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Opinion polling for the Scottish independence referendum, 2014

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This page lists the public opinion polls that were conducted in relation to the Scottish independence referendum, 2014, that was held on 18 September 2014. Overall, polls showed that support for a "No" vote was dominant until the end of August 2014, when support for a "Yes" vote gained momentum and the gap closed significantly, with at least one poll placing the "Yes" vote ahead. In the final week of the campaign, polls showed the "No" vote to be consistently but somewhat narrowly ahead. There were no exit polls[1][2] although a YouGov post-election poll was published shortly after the polls closed.[3] For the history of the campaign itself see Scottish independence referendum, 2014, Yes Scotland ("yes" supporters), and Better Together (campaign) ("no" supporters).

Opinion polls conducted by British Polling Council members[edit]

Overview[edit]

Results of polls to 11 Sep 2014

Professor John Curtice stated in January 2012 that polling showed support for independence at between 32% and 38% of the Scottish population—this is a slight decline from 2007, when the Scottish National Party (SNP) first formed the Scottish Government.[4] Up until January 2012, there was an insignificant amount of poll evidence showing majority support for independence, although the share "vehemently opposed to independence" declined.[4]

Polls in March and April 2014 showed opposition to independence at an average of 55% (excluding those who registered a "Don't know" opinion), compared to 61% in the period before December 2013.[5] During September 2014, the month of the referendum, the poll results appeared to narrow further—as of 11 September, the average opposition to independence stood at 51%.[6]

A poll by Survation in April 2014 suggested that a high turnout in the referendum would be likely:[5] 75% of respondents indicated that they were certain to vote in the referendum, compared to 63% for the next United Kingdom general election.[5]

Results[edit]

Only polling companies that are members of the British Polling Council, and therefore fully disclose their findings and methodology, are shown in this section. Three methods of conducting polls were used by the polling companies for referendum polling. YouGov, Survation and Panelbase conducted polls online; Ipsos Mori conducted their polls by telephone, ICM conducted online and telephone polls for different clients and TNS BMRB used face to face interviews.[7] There were variations in the questions used by each company, with TNS BMRB, ICM and Panelbase asking respondents how they intended to vote on 18 September 2014, while YouGov, Survation and Ipsos Mori asked their respondents how they would vote if the referendum were held immediately.[7]

Headline figures from ICM, Panelbase, Survation and Ipsos MORI only showed those who say they are certain or very likely to vote in referendum. TNS BMRB and YouGov headline figures showed voting intention for all voters.

