Support for independence stalls after second referendum call

Posted On: 
19th March 2017

Support for Scottish independence has fallen below the result achieved at the last referendum just days after Nicola Sturgeon announced plans for a fresh poll.

Nicola Sturgeon addressing party delegates in Aberdeen

Backing for a split from the UK stands at 44% - one point lower than in the 2014 referendum, according to a Panelbase survey for The Times and LBC.

The poll also show a majority of Scots back Theresa May’s call for a second vote to be called off while Brexit negotiations are on-going, at 51%.

Nicola Sturgeon: Scottish Parliament 'must and will prevail' on second referendum

Nicola Sturgeon: I am 'up for discussion' about referendum date

Theresa May warned Scotland could hold 'advisory' referendum if she blocks new poll

Theresa May to call for 'more united' Britain after Scottish referendum call

Last week the Prime Minster said it was “not the time” for Scotland’s voters to have their say on whether to remain part of the UK, while Britain is in the process of quitting the EU, and the alternative to independence is unknown.

But the First Minister struck a defiant tone at the SNP party conference in Aberdeen yesterday, insisting “there will be an independence referendum”.

"She [Mrs May] has time to think again and I hope she does. If her concern is timing, then - within reason - I am happy to have that discussion,” she said.

"But she should be in no doubt. The will of our parliament must and will prevail."

MSPs are expected to vote next week for Westminster to give the Scottish Parliament the power to hold another referendum.

Although the SNP are a minority government, Ms Sturgeon knows she can rely on the independence-supporting Greens to support her party.

The poll also found that just 32% want a fresh poll in the next year or two, while 18% favour one about two years from now “when the UK has finished negotiating”.

Pollster Professor John Curtice of Strathclyde University said the trailing pro-independence campaign has “considerable ground to make up”.

“With just 44 per cent support in our latest poll, the Yes side still has considerable ground to m ake up if it is to win a second ballot. 

"In particular, it is no further forward than it was at the time of the September 2014 referendum in convincing voters of the financial benefits of independence. More time to argue her case might, in truth, be just what Nicola Sturgeon wants.”

The First Minister also issued an open invitation to those “appalled” by the Government's approach to Brexit to move to Scotland.

“Scotland is not full up”, she said.

“If you are as appalled as we are at the path this Westminster government is taking, come and join us.