Scottish independence: Poll shows public split over using general election as 'de facto' referendum
Scottish voters are split over whether or not using the next general election as a "de facto" referendum will prove a mandate for or against independence, polling shows.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie have said the next Westminster contest will be run on the issue of Scottish independence if a referendum cannot be held before this.
The Scottish Government politicians aim to stage an advisory ballot on 19 October 2023 and the UK's Supreme Court has been asked to determine whether or not the Scottish Parliament has the power to hold this without a Section 30 order from the UK Government.
New polling from Ipsos Scotland shows a "clear majority" of Scots accept that a Yes vote in a referendum held with UK Government backing would "definitely or probably" establish a proven democratic mandate for Scottish independence.
More than 60 per cent of people polled this month agreed with that position - including majority of both Yes and No voters - while fewer than 20 per cent disagreed and the same figure wer unsure or had no strong views.
Almost half (47 per cent) said a Yes vote in a referendum to which the UK Government had not agreed would establish a democratic mandate for the end of the Union, while one third (35 per cent) disagreed and one fifth (18 per cent) were unsure or had no strong views.
However, there was a more even split on the issue of the general election being used as a de facto referendum. Exactly 39 per cent said that if a majority of voters supported pro-independence parties here, without an explicit referendum, a mandate for change would be established, while 38 per cent said it would not and 24 per cent were unsure or had no strong views.
Only 15 per cent of No voters agreed that a mandate would be established, compared with 64 per cent of independence supporters.
On the arguments for Scottish sovereignty, almost 60 per cent were convinced by the claim that "people in Scotland want to take the country in a very different political direction to England", while 40 per cent were not.
Half of those polled said the claim that Scotland's economy will be stronger outwith the UK in the long term was not convincing, while the other half said it was.
Rachel Ormston of Ipsos in Scotland said: "These findings highlight the challenges for pro-independence supporters in finding a mechanism to establish a democratic mandate for independence that is widely accepted by the Scottish public as a whole. While the UK Government appears unlikely to agree to a second referendum in the near future, this is currently the only route that a clear majority of Scots view as legitimate. This is in spite of the fact that one of the arguments in favour of independence that the Scottish public find most convincing is that Westminster cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s best interests."