Yes vote slips
Support for independence weakens in latest poll
Independence support may be waning (pic: Terry Murden)
A new poll on Scottish independence is the first in 22 not to show support in favour of splitting the UK in what may be a response to events surrounding former First Minister Alex Salmond.
The Survation survey for the Sunday Mail shows voter intentions evenly locked at 50/50 once undecided voters had been removed, and showed support for Scottish independence at its lowest for nine months.
It found that 44% would vote No if a referendum was held tomorrow, while 43% said they’d back Yes. When undecided voters were removed it left support for independence at 50%.
The Sunday Mail/Survation also quizzed voters on their thoughts on Alex Salmond’s appearance before Holyrood with 50% stating that Nicola Sturgeon should resign if she was found to have broken the ministerial code of conduct.
Only 33% believed she should remain as First Minister if ministerial code had been broken.
Polling was carried out on Friday with Survation CEO Damian Lyons Lowe telling the Sunday Mail: “This is the first polling since June last year to show that Yes has lost its lead over the No camp.
“Survation also saw only a small two-point lead for Yes in our polling in January, so it is conceivable we’re seeing opinion becoming entirely split over the question of independence.”
The poll also found 44% of voters believe there had been a failure of government over the Alex Salmond Inquiry, with just 32% disagreeing.
Speaking to the paper, Scottish Labour deputy leader Jackie Baillie said: “Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond are fighting like ferrets in a sack but the divisions run right through the SNP – it’s beyond them and infecting the whole party.
“People need honesty and accountability in their politicians. Sadly, we have seen little of that from the SNP in recent weeks and months.”
Scotland in Union chief executive Pamela Nash said: “It’s welcome that support for remaining in the UK is on the rise. People are recognising that as we navigate out of the Covid-19 crisis with a successful UK-wide vaccination programme, we are stronger together.
Jackie Baillie: ‘people need honesty’ (pic: Terry Murden)
“The SNP is obsessed with trying to divide Scotland but the priority should be working together on a recovery for everyone in the country.”
A Scottish Conservative spokesman said on the study: “Only the Scottish Conservatives can prevent an SNP majority, stop another divisive referendum and get the Scottish Parliament 100% focused on rebuilding Scotland.”
Lib Dem MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton said: “The section of the ministerial code that Nicola Sturgeon is accused of breaching could not be clearer. If she has misled Parliament then she will have to resign as First Minister. It’s not a ‘will she/won’t she’ kind of deal.”
Meanwhile, the SNP’s depute leader, Keith Brown, has said that Scotland has less than ten weeks to put its future firmly in its own hands – not Boris Johnson’s.
It comes as the party launched its digital weekend of action urging activists to share a digital leaflet with 20 other people – potentially reaching 2.5million voters.
The leaflet is easily shareable on several social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram, spreading the message that Scotland must have the right to choose its own future in a post-pandemic referendum.
Mr Brown said: “The election in May will be unique in many ways, the pandemic being one.
“That is why we are challenging our activists who would usually be pounding the streets up and down Scotland to share our digital leaflet with at least 20 people – spreading the SNP’s message to 2.5million voters.
“The weeks will quickly tick down towards May 6 and we have less than ten weeks to put Scotland’s future in Scotland’s hands.”