IndyRef2: John Curtice discusses findings of polling
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Nicola Sturgeon addressed delegates at the Scottish National Party (SNP) conference on Monday, touching on topics including climate change, poverty, Afghanistan, the pandemic, and, of course, Scottish independence. The First Minister has long called for a second referendum on the matter of Scottish independence, after the first round in 2014 resulted in 55 percent voting against the move.
Speaking at the conference, Ms Sturgeon said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, decisions fall to be made that will shape Scotland for decades to come.
“So we must decide. Who should be making those decisions: people here in Scotland or governments we don’t vote for at Westminster?
“That is the choice we intend to offer the Scottish people in a legal referendum within this term of Parliament – Covid permitting, by the end of 2023.
“I said earlier that my approach to government and to politics will be, as far as possible, co-operation not confrontation.
“The experience of the pandemic and the challenges we face as a result reinforces my view that this is the right approach.
“So it is in that spirit of co-operation that I hope the Scottish and UK governments can reach agreement – as we did in 2014 – to allow the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland to be heard and respected.
“But, this much is clear. Democracy must – and will – prevail.”
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So what would happen if indyref2 happened tomorrow?
Polling shows that, just as in 2014, public opinion on another independence referendum is on a knife-edge.
Some polls show there is support for Nicola Sturgeon’s plan.
Last week, a poll by Opinium for Sky News of 1,014 adults between September 2 and September 8 found 51 percent of people would vote for independence.
However, support for the referendum itself polls lower, with just 31 percent in the Opinium poll supporting indyref2 in the next two years.
Another 31 percent said there should be no vote at all.
A further 15 percent said there should be a vote in the next five years, while 13 percent said there should another referendum, but not in the next five years.
Another poll, published one day after the Opinium poll, put the support up to 52 percent in support of independence against 48 percent opposed.
This second poll, undertaken by Savanta ComRes for The Scotsman, interviewed 1,016 Scottish adults aged 16 and above between September 3 and 9, 2021.
But other polling sites are less supportive of Nicola Sturgeon’s goal.
The Politico Poll of Polls, which aggregates results across multiple reliable polling sites, puts support for a second referendum at 46 percent No, 44 percent Yes.
And the latest YouGov polling shows the general public of the UK is largely against Scottish independence, with 46 percent against and just 29 percent for the proposal.
Last month, Scotland Secretary of State Alister Jack said the UK Government might approve a second referendum if support for one stays above 60 percent for a sustained period.
He told Politico: “If you consistently saw 60 percent of the population wanting a referendum – not wanting independence but wanting a referendum – and that was sustained over a reasonably long period, then I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum.”
Patrick Harvie, the Scottish Green party co-leader, said he welcomed the acknowledgement by the Tories that a referendum was a legitimate aspiration.
He said: “We have a very clearly pro-independence parliament and I would like to see that parliament debate a bill to set that referendum, and I would like to see the UK government respect that decision.”
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