Scottish independence: Poll suggests public don't back Nicola Sturgeon's timetable for indyref2

A new poll has suggested the majority of Scots do not favour holding an independence referendum in the next two years.

More than half of Scots (52 per cent) said there should not be a referendum on Scottish independence in the next two years, while 38 per cent said they believed one should take place before the end of 2023.

A further 10 per cent were undecided.

The poll interviewed 1,040 people aged 16 and above between August 31 and September 1 and was undertaken by Panelbase for the campaign group Scotland in Union.

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A poll from the campaign group Scotland in Union has shown Scots do not support a referendum within the next two years.A poll from the campaign group Scotland in Union has shown Scots do not support a referendum within the next two years.
A poll from the campaign group Scotland in Union has shown Scots do not support a referendum within the next two years.

Pamela Nash, chief executive of the group, said the results showed Nicola Sturgeon was “out of touch” with Scottish people.

Opposition politicians also claimed the numbers meant the SNP’s planned timeframe for indyref2 does not hold the support of the public.

Using a a Brexit-style ‘Remain/Leave’ question rather than the ‘Yes/No’ approach of the 2014 referendum to look at support for independence, the survey states ‘Remain’ would lead with 57 per cent of the vote if a referendum was due to be held tomorrow.

‘Leave’ would see 43 per cent of Scots vote in favour of Scottish independence once don’t knows are excluded.

With undecideds included, Remain would see 52 per cent support, Leave 39 per cent, with 9 per cent saying they don’t know.

Ms Nash said: “This poll confirms that Nicola Sturgeon is out of touch with the people of Scotland. A majority of voters oppose her plans for a divisive second referendum within the next two years, and she should listen to what people are telling her.

“The poll also confirms that most people in Scotland want to remain part of the UK, despite the SNP’s relentless campaign to divide us.

“Just days before the SNP conference, this poll is a timely reminder to Nicola Sturgeon to focus on what really matters to people – the Covid recovery, protecting out NHS, creating jobs, and tackling the climate emergency."

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Scottish Conservative constitution secretary Donald Cameron also criticised the SNP’s timetable.

He said: “It’s clear the public is firmly against Nicola Sturgeon’s divisive plans to spike uncertainty at the worst possible moment.

“The SNP-Green Government should be fully focused on our recovery from Covid, but once again their obsession with separating Scotland has come first.”

Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Alex Cole-Hamilton added: "Scotland needs hope, right now, for the climate, for our patients, for our young people and our businesses, not a new white paper filled with empty promises.

"We've seen the 2014 document and the same questions we had then are still unanswered today. This discussion will only suck political oxygen from the conversation that really matters, the recovery process.”

Responding to the poll, an SNP spokesperson said the questions were “loaded” and the Holyrood election results provided a “cast-iron democratic mandate” for indyref2.

The spokesperson said: “Scotland in Union have form for asking loaded questions and this is no exception. Their bid to conflate independence with the ‘Leave-Remain’ formulation of the Brexit vote just won’t wash.

“It was only four months ago that the people of Scotland voted and that vote provided a cast-iron democratic mandate for an independence referendum – on top of that, a recent independent opinion poll found majority support for a referendum in the current Holyrood term.”

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