Support for Scottish independence soars to 52% as three polls in a week show anti-Brexit surge

Ross McGuinness
·3-min read
Pro-Union activists wave a Union flag (C) as Scottish Saltire and EU flags fly during an anti-Conservative government, pro-Scottish independence, and anti-Brexit demonstration outside Holyrood, the seat of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on February 1, 2020. - Britain began its post-Brexit uncertain future outside the European Union on Saturday after the country greeted the historic end to almost half a century of EU membership with a mixture of joy and sadness. There were celebrations and tears on Friday as the EU's often reluctant member became the first to leave an organisation set up to forge unity among nations after the horrors of World War II. (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN / AFP) (Photo by ANDY BUCHANAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Brexit has led to an increase in support for Scottish independence, according to a polling expert (AFP/Getty)

Three polls in less than a week show support is rising for Scottish independence, with one survey putting it at 52%.

Polling experts said the surge was down to anti-Brexit sentiment north of the border.

On Monday, surveys published by Survation and Panelbase revealed that Scottish people’s voting intention in a potential second independence referendum was swaying towards the Yes camp.

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It followed a YouGov poll last Thursday which put support for independence at 51% – the first time Yes has led its polling since 2015.

The Survation poll resulted in an even split of 50/50 for Yes and No, but the Panelbase survey showed support for independence at 52%.

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The Scottish National Party (SNP), led by Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, want indyref2 to become a reality, but it is being thwarted by prime minister Boris Johnson.

Last month, former SNP deputy leader Jim Sillars accused Ms Sturgeon of “pretending” there would be another independence referendum this year.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson shakes hands with Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon at Bute House in Edinburgh, Scotland, Britain July 29, 2019. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne
Prime minister Boris Johnson has rejected Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon's request for a second referendum (Reuters)

The Panelbase poll result of 52% was five percentage points higher than the last survey in December.

It was carried out by the pro-independence blog Scot Goes Pop and published in The National.

Polling expert Sir John Curtice, professor of politics at the University of Strathclyde, told the newspaper: “On average, three polls taken undertaken in the last fortnight put Yes ahead by 51% to 49%.

“This is the first time that Yes have been ahead in polls of indyref2 vote intention since immediately after the EU referendum.

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“Now that Brexit has happened it looks as though a few more Remain voters have switched sides – adding to the evidence that the pursuit of Brexit is serving to undermine the foundations of support for Union.”

Polling expert Mark Diffley told Yahoo News UK: “It’s Brexit which is the primary driver of this increase.”

He said many voters who choose to stay within the UK in the 2014 Scottish referendum had changed their stance now that Britain is no longer part of the European Union.

Chris Curtis, political research manager at YouGov, told Yahoo News UK: “We are firmly in the area where a Scottish independence referendum would be too close to call.”

He said if there was an indyref2, there is a “fairly real chance” Scotland could choose independence.

Mr Curtis said the long Brexit negotiations and the recent general elections had shown that “Scotland is politically very different to the rest of the UK”.