Believe in Scotland surveyed 3,226 Yes supporters in order to take the temperature of the movement on a few key issues and this is what they told us.
In a nutshell the 3,226 independence supporters who responded believe that:
- There will be a referendum before the end of 2023
- Spring 2023 is the most popular date for indyref2
- The SNP/Green alliance in Holyrood makes independence more likely
- Scotland will vote Yes to independence in 2023
We also collected comments from arround 200 No to Yes switchers telling us why they now support independence, and we have published our analysis of those here.
1) Does the SNP/Green deal help the independence cause?
We made the statement “The SNP and the Scottish Green Party have now formed a majority Government at Holyrood and both parties had the promise of a new referendum on Scottish independence in their manifestos”.
Then we asked: Do you think this makes Scottish independence more likely?
Excluding the 10% that didn’t know a massive 91% said that it would make independence more likely.
Comment: The deal to form a majority Government that involves ministerial positions for the co-leaders of the Scottish Green Party has been hugely popular. In terms of political tactics, it is clearly designed partly to be a slap in the face for the Alba party. However, it also reaches out to a lot of undecided voters and even the Yes movement to demonstrate that the SNP is willing to seek partnerships. One of the reasons the deal has shown in other polling to be so popular amongst SNP supporters is that the Greens, Lorna Slater in particular, have been vocal and very enthusiastic about holding and winning a new independence referendum by the end of 2023.
2) How long should the campaign be?
We asked: What is the ideal length of a campaign to deliver a winning campaign for independence?
- 48% thought that a campaign of between 6-12 months would be best.
- 28% preferred a shorter campaign of around 6 months
- 19% thought a longer campaign of 12-18 months would be best
- 5% wanted 18-24 months.
Comment: Believe in Scotland polling from earlier this year conducted by Panelbase and even the SNP’s own polling suggests that calling a referendum before the undecided and soft No voters feel that the economy is heading back to ‘normal’ after the lock-down issues would be damaging to the Yes vote. That being the case, autumn 2022 looks unlikely and so we are probably looking at May 2023 at the earliest. As I write this May 23 is 19 months away and a 12-month campaign announced in May 2022 would be a good bet unless we have more lock downs. We don’t need to worry about the UK Government calling an early referendum to take advantage of that fact as whoever calls the referendum early will be punished by the voters at the polling booth.
We also must look at the political tactical situation. The SNP have a vested interest in keeping the door shut to the Alba Party who must do well in the 2022 Council Elections to even survive. If the SNP use the promised spring statement by The FM to name a date or even narrow it down to spring or autumn 2023 then that would motivate the SNP vote.
3) When will indyref2 be?
We asked: When do you think the next referendum will be?
- 31% Thought spring 2023
- 27% Plumped for autumn 2022
- 24% Said autumn 2023
- 10% Went for spring 2022
- 5% Though it would be after 2024
- 3% Thought there would not be a referendum
Comment: A lot would have to change for it to be autumn 22, but it remains on the table if the consequences of Brexit reach a tipping point, significantly damaging support for the Union, but it looks unlikely. As well as the reasons above spring 22 is off the table, tactically because early 22 will be the Platinum Jubilee and legally the referendum can be held at the same time as the council elections. So, the 31% going for spring 23 are most likely right.
4) Who will win
We asked: Assuming there is a referendum before the end of 2023 (as confirmed by the Scottish Government) how do you think Scotland will vote?
Excluding the 15% who didn’t know 91% believe that Yes will win if the SNP honour their commitment to holding a referendum before the end of 2023 and just 9% think Yes would lose.
Comment: Around 3% of respondents were No to Yes switchers and they were far more likely to either believe that NO would win again or to be unsure. That is worth considering as given their own experiences, which mean they have a better understanding of the reasons why people voted No last time and what it will take to change them, they may just have a more realistic outlook than the most committed Yesers.
It’s also fun to look at the answers of the trolls that completed the survey (those responses were removed from the data above). They hate the SNP/Green deal, none mentioned Brexit, they think there won’t be a second referendum or if there is that will be after 2024 so their campaign will start from a place of severe disappointment. Half of the trolls wanted an 18-24-month campaign (kicking the can down the road) and half a 6 month or less campaign and an early referendum. So clearly, they were trying to offer the answers least helpful to the Yes cause in their opinion. However, 40% of them think Yes will win indyref2.
Despite a fair amount of frustration, political infighting and some people feeling depressed by how long it is taking to hold the referendum – the Yes movement is fairly upbeat, believes there will be a referendum and that we will win.
Believe in Scotland thinks that spring 2023 with a 6 to 12-month campaign looks most likely and Autumn 22 and 23 are plan C and B respectively. So, the Yes movement is realistic about that situation.