There was a flurry of excitement amongst senior SNP figures when a new survey reportedly showed an uptick in support for independence following Brexit, writes Murdo Fraser.
Amongst those caught up in the euphoria was the SNP’s head of communications, a senior strategist and their Deputy Leader, Keith Brown. Even Nicola Sturgeon felt heartened enough to retweet the supposed “findings” of this poll.
However, before breaking out the bubbly and a fresh batch of Yes2 stickers, the SNP would have done well to analyse what the poll – commissioned by Channel 4 news from Survation – actually said.
The Survation poll didn’t ask respondents about how they would vote in a second independence referendum, but instead asked how Brexit would affect their vote – whether they were more or less likely to support independence. These are two completely different things.
This misunderstanding led to a remarkable situation where Survation had to publically correct an SNP strategist for misrepresenting their findings – a reminder to all, that everyone has a duty to challenge fake news.
Furthermore, in a separate question, a clear majority of respondents – 57 to 38 per cent – said they would be concerned by the prospect of independence. Clear evidence, if we needed it, that public opinion on “indyref 2” hasn’t changed.
As the leading psephologist Professor Sir John Curtice consistently points out, no evidence exists to suggest Brexit has significantly shifted public opinion on Scottish independence, despite the constant grievance-mongering from SNP HQ.
And whilst many Scottish voters regret the fact that we are leaving the EU, they also realise that separating Scotland from the rest of the UK would do far more damage.
Perhaps it is time the SNP woke up to this simple fact, instead of spreading Trump-style fake news.
Murdo Fraser is a Conservative MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife