Support for Scottish independence soars to record high in new poll as 58 per cent now back move to split up the UK and most want a new referendum within the next five years
- Analysis by Ipsos Mori for STV about Scottish attitudes to independence
- 58 per cent say they would vote Yes, while 42 per cent would vote No
- 64% believe an SNP election win would give party mandate for new referendum
Support for Scottish independence has dramatically surged in recent weeks with almost six in 10 Scots now supporting the break up of the United Kingdom.
The analysis by Ipsos Mori for STV found that among those who would be likely to vote in an independence referendum, 58 per cent say they would vote Yes, while 42 per cent would vote No.
At the last referendum in 2014, 55 per cent of Scots voted to stay a part of the UK, with 45 per cent backing secession.
Additionally, almost two thirds (64 per cent) of Scots believe that Mr Johnson should permit a fresh vote within the next five years if the SNP wins a majority in Holyrood elections next May. This is something he has ruled out.
But Downing Street ruled out backing a new referendum today with the Prime Minister’s official spokesman saying: ‘In 2014 the Scottish people voted to keep the UK together. Both sides committed to respecting that decision and the First Minister promised it would be a once-in-a-generation vote.’
When asked about the poll at the Scottish Government coronavirus briefing in Edinburgh on Wednesday, Ms Sturgeon played it down, stressing her focus is on containing the disease.
She said: ‘Right now, I’d trade away approval ratings to get rid of Covid.’
The First Minister added: ‘Nothing else matters to me just now than taking the hard necessary decisions that I need to take to get the country through this challenging period as well as I possibly can and that’s what I’ll continue to stay focused on for every minute of every day for as long as it takes.’
Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Mori Scotland, said: ‘Our latest poll will put a spring in the step of nationalists but makes grim reading for unionists.
‘The Scottish public have shifted even further towards supporting an independent Scotland, with record numbers now saying they would vote Yes.
‘Of course, we are still a long way out from next May’s Holyrood elections, but SNP support currently looks very strong, buoyed by Nicola Sturgeon’s high satisfaction ratings among Scottish voters.
Our poll suggests that there will be significant public pressure for the UK Government to transfer powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a second independence referendum if the SNP win a majority at next year’s Holyrood elections.’
The poll showed the SNP has a commanding lead ahead of the May vote, which is expected to keep Ms Sturgeon as First Minister.
Ms Sturgeon’s personal ratings are extremely positive, with a net approval rating of 49 per cent.
This compares with negative net satisfaction ratings for the other party leaders, with new Conservative chief Douglas Ross on -17 per cent, Labour’s Richard Leonard at -25 per cent and Liberal Democrat Willie Rennie on -1 per cent.
More than three quarters of Scots (76 per cent) are dissatisfied with the way Boris Johnson is doing his job as Prime Minister, the lowest ratings Ipsos Mori has ever recorded for him in Scotland. Just 19 per cent are satisfied with him while 5 per cent don’t know.
Labour’s Keir Starmer is the only party leader other than Nicola Sturgeon to receive a positive net satisfaction rating from the Scottish public, at 16 per cent.
SNP MSP Keith Brown said: ‘This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.
‘Faced with the chaotic and incompetent government of Boris Johnson and a Westminster system which treats Scotland as an afterthought at best, more and more people are deciding that the best way forward for Scotland is as an equal, independent country.
‘And if there is a clear majority for pro-independence, pro-referendum parties in next year’s election – as this poll shows there would be by some considerable margin – then no Tory or any UK Government has the right to stand in the way.’