ScotCen: Support for Scottish independence highest level ever

Written by Tom Freeman on 15 March 2017 in News

Support for independence among the young rising but Euroscepticism at highest ever level in Scotland

Yes Scotland - PA

Support for Scottish independence is at its highest ever level, according to the Scottish Social Attitudes survey.

But the research project also said Euroscepticism is high in Scotland, which means the timing of Nicola Sturgeon's second referendum might not be tactically astute.

Asked to choose between independence, devolution and not having any kind of Scottish Parliament at all, as many as 46 per cent now back independence, double the 2012 level.


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Meanwhile scepticism about the European Union in Scotland is now at the highest level ever recorded by ScotCen, with 56% of all Remain voters feeling the EU should have fewer powers.

The biggest growth in support for Scottish independence has been among young people, creating a wide age gap. Now 72 per cent of 16-24 year olds back independence compared with just 26 per cent of people aged 65 and over.  

John Curtice, a Senior Research Fellow at ScotCen said: "The commitment to the EU of many of those who voted to Remain does not appear to be strong enough that they are likely to be persuaded by the outcome of the EU referendum to change their preference for staying in the UK. Meanwhile, there is a risk that linking independence closely to the idea of staying in the EU could alienate some of those who currently back leaving the UK.

Nicola Sturgeon might have been wiser to have stayed her hand, for on current trends there is a real possibility that demographic change will help produce a majority for independence in the not too distant future anyway.”

SNP MSP Bruce Crawford said the campaign for independence was starting from a stronger position than before the 2014 referendum.

“It is no surprise that more and more people in Scotland are now supporting independence as the promises made to Scotland in 2014 are systematically unpicked by the UK Tory government," he said.

The Scottish Conservatives and Scottish Labour said the report showed how divided the country was over the constitution.

"Scotland must not be divided again by the SNP's obsession for a second independence referendum," said Labour's Ian Murray.

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