Increase in support for Scottish independence

Alex Salmond addresses last year's independence rally in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow
Alex Salmond addresses last year's independence rally in Edinburgh. Picture: Jane Barlow
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SUPPORT for independence among younger voters has more than doubled in the past few months, a new opinion poll has showed.

• There has been an increase in support amongst 18-24 year olds

• Figure below the pro-independence figure recorded by Ipsos Mori in early 2012

Backing for independence among voters aged 18 to 24 stood at 58 per cent, according to the latest Ipsos MORI survey on voting intentions for the 2014 referendum.

A poll last October showed that only 27 per cent in that age group wanted Scotland to leave the UK.

The sharp rise in backing for independence among young Scots came alongside an increase in the number of respondents saying they would vote Yes.

There were 34 per cent who supported Scotland leaving the UK, the poll of more than 1,000 people interviewed between

4 and 9 February showed. Support for Scotland staying in the Union fell slightly, going from 58 per cent to 55 per cent over the same period.

The poll also gave Deputy First Minister Nicola Sturgeon a higher approval rating than the man leading the campaign to keep Scotland in the UK.

Ms Sturgeon, who is spearheading the campaign for independence, came out with a net approval rating of +17, with 50 per cent of those surveyed satisfied with her performance, compared with 33 per cent who were dissatisfied.

Meanwhile, 33 per cent of people said they were satisfied with the job former chancellor Alistair Darling was doing as chairman of the Better Together campaign, with 32 per cent dissatisfied, giving him a net approval rating of +1.

Ms Sturgeon’s approval rating was also higher than the +7 scored by First Minister Alex Salmond, with 50 per cent of voters happy with his performance in the role, but 43 per cent unhappy.

While the proportion of Scots who are satisfied with Mr Salmond has remained at 50 per cent or more for 18 months, his net satisfaction rating has fallen from +35 in December 2011.