Following Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement that she would seek a second referendum on Scottish Independence there are three polls on the subject in today’s papers.

Firstly there is a YouGov poll in the Times. As with the Survation poll, the fieldwork for this was actually begun before Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement – it just happened to be in the field when she made her announcement. Topline figures on Scottish independence were YES 43%, NO 57%. While this is not a significant change since YouGov’s last Scottish poll in November, it’s the largest lead YouGov have recorded for NO since before the first independence referendum (note also that the sample here was over 18s. 16 and 17 year olds are normally seen as a more pro-Indy demographic, so might have shifted it ever so slightly towards YES) (tabs)

Secondly there was a Survation poll in the Daily Mail, also conducted over the weekend. This had topline figures of YES 47%, NO 53%, the same as in their previous Scottish poll last September. Survation also asked about whether there should be a second referendum “before the UK leaves the European Union” – 41% supported this, 46% were opposed.

Finally there were results from the Scottish Social Attitudes Survey in the Scotsman. The SSAS is a large scale random probability survey conducted each year – these are high quality samples, but by definition take a very long time, so this was conducted in autumn last year. The survey does not ask how people would vote in a referendum, but does have a long term tracker on whether people think Scotland should be independent and outside the EU, independent and inside the EU, have devolution with taxation powers, devolution without taxation powers or no devolution. This wave of the survey found 46% of people in favour of independence, the highest recorded so far in the SSAS and up from 39% in the 2015 wave of the survey. In John Curtice‘s paper on the survey he explains how some of that is down to the fact that in the previous wave a substantial number of those who voted YES in the referendum opted for a form of devolution when asked the multi-option question in the SSAS survey, but that in this wave YES voters were more likely to follow through with support for full independence in the SASS question.

We still have a mixed picture. Overall the picture appears to be a lead for NO, but YouGov and Panelbase’s polls have the proportion of people supporting Scottish independence broadly the same as at the 2014 referendum (though there appears to be some churn underneath that), but BMG’s last few polls and MORI’s last poll have suggested things moving towards a much tighter race. The sheer infrequency of Scottish polls means we can’t really be sure if that variation is down to methodology or just us reading too much into normal sample variation. Either way, Nicola Sturgeon has only taken the very first step towards a second referendum; there is an extremely long way to go and I’m sure we’ll have an awful lot more polling on the subject and far more time to examine differences between them.


185 Responses to “Latest Scottish Independence polling”

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  1. @Nick Keene

    Well I’m an Englishman married to a Scot and I have never suffered any racial abuse in nearly 20 years of living an working in Scotland. If you know nobody who wants a second referendum on either side of the debate you need to get out more!

  2. So May has softened her stance on indyref2.

  3. @ Couper2802

    Not my interpretation, I understand it as “not now”

  4. Sadly but inevitably like Brexit when you have something like this a binary choice on a hugely important issue tempers fray.

    On both sides you get people who’s only response to the other side or to an opinion they don’t like is to be abusive.

    Overwhelmingly the last referendum was open and friendly and it has had the lasting effect of boosting electoral turnout in Scotland by 10% to now one of the highest in the UK and increasing participation and interest in Politics.

    Over two years I had surprisingly few bad incidents the worst being an old codger pointing a gardening fork at me because he didn’t want a Yes poster outside his house ( he insisted we could put a poster there because it was “His” Lappost, where as I pointed out it belonged to the Council!)

    Not a happy incident but overall it was a great campaign and overwhelming positive on the doorsteps, even with No supporters.

    The year after I was running the temporary SNP shop in Dingwall for the Westminster campaign and their big English Tory farmer popped in for a look around as he was helping out the local candidate and had friends in the area.

    We had a coffee and a chat and he was just full of praise for how many people we had out but also just how motivated everyone was and how positive the atmosphere was.

    He was particularly envious of all the young people we had.

    That experience was far more the norm of the reality and the aftermath of the referendum, but it doesn’t make a good tabloid headline.

