaps that’s why the Vi is a surprise. But, my impression was that May’s visit to Scotland was counter-productive. The honeymoon seems to be over for Ruth.


    ” But they did cream the Tories in Cameronland”

    That sounds very sexual in nature. ;-)

  3. @Tancred

    Yes I’m wondering what’s the best thing to do about diesel. Woz thinking Alec might shed some light. One thing that bothers me, is that the tiny 2.5 particulates produced by diesel are a particular concern, but even without diesel we still get them from brakes and tires…

  4. Unto the pure, all is pure Allan!!


    The poll.
    Westminster voting intention:
    CON: 44% (+2)
    LAB: 25% (-)
    UKIP: 11% (-1)
    LDEM: 10% (-1)
    (via YouGov / 08 – 09 Mar

  6. YG poll in some of Europe on “Would you endorse or reject Scotland joining the EU if it became separate from Great Britain?”

    “Endorse” responses –
    Germany 71%
    Denmark 67%
    Finland 66%
    Sweden 64%
    France 61%
    Norway 46%
    UK 41%



    What isn’t so pure is this much-touted Lib/Dem surge. The last two polls had them flatlining, the one before that had them falling back and again tonight we have another poll showing them falling back.

    Like I said before…The Lib/Dems are a wee party punching above their weight in local elections. Pure dead brill!!

    At least ol Corby is holding his ground….


    Wonder why Norway appears to be so hostile towards an independent Scotland joining the EU? I don’t think they have gotten over the Battle of Largs yet.

    Anyway…Night night peeps.

  9. @OLDNAT

    One of the reasons for the SNP’s success is precisely because it is a mainstream, centrist party, not a bunch of swivel eyed extremists.
    In NI Sinn Fein are enjoying their best ever electoral success because they are now accepted as a mainstream political force, not a bunch of terrorist supporting fanatics. This just goes to show what can be done when you can offer the electorate a genuine, credible alternative to the dominant party.


    “Wonder why Norway appears to be so hostile towards an independent Scotland joining the EU? I don’t think they have gotten over the Battle of Largs yet.
    Anyway…Night night peeps.”

    The Norwegians are worried about North Sea oil, and to a lesser extent, fishing rights.

  11. OldNat

    I don’t know about the SNP as a centrist party. I used to think that about Salmond but looking back he did a lot of radical things and risked popularity to do them eg the anti sectarian football legislation and minimum pricing for alcohol.

    Interestingly as he did them and got pelters from the truly revolting Scottish press he seemed to grow in popularity. Indeed he finished as First Minister at an astounding +35% in MORI.

    Sturgeon is certainly to Salmond’s left but is she as radical? We will shortly find out.

  12. @Allan C

    Yes, your LD observations might not entirely happinate BFR!! Im glad I don’t support a party, the ups and downs of supporting sports teams are bad enough…

  13. Oh and on Norway – they are not hostile, they just want Scotland to be in EFTA as they are and not necessarily the EU.

  14. I was very surprised when Tancred said that he moving to scotland if they became independent. His posts are so erudite and reasonable that i thought he was already there and was in fact the lovechild of Old Nat and Hireton. Other nationalist jihardists are available.

  15. Was just reading this take-down of Blair’s anti-Brexit gang in the Times…

    “It’s not like a big successful band reuniting for one last world tour. It’s like those reality shows on ITV2 where one or two members of a boy band have chosen to spend more time with their cocaine/tattoos/chickens, so their former colleagues merge with other pop refugees.

    This cut-and-shut man band belt out their greatest hits, but they don’t sound quite right to our modern ears, and the backflips aren’t what they were.

    The star power that once propelled them to shock wins, landslides and historic power-sharing deals now eludes them. Where once the evening newspaper-sellers would cry “read all about it” as front pages were cleared for their latest utterance, today their world view is shredded by Twitter before they’ve even opened their mouths.”

    Etc. etc…. Anyways, below the line someone posted this take in what’ll happen with Brexit which I thought I’d add to the pile of possible scenarios…

    “Actually, Blair / Mandelson / Osborne / Ashdown / Clegg really don’t have to do very much other than put down a marker – which Blair did last week – and then sit back and wait for negative leaks from Brussels. The international foreign exchange markets will then abandon Sterling, no other central bank will step in to help the Bank of England ( certainly not China who warned us to stay in the EU) , and our exchange rate will plummet again. Supermarket prices will increase again and women voters will begin to think Blair has a point. There’s no effort involved, the markets will do it for them.”

