New poll shows support for Scottish independence at highest level in a year
Support for Scottish independence has reached its highest level in a year, with a new poll showing 55 per cent of voters now back a Yes vote.
The Ipsos MORI survey for STV puts support for leaving the UK up five points since May, and is the second-highest level for Yes ever recorded by pollsters.
The SNP hailed the result, saying it showed that “the majority of people in Scotland would back Scotland choosing a better future as an independent country”.
However, the pollster warned that the margins of error meant that “neither the Yes or No camps should be confident of victory at this point”.
The fieldwork for the poll was carried out between November 22 and November 29, the day of Nicola Sturgeon’s speech to the SNP conference, where she pledged to restart the campaign for independence - Covid permitting - "as we emerge from winter into spring".
When undecided voters were excluded, the Yes side were on 55 per cent, while the Noes were on 45 per cent - a complete reversal of the 2014 referendum result. All age groups except the oldest – those aged 55 and over - are more likely to say they would vote Yes than No.
The poll also found that 58 per cent of Scots are satisfied with the performance of the First Minister, while 38 per cent are not.
Meanwhile, 80 per cent are dissatisfied with Boris Johnson.
Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar has a satisfaction rating of 45 per cent, 28 per cent are dissatisfied with him and 27 per cent do not know, according to the poll.
Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross has a satisfaction level of just 24 per cent, 51 per cent are not satisfied with his performance, while 25 per cent do not know him.
On voting intention, the SNP retained their lead on the constituency (52 per cent) and regional ballot (43 per cent), with the Scottish Conservatives in second place on 19 per cent and 20 per cent.
Labour are on 17 per cent on the constituency and 15 per cent on the list, just three points ahead of the Scottish Greens.
There was support for the Scottish Government’s performance too. Voters are overwhelmingly positive about the vaccine rollout – more than four in five say the Scottish Government has done a good job of ensuring the public are vaccinated against Covid.
Sturgeon’s performance at the COP26 summit in Glasgow was also praised, with the Scottish Government seen to “have performed well at maximising Scotland’s influence on global issues”.
There was, however, less support for the Scottish Government’s handling of key public services. Almost half (48 per cent) say it has done a bad job of improving the NHS in Scotland, while 40 per cent say it has done a good job.
On education, 46 per cent say it has done a bad job at improving the education system, while 35 per cent say it has done a good job.
More feel that the Scottish Government has done a bad job at handling the implications of Brexit for Scotland (43 per cent) than think it has done a good job (37 per cent), while 20 per cent don’t know.
Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “This latest poll from Ipsos MORI and STV News indicates that the argument for Scottish independence is far from over, with a slight improvement for the Yes side.
“Given the margins of error around polling estimates, however, neither the Yes or No camps should be confident of victory at this point.
“The Yes camp may be benefiting from what has been a very bad week for Boris Johnson and the Conservatives at Westminster, with fieldwork taking place after heated debate about MPs’ second jobs.
“This is certainly reflected in Johnson’s own ratings, which have fallen to a new low.”
SNP depute leader, Keith Brown, said: “I welcome this extremely encouraging poll that shows the majority of people in Scotland would back Scotland choosing a better future as an independent country.
“However, we do not take anything for granted and will continue to make the case to the people of Scotland of how we can build a fairer, greener and more prosperous nation as an independent country.
“The people of Scotland - not a Tory government they didn’t elect – have the right to decide their own future and following the election in May there is a clear, substantial majority in the Scottish Parliament for a fresh referendum once the Covid crisis has passed.
“More and more people in Scotland are becoming sick of Tory governments, led by the likes of Boris Johnson, taking Scotland in the wrong direction with their disastrous hard Brexit and policies which will plunge children into poverty.
“The evidence shows that for countries of Scotland’s size independence works. By placing Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands, we can build a better future as an equal partner with our friends in the rest of the UK and Europe.”