Scotland and the EU – the polling evidence

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By Dave Taylor

53% of Scots would vote for the UK to remain part of the EU, with 34% opposed and 61% think an independent Scotland should be an EU member.

Until now there has been very limited evidence as to what Scots attitudes are to the EU, and whether they differ from attitudes in England.  Guesses have been made on the basis of the small Scottish samples in GB wide polls.

Now a further release of data from Ipsos-MORI gives strong evidence of a significant divergence of opinion between the two nations.

In a similar poll in November, 50% of people in England said they would vote to leave the EU compared with 42% wanting to remain.

This new Scottish poll indicates that more than half of SNP, Labour and LD supporters would vote for the UK to remain in the EU and even among Tories, there was a 9 point margin in favour.  In every demographic group, support for staying in exceeded leaving (except for those renting council or Housing Association homes).

A 19% margin in favour of the EU in Scotland, and an 8% margin against in England is particularly important in terms of the UK Government’s latest “car crash” announcement, when their own adviser noted that the Scottish Government’s estimate of 18 months to negotiate membership details seemed “realistic”.  During those 18 months, of course, Scotland would still be within the EU.

For an independent Scotland, a majority of every party favoured EU membership and Yes supporters and No voters were in close agreement (62% and 60% respectively) that an independent Scotland should be an EU member.

Given the dominance that the EU issue has been given by both campaigns, it may well be that both Yes and No sides already knew from private polling that Scotland really was pro EU.

Whatever was “extinguished” in 1707, Scotland’s Europhilia clearly wasn’t.