Opinion polling on Scottish independence

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This page lists the public opinion polls that have been conducted in relation to Scottish independence. A referendum on the subject was held on 18 September 2014. For the history on the subject itself see Scottish independence.

2014 referendum[edit]

Many opinion polls were conducted about Scottish independence before the referendum and then during the campaign.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] Professor John Curtice stated in January 2012 that polling had shown support for independence at between 32% and 38% of the Scottish population.[8] This had fallen somewhat since the SNP were first elected to become the Scottish Government in 2007.[8] The research also showed, however, that the proportion of the population strongly opposed to independence had also declined.[8] Curtice stated in April 2014 that support for independence had increased since December 2013, although there was disagreement between the polling companies as to the true state of public opinion.[9] Polls in the run-up to the referendum vote showed a closing of the gap, with one poll giving the Yes campaign a 51–49 lead. In the referendum Scotland voted against independence by 55.3% to 44.7%, with an overall turnout of 84.6%.[10][11]

Post-referendum polling[edit]

Since the referendum in September 2014, opinion polls have asked how people would vote in a hypothetical second referendum. These polls have been carried out since six weeks after the referendum.[12] Twenty-five opinion polls were conducted in the year after the referendum, with seventeen of them having "No" as the predominant answer, seven having "Yes", and one having an equal proportion of respondents for each opinion.[13] During the period of 18 September 2015 to 18 September 2016 a further twenty-four opinion polls were conducted, of which twenty had "No" as the predominant answer while four had "Yes" as the predominant answer.[14] From 18 September 2016 to 18 September 2017 twenty-six polls were conducted with twenty-five returning "No" as the most popular answer and only one returning "Yes" as the most popular answer.[15]

