Majority say Scottish independence would be bad for Britain – but opinion split on benefits for Scotland

Opinium polling before Sturgeon's speech show there's all to play for


Most people agree Scotland leaving the UK would be bad for Britain, according to new polling which finds voters divided on a second independence referendum.

The Opinium poll of 2,006 adults in the UK, including a regional sub-sample of 170 for Scotland, was taken online between March 3 and 7 – before Nicola Sturgeon’s speech today.

Sixty per cent in Scotland and 67 per cent in the UK said it would be ‘better for the UK as a whole if Scotland remained part of the United Kingdom’. This was against 22 per cent and eight per cent respectively who say Scotland staying put would be worse for Britain.

It found strong support in the UK for Scotland’s place in the union, but a fairly even split among Scottish respondents about Scotland’s future. By a narrow margin, people in Scotland believed they got less out of being part of the UK than they put in, and would be better off financially outside the union.

But 48 per cent said ‘there is no need for Scottish Independence because Scotland already has its own parliament’, with 43 per cent disagreeing.

Ahead of Sturgeon’s plans laid out today for another referendum, 47 per cent of Scottish respondents said they expected a ‘Yes’ result in a second vote, with 40 per cent expecting a vote to stay in the UK.

Adam Drummond at Opinium Research said:

“While expectations of how a second referendum would turn out have shifted in favour of independence, there’s little to suggest that actual voting intention has moved much in that direction.

Scots remain closely divided on the subject of independence from the UK even if a narrow plurality in the rest of the country expect a second vote to lead to separation.”

Things could be different this time, he added:

“What’s clear is that the pro-independence faction start out in a much stronger position than they did in the last referendum when the result was supposed to be a foregone conclusion.

In 2014 they had to overturn a polling deficit of around 30 per cent, this time they start much closer to the finish line.”

See: What next for Scotland, and would Sturgeon win IndyRef2?

See: Nicola Sturgeon announces plans for Scottish referendum before Brexit

See: If Sturgeon bids for Scottish independence, Theresa May only has herself to blame

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