Scottish independence: Yes campaigners face uphill battle to convince voters of economic case, poll suggests

Scots believe that staying within the United Kingdom is more convincing than the idea the country would be more successful as an independent nation, a new poll has found.

The poll, run by Ipsos Scotland, also suggests less than half of Scots believe treating the next general election as a ‘de-facto referendum’ would constitute a mandate for independence.

Nicola Sturgeon has said the SNP will fight the next election on the single issue of independence if the Scottish Government’s reference to the Supreme Court around a referendum Bill fails.

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The poll interviewed 1,000 adults in Scotland aged 16 and over between August 12 and 15.

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It found voters find arguments around the political direction of Scotland being different to the rest of the UK and around distrust of Westminster to act in Scotland’s interest the most convincing arguments in favour of independence, with a net ‘convincing’ rating of +23 per cent and +20 per cent respectively.

However, only 46 per cent of voters are convinced by the argument Scotland would be economically stronger post-independence, with 47 per cent saying this argument was unconvincing, with a net rating of -1 per cent.

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This is in stark comparison to the equivalent argument for the pro-Union side, that leaving Scotland would be a major risk for the country’s economy and jobs.

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New polling shows how voters view different arguments for and against Scottish independence.

This is labelled convincing by 57 per cent of Scots and not convincing by 38 per cent, with a net rating of +19 per cent.

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Scots also find arguments around the UK and Scotland having more in common than what divides the two countries (+17 per cent), Scotland getting the best of both worlds with devolution (+14 per cent), and that Scotland leaving would leave it weaker on the international stage (+9 per cent) overall more convincing than not.

The poll showed two thirds (63 per cent) of Scots agreed a repeat of the 2014 referendum would provide a mandate for independence, with 18 per cent stating it wouldn’t and a further 19 per cent saying they didn’t know.

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Holding a referendum without the approval of Westminster – the SNP’s plan should the Supreme Court rule in their favour – is viewed as a mandate for independence by 47 per cent of Scots, rejected by 35 per cent, with 18 per cent saying they don’t know.

A de-facto referendum at a general election is backed by 39 per cent of Scots, but rejected by an almost identical number of Scots (38 per cent), with 24 per cent stating they don’t know.

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Conservative voters are the most likely to reject any of the scenarios as resulting in a mandate for independence, while SNP voters are unsurprisingly most likely to back any of the three scenarios.

Rachel Ormston, research director at Ipsos in Scotland, said: “These findings highlight the challenges for pro-independence supporters in finding a mechanism to establish a democratic mandate for independence that is widely accepted by the Scottish public as a whole.

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"While the UK Government appears unlikely to agree to a second referendum in the near future, this is currently the only route that a clear majority of Scots view as legitimate.”

The fifth episode of the brand new limited series podcast, How to be an independent country: Scotland’s Choices, is out now.

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It is available wherever you get your podcasts, including Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

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