Support for Scottish independence has fallen to 44 per cent – falling below the level the Yes vote received in the 2014 referendum for the first time.
It deals a major blow to Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who had hoped June’s Brexit vote would boost support for separation after a majority of Scots backed remaining in the EU. Threats of Scottish independence were also used as part of the Remain’s Project Fear campaign in an attempt to deter voters from backing Brexit.
But today’s poll – published to coincide with St Andrew’s Day – is further evidence of the doom-laden warnings backfiring.
The survey of Scottish voters, conducted by YouGov for The Times over the last five days, found support for independence had fallen from 46 per cent in August to 44 per cent, with 56 per cent saying they would vote for Scotland to remain part of the UK in a referendum.
In the September 2014 referendum 45 per cent backed separation.
The survey also shows that less than a third (31 per cent) want the Scottish government to push for a second referendum in the next couple of years.
More than half (56 per cent) think that it should campaign for another vote, while just six in ten ‘Yes’ voters in 2014 now want Scottish ministers to demand a second referendum on separation.
Today’s poll is embarrassing for the SNP, which launched a three-month ‘National Conversation’ in September that aimed to contact 2 million voters in an attempt to drum up support for independence.
Polling expert Professor John Curtice said the poll showed the SNP’s tactic of linking the EU vote to Scottish independence had backfired.
The SNP is also losing support, the survey shows, with 48 per cent saying they would vote for the party – down from 52 per cent in August.
Labour continues to spiral downwards, with just 15 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for the party, led in Scotland by Kezia Dugdale.
The Tories appear to be picking up support from the two parties, with 25 per cent saying they would vote for Ruth Davidson’s party in a Holyrood election – up four points from August.
Voters in Scotland think Theresa May is doing a much better job than Jeremy Corbyn.
Just over a third of respondents said she is doing well as Prime Minister, while six in ten think Mr Corbyn is doing a bad job as Labour leader. Just one in four voters think Ms Dugdale is doing a good job leading the Labour party, while nearly double (46 per cent) think Ms Davidson is doing well leading the Scottish Tories. Ms Davidson replaced Ms Dugdale as the official opposition to Ms Sturgeon in the Scottish Parliament in May’s elections.
Labour’s only Scottish MP Ian Murray told MailOnline: ‘As this new poll shows, the last thing Scotland needs or wants is another divisive independence referendum.
‘Scotland’s economy is already fragile, and yet more uncertainty will only exacerbate this. It is time the SNP stopped obsessing about the constitution and instead focused on governing Scotland, creating jobs and improving life for ordinary working families.
‘Not one new law has been introduced in the Scottish parliament since the SNP were re-elected in May. They need to get on with their day job. That is why Scottish Labour will vote against any independence Bill in the Scottish Parliament.’
A spokesman for the Scottish Conservatives said: ‘The standout finding in this poll is the increasing opposition to another referendum on independence, and the drop in support for independence itself — now lower than at any time since the 2104 referendum. ‘On the day the SNP finish their so-called listening exercise on independence, it is now time they finally paid heed to what Scotland is saying — ‘no’ to a second referendum, and ‘no’ to more division, more uncertainty, and more rancour.’ SOURCE