Recent polling suggests that a vote for Brexit in June’s European Union (EU) referendum would only ‘”slightly” increase support for Scottish independence, complicating any decision by the Scottish National Party (SNP) to call another referendum.
According to the SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon (pictured above), a new referendum on Scottish independence would “almost certainly” be triggered by the UK voting to leave the EU against Scotland’s will. In her opinion the move would be justified by such a material change of circumstances from 2014.
She told the BBC’s Sunday Politics Scotland show yesterday it would be a “democratic outrage” to see Scotland “dragged out of Europe against our will” leading to an “overwhelming demand” for a fresh referendum.
However, according to a Panelbase poll for Heart and The Sunday Times a Brexit vote would only push support for Scottish independence up very slightly — from 47 per cent to 50 per cent. This is a two per cent drop from January, and falls far short of the commonly-accepted 60 per cent support Ms. Sturgeon would want to see before risking a new referendum.
Support for EU membership is consistently higher north of the border than in England. According to the poll 63 per cent of Scottish voters support continued membership, whereas the Telegraph’s average of the last six polls in the UK as a whole has it at 50 per cent for remain and 49 per cent leave.
Politics professor John Curtice of the University of Strathclyde anlaysed the Panelbase results, saying:
“Although Scotland apparently remains determined to vote by nearly two to one in favour of remaining in the EU, this does not mean that a UK-wide vote to leave would necessarily clear the way for Nicola Sturgeon to hold and win a second independence referendum.
“Such an outcome is more likely to leave her with a tough decision as to whether to call a second referendum at all.”