2014[edit]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2014 results 3,623,344 44.7% 55.3% 10.6%
16–17 Sep Ipsos MORI/Evening Standard 991 45% 50% 5% 5%
16–17 Sep Survation/Daily Record 1,160 43% 48% 9% 5%
15–17 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 3,237 45% 49% 6% 4%
15–17 Sep Panelbase 1,004 45% 50% 5% 5%
15–16 Sep Ipsos MORI/STV 1,373 47% 49% 5% 2%
12–16 Sep ICM/The Scotsman 1,175 41% 45% 14% 4%
12–16 Sep Survation/Daily Mail 1,000 44% 48% 8% 4%
12–15 Sep Opinium/Telegraph 1,156 43% 47% 8% 4%
10–12 Sep Survation/Better Together 1,044 42% 49% 9% 7%
9–12 Sep Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,014 46% 47% 7% 1%
11 Sep Broadcast of Scotland Decides: The Big, Big Debate
10–11 Sep ICM/Sunday Telegraph 705 49% 42% 9% 7%
9–11 Sep Opinium/Observer 1,055 43% 47% 10% 4%
9–11 Sep ICM/Guardian 1,000 40% 42% 17% 2%
9–11 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 1,268 45% 50% 5% 5%
5–9 Sep Survation/Daily Record 1,000 42% 48% 10% 6%
2–5 Sep YouGov/The Sunday Times 1,084 47% 45% 7% 2%
2–4 Sep Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,042 44% 48% 8% 4%
27 Aug–4 Sep TNS BMRB 990 38% 39% 23% 1%
28 Aug–1 Sep YouGov/The Times/The Sun 1,063 42% 48% 10% 6%
26–28 Aug Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,001 41% 47% 12% 6%
25 Aug Broadcast of Scotland Decides: Salmond versus Darling
12–15 Aug YouGov/The Times 1,085 38% 51% 11% 13%
12–15 Aug Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,026 42% 46% 12% 4%
11–14 Aug ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,005 38% 47% 14% 9%
11 Aug Publication of The Wee Blue Book [8]
6–7 Aug Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,010 37% 50% 13% 13%
4–7 Aug YouGov/The Sun 1,142 35% 55% 10% 20%
23 Jul–7 Aug TNS BMRB 1,003 32% 45% 23% 13%
5 Aug Broadcast of Salmond & Darling: The Debate
28 Jul–3 Aug Ipsos MORI/STV 1,006 40% 54% 7% 14%
30 Jul–1 Aug Survation/Mail on Sunday 1,000 40% 46% 14% 6%
16–22 Jul Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,041 41% 48% 11% 7%
7–11 Jul ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,002 34% 45% 21% 11%
25 Jun–9 Jul TNS BMRB 995 32% 41% 27% 9%
4–8 Jul Survation/Daily Record 1,013 41% 46% 13% 5%
25–29 Jun YouGov/The Times 1,206 35% 54% 12% 19%
10–23 Jun TNS BMRB/Scotland September 18 1,004 32% 46% 22% 14%
16 Jun Release of the draft Scottish Independence Bill consultation paper[9]
12–16 Jun YouGov/The Sun 1,039 36% 53% 11% 17%
9–12 Jun ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,002 36% 43% 21% 7%
9–11 Jun Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,060 43% 46% 12% 3%
6–10 Jun Survation/Daily Record 1,004 39% 44% 17% 5%
2 Jun Release of Scottish Conservatives Strathclyde Commission Report[10]
26 May–1 Jun Ipsos MORI/STV 1,003 36% 54% 10% 18%
30 May Official Campaign Period begins
21–28 May TNS BMRB 1,011 30% 42% 28% 12%
12–15 May ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,003 34% 46% 20% 12%
8–14 May Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,046 40% 47% 13% 7%
9–12 May Survation/Daily Record[dead link] 1,003 37% 47% 17% 10%
23 Apr–2 May TNS BMRB 996 30% 42% 28% 12%
25–28 Apr YouGov/Channel 4 1,208 37% 51% 12% 14%
14–16 Apr ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,004 39% 42% 19% 3%
11–15 Apr Survation/Sunday Post 1,001 38% 46% 16% 8%
4–9 Apr Panelbase/Yes Scotland 1,024 40% 45% 15% 5%
4–7 Apr Survation/Daily Record 1,002 37% 47% 16% 10%
28 Mar–4 Apr Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,025 41% 46% 14% 5%
21 Mar–2 Apr TNS BMRB 988 29% 41% 30% 12%
20–24 Mar YouGov/The Times 1,072 37% 52% 11% 15%
17–21 Mar ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,010 39% 46% 15% 7%
18 Mar Release of Scottish Labour Devolution Commission Report
7–14 Mar Panelbase/Newsnet Scotland 1,036 40% 45% 15% 5%
26 Feb–9 Mar TNS BMRB 1,019 28% 42% 30% 14%
6–7 Mar Survation/Daily Record/Better Nation 1,002 39% 48% 13% 9%
24–28 Feb YouGov/Scottish Sun 1,257 35% 53% 12% 18%
20–25 Feb IpsosMORI/STV 1,001 32% 57% 11% 25%
18–21 Feb Panelbase/Scottish National Party 1,022 37% 47% 16% 10%
17–21 Feb ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,004 37% 49% 14% 12%
17–18 Feb Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,005 38% 47% 16% 9%
13 Feb Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech on currency union
29 Jan–6 Feb Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,012 37% 49% 14% 12%
28 Jan–6 Feb TNS BMRB 996 29% 42% 29% 13%
3–5 Feb YouGov/The Sun 1,047 34% 52% 14% 18%
29–31 Jan Survation/Mail on Sunday 1,010 32% 52% 16% 20%
21–27 Jan YouGov 1,192 33% 52% 15% 19%
21–24 Jan ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,004 37% 44% 19% 7%
14–20 Jan TNS BMRB 1,054 29% 42% 29% 13%
3–10 Jan TNS BMRB/BBC Scotland 1,008 28% 42% 30% 14%

