Both former Ipsos MORI boss Mark Diffley, and Sir John Curtice, Professor of Politics at the University of Strathclyde, have spoken out in recent days to highlight what they said was a sustained trend. Last week a Panelbase poll of 1,026 Scottish voters suggested 54 percent of Scots would back ‘Yes’ in another independence referendum, whilst support for ‘No’ stood at 46 percent.
Commenting, former Ipsos MORI boss Mark Diffley said support for independence, as backed by Scotland’s First Minister and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon, was more than a flash in the pan.
Speaking on Tuesday, he told a webinar for the John Smith Centre hosted by former Scottish Labour leader Kezia Dugdale: “Previous no voters, who voted to stay in the UK but also wanted to stay within the EU, are moving more to yes.
“Of course it does go the other way – people who voted for an independent Scotland who also voted for Brexit, some would rather now be in the UK outside of Europe. But that first group is much larger.”
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon
Mr Diffley added: “What is quite interesting is that if we bookend this, immediately after the EU referendum, the weekend after, there were two or three polls that suggested support for independence had gone up.
“But that didn’t last, it was almost a knee-jerk reaction to what had happened in the Brexit vote.
“But we are now starting to see a pattern emerging from enough polls to suggest this is not just a blip.
“That something a little more significant – both in the number of polls and the level of support and in terms of the length of time – this has been noticeable for a good six to eight months now.”
Speaking at the weekend, Prof Curtice said: “Never before have the foundations of public support for the Union looked so weak.
“Our latest poll from Panelbase confirms other recent polling that has suggested those who intend to vote ‘yes’ in a second independence referendum have nudged ahead.
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“Support for the SNP is also at a record high.
“Panelbase’s polls conducted over the past six months, including today’s, have on average put ‘yes’ on 51 percent and ‘no’ on 49 percent.”
It was the first time in polling history that ‘yes’ had been ahead over such a sustained period, Mr Curtice said.
He added: “Support for independence is up three points on that recorded on average last year – and six points in 2018.”
The Scottish people voted against going it alone in a referendum in 2014 by a margin of 55-45.
However, support for independence has likely been fuelled by Brexit, which saw Scotland buck the trend by backing Remain by a margin of 62-38.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has so far been steadfast in his refusal to consider another vote on the subject north of the border.
In January, in the wake of his general election victory in December, he tweeted: “Today I have written to Nicola Sturgeon.
“The Scottish people voted decisively to keep our United Kingdom together, a result which both the Scottish and UK Governments committed to respect.
Let’s make 2020 a year of growth and opportunity for the whole of the UK.”