The 2024 Big Movement Survey - Thoughts on the EU

Earlier this year, Believe in Scotland ran its annual Big Indy Movement Poll and a massive 4,623 of you responded. 

We shared the first set of results explaining what the indy supporters thoughts on the Grassroots Campaign are here.

We will share the results and our analysis in another 2 short reports over the coming weeks. In this one we will concentrate on what the respondents thought about an independent Scotland rejoining the EU and also whether they think there is a need for an independent Scotland to have a referendum on rejoining the EU.

First let’s be clear, this is a self selecting online poll and so it tells us what dedicated Indy supporters are thinking and not what Scotland is thinking. However, as an exercise in taking the pulse of the movement, that's a useful group to survey.

This is pretty much what we would have expected to see, Brexit itself has had a major impact on independence support since 2014 with some polls indicating that approximately 90% of No to Yes Switchers were motivated by Brexit and see the opportunity to rejoin the EU as one of the key benefits of independence. Those voters may have been put off independence in 2014 by the Better Together lie that only voting NO protected EU membership.

The general understanding back when Brexit happened was that 5% of Yes voters from 2014 have left Yes as Brexit met their wish to leave the EU which was (mistakenly) part of their rational for voting Yes. However, independence support rose by almost 10% due to Remainers losing their faith in the Union due to Brexit. Hence in rough terms the change from 45% yes to around 50% Yes in polling. Although on the surface that assumption looks to hold true to this day, more detailed national polling would confirm if there are other factors at play keeping the polls at roughly 50/50.

Accessing the European Economic Area, for example via EFTA membership, is the policy of The Alba Party and so we would expect their followers to support that policy and around 16% of respondents stated that they would vote for Alba on the Holyrood list. Again, this is a self selecting online poll of convinced independence supporters and not at all indicative of national voting polling.

This one surprised us a bit, we had been working on the assumption from past polls that the 2016 Remain vote in Scotland meant that people thought Scotland had decided. However, as time has passed and as support for EFTA has grown from non existent to a known option. Scottish independence supporters seem to have decided that it is only right that there is a vote of some kind on Rejoining the EU after independence.  

To be clear, no one expects the referendum to say no to joining they just think it is the democratic way to progress things.  

This leads to multiple scenarios in terms of organising an EU related referendum after independence, if that opinion were supported by national all voter polls. The simplest of which is a Yes/No style referendum with a question such as ‘Should Scotland apply to rejoin the EU?”. 

Then, assuming a vote to join, the possibility of a second referendum on the negotiated settlement with the EU which may have a fall back position of joining the European Economy Area if Scotland rejects the negotiated terms for EU membership. 

We would assume that the result of the first referendum would not be in doubt but the second would act as a safeguard against a poor deal being struck by an independent Scotland with the EU. For example Scottish negotiators if asked to accept something they didn’t like (that was also not mandatory) could say “I don’t think the Scottish people will vote for that” as a negotiation tactic. 

Remember to check back for Part 3 of the results & analysis, which will be coming soon.