Sharp drop in support for Scottish independence, according to poll
SUPPORT FOR Scottish independence has fallen significantly in recent months, although those living in Scotland’s poorest districts remain its biggest supporters, according to a new poll.
The latest figures from Ipsos Mori Scotland come just days before the formal launch of the campaign by those trying to maintain the link with England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Fifty-five per cent of those who say they are certain to vote in the late 2014 referendum are now opposed to Scottish first minister Alex Salmond’s independence bid.
The numbers who back independence and are certain to vote have fallen by four percentage points to 35 per cent since January’s poll.
The figures are particularly bad for Mr Salmond since pollsters used his favoured question to test opinion: “Do you agree that Scotland should be an independent country?” The wording has been strongly attacked by some referendum experts, who argue it is heavily skewed in favour of the pro-independence camp.
Up to now, Mr Salmond has insisted that he wanted Scots to face a simple in or out question on the union, rather than adding a third offering greater self-government. However, the latter option – which could see Scotland having full powers over taxation and spending – is voters’ most favoured option.
The pro-union “Better Together” campaign has not decided whether it will call for extra devolution powers to be offered, or whether it will argue that that should be put aside until after the vote.
A defeat for Mr Salmond on the straight in or out question would be a devastating blow for him. But the addition of a third question would make it impossible for him to achieve his real ambition.
Men, younger people of both sexes and the poor are the most likely to favour independence, but support in all categories has fallen over the last six months.
Forty-five per cent of those living in the most deprived neighbourhoods support independence, compared with just a quarter of those living in the most affluent districts, the poll found.