  16. @Allan Christie

    19 point Tory lead even after all the terrible press of the last two days.

    Shocking result for all the other parties.

  17. But how is that 44% conservatives showing derived? Is it an actual increase in support for conservatives or a further defection from labour to ‘dont know/will not vote’? Are the conservatives enjoying positive support, or is it simply support for labour disappearing into the ‘disaffected with all parties’ column?

    The two have very different implications for the reliability of that conservative lead.

  18. @Danny – Yes true. We’ll have to wait for the cross-breaks.

  19. Sea Change

    Lots of hyperbole there for a poll entirely within MOE of the last YouGov poll!

  20. Meanwhile in real vote land the Tories had a good night vs Labour but lost a normally super safe seat to the lib dems in the Witney constuency

  21. ALEC

    @”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.”

    Westminster voting intention:
    CON: 44% (+2)
    LAB: 25% (-)
    UKIP: 11% (-1)
    LDEM: 10% (-1)
    (via YouGov / 08 – 09 Mar

    :-) :-)

  22. Another analysis of (English) political parties across two dimensions, beyond the traditional and simplistic left/right scale. This one, from the LSE politics blog, describes the second dimension in similar terms to that outlined at Electoral Calculus, but avoids the word “nationalist” which caused a minor storm when it was discussed here, a while back, using instead communitarian / internationalist. The analysis, based on self-descriptions by over 17000 voters before the last general election, strikes me as more sophisticated than that which I’ve seen previously.

    What does it really mean to be “right” or “left” in England today? Can we be certain that all who identify as conservative are against immigration? Or can we say that anyone opposing Trident is invariably “left”? And can we assume that one can never be both pro-immigration and “right-wing” in economic terms? Jonathan Wheatley explains ideology has a cultural and an economic dimension, and each should be assessed separately. He also argues that for many voters, the terms “left” and “right”, especially in economic terms, don’t mean much.

    The notions of “left” and “right” have come to define how we understand politics in Western Europe. When it comes to political parties, the consensus in Britain is that UKIP, followed by the Conservatives, take the most right-wing position, while the Greens, SNP and Labour adopt a position furthest to the left. So when a ComRes poll found that the Conservatives were seen by voters as marginally to the right of UKIP, political pundits were shocked.

    In ideological terms, the common assumption is that if you are anti-immigration, support an independent nuclear deterrent and adhere to pro-free market economic policies you are “right-wing”. If you welcome migrants, want to scrap Trident and believe in more state regulation you are “left-wing”. But as the recent spat between the Institute of Directors and Home Secretary Theresa May demonstrates, pro-business free-marketeers can also be pro-immigration. Conversely, many of those who feel the state should do more to protect their jobs may feel antagonistic towards immigration.


    The diagram accompanying the article is particularly interesting, showing that although UKIP is obviously the most “right-wing” on the communitarian/internationalist scale, it’s in fact slightly left of centre on the economic scale.

  23. Good morning all from a dry and mild Itchen Valley in rural Hampshire.
    I love long weekends..get to comment on UKPR before the crow’s up.

    “The Norwegians are worried about North Sea oil, and to a lesser extent, fishing rights”

    I’m not sure why an independent Scotlands oil sector would worry the Norwegians? It already exists to an extent as being part of the UK oil sector.
    @Allan C
    Yes, your LD observations might not entirely happinate BFR!! Im glad I don’t support a party, the ups and downs of supporting sports teams are bad enough

    BFR will come round to my way of thinking sooner or later as will most other Lib/Dems. They need to wake up and smell the coffee and understand that their party is underperforming despite the Brexit political fallout and Labour stuttering.

    Oh and on Norway – they are not hostile, they just want Scotland to be in EFTA as they are and not necessarily the EU

    Would be interesting to see a poll on this just to see if this is indeed the reason for the apparent lack of enthusiasm from Norway for joining the EU?

