Pages tagged with "Polling News"

Poll - Two policies that would allow the next FM to raise independence support to 60%

A poll conducted by Panelbase for Believe in Scotland of over 2,000 Scottish residents, aged 16+ conducted has shown that 56% of Scottish voters would support Scottish independence if the Scottish Government put a Wellbeing Economic Approach at the heart of its economic plans for an independent Scotland. A plan that recognises that quality of life, equality, fairness, sustainability, happiness, and health are all outcomes that should be given equal weight as it does to traditional measures such as GDP. 

The same poll asked the standard Yes/No question on independence, Yes support came in at 48%. This means that a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases independence support to 56% an 8% increase.  You can learn more about the Wellbeing economics approach here. This poll demonstrates that there is a route to independence if the Scottish Government is willing to adopt the Wellbeing Economic Approach and drop its outdated Sustainable Growth Commission. 

The impact of a Wellbeing Pension on independence support.

Believe in Scotland has also been campaigning for a Wellbeing Pension. The UK basic state pension is the second worst in the developed world and is a direct cause of pensioner poverty. The Wellbeing Pension has been calculated by Scotianomics, the research arm of Business for Scotland, as the minimum amount required by pensioners to live with basic dignity. That amount is £225.00 per week. 

When asked “If the Scottish Government’s Wellbeing Economic approach included a commitment to increasing the basic state pension from £141.85 to a Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week in an independent Scotland - how would you vote in a Scottish independence independence referendum?” Support for independence skyrockets to 60%. That is a full 12% increase just by clarifying the message and doing the right thing. 

The Scottish Independence Congress Supports Wellbeing

When a similar question was asked of delegates at the recent Scottish Independence Congress hosted by Believe in Scotland and attended by 241 delegates selected from 126 local Yes Groups - 97% of delegates agreed that a core focus of Scotland’s campaign to become independent should centre around introducing and pursuing a Wellbeing Economic Approach. 

97% also supported the adoption of a Wellbeing Pension as a core manifesto commitment of pro-Yes parties. The message from the Yes movement is clear - they want Scotland to be a country which places the welfare and happiness of its citizens on par with economic prosperity.

Sustainable Growth Commission published in 2017 is now outdated and irrelevant to the new reality. It has been overtaken by events such as the economic damage done by Brexit, the health crises, the cost of living crises and disastrous economic management from the UK Government. There is no place for outdated conservatism in the economic plan for an independent Scotland. The next First Minister of Scotland must continue and in fact, accelerate, the Scottish Governments adoption the Wellbeing Economic Approach in their campaign for independence. 

How the Wellbeing Economic Approach changes minds on independence

It is clear that a focus on wellbeing economics increases support for independence, but where is that increase felt? In short, the difference is felt across almost every age group, sex and party affiliation. The commitment to a wellbeing economic approach by the government of a newly independent Scotland increases the support for independence across the board. The most stark demographic jump is among females aged 18-34 where support for independence increases 11% to 75-25 in favour. 

The next most interesting change comes from those who intend to vote Labour in the next Westminster election. When asked about their support for independence with the wellbeing commitment, Labour voter support jumps by 11% and LibDem support for independence increases by 12%. 

Across all regions of Scotland there are also significant increases in support for Yes. The largest increases are felt in the West and South of Scotland, where opposition to independence is traditionally strongest. In these areas a Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence by 9% and 8% respectively, taking both areas above majority support for independence.  

How the addition of the Wellbeing Pension changes minds on independence

Committing to a Wellbeing Pension as part of the Wellbeing Economic Approach increases support for independence even more strongly across the board. The increases across demographics are felt more strongly among females, with the most consequential increase being Females 55+. This demographic was most opposed to independence in 2014, due to fears over pensions, this result shows there is a path to winning them to the cause of independence.

