As the UK edges closer towards Brexit, Nicola Sturgeon has endeavoured to convert unionist Remainers to the independence cause, but why do polls indicate that her strategy isn’t working?
On June 24 2016, Brits woke up to the news that the UK had voted to leave the European Union despite Scotland overwhelmingly voting to remain.
In the immediate aftermath it seemed the prospect of Scotland seperating from the rest of the UK had moved one step closer.
Nicola Sturgeon has since claimed Scotland’s voice is being ignored and stepped up her calls for a second independence referendum after the Supreme Court ruled Holyrood should not get a say on triggering EU withdrawal.
Yet polling numbers have indicated that if there was another referendum the result would likely be the same as in 2014.
Pollsters YouGov, polled 3,000 Scottish adults between August and December last year and found ‘Yes’ to Scottish independence on 46% and ‘No’ on 54%. Results very similar to the 45-55 vote against seperation two years ago.
Chris Curtis of YouGov explains: “This headline number covers up quite a lot of voter movement that has happened in a short space of time.
“Because of the large sample size, we can split the electorate up into four main segments based on how they voted in the Scottish independence referendum and the EU vote last June.
“The largest segment, making up around 28% of Scottish voters, is those that voted “No” to independence in 2014 and then voted to Remain in the EU in 2016.
“This is the key group that Nicola Sturgeon is hoping will tip a second referendum in her favour.”
The survey found that only 12% of all “Remain +No” voters had switched their vote to independence.
However, this significant shift has not altered the overal support for independence in Scotland.
“The movement among [Remain+No] has been offset by a much larger swing amongst those that voted “Yes to independence but then voted to Leave the EU last.” says Mr Curtis.
He continues: “Despite only making up 14% of Scottish voters, over four in ten (43%) of these “Leave+Yes” voters have since abandoned their pro-independence position, with 28% now saying they would vote to stay in the union.”
For Ms Sturgeon to mount a successful independence push she must continue to win over No-voting Remainers while stemming the flow of Leave+Yes voters who have abandoned independence.