    I also heard more than I wanted too of Yes activists making snide remarks about Tories and English which weren’t just jokes. None could justify them and all backed down when, routinely challenged.

    the biggest difficulty in policing it was the sheer size. people in the last three months just came out of the woodwork and some of them were Bampots.

    I went to put posters up one night in a village and it had already been done… to this day we have no idea who did it. they had probably gone into the Yes shop in inverness picked up a stack and set off on there own.

    the fact that on either side they only account for 1 or 2% of the 3m plus who voted still means their can be 50k of them out their and that’s no consolation to the people who suffer their abuse.

    it’s a bit like telling someone who’s been run down that most people never are!

    I’ll be honest and say much as I disown it and hate to see it I am at a loss to see how we can stop it, but as to the proposed solution, don’t debate and tackle the big issues because they can be difficult, that just leaves the issue unaddressed and as I said before, no addressing it because half don’t want to means leaving half disappointed.

    Peter.

  5. @COUPER2802

    “May has said she’ll block a Scottish referendum. It’ll all kick off now. Another monumentally stupid move from the Conservative & Unionist party. ”

    I’m not so sure – I expected this. I don’t think it’s a stupid move – May holds all the cards and she is using them.

    “Who knows but independence now inevitable”

    Far from it.

  6. I expect May will not agree to a Scottish independence referendum in this parliament. It will be 2021 before the next referendum will happen.

  7. Tancred,

    She has one card… No to a Section 30… and I am not sure it’s a Trump.

    It’s clearing up to be that post Brexit the focus of this campaign is going to be about Scotland being free to make it’s own choices and if May’s first act is to deny a vote on Independence she is partially proving why it is needed.

    I fully suspect the compromise will, perhaps aptly be 1st April 2019, when Brexit is done and dusted.

    As I said before the focus will now move to Brussels and garnering support in the EU and particularly the Parliament for Scotland to be considered a successor state, with only England & Wales leaving, although I suspect NI and Gibraltar would go too.

    Will the EU agree…probably not.
    Will the EU play along so as the UK has to fight on two fronts during the Brexit negotiations…we’ll have to wait and see.

    Will the SNP push it so that May has to concede all returning power over Farming and Fisheries come to Holyrood… absolutely.

    Oh and lets not forget that the EU sets limits on how we can apply Vat, so we may well be looking a devolving some of that too. Vat is better than Minimum Alcohol pricing as it brings in revenue while cutting consumption, and removing it from sanitary products would be a popular move.

    Peter.

  8. @Tancred

    What’s easier to win

    1. Indyref in Autumn 18 with strong equal partners campaign and promise of powers to Holyrood. And demographic challenge of oldies with British identity

    Or

    2. 2021 after we’ve been forced into a hard Brexit by a Tory government we didn’t vote for & the 3 years more of young pro-Indy folk in the voting pool.

    I said yesterday 2018 good for the economy not so good politically. 2021 after Tories prevent an earlier vote a definite Yes

  9. So May is telling us that by Spring 2019 – two years after her triggering Article 50, and at the end of the two year negotiating period – the UK’s future relationship with the EU will still be unclear.

    That’ll come as a nasty shock to the Brexiteers!

  10. Has anyone got some Cleaning Fluid… i’ve got a fan to clean!

    Peter.

  11. I understand (though Peter will know better than me) that it’s standard practice for SNP strategists to “game” these scenarios.

    I’d be amazed if Sturgeon and her advisers hadn’t anticipated this response from May, and have their plans in place.

  12. @ Peter

    The fan you’re cleaning, Celtic or Rangers? Try WD40, other cleaning lubricators are available.

  13. scot talking to scot on this thread- taste of things to come if scottish independence.
    I prefer the bigger all british thread personally. less insular i find.

  14. Roll A Hard Six

    Well said.

    Your final sentence is very true.

  15. @ Old Nat

    “I’d be amazed if Sturgeon and her advisers hadn’t anticipated this response from May, and have their plans in place.”

    And yet, across the gulf of space, minds immeasurably superior to ours regarded this Earth with envious eyes, and slowly, and surely, they drew their plans against us…”

    I think James @ Scotgoespop has just exploded!!