Looking at the results across party lines we can see support for independence once again increases significantly for Labour and LibDem voters. The key here is that the adoption of the Wellbeing Economic Approach with the Wellbeing Pension of £225.00 per week wins over large swathes of Labour voters, these voters are the key to Scotland winning its independence as they are most likely soft No voters or undecideds who voted to remain in the EU and are disheartened by the path the UK is on, if we can show them that an independent Scotland can offer a brighter future, we can win them over.


These results show that a key way to increase support for independence is to offer a vision of a fairer, more equal and happier nation that prioritises more than just economic growth but also the happiness for its citizens. 

Believe in Scotland and its parent organisation Business for Scotland have, since 2011, championed the introduction of wellbeing economics as the dominant economic model of an independent Scotland. The current and past failures of the UK Government highlight, even more starkly, that now is the time to move to this model. The old economic and political dogmas of the left and right are dead, they offer us no solutions to the current state of the UK. The world economy has teetered on the brink of collapse twice in just over a decade, with the UK economy never fully recovering from the first. We need new answers and wellbeing economics provides them.

Wellbeing economics provides answers to the big questions, such as how do we combat climate change, reduce inequality, improve health outcomes and quality of life? The solution is simple: we must give these outcomes the equal weight we currently give to traditional economic indicators such as GDP growth or trade statistics, incorporating them into official government publications and policies. Scotland’s aim should be to become a world leader in all the areas listed above by building a strong society and a strong economy - as one cannot exist without the other.

Through independence, Scotland can make strides to become a world leader in the other wellbeing indicators and the results of this poll shows that the Scottish people want that future. One where their quality of life and happiness is prioritised as much as economic growth.

Polling News: Yes support unchanged from October 2022 according to BIS-commissioned poll

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. 

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.

70% of Yes Group organisers say Westminster Election as defacto referendum is answer to Westminster's undemocratic indy stance

On Saturday 18th February, 241 voting delegates from 126 local and national Yes groups joined the Scottish Independence Congress hosted by Believe in Scotland. This was the biggest ever meeting of Yes Group organisers. Delegates met to discuss and agree on the next steps for the Yes movement and what the strategy for achieving independence should be. 

In quite a coup for Believe in Scotland the Congress delegates heard from representatives from each of the three main pro-Yes parties. Michael Russell from the SNP, Ross Greer from the Greens and Kenny MacAskill from Alba were all interviewed by Judith Duffy the Chief Political Reporter of the National on their suggested way forward for achieving independence.  

Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp presented the results of a large scale (2,006 respondents) poll conducted in the previous week by Panelbase for Believe in Scotland and discussed how different policies such as Wellbeing Economics, rejoining the EU and paying a Wellbeing Pension impacted on support for independence. Polling details and Wellbeing Economics will be covered in a separate article.

Richard Walker the former Sunday Herald editor and founding editor of The National then hosted a lively discussion on the options with panelists Lesley Riddoch, Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp and Kelly Given. 

Armed with hours of data and opinion from all sides of the debate, delegates then voted on a series of measures.  These have been laid out below:

What is the most practical democratic route to gaining Scotland’s independence?

All speakers and panelists were clear that the Scottish Government has multiple mandates for a second independence referendum and that is the gold standard way to demonstrate the will of the Scottish people and achieve Scotland's independence. That route being undemocratically blocked by Westminster is an affront to democracy and is driven by the fact that Westminster knows it will lose the next referendum. 

Given therefore that the choices of a path forward (assuming doing nothing is not an option) lies either through a Westminster or Holyrood defacto referendum - 70% of delegates supported using the next Westminster election as a defacto independence referendum, while just under 10% wanted to see a Holyrood election used, and a further 10% wished to see the law changed to force an early Holyrood election to be used as a defacto or a UK General Election used to secure a Section 30 referendum.

Independence support will only rise if we campaign and focus the nations thinking on the benefits of independence versus the irreversible decline of Brexit Britain.  When during that campaign independence support reaches the high 50s we expect Westminster will offer a Section 30 referendum - if not then the next UK General election becomes a defacto referendum. 

