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Support for Scotland remaining part of the UK increases

Published:9 May 2013
Fieldwork:29 April - 5 May 2013
Theme:Scotland
Our latest poll for The Times finds that support for Scotland remaining part of the UK has increased to its highest level since August 2011.

Among those certain to vote, 59% would vote 'No', up four points since February, while 31% would vote 'Yes', down three points. One in ten Scots are undecided, down a point.

With the exception of a bounce following the SNP’s election victory in 2011, support for independence continues to hover between 30% and 35%, which is in line with the historical average recorded by Ipsos MORI over the last three and a half decades.

A closer look at the data indicates a strengthening of the Unionist position. Among those who are certain to vote and have definitely decided how they will vote, the ‘No’ vote leads the ‘Yes’ vote by two to one (67% v 33%) with a five per cent swing in favour of the ‘No’ vote since February.

In Scottish Parliament voting intention, the SNP’s lead over Scottish Labour has narrowed to three points. Among those certain to vote, the SNP are on 39%, down four points since February, with Scottish Labour on 36%, up a point. The Scottish Conservatives saw the largest gain since February with an increase of three points to 16%, while the Scottish Liberal Democrats are on 8%, up a point.

Nicola Sturgeon has overtaken Alex Salmond as the most popular political leader in Scotland (49% of Scots are satisfied with her performance compared with 47% who are satisfied with Alex Salmond’s). The Deputy First Minister also has a net satisfaction rating (the proportion who are satisfied minus the proportion who are dissatisfied) of +14, although this is down three points since February. She is followed by Scottish Green Party leader Patrick Harvie, who has a net satisfaction rating of +11, and Scottish Labour Party leader Johann Lamont, who has a net satisfaction rating of +5. The long-term decline in the First Minister’s approval rating continues and is now +2, down five points since February, and down from a high of +35 in December 2011.


Christopher McLean, Senior Research at Ipsos MORI Scotland said:

“Following recent debates over the currency and pensions in an independent Scotland, our latest poll shows that support for Scotland remaining in the Union is growing. Although there are just under 500 days to go until the referendum, most Scots who plan to vote say that they have made up their minds, with a clear majority opting to remain part of the UK. This suggests that the Yes Scotland Campaign will have to convince the vast majority of the remaining, floating voters to support independence if it is to stand any chance of achieving independence in September 2014.”

Technical details:

  • This presents the topline results from Scotland 
  • Results are based on a survey of 1,001 respondents (adults aged 18+) conducted by telephone 
  • Fieldwork dates: 29th April – 5th May 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 (1,001) unless otherwise stated
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