    @Allan Christie
    19 point Tory lead even after all the terrible press of the last two days.
    Shocking result for all the other parties

    It is a great poll for the Tories and the poll was conducted between 8-9th, right around budget time. However, I’m just wondering how much of Wednesday’s (8th) polling was done before the budget was fully announced and taken in?

    Taking nothing away from the Tories but maybe a few more polls are needed to see if there has been any loss of the white van man vote.

  25. A report of a survey conducted by Prof John Denham (ex Lab man), Director of University of Winchester can be found here.

    The survey explores the views of Conservative activists on the state of the Union


    With regard to Scotland:
    Fewer than a third of Conservative activists believe that the loss of Scotland would cause ‘serious damage’ to the rest of the UK, while over two-thirds would not want Theresa May to offer any new financial or policy powers to the Scottish government in the event of a second referendum.

    73% of English Conservative activists believe that the devolution settlement since 1999 has been ‘harmful for England

    Nearly a third of English activists would welcome the break-up of the Union as ‘an end to unreasonable demands on England to provide ever greater financial and political concessions to Scotland’: as many as believe the break up would do serious damage.

  26. Maybe I am missing something but the option of ‘special’ access to the single market without membership, which appears to me to be the Governments wish, was not offered as an option?

  27. I wonder what the polling would be for Brexit, if the consequence was Scottish independence and a united Ireland ?

    It is looking increasingly like there will be another Scottish indy vote before the end of 2018. Also the republican parties in Northern Ireland look like gaining support and could campaign for an independence vote, with a view to a united Ireland.

    Not many people on who voted on 23rd June realised that there could be such consequences for the UK.

  28. Conspiracy to be Miserable

    I think the ONS read Alec’s posts.

    Their report was a masterpeice of pessimism.An example was public borrowing.In 15-16 the figure was 72bn and the original prediction was 54 for 16-17 which was then raised to 68bn.They now say 16-17 will be 52 but the ONS report this as a 16bn drop on their projection but is in fact a real drop of 20bn.This is a remarkable achievement.It seems to me that rather than accept that they were unduly pessimistic for 16-17 they have kicked it down the road to 17-18 while,oddly, at the same time, increasing their growth forecast for 9 months of that period to 2%. On top of that massive cuts in expenditure will be kicking in.

    Also what have they done with the UK EU net contribution which should stop in 2019?. This is 10-12bn so not peanuts. Either they have assumed there will be no savings or there will be but they will be applied to public spending. What they have not done is consider the possibility that the money will simply not be spent and borrowing will be cut. Their assumption therefore includes the possibility of a 10-12bn leave bonus.or bribe depending on your point of view.Parliament in 2019 may well be considering the merits of a deal with the Eu with the government offering a large sum for the NHS or social care .

    It will take brave mp’s who argue that we should not deal with social care etc but send the money to brussels( as it will be put). You can imagine the headlines.

  29. @Andrew111 “Lots of hyperbole there for a poll entirely within MOE of the last YouGov poll!”

    You don’t think a 19 point lead is shocking for the other parties even after all the terrible press?

    Hardly hyperbole – just a statement of fact.

  30. New battlegrounds

    As the Remainers realise that Brexit cannot be stopped in parliament the battle moves to Scotland and Ireland.
    The agenda is that Brexit will break the union and to save the union we need to abandon Brexit.But scotland needs to be wary of New found English friends who seek to goad scotland into a referendum. They do not have scotland at heart imho.
    If TM were sensible she would not close the route to a new referendum but indicate that it should not occur until 2022 when the full implications of Brexit are known.It would also get Sturgeon off the hook and also enable her to file a new grievance in her grievance McFiling cabinet.Win Win for Mc Cunute.

  31. All this nonsense about Scotland joining the EU as an “independent” state.

    Doesn’t matter what the people in the EU think – never has – the Spaniards won’t allow it !!

    Scot Nats really are dreamland boyos..!

  32. @Rich – “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….”

    One of the truly saddest aspects of the budget was Hammond’s awful statement saying that while he was announcing (yet another!) review of social care funding, he explicitly rejected the easiest and fairest mechanism of a post mortem tax on estates. This is ideological madness and will consign us to years more delay and uncertainty, as well as further strain on the incomes of working people because of the Conservatives illogical and extreme approach to not taxing assets.

