New poll shows boost for independent Scotland

Alex Salmond has received a boost to his dream of an independent Scotland as the latest polling shows a four per cent increase in support for independence since October.

Support for an independent Scotland has increased by 4% since October, according to a new poll.

Asked the Electoral Commission’s preferred question of ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’, 34% answered yes, up 4% since October.

Just over half (55%) said no, while 11% said they were undecided, according to the latest polling by Ipsos Mori for the Times.

This bucks a trend which, based on Ipsos Mori figures saw support for independence in 2012 decline from 39% in January to 30% in October.

Ed Miliband and Johann Lamont will have to digest this along with news that the SNP has increased its lead over Labour in voting intentions by 8%.

Among those certain to vote, 43% said they would vote for the SNP in an immediate Scottish Parliament election, an increase of 3% since October, while Labour remains on 35% (no change).

This is a reversal of recent trends which saw Labour close the gap to 5% in October 2012 having been 25% behind the SNP at the end of 2011.

There is no change for the Conservatives, who remain on 13%, while the Liberal Democrats drop one point to 7%.

The SNP leadership are also enjoying more buoyant poll ratings. In light of the more public role she has taken within the pro-independence campaign, deputy first minister Nicola Sturgeon has seen 50% of those polled expressing satisfaction with her performance compared to 33% who are dissatisfied.

Worryingly for the ‘Better Together’ campaign to keep the United Kingdom together, just 33% are satisfied with the performance of its leader, Alistair Darling, with 32% dissatisfied.

A quarter of those polled felt unable to rate his performance.

Alex Salmond remains the most popular of the main party leaders in Scotland, with 50% of Scots satisfied with his performance compared with 43% who are dissatisfied.

Scottish Labour Leader Johann Lamont continues to improve her profile among Scots – 39% of Scots are satisfied with her performance, compared with 31% who are dissatisfied. However, 31% of Scots feel they don’t know enough about the Labour leader to rate her performance.

Ruth Davidson, the Scottish Conservative leader, now has a net satisfaction rating of -4%, up five points since October, while Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie remains on -7% (no change).

Finally, 67% of Scots are dissatisfied with the way David Cameron is doing his job as prime minister.

Writing in the Scotsman, the paper’s political editor Eddie Barnes argues that within the debate on independence the polls are key to giving either side much need momentum.

“There’s a long and dishonourable tradition in politics of arguing that polls don’t matter,” he writes.

“The polls do matter, helping to set the mood and giving direction to the campaign for votes.”

Outlining the Better Together campaign’s ‘nightmare scenario’, he continues:

“The nightmare scenario for Better Together is that it loses because thousands of apathetic voters, who back the Union only in so much as they back having ten toes, aren’t quite so bothered and end up staying at home.

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3 Responses to “New poll shows boost for independent Scotland”

  1. y.s. Stewart

    The correlation between ever greater Scots antipathy towards Cameron and the Condems and growing support for Independence speaks volumes. Cameron and Clegg et al are Salmond’s greatest asset.
    However the Nats are still nowhere near a win.
    The Unionists will bang on about the small print (legislative/policy and strategic considerations that would, in truth, involve at least a decade of negotiations before full Independence) and they will emphasise financial unknowns – the Nats will look weak because they cannot answer the detail and because they are beginning to show all the signs of an institutionalised establishment party (complacency leads to ‘errors of judgement’).
    Do polls matter?
    Well – they do if they’re telling you what you want to hear.

  2. Michael

    This poll doesn’t buck any trend. It confirms most recent trends. Other than in one rogue poll in January there has been in evidence a steady drop in No support and a rise in support for Yes and the SNP. The last poll – two weeks ago – had the SNP at 45% and indy at 32 with No support slipping to 47%.

  3. uglyfatbloke

    The referendum is more likely to be lost by Westminster than won by Holyrood. The Cameron government’s recent declaration that he 1707 Treat essentially subsumed Scotland into a larger and re-named version of England for international purposes was positively crass and (at best) questionable constitutionally… about self-inflicted wounds.

    The ‘yes’ campaign is making very slow progress, but they are – overall – making some, despite the fact that so far they have been less adroit than might have been expected. It would be unrealistic to think that they will not get their act together at some point. Even so, complacency is the chief enemy of the ‘No’ campaign. Journalists from the Scotsman appear on Newsnight etc. and are generally seen as being opinion-leaders, but the reality is that the Scotsman only prints about 35,000 copies per day. The Sun is pretty much lined up behind the gnats and the Record’s position is softening. Between them they probably sell much more than 10 times as many copies as the Scotsman, the Times, the Telegraph, the Guardian and the Herald put together. ‘Better Together’ has enjoyed pretty uncritical support from the BBC, but since they are a public-service broadcaster, that will be harder to sustain when the official campaign period starts.

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