Poll: Scotland now split down the middle on independence

The Brexit vote has no caused a surge in support for independence a poll has found. Picture: TSPL
The Brexit vote has no caused a surge in support for independence a poll has found. Picture: TSPL
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Support for Scottish independence is now virtually neck and neck with backing for the UK among Scots, a new poll has found just days before the second anniversary of the 2014 referendum.

The Ipsos Mori poll found 48 per cent backed independence, while 52 per cent supported remaining in the UK - almost a statistical “dead heat” given the 3% margin of error for most polling.

But opposition leader Ruth Davidson has overtaken the First Minister in satisfaction ratings.

The pollsters questioned 1,000 people between September 5 and 11 on how they would vote if an independence referendum was held immediately.

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Support for a second ballot in the next two years stood at 41 per cent, while 54 per cent opposed such a move and the remainder did not know. This Sunday marks the second anniversary of the independence referendum.

There were clear divisions on this issue, with 84 per cent of Yes voters supporting another vote and 92 per centof No voters opposing it.

Earlier this week another poll, by Kantar TNS found just over half (53 per cent) of Scots favoured staying in the United Kingdom, with 47 per cent backing independence.

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The Ipsos MORI poll found that 15 per cent of those who gave a view on independence had changed their minds on how they would vote in a future referendum as a result of the Brexit vote, while 79 per cent said they had not. The remainder did not know.

Among undecided voters not giving a view on independence - who made up 6.5 per cent of respondents - 36 per cent backed staying in the UK prior to the EU referendum but have now said they are undecided on independence, while 14% had gone from supporting independence to being undecided.

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A further 43 per cent said the Brexit vote had made no difference and 7 per cent said they did not know.

Mark Diffley, director at Ipsos MORI Scotland, said: “The summer was dominated by the fallout from the Brexit vote and the impact it may have on support for independence.

“It is clear from this poll that, despite the UK-wide vote contradicting the wishes of the majority in Scotland, Brexit has not resulted in a surge in support for independence.

“However, at 48 per cent among committed voters, it remains entirely possible that a second referendum campaign could be won by supporters of independence.”

Elsewhere the poll indicates there has been a significant shift in the public perceptions of the First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and Conservative leader Ms Davidson.

Satisfaction with Ms Sturgeon has fallen by 12 percentage points from an Ipsos MORI poll in April, standing at 54 per cent now. Satisfaction with Ms Davidson has risen by eight percentage points to 55 per cent.

In terms of net satisfaction ratings (satisfaction scores minus dissatisfaction scores), the Tory leader stands at plus 31 per cent compared with the First Minister on plus 14 per cent.

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: “This poll shows a virtual dead heat, and is the latest to demonstrate that many No voters are reconsidering their views on independence now that Scotland faces being dragged out of Europe against our will.

“In light of the overwhelming vote to remain in the EU, it is right that the Scottish Government explores every option to protect our relationship with and place in the EU - including the option of another independence referendum if it becomes clear that is the best or only way to do so.”

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