2013[edit]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
3–10 Dec TNS BMRB 1,055 27% 41% 33% 14%
6–9 Dec YouGov/The Times 1,074 36% 55% 10% 19%
29 Nov–5 Dec Ipsos MORI/STV News 1,006 34% 57% 10% 23%
26 Nov Release of Scotland's Future
20–27 Nov TNS BMRB 1,004 26% 42% 32% 16%
12–20 Nov Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,006 38% 47% 15% 9%
23–30 Oct TNS BMRB 1,010 25% 43% 32% 18%
17–24 Oct Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,008 37% 45% 17% 8%
25 Sep–2 Oct TNS BMRB 1,004 25% 44% 31% 19%
13–16 Sep YouGov/The Times 1,139 32% 52% 13% 20%
9–15 Sep Ipsos MORI/STV News 1,000 31% 59% 9% 28%
10–13 Sep ICM/Scotland on Sunday 1,002 32% 49% 19% 17%
30 Aug–5 Sep Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,002 37% 47% 16% 10%
23–28 Aug Panelbase/Scottish National Party 1,043 44% 43% 13% 1%
21–27 Aug TNS BMRB 1,017 25% 47% 28% 22%
19–22 Aug YouGov/Devo Plus 1,171 29% 59% 10% 30%
16 Aug Angus Reid/Daily Express 549 34% 47% 19% 13%
17–24 July Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,001 37% 46% 17% 9%
10–16 May Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,004 36% 44% 20% 8%
29 Apr–5 May Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,001 28% 57% 15% 29%
20 Mar–2 Apr TNS BMRB 1,002 30% 51% 19% 21%
18–22 Mar Panelbase/Sunday Times 885 36% 46% 18% 10%
20–28 Feb TNS BMRB/Scottish CND 1,001 33% 52% 15% 19%
4–9 Feb Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,003 32% 52% 16% 20%
30 Jan–1 Feb Angus Reid 1,003 32% 47% 20% 15%
11–21 Jan Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,004 34% 47% 19% 13%
3–9 Jan TNS BMRB 1,012 28% 48% 24% 20%
3–4 Jan Angus Reid 573 32% 50% 16% 18%

2012[edit]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
22–24 Oct YouGov/DC Thomson 1,004 29% 55% 14% 26%
9–19 Oct Panelbase/Sunday Times 972 37% 45% 17% 8%
15 Oct Edinburgh Agreement (2012)
8–15 Oct Ipsos MORI/The Times 1,003 30% 58% 12% 28%
26 Sep–4 Oct TNS BMRB 995 28% 53% 19% 25%
17–20 Jun YouGov/Fabian Society 1,029 30% 54% 16% 24%
7–14 Jun Ipsos MORI/The Times/The Sun 1,003 32% 55% 13% 20%
27–29 Jan Ipsos MORI/The Times/The Sun 1,005 37% 50% 13% 13%
9–11 Jan YouGov/The Sun 1,002 33% 53% 14% 20%

2011[edit]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
26–27 Oct YouGov/Scotsman 1,075 34% 52% 12% 18%
24–31 Aug TNS BMRB/The Herald 1,007 39% 38% 23% 1%
25–29 Aug Ipsos MORI 703 35% 60% 5% 25%
25–31 May TNS BMRB/The Herald 1,022 37% 45% 18% 8%
5 May Scottish Parliament general election, 2011
26–29 Apr YouGov/Scotsman 28% 57% 12% 29%

Other public polling[edit]

Two-option polling by other organisations[edit]

Some opinion polls were conducted by organisations that were not members of the British Polling Council and therefore not obliged to fully disclose their findings and methodology.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2014 results 3,623,344 44.7% 55.3% 10.6%
May 2014 Progressive Scottish Opinion/Sunday Mail[11]  ??? 34% 54% 12% 20%
Dec 2013 Progressive Scottish Opinion/Mail on Sunday[12]  ??? 27% 56% 17% 29%
Sep 2013 Progressive Scottish Opinion/Mail on Sunday[13]  ??? 27% 59% 14% 32%
Feb–May 2013 Lord Ashcroft Polls 10,007 25% 65% 10% 39%

† The question should Scotland be an independent country? was the 26th asked question out of a total of 26.

Regional polling[edit]

ComRes conducted polls for ITV Border, surveying people in the council areas of Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway on how they would vote in an immediate referendum.[14]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Yes No Undecided Lead
18 September 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2014 results (Dumfries and Galloway) 106,775 34.3% 65.7% 31.4
18 September 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2014 results (Scottish Borders) 83,526 33.4% 66.6% 33.2
3–9 Sep 2014 ComRes/ITV Border 1,000 27% 56% 17% 29%
9–15 Jun 2014 ComRes/ITV Border 1,001 26% 61% 13% 35%
2–6 Jan 2014 ComRes/ITV Border 1,004 24% 59% 17% 35%

Three-option polling[edit]