The Yes movement has been clear. The next Westminster election should be used by the pro-Yes parties as a defacto referendum on whether or not Scotland should be an independent nation. It is therefore the belief of the Congress that this should be adopted by the parties and that the date should be announced in order to energise the movement before a new SNP leader takes the reins.

Have the pro-Yes political parties specifically the SNP done enough to promote and explain the benefits of independence?

When asked, 91% of delegates thought that the pro-Yes parties had not done enough to promote and explain the benefits of independence to the Scottish people. A clear message from the Yes movement that there is significant work on the part of the parties to get our message out there to the undecideds. As the leadership race of the SNP kicks off, this is a clear sign that the next leader must refocus the party’s priorities back onto independence, an issue it seems many within the movement think the parties have been neglecting. 

Should an independent Scotland seek to rejoin the EU or the EFTA?

Scotland is an inherently pro-EU nation. Scotland voted 62% to remain in 2016 and in recent polling for Believe in Scotland, Panelbase found that 68% want an independent Scotland to rejoin the EU. 80% of delegates at the Scottish Independence Congress voted in favour of an independent Scotland rejoining the EU, with another 15% voted that we should rejoin the European Free Trade Association. Scotland is an outward looking nation, we must leave behind Brexit Britain and reconnect with our European partners, that is the message of this Congress.

Getting the Policies Right

87% of delegates would like to see the Scottish Government restart the publication of its policy papers on independence which ceased after the supreme court ruling. These papers gave the Yes movement critical ammunition in winning over undecideds and those whose “hearts said yes but their heads said no”. It is paramount for the movement going forward that the Scottish Government make its official stance clear on what policies it will pursue in the wake of independence. 

The Role of Believe in Scotland

87% of delegates also agreed that an organised grassroots, non party political campaign such as Believe in Scotland was vital to increasing support for and ultimately winning independence. 85% would also like to see pro-Yes political parties kick their membership into campaign mode and join Believe in Scotland and our 136 affiliated Yes Campaign Groups to campaign and raise the Yes support - making any plebiscite on independence a sure win. 


The Scottish Independence Congress succeeded in its plans to bring together the organisers of the Yes movement and chart the course towards independence. The delegates to this Congress have stated clearly that in the absence of an agreed referendum that the next Westminster General Election be a defacto referendum on Scottish independence. In addition to this, we ask that the political parties reaffirm their commitment to ensuring that an independent Scotland will begin the process of rejoining the EU from day one. 

The SNP is Scotland dominant political party and the Scottish Independence Congress hoped that a new leader could refocus the SNP on Independence, raise their game and refresh the message whilst working more closely with Believe in Scotland to and our affiliated groups to launch a proper and sustained campaign that will lead to Scotland independence and the opportunity to build a better country that only independence can bring. 

Through these commitments and through these policies we can ensure that pro-independence support in Scotland will reach new highs and that more and more people will be persuaded to Believe in Scotland.

New Poll: 56% Yes and General Election majorities for Yes in both seats and votes

BREAKING: A poll released this morning shows support for Scottish independence has soared to 56% in the wake of the UK Supreme Court’s ruling against a second independence referendum. These results demonstrate that the writing is on the wall for Unionism as a political project- the people of Scotland are both ready and willing to support independence.

The Scottish Political Monitor poll, conducted by Ipsos Mori for STV found that support for independence had risen by 6% between May and November. The results account for those who are likely to vote and when they are examined in detail, the majority for Yes becomes even clearer. Including those who voted ‘Don’t Know’ in answer to whether they would support independence, Yes retains a majority at 53%, with No at 42%. 

The poll also surveyed voting intentions at Westminster. If a General Election were called tomorrow, 51% of respondents would vote for the SNP, maintaining their majority share of MPs in Scotland. When these results are run through the Electoral Calculus model, 58 of 59 potential seats in Scotland would be won by the SNP, a larger proportion than even the party’s landslide victory in Scotland at the 2015 General Election. This is also remarkable stability for the SNP, who have been the main party of government in Scotland since 2007 (15 years in total).

