A Panelbase poll conducted on behalf of Believe in Scotland has found 48% of respondents in support of Yes, the same as polls in October 2022, despite alleged ‘setbacks’ for the independence campaign. These results show that with a concentrated effort by the independence movement and the Scottish Government to put the focus back on independence, the results can be even higher and put us in a good position to hold a referendum campaign.
This poll was conducted by PanelBase, surveying more than 2,000 respondents across Scotland weighted for age, social class etc. It finds that, when those who responded ‘Don’t Know’ are removed, 48% are in support of independence, compared to 52% who are opposed. This is a 4% decrease from a previous PanelBase poll conducted for The Times in December 2022 but is identical to another poll conducted in October 2022. Despite reported ‘setbacks’ in other polls, overall support for independence remains strong. The poll also measures how individuals would vote in a UK General and Scottish Parliamentary Election, which is particularly important given the Scottish Government’s proposal to run the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum. When these votes are translated into seats, we can see that the SNP would maintain a majority of seats both in Westminster and Holyrood. However, as things stand they do not have a majority of votes, even when this is combined with support from other pro-indy parties like the Scottish Greens and Alba. This shows that the use of such a strategy would have to be carefully considered in order to achieve a Yes vote that eventually grants us independence.
While these results do not yet display an overall majority for Yes, voters have also shown they believe that Scottish independence is not only likely but inevitable. 65% of those polled believe that Scotland will become independent in the future, with over 50% believing that it will become independent in the next 10 years. This reinforces what Believe in Scotland has been saying for years- independence is normal and it is a likely prospect in the minds of many people across Scotland.
When the results are considered in detail, we can also see some variations in support with different demographic groups. Young people aged 16-34 years old consistently support independence at a higher rate (67%) compared to those who are older, particularly in the 55+ age group (35%). Interestingly, more women aged 35-54 support independence at 57% compared to men at the same age at 46%. Another significant group that supports independence at a higher than average rate is 2016 Remain voters (55%), as well as people who did not vote in that referendum (68%). People can see that Brexit continues to be an unmitigated disaster and are reacting accordingly. Conversely, 2016 Leave voters are one of the largest groups opposing independence at 71%. Campaigning to appease Leave voters to win a campaign like the rest of the UK political parties will not work. The independence campaign must promise closer ties with the EU or at least to address Remain and those who did not vote fears.
The poll does not paint a good picture of public opinion on the Westminster government. Over 90% of those polled argue that UK Government policy was a factor in causing the current cost of living crisis. The Scottish public can see the impact of Westminster mismanagement in the form of increased heating bills, the cost of essentials and potentially not being able to afford food. They deserve better than what they have been given.
These results are critical following the resignation of Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister of Scotland last week. The independence movement is currently at an impasse in terms of how to approach the independence vote following the UK Government’s blocking of a Section 30 request for a second independence referendum in October 2023. The 2014 independence referendum campaign began with support for independence in the mid-30s, rising to 45% in the actual result. With a concentrated campaigning effort, which puts the focus back on winning independence, the EU and the Wellbeing Economic Approach, we are almost guaranteed to push support even higher than where it is now. Despite Westminster and the UK media establishment’s best attempts to divide and undermine us, we can further consolidate support.
Fortunately, we at Believe in Scotland believe we have the solution. Believe in Scotland, along with its parent organisation Business for Scotland, have been championing the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic approach in an independent Scotland, with the idea eventually being endorsed by the Scottish Government. This approach puts social development on equal footing with economic development, believing that you cannot have one without the other. Our poll found that support for independence with the adoption of a Wellbeing approach increases to 55% and this approach with the inclusion of an increase in the current state pension to at least £225 a month, support increases to a supermajority of 60%. These results are telling- we can achieve independence if we put wellbeing at the heart of our campaign.