A SUBSTANTIAL number of English voters would rather see the United Kingdom break up than accept a Scottish nationalist role in the Westminster government, according to a new poll.
The Survation survey for the Mail on Sunday found that more than two-fifths (44%) said that they would rather see Scotland given its independence than have a minority Labour government rule with help from the Scottish National Party, against 31% who said they would prefer the UK to stay together.
And more than one-third of English voters (34%) said that an election result which led to Ed Miliband running the UK with the backing of SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon would not be “legitimate” - just a fraction fewer than the 35% who said that it would be legitimate.
In a sign that Conservative warnings about a Labour-SNP partnership may be having an impact, some 51% of those questioned across the whole of Britain said that Ms Sturgeon would hold the upper hand in any such arrangement, compared with just 28% who said Mr Miliband would.
And 70% said that Ms Sturgeon cared more about Scottish independence than the economy of the UK as a whole. More than one-third (37%) of Ukip supporters said they would consider switching to the Tories to prevent a Labour government propped up by the SNP.
The poll gave Conservatives a three-point nationwide lead on 33% to Labour’s 30%, with Ukip on 18% and Liberal Democrats on 9%.
But other polls suggested that the race for 10 Downing Street remains neck and neck, with an Opinium survey for the Observer putting Tories on 34% (down three points since a similar poll a week ago), to Labour’s 33% (up one), with Ukip on 13% (unchanged), Liberal Democrats on 9% (up one) and Greens on 6% (up one).
A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times gave Labour a two-point lead on 34% (down two since a similar poll a week ago), to Conservatives’ 32% (down one), with Ukip on 14% (up one), Lib Dems on 9% (unchanged) and Greens on 6% (up one).
Meanwhile, polling of six marginal seats by former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft suggested Conservatives are on track to seize back the Kent constituency of Rochester & Strood, which it dramatically lost to Ukip following the defection of MP Mark Reckless last year.
But Ukip leader Nigel Farage said his party was on course to “make history” in nearby Thurrock, Essex, where the poll gave them a four-point advantage in a three-way race with the two major parties.
On the basis of the survey of six marginal seats, Lord Ashcroft said Tories could be “heartened” to have maintained their lead in constituencies which they are defending against a Labour challenge, including High Peak, Colne Valley and Bristol South West. But he said Labour had established a strong advantage in Bristol West, one of the Greens’ top targets.
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