However, the Scottish Government has announced that they intend to run the next General Election as a de facto independence referendum, after plans for a 2023 referendum were undemocratically blocked by the UK Supreme Court. Once these conditions are factored in, support for the SNP rises further to 53%, with the Greens at 2% and Alba at 0.47% meaning a total pro-independence majority of 55.5%. Voters in Scotland are not just rejecting a Conservative government, they are rejecting rule by Westminster altogether. 

Many people had denounced the strategy of a de facto referendum as risky, with Westminster leaders ridiculing the idea. This however does not seem to have dented support for independence in the slightest. In fact, the Supreme Court’s subversion of the people of Scotland’s democratic wishes appears to have instead galvanised support. 

Above all else, these results confirm what the independence movement already knew. Westminster did not just block another referendum because they thought Scotland legally was not entitled to hold another one, they blocked it because they knew that they would lose. Ironically, their attempts to stop it means that now they almost certainly will. 

Believe in Scotland supports 127 local Yes campaigns

Back the grassroots Yes Campaign

Snap General Election would make SNP official Westminster opposition

Polling by YouGov has indicated that if a snap general election were called, the SNP would be the official party of opposition in Westminster following a crushing defeat for the Tories. 

This is based on opinion polling for the UK and Scotland which shows Labour would win 529 seats with a majority of 408, the SNP would become the second largest party with 51 seats and the Tories would be relegated to third having won only 30 seats.

Even if an independence referendum was not granted before a general election, there is simply no way it can be denied if the SNP forms the Official Opposition and is the second largest party in the House of Commons. However, if there were a snap election the SNP would fight it on an independence platform so their MPs would only be going to Westminster to negotiate the terms of independence. 

Our calculations are based on two polls conducted by YouGov at the beginning of October of UK-wide and Scottish voting intention at Westminster. When the results of these polls are converted to Westminster seats, some interesting things happen: 

  • Labour wins a landslide victory with 529 seats and a 326-seat majority in the House of Commons.
  • The Tories would experience a total collapse, with their seats dropping from 365 to just 30.
  • The SNP would win a massive landslide of 51 seats in Parliament, overtaking the Tories in Westminster.
  • The Lib Dems would only win 16 seats. 
  • This means that the SNP would in fact be the second largest party in the UK Parliament and would form the Official Opposition. 

It’s also important to keep in mind that we used Electoral Calculus for the seat projections and two of the seats in Scotland predicted to swing to Labour are currently held by MPs that defected to the Alba Party. Our analysis is that the SNP would almost certainly win these constituencies, bringing the potential total of SNP seats up to 53. 

It’s important to note that these polls predate the resignation of Less Truss and the complete collapse of her Conservative Government. As a result the situation now may well be worse for the Conservatives and better for the SNP. After just 44 days in office, Liz Truss has become the shortest serving UK Prime Minister, with her tenure making all of the disasters of recent Tory administrations seem like minor gaffes. She oversaw a mini-budget offering such unsavoury levels of unfunded tax cuts for the wealthy that even the most steadfast Thatcherites found difficult to stomach.

The subsequent turmoil in the sterling and gilt markets forced the Bank of England to intervene to save the pensions sector from total collapse, leading to the resignation of the Chancellor. Her premiership came to an embarrassing end when she missed a vote in the House of Commons on fracking, which may or may not have been a vote of confidence in her own government. 

Through all this, Mrs Truss’ premiership might be best known for inducing the total collapse of the Conservative party as one of the pillars of the two party system. 

These results demonstrate that, above all else, now is the time for an independent Scotland. The people of Scotland deserve better than the current farce at Westminster and have a right to distance themselves from this calamity. 


UK Government photo ID plan will disenfranchise 100,000 Scots - and may reduce turnout for Indyref 2

The House of Lords is currently considering the Elections Bill which would disenfranchise about 2.5% of the electorate by requiring everyone to bring a passport, driving licence or similar photo ID to the polling station. 

This week, the Electoral Commission wrote a strongly-worded public letter to the Government warning that the BIll’s plans for direct Government oversight of political spending and election rules would undermine trust in the electoral system.

