Scottish Independence Referendum & Westminster Voting Intention (1-2 July 2023)

July 5, 2023
R&WS Research Team
Approval Rating | GB Politics | GB Public Figures | Scottish Independence | UK Elections | UK Politics | Voting Intention

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Redfield & Wilton Strategies’ latest monthly Scottish independence referendum voting intention poll finds ‘no’ leading by 4%

Altogether (with changes from 3-5 June in parentheses), 49% (-1) of Scottish respondents say they would vote ‘no’ and 45% (+2) say they would vote ‘yes’ if there were to be a referendum tomorrow on whether Scotland should be an independent country. 6% (-1) say they don’t know how they would vote. 

Support for Scottish independence remains strong among younger Scots, with majorities of those aged 18-to-24 (58%), 25-to-34-year (60%), and 35-to-44 (59%) all saying they would vote ‘yes’ for independence. By comparison, majorities of those aged 45-to-54 (51%), 55-to-64 (56%), and 65+ (68%) say they would vote ‘no’ in an independence referendum. 

Those who voted for the Scottish National Party (79%) in the 2019 General Election are significantly more likely than those who voted Conservative (8%) or Labour (24%) to say they would vote ‘yes.’ 

41% (-1) would support a referendum on Scottish independence being held in the next year, while 40% (–) would oppose one being held in this timeframe.

Given a broader timeframe of between one and five years, a slightly less narrow plurality (41%, -1) of Scottish voters would support, against 38% (-1) who would oppose, a referendum on Scottish independence being held in that period.

Critically, a plurality (42%) of Scots agree that a second independence referendum should only be held if the UK Government agrees to it. 38% disagree.  

Secretary of State for Scotland Alister Jack has previously suggested that the calling of a second independence referendum should be conditional on public opinion polls consistently showing that 60% of Scots want one. 50% of Scottish voters agree with this proposed condition, including 59% of 2019 SNP voters. 

If a second referendum were to be held in Scotland in the next six months, 38% (–) of voters in Scotland say they would expect the ‘yes, for independence’ side would win, whereas 42% (-1) think the ‘no, against independence’ side would win. 20% (–) of respondents say they don’t know who would win if a referendum were held in the next six months. 

The next major electoral test for the Scottish parties is the next United Kingdom General Election, which must be held before January 2025.

When voters are asked who they would vote for if a UK General Election were held tomorrow, the Scottish National Party leads Labour by three points, six points less than in our previous Scottish tracker poll. The Conservatives are in third place, eleven points behind Labour.

The SNP’s vote share of 35% is the joint-second lowest figure they have polled in a hypothetical Westminster election in any publicly released poll conducted by any company since October 2014.

Altogether the results of our Westminster Voting Intention poll (with changes from 3-5 June in parentheses) are as follows:

Scottish National Party 35% (-2)
Labour 32% (+4)
Conservative 21% (+1)
Liberal Democrat 7% (-2)
Green 2% (-1)
Reform 2% (-1)
Other 1% (+1)

Overall, the Labour Party remains the most favourably viewed party in Scotland, although the party’s net favourability rating drops eight points from last month to now stand at +1%.

The SNP is the second most favourably viewed party, but their rating is also down from last month, dropping four points to -2%. All other parties hold negative net favourability ratings, with an outright majority having an unfavourable view of the Conservative Party (54%).

65% of Scottish voters cite the economy as one of the three most important issues that would determine how they would vote in a General Election, ahead of the NHS (62%). 

21% of respondents cite Scottish Independence/The Union as one of the three issues that would most determine their vote if a General Election was held tomorrow. Among 2019 SNP voters Scottish Independence is only the third most commonly selected issue (35%) behind the economy (65%) and the NHS (64%).

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak receives a net approval rating of -20%, down seven points from his rating last month. Our poll finds 44% (+4) of Scots disapprove of his overall job performance against 24% (-3) who approve. 

Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is similarly viewed negatively, with his net rating also dropping seven points from last month. 40% (+3) disapprove of Hunt’s performance as Chancellor, compared to 18% (-4) who approve, giving him a net approval rating of -22% (-7). 

Asked their view on the UK Government, a majority of Scots (60%, –) say the current UK Government is incompetent. Only 17% (–) view the UK Government as competent.

On its policy performance, Scottish voters give the UK Government negative net approval ratings on every policy issue listed, including on the NHS (-49%), the economy (-45%), and housing (-40%).

Labour leader Keir Starmer’s net approval rating in Scotland stands at -1%, up two points from our previous poll. 30% (+1) of Scottish voters approve of Starmer’s job performance, against 31% (-1) who disapprove. 

When asked who would be a better Prime Minister between Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer, 38% (-3) of Scottish voters say Keir Starmer and 28% (–) say Rishi Sunak. 34% (+3) say they don’t know.

The next Scottish Parliamentary Election is not due to be held until May 2026.

When voters are asked who they would vote for if a Scottish Parliamentary Election were held tomorrow, the Scottish National Party retains its lead in our constituency voting intention poll and has regained a narrow lead over Labour in our regional list voting intention poll.

However, at 33%, the SNP’s vote share in our Holyrood Constituency Voting Intention Poll is the  lowest vote share for the party in any constituency voting intention poll publicly released by any company since March 2011.

Altogether the results (with changes from 3-5 June in parentheses) are as follows: 

Scottish National Party 33% (-3)
Scottish Labour 30% (+1)
Scottish Conservatives 21% (–)
Scottish Liberal Democrats 10% (+2)
Scottish Green Party 2% (–)
Reform UK Scotland 2% (–)
Alba Party 1% (–)
Other 0% (–) 

When voters are asked who they would vote for on their regional list ballot, the SNP (28%, +3) holds a two-point lead over the Labour Party (26%, +1) in second place, with the Scottish Conservatives seven points back in third position on 19% (–).

Humza Yousaf’s latest net approval rating is -10%, down five points from last month. 28% (-1) approve and 38% (+4) disapprove of his overall job performance since he became Leader of the SNP, with a further 27% (-3) saying they neither approve nor disapprove of his job performance.

Among other party leaders in the Scottish parliament the Conservatives leader, Douglas Ross, holds a net approval rating of -19%, up three points from last month’s poll. The Scottish Labour leader, Anas Sarwar, holds a net approval rating of +4%, unchanged from last month.

A plurality (41%, -1) say the current Scottish Government is incompetent, compared to 28% (-2) who say it is competent. 

The Scottish Government earns negative ratings for its policy performance on every issue listed, except for the coronavirus pandemic (+20%), the environment (+4), and cultural issues (0%).

The Scottish Government holds double-digit net negative ratings for its handling of issues including housing (-21%), drug policy (-20%), gender reform (-17%), the economy (-13%), the NHS (-13%), and crime/policing (-12%). 

41% disapprove of the Scottish Government’s performance on Scottish independence, compared to 30% who approve.

Scottish voters believe Humza Yousaf would be a better First Minister for Scotland than either Douglas Ross or Anas Sarwar

Yousaf (41%, –) leads Ross (28%, +1) by 13 points, while Yousaf (37%, +1) also leads Sarwar (26%, -3) by 11 points.

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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