Poll: Most Scots would reject independence after considering issues

Scots are less likely to support independence if there is a risk of losing the pound and a hard border with England, a new poll has revealed.

Friday, 18th September 2020, 10:10 am
Updated Friday, 18th September 2020, 1:19 pm
Nationalists want a repeat of the 2014 referendum
Nationalists want a repeat of the 2014 referendum

And the prospect of Scotland finding itself outside the UK and the EU for a lengthy period also sees support plummet, according to the poll commissioned by Scotland in Union.

The survey conducted by Survation even found that a majority of Scots would opt to stay in the UK if the question was put in those terms - and after these issues and the likelihood of spending cuts and tax hikes were put to them.

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But the SNP accused the pro-union campaign of “panic” and insisted there was no prospect of a hard border.

It comes as consistent polling now shows that a majority of Scots would now back independence if the same question from 2014 – “Should Scotland be an Independent country?” is used. Nicola Sturgeon has pledged to pass new legislation setting out the terms and timing of a new referendum by next May.

But Pamela Nash, chief executive of Scotland in Union, said: “The SNP wants to ditch the pound, risk a hard border between friends and families, and is prepared to make dramatic cuts to public spending to close Scotland’s deficit.

“These scenarios are the reality of leaving the UK, and it’s little wonder that people are less likely to back separation as a result.

“An independent Scotland could find itself outside both the UK and the EU for several years.

“We are stronger together as part of the UK, ensuring we can keep the pound, avoid a hard border with England and spend the equivalent of £2,000-per-person more on public services.”

The latest survey of 1,008 Scots, conducted between September 10 and 12, found that if the pound is replaced with a new Scottish currency, then 42% would be less likely to vote for independence, with 16% more likely, while there would be no difference for 35%.

If a hard border is introduced between Scotland and England, then 43% less likely to vote for independence, with 18% more likely, while there would be no difference for 31%.

The prospect of an independent Scotland being outside both the UK and the EU for several years would see 42% of Scots become less likely to back independence, while 15% would be more likely and it would make no difference for third (33%).

Respondents were then asked how they would vote in a referendum with the question ‘Should Scotland remain in the United Kingdom or leave the United Kingdom?’

After considering the issues put, 56% said they would vote to remain in the UK and 44% would vote to leave, when undecided voters were excluded.

With all respondents included, 47 per cent would vote to remain in the UK and 37 per cent would vote to leave.

Ms Nash added: “There is no appetite for another referendum while we deal with recovering from coronavirus.

“Ministers should drop plans for a new referendum Bill and focus on what really matters: our NHS and people’s jobs.

“But if they do insist on ignoring the majority of voters, the wording of any question proposed is vitally important and must be independently assessed.”

But the findings were dismissed by SNP Deputy leader Keith Brown.

"The Westminster parties are panicking - they can’t even ask the straightforward independence question because they are so scared of the likely answer,” he said.

“That’s no surprise, with polling now consistently showing that majority support for independence is now becoming the settled will of the people of Scotland.

"There is absolutely nothing in the SNP’s proposition for an independent, internationalist and forward-looking Scotland that necessitates a hard border. And opponents of independence would claim any currency was the wrong one. Scotland will continue to use the pound at the point of independence, until it's in the interests of the economy to adopt a new currency.”

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