POLL: Support for Scottish independence hits a record high but so does anti-EU sentiment

  • Support for Scottish independence is strong, according to ScotCen’s Scottish Attitudes Survey.
  • Support for independence has doubled from 23% in 2012 to 46% in 2016.
  • 67% of Scottish voters hold Eurosceptic views.

LONDON — Scottish independence has never been so popular, according to a survey by research company ScotCen.

But the path to breaking away from the rest of the UK is not clear.

Support for the European Union, which Scotland will aim to join if it leaves the UK, has never been lower.

Support for independence has doubled from 23% in 2012 to 46% in 2016, according to ScotCen’s Scottish Attitudes Survey.

Meanwhile 67% of Scottish voters hold Eurosceptic views — saying that Scotland should leave the EU or that the bloc’s powers should be reduced — up from 60% from the year before. 

Scotcen interviewed a random probability sample of 1,237 people aged 16 and above between July and December 2016 for the survey. 

“The EU is potentially a divisive issue for the nationalist movement,” John Curtice, the author of the report, said. “The commitment of many voters in Scotland to remain in the EU does not appear to be especially strong.”

“As a result, a referendum that is called on the basis that independence would enable Scotland to remain part of the EU may not necessarily provide the most propitious circumstances for nationalists to win a second referendum after all,” Curtice said.

Here is the chart of rising support for independence:

While here is the chart showing increasing Euroscepticism:

Scots voted to remain in the EU by 62% to 38% in the June Brexit referendum but British Prime Minister Theresa May has made it clear that she plans to take the country out of the Single Market.

This led Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish first minister, to announce earlier this week that she intends to trigger another referendum on Scottish independence from the UK.

Sturgeon said she was doing the “right thing for the country” by giving Scots the opportunity to avoid dropping out of the European single market in a “hard” British exit, or Brexit, from the EU. The Scottish National Party leader said Scotland’s requests relating to Britain’s exit from the EU had hit a “brick wall.”

Sturgeon must secure the approval of Scottish Parliament before going to the UK government with a referendum request.

A poll published last week put support for Scottish independence at its highest level since the weeks immediately following the Brexit vote. “Yes” was level with “No” on 50%, according to Ipsos MORI.

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