Support for Scottish independence rises to 56% in latest poll

Support for Scottish independence has risen to 56 per cent in a fresh poll in the wake of last month’s Supreme Court ruling as the SNP claimed momentum behind a Yes vote was “rocketing”.

Polling agency Ipsos Scotland for STV found support for Yes had enjoyed a six point rise since its previous poll on the referendum question in May.

The survey of 1,065 Scots showed support soaring in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling the Scottish Parliament cannot legislate for a referendum on independence.

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Following the ruling, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her party would fight the next general election as a de-facto referendum on independence.

The poll is a boost for the First Minister.

With undecided voters ruled out, 56 per cent who were likely to vote said in the poll they would back independence in a referendum, while 44 per cent said they would vote against.

When asked when they would like to see a vote on separation, 35 per cent of respondents said before the end of next year, while 26 per cent said they never want another vote, 17 per cent said between 2024 and 2026, and the same proportion said after 2026.

The proportion saying there should never be another referendum is down 5 points since May, at 26 per cent.

The SNP also remain the most popular party in Scotland, with 51 per cent saying they would vote for the Nationalist party in an immediate general election.

Labour remains in second place on vote share, at 25 per cent, while the Conservatives have slipped further to 13 per cent.

SNP depute leader Keith Brown said: “This latest poll shows a clear majority of people support Scottish independence and the momentum behind Yes is rocketing.

“For too long, Tories and Labour have claimed now is not the time for the people of Scotland to choose their own future. This poll shows clearly the people think now is the time – the Westminster parties need to recognise and respect that.

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“As the chaos of Westminster control wreaks untold damage on Scotland, inflicted by successive Tory governments that we didn’t vote for, it’s no surprise that support for independence continues to rise.

“The only way to protect Scotland is through independence – it is the only way we can get rid of Tory Westminster governments for good.”

Despite the rising support, trust in the SNP to tackle issues facing Scotland has fallen in the past 18 months, the survey showed.

Trust in the party to manage the NHS has fallen by 18 per cent points since April last year, which will concern ministers when healthcare/NHS is the top issue the public see facing Scotland.

When asked for the biggest issues facing Scotland today, 41 per cent of respondents said it was the NHS – up from 27 per cent in the May 2022 poll from Ipsos Scotland – followed by 28 per cent who said the cost of living and 23 per cent who said education.

Scottish independence was fourth at 23 per cent – rising from 17 per cent in the previous poll – followed by the economy.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Scotland, said: “Whether this is a temporary ‘bounce’ in the wake of the recent Supreme Court judgement or a longer-lasting trend remains to be seen.

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"Meanwhile, with the judgement narrowing the legal pathways to a second referendum, the SNP is considering treating the next general election as a de-facto referendum on independence.

"This is a high-risk strategy for the party, who secured 45 per cent of the vote in 2019. However, the indication from this poll is that, at this stage at least, this is not harming their electoral chances. At the same time, there are some indications that wider public ratings of the SNP have slipped.

"While the SNP remains comparatively more trusted than other parties, trust in their ability to manage a range of crucial issues, including the NHS and the economy, has fallen significantly over the last 18 months.”

The poll also looked at satisfaction with party leaders in Scotland. The First Minister had a +9 net satisfaction rating, followed by +3 for Scottish Labour leader Anas Sarwar.

Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross’ net rating was -38, while the Lib Dems Alex Cole-Hamilton was -16.

Scottish Green co-leaders Patrick Harvie and Lorna Slater, who also serve as ministers in the Scottish Government, boasted a net rating of +1 and +2 respectively.

The poll results came amid rumours of unrest among SNP MPs in Westminster, following Ian Blackford standing down to be replaced on Tuesday by Stephen Flynn.

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There had been rumours for months that many in the Westminster group were unhappy with Mr Blackford's leadership, specifically after he urged them to give their full support to former chief whip Patrick Grady.

Mr Grady was suspended from the party and the Commons earlier this year for sexual misconduct.

SNP MP Stewart Hosie has claimed the reports of division are a “complete fiction”.

Mr Hosie, a former deputy leader of both the party and its Westminster group, said: "With Stephen Flynn at the helm in Westminster, I think we'll see closer working than we've ever done.

"I think he will bring a great deal to the table and a great deal to the independence cause as we hold this government to account.

"I think Stephen has a rare gift of being able to communicate difficult things in a really effective way and I am looking forward to seeing it deployed.”

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