Scottish independence referendum: Poll shows most Scots say Yes to devo-max but No to independence

Alex Salmond would prefer only Scots on the electoral roll to vote.Picture: Phil Wilkinson
Alex Salmond would prefer only Scots on the electoral roll to vote.Picture: Phil Wilkinson
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THE overwhelming majority of Scots favour “devo-max”, or full economic powers for Holyrood, but oppose outright independence, according to an opinion poll.

A total of 58 per cent of those interviewed support Westminster handing all tax and fiscal power to the Scottish Parliament, with 42 per cent against, according to the poll of 1,026 adults for YouGov-Channel 4.

Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish, a prominent supporter of devo-max – which would leave only defence and foreign affairs reserved to Westminster – welcomed the poll. He said: “This shows that the vast majority of Scots want to reject independence but want a new deal for Scotland to stay within the Union.”

The poll’s three-to-two margin against independence is in line with most other results in recent years, with the latest survey showing 39 per cent backing a split with the UK, with 61 per cent against.

But there was also a surge in support for the SNP, with the party gaining 17 points on the 2010 general election, to reach 37 per cent for Westminster voting intentions. Labour was down seven points, at 35 per cent, while the Tories remained at 16 per cent and the Lib Dems were sharply down at 7 per cent.

The poll showed 44 per cent backing for allowing the Scottish Government to take charge of the independence referendum, on issues such as the timing of the vote and the wording of the ballot paper. However, 39 per cent said Holyrood and Westminster should negotiate on the referendum.

There also 46 per cent support for allowing a third option – devo-max – in the referendum, while 43 per cent said there should be a straight Yes or No to independence.

SNP campaign director Angus Robertson said: “The poll confirms the big thumbs-down from the people of Scotland for Westminster trying to dictate the terms of the referendum.”

Meanwhile, it was reported yesterday that senior Liberal Democrats want the option of devo-max for Holyrood to be put before all UK voters at the 2015 general election rather than simply be included as a question in an independence referendum.