  16. Bantams

    The reactions of those committed to or against indy are fairly predictable – an other thing that those who plan campaigns usually consider.

    What will be of much more interest are the comments of journalists like Alec Massie and Kenny Farquharson, who were strongly No in 2014.

    I note Massie’s immediate response was “Now is not the time” doesn’t actually answer the question. So May’s line is unsustainable.

  17. Peter Cairns
    I wouldn’t for a minute condone the fork-waving but I have some sympathy with your old codger! I’d find it immensely irritating to have a poster supporting a cause to which I was opposed attached to the lamp post outside my house…

    But I guess if A is entitled to put up a poster there’s nothing to stop B plastering over it or having an accident with some household paint (there IS a lamp post just outside my house so you’ve got me thinking…)

    I noted from the MORI poll that Oldnat helpfully linked that regardless of whether or Scotland wants a second Indyref or not people appear to be determined to have their say if there is one – high LTV figures.

  18. I was expecting some Scottish polling for the Sundays so it will be interesting to se if there are questions on May’s decision in them.

    it will really depend if the polls are already in the field.

    the thing to watch for and pour over will be how neutrals react.

    I am sure “Nows not the time will be music to the ears on No voters and a red rag to Yes voters, but what about the undecideds.

    Peter.

  19. Not that journalists and commentators know everything (or even much at all!) but they do create the mood music around political events, which is why they are worth paying attention to (even if you think what they write is total nonsense!)

    Ian Dunt is characteristically blunt in his assessment of May’s statement.

    http://www.politics.co.uk/blogs/2017/03/16/may-just-handed-nicola-sturgeon-the-greatest-gift

    The prime minister emerged today, in a toe-curlingly robotic and under-rehearsed broadcast interview, to tell Scotland that “now is not the time” for a second referendum.

    She used that phrase five times. When was the time then? she was asked. “Now is not the time,” she replied. Do you mean while you are prime minister, or before the next election, or just until after Brexit? “Now is not the time,” she replied.

    May’s team are sensible enough to know that they cannot realistically block the referendum taking place. The most they can do is block the timing. It’s not a matter of law or constitution. It’s purely political. Telling Scotland whether it can hold a referendum plays into all the SNP’s narratives about bullying, arrogant London.

    But May neither blocked nor didn’t block. She found a land called ‘the worst of all worlds’ and planted her flag on it. She’s prepared to allow Scotland to hold the referendum –that’s implicit by the focus on timing – but be seen to block it until it finally takes place.

  20. “t’s clearing up to be that post Brexit the focus of this campaign is going to be about Scotland being free to make it’s own choices and if May’s first act is to deny a vote on Independence she is partially proving why it is needed.”

    But also shown why going back to the EU is very foolish.

    So now you have two Yes camps – those who are Europhiles and want a different dominatrix and those who want genuine independence – currency and all.

    That’s a fairly big crack to drive a wedge into.

  21. @DAVID WILSON

    “So now you have two Yes camps – those who are Europhiles and want a different dominatrix and those who want genuine independence – currency and all.

    That’s a fairly big crack to drive a wedge into.”

    Not really. Before Scotland could return to the EU there would need to be independence – it’s a pre-requisite. At that point there would no doubt be another referendum in Scotland on whether to apply for EU membership.
    Those who support independence but reject the EU are pretty small minority.

  22. @COUPER2802

    The oldies will die and be replaced by other oldies! That won’t change. As for Brexit, yes it will a done deal in 2021 but it might, just might, not be all that bad. I’m not going to seocnd guess what’s going to happen. And even then I’m not sure how many Scots really care about Brexit – probably a lot fewer than you think.

  23. Neil Wilson,

    “those who are Europhiles and want a different dominatrix”

    As I’ve said to others the mistake is to see the two Unions as equivalent when they are clearly not.

    A more important divide for the campaigns is between an Atlantic or Scandinavian future.

    One is;

    Free Market, Free Trade, Low Regulation, Low Tax, Small State, FPTP winner takes all, No free movement, outside the EU.