The potential effect of introducing voter ID is that more than a million voters across the UK could be turned away from the polling stations at the next general election. The Scottish Government can make sure these rules don’t apply at council and Holyrood elections - but Westminster sets the rules for its contests, and so as many as 100,000 Scottish voters would likely to be disenfranchised. (With the uncertainty over the future of PM Boris Johnson, there is a possibility of another UK General Election before indyref2.) 

People who face the humiliation of being turned away once may be reluctant to try again. They may not realise there are different rules for different contests in Scotland. They make become less likely to vote, and they may even drop off the electoral roll. That could affect turnout in the Referendums (Scotland) Bill soon to be passed by the Scottish Parliament. 

Voter ID targets disadvantaged groups - official photo ID costs money

Research shows it is more likely to be disadvantaged groups who are affected - the young, the disadvantaged, those who can’t afford photo ID. A passport costs a minimum of £75 and a provisional driving licence £35 - sums of money that people feeling the squeeze through benefit cuts, inflation and energy costs won’t be able to find. And these groups are of course less likely to vote Conservative. 

Just a couple of percentage points can make a difference  - for example in Moray and in West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine the majority for the Conservatives in the 2019 election was under 1,000 votes and in Dumfries and Galloway, Alister Jack's majority was less than 2,000. According to recent polling by Electoral Calculus, all the Conservative MPs seats are at risk, with the potential for them all to be lost if the current polling was replicated across the country at a general election. 

A robust, address-based system - no evidence of significant fraud

The UK has a robust, address-based system, where experienced teams tick off names against addresses in a small area around each polling centre. Electoral officers are alert for unusual activity - many names against a small flat for example - and there is very little evidence of voter fraud. That's why many commentators believe the real motivation for the bill is to suppress turnout. 

A House of Commons committee has expressed strong concerns about the Elections Bill. It said that the Bill risks damaging trust in the UK’s electoral system, instead of protecting it. There was not enough public consultation or scrutiny of the proposals before bringing in the legislation

The report said: “When the requirement to produce photographic identification at polling stations was introduced in Northern Ireland in 2003, the turnout at the 2004 Northern Ireland Assembly elections dropped by 2.3% as a direct consequence. The introduction of the voter ID requirement will remove an element of the trust inherent in the current system between state and individual, and make it more difficult to vote. We are concerned that the evidence to support the voter ID requirement simply is not good enough. It is likely that it will reduce turnout for future elections.” 

The Electoral Commission's  Letter 

In a strong letter this week, representatives of the Electoral Commission across the four UK nations expressed deep concern about the Elections Bill, saying that its provisions go against the principles of democracy are not found in any other comparable democratic country. 

The Bill also gives the UK Government a direct role in overseeing the work of the Commission, setting political funding rules and regulating their opponents.

The letter said: “It is our firm and shared view that the introduction of a Strategy and Policy Statement – enabling the Government to guide the work of the Commission – is inconsistent with the role that an independent electoral commission plays in a healthy democracy. This independence is fundamental to maintaining confidence and legitimacy in our electoral system.

“If made law, these provisions will enable a government in the future to influence the Commission’s operational functions and decision-making. This includes its oversight and enforcement of the political finance regime, but also the advice and guidance it provides to electoral administrators, parties and campaigners, and its work on voter registration...

“The Statement has no precedent in the accountability arrangements of electoral commissions in other comparable democracies, such as Canada, Australia or New Zealand. Indeed, the Code of Good Practice in Electoral Matters of the Venice Commission, of which the UK is a member, states that ‘Only transparency, impartiality and independence from political motivated manipulation will ensure proper administration of the election process “.

Independence is the only way to protect Scotland's democracy

The Elections BIll is another example of the UK Government diverging from the principles and standards that democratic countries abide by.

We have seen the Conservative Government pack the House of Lords with donors and cronies. It is threatening the independence of the judiciary, placing its own supporters on the boards of public institutions and attacking the rights of immigrants and the right to protest.

