Support for Scottish independence at 15-year high

43 per cent also believe that the Scottish economy would be better off under independence


Had the SNP had their way, tomorrow would have been Independence Day, and Scotland would have introduced itself to the world as the newest member of the club of independent countries.

Against this backdrop, new research out today from ScotCen’s latest Scottish Social Attitudes (SSA) survey shows that support for independence has now reached a 15 year high.

Since 1999 ScotCen has asked respondents about their views towards independence. According to the latest data, support has now reached 39 per cent, four points higher than any previous survey has indicated.

43 per cent of respondents also say that Scotland’s economy would become better under independence, while only 37 per cent believe it would be worse. This, according to ScotCen, ‘is the highest proportion of people who said they think the economy would be better under independence since we first asked the question in 2009.’

Despite this, alongside support for a more powerful Scottish Parliament, well under half of respondents explicitly back the idea of leaving the UK. Indeed, even among those who said they voted in favour of independence in 2014, only 74 per cent go on to say that they want Scotland to be ‘separate from the UK’.

The survey reveals also the astonishing success of the SNP, whose leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has pledged a Summer Campaign to garner greater support for independence. As ScotCen notes:

“Despite the party’s astonishing success in last year’s UK general election, even more said they would have voted for the SNP in a Scottish Parliament election last year than actually did so in the UK general election. This ‘Holyrood bonus’ is potentially worth some five per cent of the vote for Nicola Sturgeon’s party.”

Commenting on the findings, Professor John Curtice, Senior Research Fellow at ScotCen Social Research, said:

“The fact that the Scottish Parliament to be elected on May 5th will be a markedly more powerful body than its predecessors fits a public mood that, following on from the referendum, is more supportive of a powerful Scottish Parliament than ever before. At the same time, the SNP are especially popular when it comes to voting in Scottish Parliament elections. However, it appears the party still faces a challenge in convincing the majority of voters in Scotland that the country should seek to leave the UK. Much may rest on the re-examination of the prospectus for independence that the party leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has now promised the party will undertake.”

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor at Left Foot Forward

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