Poll shows 68% of voters want an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU

A large scale poll by Believe in Scotland conducted by Panelbase has found a two thirds majority of support amongst Scottish voters for an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU. 

The poll of 2,006 people also found independence support to be at 48%. This is an increase from a similar sized recent Lord Ashcroft poll which had Yes at 44%.  It's worth noting that Ashscroft is not a British Polling Council member and does not need to use the standard methodology and sampling processes of more credible polling operations. 48% Yes is in the ballpark of where independence support has been for months. 

What about 16 and 17 year olds and EU nationals

Given the prospect of a Westminster General Election (UKGE) being used as a defacto referendum, we recalculated independence support by removing 16 and 17 year olds and EU nationals (as they would not be able to vote in a UKGE) and this gave the same 48% result. The only difference was that the poll rounded up to 48% rather than down to 48%, meaning that this cohort of voters represents a less than 1% loss to the Yes vote. 

Rejoining the EU

The poll also showed that 68% of voters would want an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU. 

On Saturday 18th February, Believe in Scotland hosted the first Scottish Independence Congress. This online event was attended by more than 300 individuals, with 241 voting delegates from 126 local and national Yes groups. Delegates were asked to vote on a series of measures, including whether or not an independent Scotland should rejoin the EU. 80% said Yes- only 1.5% said No, while 3.5% were undecided. The second most popular option at 15% was for an independent Scotland to join EFTA (the European Free Trade Area). Removing the undecided, that's a massive 98% in favour of undoing the damage of Brexit, with full EU membership securing a supermajority amongst the organisers of the Yes movement. 

The demographic breakdown of the data shows that support for an independent Scotland rejoining the EU holds a majority in every age range surveyed, with significant majorities in favour in the under-55 age group. Those in the youngest demographics lead the charge, with 85% of females and 81% of males aged 16-34 years old in favour of rejoining.

Regret over Brexit is beginning to surface throughout the UK. A poll conducted by Focaldata for Unherd Britain found that only one Westminster constituency in the UK has a majority that thinks the UK was right to leave the EU. As the fog of COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine lifts, the true economic fallout of Brexit is coming to light. 

This sentiment is shared by many in Scotland, with 61% of people saying that Brexit is a major factor in causing the current cost of living crisis and 29% saying they think it is a minor factor. With 65% of respondents putting the onus on UK government policies for the crisis, it is clear that the Scottish electorate is putting the blame squarely on the UK Government, either for its failed attempts at making Brexit work, or for the failure of its economic policies in dampening the crisis for households across the country.

An independent Scotland’s economy back in the EU

Independence is the only route to Scotland rejoining the EU and to rebuilding our economy after the damage caused by Brexit Britain- and the people of Scotland agree. 45% of those surveyed think our economy would perform better if Scotland was to rejoin the EU, with 16% thinking it would perform the same. So, 61% of respondents think that Scotland's economy would perform better or the same if we rejoined the EU and were an independent country. The 39% who think it would be worse matches closely the percentage of voters who still support Brexit.   

This result shows there is a clear appetite in Scotland to reconnect with our European partners. Previous polling by Believe in Scotland showed that 97% of those who moved from No in 2014 to Yes did so because of Brexit and that they believe an independent Scotland should rejoin the EU. This is a clear pathway to increase support for independence and the Yes movement must grab the opportunity with both hands. Brexit regret is rife across the UK as the economic fallout from Brexit is coming to light and with Scotland having been torn from the EU against our will, it is only right that the desire of Scots to be back inside the EU is felt more strongly now than ever before. 

So, how do we get there? 

Current Scottish Government policy is that when independence is won an independent Scotland will seek to rejoin the EU from day one. This will put Scotland back into the single largest trading bloc in the world and give us access to a talent pool of 500 million people, filling the labour shortages felt across industries such as healthcare, hospitality and construction. We must convince the electorate that rejoining the EU is essential to growing an independent Scotland’s economy and that access to the single market will mean Scottish exports can flourish. Scotland will once again become a hub for inward investment as Scotland breaks free from Brexit Britain and the downward trending UK economy. 

The message to undecided voters must be this; Britain is broken and its economy is in ruin. We cannot let Brexit-obsessed-Westminster drag Scotland down with it. The only way for Scotland to flourish is by gaining its independence and rejoining the European Union.

By Ross McAlinden