MOST Scots believe Nicola Sturgeon should not call a second Scottish independence referendum if Scotland is dragged out of the EU against its will, an exclusive poll for Scotland on Sunday suggests.
The ICM survey found that the electorate’s appetite for a post-Brexit Scottish independence poll is waning, with 48 per cent saying they are against an indyref 2 in those circumstances compared with 44 per cent in favour of going to the country again. When the eight per cent who did not express a view were excluded, the poll found that 52 per cent are against a post-Brexit referendum as opposed to the 48 per cent who are for it.
The poll of 1,000 adults contrasted with findings from a similar survey carried out for Scotland on Sunday in March when the position was reversed. Two months ago a majority of Scots (52 per cent) said they would like to see another independence referendum in the aftermath of Brexit.
Although the SNP is campaigning to remain in Europe, Sturgeon has said indyref 2 could be triggered if next month’s EU referendum sees Scotland vote to stay, but forced to leave because the rest of the UK decides otherwise.
When people were asked how they would vote in a second referendum, there was more discouraging news for the SNP. The pollsters found that No votes (47 per cent) would outnumber Yes votes (44 per cent).
Removing the eight per cent “don’t knows” from the equation saw support for a No vote reach 51.6 per cent, compared with the 48.4 per cent who said they would support independence
The figures showed a marked reduction in support for post-Brexit Scottish independence from ICM’s March poll, which showed a 53 per cent majority for breaking up the UK when “don’t knows” were excluded.
The findings will come as a blow for Sturgeon, who knows that a second defeat in an independence referendum would probably kill off her party’s independence dream for the foreseeable future.
The declining support for independence came on the back of the SNP’s failure to win an overall majority in the Scottish Parliament elections earlier this month. READ MORE: Support for Remain strengthening in Scotland, new poll shows
The poll also showed that a majority of Scots (51 per cent) believe there should not be another independence referendum within the next five years regardless of the outcome of the EU vote. Thirty-nine per cent took the opposite view and thought there should be one, while 10 per cent didn’t know.
Conservative shadow cabinet secretary for the constitution Adam Tomkins said: “This is an interesting poll and the idea that Scotland’s place in the United Kingdom is in some way dependent on Britain’s membership of the EU is a bizarre concept. With the SNP about to prepare a fresh drive for independence, the Scottish Conservatives will be strong in opposition and stand up for our place in the UK.”
A Labour spokesman said: “All the SNP seem interested in is arguing about what might happen if the UK votes to leave the EU, but this poll shows that, despite what Nicola Sturgeon says, a majority of people across Scotland would still be in favour of remaining part of the UK.”
Other findings of the poll included a narrow majority in favour of keeping Trident, despite the SNP and Scottish Labour wanting rid of the nuclear weapons housed at the Faslane naval base.
The poll showed that 43 per cent of those questioned wanted the missiles kept on the Clyde, compared with 42 per cent who favoured disarmament (14 per cent were undecided).
The SNP has failed to keep its promise to replace council tax, but most Scots (52 per cent) believe this should be replaced by a fairer system.
That was opposed by 37 per cent who thought the existing system was fair and 11 per cent who didn’t know.
Fifty-one per cent were against fracking.
Sturgeon has signalled that her education reforms could see schools come out of local authority control. Slightly more people (32 per cent) opposed this than supported it (29 per cent).
On tax there was support for raising the top rate of income tax to 50 pence – a proposal put forward by Labour during the Scottish election. While Labour’s other policy of raising income tax by a penny in other bands received slightly more support than opposition.
Last night a SNP spokesman said: “During the independence referendum, the No campaign repeatedly claimed that Scotland’s EU membership was safe with a No vote – so it’s little surprise to find that so many people would think again about Scottish independence if Scotland were dragged out of the EU against our will.” The Scotsman EU Referendum page: Keep up to date with latest news, polls and features.