Revealing YouGov poll

Support for second Brexit vote on rise in Scotland

Anti-Brexit rally in Edinburgh

Campaigners are asking for a rethink on leaving the EU (pic: Terry Murden)


SNP and Labour leaders are under pressure to shift their views on Brexit after a poll of Scottish voters shows growing support for a second vote on the outcome of negotiations.

The People’s Vote campaign/You Gov poll of almost 2,000 people in Scotland – twice the normal size and the largest published survey of their views on Brexit – shows they would support staying in the European Union by a margin of 66 per cent  to 34 per cent when “don’t knows” are removed.

This is a significant swing since the referendum two years ago when Scottish voters split 62 per cent to 38 per cent for Remain over Leave.

Asked if they want a public vote on the outcome of Brexit negotiations, 48 per cent of voters said they did, compared to just 31 per cent who were opposed. This is an even bigger margin than across Britain where another YouGov survey last week showed the People’s Vote is supported by 45 per cent of the public to 34 per cent.

Publication of the survey comes as the People’s Vote campaign publishes a new dossier demonstrating the impact of leaving the EU on services and businesses across Scotland which reveals a botched Brexit will make every person in the nation £2,200 worse off.

Building on the success of the People’s Vote march in London in June, thousands of people are expected to come together at a rally in Edinburgh this Saturday and days of action across Scotland to add to the momentum of Britain’s fastest growing movement.

Pressure on party leaderships 

The SNP’s supporters want to stay in the EU by a margin of 83 per cent to 17 per cent, while they back a People’s Vote on Brexit by a margin of more than four-to-one (66 per cent to 18 per cent) once don’t knows have been removed.

Labour’s supporters in Scotland would vote to stay in the EU by a margin of 74 per cent to 26 per cent and support a People’s Vote by 64 per cent to 21 per cent. Labour voters in Scotland think Corbyn should strengthen his position on Brexit, with 44 per cent saying he should oppose Brexit more strongly, 22 per cent saying he should support Brexit more strongly and just 11 per cent saying he had got the “balance about right”.

The poll reveals that the Brexit negotiations – which just over one in 10 Scots (12 per cent) think will produce a good deal – is reinforcing scepticism towards Westminster.

Almost two-thirds of Scottish voters (65 per cent) say the UK government is ignoring Scotland’s concerns on Brexit while just 16 per cent disagree. By a margin of 70 per cent to 21 per cent, Scottish voters say they do not trust the Westminster government on Brexit, while the figures are more evenly balanced for the devolved government in Holyrood which 48 per cent do not trust on Brexit compared to 42 per cent who do.

A total of 80 per cent agree that “It is likely that many of the promises made by politicians in favour of leaving the EU will be broken”, with even 69 per cent of people who voted Leave two years ago agreeing.

Asked if Brexit will make Scottish independence more likely, 43 per cent agreed with just 6 per cent saying it would make independence less likely.  A further 7 per cent said Brexit would make no difference because they expected independence to happen anyway.

The poll also reveals widespread pessimism about the impact of Brexit on Scottish jobs, businesses, farmers and public services. Scots believe that Brexit will make their nation’s economy weaker by 56 per cent to 12 per cent, the NHS worse (46 per cent to 12 per cent), and their own family poorer by 49 per cent to 7 per cent.

By 53 per cent to 13 per cent, Scottish voters think that if Brexit goes ahead today’s children will be worse off, rather than better off, than their parents. Only 32 per cent of Leave voters expect today’s children to end up better off.

Among findings, the research shows that: 

– Scotland is expected to lose 9 per cent of GDP over the next decade under a disastrous “no deal” scenario, meaning every man, woman and child in Scotland could be £2,200 a year worse off.

– More than £750 million of EU funding for Scottish businesses and projects through Regional Development Funds and Structural funds is at risk from Brexit.

– 1.4 million tourists to Scotland from Europe may choose to go elsewhere each year, while Scottish tourist attractions and businesses will find it harder to employ seasonal staff from abroad. Over 275,000 people in Scotland are directly employed in tourism as their main or second jobs.

– The European Arrest Warrant makes Scotland a safer place, used to remove 51 criminals from Scotland and bring eight Scottish criminals back to face justice in the UK in 2015.

– Students at Scotland’s universities will also be affected, due to the UK losing access to the EU’s Erasmus scheme as a result of Brexit.  Brexit poses a direct risk to Scotland’s access to this vital programme, which could see these unique opportunities to gain experience abroad restricted for future generations.

Peter Kellner, the polling specialist and a former President of YouGov, said: “Today’s YouGov poll of Scotland for the People’s Vote campaign shows how opinion is beginning to shift on Brexit. Support for a public vote on the outcome is growing across the UK but is particularly strong in Scotland where most people did not want to leave in the first place.

“There is deep pessimism about what Brexit will mean for Scotland and the next generation. Around two-thirds of Scots think the UK is ignoring their concerns and don’t trust Westminster to take these decisions.

“But the survey suggests the leaderships of both the SNP and the Labour Party are in the wrong place with most of their supporters. There may be an electoral dividend in Scotland for one of these parties if they strengthen their position.

“For instance, by a margin of three to one Labour supporters want Jeremy Corbyn to campaign for a public vote while Nicola Sturgeon may yet want to move faster than she has in backing such a route on Brexit.”

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