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by Kirsteen Paterson
16 August 2022
Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as PM will 'see more voters back Scottish independence', poll finds

Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are to attend hustings in Perth

Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak as PM will 'see more voters back Scottish independence', poll finds

Tory leadership contenders Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak would persuade more Scots to vote for independence, according to new polling.

Around one quarter of Scots said they would be more likely to back Yes, regardless of which candidate wins the race to Number 10 Downing Street.

Most Scots (around 60 per cent) said the outcome would not affect their opinion on the Union, according to a poll carried out by Survation. However, 19 per cent of people said they would be "much more likely" to back Yes if Sunak wins, with another seven per cent saying they would be "a little more likely".

For Truss, 20 per cent of respondents said they would be "much more likely" to vote Yes, while five per cent would be "a little more likely" to do so. The overall figure for each candidate was around 25 per cent.

But just six per cent of people said they would be more likely to oppose independence with Sunak as PM, compared with seven per cent if Truss wins.

The differences also hold for people who voted No in 2014. Of this group, both candidates were found to move more No voters to Yes than the other way around.

As many as 13 per cent said they would be more likely to switch from No to Yes under Sunak, compared with five per cent who may go from Yes to No. For Truss, 15 per cent of No voters said they would be more likely to swap to Yes, while only four per cent of Yes voters stated that they may change their vote to No.

Released on the day that the two hopefuls will speak to party members at a hustings in Perth, the poll was carried out for Edinburgh consultancy Diffley Partnership. More than 1,000 voters were quizzed on their preferences.

Respondents said Sunak, a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, would "be better" at looking after public finances, tackling the cost-of-living crisis and representing the UK. Truss was rated top for being "in touch with the public", being honest and truthful and tackling climate change.

She was judged to be slightly better at "maintaining the union", but results were split on who would do better at "acting in the interests of Scotland".

However, for most categories, the most common answer was "don't know".

And for Conservative supporters, Truss was found to be "significantly ahead" of Sunak on maintaining the Union, acting in the interests of Scotland and on personality ratings.

Pollster Mark Diffley said Sunak "has the edge among Tory voters" on economic issues, but this group is "split down the middle" on the cost-of-living crisis.

He said: "Unsurprisingly, voters see Rishi Sunak as a safer pair of hands on economic issues, but Liz Truss has the edge when it comes to more personal perceptions."

He went on: "It is also interesting that, amongst Conservative voters in Scotland, Liz Truss is seen as more in touch and a better prospect to take on the SNP."

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