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Sample size Should Scotland be an independent country? Lead Notes
Yes No Undecided
8–13 Jun 2018 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,021 41% 53% 6% 12%
1–5 Jun 2018 YouGov/The Times 1,075 41% 50% 6% 9%
23–28 Mar 2018 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,037 41% 53% 6% 12%
5–11 Mar 2018 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,050 46% 50% 4% 4% Excludes 16-17 year olds
24–28 Jan 2018 Survation/Daily Record 1,029 42% 50% 8% 8%
12–16 Jan 2018 YouGov/The Times 1,002 37% 50% 10% 13% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
1–5 Dec 2017 Survation/Sunday Post 1,006 42% 49% 8% 7%
27–30 Nov 2017 Survation/Daily Record 1,017 42% 48% 10% 6%
2–5 Oct 2017 YouGov/The Times 1,135 39% 50% 7% 11% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
8–12 Sep 2017 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,016 42% 49% 9% 7%
31 Aug–7 Sep 2017 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,021 40% 53% 6% 13%
9–13 Jun 2017 Survation/Daily Record 1,037 39% 53% 7% 14%
8 Jun 2017 United Kingdom general election, 2017
6–7 Jun 2017 Survation/Daily Record 1,001 36% 56% 7% 20%
2–7 Jun 2017 Panelbase 1,106 41% 53% 6% 12%
1–5 Jun 2017 YouGov/The Times 1,093 38% 50% 8% 12% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
31 May–2 Jun 2017 Survation/Sunday Post 1,024 42% 50% 8% 8%
22–27 May 2017 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,016 45% 51% 3% 6% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
15–18 May 2017 YouGov/The Times 1,032 39% 49% 8% 10% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
4 May 2017 Scottish local elections, 2017
24–27 Apr 2017 YouGov/The Times 1,017 40% 49% 8% 9% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
18–21 Apr 2017 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,029 43% 52% 5% 9%
18–21 Apr 2017 Survation/Sunday Post 1,018 43% 48% 9% 5% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
7–11 Apr 2017 BMG/Herald 1,041 43% 45% 12% 2%
29 Mar–11 Apr 2017 Kantar 1,060 37% 55% 8% 18%
13–17 Mar 2017 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,008 42% 53% 5% 11%
9–14 Mar 2017 YouGov/The Times 1,028 37% 48% 11% 11% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
8–13 Mar 2017 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,019 43% 48% 9% 5%
13 Mar 2017 Nicola Sturgeon announces the intention to seek approval for a Section 30 order enabling an independence referendum
24 Feb–6 Mar 2017 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,029 47% 46% 6% 1%
23–27 Feb 2017 BMG/Herald 1,009 41% 44% 15% 3%
7–13 Feb 2017 Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,028 44% 51% 6% 7%
26–31 Jan 2017 BMG/Herald 1,067 43% 45% 10% 2%
20–26 Jan 2017 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,020 43% 51% 7% 8%
9–16 Dec 2016 BMG/Herald 1,002 40% 47% 13% 7%
29 Aug–16 Dec 2016 YouGov 3,166 39% 47% 11% 8% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
24–29 Nov 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,134 38% 49% 13% 11%
28 Sep–4 Oct 2016 BMG/Herald 1,010 39% 47% 15% 8% Non-standard question[notes 1]
9–15 Sep 2016 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,024 44% 50% 7% 6%
5–11 Sep 2016 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,000 45% 50% 5% 5%
5–10 Sep 2016 Survation 1,073 42% 48% 10% 6%
10 Aug–4 Sep 2016 TNS 1,047 41% 47% 12% 6%
29–31 Aug 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,039 40% 46% 13% 6% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
20–25 Jul 2016 YouGov 1,005 40% 45% 14% 5% Excludes 16 and 17 year-olds
13 Jul 2016 Theresa May becomes the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
24–28 Jun 2016 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,055 47% 41% 12% 6%
25–26 Jun 2016 Panelbase/Sunday Times 626 47% 44% 8% 3%
25 Jun 2016 Survation/Daily Record 1,002 48% 41% 9% 7%
24 Jun 2016 David Cameron resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
23 Jun 2016 EU membership referendum, 2016.
5 May 2016 Scottish Parliament election, 2016.
2–4 May 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,445 41% 48% 12% 7%
23–28 Apr 2016 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,074 44% 49% 6% 5%
15–20 Apr 2016 Survation/Daily Record 1,005 44% 47% 9% 3%
6–15 Apr 2016 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,021 45% 51% 5% 6%
7–11 Apr 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,012 41% 49% 10% 8%
10–17 Mar 2016 Survation/Daily Record 1,051 44% 47% 9% 3%
7–9 Mar 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,070 40% 47% 12% 7%
25–29 Feb 2016 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,022 44% 49% 7% 5%
11–16 Feb 2016 Survation/Daily Record 1,006 42% 48% 9% 6%
1–7 Feb 2016 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,000 49% 45% 5% 4%
1–4 Feb 2016 YouGov/The Times 1,022 43% 51% 7% 8%
8–14 Jan 2016 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,053 44% 50% 7% 6%
8–12 Jan 2016 Survation/Daily Record 1,029 45% 47% 8% 2%
6–13 Nov 2015 Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 1,074 47% 49% 5% 2%
9–13 Oct 2015 YouGov/The Times 1,026 45% 49% 6% 4%
7–10 Sep 2015 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,010 45% 46% 9% 1%
7–10 Sep 2015 YouGov/The Times 1,110 45% 49% 6% 4%
4–10 Sep 2015 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,005 45% 51% 3% 6%
12 Aug–1 Sep 2015 TNS 1,023 47% 42% 11% 5%
24–30 Aug 2015 Ipsos Mori/STV 1,002 53% 44% 3% 9%
3–7 July 2015 Survation/Scottish Daily Mail 1,084 43% 47% 10% 4%
26 Jun–3 Jul 2015 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,002 45% 50% 5% 5%
19–21 May 2015 YouGov/Sunday Post 1,108 44% 49% 7% 5%
7 May 2015 United Kingdom general election, 2015.
3–6 May 2015 Survation/Daily Record 1,660 44% 47% 9% 3%
29 Apr–1 May 2015 YouGov/Sunday Times 1,162 43% 49% 8% 6%
22–27 Apr 2015 Survation/Daily Record 1,015 46% 47% 7% 1%
20–23 Apr 2015 Panelbase/Sunday Times 1,044 45% 48% 7% 3%
8–9 Apr 2015 YouGov/The Times 1,056 46% 49% 6% 3%
13–19 Mar 2015 ICM/Guardian 1,002 41% 48% 11% 7%
12–17 Mar 2015 Survation/Daily Record 1,027 45% 43% 11% 2%
10–12 Mar 2015 YouGov/The Times 1,049 45% 48% 8% 3%
12–17 Feb 2015 Survation/Daily Record 1,011 43% 47% 10% 4%
29 Jan–2 Feb 2015 YouGov/The Times 1,001 49% 44% 7% 5%
9–11 Dec 2014 Survation/Daily Record 1,001 48% 48% 4% Tied
9–11 Dec 2014 YouGov/The Sun 1,081 48% 45% 6% 3%
27 Nov 2014 Release of Smith Commission report.
19 Nov 2014 Nicola Sturgeon becomes First Minister of Scotland.
6–13 Nov 2014 Survation/Daily Record 1,001 44% 49% 7% 5%
30 Oct–5 Nov 2014 Panelbase/Wings Over Scotland 982 46% 45% 8% 1%
27–30 Oct 2014 YouGov/The Times 1,078 49% 45% 6% 4%
18 September 2014 Scottish independence referendum, 2014 results 3,623,344 44.7% 55.3% 10.6%

