YouGov Scottish findings show Unionist parties are out of touch

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By a Newsnet reporter

An opinion poll conducted by YouGov for the Sunday Times shows that there is overwhelming support in Scotland for the Scottish government’s position that the Scottish Parliament should determine the timing and wording of the independence referendum.  

By a Newsnet reporter

An opinion poll conducted by YouGov for the Sunday Times shows that there is overwhelming support in Scotland for the Scottish government’s position that the Scottish Parliament should determine the timing and wording of the independence referendum. 

The poll found that 65% of voters in Scotland agreed that the Scottish Parliament ought to make this decision, with just 22% opposed and 13% who didn’t know or who had no preference.  The SNP has welcome the findings, saying that it demonstrates the extent to which the anti-independence parties are out of touch with Scottish public opinion.

The poll also showed a clear majority of Scots agreed with the Scottish government that the referendum should be held in the autumn of 2014.  52% of Scottish voters agreed with the autumn 2014 timing, with only 25% saying that the referendum should be held this year or next as demanded by Westminster.  A further 10% said that they didn’t want the referendum to be held at all.

The poll shows a clear disparity in opinion north and south of the Border.  Asked the same questions, 50% of those polled in England replied that the Westminster government ought to determine the timing and question of the referendum, and only 30% agreed that it was a matter for the Scottish Parliament.  

In England opinion on the timing of the poll was more divided, a mere 20% of those polled in England agreed that the referendum should be held in autumn 2014, whereas 27% wanted it held this year or next.  16% of those in England said that they didn’t want the referendum to be held at all.     

The difference in opinion north and south of the Border highlights the difficulties faced by the Unionist parties on this issue, as they attempt to appeal to two very different electorates with very different sets of expectations.  The barrage of negative tactics and scaremongering adopted by the Unionist parties over the past week is perhaps a symptom of their inability to come up with a coherent strategy which simultaneously appeals to voters in all the constituent nations of the UK.

This latest poll illustrates a widening divergence in political opinions between Scotland and England, as other opinion polls show that support for independence continues to grow at the expense of support for the Union.  The most recent poll on the independence question put support for independence at 40% with support for the Union at 43%.  The difference between the two was well within the poll’s margin of error.

SNP Westminster leader and referendum campaign director Angus Robertson MP said:

“A week of scaremongering by the anti-independence parties has backfired and these findings show that people in Scotland agree, not only that the referendum should be in the autumn of 2014, but that the Scottish Parliament should decide on the timing and wording of the referendum.

“People in Scotland want a debate over our constitutional future and that must be a grown-up discussion based on facts and not scaremongering.  Some of the more hysterical and bullying contributions over the last week have clearly backfired for the anti-independence parties.

“Every step the anti-independence parties have taken since Cameron’s chaotic intervention last week has done nothing but boost support for independence and this scale of support at this stage suggests we can be confident of achieving a Yes vote for independence in the referendum in autumn 2014.

“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.”