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Support for independence falls back while First Minister’s approval rating also dips

Published:19 June 2012
Fieldwork: 7 - 14 June 2012
Source:Ipsos MORI / The Times / The Sun
Keywords:Alex Salmond, Referendum, Scotland, Scottish Independence
(Click on keywords to find related Research)
Three weeks after the ‘Yes’ campaign was launched, support for Scottish independence has fallen in our latest poll for The Times and The Sun.

Among those certain to vote in the referendum, 35% agree that ‘Scotland should be an independent country’ while 55% disagree and 11% are undecided. This represents a fall of 4 points in support for independence compared to our previous poll in January 2012, while support for staying in the union has risen by 5 points over the same period.

The most solid support for independence continues to be among male voters (43%), those in younger age groups (50% of those aged 25-34) and those who live in Scotland’s most deprived areas (45% of those in the most deprived neighbourhoods compared to 26% of those in the most affluent areas). However, support has fallen in all these groups compared to our last poll.

The poll also reveals a decline in the popularity of the First Minister. Although he remains the most popular party leader in Scotland (53% satisfaction rating) this is down 5 points from January 2012 and 9 points from August 2011 when his approval rating reached 62%. Four in ten Scots are now dissatisfied with his performance, the highest since April 2010. While many of the other party leaders continue to suffer from a lack of recognition, the new Labour leader Johann Lamont has made some progress. Over a third of the public (38%) are satisfied with her performance while 29% are dissatisfied, a rating of +9%, representing an improvement of 15 points from January. At the same time, 33% are unable to rate her performance, a fall of 7 points from January and a sign that she is becoming better know n among the public.

Mark Diffley, Research Director at Ipsos MORI said:

‘This poll reinforces the task ahead for the ‘Yes’ to independence campaign. Despite a high profile launch of their campaign, the public appears unconvinced as yet and support for independence has fallen. The difficulty faced by the campaign is reinforced by the fall in the personal approval rating for the First Minister. He remains Scotland’s most prominent politician and well liked party leader but his rating has now fallen below what we saw in the immediate aftermath of last year’s election victory and returned to the levels we were recording in 2010.’

Technical Note

  • Results are based on a survey of 1,003 respondents conducted by telephone between 7th June and 14th June 2012.
  • 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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Christopher McLean
Christopher McLean

Senior Research Executive

Mark Diffley
Mark Diffley

Research Director

Email Tel:+44(0)131 240 3269


The Times / The Sun