Three-option polling[edit]

Prior to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014, some three option opinion polls were conducted, giving respondents the option of full independence, some (undefined) form of increased devolution and the status quo. One poll of this type has been conducted since the EU membership referendum.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Independence Devolution Max Status Quo Undecided Ref.
24-28 Jan 2018 Survation/Scottish Independence Referendum Party 32% 15% 36% 17% [16]

Historical polling[edit]

Two-way polling[edit]

According to professor John Curtice, opinion poll surveys conducted between 1998-2009. Respondents were asked "In a referendum on independence for Scotland, how would you vote?", with the options "I agree that Scotland should become an independent country" and "I do not agree that Scotland should become an independent country". These polls indicated the following levels of support for Scotland to be an independent country each year:[17][18]

Year Agree Disagree Lead
2009 40% 52% 12%
2007 39.5% 45% 5.5%
2006 51% 39% 12%
2001 45% 49% 4%
2000 47% 43% 4%
1999 43.5% 46% 2.5%
1998 52% 39.5% 12.5%

Three-way polling[edit]

During the late 1970s and 1980s, MORI conducted opinion polls on whether Scots wanted full independence, devolution or the status quo. During this period, devolution was the preferred option in each opinion poll, although support for independence increased.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Independence Devolution Status Quo Undecided
5 Apr 1978 MORI 20% 52% 25% 4%
March 1979 MORI 14% 42% 35% 9%
3 May 1979 United Kingdom general election, 1979
February 1981 MORI 25% 46% 30% 0%
May 1981 MORI 25% 50% 25% 0%
September 1981 MORI 23% 47% 31% 0%
November 1981 MORI 22% 47% 26% 5%
February 1982 MORI 23% 53% 19% 5%
April 1982 MORI 22% 45% 27% 6%
November 1982 MORI 22% 47% 26% 5%
March 1983 MORI 23% 48% 26% 2%
4 Jun 1983 MORI 23% 51% 22% 4%
9 Jun 1983 United Kingdom general election, 1983
29 Feb-1 Mar 1984 MORI 25% 45% 27% 3%
24-25 Feb 1986 MORI 33% 47% 14% 6%
6-7 Mar 1987 MORI 32% 50% 15% 3%
May 1987 MORI 29% 41% 25% 5%
11 Jun 1987 United Kingdom general election, 1987
April 1988 MORI 35% 42% 20% 3%

Four-way polling[edit]

Between 1988 and 1995, MORI polled voters on independence giving four opinions: independence inside the European Economic Community (European Union after 1992), independence outside the organisation, devolution and the status quo.