    A simple 5% tax on all estates would yield £4bn, more than enough to fund free at the point of delivery care for those that need it and relieving a significant burden from NHS budgets.

    We will hear the usual nonsense about ‘double taxation’ – which isn’t true when applied to most people’s main asset, their homes, where speculative increases in value are entirely untaxed. It’s also a strange part of the skewed political debate that it’s OK to double tax people wages, and then their spending, or company profits, and then the dividends that are paid from them, but people’s estates must never, ever be double taxed, even when they aren’t anyway.

    So we will continue to squeeze working people already loaded with high housing costs, student loans, and stagnant wages, while the proportion of wealth generated from inheritance continues too grow and promote further inequality.

  33. @Colin – thanks very much for making my point for me so effectively.

    As I said, May has a towering poll lead, but she has had to delay the main policy change from the budget less than 24 hours after the event due to a rebellion of over 100 of her MPs.

    This tells me that levels of loyalty and trust in her from her own party are not particularly robust, and this on an issue unconnected with Brexit.

  34. For those who want to read a balanced view about Brexit there is a splendid piece in the Guardian (not a pro Brexit paper) by Mervyn King.
    h ttps://www.theguardian.com/business/2016/dec/26/mervyn-king-britain-should-be-more-upbeat-about-brexit

    Reads like a breath of fresh air after months and months on nonsense here and elsewhere.

  35. @ Colin, Allan Christie

    I’m relaxed about what AC has said today as it is pretty much factually correct – on best estimations the Lib Dem recovery post referendum, Witney and Richmond appears to have ended, but they appear to be retaining the improvement they made in that period (their ten poll average remains around 10%)

    My issue with AC is when he goes beyond jocular dismissals of LDems and start saying things that are statistically invalid. It seems inappropriate on a website devoted to polling analysis.

    This is the second poll taken after Copeland/Stoke; the first showed Tories improving at the expense of UKIP, this one shows the same Tory growth but at the expense of both UKIP and LDems – which makes some sense given those results.

    All in all excellent news for the Tories

    In terms of trends, UKIP’s decline seems to be continuing (each of the last four polls, I think, have shown a decrease in VI), Labour appear to be – somewhat surprisingly – flat-lining despite Copeland.

    I’m not surprised at the LDems flat-lining in the last few weeks – the y have struggled to make any impact on the news agenda and have not been very visible.

    Their next real chance to make waves will be the May local elections – it will be interesting to see how these play out; will there be different trends in the Midlands (mostly Labour v Tory), the South (with more LDem v Tory) and the North (a right mixture)?

    Currently I anticipate a very good night for the Tories, a rotten one for Labour and UKIP, and some gains for LDems and independents – whether that would be enough to give the LDems another VI boost I rather doubt…

  36. @Alec

    Too much of policy is now dictated by the wishes of a small group of ruthless, amoral media grandees. They have large property portfolios – they don’t want them taxed. They want us to leave the EU come what may – so that’s what we’re doing no matter what the final deal (or absence of one) that we get.

    At the moment, we’re seeing another manifestation – a lot are registered as self-employed for the tax advantages so that they can keep more of their bloated salaries. Thus they are making trouble for the Government.

    I hope that the PM and Chancellor stand firm, but history tells us that the Conservatives are very happy when those media guns are aimed at their opponents, as they usually are, but go to pieces on the rare occasions that the fire is turned on them.

  37. @TOH – glad you like to listen to the central banker who got things so badly wrong before the crash, and who then tried to blame his deputy governor over dithering about the Northern Rock bailout.

    Merv’s tenure at the BoE let to utter disaster, so please – by all means – listen to his views on Brexit.

  38. ALEC

    @”she has had to delay the main policy change ”

    Presumably to coincide with the Review of Taxation of Work-at which point the NIC changes will hopefully be set in context of fundamental reform.

    I don’t think implementation has been delayed -the Budget announcement was fort class 4 NICs will be increased from 9% for the self-employed to 10% in April 2018 and 11% in April 2019.

  39. BFR


    Its a strange period at present.

    A confident PM with a slim majority riding a wave of disaffection with Labour.

