The Scottish vote

Anthony WellsHead of European Political and Social Research
May 13, 2011, 10:21 PM GMT+0

Last week the SNP achieved a landslide victory in the Scottish Parliamentary elections, but this does not necessarily translate into widespread support for Scottish Independence. Our polling around the Scottish elections suggests that the SNP's victory may have been less about Scotland's constitutional status, and more to do with the Scottish public choosing who they prefer to have leading the Scottish Government, a question where Alex Salmond towered over all rivals.

Since the election we have conducted new polling on Scottish independence for the Sun, asking the opinions of both the Scottish public, and people in England and Wales.

  • In Scotland 29% of people support Independence
  • 58% of people were opposed

These results are almost identical to when we asked questions on how people would vote in a referendum on independence for Scotsman prior to the election, suggesting that the SNP's victory has not vastly altered attitudes towards independence.

Asked if Scotland or England & Wales benefited more from the Union, Scottish respondents tended to think it was quite even.

  • 40% thought both partners benefitted equally, 32% that England and Wales benefitted more
  • 21% thought that Scotland benefits more

Scots also tended to think that both sides of the Union would be worse off if Scotland was independent

  • 43% thought England & Wales would be financially worse off without Scotland (only 14% thought they’d be better off)
  • While 47% thought Scotland would be financially worse off if it became independent (28% thought Scotland would be better off)

In Scotland, while a large minority support independence and think Scotland would be better off independent, the general view seems to be that the Union is a partnership that benefits both sides, roughly evenly.

Compare this with England and Wales.

  • English and Welsh respondents are pretty evenly split on Scottish independence – 41% would support Scotland becoming independent
  • 40% would oppose it (meaning that Scottish independence is actually somewhat more popular with the English and Welsh than with the Scots)

Perceptions amongst the English & Welsh are that Scotland currently gets the better deal from the Union.

  • 54% think Scotland benefits more
  • Compared to 27% who think it is equal
  • And 8% who think England and Wales get the better deal

  • 54% of respondents in England & Wales think that Scotland would be worse off financially if it became independent (15% think Scotland would be better off)
  • While 40% think that England & Wales would be financially better off without Scotland (14% think England & Wales would be worse off)

Overall, English and Welsh respondents think that the Union favours Scotland far more than it does England.

Finally we asked if the future of Scotland should be up to Scottish voters alone, or if there should also be a referendum of English and Welsh voters.

  • At present there does not seem to be any great demand for England & Wales to have a say – 34% of English and Welsh respondents said there should also be a vote in England and Wales
  • But 42% said the decision about Scotland's future should be made by Scottish voters alone

See the survey details and full results - Summary

See the survey details and full results for Scottish adults

See the survey details and full results for English and Welsh adults

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