Date(s)
conducted
Polling organisation/client Independence outside the EEC Independence inside the EEC Devolution Status Quo Undecided
1-3 Dec 1988 MORI 10% 24% 46% 16% 4%
25-28 Feb 1989 MORI 11% 24% 42% 20% 3%
1-2 Jun 1989 MORI 12% 22% 49% 15% 2%
11-13 Sep 1989 MORI 9% 27% 44% 18% 2%
22-28 Feb 1990 MORI 10% 24% 44% 19% 3%
15-20 May 1990 MORI 8% 29% 45% 16% 2%
14-18 Jun 1990 MORI 10% 28% 43% 17% 2%
19-22 Jul 1990 MORI 10% 27% 44% 16% 3%
16-20 Aug 1990 MORI 7% 31% 44% 16% 2%
19-23 Sep 1990 MORI 9% 28% 44% 17% 2%
18-22 Oct 1990 MORI 9% 30% 44% 15% 2%
15-18 Nov 1990 MORI 9% 28% 45% 17% 1%
29 Nov 1990 Margaret Thatcher resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
5-10 Dec 1990 MORI 7% 25% 49% 17% 2%
17-20 Jan 1991 MORI 7% 28% 42% 21% 2%
21-24 Feb 1991 MORI 10% 23% 45% 20% 2%
21-24 Mar 1991 MORI 8% 27% 42% 21% 2%
7-25 Mar 1991 MORI 9% 23% 51% 16% 1%
18-20 Apr 1991 MORI 9% 28% 42% 19% 2%
23-27 May 1991 MORI 7% 26% 45% 19% 3%
20-24 Jun 1991 MORI 8% 26% 47% 17% 2%
18-22 Jul 1991 MORI 8% 28% 43% 18% 3%
22-26 Aug 1991 MORI 9% 26% 47% 17% 1%
19-23 Sep 1991 MORI 9% 26% 45% 17% 3%
17-21 Oct 1991 MORI 9% 28% 46% 15% 2%
21-25 Nov 1991 MORI 8% 26% 47% 16% 3%
12-16 Dec 1991 MORI 9% 31% 40% 17% 3%
16-20 Jan 1992 MORI 9% 31% 42% 15% 3%
20-24 Feb 1992 MORI 7% 29% 37% 23% -
12 Mar 1992 MORI 8% 26% 42% 20% -
19 Mar 1992 MORI 8% 26% 42% 23% -
26 Mar 1992 MORI 7% 27% 44% 20% -
2 Apr 1992 MORI 6% 22% 45% 23% -
9 Apr 1992 United Kingdom general election, 1992
23-27 Apr 1992 MORI 5% 22% 47% 25% 1%
21-25 May 1992 MORI 5% 23% 48% 21% 3%
18-22 Jun 1992 MORI 5% 29% 40% 23% 3%
23-27 Jul 1992 MORI 7% 28% 41% 21% 3%
21 Apr-8 May 1995 MORI 9% 20% 52% 17% 2%

Scottish Social Attitudes Survey[edit]

Since devolution, the annual Scottish Social Attitudes Survey has contained a question on independence.

Respondents are asked Which of these statements comes closest to your view?

  1. Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK and the European Union
  2. Scotland should become independent, separate from the UK but part of the European Union
  3. Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has some taxation powers
  4. Scotland should remain part of the UK, with its own elected parliament which has no taxation powers
  5. Scotland should remain part of the UK without an elected parliament.

A report released in 2017, entitled From Indyref1 to Indyref2? The State of Nationalism in Scotland, detailed the previous responses from this survey by grouping options one and two as "independence", options three and four as "devolution" and option five as "No Parliament".