Before the Edinburgh Agreement clarified that the referendum would be a straight yes or no question on the issue of independence, some three option opinion polls were conducted. The third option in these polls was some (undefined) form of increased devolution. YouGov occasionally asked the question following the Edinburgh Agreement.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Independence Devolution Max Status Quo Undecided Ref.
2-5 Sep 2014 YouGov 42% 36% 14% 7% [15]
20-24 Mar 2014 YouGov 31% 36% 22% 11% [15]
26 Oct 2012 YouGov 23% 41% 25% 11% [16]
14 Jun 2012 Ipsos MORI 27% 41% 29% 4% [17]
13 Jan 2012 ICM 26% 26% 33% 10% [17]
1 Nov 2011 TNS BMRB 28% 33% 29% 10% [17]

Demographic polling[edit]

Polling indicated higher support for independence among male voters, voters under the age of 55 and voters from economically deprived areas, compared to higher support for the Union among female voters, voters over the age of 55 and voters living in affluent areas.[18][19]

In June 2013, a poll of over 1,000 14- to 17-year-olds conducted by the University of Edinburgh found that 21% supported independence, 60% supported the Union, and 19% were undecided.[20][21] Only 17% of the teenagers' households said they would vote yes in the referendum, however, which led the Newsnet Scotland website to question the accuracy of the opinion poll.[22] A similar poll by the University of Edinburgh in June 2014 found that support for independence was 29%, opposition 52% and 19% were undecided.[23]

Polling on individual topics[edit]

A survey by Ipsos Mori for STV News in June 2014 found that 51% of voters thought that Yes Scotland had been the more effective campaign, compared to 23% who thought that Better Together had performed better.[24]

Opinion polling showed a majority in favour of giving control of welfare policy to the Scottish Parliament.[25][26][27][28]

Early in 2013, an opinion poll commissioned by the Press and Journal found 8% of people in Shetland and Orkney supported the islands themselves becoming fully independent countries, with 82% against.[29]

Polling on hypothetical situations[edit]

Opinion polls also asked for attitudes in various hypothetical situations, such as if how would voters would view the referendum if they believed that the Conservatives or Labour were likely to win the 2015 UK general election.[30][31] An ICM poll in April 2014 found that the no lead would be 8 points (44–36) if voters thought Labour would win, while the no lead would be 1 point (42–41) if they thought the Conservatives would win.[31] Other hypothetical scenarios included if voters thought the UK was likely to leave the European Union,[32] and if people believed independence would make them £500 better or worse off per year.[33] In August 2013, a Panelbase poll commissioned by pro-independence blog Wings Over Scotland asked voters various questions, such as whether they would vote to join the Union in the hypothetical scenario that Scotland was already an independent country.[34] 18% of voters said they would join the Union, whereas 55% of voters said they would choose for Scotland to remain independent.[34]

Private polling[edit]

In June 2013, private research conducted on behalf of Yes Scotland reportedly showed "evidence of growing support for independence" among women and young people, based on "a sample several times the size of a conventional poll" and "a well-designed series of questions building on a rolling monthly basis going back to last January".[35] Better Together demanded that a full report of the research should be published, but Yes Scotland refused to publish it on the basis that private research is not covered by British Polling Council regulations.[36] The SNP researched voting intentions for the referendum while canvassing in Aberdeen Donside for the 2013 by-election; their survey showed 34% of people intending to vote for independence, 29% of people intending to vote for the Union and 37% undecided.[37] The SNP also researched voting intentions for the referendum before the Cowdenbeath by-election, 2014.[38]

A poll by the Scottish Tourism Alliance of members attending its annual conference in March 2014 found 60% would vote no and 32% would vote yes.[39] A poll by Carrington Dean of 1,042 teens aged between 15 and 17 showed 64 percent of them to be worried about the outlook for the economy in an independent Scotland, against only 17 percent who were not concerned.[40]

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) conducted two polls in April 2014, showing that 60% of its Scottish members would vote 'no', with 26.3% saying 'yes'.[41]

In January 2014, the UK Government spent £46,500 on private opinion polling to be conducted by Ipsos MORI.[42] By July 2014, the UK Government had spent £299,100 on opinion polls regarding Scottish independence during 2014.[43]

School, college and university surveys[edit]

Schools, colleges and universities across Scotland conducted polls and mock referendums to gauge the opinion of pupils and students.[44][45][46][47][48][49][50][51] In September 2013, a survey of over 11,000 Aberdeenshire schoolchildren eligible to vote in the referendum returned 75.5% against independence, with 19 out of 20 schools involved voting 'no'.[52][53] In June 2014, a survey of 964 Moray senior pupils eligible to vote in the referendum voted against independence by 71%, with 7 out of 8 schools involved voting 'no'.[54]

Polling in the rest of the United Kingdom[edit]

Opinion polls were also conducted in the rest of the United Kingdom in relation to the Scottish independence referendum. People in the rest of the United Kingdom were polled on a variety of issues such as further devolution for Wales, an English parliament, the Trident nuclear missiles, and currency.