    The other;

    Controlled markets, Collective trade agreements and a Single market, Strong Social and Environmental Protections, Higher Taxes funding a Stronger State, PR and Coalitions, Free movement within the EU.

    Neither will tick all the buttons and the outcome will have elements of both but they are contrasting roads ahead.

    Peter.

  24. Peter Cairns

    My bet would be that potential switchers will want as much clarity as possible on the likely consequences of both options. So they’ll want to know the terms of the Brexit deal, what iScotland’s relationship with Europe would be (timescale for joining the EU, likely welcome from the EU, possible halfway house) and what educated opinion is on the likely economic consequences in each case. At the moment both options remain worryingly unclear, never mind how reliable the economic predictions might be.

    Dare I suggest that English Tory high-handedness won’t come as news to many Scottish voters and so there probably aren’t too many Yes votes to be squeezed from it? Priced in, if you like.

  25. Couper

    Re us oldies

    The Survation poll of Over 60s has the vote by age band [1]

    http://survation.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Final-Sunday-Post-60-Tables-2017-1c0d1h0-030317CPCH-1-28.pdf

    As with the younger age groups in other polls, opposition to indy is inversely proportional to life expectancy!

    60-64 : Yes 37% : No 54%
    65-74 : Yes 25% : No 68%
    75+ : Yes 22% : No 68%

    It would have been interesting to see if there was (as I suspect there would be) a difference between those in their late 60s and those in their early 70s.

    [1] Strange choice of bands though – 240 in the 60-64 band : 565 in the 65-74 band : and 184 of those 75+

  26. Sorbus,

    Pretty much agree with you, if anything recent polls don’t so much show a shift one way or the other as a hardening up of both camps.

    That could mean a smaller pool of potential floating voters which isn’t good for the trailing side.

    We no from the last time with 85% voting that differential turn out won’t be a factor so it is the undecideds who need to be the focus.

    Both the terms of Brexit and the emerging domestic policies that the Government intends to pursue post Brexit will be crucial in how the undecided vote.

    If it’s post Brexit, and May goes for more austerity and keeps hold of EU powers that could come to Scotland and is returned with a huge majority in England in 2020, holding off till 2021 could turn out to be a bad move.

    Peter.

  27. Sorbus

    “Dare I suggest that English Tory high-handedness won’t come as news to many Scottish voters and so there probably aren’t too many Yes votes to be squeezed from it? Priced in, if you like.”

    You may well be right. The effect, however, might be seen in party VI.

    “English Tory high-handedness” doesn’t go down very well among a swathe of Scots Tories either, but could be a strong disincentive for the ex-SLab voters who seem to have been moving towards voting Tory.

  28. @ Old Nat

    How many over 75’s are there left in Bonny Scotland?

    A couple of imojes would be good on here.

  29. Anthony quoted the FT’s “Law and Policy” journalist on the other thread.

    He has an observation on May’s “strategy” now.

    In response to a tweet from an SNP MP “Just imagine Brussels had told the UK that they are not allowed to have a referendum. That’s the difference between Scotland’s ‘two Unions.'”

    with May blundered straight into this obvious trap.
    Almost too awful to watch.

  30. @ Old Nat

    “In response to a tweet from an SNP MP “Just imagine Brussels had told the UK that they are not allowed to have a referendum. That’s the difference between Scotland’s ‘two Unions.’”

    with May blundered straight into this obvious trap.
    Almost too awful to watch.”

    If it’s that simple you should be celebrating victory already!

  31. Bantams

    Lots of real old folk have lost much of their body weight – so “Bony Scotland” might be more appropriate for them. :-)

    However, to answer your question, the mid 2015 estimates are 437,717. That’s 8% of the population.

  32. @oldnat

    Indeed. I expect the SNP strategists can’t believe how inept the UK Government is being. And all days before the SNP conference.

  33. “scot talking to scot on this thread- taste of things to come if scottish independence.
    I prefer the bigger all british thread personally. less insular i find.”

    Yet here she is commenting.

  34. Bantams

    As I said upthread, the point of looking at these comments from journos isn’t whether they are right or not.

    It’s who they are, and the mood that they create.

