Record backing for Scottish independence in fresh referendum, shock new poll finds

·Freelance Writer
·3-min read
All under one banner members take part in a static Indy Ref2 rally outside the headquarters of BBC Scotland on September 17, 2020 in Glasgow, Scotland. The location of the rally was changed from George Square to Pacific Quay after BBC Scotland made the controversial decision to scale back there coverage of daily Covid-19 briefings in Scotland. (Photo by Ewan Bootman/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Scottish independence supporters take part in a static IndyRef2 rally outside the headquarters of BBC Scotland in September. (Getty)

Support for Scottish independence has reached its highest ever levels, according to a shock new poll.

The Ipsos MORI survey of 1,045 adults found that 58% of Scottish people would vote yes in an independence referendum, compared with 42% who would vote to stay part of the UK.

The figures represent a record level of support for independence, surpassing the 53% figure in another Ipsos MORI poll taken in August 2015 – nearly one year after Scotland rejected the notion in the 2014 referendum by 55-45%.

Support for a yes vote has commanded a majority backing in every poll taken since the beginning of June this year, while a YouGov poll in August also found 53% in favour of independence.

The poll will send shockwaves through Westminster, with Boris Johnson facing increased pressure to agree to another referendum.

The prime minister has consistently rejected calls from the SNP to allow a second vote, insisting in January that such a move would “continue the political stagnation that Scotland has seen for the last decade”.

Johnson has previously described the 2014 referendum as a “once in a generation” vote, but today’s poll found that nearly two-thirds of Scots believe the government should allow another ballot in the next five years if the SNP win a majority of seats in next year's Holyrood election.

Responding to the survey, the SNP’s deputy leader Keith Brown told The Independent: “This is a landmark poll which shows that independence has now become the settled will of the majority of people in Scotland.”

Despite the strict COVID restrictions imposed in Scotland, first minister Nicola Sturgeon’s personal ratings remain extremely positive.

Watch: Sturgeon announces draft bill for Scottish Indyref2

According to the poll, 72% of the Scottish public say they are satisfied with the job Sturgeon is doing, compared to 24% who are dissatisfied – giving her a “net” satisfaction rating of 49%.

The prime minister’s personal ratings now sit at the lowest ever Ipsos MORI has ever recorded for him in Scotland, with 76% saying they are dissatisfied with the way he is doing his job as Prime Minister.

Meanwhile, Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer is the only party leader other than Sturgeon to receive a positive net satisfaction rating from the Scottish public (16%).

EDINBURGH, SCOTLAND - OCTOBER 08: Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon takes questions during First Minister's Questions at the Scottish Parliament on October 8, 2020 in Edinburgh, Scotland. (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - Pool /Getty Images)
First minister Nicola Sturgeon's personal ratings are extremely positive, the poll found. (Getty)

Emily Gray, the 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.”

She added: “Our poll suggests that there will be significant public pressure for the UK government to transfer powers to the Scottish Parliament to hold a second independence referendum if the SNP win a majority at next year’s Holyrood election.”

Watch: 'The union is fantastically strong institution'

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