Indyref2: What do the polls show since Sturgeon’s announcement?

Scots should be asked the same Yes/No question about independence that they answered in 2014 when another vote is held, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Picture: Southern Reporter
Scots should be asked the same Yes/No question about independence that they answered in 2014 when another vote is held, Nicola Sturgeon has said. Picture: Southern Reporter
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The First Minister’s announcement that she would once again seek a vote on independence has sparked a flurry of polling activity from pollsters keen to gauge the national mood.

Since her speech on Monday commentators have been trotting out familiar arguments on both sides of the constitutional question.

The polls too, have taken on something of a recognisable pattern, with both the Yes and No teams poring over the most recent data.

With polls coming out before and after Nicola Sturgeon’s landmark press conference we take a deeper look at what the numbers might mean before the next referendum.

Cheers for the No side

Whatever Better Together Part 2 decides to call itself, that nascent campaign was given a boost by a poll in today’s Times.

A YouGov survey showed that support for staying in the union had increased since the referendum of 2014.

That might embolden Theresa May’s government to reject outright the proposal put forward by Nicola Sturgeon to be transferred the power to hold a new vote.

Any poll that shows the lack of enthusiasm for an independent Scotland can be cited by Unionists to argue there is no justification for a re-rerun of the referendum.

Conversely, news that the Union remains the most popular option for Scottish voters could spur the Tories to allow the new poll to take place.

Confident that the No side could win, a smart unionist position might be to take on the referendum challenge, settling the constitutional question once and for all and, possibly, forcing the resignation of a formidable leader in Nicola Sturgeon in one fell swoop.

The confusing polling picture, however, might see the Conservatives learn the lesson of Brexit and decide that despite any potential backlash, the best option is to continue to stonewall the SNP’s request for another vote.

On the other hand...

The SNP was buoyed by a Scottish Social Attitudes survey published today.

The annual report from the social researchers found backing for independence at its highest level since support began to be measured, with 46 per cent of the population in favour of Scottish indepedence.

That compares with 23 per cent in 2012, ahead of the first referendum, consistent with previous polling on the issue.

With independence support thought to be around a third as a general rule, the Yes campaign’s achievement of 45 per cent of the vote was a significant step forward for nationalists despite their defeat.

Those on the Yes side this time around will be cautiously optimistic that they can convince more people that independence is the best option following the surprise Brexit decision.