Support for Scottish independence rebounds three years after referendum

Latest Survation poll puts support for independence at 46 per cent and predicts Tories will return to third place

SUPPORT for Scottish independence has risen to 46 per cent in favour, according to the latest Survation poll.

In a new opinion poll published shortly before the third anniversary of the 2014 independence referendum, support for independence has risen by three points since June.

The poll was conducted at the beginning of the month following the release of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon’s Programme for Government, and based its findings on the polling of 1,016 Scots.

The poll also indicated that Labour would become Scotland’s second-largest party once again, returning the Scottish Conservatives to third place, partially reversing their recent electoral fortunes and their near-consolidation of the unionist vote.

“This poll shows support for Scottish independence remains consistently high.” SNP spokesperson

However, increased support for independence did not translate into a rebound for the SNP following their setbacks in this year’s General Election. Since last year, the poll indicated that SNP support had dropped 4.5 per cent on the constituency vote and 11 per cent on the regional list vote.

The contrast would suggest that falling support for the SNP does not necessarily translate to a decline in support for Scottish independence.

Following the poll’s release, an SNP spokesperson told the Sunday Herald: “This poll shows support for Scottish independence remains consistently high, with increased support on the last Survation poll, and particularly strong support among women and young people.

“Although we are far from another election, it is also hugely welcome to see that the SNP is recording double-digit poll leads after 10 years in government, while the Tories have fallen into third place.”

Should the patterns shown in the most recent polling remain unchanged between now and 2021, the Survation poll also points towards the SNP losing nine seats. The same data also suggests that the Scottish Greens would increase their MSPs from six to eight, but should this scenario come to pass, the Scottish parliament would lose its pro-independence majority in the next parliamentary election.

“I think the groundwork should be being laid now for a potential SNP-Labour coalition that to many will seem unthinkable.” Labour MEP David Martin

Responding to Survation’s findings, Scottish Labour MEP David Martin told the Herald: "We are far away from the next Holyrood elections, but I think the groundwork should be being laid now for a potential SNP-Labour coalition that to many will seem unthinkable.

“I would not quite say there is a rapprochement but there is more possibility of cooperation and working together than there has been in a long time.”

SNP MEP Alyn Smith described Martin’s comments as a “welcome intervention” and did not rule out a coalition as “unthinkable”, pointing to the fact that the SNP and Labour already collaborate on the running of Edinburgh City Council.

“Richard Leonard says no coalition, no deals, no pacts with the SNP. Er, not even to keep Ruth Davidson from becoming first minister?” Times columnist Kenny Farquarson

However, both Anas Sarwar and Richard Leonard, the two candidates for the Scottish Labour leadership, have now come out against any coalition between the SNP and Labour, with Leonard denying press reports that he had not ruled out such a deal at his Glasgow campaign launch on Saturday.

This has left both candidates open to accusations that they are putting party tribalism ahead of opposition to the Conservatives. Following Leonard’s announcement, Times columnist Kenny Farquarson commented on Twitter: “Richard Leonard says no coalition, no deals, no pacts with the SNP. Er, not event to keep Ruth Davidson from becoming first minister?”

Picture courtesy of Alf Melin

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