    …..an Electorate looking for & waiting for an Opposition to vote for ??

  40. Yesterdays council by election results: one Con gain from Lab, one Con gain from UKIP, one LDem gain from Con, two Con holds. Conservatives seem to be gaining in the North and LDs in the South.

    The Times You Gov Poll has 19% Conservative lead, must be the largest for some time. The same poll found that voters appear to support the NICs changes 47% to 33% although 54% thought they had broken a manifesto pledge.

    I do, he makes sense to me and people like me. :-)

  41. @Alec “Assets are untaxed”

    That’s not entirely true. If someone saves money and buys a house those savings from income have been taxed. So that asset was bought out of taxed income. If then the government taxes that asset it is in effect double taxation. However there is a case for when someone inherits a house they should pay the capital gain from when the house was purchased compared to its new value as the asset has changed hands.

  42. Alec,

    I’m afraid it’s you who have got it wrong again. On housing you seem to have forgotten that when you buy a house you pay stamp duty. However on taxing wealth it is really very simple so I will lay it out for you.
    1. You earn money and you pay tax on it.
    2. You buy things and you pay tax as you do so.
    3. You invest money and any investment other than ISA’s you pay tax on the profits.
    4. You die and if your estate is large enough it’s taxed again.
    5. Since the budget there is an additional tax on estates due.
    I hope that’s clear.

  43. Aec

    Point 5 should have read …………….due to the change to Probate charges which are now classified as a tax.

  44. @Alec

    Are you arguing that inheritance tax should be paid on assets but only on the value that they have appreciated since they came into the possession of the deceased person?

    So if I inherit a house worth £150k from my mother, and then die and pass it on at £180k to my daughter, tax should be paid only on the £30k?

  45. On the polls and the budget,

    My gut feeling is that the NI changes, whilst strenuously opposed by some, will be welcomed by at least as many. As always the antis will shout louder than the pros, but for each urban professional the DT headline about the (better off portion of the) self-employed being hammered pushes from Tory to LD/Labour there may be a socially conservative, minimum-wage employee who moves to the Tories.

    On the pay and conditions of the self-employed, well if they don’t like their pay, holiday entitlements and other arrangements, they should complain to their boss!

    I thought the whole point of setting up your own business and/or working for yourself was to work like a demon at the beginning, in order to be able to semi-retire on full pay later on? If it isn’t, then why do it? Surely it’s a choice to set up in business. If your business plan doesn’t allow for you to make an income and enjoy conditions that are equivalent to an employee, then make a better business plan or apply for one of the hundreds of thousands of jobs we can’t fill and need EU migrants to do….

  46. ToH,

    Merv King – failed miserably in his duty to warn about personal credit becoming a problem.

    He might be right about Brexit and Pessimism but to me his view are as irrelevant as Tony Blair’s on the subject, in fact probably a bit less (relevant that is).

  47. NEIL A, lots of self employed do it because they can’t find anything else in their area. Not all self employed are going to retire early with a nice fat pension. Think of all the gardeners, window cleaners, taxi drivers and a lot of van drivers are self employed as well. Fortunately in many cases the NIC changes shouldn’t trouble them, or at least not by much, but that’s because they don’t earn enough.

  48. Can someone assist:

    is the electorate entitled to vote different in local elections to national elections? and if so is there any polling evidence to suggest whether this is helping the liberals at a local level?; and
    does national you gov polling take account of entitlement to vote?as opposed to registered to vote.
    If one polled an EU national as to how they would vote in local and national elections might they in fact only be eligible to vote in one of those?Is a filter applied?

  49. The detail of the latest YouGov poll is on the YouGov website and the budget seems to receive a great deal of support from those polled. All the main measures, even the increase in free schools, are seen positively, most very positively and overall it’s fairness rating was +8 compared with the last budget -10.
    Which is the government best able to:-
    Help people up the housing ladder, May’s government +6
    Manage the economy, May’s government +33
    Provide jobs, May’s government +15
    Keep prices down, May’s government +11
    Improve standards of living +11
    Tackle the government deficit +36
    Despite a few local difficulties with Tory Mp’s if I was Mrs may I would be feeling rather chipper.
    Have a good day all.

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