ANALYSIS: The real shock is that support for Scottish independence isn’t higher

Posted On: 
5th August 2019

This morning’s poll on Scottish is independence for Holyrood certainly is an eye-opener.

The findings are a major blow for Boris Johnson.
Credit: 
PA

For the first time in a couple of years, a major survey has shown that a majority of Scots now back leaving the UK.

Once don’t knows are stripped out, 52% support separation, with 48% words preferring the status quo. Lovers of irony will surely appreciate those numbers.

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For the self-appointed Minister for the Union - one Boris Johnson - the findings are a major blow.

What’s more, the Lord Ashcroft poll also reveals that nearly half of voters north of the Border (47%) want Indyref2 to take place within two years - pretty much in line with Nicola Sturgeon’s preferred timetable.

Without a doubt, the results are a huge fillip for the SNP leader and the wider independence movement.

But given all that’s happened in British politics since the last Scottish referendum, maybe the First Minister will be slightly disappointed.

As well as the Brexit referendum - in which nearly two-thirds of Scots backed Remain - we’ve had two Conservative election wins and, now, Prime Minister Johnson.

All of those events, we were told by gleeful nationalists, would be the trigger for an upsurge in backing for independence.

The fact that 48% of Scots, despite everything, still believe that their country should not go it along demonstrates that the Yes movement still has a lot of work to do in convincing them that the 300-year-old Union should be ripped up.

Ms Sturgeon herself has indicated in the past that support for breaking up the UK should be at 60% for a sustained period of time before the SNP should push the button on Indyref2.

Nevertheless, the poll is further proof that Mr Johnson’s “do or die” pledge to leave the EU on 31 October could set in train a chain of events that he cannot control.

In removing the UK from one political union, he could also hasten the demise of another which has lasted an awful lot longer.