Year Polling organisation/client Independence Devolution No Parliament
1999 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 27% 59% 10%
2000 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 30% 55% 12%
2001 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 27% 59% 9%
2002 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 30% 52% 13%
2003 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 26% 56% 13%
2004 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 32% 45% 17%
2005 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 35% 44% 14%
2006 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 30% 54% 14%
2007 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 24% 62% 9%
2009 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 28% 56% 8%
2010 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 23% 61% 10%
2011 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 32% 58% 6%
2012 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 23% 61% 11%
2013 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 29% 55% 9%
2014 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 33% 50% 7%
2015 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 39% 49% 6%
2016 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 46% 42% 8%
2017 Scottish Social Attitudes Survey 45% 41% 8%

Within the rest of the United Kingdom[edit]

British Social Attitudes Survey[edit]

The British Social Attitudes Survey has asked voters in England how Scotland should be governed, since the 1997 British Election Study. It has always found a plurality in favour of devolution, with majorities in favour between 1997 and 2003 and again in 2017. Since 2011, when the Scottish National Party won a majority in the Scottish Parliament, there has always been one in five people in England in favour of Scottish independence.

Year Polling organisation/client Independence Devolution No Parliament
1997 British Election Study 14% 55% 23%
1999 British Social Attitudes Survey 21% 57% 14%
2000 British Social Attitudes Survey 19% 52% 17%
2001 British Social Attitudes Survey 19% 60% 11%
2002 British Social Attitudes Survey 19% 52% 15%
2003 British Social Attitudes Survey 17% 58% 13%
2007 British Social Attitudes Survey 19% 48% 18%
2011 British Social Attitudes Survey 26% 44% 19%
2012 British Social Attitudes Survey 25% 43% 23%
2013 British Social Attitudes Survey 20% 49% 18%
2015 British Social Attitudes Survey 23% 49% 20%
2017 British Social Attitudes Survey 22% 55% 15%

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Instead of the 2014 referendum question, respondents were asked "If a referendum were held tomorrow, on whether Scotland should leave or remain part of the United Kingdom, how would you vote?" and given the options of "To Leave the United Kingdom" and "To Remain in the United Kingdom", which have been mapped to Yes and No here respectively.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Hennessy, Patrick; Kite, Melissa (26 November 2006). "Britain wants UK break up, poll shows". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  2. ^ Hennessy, Patrick (15 January 2012). "Britain divided over Scottish Independence". The Daily Telegraph. London. 
  3. ^ Allardyce, Jason (15 March 2009). "Voters ditch SNP over referendum". The Times. London. Retrieved 16 March 2009. 
  4. ^ "Scottish Independence". Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  5. ^ "Independence Poll" (PDF). Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Support for independence growing". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 8 September 2014. 
  7. ^ Dinwoodie, Robbie (5 September 2011). "Yes voters take lead in new independence poll". The Herald. Glasgow. Retrieved 5 September 2011. 
  8. ^ a b c "Q&A: Scottish independence row". BBC News. BBC. 17 January 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Curtice, John (24 April 2014). "Scottish independence: Depending on the pollster, it looks like a photo finish". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2014. 
  10. ^ "Scottish referendum: Scotland votes 'No' to independence". BBC News. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 19 September 2014. 
  11. ^ "Referendum results: Turnout a record high as Scots vote No to independence". Scotland Now. 19 September 2014. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  12. ^ "New poll: Scotland would back indy if fresh vote was held now". The Herald. 1 November 2014. Retrieved 13 March 2015. 
  13. ^ Curtice, John (18 September 2015). "What are the latest polls saying about Scottish independence?". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 19 September 2015. 
  14. ^ Curtice, John. "How would you vote in a Scottish independence referendum if held now? (asked after the referendum)". WhatScotlandThinks. Scotcen. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  15. ^ Curtice, John. "How would you vote in a Scottish independence referendum if held now? (asked after the EU referendum)". WhatScotlandThinks. Scotcen. Retrieved 9 October 2017. 
  16. ^ https://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/poll-support-for-scottish-independence-at-32-1-4683018/amp
  17. ^ "A Crisis of the Union" (PDF). Paul Cairney. Retrieved 19 March 2018. 
  18. ^ "The Scottish Political System Since Devolution: From New Politics to the New Scottish Government". Paul Cairney. Retrieved 22 March 2018. 

External links[edit]