Brexit should not lead to second indyref - poll

Less than a quarter of Scots think Brexit should lead to a second independence referendum, a poll has revealed.

Research by Ipsos Mori for STV News found that while about two-fifths (41%) back another vote on independence before the next Scottish Parliament elections in 2021, only 22% said Brexit should result in a second ballot on leaving the UK.

Almost one in five (19%) wanted another independence referendum regardless, and said the UK's decision to quit the European Union had not impacted on this.

  • 41% of people surveyed support a second Scottish independence referendum in the next three years

  • This includes 22% who back a fresh ballot because of Brexit and 19% who want another referendum anyway

Nearly half (47%) of the 1,050 people who were surveyed were opposed to another vote on the matter and, when asked how they would vote if there was a second referendum, 50% of those likely to take part said they would opt to keep Scotland in the UK.

Meanwhile 46% said they would vote Yes to independence, while 4% were undecided or refused to say.

Support for leaving the UK was highest among those aged 25 to 34, at 59%, but in the over-55 age group 62% said they would vote No.

More than three-fifths (61%) of those surveyed said they believed Brexit would make both Scotland and the UK worse off - but while just 9% of SNP supporters and 13% of Labour voters said leaving the EU would boost the UK's economy, this rose to almost a third (30%) for Tory supporters.

Opposition to leaving the EU was higher amongst younger voters, and 70% of those aged 16 to 24 said they believed Brexit would be bad for Britain's economy - compared with the 50% of those aged 55 and over.

The poll, conducted between March 5 and 11, found the SNP is still ahead of its rivals when it comes to Westminster voting intentions - with 39% of those who are likely to vote and who expressed a preference saying they would back Nicola Sturgeon's party.

Labour was second on 26%, narrowly ahead of the Scottish Conservatives on 25%, while 6% said they would back the Liberal Democrats with 4% backing other parties.

Emily Gray, managing director of Ipsos Mori Scotland, said: "Scots are pessimistic about the impact that Brexit will have on the economy, both here in Scotland and across the UK.

"However, Scots' pessimism about Brexit doesn't appear to be giving rise to a clamour for a second referendum on Scotland's constitutional future.

"While 22% of Scots say they support a second referendum in the next three years because of Brexit, there's still no overall majority in favour of a second independence referendum - our research indicates that opposition to Scotland becoming an independent country remains higher than support for it."

SNP business convener Derek Mackay. (David Cheskin/PA)
SNP business convener Derek Mackay. (David Cheskin/PA)

SNP business convener Derek Mackay said: "People continue to put their trust in the SNP to deliver for Scotland, in the face of chaos from the Tories at Westminster.

"An overwhelming majority are worried about the damage of a hard Brexit to jobs and our economy. And they're right to be concerned - even the UK Government's own analysis shows we're headed for economic disaster unless we protect Scotland's place in the single market.

"While the Tories think they can do anything they like to Scotland and get away with it, the SNP will continue to stand firm against them."

Scottish Tory deputy leader Jackson Carlaw said: "This is more evidence of how badly Nicola Sturgeon misjudged the decision to leave the EU.

"The move to deceptively use Brexit to further her independence ambitions was punished in the General Election last year, and it seems people still don't accept her ruse on this."

Labour's Neil Findlay said: "This poll confirms that it is Labour who are now a clear alternative to Tory austerity and SNP complacency.

"The majority of Scots do not share the SNP's support for a second independence referendum and are concerned about the shambolic Tory handling of Brexit so far."

Lib Dem MP Christine Jardine added: "With the turmoil of Brexit the last thing we need is the turmoil of independence too.

"Instead, the sensible thing to do would be to give people a say on the terms of whatever deal Theresa May negotiates, with the option of an exit from Brexit."