Scottish Independence Referendum Voting Intention (4-5 August)

August 7, 2021
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | Scotland | Scottish Independence | Voting Intention
Share this research:

Our Most Recent Research

Redfield & Wilton Strategies first Scottish independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘No’ leading by 3%. Altogether, 47% of Scottish respondents say they would vote ‘no,’ while 44% say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were a referendum on whether Scotland should be an independent country. 9% of the sample say they do not know how they would vote.

Our data shows a clear correlation between respondents’ age and their voting intention towards Scottish independence: Whereas 62% of both 16-to-24-year-olds and 25-to-34-year-olds would vote ‘yes’ if a referendum asking whether Scotland should be an independent country were to be held tomorrow, only 29% of respondents aged 65 and above would vote the same way. In addition, 80% of respondents who voted for the SNP in the 2019 General Election say they would vote in favour of Scotland becoming an independent, while 24% of 2019 Labour voters and only 3% of Conservative voters in Scotland would do the same.

The Scottish public is not only divided over the question of independence itself but also over whether and when to hold a potential second referendum. 47% of respondents overall would oppose a referendum on Scottish independence being held in the next year, with 33% opposing strongly. Conversely, 40% would support such a referendum being held in the next year, with 29% expressing their strong support. 11% of respondents would neither support nor oppose a referendum being held in the next year. Overall, the significant proportions of respondents who feel strongly about this question reflect the highly contentious nature of this issue.

When asked whether they would support or oppose a referendum being held later than a year from now but within the next five years, support for a referendum becomes the plurality position, albeit only marginally so. 42% of respondents say they would support a referendum being held later than a year from now but within the next five years, while 40% would oppose and 14% would neither support nor oppose a referendum within this timeframe.

At 83% and 86% respectively, support for a referendum in the next year or later than a year from now but within the next five years is overwhelming among those who would vote for Scotland to become independent, while only a respective 6% and 8% of respondents who would vote against Scotland becoming an independent country would support a referendum being held at either point in time. These results thus suggest that those who oppose Scottish independence would prefer to avoid a second referendum altogether, rather than re-settle the issue at the ballot box.

Overall, 40% of the public currently think that, if an independence referendum were to be held in Scotland in the next six months, the ‘Yes, for independence’ side would win, while 36% believe the ‘No, against independence’ side would prevail at the polls. At the same time, a significant 25% of respondents say they don’t know who would win, reflecting the uncertain nature of the outcome of a potential second referendum.

In this context, personal preferences regarding Scottish independence appear to be a strong indicator of which outcome respondents consider most likely, were a referendum to be held in the next six months: 79% of those who would vote in favour of independence think the ‘Yes, for independence’ side would win, whereas 65% of respondents who would vote against independence think the ‘No, against independence’ side would win.

Meanwhile, with regard to political leaders in Scotland and in the United Kingdom at large, 53% of respondents in Scotland say they approve of Nicola Sturgeon’s job performance since she became leader of the SNP. 31% disapprove of her performance, resulting in a +22% net approval rating for Nicola Sturgeon.

Ian Blackford, who leads the SNP in the House of Commons, has a slightly negative net approval rating. 33% disapprove of his performance in this position, against 27% who approve.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s net approval rating in Scotland, meanwhile, is firmly negative: 60% disapprove of his job performance since he became Prime Minister, while 22% approve of it.

However, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak sees a positive net approval rating. 34% say they approve of the Chancellor’s job performance, against 28% who say they disapprove of his performance.

Regarding the Leader of the Opposition, respondents to our Scottish poll are split between neutrality and disapproval. 37% say they disapprove of Keir Starmer’s job performance as Leader of the Labour Party, while 36% say they neither approve nor disapprove. 20% say they approve of his performance, providing Starmer with a -17% net approval rating.

While Boris Johnson sees considerably more disapproval than either Rishi Sunak or Keir Starmer, the question of who holds power in Westminster nevertheless appears to have a comparatively limited impact on Scottish respondents’ support or opposition to independence.

53% of respondents overall—including 57% of 2019 Conservative voters, 43% of 2019 Labour voters, and 56% of 2019 SNP voters—say Rishi Sunak being Prime Minister at the time of the referendum would make them neither more nor less likely to support Scottish independence. In addition, 16% of respondents overall, as well as 5% of 2019 Conservative voters, 22% of 2019 Labour voters, and 22% of 2019 SNP voters say Rishi Sunak being Prime Minister at the time of the referendum would make them more likely to support Scottish independence. Conversely, 21% of respondents overall, along with 30% of 2019 Conservative voters, 24% of 2019 Labour voters, and 15% of 2019 SNP voters say it would make them less likely to support Scottish independence.

In the case of Keir Starmer being Prime Minister at the time of the referendum, 51% of respondents overall—including 57% of 2019 Conservative voters, 41% of 2019 Labour voters, and 55% of 2019 SNP voters—say they would be neither more nor less likely to support Scottish independence. 17% of respondents overall say Starmer being Prime Minister at the time of the referendum would make them more likely to support Scottish independence—a figure that includes 8% of 2019 Conservative voters, 22% of 2019 Labour voters, and 24% of 2019 SNP voters. Conversely, 23% of voters overall, along with 30% of 2019 Conservative voters, 27% of 2019 Labour voters, and 17% of 2019 SNP voters say they would be less likely to support Scottish independence if Keir Starmer were Prime Minister at the time of the referendum.

The prospect of Scotland dropping the Pound and joining the Euro upon independence, however, invites a more negative response. To this question, 39% of all respondents say they would be less likely to vote for independence if an independent Scotland appeared poised to undertake this measure, including 19% of those who currently say they would vote ‘yes’ on independence.

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

Share our research:

Our Most Recent Research