Fewer than half of Scots want second independence vote despite Brexit fears

Posted On: 
14th March 2018

Fewer than half of Scots want a fresh independence referendum within the next three years even though most think Brexit will harm the economy, according to a poll.

Scots voted against independence in 2014
PA Images

A majority of Scots (61%) believe the economy will suffer after Britain leaves the EU, while only 12% believe it will benefit the country’s finances.

But in a major blow for Nicola Sturgeon, the Ipsos-MORI poll conducted for STV found almost half (47%) oppose a second vote on quitting the UK within the next three years, with just 41% wanting a repeat of the 2014 referendum.

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Scots overwhelmingly backed staying part of the European Union in 2016, by 62% to 38%, despite Britain as a whole voting to quit.

Scottish first minister Ms Sturgeon last year wrote to Theresa May demanding the Scottish Parliament be given the right to hold another referendum.

She said she wanted to hold another vote by spring 2019, but polls on independence have barely shifted in the intervening 12 months.

According to Ipsos-Mori, 46% said they would back leaving the UK, but 50% say they want to keep the Union.

Furthermore only one in five Scots (22%) in favour of a new independence vote say it is motivated by Brexit, with 19% saying they already supported the move.

Managing director of Ipsos MORI Scotland, Emily Gray, said: "Scots are pessimistic about the impact that Brexit will have on the economy, both here in Scotland and across the UK.

"However, Scots' pessimism about Brexit doesn't appear to be giving rise to a clamour for a second referendum on Scotland's constitutional future.

She added: “Our research indicates that opposition to Scotland becoming an independent country remains higher than support for it.”

The poll also found that 39% of voters in Scotland would back the SNP at the next Westminster election, while Labour narrowly took over the Tories in second place – with 26% and 25% respectively opting for them.

SNP Business Convener Derek MacKay said: “While the Tories think they can do anything they like to Scotland and get away with it, the SNP will continue to stand firm against them.

“That’s why we’re 13-points ahead of rivals at Westminster – the Tories who are responsible for the chaos, and a Labour party too weak and divided to provide any real opposition.