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Scots support early referendum as support for independence increases

Published:13 December 2011
Fieldwork:1 - 4 December 2011
Keywords:Holyrood, Scotland, Scottish National Party
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Over a third of voters now back a fully independent Scotland in a referendum which most Scots want to be held within the next two years, as revealed in our new poll for The Times and the Sun. Among those certain to vote in a referendum, 38% would choose to become a fully independent country, no longer part of the UK, 3 percentage points higher than in our August poll, while 58% would oppose such a move, down 2-points over the same period. Support for independence remains strongest among the youngest age groups (47% of those aged 18-24 and 58% of those aged 25-34) as well as among men (42%) and those who live in the most deprived areas of Scotland (51%, compared to 23% of those how live in the most affluent neighbourhoods).

Among those who would vote for the SNP in a Holyrood election, 61% back full independence while a third (32%) would oppose such a move, revealing again the appeal of the party beyond only nationalist supporters.

Support for substantial new powers to the Scottish Parliament while remaining part of the UK is still substantial, commanding support from around two-thirds of voters, up by 1-point from our August poll.

Nearly two-thirds of voters now want a referendum to be held either as soon as possible (33%) or within the next two years (31%), contrary to the intentions of the Scottish government who are planning to hold the ballot towards the end of the current Holyrood session. Support for a referendum within the next two years comes from supporters of all parties and from all shades of opinion on the questions themselves, including around two-thirds (65%) of those who support full independence for Scotland.

Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

‘Although our poll last week revealed growing support for the SNP, a clear majority of Scots do not currently support full independence and would prefer to remain part of the UK, albeit with the Scottish Parliament given substantial new powers. There does however appear to be growing support for the referendum to be held sooner rather than later which could put some pressure on the Scottish Government to alter its preference for holding the ballot in the second half of the current term.’

Technical Note

  • Results are based on a survey of 1,001 respondents conducted by telephone between 1st December and 4th December 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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Mark Diffley

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