Brexit deadlock ‘shifting Remain voters towards Scottish independence’

The Brexit impassse has made some Remain voters in Scotland turn in favour of Scottish independence, according to an elections expert.

Professor Sir John Curtice said an overview of polls since last June show a marked swing in favour of independence solely among people who voted to remain in the EU referendum and those who did not vote in that ballot.

In analysis published on the What Scotland Thinks website, Sir John said the averaged result of eight polls conducted between June and December 2018 suggested an even split on independence between Leave and Remain voters at 47% at that time.

Leave voters were against independence at almost two to one, with 32% against and 63% for, once don’t knows were removed.

In the four polls carried out between April and June this year, Leave voters have remained broadly steady in their attitude towards independence, with 30% for and 64% against.

However, the analysis indicates Remain voters are now in a majority in favour of independence, at 51% for and 42% against.

For those who did not vote in the EU referendum, including younger voters who were under 18 at the time, those in favour of Scottish independence have risen from 55% to 59% between the two polling periods analysed.

Sir John wrote: “In short, not only have recent polls suggested that there has been something of an increase in support for independence in recent months, but also that this rise has occurred entirely among those who voted Remain (and those who did not vote in 2016).”

He also highlighted the April-June polls indicated an average three-point swing in favour of independence, from the 45% result of the 2014 referendum to 48%.

The most recent poll, by Panelbase for the Sunday Times, published on June 23, found if Boris Johnson became prime minister 53% said they would back independence, with 47% against it.

A Panelbase poll for the same paper in April found a majority of voters (51%) backed independence in the event of a no-deal Brexit.

Sir John added: “It would seem that the Brexit impasse has motivated some Remain supporters in recent months to re-evaluate their attitudes towards the union.”

“If so, then we do not need to rely on the answers to hypothetical polling questions to conclude that the outcome of the Brexit process could potentially change the balance of support for independence versus staying in the union – and so determine the future of the British state.”

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