Now it is attempting to interfere with the electoral process. There is almost no evidence of electoral fraud. Imposing voter ID rules is a clear attempt to suppress the votes of certain classes of people who are unlikely to vote Conservative. 

The Scottish Government is powerless to refuse to stop voter ID being imposed in general elections. It may be able to mitigate this by giving people free access to an acceptable form of voter ID. But in the longer term, independence is the only way to protect democracy in Scotland. 

Most UK voters support indyref2 being held before 2024

MOST voters in the UK who expressed a view in a new poll said they support a second referendum on Scottish independence being held before 2024.

The Savanta ComRes poll found that, with undecided voters taken out, 54% supported indyref 2 being held during the current term of the Scottish parliament, with 46% against. Taking undecided voters into account 37% of people in the UK support a second independence referendum, with 31% opposed.

A total of 48% of those aged between 18 and 34 back holding indyref 2, as do 40% of those aged between 35 and 54.

More than two thirds of Labour voters who expressed a view backed indyref 2 taking place

It also showed half of those who voted Labour in the 2019 UK general election would support a second independence referendum. Only 23% were against. More than two thirds of Labour voters who expressed a view backed indyref 2 taking place.

Labour leader in Scotland Anas Sarwar ... opposes indyref 2

That contradicts the stance taken by both Labour’s UK leader Keir Starmer and the party’s leader in Scotland, Anas Sarwar, both of whom support Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s view that indyref 2 should be ruled out in the foreseeable future.

The leaders’ opposition to indyref 2 is being challenged within the party itself. Former Labour First Minister Henry McLeish wants the party to back holding a second referendum.

In a newspaper article in May Mr McLeish said traditional Unionists were seeking to "deny democracy and say no to a second referendum". He said Westminster could not “continue to ignore” the half of the country which votes SNP.

He added that although independence may not necessarily happen, it is likely if Boris Johnson “continues his brutish, cynical, and muscular approach to devolution”. He added: “The Union seems incapable or unwilling to change and is holding back a reimagined nation.’

In September the former First Minister went further and said he would consider voting Yes in a future independence referendum.

Labour MSP Katy Clark also contradicted her party leader in June when she said there should be a referendum if Holyrood voted for one. She said she didn’t campaign for a referendum but added: “However if the Scottish parliament were to vote for one my view is that that should happen… if the Scottish parliament is saying that there needs to be a referendum then I would argue there should be one.'

Labour's Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has included the independence option in a new constitutional convention

The Labour Party in Wales has adopted a very much more relaxed view of Welsh independence. Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford has included the independence option in a new constitutional convention, saying it would be ridiculous to rule it out.

Another new  poll has suggested that the SNP would gain 11 seats in Scotland if a UK election was held tomorrow.

The poll, conducted by Find Out Now UK and Electoral Calculus, covered Great Britain and had a sample of 922 respondents for Scotland. Its findings suggest that the SNP would gain 11 seats.

It also predicts that Scottish Tory leader Douglas Ross would lose his Westminster seat to the SNP, along with Scottish MPs Andrew Bowie, David Duguid, John Lamont, Alister Jack, David Mundell, Alistair Carmichael and Ian Murray.

An Ipsos MORI poll conducted for STV last week showed a surge in support for independence to 55% with the undecideds excludes. It was the hight support for independence in a year.

Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said she plans to hold indyref 2 before the end of 2023 with or without Westminster backing.

More good news in poll which showed Yes support soar to 55%

The Ipsos MORI poll which yesterday showed support for Yes increase to 55% contained other good news for independence supporters.

There was, for instance, a detailed breakdown of how strong support for Yes was in a range of different age groups. Every group except the oldest – over 55 – showed a majority likely to vote for independence.

Support was strongest in the youngest age groups. Among those aged between 16 and 24 and those aged 25-34, 71% agreed that Scotland should be an independent country, while only 29% did not. Support for Yes in the 35-44 age range was at 63%, with 37% against independence.

