Scottish Independence Referendum Voting Intention (18 September)

September 21, 2021
R&WS Research Team
Boris Johnson | GB Politics | GB Public Figures | Keir Starmer | Rishi Sunak | Scottish Independence

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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest Scottish independence referendum voting intention finds ‘no’ leading by 3%. Altogether, 47% of Scottish respondents say they would vote ‘no’ and 44% say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on whether Scotland should be an independent country, while 9% don’t know how they would vote. These results have not changed since our previous voting intention poll in Scotland on 4-5 August 2021.

Our results continue to show that there is more support for Scottish independence among younger Scots: 56% of 16-to-24-year-olds, 49% of 25-to-34-year-olds, and 54% of 35-to-44-year-olds say they would vote ‘yes,’ compared to 31% of those aged 65 and above. Further, those who voted for the Scottish National Party (75%) in the 2019 General Election are significantly more likely than those who voted Conservative (11%) or Labour (21%) to say they would vote ‘yes.’

On the question of whether and when a second referendum should take place, half of the Scottish public expresses opposition to such a referendum happening in the immediate future: 50% would oppose a referendum on Scottish independence being held in the next year, while 34% would support and 14% would neither support nor oppose this prospect. The proportion of Scots who would oppose a referendum occurring in the next year has increased slightly from 47% on 4-5 August, while the proportion who would be in support has decreased six points from 40%.

However, when given a broader timeframe, Scots become more divided: 42% (up 2%) would oppose and 41% (down 1%) would support a referendum on Scottish independence being held later than a year from now, but within the next five years. 15% would neither support nor oppose (up 1%) a referendum being held within this timeframe.

If a second referendum were to be held in Scotland in the next six months, 42% (up 6%) of Scots expect the ‘no, against independence’ side would win, whereas 35% (down 5%) think the ‘yes, for independence’ side would win. Compared to our 4-5 August results, it appears the Scottish public’s expectations for who would win have shifted slightly in the ‘no’ side’s favour. Notably, a considerable 23% of respondents say they don’t know who would win if a referendum were held in the next six months. 

Predictions for which side would prevail if a referendum were held in the next six months relate closely to how Scots themselves say they would vote if such a referendum were held tomorrow: 68% of those who would vote ‘yes’ think the ‘yes’ side would win, while 68% of those who would vote ‘no’ think the ‘no’ side would win—indicating that each side is equally confident that their position will emerge victorious.

Meanwhile, when it comes to Scots’ views of political leaders in Scotland and the UK at large, opinions are most favourable with respect to Scottish National Party Leader and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon. 47% approve (down 6%) and 33% disapprove (up 2%) of Nicola Sturgeon’s overall job performance since she became Leader of the SNP, resulting in a positive net approval rating of +14%—though this rating has decreased by eight points since 4-5 August.

In comparison, Leader of the SNP in the House of Commons Ian Blackford elicits a more negative net approval rating of -9%, a figure which has decreased by three points since our previous poll. 25% approve (down 2%), 34% disapprove (up 1%), and 30% neither approve nor disapprove (up 1%) of Blackford’s performance. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson receives an even more unfavourable assessment from the Scottish public: 20% approve (down 2%) and 58% disapprove (down 2%) of Boris Johnson’s performance since becoming Prime Minister, producing a resounding -38% net approval rating which has not changed since 4-5 August. A further 20% neither approve nor disapprove (up 3%) of Johnson’s performance.

With regard to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Scots are divided in their assessments: 33% approve (down 1%), 30% disapprove (up 2%), and 33% neither approve nor disapprove (up 2%) of Rishi Sunak’s overall job performance as Chancellor. As a result, his current net approval rating of +3% has decreased by three points since our last poll in Scotland.

Lastly, Keir Starmer receives a net approval rating of -19% (down 2%), with 19% approving (down 1%) and 38% disapproving (up 1%) of Keir Starmer’s overall job performance since he became Leader of the Labour Party. A considerable 38% neither approve nor disapprove (up 2%) of Starmer’s performance

To find out more information about this research contact our research team. Redfield & Wilton Strategies is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules. Follow us on Twitter

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