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by Andrew Learmonth
18 March 2021
Poll shows narrow support for independence but SNP falling short of a majority

Poll shows narrow support for independence but SNP falling short of a majority

YES has taken a slim lead in the latest poll on Scottish independence, but the SNP look set to just fall short of an overall majority at the election.

The Opinium survey for Sky News put Yes on 51%, and No on 49% after undecided voters were removed.

On the constituency ballot, the SNP were backed by 46% of respondents for the constituency ballot. The Tories were on 24%, Labour 20%, LibDems 6% and the Greens 4%.

For the regional list, the poll put the SNP on 42%, Tories on 22%, Labour on 19%, the Greens on 7% and Lib Dems on 5%.

Opinium said this would leave the SNP up one seat at 64, but short of an overall majority. 
Douglas Ross’s Conservatives would be down two to 29 seats, Labour would keep their 24, while the Greens would gain an extra MSP to take their total to seven.

Despite her recent troubles, the pollster found Scots still rated Nicola Sturgeon higher than other leaders. 

The First Minister scored a 27-point approval rating, compared with Boris Johnson on -35 and Keir Starmer on -11.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’s score was -15, while Anas Sarwar, who only was elected as Scottish Labour leader this month, has a net approval rating of 0.

Meanwhile, 40% of voters think Nicola Sturgeon was telling the truth when she appeared in front of Holyrood’s harassment committee, while 44% do not. 

However, just 15% think Alex Salmond is telling the truth, while 68% think he isn't.

If she is found to have broken the ministerial code, then 51% think the First Minister should resign, while 35% think she should stay on. 

On Brexit, just 12% said the current relationship with the EU is right. Some 47% of voters with a view want to rejoin Europe, while another 14% want a closer relationship that the UK has right now. A further 16% want a more distant relationship.

Chris Curtis, Senior Research Manager at Opinium, said: “The polling shows the future of Scotland rests on a knife edge. Firstly, in terms of whether the SNP can gain a majority alone in May, which would strengthen their mandate to hold a second independence referendum. Secondly, in terms of what might happen in such a referendum, with 'Yes' and 'No' eye wateringly close in our latest poll.

“But it is also important to note Sturgeon’s incredible popularity in Scotland. Despite her recent difficulties over the Salmond affair, she still has the overwhelming support of Scottish voters, driven by the fact that most think her government has done a good job responding to the pandemic.”

Though support for independence is on a knife edge, the new poll will be a welcome respite for Yes supporters who have – for the first time in over a year – been faced with polls showing No ahead. 

There’s been controversy this week over a poll released by the Scotland in Union group. 

Instead of asking a Yes/No question, a Survation poll for the anti-independence group asked Scots if they wanted to “leave” or “remain” in the UK. 

After don’t knows were removed, they found that 57% of Scots wanted to remain, while 43% wanted to “leave”. 

Justice Secretary Humza Yousaf called it a “rigged poll”. 

Douglas Ross accused him of going on a “Trump-style rant”.


Read the most recent article written by Andrew Learmonth - MSPs expected to confirm SNP leader as first minister

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