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by Louise Wilson
14 October 2020
Support for Scottish independence at record high

Press Association

Support for Scottish independence at record high

Support for Scottish independence is at a record high, with 58 per cent of people saying they would back it in a new poll.

Even including undecideds, who accounted for six per cent of those polled, over half of people (55 per cent) said they would vote for independence, according to Ipsos Mori.

And almost two thirds of Scots (64 per cent) say the UK Government should allow another referendum if the SNP wins a majority at the Scottish Parliament election next May.

Only a third said the UK Government should prevent a second referendum if the SNP wins the election.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “Our latest poll will put a spring in the step of nationalists but makes grim reading for unionists. The Scottish public have shifted even further towards supporting an independent Scotland, with record numbers now saying they would vote Yes.”

Nearly two-thirds of respondents (64 per cent) said they found the argument that “people in Scotland want to take the country in a very different political direction to England” convincing and 63 per cent felt the argument that “Westminster governments cannot be trusted to act in Scotland’s interests” was convincing.

But 60 per cent of people said a reason for remaining part of the UK was there was still “more in common than divides us”, and over half (55 per cent) were concerned about risks to the economy.

The SNP continues to have a strong lead for May’s elections, with 58 per cent of people saying they intend to back them in the constituency vote and 47 per cent in the regional vote.

The Scottish Conservatives remain in second place with 19 per cent of people saying they will back them in both constituency and regional votes, while Labour are in third on 13 per cent.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said the UK Government would have no right to prevent another referendum from happening if a pro-independence majority is returned next year. He said: “Quite simply, in those circumstances, the Tories would lack any moral or democratic authority whatsoever to try and block the will of the people, and it would not stand.

“Already, the Westminster wall of opposition to a referendum has started to crumble, with private acknowledgement that a result like this in next year’s election would have to lead to a referendum, and this poll will only solidify that growing view.”

But the Scottish Conservatives have said another referendum would be the "last thing that Scotland needs" given the coronavirus pandemic. 

A spokesman said: “Another divisive referendum would only take the focus away from rebuilding Scotland’s economy, protecting jobs and restoring our schools and hospitals. Only Douglas Ross and the Scottish Conservatives have the strength to stop the SNP and move Scotland on from the divisions of the past."

Meanwhile, Nicola Sturgeon remains the most popular leader in Scotland with a net satisfaction rating of 49 per cent. The only other leader with a positive net satisfaction in Scotland is Labour’s Keir Starmer, who is on 16 per cent.

Only 19 per cent of people are satisfied with how Boris Johnson is doing with his job as Prime Minister, while three quarters (76 per cent) are dissatisfied.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross has a net satisfaction rating of minus 17 per cent, Labour’s Richard Leonard has minus 25 per cent and the Lib Dems’ Willie Rennie is on minus one per cent.

The three leaders continue to struggle to cut through to voters however, with 40 per cent responding they do not know whether they are satisfied or dissatisfied with Ross, 38 per cent for Leonard and 41 per cent for Rennie.

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