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Poll finds 52% of Scots would vote for independence

The Lord Ashcroft survey also found a slim majority support holding indyref2 by 2021.

Independence: Support on the march. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty

A new poll has found a majority of 52% in favour of Scottish independence.

The survey of 1019 Scots also suggests a majority back holding a second independence vote within the next two years.

This fits with Nicola Sturgeon’s proposed timeframe, who is planning for a referendum within the current parliamentary term, targeting the end of 2020.

The First Minister has described the results of the Lord Ashcroft poll for the Conservative Home website and Holyrood magazine as “phenomenal”.

It marks the first time any major poll of Scots has put independence in a winning position since March 2017.

The online poll, conducted between July 30 and August 2, puts support for independence at 46% and 43% against.

Excluding those who said they did not know how they would vote, or said they would not vote, independence was backed by 52% with 48% against.

It further found 47% said there should be a fresh independence referendum within the next two years, with 45% opposed to the proposition.

A third of Labour voters (34%), 56% of Remain voters and 18% of 2014 No voters said they would vote Yes.

This compares with only 11% of Yes voters five years who now say they would vote No, while a huge 92% majority of Tory voters also said they would not back independence.

The First Minister said: “This is a phenomenal poll for the independence movement – showing that more and more people think it’s time that Scotland took our own decisions and shaped our own future as a fair, prosperous, outward looking nation.

“Independence means getting governments people in Scotland vote for and that will act in our interests.

“That stands in stark contrast to recent experience of UK governments incapable or unwilling to act with those interests in mind.”

She said the case for independence was growing “stronger by the day”, in part thanks to a new Prime Minister who has “no mandate” in Scotland.

Sturgeon continued: “A broken Westminster system means Scotland is being dragged towards a no-deal Brexit, regardless of the heavy price we’ll pay for lost jobs and lower living standards.

“That project is being led by Boris Johnson – a Prime Minister Scotland didn’t elect and who has no mandate to tear Scotland out of Europe with all the damage that will entail.

“The Scottish Government, by contrast, has a very clear mandate from the people of Scotland – to give them the choice of a better future with independence.

“It would be a democratic outrage for any Tory government to deny that, and this poll shows such an anti-democratic position is completely unsustainable.”

A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: “Taking Scotland back to another divisive referendum on independence is not the way forward and the Scottish Conservatives will oppose it every step of the way. 

“It is time for us all to focus on what matters – growing our economy, and sorting out the mess the SNP is making of our education system and the NHS.”

Prior to entering Number 10, polling had suggested a majority of Scots could swing behind independence in the event of Johnson becoming Prime Minister.

He has said he sees “no case” for granting the Scottish Government the Section 30 powers to hold a new independence vote.

The Ashcroft poll began surveying Scots the day after Johnson’s visit north of the border as part of his UK tour, and asked how they thought he had done in his first week as PM.

Around 38% thought he had done badly, or worse than they expected, and about a quarter (26%) felt he had done well or better than they expected.

Among politicians in Scotland, he ranks significantly lower in voters’ eyes than Sturgeon or Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, but polls better than Jeremy Corbyn, Nigel Farage or Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard.

Scots also indicated they preferred him as Prime Minister to Corbyn, with 29% favouring Johnson to 23% for the Labour leader.

The survey further found support in Scotland for a second referendum on EU membership, also known as a “People’s Vote”.

A total of 52% said they thought there should be a second EU referendum, with 38% against and 10% saying they don’t know.

Excluding those who don’t know or wouldn’t vote, more than two-thirds of Scots (67%) said they would vote to Remain in such a referendum, to 33% who would vote Leave.

Naomi Smith, chief executive of pro-EU campaign Best for Britain, said: “The people of Scotland want a final say on leaving the EU and a chance to stop the catastrophic impact of Brexit.

“As Boris Johnson ramps up the risk of a no-deal Brexit, it’s no surprise that more people now want to remain in the EU.

“Everyone in the UK deserves the chance to say yes to Europe. Without it, we risk breaking up the country.”


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