Scottish independence: New poll shows record support for secession

Latest survey shows exact reversal of 2014 referendum result

Adam Forrest
Wednesday 19 August 2020 18:54
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Nicola Sturgeon slams UK government's 'shambolic' coronavirus handling

Support for Scottish independence from the UK has reached a record high, a new poll shows.

The survey by Panelbase shows 55 per cent in favour of breaking with the union, with 45 per cent against – an exact reversal of the 2014 referendum result.

It is the latest in a series of polls since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic showing a majority of Scots in favour of succession.

Scotland’s first minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has won considerable praise for her handling of the public crisis – in sharp comparison to Boris Johnson and his government at Westminster.

The SNP’s deputy leader Keith Brown claimed: “With consecutive polls putting support for independence above 50 per cent, it’s clear this is not a trend but the established position of the Scottish electorate.”

The Panelbase survey – commissioned by Business for Scotland – shows support for independence growing by three per cent since June, and marks the highest lead ever recorded by the pollster.

In fact, 10 points is the largest lead any polling company has found in favour of Scottish independence once “undecideds” are stripped out.

The full results of the latest Panelbase poll show 51 per cent in favour of independence, 42 per cent again, and seven per cent undecided. The nine-point lead for independence, once “undecideds” are included, equals the high reached in an Ipsos Mori poll in August 2015.

Unionist party strategists in Scotland had hoped support for the SNP and independence might have be dented by the mess over Scotland’s Higher exam results – which saw education minister John Swinney apologise and ditch algorithm-moderated grades.

Pro-independence demonstration outside Scottish Parliament in July 2020 (Alamy Live News)

Political commentators in Scotland also predicted the messy fall-out from Alex Salmond’s trial, in which the former SNP leader was cleared sexual assault charges in March, would damage the party.

Yet the saga does not appear to have made any differences to the SNP’s poll lead in voting intention ahead of the Scottish parliamentary election in May.

Last week Ms Sturgeon pledged that a second independence referendum – the so-called IndyRef2 – will be included the SNP’s manifesto for the Holyrood election in 2021.

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