FEWER than a third of Scots support independence, while almost half want to stay in the UK, according to the first poll carried out with the question Scots will be asked in next year’s referendum.
• Angus Reid Public Opinion poll puts independence support at 32%
• No vote at 47%
• 20% of Scots voters undecided
The SNP government last week accepted a recommendation from watchdog the Electoral Commission that voters are asked: “Should Scotland be an Independent Country?” in 2014.
An opinion poll carried out using this form of words found that 32 per cent of those asked said they would vote Yes if the referendum were held today while 47 per cent said they would vote No.
One in seven Scots said they believed independence would make them better off financially while 38 per cent thought it would leave them worse off, according to the Angus Reid Public Opinion poll of 1,003 people.
First Minister Alex Salmond had initially proposed to ask: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” before last week’s intervention by the Commission.
The watchdog said using the phrase “do you agree” was commonly felt “to be biased towards a Yes outcome”.
Subject to the approval of the Scottish Parliament, the revised wording is now likely to be the question put to people in the referendum which is due to take place in autumn next year.
The poll also found that 1 per cent of respondents indicated they would not vote.
People were also asked: “Thinking of your own financial position, do you think independence will leave you better off, make no difference, or leave you worse off?”
Fourteen per cent said they would be better off, 38 per cent worse off, 27 per cent said it would make no difference and 21 per cent were not sure.
The poll comes as two of Scotland’s leading business figures said there was a need for political change to get Scotland’s economy moving. Entrepreneur Sir Tom Hunter said Scotland faced a choice between a “leap in the dark or staying with a moribund status quo”. The country needed less reliance on public sector jobs, he said.
“I believe that most people in Scotland now want change. It’s a question of the scale and substance of that change.”
Jim McColl, chairman and chief executive of Clyde Blowers, said Scottish independence would be tantamount to a “management buy-out” from the UK.
Mr McColl, who has previously indicated his support for independence, wrote: “While Westminster policies may work for London, they are not working for Scotland, for our economy or our society.
“A different approach is needed if we are to make Scotland the kind of country we all know it can and should be.”