Independence and Union now neck and neck as support for independence grows


By a Newsnet reporter
Support for independence is continuing to increase according to a new poll carried out by ICM.
Results from a survey carried out on behalf of the Sunday Telegraph show that 40 per cent of Scots now favour self-government against 43 per cent who would opt for the status quo.

The figures reveal that support for the Union has dropped 11 points since ICM’s last poll in 2009 whilst support for independence has grown by 2 points – it represent a swing of 6.5% and means that a further swing of only 1.5% would see independence take the lead.

The survey also indicated a significant majority of people in England support independence for Scotland, by 43% to 32%. 

However the survey showed that a majority of English voters believe that Scotland will be worse of if independent, 51% versus 23%.  Scotland is split on whether Scots would benefit economically with 41% saying no versus 38% saying yes.

Another question asked respondents for their preference from 3 options, Scots opted independence 26%; Devo Max 26%; Status Quo 37%; Don’t Know 11%.  This result revealed that devo-max supporters would choose independence over the status-quo by over 2 to 1 if there was no devo-max option on the ballot.

The poll interviewed 1734 adults in England and 501 adults in Scotland between January 11th and 13th, and came in the period immediately after David Cameron’s intervention into the debate on Scotland’s future.

The results were welcomed by the SNP’s Westminster leader and referendum campaign director Angus Robertson who described them as “excellent”.

Mr Robertson, the MP for Moray, said:

“This is an excellent poll which, as the debate over Scotland’s constitutional future gathers pace, shows support for independence moving ahead.

“It is clear that David Cameron’s bungling has backfired with support for the outdated union falling as people hear about the opportunities offered by independence.”

Mr Robertson claimed that the stance of Labour and the Lib Dems in supporting the Tory leader gave him confidence that Scots would opt for independence in 2014.

He added:

“And it is not just the opinion polls showing increased support for independence – over the last week we have been overwhelmed with the numbers of people going online to sign up to join the SNP – almost 800 over the last week.

“Nobody cares more about Scotland’s success than the people who live here.  That’s why they’ve responded in such huge numbers as they believe the decisions over our country’s future should be taken by people in Scotland.”