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Scots want EU referendum but would vote to stay in

Published:14 February 2013
Fieldwork:4 - 9 February 2013
Theme:Scotland
Keywords:EU, Europe, European Union, Referendum, Scotland
(Click on keywords to find related Research)
Over half of Scots (58%) think there should be a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union (EU) compared with just over a third who disagree (36%). Support for a referendum is highest among those living in Scotland’s most deprived areas, those aged 55 and over (64%) and men (62%). Conservative and SNP voters are also more likely to think there should be a referendum (65% and 63% respectively).

When asked how they would vote in a referendum on whether Britain should stay in or leave the EU, just over half of Scots said they would vote to stay in (53%), compared with a third who said they would vote to leave (34%). This is in contrast to November 2012 data on attitudes in England, where half said they would vote to leave the EU compared with 42% who would vote to stay in.

Support for Britain remaining a member of the EU is highest among those aged 18-24 (68%) and those living in Scotland’s most affluent areas (66%). Liberal Democrat and Labour voters are the most likely to say they would vote for Britain to stay in the EU (70% and 60% respectively).

To gauge attitudes towards an independent Scotland’s relationship with the EU, respondents were asked, regardless of how they intend to vote in the 2014 referendum, whether an independent Scotland should or should not be a member of the EU. Six in ten Scots (61%) think that an independent Scotland should be a member of the EU compared with three in ten who think it shouldn’t (33%).

Among those who are certain to vote in the independence referendum, 65% of those who would vote ‘Yes’ think an independent Scotland should be a member of the EU compared with 59% of those who would vote ‘No’.


Christopher McLean, Senior Researcher at Ipsos MORI Scotland, said:

“The poll highlights the differences between the attitudes of the Scots and the English towards the EU. Although Scots agree with the Prime Minister that there should be a referendum on Britain’s relationship with the EU, a majority would vote to stay in, compared with only a minority in England. It is also clear that, regardless of whether or not they support independence, the majority of Scots would want to see Scotland remain part of the EU should the ‘Yes’ campaign be successful in 2014.”
Technical details:
  • This presents the topline results from Scotland
  • Results are based on a survey of 1,003 respondents (adults aged 18+) conducted by telephone
  • Fieldwork dates: 4th February – 9th February 2013
  • Data are weight by: age, sex and working status using census data; tenure using SHS data; and public-private sector employment using Scottish Government Quarterly Public Sector Employment series data
  • Where results do not sum to 100%, this may be due to computer rounding, multiple responses, or the exclusion of “don’t know” categories
  • Results are based on all respondents (1,003) unless otherwise stated
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