    It’s the construction of the narrative that matters in politics. Skilled politicians work hard to influence that. Less competent ones don’t bother.

  35. @hireton

    it’s also a little amusing to say an ‘all British’ thread is ‘less insular’ if you think of the meaning of insular

  36. Sorbus,

    “I’d find it immensely irritating to have a poster supporting a cause to which I was opposed attached to the lamp post outside my house…”

    Thing is on a few occasions people came up and asked us not to put a poster up, often because they didn’t want to be associated with any side.

    We always said “No problem there is no shortage of lamp posts!”

    It’s the ones who start shouting and ranting about their rights and it being an outrage when they’d happily wave and give a thumbs up to the other side that irk.

    They like to talk about “their” freedoms but take offence when others exercise theirs.

    That and they moan about people out climbing up lamp posts and campaigning about something they care about but wouldn’t think about knocking on doors themselves.

    We had one small part of a village a few miles away where someone took down one of our posters. So we put up two the next night which promptly disappeared. We waited till the last week and put up about six…. which al dissappeared.

    So the night before the vote we collected all we had left waited till after midnight and put up about over a dozen… still up the next day at close of polls….

    Robert the Bruce eat your heart out!

    Peter.

  37. @OLDNAT

    “As with the younger age groups in other polls, opposition to indy is inversely proportional to life expectancy!
    60-64 : Yes 37% : No 54%
    65-74 : Yes 25% : No 68%
    75+ : Yes 22% : No 68%”

    The over 75s are probably mostly wealthy Tories, as the socialist Scots tend to live harder lives and die sooner. Not many over 75s in Glasgow Govan I bet.

  38. @OldNat

    “I understand (though Peter will know better than me) that it’s standard practice for SNP strategists to “game” these scenarios.
    I’d be amazed if Sturgeon and her advisers hadn’t anticipated this response from May, and have their plans in place.”

    I would imagine that would be the case. Almost the more interesting thought is maybe what are the thoughts on May’s side as to the “state of the game”? What is she hoping to achieve?

    It seems a bit of a game of chicken to me. Sturgeon announcing her intention raised the stakes (especially the timing). In political terms May seems to have just said: “Okay, I see you, and raise you…”

    Do they see the “game” playing out significantly differently under this scenario? Or do they simply have different strategic objectives? Oh to be a fly on the wall.

  39. Tancred

    It’s certainly true that there is a socio-economic factor in longevity. There’s also a very strong gender factor as well. Like drone bees, the human male dies younger, once he has done his biological duty.

    I’d be wary of applying political labels, which may be appropriate in other polities, to Scotland.

    Those advantaged ladies who survive, would have been voting in Scotland in the mid/late 20th century – and a t of them would have been voting SLab.

    Now, if you are suggesting that there is very little difference between SCon and SLab, I’d hesitate to disagree with you.

  40. “….but wouldn’t think about knocking on doors themselves.”

    ———-

    I would. I would think about it and under most circs conclude I wasn’t gonna do it. It’s worse than voting…

  41. Popeye

    “Oh to be a fly on the wall.”.

    Indeed! We mere mortals can only guess at the games the goddesses are playing with us – it’s very Olympian!

    I’m not sure that playing chicken or poker are very good analogies though.

    The key is control of the narrative among Scottish voters who can be swayed one way or the other on indy.

    In Scotland, the views of the committed can be ignored – they will vote as they intend to, and little will change their intention.

    In England, it’s a little more complex. There are those who are very anti-Scots, vocal – but hopefully not that large a grouping. again, they can be ignored, as their attitudes won’t be changed.

    I don’t think there has been polling in England which gives us decent information on overlap between attitudes to Scotland, and attitudes to the EU. However, what has been described as “inchoate English nationalism” might suggest that there is such a link.

    In any case, while English voters wouldn’t have a vote in ScotRef, the attitudes of many – as to whether the Scots case was “reasonable” – becomes important in helping to provide a better arrangement between the two countries, if indy were to happen.

    That is one of the reasons why I find the response of the less strident journalists in England, interesting – and there is already a noticeable difference of tone from 2014.