In the 45-54 age range 58% supported independence and 42% did not. Independence support slipped to 49% in the 55-64 age range and to 34% among those aged 65 and over.

The poll also destroyed the Unionist argument that the Scottish people do not care about independence. It was ranked as the second most important issue facing Scotland after health issues and the NHS.

Independence supporting parties showed an increase in voter support in both constituency seats and in the regional lists. The SNP registered 52% support in constituencies (up 2 compared with Ipsos Mori’s last poll of 30 April – 3 May)  and 43% in the regional list vote – up 4.

The Scottish Green party registered 3% support in constituencies – up 1 compared to the last poll– and 12% in the regional list (no change)

All the Unionist parties saw their support fall. The Conservatives to 19% in constituencies (down 1) and to 20% in the regional list (down 3); Scottish Labour to 17% in the constituencies (down 5) and to 15% in the regional list (down 3);  the Scottish Liberal Democrats to 5% (down 1) in the constituencies and to 6% in the regional list (down 2). The independence-supporting Alba Party, which has only stood candidates in the regional list, saw its support slip by 1 to 1%.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is Scotland’s least favourite party leader,  with 4 in 5 Scots (80%) saying they are dissatisfied with the way he is doing his job.

Nicola Sturgeon remains the highest rated party leader, with almost three in five respondents (58%) saying they are satisfied with the job she's doing.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is Scotland’s least favourite party leader,  with 4 in 5 Scots (80%) saying they are dissatisfied with the way he is doing his job. This is the worst result ever recorded by Ipsos MORI – Johnson’s previous lowest rating was in October 2020, when 76% were dissatisfied with his performance. Almost 3 in 5 (58%) of those who voted Conservative at the 2019 general election say they are dissatisfied.

Scottish Conservative leader Douglas Ross is the least popular of the Scottish party leaders. Just over  half (51%) of Scots say are dissatisfied with his performance as Conservative leader. Only 24% are satisfied, while 25% don’t know enough to rate him.

The 55% support for Yes registered in the poll is five percentage points higher than support in the Ipsos MORI poll in early May and is the highest figure for Yes in a year.

The poll was carried out in November, during Believe in Scotland's  ongoing Autumn for Independence Action. Events have so far included a successful Day of Action and the production - in partnership with the SNP and The National newspaper - of an 8-page independence newspaper putting the case for wellbeing through independence, which was delivered to a million homes across Scotland.

55% Yes ... independence support surges during our Autumn of Independence campaign

The first poll on Scottish independence after the majority of Believe in Scotland’s Autumn of Indy Action campaign has been implemented shows support for Yes significantly increasing to 55%.

Excluding don’t knows, the poll - carried out by Ipsos MORI for STV during November  - suggests if indyref2 was held now the 2014 result could be reversed.

The 55% Yes support is a five per cent increase on the last Ipsos MORI poll before the Scottish elections in May and is the highest Yes support in a year.

Our Autumn of Action kicked off on September 18, partnering with 112 local Yes groups who restarted their campaigns, the National Yes Network and The National putting out more than 600,000 leaflets.

Then we teamed up with the SNP and The National again to produce an 8-page newspaper and deliver it to a million homes across Scotland, reaching almost half the voting population with a message on Scotland's wellbeing through independence. Now Scotland has responded.

It has done so after the COP 26 conference in Glasgow raised the global perception of Scotland's contribution to combatting climate change and after the Westminster government became mired in sleaze allegations. The new poll showed approval ratings for Prime Minister Boris Johnson hitting a record low in Scotland. Four out of five respondents said they were dissatisfied with his performance.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Monday that the SNP’s independence campaign would begin ‘in earnest’ next spring, with a view to the referendum itself being held in 2023 - Believe in Scotland and the grassroots Yes campaigns have already started.

Yes support at 55% is a good pointer - especially as our poll on independence carried out by Panelbase just before our Day of Action in September showed only 48% backing for Yes with undecideds removed - but there is a lot more work to be done. This latest poll is not yet a trend. We need to do everything we can to make sure other polls also find growth in support for Yes.