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Scottish support for independence at its highest

Staff Writer | March 17, 2017
Support for Scottish independence is at its highest-ever level, according to a study.
Scottish independence
Exit   The Scottish Social Attitudes survey
The Scottish Social Attitudes survey also suggested the popularity of the European Union has fallen.

The researchers said this suggested focusing on EU membership may not be the best way to swing more voters towards independence.

The survey has asked the same question about how Scotland should be governed every year since 1999.

It was carried out by ScotCen Social Research and has been published two days after First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed she wants to ask the UK government for permission to hold a second referendum on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon says the Brexit vote has left Scotland at a crossroads, with an independence referendum needed to allow the country to choose which path to take.

But pro-UK opposition parties argue that another referendum will cause further division and uncertainty, and is not wanted by the majority of people.

The ScotCen findings suggested that the September 2014 referendum had left a “legacy of dramatically increased support” for independence.

And it said the pro-independence movement looked certain to enter a second referendum campaign in a much stronger position than it had enjoyed ahead of the first referendum.

Asked to choose between independence, devolution and not having any kind of Scottish Parliament at all, 46% of the 1,237 people surveyed between July and December of last year now back independence.

This is a higher level of support for independence than at any time since 1999 and double the level registered by ScotCen in 2012, when the last independence referendum campaign initially got under way.