    Whether Sturgeon’s strategy is successful (and I doubt if she cares that much whether the ScotRef is in 2018, 19, 20 or 21) we will need to wait and see.

    What isn’t at all clear is what May’s strategy (if any) is, to influence the narrative among vital groups of the population.

    I can understand that she doesn’t feel able to deal with two (or three) constitutional problems at the same time – but everyone else has to!

  42. @Popeye

    Oddly SNP MPs have always planned expected a 2021 indyref. 7 years is a generation in NI terms, demographics in their favour, post 2020 Tory landslide & 2021 Indy HR majority. So I have to wonder if this isn’t the game all along. Destabilise Brexit negotiations with court cases etc on indyref, blame all Brexit fallout on ‘the Tories keeping Scotland in union against our will’…..almost guaranteed 2021 win as opposed to risky 2018 indyref.

  43. I can understand Yes voters getting worked up against the bad old English Tory PM denying them their right to hold a referendum any day of their choosing. But surely the people who voted No last time did so genuinely believing that they wouldn’t get another chance for 30-years. And so what is the likelihood that 10% of these No voters will now get so cross at having to wait 3 years for the next one instead of only 1.5 years that in disgust they change their vote to Yes?

  44. Just watched May’s full interview with Peston, and I’m a little unclear whether or not now is the time. Can anyone help, please?

  45. No 10 official spokesperson says UK Government hopes Scottish Government will not pursue vote in Scottish Parliament next week now that it has made its position clear. Aye right.

  46. Robin

    Now is not the time

    Now is Now

    It will be a red, White and Blue Now.

    Surely that’s total clarity?

  47. Thomas

    There’s little point in taking a single aspect of a complex scenario, and trying to build a whole case on it – especially what is probably the least important aspect.

    You would soon get exhausted sitting on a one-legged stool!

    Lots of things have changed since 2014. The ScotRef result will depend on all of these, and the campaigns, and the Brexit deal.

    That we don’t know how it will all pan out is what makes politics interesting.

  48. My interpretation (it won’t surprise you to learn) is that my thinking about the importance of Scotland being able to maintain continuous Single Market membership is shared by both Sturgeon and May.

    Leaving the UK would be economically much less risky if it could be completed prior to or simultaneously with Brexit, with Scotland either acceding to the UK’s seat at the table, or at the very least agreeing an EFTA membership in order that she is seen as safe haven for companies that want to function within the EU. You might even argue (as many have) that such an arrangment might be less risky than not gaining independence at all.

    Leaving the UK after she is already outside the EU, as has been made clear by a number of EU leaders, means a period of Scotland being “cut free”. Not in the UK, not in the EU. She might conceivably get very rapid EFTA membership but I’ve not seen anything to suggest this would be instantaneous/continuous.

    I think both Sturgeon and May believe that chances of a Yes vote are better next year than they are after Brexit.

    Having said that, I think May’s decision is wrong on principle as I believe that the Brexit vote certainly provides exceptional circumstances that justify another go at Indy. I also agree that the SNP will make hay with any refusal by the UK to agree to an early rerun.

    I suspect May will have had one eye on the polls which suggest most Scots, even some yes supporters, don’t think there should be another vote yet.

    My personal feeling, based on not much at all, is that this opinion is very fragile and given the expertise of the SNP at Scottish politics, is very likely to shift to a “don’t tell us what we can and can’t do” narrative.

  49. Neil A

    “Leaving the UK after she is already outside the EU, as has been made clear by a number of EU leaders, means a period of Scotland being “cut free”. Not in the UK, not in the EU”

    Actually, I don’t think anyone has put it in those terms.

    In 2014 (as we now know) the EU had proposals ready to place Scotland in a “holding pen”, to obviate the unnecessary disruption.

    Should an indy Scotland opt to go down the EFTA/EEA route, a similar approach would seem likely.

  50. Scotsman report on approval ratings show May and Davidson slipping ( and Corbyn) and Sturgeon increasing.

    http://www.scotsman.com/news/nicola-sturgeon-popularity-rises-as-unionist-approval-falls-1-4393367

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