A new poll has been released today which makes for interesting reading about the future of the UK. The poll by Savanta ComRes for ITV’s Tonight programme surveyed voters between 18-22 February.
It shows the Union is fighting a battle on three fronts. In Scotland, 71% believe we would fare better without being part of the UK - not sure what that means. We will have to watch the programme which commissioned the poll to get the full details.
The poll found independence support in Scotland at 53% thus re-establishing the Yes lead. However, as it was conducted for a TV programme that still had to be filmed, the polling predates the more recent Survation poll which saw support for independence tied at 50/50.
We can’t tell anything from that other than different polling companies have found Yes support falling slightly during the internal arguments within the SNP. But the poll of polls for 2021 so far has independence at 54% and that surely is no cause for celebration for unionist campaigners.
In Wales the Savanta ComRes poll finds 39% of people are now in favour of independence. Consider that when the Yes campaign started ahead of the Scottish 2014 referendum Yes was at 27%. If it had started at 40% it’s almost a mathematical certainty that Scotland would now be independent.
A key issue for Welsh people is that they fear that once Scotland becomes independent they will be left isolated with the rump-UK and apparently that's an unappealing prospect.
Finally, 43% of people in Northern Ireland would vote for unification with the Republic of Ireland. With my long-term family connections to Ireland on both sides of the Irish question, a standout result for me was that 72% of Northern Irish people agree that the country is historically Irish. Pause for a second and then read that last sentence again. Let it sink in. Changed days indeed.
Taking an average of the three results - 53%, 39% and 43% - the populations of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland are sitting at 45% in favour of ending the UK.
In the next few weeks, we will see an end to the internal SNP battles. Polls will tell us whether the new list parties have even registered in the electoral consciousness. Once the Holyrood election campaigns get underway, a more unified Yes movement should signal a return to larger Yes leads in the polls.
We still have the two Holyrood enquiries into the Salmond affair to report but the mainstream media hysteria over the First Minister’s position seems to have died down and left the Scottish Conservative Party, in particular, look slightly childish.
Link to Tonight Programme Details