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by Chris Marshall
09 September 2021
Poll: Majority of Scots opposed to second independence referendum in 2023

Poll: Majority of Scots opposed to second independence referendum in 2023

Just over a third of voters are in favour of a second independence referendum within the next two years, a poll has found.

The Survation poll carried out for the pro-UK campaign group Scotland in Union found only 38 per cent of those surveyed want a second vote during the timetable set out by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Just over half (52 per cent) said there should not be a referendum in the next two years, while 10 per cent said they didn't know.

Setting out the Scottish Government's programme for government on Tuesday, Sturgeon said she had instructed civil servants to begin work on a “detailed prospectus” for independence, with the aim of holding a second vote – nine years since the last – by the end of 2023.  

The Survation poll also found that 57 per cent of people in Scotland would vote to “remain” part of the United Kingdom in a referendum – with only 43 per cent in favour of “leaving” the UK.

Among those who voted SNP in the 2021 Holyrood election, 20 per cent would vote to remain part of the UK, and 24 per cent do not believe there should be a referendum on independence within the next two years.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “This poll confirms that Nicola Sturgeon is out of touch with the people of Scotland.

“A majority of voters oppose her plans for a divisive second referendum within the next two years, and she should listen to what people are telling her.

“The poll also confirms that most people in Scotland want to remain part of the UK, despite the SNP’s relentless campaign to divide us.”

The SNP's national conference begins tomorrow, with a session on the draft referendum bill scheduled for Sunday. 

Commenting on the latest poll, Scottish Lib Dems leader Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “Scotland needs hope, right now, for the climate, for our patients, for our young people and our businesses, not a new white paper filled with empty promises.

“We've seen the 2014 document, and the same questions we had then are still unanswered today. The SNP still have not told us what currency an independent Scotland would use or how we’ll deal with a deficit that is currently underwritten by the UK treasury. 

“They cannot tell us what border arrangements will exist between Scotland and our biggest trading partner or who will pay our pensions. They can only give the promise a land of milk and honey, without any actual solid plan on how to achieve it. And the electorate knows it.”


Setting out her programme for government earlier this week, the first minister said: “A democratic mandate to allow people to decide the country's future is beyond question. 

“And at this juncture in history, it is essential that we consider the kind of country we want to be and how best to secure it. As we emerge from the pandemic choices fall to be made that will shape our economy and our society for decades to come. 

“Which parliament, Westminster, or Holyrood, should make these choices and what principles will they be guided by? These are questions which cannot be avoided nor postponed until the die is already cast. 

“So we intend to offer the choice. We will do so only when the Covid crisis has passed but our aim, Covid permitting, is that it will be in the first half of this parliament before the end of 2023. 

“And crucially, we will ensure that the choice when it does come, is a fully informed one. To that end, I can confirm that the Scottish Government will now restart work on the detailed prospectus that will guide the decision.”

The Survation poll was of 1,040 adults aged 16+ in Scotland between August 31 and September 1.

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