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Scots back full fiscal powers but not independence

Ipsos MORI Scotland Public Opinion Monitor Wave 9

Published:6 September 2011
Fieldwork:25 - 29 August 2011
Theme:Scotland
Keywords:Holyrood, Regional government, Scotland, Scottish Independence
(Click on keywords to find related Research)
Two-thirds of Scots would vote for all tax-raising powers to be transferred to the Scottish Parliament in an immediate referendum, while only around a third would vote to separate from the rest of the UK, as revealed in our new poll for The Times.

Among those certain to vote in a referendum, 67% backed all tax-raising powers to be assumed by Holyrood with Scotland remaining in the UK, the likely first question on a two-stage ballot paper, while just over a quarter (28%) disagreed with the proposal. Support for the proposal is particularly strong among young Scots, with 74% of those aged 18-24 and 72% of those aged 25-34 backing full fiscal powers.

However, that support does not extend to backing powers which ‘enable Scotland to become an independent country, separate from the UK.’ Around a third of Scots who would definitely vote in a referendum (35%) back full independence while 60% would prefer Scotland to remain in the UK. Unsurprisingly, SNP supporters are those most in favour of both proposals. However, while 85% of SNP supporters back full fiscal autonomy, only 61% back full independence, highlighting the appeal of the party beyond traditional nationalists.

Despite the Scottish Government’s intention to hold the referendum towards the end of the current Holyrood session, over half of voters (55%) want the ballot held in the next two years (28% as soon as possible, 27% within the next two years), while 37% want it held between two and five years from now. However, 41% of those who supported fiscal autonomy and 39% of those who support full independence are in favour of waiting up to five years.


Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

‘There is clearly an appetite among the Scottish public for devolution to be strengthened by allowing Holyrood to directly raise its revenue through taxation. A majority of supporters of all parties, except the Conservatives, support this proposal. Despite that, the majority of Scots want to remain part of the UK, with around a third supporting full independence. However, at the outset of a new Parliament with an SNP overall majority, the picture could change significantly between now and when the referendum takes place.’

Technical Note

  • Results are based on a survey of 1,002 respondents conducted by telephone between 25th August and 29th August 2011.
  • Data are weighted by age, sex and working status using census data, and tenure using SHS 2007-2008 data, and by public-private sector employment by Scottish Government Quarterly Public Sector Series data.
  • An asterisk (*) indicates a percentage of less than 0.5% but greater than 0.
  • Where results do not sum to 100, this may be due to multiple responses or computer rounding.
  • Where the base size is less than 30 the number (N) rather than the percentage of respondents is given.
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