Tory leadership race: Liz Truss viewed as better defender of the union than Rishi Sunak by Tory voters, poll shows

Liz Truss is viewed as a stronger defender of the Union than Rishi Sunak, though both would push some No voters on Scottish independence towards Yes, a new poll has found.

The foreign secretary, who is the frontrunner in the race to become the next prime minister, is backed by 50 per cent of 2021 Conservative voters when asked which of the two candidates would be better at maintaining the Union.

Mr Sunak, the former chancellor, is backed on the issue by just 20 per cent of Conservative voters.

The survey of 1,002 Scots was undertaken by The Diffley Partnerships and Survation for Charlotte Street Partners.

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It focused on public attitudes towards Tory leadership candidates Ms Truss and Mr Sunak as the pair prepare to attend a hustings event in Perth today.

The poll suggests either candidate in Number 10 would see a potential increase in support for independence, with around one in seven No voters in 2014 (13 per cent for Mr Sunak, 15 per cent for Ms Truss) stating they would be more likely to vote Yes if either became prime minister.

A similar percentage of 2021 Labour voters also said they would be more likely to back independence if either candidate emerges victorious.

Foreign Secretary and Tory leadership candidate, Liz Truss, is considered to be a better defender of the union than Rishi Sunak.

Only four per cent of 2014 Yes voters said they would be more likely to back No if Ms Truss wins the leadership election, with the figure for Mr Sunak at 5 per cent.

Overall, 25 per cent of voters said they would be more likely to vote Yes if Ms Truss wins versus 26 per cent for Mr Sunak.

The poll also demonstrates Mr Sunak is viewed as being less in touch with the public than Ms Truss, but is broadly trusted more with the economy.

Iain Gibson, a partner at Charlotte Street Partners, said: “Both candidates will be concerned that a quarter of Scots are more likely to vote for independence regardless of who wins, and will therefore need to devote time and energy to mitigating that trend.

“It also appears that the problems Sunak faced earlier in the year around his personal wealth and his wife’s tax status have cut through in Scotland, where he is seen as less truthful and a lot less in touch with the public than Liz Truss.”

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

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

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