A February 2012 opinion poll in Wales showed a rise in support for stronger powers for its National Assembly if Scotland should choose to be independent.[55] A poll on the same subject in June 2014 found that 61% of Welsh voters thought Scottish independence should make no difference to the constitutional position of Wales, while 17% favoured greater devolved powers and 14% supported independence for Wales.[56] Professor Roger Scully of Cardiff University said it was possible that this poll showed that Welsh voters placed greater importance on the union between England and Wales, rather than the unity of the whole United Kingdom.[56] A poll of Welsh voters in April 2014 found 62% were opposed to Scottish independence, with 16% in favour.[57]

A YouGov survey conducted in April 2014 found that although clear majorities of English (59% – 19%) and Welsh (61% – 19%) voters were opposed to Scottish independence, the majority of English voters (56%) and a plurality of Welsh voters (48%) supported cutting the amount of public spending in Scotland.[58] Commenting on the poll, Professor Scully said that it showed that although English and Welsh voters had a similar view on the question of Scottish independence, the English were tougher in their attitude to future relations within the UK.[58]

The British Social Attitudes Survey conducted in 2013 found that a majority (63%) in England and Wales thought that the Trident nuclear missiles should either definitely or probably be moved from an independent Scotland, which was greater than the number in Scotland who thought that the UK should be required to move the missiles.[59] Professor Curtice said this was probably because the English and Welsh public would prefer to have the missiles in their territory, rather than holding them in another state.[59] Majorities in the survey also favoured allowing an independent Scotland to have the same monarch as England (65%) and to continue using the BBC (82%).[59]

Polls in both Scotland and the rest of the United Kingdom by Panelbase showed majority support for a televised debate between British Prime Minister David Cameron and Scottish First Minister Alex Salmond.[60][61] A poll of FTSE 100 company chairmen found that 65% believed Scottish independence would be bad for business, while 24% believed it would be good.[62]

Currency[edit]

A number of polls amongst English and Welsh people were conducted to ascertain feelings on Scotland continuing to use the Pound Sterling - be it as part of a currency union or not. Although the question varied in some of the polls, the YouGov question asked: "If Scotland did become independent would you support or oppose an independent Scotland continuing to use the pound as their currency?" The Guardian/ICM poll asked "If Scotland becomes independent, the residual UK should: Refuse a currency union, negotiate a currency union or don't know?"

English and Welsh people's response to whether an independent Scotland should be allowed to share the Pound Sterling with the United Kingdom
Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Oppose Support Undecided Ref.
15 Sep 2014 Guardian/ICM 63% 27% 10% [63]
28 Aug 2014 Daily Express/Springboard 44% 22% 34% [64]
11 Jun 2014 FT/Populus 63% 21% 16% [65][66]
11 Apr 2014 YouGov 53% 26% 21% [67]
13-14 Feb 2014 YouGov 58% 23% 20% [68]
28-29 Nov 2013 YouGov 43% 38% 19% [68]

Although the rest of the United Kingdom did not have a vote on Scottish independence, the proposal of a currency union by the Yes campaign was rejected by the British government and the Bank of England.[69] Some writers speculated that in the event of independence, a currency union would have been a key issue in the 2015 UK general election and may require a referendum.[70][71][72][73]

YouGov conducted some polls in the rest of the United Kingdom asking whether an independent Scotland should be allowed to form a currency union with them. In November 2013, 43% opposed a currency union and 38% supported it.[68] In February 2014, after George Osborne said that a currency union would not be allowed, opposition to a currency union increased to 58%.[68] A further poll in April 2014 found that 53% of respondents were opposed to a currency union, with 26% in favour.[67] A Guardian/ICM poll in September 2014, on the eve of the referendum, found that disagreement had increased further. 63% of English and Welsh people believing that the United Kingdom should refuse to negotiate a currency union, while 27% supported the idea of a currency union.[63]

An opinion poll commissioned by the SNP in December 2013 found that 71% of respondents in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland agreed that "if independence does happen [...] Scotland and the rest of the UK should continue using the pound in an agreed sterling area".[74] The annual British Social Attitudes Survey found that, in the summer of 2013, a total of 69% of people in England and Wales thought that an independent Scotland should either definitely (38%) or probably (31%) be allowed to continue to use sterling.[59] Professor John Curtice said that this suggested the later opinion polls showing opposition to a currency union were the result of UK politicians saying it was a bad idea, rather than the public being opposed in principle.[59]

References[edit]

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